The theme of this column is best summed up by the colorful David Lee Roth when he sang, “Go ahead and jump!” I am confident this advice, taken the right way, can help you in your job, management position or even as an owner of a company.
Two of the questions that I am asked most often as a business owner are “How did you start your business?” and “What makes you successful?” My answer has always been the same: At some point, you just jump. Do you remember the old adage of no risk, no reward?
Of course, the goal is to always mitigate risk while maximizing the potential upside, but the bottom line is that there is never a time when, as an employee, manager or owner, you will have all of the facts or 100 percent certainty about your decisions.
No guarantees in life
Let me elaborate a little further regarding my current business and my partner of 16 years. We have met and talked to many people who have amazing — truly incredible — ideas, inventions or plans. They will meet with us, share their story and their idea, and then ask for guidance.
Probably 99 percent of these people are looking for a rock-solid guarantee that their idea will work and that they will, in turn, be successful. I know from my own experiences that those guarantees do not exist. A lack of certainty and courage is the reason that these people never actually start their business or follow through on their dreams.
There are no guarantees in life; if you spend all your time focusing on what could or might go wrong, you never make the jump that will reveal the upside of taking risks.
At this point in our business relationship my partner and I joke that we are running off the cliff at 65 percent certainty as we’ve become skilled and adept at adjusting on the fly and figuring out the unknowns before we hit the ground. Are we successful with every idea?
Of course not. However, we do get most of them right, and we’ve tested our jump theory many times. It’s what led us to start our first business together, and just jumping has provided countless opportunities for the future.
This theory can apply to any aspect of your life, not just when making a business decision or starting a business. Don’t overanalyze, don’t look at the negatives or possible ways to fail, don’t listen to the critics in the stands — just jump. Risk-taking is a practice.
Making the jump will get easier, give you more confidence and give you a new perspective. Just jumping gives you experience in trusting yourself and those on your team. If you never jump, you will always be right where you are. If you are waiting for someday — the last time I checked, that is not actually a day of the week. ●
Scott Forster is co-owner, vice president and COO at Magnus International Group.