Are You Afraid of Taking Calculated Risks?
“The world stands aside to let anyone pass who knows where he is going.” ~ David Starr Jordan
- Do you know what you should or shouldn’t risk?
- Are there times when you should risk your credit, your money, your investment portfolio and your database?
- Do you know how to minimize your exposure to potential failure by taking a calculated risk?
What is risk?
If you were to look up “risk” in the dictionary, it would be defined as: “Exposure to the chance of injury or loss.”
My definition of a “calculated risk” is:
Minimum exposure to the chance of emotional injury or financial loss due to your due diligence, research and dogged determination to make your venture work no matter what the obstacle or adversity standing in your way.
How do you like those definitions? I like the second one better. I am not one to take foolish risks such as skydiving. I have no desire ever to jump out of an airplane, but I certainly would if the plane was going to crash.
My point is there is a huge difference between taking risks and taking calculated risks. Gamblers risk their money at casinos, and most of the time they lose. Affluent Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, take calculated risks and win more times than not.
I have taken two major calculated risks in my life, and both paid off in a large way.
One of my risks:
When I was 18 years old, I was a freshman at Albion College, attending school on a football grant/financial aid package. Albion College was a Division III school with a solid football program. Since it was my dream to play in the NFL, and because I was too small to play to the Division I level as a late bloomer, I settled for Albion. Well, to make a long story short, I had a career-ending back injury that took about 3-6 months for rehabilitation before I could fully recover.
The problem was, at the time, I let other people’s opinions of me determine my reality.
“Never let someone else’s opinion of you determine your reality.” ~ Les Brown
Today, I have made this mantra become part of my everyday life. However, at 18 years old I had not yet heard this invaluable advice. So when the team doctor said I could never play football again, I believed him.
If I have any regret in life, it is that I never made a comeback to play the game I love. Now in my forties, I am big enough to play in the NFL, but I’m just too old.
In fact, for years when my kids were very young, they believed for a short time that the only reason their father didn’t make it to the NFL was due to an injury. What a great time we had when my boys were young and believed everything I told them. Now that my sons are teenagers, they are quick to remind me of all those things that I don’t know yet.
My point is that I believed the team doctor. Having lost my dream, I was at a crossroads in life. I started soul-searching, trying to imagine what the next chapter of my life could look like.
I took an inventory of my passions and was quick to comprehend that after football, my next greatest passions were mountain biking and skiing. So I decided to transfer to one of the best schools in the Rocky Mountains that was closest to places where I could pursue skiing and mountain biking – the University of Missoula.
I applied there, was accepted and transferred just after the winter break. I was back on the track to starting my life all over again.
Calculated risk number one was starting my life all over again at 18 years old and moving out West not knowing a single soul that side of the Mississippi. It was a risk I will never regret.
Read about risk #2 in my next article.
This is an excerpt from my book “The Affluent Entrepreneur”, and is one of the many topics that I speak on.
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