Moving Forward

Taking Risks is the Right Thing to Do

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in business it’s that all risks weigh the same. It’s the consequences that are measured in degrees of danger.

In February 1988, I spent a quiet hour talking with Carol Shields, the late Governor General’s Award and Pullitzer Prize-winning author, about the challenges of becoming a writer. I was pondering a freelance career, contemplating whether leaving a dead end job for an unsure future was ingenious or ill-advised.

To Carol, moving forward was the only choice. “Why are you still working at a job you don’t like?” she asked. The clear resolve in her question had an impact. A few months later I’d quit my job and transitioned into writing as a livelihood.

Twenty-three years later, I’m still taking risks, albeit mitigated ones. As an independent contractor, every decision can be unpredictable but experience allows you to measure risk and reward on a scale that places as much emphasis on personal wellbeing as pure profit. It’s a perk of not having to prove yourself again and again, of risking your reputation by taking on unqualified and unappreciative clients.

Risk can be a bully with a sharp stick. It takes courage to stand up for an idea or a belief and to move forward in the face of doubt. Self-determination also requires vision because it’s the ability to see the result of your actions that will inspire the single-mindedness needed to get the job done.

Every time you take a risk you eliminate a regret. Risky situations have a default setting and the moment you back down because of fear or indecision, remorse sets in. As a rule, a life filled with regret is a life lived without taking chances. You may not always succeed but you’re never a failure for having tried.

I’m grateful that I integrated Carol Shield’s wise counsel into my personal decision-making all those many years ago. Moving forward without regret was – and always is – the right thing to do.

This is a Guest Post By Bernie Kruchak, wordsmith and Creative Director @ KruchakCreative.ca.  A professional writer since 1988, Bernie Kruchak has written virtually every type of business communication project. To avoid regret, he often chooses the riskier path.  Follow him on twitter @KruchakCreative. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.