Jill just finished a one-on-one review with her boss. She’s venting to a friend in the break room.
Her boss gave her some criticism. He said she’s not “applying herself.” But she’s frustrated because she simply doesn’t know if putting in extra effort will pay off.
“I would work a lot harder if I knew it would guarantee a promotion or a raise,” she tells her friend.
Lance, a coworker, is pouring a cup of coffee within earshot. He understands completely. “Yeah, and I’d ask you out if I knew you were going to say yes,” he thinks to himself.
Jill and Lance are both wrestling with a common problem. We all struggle with feelings of uncertainty. No matter how brave or bold you are, it’s hard to commit when there’s no guaranteed payoff.
There’s a word for that. Risk. And if you deal with a risk like Jill and Lance, you’ll miss out on a lot of life’s rewards.
That’s especially true in relationships.
Of course, in a committed relationship the stakes are a little different. The temptation to avoid risk in a relationship goes more like this: “Prove that you’re really into me first, and then I’ll be more selfless, giving and transparent.”