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Manage your Risks

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Managing Your Risks by Pat Duckworth

Positive worrying using risk management

We tend to think that worrying is always negative, that it leads to stress and anxiety.

However, worrying can be a positive resource. It is what allows us to anticipate future risks and plan to mitigate them. But when worrying becomes rumination, when you go over and over negative scenarios in your imagination, it can have negative outcomes such as stopping you from sleeping, generating anxiety and preventing you from doing the things you want to do.

A risk management approach can help you to get worries about the future into perspective and to take action to reduce the effect of the things you are concerned about.

If you find yourself worrying about a future event, think about the benefits to you of taking part in the event. On a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high) how would you rate the benefits?

Next, think about the risks associated with the event.

Example: Travelling to deliver a seminar in a new location

Ask yourself:

How likely is the risk to happen? (Scale of 1= unlikely, 5 = very likely)
What is the likely impact if it does happen? (Scale of 1= low – 5 = high)

Description of Risk Likelihood 1-5 Impact 1-5
Get Lost on the Way 4 3
Get Stuck in traffic 3 4
Delayed by bad weather 2 4
Car Breaks down 1 4

Now plot the results in the grid on the right

If the risk is in the amber/red/black area you can decide whether to:

Tolerate – accept the risks because the benefits out-weigh the problems

Treat – take action to mitigate the risks (for example: buy a map or a satnav, set out earlier or have the car serviced.)

Transfer – move the risk to another person or organisation (for example: take a taxi, get a friend to deliver the seminar or subscribe to a breakdown service)

Terminate – don’t take part in the activity or event because the problems outweigh any benefits

Once you have decided on your actions, you can calculate the residual risk, that is, the risk remaining when you have taken all the actions.

Finally, you can decide whether the benefits outweigh the remaining risks. By using this process, you can reduce the risks in any situation that you have been worrying about and look forward to the benefits that flow from it.