Array
(
    [id] => 47
    [PARENT_ID] => 0
    [PAGE_ID] => 0
    [name1] => Blog
    [url] => blog-home
    [visible] => 1
    [hide] => 0
    [viz_head] => 1
    [viz_foot] => 1
    [order] => 7
    [multiple] => 0
    [dead] => 1
    [slave] => 0
    [php_file] => 
    [has_detail] => 0
    [indent] => 0
    [c_count] => 2
    [parent_url] => 
    [dead_url] => blog
    [kids] => Array
        (
            [0] => Array
                (
                    [id] => 24
                    [PARENT_ID] => 47
                    [PAGE_ID] => 0
                    [name1] => Blog Home
                    [url] => blog-home
                    [visible] => 1
                    [hide] => 0
                    [viz_head] => 0
                    [viz_foot] => 0
                    [order] => 1
                    [multiple] => 1
                    [dead] => 0
                    [slave] => 0
                    [php_file] => blog.php
                    [has_detail] => 1
                    [indent] => 1
                    [c_count] => 0
                    [parent_url] => blog
                    [root_url] => blog
                )

            [1] => Array
                (
                    [id] => 27
                    [PARENT_ID] => 47
                    [PAGE_ID] => 0
                    [name1] => Newsletter Archives
                    [url] => newsletter-archives
                    [visible] => 1
                    [hide] => 0
                    [viz_head] => 0
                    [viz_foot] => 0
                    [order] => 2
                    [multiple] => 1
                    [dead] => 0
                    [slave] => 0
                    [php_file] => newsletter.php
                    [has_detail] => 1
                    [indent] => 1
                    [c_count] => 0
                    [parent_url] => blog
                    [root_url] => blog
                )

        )

    [kid_is_url] => 1
)
The Art of Risk-taking
Rodney Mullen
by
Fara Choi Ashimoto
on
February 27, 2013
| From the Office |

Every year we choose a theme to help shape our professional development activities. These themes determined the structure, content, and special speakers for our Fall Staff Retreat and periodic extended staff meetings. One year we focused on Creativity, and last year we talked about Teamwork. This year we’ve focused on Risk-taking. A few months ago, Jim invited Ray Lykins to come and share his experiences as a Hollywood stuntman. Ray has 35 years of experience, including work on some blockbusters. Amidst his many humorous stories were the following words of advice for handling risk:

  • Know and respect your personal limits
  • Visualize each step before beginning
  • Identify "worse case scenario" and plan for it
  • Work only with those you can trust and rely on
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • Don't panic – take a deep breath and use your brain
  • Be honest about your fears but don't dwell on them
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Humor is always helpful
  • Tomorrow is another day

A few weeks later, we heard from another speaker: Rodney Mullen, the world renowned "Godfather of Street Skateboarding." From his unique wealth of experience, Rodney was able to communicate his approach and process to the daring sport of skateboarding. Through stories and videos he shared these thoughts about assessing and managing risks: Risk Assessment is a two-stage process:

  • Objective analysis: break the risk down into smaller brackets and analyze each piece to determine whether the risk is within acceptable limits
  • Intuitive analysis: use your creativity and utilize your instincts and "feel" to put the objective analysis into a bigger, more complete perspective

After assessment, risk management includes the following:

  • Work through each step leading to success, one at a time
  • Practice makes "permanent"
  • Listen to fears, not to anxiety
  • Embed yourself in the experience, learning as you go - "visualizing" it first is of only limited value
  • Rely on creativity, resourcefulness, and grit
  • Know when to say "no" and walk away
  • Attend to the details – it's the little things that will get you
  • Put all you do into a bigger perspective, with a sense of humor and detachment

When you think about it, these insights from a Hollywood stuntman and a world-class skateboarder translate pretty well into the humanitarian context, when talking about managing risk and preparing for it. They helped us to understand the challenges we face when traveling to dangerous, high-stress locations. Their experiences also reinforced our ideas on how to help the aid workers we serve prepare and manage the risks they face in their work.

As I’ve listened to these presentations, I’m learning that risk-taking has a lot more to it than just the impulse to do something potentially dangerous. It takes thought, discipline, resourcefulness, and creativity.

Tomorrow we’ve invited Chheng Ear, a licensed clinical social worker who fled Cambodia with her family during the Pol Pot era and began a new life here in the US. I know her journey and reflections will speak to another layer of what it means to take risks. Stay tuned!    

Array
(
    [title] => bid_277
    [short] => bid_286
    [desc] => bid_287
    [images] => bid_291
    [video] => bid_292
    [date] => bid_288
    [author] => bid_365
    [cats] => bid_278
)