One of the many dreams I had growing up (and still do) is to go into space. Just like an astronaut, float around up there and look back at the earth and see what it looks like, experience that alien environment. Taking part in such an experience must be both exhilarating and also incredibly scary all in one. The environment is completely different to everything you have ever known. The risk involved if anything were to go wrong is so high that it is a wonder anyone gets anything done up there. Yet despite all this you still have people working up there and doing amazing things even though these risks are always present. How do astronauts manage to stay calm in the most extreme circumstances? Are they a special breed of person that can just handle this sort of thing?
I have often pondered this question, wondering how they actually do it. Then recently I read Chris Hadfields book “An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth.” An amazing book, well worth a read even if you only a slight interest in space, earth or life. In it he describes how exactly Astronauts prepare for these risks. What they do is plan for every possible outcome. They know exactly what to do whenever something goes wrong or right for that matter. Then they practice every possible outcome over and over, relentlessly. This means that no matter what they are doing they can stay calm knowing whatever happened they know exactly what to do. Having a plan for every outcome allows anyone to feel secure in the fact that absolutely whatever happens you have a route to follow to achieve what you want to in some way.
Now in business the fear of failure is often a massive hinderance to people getting things done. This can make any company move slowly or not move at all. Planning for failure allows you to take risks knowing that you have prepared for any outcome, so the fear is diminished and you can move forward faster. This speed and confidence leads to much greater innovation and growth. We all fail from time to time, it cannot be avoided. So what I would say is always strive to fail like an astronaut. Plan for the failure to diminish your fear and you can take on any risk.
How do you handle high risk situations?