Archive for November, 2009

What are you doing with your risk?

RisksToday I decided to share a post from my friend Detavio’s blog. He has an amazing website and great commentary on brand building (personal and professional).  You can visit it here: The topic is personal risk and it’s top of mind after having brunch with some classmates. One asked, “Would you recommend that everyone took time off from work like you did?” Myself and another person there had both taken 8 to 12 months after leaving a job. We both traveled, pursue new interests and shared the sentiment that it was one of the best things we’d ever done. This is not to say it’s for everyone, but it did involve taking a big risk and that is something we all need to explore. Detavio’s post provides a prospective on how to make the process less scary and minimize the potential downside. Enjoy!


what are you doing with your risk? by detavio samuels

our fear of taking risks is a killer.  it kills dreams.  it kills hopes.  it kills expectations.  and, ultimately, it kills true happiness.   so here’s another post on why you should learn to love to take risks, right?  wrong.  the answer does not lie in learning to love risk but rather in changing what we do with the identified risks instead. what do i mean?  our typical thought process probably goes something like this:

  • step 1: dream/imagine/hope/believe
  • step 2: contemplate the risk associated with those dreams
  • step 3: eliminate the dream because it’s too risky

in this case, “what we do” with risk is use it as a reason not to pursue our dreams (find true love, start your own company, write a book, etc).  but what if you do something different with the risk you uncover?  what if, instead of using risk to eliminate the dream, you eliminate risk in order to  accomplish the dream.  our revised process would look something like this:

  • step 1: dream
  • step 2: contemplate the risk associated with those dreams
  • step 3: eliminate the major risks that will prevent the dream from becoming a reality

what does eliminating risk while keeping the dream look like?  it’s the philosophy behind most entrepreneurs; it’s what they focus on  everyday when they go into the office.  it’s what  phillipe petit did when he perfected his craft over the course of decades before he chose to walk a tight rope from one twin tower to the other.  it’s what tiger woods, michael jordon, lebron james and any other superstar athlete you can name does when they practice the same shot over and over again until it becomes automatic.

the truth is, very few people love risk and you don’t have to be one of the few.  the secret is in focusing on ways to eliminate risk that could stand in your way. what things are you doing today to eliminate potential risk involved with pursuing your dreams?  are you getting that degree?  are you meeting with the right people?  are you saving money so that you can survive for a year without pay?

Detavio Samuels
Please don’t forget to vote for him in this blogger contest. He’s in the running to below the “Good Mood” blogger for Sam-E :


Employment update

“You can’t reject the life preserver God has thrown you because you don’t like its color or shape. It may be just the thing you need to bring you back above water.”

I took a brief (unintentional) hiatus from writing and I miss it. You may have noticed a change in the name of the blog from Laid off. Now what? —> Employed. Now what? The name seemed appropriate and I imagine that it will continue to change as I, and this blog, evolve.  I am celebrating my one month anniversary in the land of employment and couldn’t he happier.  This place is very different than my life in consulting. I have balanced hours, the work is interesting, I’m learning a ton about a new industry, the people are great and the culture is unique. A few months ago, I remember posting a status on Facebook that read: “Looking forward to the day when I have a job that I am excited to wake up for”, well I got it. I can’t explain how comfortable I feel at work even though everything is so new. What this makes me realize is how on edge I was at my last job trying to be something I wasn’t. For the first time, I am able to be the same person at work, that I am at home because they care more about me being authentic than fitting into a cookie-cutter mold. I didn’t believe it 100% at first so I asked a few questions to confirm.

Friday, I had my first 1:1 meeting with my Director and asked her, “Why did you hire me?”. I wanted to know what she saw in me and if I had done a good job communicating who I was and what I wanted in the interview. She gave me a very thorough answer that included the following: “You are introspective and slow to respond, which will be a good balance for the more expressive people on our team”. After she said this, I knew that she understood who I was and wanted me to be that person. And so far that has proven to be true.

The people at the company are great and I feel like I’m becoming a part of a supportive learning environment. Today I was out with a friend walking around taking pictures and I heard a guy call my name as he was walking by. It turned out to be a Director from a different group, who I had met with earlier in the week. He stopped and we chatted for a while. When he left, my friend commented that he remembered my name. We’d only met briefly and he’d remembered my name. This sounds simple, but it was a good feeling that brings my one month of employment full circle.

The quote above is one I made up (I think) to convey how deceitful packaging can be. Sometimes we’re so blinded by the packaging, that we never consider the gift inside the packaging. I hemmed and hawed for about a month over whether or not to accept this job because I had a vision for what my next job would look like. I tried to find things that were wrong with it so I’d have reason not to accept it. I was blinded by the packaging. The gift inside turned out to be so much more than I could have asked for. All I needed to do what get out of my own way and open the box.