It’s only natural to have a fear of the unknown, because you have no idea what to expect. If you wander into an ethnic restaurant having never eaten that cuisine before, you can’t really know how your body is going to react (and whether the food is any good). It’s also because of this fear of the unknown that many people hesitate to quit their day jobs and embark on a professional blogging career. Will you be successful or will you fall flat on your face?

Along with the fear of the unknown, people also have a fear of the worst case scenario. They won’t abandon the safety net of a steady salary for the insecurity of online entrepreneurship, because there is a distinct possibility that they’ll invest their life savings and come out completely empty-handed. Realistically though, what do you have to fear?

What is the Worst Case Scenario?

It may be a question that evokes all sorts of negative emotions, but in your risk assessment of any given venture, it’s important to know what could happen if things happen to go awry. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Consider what could be the worst case scenario.

For example, before I dove into a career in freelance writing, I figured that the worst thing that could happen would be that my business would fail and I would have to go looking for a conventional job. While I don’t think that I could ever go back to a regular job again, at the time the prospects of finding regular work didn’t sound so bad. After all, if I didn’t start freelance writing, that’s what I would be doing anyway.

As another example, consider the prospects of performing in public. At worst, you will suck, get a little embarrassed, and possibly get booed off the stage. Is that so horrible?

What are the Chances of That Happening?

Now that you’ve determined the worst case scenario, consider the likelihood that this scenario will arise. While the more pessimistic among us will say that it is pretty likely, most people never experience the worst case scenario. Going back to my example of starting a freelance writing career, it’s unlikely that my business would be a complete flop.

A much more likely scenario would be that I would have some difficulty finding work, but I would find some work. The projects may not add up to a comfortable full-time income, but they could represent major stepping stones toward that greater goal. Even if you leave the comforts of a regular job behind, it’s unlikely that you’ll be starving and homeless if you try freelancing instead. You wouldn’t let that happen; you’d find a job (and get back on your feet) again before you’re tossed out on the street, right?

So What if It Does Happen?

When you boil it all down, most things are reversible. You just have to realize that it’s a matter of perspective. If you lose your job, you can always find another one. If you embarrass yourself in a public speech, you can always redeem yourself with a better one later. So what if the worst case scenario takes place? There are always measures to address it.

Before embarking on my Dot Com Scooter adventure, I knew that I had a poor sense of balance and there was a possibility that I could hurt myself. Well, I did. I skinned my knee and tore up my shoe, but I managed to survive, to learn, and to have a great time too.

Challenges make life interesting, so while you shouldn’t throw caution to the wind, don’t be afraid to take a few risks. Just be prepared to react accordingly.