Practicum: Take a F*cking Risk.
To one individual, it may be a terrifying personal risk to open his mouth and share an idea in a meeting: he might be misunderstood, or time his interjection poorly, and feel embarrassed of himself. To another, spending several hundred thousand dollars to take advantage of a market trend is only a casual risk: she could easily recover from the potential loss in the next fiscal quarter. Risk is a subjective concept.
Even if you, personally, are the spiritual love child of Sid Vicious and Amelia Earhart and have no problems accepting risk, you probably rely on some risk averse people to get by in the world. Maybe some client, account executive, or marketing director has thinly assured you that they love your idea… just before clarifying that they actually wanted the same old shit when they asked for something new. Maybe some bank manager was unmoved by your enthusiasm for your business idea and denied you a line of credit. Maybe some loved one discouraged you from pursuing a different path because it might have disrupted their carefully laid plans for the future.
Those plans are just as much a fantasy as your dream, maybe even more so. Something will, without question, come along to disrupt them anyway. Better to ride the wave than be washed away in it. Ideas only become dangerous when they’re suppressed.
The ability to differentiate between the known and the unknown is simultaneously a blessing and a curse of human intelligence. Imagine the dilemma of the first person who looked at an oyster and said, “Ima eat that.” Pepto-Bismol definitely hadn’t been invented yet. That was undeniably risky. But the risk of not eating it was greater. Starvation: known. Lump of phlegm in a shell: unknown. Take your chances.
Our workshop clients seek us out because they realize that some attitude, perspective, or bad habit in their organization must — MUST — change if they hope to remain relevant to their customers, outmaneuver market disruptors, and keep the fire of passion stoked. We show them the danger of avoiding risk the only way we know how: by forcing them to confront it. We show them that creative risk-taking is more about playing the odds than rolling the dice, that they can rely on their skills, experience, and each other to successfully contend with the unknown. We show them that they are a lot fucking tougher and better equipped than they thought. Then we get out of their way and watch them prove it to themselves.
Death by disruption and apathy: known. The rewards of facing risk together: unknown. Take your chances.
Authored by Jason Richburg
GFDA Copywriter and Curriculum Director