“What If” Risks Led To Your Success…by Ozlem Yikici


There’s something about taking risks that instantly makes us apprehensive, it’s like the wave of nausea that hits you before you decide to take the plunge and jump off a plane on a crazy whim of bravado or you drop everything and go to explore the world –well that may be an ostentatious example; but you get the point. 😉

Some would argue taking risks is a dangerous thing –especially where we know there are fail-proof paths and steps to take on our voyage to success; that said, we also know that those who are successful are the risk takers…  So, we are faced with the age-old conundrum; to take a risk or not to take it, that is the question

I -like many others out there, am all for taking the safer option and going with what I know, after all its’ tried and tested and works a treat with no fail.  Having said that, I also know when I do take the odd gamble on a crazy idea that is spurred out of nowhere (one impulsive decision), 9 out of 10 I’m usually glad I took that chance -for the benefits I reaped has been tremendous.  Times like these I only have to remind myself of a few well-known names in the public eye which confirms that risk-takers can succeed when they strive hard and take criticism constructively without letting go of their vision and unique flair.  Sir Richard Branson, Sir Alan Sugar, Bill Gates, JK Rowling, JMW Turner, Matt Damon & Ben Affleck, Stephanie Meyer, Vincent Van Gough, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to name but a few.

Risks are daunting parts of personal development; most people look at it as if we have a 50-50 ratio of winning or losing.  I try to think of it a bit more creatively; whatever the outcome we learn from the whole experience and therefore, in a roundabout way, it must be a win-win situation.  Let me try to illustrate my point.

For years my fascination with stories, the written word and paint were belittled by those around me; they did not understand my desire for unleashing the creativity within; it was always frowned upon –that it was not a profession I could earn a living from.  Being the good person I am (honestly I am), I listened and took heed of their advice and threw myself into the working world of retail, office administration and then the social care field; all respectable jobs and interesting in their own right –though they never curbed my hunger.

After some life-changing moments in my (then) chosen career path; illness struck which caused me to pick up my pen and write down the voices that cascaded through my mind.  This spurred an odd desire to write a script (which turned into a WIP novel); I hesitated to share my idea with anyone –I was too scared to take that risk, to be mocked, to be ridiculed.  Then somewhere within I felt this strength take a-hold of me.  I took a chance and shared this with my sisters, then my cousin and then my good pal; I was too worried they may laugh at what they read and grimaced as they went through the idea, research & outline; to my surprise they didn’t –in fact they were eager to find out what the chapters would be like…  I was ecstatic to say the least.  Not long after that, with my newfound courage, I embarked on my blog journey, still timid and unaware of what was to come; but I thought if I did not try, I would never know, so I candidly took that step.  One-step led to another and the platform widened to an unimaginable size where I could not fathom why in a short space (approx 3-4 months or so) I received such a wonderful response.  Be it friends, family, blog followers, Twitter, MYWANA or ROW80, I found a delightful support network, this helped me overcome my wariness and I embraced my creativity like nothing before.  I know, I would never be here at this point -had I not taken that risk; that first step to share my words with my sisters, cousin and pal.  The lesson I learnt then was a valuable one, had I not taken that chance and put myself out there, I would not be here engaging with you and developing my various WIP projects.

I admit, I have not yet reached that level of success I hope to get to one day; but these all take time, hard work and perseverance; I do believe I will get there eventually, as every step is an experience to be appreciated and savoured -it’s just early days.  Success does not always come instantly; it’s about taking strategic steps with a touch of panache and know-how –as well as initiative.  Which brings me to why ROW80 is just perfect for my endeavours as a writer, asides from helping me to set manageable and realistic goals, its overall ethos is encouraging and the camaraderie is out of this world!  I’ve gained a lot of insight from the last round I participated in actively and know where my strength and weaknesses lie; I hope to work that to my benefit this time round.  One thing I’d insist on before I conclude this post; consider creating an at-a-glance-progress-page , it’s a great way to monitor your progress through the round (it helped me see; despite the low days I had, I actually achieved most of what I set out to do –which is a bonus as we writers can be our worst enemies at times).

I digress (no surprise there); writing is a lonely profession and it is very easy to lose heart, doubt your ability and question whether your muse is a blessing or a curse.  Outside influences can spur or hinder you, the constant knocks can be disheartening, the unconventional path you want to take may be laughed at or your creation could be considered ‘too different’ to be published.  Bottom line, whatever you decide to do/create; will always fall under scrutiny; you just have to be sure of yourself and be courageous to carry on your chosen path whilst taking all the criticisms positively and bettering yourself.  No one can walk this life for you or take the risks you need to take; besides, think of the rewards you will reap when you put aside your fears and take that ‘what if’ opportunity.  Standing out from the crowd shouldn’t be a daunting thing, ‘what if’ JK Rowling decided it was too risky to persevere with Harry Potter or Matt Damon & Ben Affleck did not risk it all with Good Will Hunting…  I urge you, do not ever let that ‘what if’ govern your life or your path to success; go guns-a-blazing -if you have to take side steps or fall behind, learn from them and ensure you do not make the same mistakes twice.  Think about it; ‘what if’ risks led to your success –what value would you put on that?


