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Risk Taking Leads to Reward

Categories: Personal Marketing

My Temple University School of Communications & Theater commencement speech was two weeks ago, but the message is still relevant – one I hope the graduates took it to heart.

It applies to all of us. That is – you need to believe in yourself, and have the courage to take calculated risks.

Do you remember when you were an elementary school student playing on the jungle gym? In order to get across the bars, you had to be willing to let go of one hand, and place it on the next rung. Drop a hand, grab, drop a hand, grab.

If you aren’t willing to let go -- of old thinking, old behaviors, old habits, you will continually be stuck.

I was asked this question when I was deciding whether to take a risk and launch my own business -- give up a tenured teaching position at a college -- “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Notice – the word “could” not “would.”

Don’t always think in negative terms. The chances that the worst will happen are small.

The second question to ask yourself is, “And, then what?”  There will always be a “then what?” What will you do if the risk doesn’t pan out the way you wanted it to?

What are the risks you would like to take?

I encourage you to go for them!

Keep in mind what Thomas Edison said, “If we all did what we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.”

Here are all four ideas that I gave the Temple graduates:

  1. Play to your strengths and passion for greater success
  2. Market yourself continually and professionally
  3. Be open to all possibilities
  4. Take calculated risks


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