01/07/2013 05:31 EST | Updated 03/09/2013 05:12 EST

How a Game of Cards Reminded Me to Take More Risks


When was the last time you did something completely new to you? So often we get into routines and stuck in our comfort zone. Stepping beyond those protective boundaries we have set for ourselves can end up being scary and a bit intimidating.

Sometimes it means taking small risks. Take the other night: Our neighbours invited us over to play Euchre. Ever played the card game? Well we hadn't. True to form, my husband immediately got onto the Internet to check out the rules of the game. It looked highly complicated to my holiday-mellow brain.

Being a hands-on learner, I preferred to think that I would pick it up as I played, whereas he wanted to be forearmed with some information ahead of time. But neither of us wanted to look foolish.

I guess I also secretly hoped our friends would forget about the cards, and as the evening progressed and it got late, I was lulled into thinking that perhaps they had thought better of it, and we weren't going to play.

But I was wrong. At 10 p.m. we got started. Our first five games were played with open hands so we could see and learn how to play the game, and then we were on our own. There were three couples and it was the guys vs. the gals. The guys won, but I want you to know, it was close.

And you know what... it was fun. Just goes to show that sometimes our fears are for naught. Plus when you're open to learn something new, you find out that the old brain cells can still accommodate more information and that the hard drive is not totally full.

With the Euchre, if I made mistakes, it wasn't obvious to me and our hosts were too kind to point out the errors of my card playing. They made the evening fun and none of us took it too seriously, laughing when a hand didn't work out the way we expected.

While we may have learned a new card game, the lessons carry over into the business world. Often with your own business, especially at the start, you don't know what you don't know and so much is new to you.

Here's some pointers to consider as you embark on your firsts:

1. Be willing to take small steps outside of your comfort zone.

2. Think about your learning style, some of you may be like my husband and prefer garner all the information first, while others may be more like myself and learn by doing. The key is to do what works for you.

3. Recognize that you will make mistakes, especially at the beginning as you learn the ropes.

4. Surround yourself with people who want to help and encourage you.

5. Consider what is the worst thing that can happen and try to put strategies in place to counter that happening

6. Don't take yourself too seriously. Have fun. Laugh.

Just remember, you are never too old to learn new "tricks."