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I had to stop playing it safe in order to succeed at work

HI, I live in Anchorage and am a management consultant and writer. I'm founder of www.bullywhisperer.com™, www.workplacecoachblog.com and www.thegrowthcompany.com. I'm author of Solutions and Beating the Workplace Bully, AMACOM. I author...

Playing it safe at work taught me the biggest lessons of my career

There was a job I wanted just before I started my own business. The position description called for senior-level budgeting experience. I didn't have any, so I didn't apply. When my colleague applied and got it, I was stunned. "I didn't know you had senior-level budgeting experience," I said. "I don't," he answered.

More: 3 tricks for dealing with a physically intimidating boss

"But the job requires it," I responded.

"No sweat," he said, "I figured they'll teach me. I was really surprised you didn't apply, though. I figured they'd take you over me."

That was the last risk I didn't take. Five months later, I opened my own business. What about you? Is there a risk you hesitate to take? Failure to take certain risks will keep you inside a box of your own making, a box that keeps you from meeting your goals. Try these four ways to claim freedom from hesitation.

1. Make choices outside of your comfort zone

Given the choice between a no-risk decision and a higher-risk/greater-reward alternative, do you choose the safe route? If you hesitate to travel outside your comfort zone, you forget that the real risk might be things staying the same and having your work life stagnate or grow smaller, rather than larger.

In Beating the Workplace Bully, I wrote, "Think what a brave person would do and become that brave person." Don't underestimate your ability to handle what might happen if the risks you take bring new challenges to your door. Risk allows you to stretch and grow, to discover new things about yourself. Taking risks develops your strength and expands your future.

More: 7 ways to make your boss stop hating you

2. Own your choices

When you take full responsibility for your choices and actions, you free yourself. If you make up a story or say the problem is someone else's fault, you lose power. When you say, "It's on me," you claim for yourself the ability to make needed changes.

Owning even your worst mistakes frees you. You no longer need to pretend you're perfect or already the best you can be. Instead, when you embrace your failings, you take the first, necessary step to become more of who you can be.

3. Give yourself permission to fail

If you allow fear to set up residence in your brain, it not only moves in but it also owns you. Fear erodes confidence. Never let worry about failing stop you. Once you try and fail, you're no longer the same person, but one who's learned from what didn't work.

4. Welcome the freedom to succeed

Do you fear what might be asked of you if you succeed? Don't hesitate to throw your hat in the ring for promotional opportunities just because a job seems out of reach. Step up to opportunities instead of stepping aside and letting someone else take the lead. Don't relive your past because you fear stepping forward. Imagine your future, and let yourself succeed by stepping up.

Shying away from these risks can be costly, in life and in your career. What are you prepared to do to break free?

Have a question for Lynne? Email her at lynne@thegrowthcompany.com with subject "SheKnows" and she may answer your question (confidentially) in an upcoming piece on SheKnows.

More: How to choose between multiple job offers to find the best fit

© 2016, Lynne Curry. Lynne authored Solutions and Beating the Workplace Bully, AMACOM. You can also follow Lynne@lynnecurry10 on Twitter or access her other posts on SheKnows, www.workplacecoachblog.com or www.bullywhisperer.com.

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