Go Ahead, Risk It

Thursday, February 28, 2013

We are honored to share the following guest blog post today from Dr. Mary B. Hawkins!

Taking risks in your career is one of the hardest things to do – but arguably the most invigorating and productive.  This article will discuss why risks are necessary and some examples of risks readers might consider in the next year (like tackling another degree, etc.)

No matter the level of your success, once you become comfortable in your job or career field, it’s hard to imagine changing careers or taking steps to pursue advancement. Taking a risk is stressful but can prove to be one of the most valuable and refreshing decisions you can make. A study released this month by Bellevue University, “Closing the Nation’s Skills Gap: Making Higher Education Achievable,” found that 40 percent of adults across the nation admit they’re not where they want to be in life, with 32 percent having thought they would have achieved more by now. The study points out that no matter your age or gender, people are missing the opportunities necessary to attain success, and fear remains one of the most common reasons for not enrolling in college courses.

The study also found that fear holds as much as one-quarter of adults back from achieving their goals. One out of 10 people say they are afraid to step out of their comfort zone, and another 10 percent fear they don’t have what it takes to succeed at the next level. Intriguingly, we found that as a person’s educational obtainment increased, fear of stepping out of their comfort zone decreased—with 11 percent of those without a degree, 9 percent of those with an associate’s degree and 7 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree indicating that they are afraid to step outside of their comfort zone, respectively.  This suggests that attaining higher education has psychological effects on those that complete their degree by empowering them to step outside of their comfort zone and take on new challenges in their lives.

Earning a college degree has never been more important than it is right now as, over the next 10 years, nearly half of all new jobs will require a level of education beyond a high school diploma. Higher education can give you the edge when going for a promotion or applying for a position in a new field. Though and enrolling in college courses may seem daunting in the short-term, our studies show that increased income and higher rates of job advancement are directly related to the attainment of higher education.  Procrastination may feel like the safe route, but your advancement and growth begins with the decisions you make today.

About the author:

One of the nation’s best-known authorities on adult education, Dr. Mary B. Hawkins has observed the American education scene for more than 30 years and is keenly aware that the future of American prosperity relies on a better-educated workforce. She is known for leading the charge to make higher education accessible to everyone.

She speaks about how, in the coming decades, a high school diploma is not going to be enough, and advanced degrees will be necessary to meet the challenges of a 21st Century economy.  She is also passionate about helping America to once again have the world’s highest percentage of adults with a college degree by 2025.  Her refreshing honesty and enthusiasm for student success shine through in her advice and strategic thinking about how to best match people with learning options that fit into the lives of working adults. Her expertise has been featured in USA Today, Fox Business, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, onlindegrees.com, national radio shows, pickthebrain.com, KUNS-TV Seattle, and dozens more.

Mary also serves as President of Bellevue University.  She is leading the charge at Bellevue University and across the nation to “do our part” to strengthen the ailing national economy by creating a work force that is competitive with that of other nations.

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