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Survivor Stories

June 14, 2011

Risk yourself, because failure is seldom as bad as it sounds.

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for.”
–John Augustus Shedd

Ships occasionally sink. This is an inevitable truth. But even in some of the worst historical naval disasters (The Titanic, the USS Indianapolis), we find stories of survivors.

Does this diminsh the pain of loss? Certainly not. But it should help remind us: Even the worst case scenario is not necessarily the end of the line.

Take, for example: You. You’re a survivor in business. When the inevitable cycle of real estate rises again, you will have a survivor story to tell. You’ll know what it takes to navigate through truly brutal markets. Keep swimming for the shore and looking for the life raft. You’ll emerge from this market stronger than those who come swarming back to “calm waters” of a boom market.

Which brings me around to the whole idea of risk and the ghost of catastrophe. Given that you can’t control the market and that you’ve survived “the worst,” why let fear paralyze you and keep you from taking new risks?

If you’ve been considering a big idea–whether it’s a new marketing plan, the decision to expand your team, or a sizeable reinvestment in your business–how much are you really risking by going for it? The bigger risk might be not going for it.

Remember: Seldom does “failure” in the real world hurt as much as the idea of failure in our minds. In fact, we learn the most from disasters.

The only thing to do? Chart the best course you can and get out of the “safe harbor” of avoiding risk.


Source: Scott Levitt 06/2011

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