Attitude to Risk

The question is Attitude to Risk Does risk-taking freak you out or give you a buzz?

​‘If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.’ (Geena Davis)

Snapping my leg sideways at the knee was a painful experience. It shattered my confidence too. I had been cycling when, unexpectedly, I hit a curb and flew off, unceremoniously, and hit the ground hard. The next year was a grueling experience of trying to learn to walk again. The consultant told me, bleakly, that my biking days were over – as were my chances of ever hiking, swimming, or climbing stairs again. I felt stunned, numbed, in shock. How could this have happened?

Risk and change.

This changed when I met Leanne, a remarkable Olympic athletes’ physiotherapist. She asked if I’d like to cycle off-road again. I told her what I had been told and had believed – that it wasn’t an option. Nevertheless, she persisted and posed the same question again. I felt frustrated and confused. I had already answered. She asked what I’d be afraid of happening if I were to cycle again. I responded that I risked sustaining a further injury to my knee – and that really scared me.

Transformational conversation

This turned out to be a transformational conversation. ‘Every time you went out on a bike, you risked injury. Knowing what you know now, if you were to go back in time, would that stop you from taking up cycling?’ ‘Not at all, I answered. ‘Some of my best life experiences have been out on the mountain bike.’ ‘So,’ she replied, ‘It’s not about what’s possible so much as your attitude to risk. Will you allow that same risk of injury to prevent you from doing what you love now?’​

Six months later, I cycled the longest distance I had ever done off-road. It was a breathtaking experience. I learned that risk isn’t just about balancing probability and impact. Positive risk-taking is about taking what can feel like a leap of faith, being willing to crash and burn if it all goes wrong, and, at the same time, experiencing the possibility of discovering or achieving more than we had ever dreamed possible. When have you taken a positive risk? How do you enable others to do so too?

Nick Wright is a psychological coach (

2 thoughts on “Life coach forum Attitude to Risk – What’s the kick you need?

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