Ozlem Yikici



  1. Great post! I took kind of a risk this round by writing a book out of my normal genre. It was a little scary, but I took the plunge. If it gets bad reviews, then I’ll know it’s not a genre I can write well. But how will I know if I never take that leap? Thanks for reminding us that great things aren’t usually accomplished if we stay in our safe little spot.

    1. Taking the plunge is always scary; we just need to make sure we prepare well and do the best we can and then jump right in. Trial and error is the only way we will learn; it’s good to push ourselves outside our comfort zones; I find I produce my better works that way.

      I wish you the bestest of luck with the new genre you are writing in. 🙂

  2. Thank you for this inspirational post! I’ve found naysayers to be people who don’t have the urge to take risks themselves. They just don’t understand the need to jump out of a plane or write a daring story. For adrenaline junkies and creative people, it’s important to hold strong to passions and take those risks to feel alive and make life meaningful.

    1. I totally agree, they certainly don’t have the urge -or they were brought up with the strictest of environments that they don’t know what it is. Having your creativity being curbed and being resentful for it is a dangerous combination; therefore, I can understand why they say/do what they do; it’s become part of their nature unfortunately. They cannot see the bigger picture ahead -or rather want to stay safe; but where’s the fun in that? 😉

  3. Love it! No matter that we know we should follow our heart, it’s always good to hear another take on it. I love it that ou write AND create artwork. Sometimes I think I’m doing too many things — love making jewelry with odd pieces of flotsam and jetsam, and of course, I love to write. Thanks for that.

    And I love the idea of having the progress at a glance, I think you always remind me that, I have, indeed, attained a goal. Thanks again.

    1. Amy you are always very welcome. 🙂 It’s good to have a variety of skills, I find they help me to strengthen different aspects of my creativity and sometimes indirectly helps’ with my other projects -in an odd kind of way they intertwine with each other and provide a fascinating outcome.

      I adore the progress-at-a-glance-page; it helps me focus and appreciate what I’ve achieved; I’m really glad it’s working for you too. 😀

  4. Thank you for the post! As writers who want to make a career of it, life is all about risks: putting ourselves ‘out there’ for all to judge, leaving stability behind, hoping each new idea will take us to a satisfactory ending… it’s a rocky road, but one I’m sure is completely worth it.

    1. Who said the road we chose to walk on will be easy? If it were as such, think of all the colours we would not see; the colours in our lives are the little risks we take; as creative souls we have to be brave to take those risks or no one will know/hear about what we do -even we won’t know what we are capable of; how can we progress if we have no clue? This is why taking risks is integral to our learning process and creative career –of course it’s satisfactory; think of all you have accomplished so far. 🙂

      1. Very true. I find it so frustrating when I hear people knew to writing lament about how they thought it would be so straight forward. Those who don’t write, believing
        it really is easy.

  5. I so needed to read this post. I’ve been blanketed in fear lately, and I hate it. Risks are necessary. All of writing is a risk, especially when you put it out for others to enjoy/not enjoy. You’ve inspired me to embrace the fear and do it anyway. Thanks!

    1. Now that has warmed my heart; it’s always a joy to inspire (even if it’s e teeny tiny bit); I love seeing people achieve what their hearts desires. It’s so easy to fall into a rut and worry and think maybe you can’t be successful (human nature allows such negativity); but we know our strengths and weaknesses, so we must ensure we play those skills to our advantage. Fear only grows strong if we allow it; so toss it aside and see what wonders you’ll stamp your mark on. 😀

    1. 🙂 Haley, you are right in your sentiments. I have noticed, especially with the creative field, as we go out there with our hearts and passion, it feels like we are stepping out onto a minefield -never knowing what we will land on; which makes it scary and exciting all at the same time. What we shouldn’t focus on is on the mines out there; because when we do that we withdraw and fall back into the darkness and seal our creative nature. Yes, the mines’ are out there; but so are the goldmines, our focus should be on them so we can strive forward and not look back and think ‘what if’.

    1. Yep, that is a spot-on analysis. 😀 The risks certainly make the journey exciting, without them we would be wobbling aimlessly in our own little bubble, unaware of the possibilities and that all-too-good-to-be-true adventure we could be embarking on –and think of all the delightful encounters we would lose out on if we did not take these risks.

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