If You Are An Entrepreneur, Taking Proper Risks is Part of Your Game
This weekend Bill and I took the first level marine boating course from the Coast Guard and I'm proud to say we both passed our exam. We got a laugh because we both took specific, detailed notes for hours and hours thinking it would help us with the exam – and then when it was exam time the instructor barked out, “Close all books and notes! This is not an open book test!” Oh, no!! The exam was hard – we both had to really think about what we'd heard all day.
While we were in class I learned two things I had no idea were true.
- Your boat includes your wake. For marine purposes, not only is the skipper responsible for EVERYTHING that happens on the boat, she is also responsible for anything caused by the boat's wake. In other words, your actions have consequences to other boaters and to the shoreline. So for practical purposes, your “boat” is actually the physical boat PLUS the wake behind your boat.
When I heard this I immediately thought of us entrepreneurs. Our actions leave lingering consequences on our clients, our vendors, our income. If we act in such a way to burn bridges, we have a harmful “wake.” If we treat our clients and other entrepreneurs right, we have a beneficial wake. Wake is sort of like the short-term legacy we leave behind us.
With brand clarity and confidence, we are able to assume proper risks and feel fearless at the same time. If we are scared to take a risk in our business it points to a lack of clarity and weak messaging.
Our “boat” and our “wake” impacts others positively or negatively. When we make a decision it works better if we feel confident and clear about our actions.
- When you are swimming in Florida waters (the Gulf of Mexico OR the Atlantic Ocean) you are never more than 20 feet from a shark. I've been swimming in Florida waters my entire life (mostly the Gulf side) and never have I encountered a shark. I had NO idea sharks were so common – and that's the point. The instructor made the point that sharks are safe but people refuse to believe it. He said, “Unless you happen to fall off a surfboard right onto a shark, or otherwise hit it, a shark will always swim away from you. There are very few shark bites in Florida – some years, none! But people react with fear, start flailing around, and excite a nearby shark or kick it.”
Do You Get Stuck Thinking Things are Too Risky?
Again, I thought about entrepreneurship and how we sometimes hurt ourselves by thinking something is “too risky” or “too dangerous” when actually, it's an acceptable level of risk. Living life and owning a business means taking risk. When I meet a new client I can quickly see how risk tolerant she (or he) is, and I know that the level of risk tolerance directly affects that person's business. Just because risk is around is not a reason to stop what you are doing. It's a reason to be mindful, but rarely a reason to stop. Sometimes there is more risk where we think there is less risk.
Living in risk is normal. We need to remind ourselves of this, and teach our children this truth, too.
To lessen the effects of our “wake” we can work on our brand clarity, maximize our messaging for high resonance with clients and prospects, and act with confidence. We will benefit, our reputations will benefit, and most of all our clients will feel the benefits, too.
Have you had a situation where you felt good about the risk you took? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. And if you need help with your business, leave your name and email at https://confidentmarketer.com for my “20 Questions to Help You Build Your Business Without Frustration and Overwhelm.”