This year, take the risk

Still debating whether this is the year to take an outsized risk, to make a strong decision, or whether “start a company” should be your New Year’s Resolution?

What’s stopping you? What are you afraid of?

Is it better to be embarrassed or to do nothing worth judging?

Is it better to make an argument and be wrong or to be complacent and thoughtless?

Is it better to put your savings in the stock market or bet it on yourself?

Is it better to try changing the world and fail miserably or to just talk about changing the world?

Is it better to stretch beyond your abilities and confront your limitations or to never know what you’re capable of?

Is it better to take your shot and flame out spectacularly, or to never know whether you had a shot?

It’s better, even if you fail …
… and what if you don’t?

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  • The down economy should be an encouragement. More new millionaires were made in the years following the Great Depression than any other time in history! Now is your time. Carpe Diem!

  • A quote I’m looking to live by this year:

    The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. — Bernard Shaw

  • Great inspiration, although it needs to be tempered with, ‘don’t flush money down the toilet if you haven’t gotten customer validation’.

    Doing ‘something’ without a plan can be worse than doing ‘nothing’.

    Still, I needed this encouragement!

    • Just don’t let the “plan” be an excuse to not start. Too much planning is just as much of an issue as no planning at all.

  • Jason, you are the man. This type of encouragement at the beginning of a new year is so motivational. I may print parts of this post and hang it right above my desk to serve as a reminder throughout the year.

  • This is exactly what I’m doing this year – GOING FOR IT!

    2010 spent a lot of research and development time/money into the new bootstrapped business. Now it’s time to open up the channels and go get it!

  • It’s better to earn a few months of low-tax-bracket salary first, and then take the plunge. ;)

  • Yes, and just like one of my favorite quotes from Will Smith (the actor) “Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.” the point is, be unrealistic, take the risk and follow your gut.

    If you think about it too much, if you plan too much… then starting a company is not for you. Happy New Year!!

  • After five years of freelancing on the side, I’ve finally found the courage to go for it. My last month at my current employee. Pretty scary but it gives quite a (motivating) rush. Goodluck everyone!

  • Thanks for the nudge to get started, Jason. My goal will be to report back to you with the results of my effort.

    Expect an update no later than January 3rd of 2012.

    Best wishes for the year,

    David Guzman
    Austin, TX

  • Thanks for this post. Your blog has been a big source of encouragement and I’m myself taking the risk this year: I’ll create my (software) company and travel for 5 months starting in February. Good luck to you all!

  • Incognito

    Awesome! Another piece of advice: don’t listen to the little people. Those are the ones that tell you is impossible and then get upset when you say is not. Follow your dreams.

  • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt and Ego are what hold use back:

    * Fear of failure is why we don’t try
    * Uncertainty of a risky path to take
    * Doubt in our abilities
    * Ego in that we care about what others might think

    This post is just what I needed to get moving.

  • Always good to see people encouraging each other. As a fellow Austin entrepreneur who went for it and succeeded (and has the itch to do it again) I applaud your positivity. Colin

  • Thank you for writing this post. I have been thinking about ‘What are you afraid of?’ for a while.

    I decided it’s because I felt like nobody knows me, I don’t move in the silicon valley startup circles and as a travelling consultant (day-job), I haven’t been able to spend as much time networking with like-minded individuals in London. Whether it’s a real barrier or a mental one isn’t so relevant since it is my perception that’s holding me back, not the reality.

    In an effort to change things I started a blog and am making a more determined effort to network with other would-be startups locally before, hopefully, taking the plunge into startup-dom.

  • Being afraid to try new things will not bring us far and into success in whatever endeavor we want to be involved. It’s better to try and fail than not to try at all.

  • Phil

    Nice one. Starting my own company right now while studying economics – we’ ll see how that turns out.

  • Tom

    Great post for the start of the year… I’m trying to take more risk this year in all areas of my life. It feels great!

  • Shaney

    Jason…. Thank you for the timely reminder!!.

    I am in the process of doing a Business Plan for a crazy idea I am wholly underskilled to do and was having a ‘flat’ day!! Is it all worth it?… Can I really do this?… Is the fact that someone stole my domain name deeply significant!!? (Well they didn’t steal it was their’s first but its more fun to blame them!). After reading your great motivator I have my Winnie the Pooh spirit back!! Must be a Bear thing!!

    This is what I mutter to myself whenever I think I should run away and hide cause it might go wrong….

    Winnie the Pooh and Piglet were going for a walk in the forest one day. “Pooh” squeaked Piglet nervously “Supposing a tree falls on our heads?”. Pooh thought about this for a while and said “Supposing it didn’t!” and humming a little tune, Pooh and Piglet went into the forest to find some hunny.

    Ahhh… lets not worry about the things that might happen but keep our eyes fixed on the hunny pot and enjoy the walk…(.says she without a domain name!)
    Have fun.

    • Nice. I love Pooh bear. Were any of us skilled or qualified to run our first company? Nah.

  • Impatient

    Actually, 2010 was “the year” for me to finally take the risk and try going out on my own. I wasn’t successful, but more importantly, I found out–much to my surprise–that I didn’t enjoy it at all. It turns out that owning a company is not for everyone. So I’m back working for the Man, but now I am more appreciative of my position, and I’m glad that I scratched that itch.

  • Jay

    Wow, Its Great Post, Fully Inspiration. My New Year Start with my Online property management software. I am Real estate Agent and property manager. Hope my tenants love this software. its very easy to use.
    Ohh ya….. No fear no tear,,,,,,, because everything is going well with me.

  • Rback

    What has stopped me is ‘conflict avoidance’.

    This is a term, Jason, that you used in a previous podcast and when you said it bells went off… I thought ‘that’s exactly it… in two words he distinguished what took me sentences to say!’ Fantastic.. now I know… I avoid uncertain situations.. answer?… make them more certain.. have a plan… enter the transaction having done some prep work just as though it were an interview that could happen at any time. Fine. Good. Forward. I have fears and I decide that it’s ok to have them while I move forward. I’m no longer waiting for external evidence of the green light.

    (This is why I NEVER (almost) listen to a Smart Bear recorder without having a voice recorder close by. Yours is the only podcast that I can’t listen to and do busy work at the same time. It’s simply too good… no fluff.)

    • Thanks for the kind words! Yes one way is to be more confident, another is to be “mindful” — meaning, you recognize you’re doing it, then calmly decide that’s not a good reason and continue even though you’re in emotional conflict.

      Yet another way is deciding that you’re going to pick things to do that reduce how often you need to do such things. This last point is something I’m still not good at, but the few times I’ve succeeded it’s been wonderful.