Approaching Life Courageously

Whether you're at the table preparing to raise or entering the boardroom as the only woman, approach each situation with courage.

Poker is more than a card game. It is a social experiment in which you have to back up your hunches with bets, remain composed through stare-downs from strangers, and make decisions without complete information. All of these components breed courage.

Without a doubt, the fearlessness you develop at the poker table will help you pursue your personal and professional ambitions. Here are four ways courage helps your poker game and your career.

Trust the math

You need to risk chips in poker even when you have less than a 50% chance to win. Most of the time, you are given odds that the chips you stand to win are greater than the chips you risk. When you go through a losing streak where multiple risks do not pay off, it’s natural to recoil and avoid taking new risks.

Investors frequently panic when markets tumble, which leads to emotionally-charged sell-offs and added anxiety about reentering the stock market. If you find yourself fearing the worst when your investments dip, remember a couple of fundamental truths of investing: time in the market beats trying to time the market, and market indexes have always appreciated in the long run. The financial goals of your clients should be key when determining the risks you’re willing to take, and history suggests that the bold have the best results in the world of investing.  

Over time, you’ll learn to stick to your game and take smart risks at the poker table. You’ll become confident in the fact that the math behind your overall play will pan out, even if each individual hand has a chance of losing.

Trust your intuition

A core component of poker is using your reads to determine when other players have strong hands or not. If conventional wisdom says to fold your hand, but the body language of an opponent tips you off that she is bluffing, it takes courage to deviate from the standard game plan and trust your gut to call. 

Navigate uncertainty

Poker players are rarely certain about what cards their opponents have or whether their hand is the best at the table. Instead, they consider possible hands their opponents might have and weigh out the likelihood of each possibility. 

Some moments in poker come once in a lifetime, like making it to the final table of a large tournament. When the pressure is on to make the right call, it requires courage to take a bold risk. 

If you manage a brand’s profit and loss statement for a consumer packaged goods company, you’ll have to get familiar with navigating uncertainty. Should your brand pay a hefty stocking fee to go to market immediately or license your proprietary product to be sold under the grocer’s brand? What marketing strategies have worked for similar items and how should you adjust those strategies to optimize sales for your unique product line?

Logic and research will help answer those questions, but good old-fashioned poker experience gets you comfortable with taking action when the “right path” seems unclear. Playing poker means taking accountability for your decisions and making daring plays to grow your pot. After experiencing the results of bets from both ends of the spectrum, you’ll be confident enough to hit the ground running in brand management. 

Take a seat at the table

In a game where nine out of ten players are male, it takes courage for women to take a seat at the table. This sentiment can transfer to the board room too. By playing against a group of men and showing that you belong at the table, you’ll tackle any imposter syndrome you may feel while developing the confidence to break barriers in other domains where women are underrepresented. 

If you want to build life skills and develop the courage to take smart risks, enroll in Poker Power’s community lessons. You’ll learn self-awareness, financial management, and the ins and outs of poker alongside empowered, like-minded women. Will you be courageous and get in the game?

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