Taking risks and exploring uncharted territory can be frightening. But, I believe that if you have a dream and a true passion for something, you shouldn't let fear stand in your way. You should pursue your passion at most costs. You’ll never know what can be unless you try. So, be bold, be courageous and TAKE RISKS.
When you take a risk, there’s a chance that things won’t work out as you planned. There’s a chance that you may “fail”. That fear of failing is often what keeps a person from taking risks. What sets a person apart from everyone else is often the fact that they took a risk, an educated risk, and succeeded. Educated risks consist of great preparation and are best utilized when preparation meets opportunity. Here is my personal story of taking a huge risk, actually two risks, in my career:
The first risk was when I opened a private practice during my first year of a Ph.D. program in Counselor Education. I had earned my Master’s degree in Counseling 5 years earlier and had worked for a number of practices and agencies and thought, “If they can do it, so can I. If they can run this business, then surely I can, too.” After a year of my practice being open and trying to get clients and learning how to run a business and exhausting every single penny that I had put in my savings account, I called it quits and went and got a job…two jobs to be precise…because I needed a steady paycheck. I needed to make a living and what I had been doing for work and how I had been doing it for that past year was not paying the bills. Needless to say, my first endeavor as a private practitioner didn't work out as I’d planned. People would say that I failed. I say that it was a great learning experience. I learned some tough, but valuable lessons.
Fast forward to when I took the second huge risk of my career. This was when I left my great paying, management-level, full-time job. I was also working a part-time job. Over the four years leading up to this point, after the failure of my first business, I had completed my Ph.D., and my desire to open a private practice had grown and had become so strong that I had to do something about it. I really liked my current job and the people with whom I worked, but I had an idea and a passion that I was ignoring. One day, I realized that I was compromising my happiness and to live with knowing that for the rest of my life was unacceptable. So, I took a risk. I quit my full-time job and budgeted my life to survive off of only my part-time job because I was working on my business plan and that was a full-time job in itself. I was PREPARING for an OPPORTUNITY. I worked on my business plan every day for 6 months (preparation). Finally, I had enough money in savings (the opportunity) to try my hand at private practice again.
Four years have passed since I opened my practice. It’s grown into a group practice filled with wonderful people and I’m comfortable with saying that things are going well. We’ve had many successes. I had a dream and pieces of a plan that couldn't be realized as long as I put all of my time and energies in someone else’s dream. I prepared myself and I took a risk by following my passion. I am living out my dreams and my mission in life on my terms and I know that this would not be possible if I had not taken the risk.