The cliché is true, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Sitting back and waiting for opportunities to fall in your lap may help you stay comfortable — but it will not help you progress with your goals. Risks certainly do feel, well, risky. But they can yield lovely rewards when they are calculated and well executed.
“If you plan to advance in your career, experience fulfilling relationships, earn more money, and achieve your goals sooner, you must plan on taking the respective risks,” says Fran Briggs, a Phoenix-based motivational speaker and author.
Unfortunately, “the biggest reason most people fear taking risks is because of earlier conditioning in life. Many of us grew up hearing messages such as, ‘that’s not realistic,’ ‘play it safe,’ or ‘why would you want to risk that?’” Such was not the case for James D. Jordon. In June 2005, he left his job at Harley-Davidson Motor Co. in Milwaukee to dedicate himself completely to Vangard Development Group L.L.C., a real estate development firm that hed started six months earlier with partner Kalan Haywood. Within the first few months, Vangard closed a number of deals — one was equal to Jordon’s $60,000 yearly income at Harley-Davidson.
“Taking calculated risks can serve as a catalyst for personal and professional growth. They invite us to ask the question: ‘How will I ever know if I don’t try’” asserts Briggs.
While working at the American motorcycle giant, Jordon, 26, had been investing in property part time for five years. “Harley-Davidson was a comfortable job that paid [a good salary] and gave me a full benefits package,” says Jordon, who has a daughter, Mariah, 2. However, he knew that he would never accomplish his entrepreneurial dream without stepping out of his comfort zone and taking a chance.
Being able to “walk the talk” is what pushed Jordon to make the leap. “For years, I have spoken to audiences about stepping out on faith and facing fear. I saw an opportunity in my own life to practice what I was preaching,” says Jordon, who delivers motivational speeches on achieving to young people. “One of my mentors told me, ‘the sweetest fruit is always on the thinnest branches.’ It is up to us to accomplish our full potential in life by stepping out and taking a chance to find the greatest reward.”
The key to accomplishing great things is to take calculated chances — not reckless gambles. Briggs (www.franbriggs.com) offers the following suggestions:
Get your inner and outer confidences in sync. The resolve and drive needed to perform the activity comes from within. To reach that next level, continuously monitor whether your self-esteem matches your actions.
Assess your personal and peripheral resources. To operate at peak performance, take stock of your physical, emotional, and mental levels of initiative, awareness, and focus. Then, ask yourself fundamental questions such as, “Does my environment support what I want to achieve?” Not doing so decreases your likelihood of success.
Make sure the risk is worth the reward. Take care not to get swept away by the “rush” often associated