Had a great conversation this morning with a friend, Mario, from Chicago. Running his own $100MM+ business, I asked him what was the key to his success. He said, after a pause, “take risks.” Then he recounted how he allowed one of his employees (from a team of around 2,500) to stay on despite a highly developed attention-span-deficit and a terrible start to his career. After getting the young man to focus on himself, rather than dispersing his regard on everything around him, this man developed into the biggest single producer for four years in a row. “You see,” Mario went on, “at the beginning, he was so afraid to make a mistake that he could do nothing right.”
If you don’t take risks, you can’t experience between good and great, nor understand the exhilaration of beating the odds. You settle for mediocrity and safety. And you stop learning the bigger and more exciting lessons. Earn the right, don’t just seek to be right.
Fair enough, but when you are the sole provider for your family, the appeal of risk-taking is somewhat diminished.