‘WHAT IF’ RISKS LED TO YOUR SUCCESS…
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?