Home » Career Development » Transform your Career by Taking Risks
Aug 24 2017

We deal on a daily basis with executives and teams who want to focus on personal and career development, increase their leadership skills, and transform their career.  I frequently find myself thinking of examples in my own life that align with those of my clients.  For example,  yesterday I was on the paddleboard and noticed Paul Simon was getting himself warmed up for a concert here in Bend, OR.  It was just a wonderful experience, and I began to think about what kind of risks he took in order to create such an amazing career and transform so many people’s lives through the art and the flow of his music.

It reminded me of this crazy risk that I took when I was in high school.  A bunch of kids and I, friends of mine, really close buddies, decided to create a lip sync band called King Cola and the Carbonated Kids.   It was nothing but a bunch of guys dressed up in leather coats and jamming around pretending to be Elvis Presley, and we put ourselves in this talent contest for our high school.  There were some real people who had some real talent back then.  We had Renata Hendrix and others who were ballet dancers and cellists and so forth, and here we are about ready to go on stage bopping around like a bunch of 50s rockers.

I remember distinctly behind the curtain, and I turned to my friend David Seymour I said, “Dave, this is either going to go really, really well or it’s going to go really, really poorly. This could set us up well or not.”  As it turned out it became a huge hit, and some other high schools asked us to come to their talent shows.   It was just really the risk.  It was the energy to take a leap.  I think about that a lot.   How many times do we hold ourselves back from creating wonderful things just because we’re afraid or because we don’t know what to do?

It’s getting out of our prefrontal cortex, which is all that wonderful executive ability to create plans and to be logical and ultra-responsible; but it’s also that part of our brain that holds us back, that’s all that chatter, that’s all that worry, that’s all that “Oh, what if this doesn’t work? What if this doesn’t work?”  It’s what gets so many of these wonderful plans destroyed and held back in and put in a straitjacket. I think risking sometimes is not just a risk for the activity itself, but and it’s actually a risk to break free from that prefrontal cortex, break free from that critic, and go into the heart – go into the intuitive side of how we make decisions.   That’s actually where trust resides.  I really believe that.

My suggestion to all of us is to start creating more risk; obviously not crazy risk – you know you’ve got to be somewhat careful – but the kind of risk that your heart is telling you to take you to take.  Take the risks your heart is asking you, “This is yours to do so, so go out and do it.”

By following your heart and taking those risks, you permit yourself to experience both personal and professional development and transform your career.