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Risk: The One-Word Oxymoron




I was editing a book for a customer and we decided to use the dictionary to help with inspiration for some synonyms for the word “risk”.

Although I knew it from experience, after reading the definition, it struck me how “risk” is one of the few words (possibly the only one, but I’m not going to spend my time reading through the dictionary to confirm) that has synonyms that are antonyms.

Risk is the one-word oxymoron. Typically, an oxymoron requires using two or more opposing words to create a new concept, but risk handles it on its own.

Here’s how defines risk:

Main Entry:                         risk

Part of Speech:                 noun

Definition:                           chance taken

Synonyms:                          accident, contingency, danger, exposedness, exposure, flyer, fortuity, fortune, gamble, hazard, header, jeopardy, liability, liableness, luck, openness, opportunity, peril, plunge, possibility, prospect, shot in the dark, speculation, stab, uncertainty, venture, wager

As you can see, it is both peril and possibility, danger and opportunity, jeopardy and fortune.

Which definition of “risk” fits your small biz venture? If you are thinking, “I don’t take risks … ”, then you aren’t in business. Risk is unavoidable. All business is a risk. However, you make choices and take actions that determine what synonym of risk applies to your situation.

Think of it this way. Traveling on your journey of “risk” (i.e. business), you come to a fork in the road. One path ventures off into peril, danger, and jeopardy. The other path leads to possibility, opportunity, and fortune. However, from where you’re standing, both paths look the same. How do you choose?

At the fork, there is a sign with a couple of riddles. The answers to the riddles will tell you which path is which. Do you stop and read the sign and work out the riddles or do you choose to go with your gut and figure out which path is which as you go along?

Most entrepreneurs go with their gut. They blow right past working out the riddles and forge ahead figuring the head start will give them the best advantage to reaching their goal of success quickly. This is why most entrepreneurs fail. They run out of time and money struggling on the clogged path of peril, danger, and jeopardy.

The riddles are introspection, research and planning.

When you had the inspiration to start your solopreneur career, did you simply focus on the hot opportunity in the market and started chasing after the perceived profits? Or did you take the time to review your strengths / weaknesses, your likes / dislikes, your experience, your personal, professional and financial goals and apply your answers to a business idea? Most entrepreneurs blow past introspection because they already think they know themselves. However, I can tell you from experience that people fall into habits. They pursue what they know … even if they hated doing it before or failed at it. Sounds silly, but it’s true. Taking time for a little introspection goes a long way in clarifying what are strong possible businesses to pursue.

Did you do any research before you opened for business? Did you try to get to know your prospects and what pains / desires, needs / wants they had? Research is one riddle that scares many entrepreneurs. They don’t know what questions to ask. They don’t know where to find the answers. They’re afraid of what they might find. The reality is, if you dread the research, chances are you’ll dread the business. If you have multiple passions, research will help determine which passions are best as hobbies and which have the opportunity to produce income.

Planning is the second dreaded riddle. Like research, most entrepreneurs don’t know how to create a plan or how much planning is necessary. How do you know where you are going or if you are getting anywhere if you don’t have a plan. Most entrepreneurs will spend more time planning a vacation than for their business. Why?

Before you get started or if you have already launched your small business, take the time to solve the riddles of introspection, research and planning. It will put you on the path of possibility, opportunity, and fortune.

Don’t know how? Contact us. We’re here to guide you.

Maria Alvira
Small Biz Break
“give your biz a break”

Fuster · 2702 days ago
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Risk: The One-Word Oxymoron