Just the other day, I saw two friends conversing on Twitter about taking the risk of leaving a corporate job to go out on their own. One of them said she wished she’d done it when she was 22 and was less adverse to risk.
My first solo flight in business was at the age of 23. It lasted almost two years, and I blew it precisely because I was 23. I was positive I was invincible. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, lots of stuff – trust me on this one.
By the time I did it again at 31, I was married, had two small children and had gone back and earned an M.B.A. at night. I left a damn good paying job this time around. There was a lot of perceived risk and the perspective of what I needed to do to replace the income I was walking away from. It was very important I manage the downside risks of this endeavor.
Sixteen years later, all I can tell you for sure is that any perception of security in your job or you life is just that – a perception. Sure, you need to manage and understand downside risks; at least the ones of which you’re aware. Who the heck thought a bunch of crazed terrorists would fly airplanes into the twin towers on 9/11/2001? Well, they did and tens – if not hundreds of thousands – of dollars in business I had booked disappeared as customers went out of business and merged to stay alive.
It’s the problems that blindside you when you think it’s all hunky-dory that have convinced me all security is a myth. Instead, work hard, produce the best art you can and, to whatever extent is reasonable, manage the downside risks you can see and understand.