Sometimes life is scary. It is, I know. And I'm sorry for that, but it's the god honest truth. I am scared, a lot of the time, for the future, for the present, and sometimes, I even get a little scared about my past. I am prone to safety. I over-think, plan, worry, and err on the side of caution. It's in my blood, I suppose. But starting a business, quitting our day jobs, moving 3000 miles away to a new place, waking up every goddamn morning, my life has become this domino train of risks. And I am thankful for it.
I often compare taking risks with buying an expired pack of film. When I was in school, we used to shoot a lot of 16mm expired film. It was risky putting that much time and effort into shooting and not knowing whether or not it was going to turn out. If it did turn out, it was usually beautiful and wild, unpredictably pretty and gritty in the same frame. If it didn't turn out, I bet you everything I own we learned something while shooting and it was never a waste. I don't shoot film anymore, but I do still buy expired packs of polaroid film when I get the chance. It's usually $5 or $10 and sometimes it works, and sometimes the film just doesn't develop. Was it a waste of time? Do I ever regret taking the risk? Never.
Owning a small (mostly online) business is risky. We take peoples money and hope they love what they bought. I can't tell you how many times I have bought something on line and upon receiving it in the mail, it being nothing what I expected. Not in a really bad way, but in a risky way. We take so many risks, on a daily basis, and even the tiniest risks can have the most profound effect. I am learning to expect the unexpected and do everything I can to not let an unrewarded risk get the best of me. Life is full of risks, and whether they pan out to be good or bad, they are still a tick in the timeline of you. Can you imagine not taking that risk? Can you think of a time where maybe you should have leaped instead of cowered and is it too late? It doesn't just apply to owning a business, but to love and friendship and really, the fate of your happiness hangs upon the hinges of risk. Falling in love, the biggest and most rewarding (or painful) risk of them all. Deciding to expand your family (or not,) deciding to email that blogger who you think would make a great friend, wearing that dress you love but feel ugly in, buying a plane ticket for that trip that will change you life. They are all risks. And I, for one, applaud the risk taker.
I'll be 27 in just a few weeks. It's not a really important age to be, it's just another year in my late 20s. But, for me, it's a time to be a better risk taker. Pull out my camera in public. Wear clothes that make me happy. Make new products. Be bold, be brave and be a bonafide risk taker. Becoming a risk taker is probably the riskiest thing I could do, but at this point, when making friends is near impossible. my dreams are at my doorstep and my life gets shorter by the day, there really is no other path to take. Today is the day, and all of that other bullshit that sounds cheesy but is so true we can't help by chant it under our breaths. Take more risks. I promise you, it will be worth it. I mean, really, how will you ever know unless just do it?
What's the biggest risk you have taken? Was it a good one, or a lousy one? More importantly what did you learn? I'd love to read your stories.