I believe one’s action deserves the label Risk Taking only if one has multiple options available, each with its own outcome, and one picks an option whose outcome is most advantageous despite the uncertainty.
If one picks the one and only option available to them, however uncertain the outcome is, it is not risk taking.
As a corollary one should take risks when one can most afford it and not as the last action.
Using NFL analogy
– Onside kick on opening kick-off is risk taking.
– Onside kick when down 3 with 30 seconds on the clock isn’t risk taking
In Business Context
– When you have a successful product line introducing a new one with potential but unproven market and may even cannibalize your current one is risk taking
– When your current offering is commoditized, introducing the only possible product isn’t risk taking
Next time you are interviewing a candidate about a time they took risk, ask them whether it was onside kick on opening kickoff or in the last 30 seconds.
In Startup Context
– When one gives up college or leaves one’s current job with guaranteed pay to start a venture with unknown outcome, t is risk taking
– When one fed up with growth in current job or find it difficult to land a new one decided to start a venture, it isn’t risk taking