By Sandy Hershelman
The ability to take bold risks, tempered by fiscal
wisdom, is a great indicator of your probability of business, and
I was blessed with a career-altering mindset years ago, while interviewing
Casey McKinney for a couple of local newspapers. The Evviva, a 161-foot
yacht built in Port Townsend, had just been named "Superyacht
of the World." Its owners and builders were heading to Monaco,
where all were to be honored by the prince at the royal yacht club.
When Casey bid the job, he didn't have a building large enough
to build the yacht in. And, if he did manage to get it built, he
had no way to launch it. Needless to say, Casey won the bid. Confident
in his crew's ability to complete the project, he knew the
rest of the "incidentals" could be worked out once the
job was his.
Casey is a true entrepreneur, and this brief interview with him totally
changed the way I ran my own business. Confident in my own skills,
I have stretched to success numerous times, taking risks that advanced
my career in ways I hadn't even imagined.
Not all business owners are true "entrepreneurs." By
definition, an entrepreneur organizes a business venture and takes
risks. Top performers tend to be persistent risk takers.
Now, I'm not suggesting you adopt a risk-taking attitude of "Damn
the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" It's intelligent, calculated
risk taking that I'm proposing. Stretch out of your comfort
Just remember to never underrate your competition, or overrate yourself.
Be able to justify how much risk you're willing to take—and
be financially able to withstand defeat.
Watch your new venture carefully and know when to pull out. Have
a Plan B ready, in case Plan A starts heading south. And don't
carve either plan in stone. Be willing to tweak them, as necessary,
to ensure success.
Mathematically, the odds are in your favor. The more risks you take,
the more chances you have of favorable outcomes. You also increase
your chance of failing.
I'll be the first one to admit it's scary to fail. Anyone
who says otherwise is either a liar, delusional, or has learned to
compartmentalize his fear of failure. The truth is: successful people
fail more often than "failures." They
also tend to be more comfortable with failure. After all, failure
is a fact of life in the corporate world.
Failure isn't about the falling down. True failure is staying
down, once you've fallen. If you should take a risk and fail,
don't allow yourself to wallow in it. Many who succeed do so
only because they bounced back from their initial failures.
Chances are your mom didn't send you off to school each morning
saying, "Take some risks today, sweetie!" It's
been bred into you to "be careful" and "don't
get hurt." You may need to retrain your inner self to not panic
at the thought of "getting hurt."
We don't remember Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, the Wright
brothers, and Donald Trump for their myriad failures. We remember
their amazing success stories. That's how I want to remember
you, as amazing success stories. So, go ahead. . .dare to fail.