written by Angie Morgan & Courtney Lynch

We do brave things when we feel safe.

We’ll rock climb with just a harness and a belay. We’ll bungee jump, parasail, scuba dive, and skydive. And this is just in regard to our physical safety. When we feel psychologically safe, we’ll share our opinion directly, with tact. We’ll feel comfortable to let our guard down and express ourselves authentically.

We can experience safety in so many aspects of our life; we know the comforting feeling. In writing our new book, Bet on You, we wanted to share best practices for weaving a strong safety net. Because when you have one, it’s easier to build the confidence to step toward goals and dreams that matter to you.

The three key elements of an effective safety net are: your finances, your talents, and your judgment

These elements are interdependent—you need all of them, and you need to build them with diligence:

Finances + Talent – Judgment = Squandered Opportunities
Talent + Judgment – Finances = Under-resourced Opportunities
Finance + Judgment – Talent = Limited Opportunities

Let’s begin with money. We only have so many years to earn and create financial stability. We also only have so many years to take risks and realize the benefits of our choices. It’s a delicate balance, and one that’s not all about how much you save, it’s also about putting yourself in a position for a financial upside. Risking for your future earning potential (FEP) can be as valuable as saving for security. Clarify what you need to feel secure financially—don’t underrepresent or overexaggerate this number. Discover what just enough looks like for you. This awareness will help you balance both your financial resources and your desire to enact risk thoughtfully, methodically.

Next, fully recognize the value of your talent. It’s easy to believe that a job is part of your safety net. In reality, though, it’s your performance and ability to meet and exceed standards that keeps you employed. It’s not the position, it’s how you grow, contribute, and perform in the role. Your talent, effort, and ability to rise strong after inevitable setbacks are key elements of your safety net. Your talent is what creates opportunity for you.

The final aspect of your safety net is your judgment, which we define as your ability to weigh facts, or possible courses of action, to make sound decisions. No matter where we are in life, our experiences have been limited to what we’ve been exposed to. That doesn’t mean our own personal experiences are the limit of our capacity to grow our judgment. Your judgment can grow over time if you stay curious and consistently open to fully understanding, and learning from, the experiences of others. By understanding the how’s and why’s of someone else’s thinking, choices, successes, or missteps, you open your mind to learning from others and gain a unique ability to recognize new truths, opportunities, and perspectives that can lead to better decisions.

The stronger your safety net, the bolder you’ll be in identifying and following probable courses of action to achieve the goals you desire.

Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch are Lead Star’s co-founders, leadership coaches, and the bestselling authors of SPARK, Leading from the Front, and Bet on You. They help professionals reach new levels of success through their innovative coaching program, Year to Rise.