By Randy H. Nelson 

When I am speaking to entrepreneurs or leadership teams, I always ask them the following question:

“What is the first word that comes to your mind when I say the word entrepreneur?” 95% of the time I get the same exact answer: Risk-taker.

When I go on to ask the audience how many of them are risk-takers, the percentages drop quickly—even amongst the entrepreneurs.

Then I ask another question: “Is a military jet pilot a risk-taker or not?”

How would you respond?

The audiences I speak to typically split on this answer. Some say yes and some say no. But then, if I add the word “controlled” to the equation, everyone invariably comes to the same conclusion. Everyone shifts to a yes.

Everyone agrees: a military jet pilot is indeed a controlled risk-taker. So how can entrepreneurial leaders use this information to become more comfortable and confident taking risks? And how can they learn to take smarter risks?

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