I think over time we can tend to be more cautious and become less of a risk taker. As a child, I think my middle name was “risk.” I remember fondly when I was 8-years-old, we were living on the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. We headed north for our first (of many) family ski trip. I spent the morning in “ski school” and after lunch we headed up on the slopes with a group of folks. I remember asking my parents to let me do a downhill race and I ended up winning a bronze medal for my time. Needless to say, I was hooked on skiing after that. I spent my middle school and high school years pushing the limits by making my way down black diamonds. When I was in high school I sprained my knee and it was never quite the same after that. That injury (and my folks knee injuries) caused me to be a lot more cautious, especially on the slopes. It’s been nearly 12 years since I strapped on some skis, and some days I miss it. But what I miss the most is the “no-fear” mentality I had when I was 8-years-old.
Risk taking does not always come naturally. As a child we were more likely to take risks, but as adults we’ve been conditioned to be more cautious. Maybe we’ve been taken advantage of, ripped off, or even emotionally attacked. Last year I took a risk with a graphic designer. After our first meeting I paid him a deposit…then I never heard from him again. That trust was broken, and it took me months to get comfortable again enough to find a new designer.
In order to be successful in business we must take risks. I’m a huge fan of calculated risks. I think as a business owner I need to be aware of what types of risks I’m taking and how they might affect the business, but it’s important to push the envelope. As Seth Godin would say, “Be a Purple Cow!”