Fear Not Ladies – Take that Risk!

Data Analytics Leader

Do you see people around you moving up the ladder while you stand still? Are you wondering what they have that you don’t?

Could it be that they take chances? Step outside of their comfort zone to pursue their dreams or goals?

Throughout our career paths, there are those few moments in which you must decide to take a risk or not. When considering that risk, many of us experience fear.

Sometimes it is a fear to start or a fear of failure or fear of ramifications. And other times it is just the fear within us that has a profound impact on our decisions.

Mark Zuckerberg once said, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking any risks.”

When confronted with a risk and trying to determine your next steps, consider the following five key activities to move through the risk to success:

  1. Take a chance on yourself
  2. Be willing to try something you’ve never done before
  3. Find people who will support you
  4. Learn from every experience good or bad
  5. Lastly, pay it forward by helping others

Take a Chance on Me

You know the next line in the ABBA song, “…If you need me let me know and I’ll be around.”  Is that what you are doing?  Waiting for someone to tap you on the shoulder to see if you are available?

You may be thinking, “If I work really hard, they will notice and give me the promotion or project.”

Unfortunately, this is a common thought process for many women…work hard and be recognized. It doesn’t always work that way.

As the KPMG Women’s Leadership Study shows, women tend to lack confidence in asking for what they want or deserve.

  • 61% not confident to ask for a raise
  • 65% not confident to ask for a promotion
  • 69% not confident to ask for a career path
  • 73% not confident to ask for an opportunity beyond their expertise

It’s time to put yourself out there. When did we lose our confidence in our ability to ask for what we deserve? Overcome that fear that is holding you back from asking or pursuing that promotion or project. Take a chance on yourself!

Get Uncomfortable

We have all heard the expression, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” But what does that really mean? No one really likes discomfort. The challenge here is to identify it, address it and move forward.  It means you need to get in the game and resist your natural reaction to retreat or attack.

The next time you are in a meeting and feeling uncomfortable, before you instantly react, take a moment, reflect upon what is making you feel uncomfortable. Once the trigger is identified, create your path to move through it. Each time you experience the uncomfortable situation, you will learn and grow from it. Don’t let the fear of being uncomfortable deter you from your goals.

Someone to Believe in You

As revealed by the KPMG Study, only 21 percent of women feel confident in requesting a mentor.  Let that sit for just one moment and contemplate the ramifications. That means that 79 percent of women are not pursuing one of the greatest opportunities to gain knowledge, support and assistance in pursuing their dreams.

Personally, I would not be the woman I am today without those key individuals, who not only believed in me but guided me through tough waters and even bopped me upside my head when I needed it. You may even find informal mentors that can be just as effective. Otherwise, what fear holds you back from making this ask?

We often forget that most people will be honored that you asked them to be your mentor. Allow others to take the chance on you!

It’s OK to Try and Fail

My father once told me that you will never regret trying something new. Why is that? Because you will always learn something from the experience regardless of the outcome.

I used to think that admitting to failure was accepting defeat. But each time there is a failure, there is a learning opportunity and therefore you are actually setting yourself up for success for in the future. I realize not all risks will pay off but by learning what went wrong we can adjust to make better go-forward decisions.

In today’s fast-paced world, recovering quickly from a failure will be just as critical. By adapting and adjusting, you will be building your resilience and ability to try again. Take the chance!

Make an Impact

Who will you believe in today? Did you know you could literally change someone’s life just by giving them a vote of confidence? Validated in the KPMG Women’s Leadership Study, women are more likely to take on new challenges when they have someone who believes in their abilities.

Reach back and lift up someone else. Take a chance on others!

 “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” -Theodore Roosevelt

In continuing our theme of empowerment in 2017, I would like to encourage all of you reading this to pick one item that you are fearful to try or accomplish and make it your new goal for the year.

Figure out what is holding you back and strive to overcome those fear factors. Chances are those fear factors are not the gigantic roadblocks you envision. Step outside your comfort zone, try something new and surround yourself with good people.

Share your story…if not with me, with others you can inspire!


About the Author Denise Mirtich

Denise C. Mirtich leads the Informatics Practice for Oswald Companies, which consists of Health Management Solutions, Data Analytics and Technology Solutions. Under the direction of Ms. Mirtich, the Oswald team empowers clients with information to make crucial data-driven decisions which typically impacts their bottom line. Her leadership has had direct impact on the growth of Oswald’s highly regarded Group Benefits Division.


The Oswald Women’s Leadership Council, developed in 2013 to inspire females at all levels to empower, develop and advance, has focused its 2017 education efforts around Empowerment, including Women’s Leadership 2017: 10 Paths Toward Empowerment in Your Work and Life. Read earlier articles from the Council on its web page.

Note: This communication is for informational purposes only. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, Oswald makes no guarantees of any kind and cannot be held liable for any outdated or incorrect information. View our communications policy