The 40-30-30 Rule: The Risk Taking Equation That Can Change Your Life

Posted January 9, 2013 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder


Risk. It’s a word that gets thrown around often in business, and in life. Are you taking enough risks in your career? Not enough? Is taking a pay cut for that new job a risk? Will it payoff with a great reward in the future? All questions we all consider day-to-day in our lives. It’s because of these constant conversations about risk that I was struck heavily by the Behance blog, 99U. The article, “The 40-30-30 Rule: Why Risk is Worth It,” illustrates a rule of risk taking prevalent in athletic competition.

Check it out:

One lesson I learned from alpine ski racing was the “40-30-30 Rule.” During training, early on, I tried to go fast, and I also focused on not falling. On a ride up the ski lift, my coach told me I was missing the point. He explained that success in ski racing, or most sports for that matter, was only 40% physical training. The other 60% was mental. And of that, the first 30% was technical skill and experience. The second 30% was the willingness to take risks.

If 30% of your success is based on the willingness to take risks, are you taking enough in your career? Consider adding these risk taking rules to your day-to-day choices:

  1. Make 30% of your networking outreach to people who are VP level or above. Networking with the big dogs can be a big risk!
  2. If you’re in an active job search, try to make 30% of your applications one level or more higher on the ladder than you currently are in your career. If you’re a Manager, apply for at least 30% of jobs at Director level or higher, for example.
  3. If you attend 10 networking events in a year, be sure 3 of them are with a completely new group of people you’ve never networked with before.

Where else can you employ this 30% in your life and career? Risk doesn’t have to be all in or all out. It can be just 30%.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."