Ideas are great. They allow us to show off our creativity in ways that we never thought possible. Some can lead to career-defining moments and others to unemployment. For better or worse, ideas shape how we function in this world. But what happens when ideas only stay as ideas because we’re afraid of taking a risk?
Life is about the risks we take. We’re all faced with the pressure of taking some or ignoring others. Risk has been a part of life since the beginning. Being a Christian, I believe the first risk ever taken was when God placed the Tree of Life in the garden of Eden that Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat from. Over the years I’ve heard arguments and debates about why God would have the idea to even do such a thing, many saying He allowed Adam and Eve to commit sin by placing the tree there. Why would God risk having humans live a live of sin if He never wanted them to do so? Why risk it?
Senior year of high school was maybe the longest 8-9 months of my life. I just wanted it to be over, I wanted to begin the next chapter of my life, which would lead me to Purdue University. That was my top choice as I filled out applications in the fall of 2004. I knew my top choice would present financial burden though. I’m an optimistic for the sake of my sanity, but never have a problem seeing things for what they are. I can’t afford my top choice without being in debt with student loans. So as I began to see University of Illinois in Chicago as my 2nd option. But once that acceptance letter from my first choice came along with the opportunity to be a part of a summer scholarship program, the idea of my first choice looked like a risk worth taking. So with the blessings from my parents (really my Mom because Pops was on boars the whole time) I took that risk. 2 transfers and several loans later I have a degree in Marketing from Chicago State University. Looking back now at my first choice, why did I risk it?
In the summer of 2009 I got a job being an independent contractor and it was commission based. My idea was this could be great for gaining experience on my resume and make some summer cash. I sold discounted ticket packages for a variety of things such as sports tickets, dinner cruises, passes for high-speed go karts, and more (check my LinkedIn profile for even more). The office was in Lombard, IL, which was a 40 minute drive from my house with good traffic. There we’d get practice pitches in, have a few meetings, get our merchandise, and head out. One day I could be on the west side of Chicago pitching for go karts, the next day I could be in a town called Woodstock, IL (it’s basically 29 steps away from Wisconsin) pitching for a golf course. My days consist of obtaining the goal of pitching 200 people in order to meet my quota of getting at least 10 sales. Ego aside, I didn’t reach quota a lot when I started. It got to a point where I would go to work not knowing how far I’d had to travel yet but did know I whatever I did sale would be gas money. And if I didn’t sale anything, well no gas for my car. So yes there were days I’d risk my ability to get not only back to the office but back home also. Why would I risk doing that?
We’re defined by the risk we do and don’t take. It’s from the risks we do take we learn value lessons about ourselves. It’s from the risks we don’t take that we learn our limits, and whether those limits protect or hinder us. God risked having humans being tempted, and tempted they were. What was learned is that God allows us to have free will over our decisions and we must learn how to take responsibility for all of our actions. While that idea doesn’t resonate with everyone, it’s an idea I fully believe in. Going the Purdue seemed like an idea that made perfect sense until the financial burden of it presented itself. And the risk was more than worth it despite only going there 1 year. It was a great wake-up call and was essential for my growth and I still have student loans anyway. Even the idea of being an outside sales rep was a risk worth taking. It taught me to have even more patience with myself and people. I learned how to take criticism and respond to it. And I also learned how to take a risk in general. That job always taught us to pitch EVERYONE no matter what, and I met quota a couple of times by pitching people in random situations.
The idea of risk taking is important for society. We need people who will act out their ideas whether they fail or succeed. If no one is willing to try first, then none of us will learn how to properly do things. I started blogging as a way to get some of my ideas out and see if I could get some monetary gain in the beginning (sorry Blogger and Google for the cheap clicks on my blog). Now it’s just back to getting ideas concretely out of my head. When I apply for jobs in the Marketing/Social Media field, I see some jobs ask for some type of writing sample from the applicants. You’d think that’s the perfect time for me to link them to this blog but I never did. I was afraid that the randomness and casualness of this blog would turn them off. I was denying myself of taking a much-needed risk. So now I’m proofreading past posts and linking this blog to applications now, I mean why not. That’s the point of this really, to get people to see my ideas and see how they feel about them. It’s time for me to start executing more on my ideas. I’m glad I have this place to start.