Risky Business: 6 Tips Helping Professionals Take Those Leaps of Faith

By Scott Petinga


T.S. Eliot famously said “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go.” As a former Marine, cancer survivor and highly successful serial entrepreneur, I’ve learned a thing or two about risk. If you’re sick of apathy, ready to take a leap and change things for the better, here’s some wisdom to get you started:


  1. Realize you take risks every day. Getting up and heading out the door are risks, albeit minor ones. However, every time you do those things you’re putting yourself out there. You do these things every day and survive. Now it’s time to ramp it up. Taking risks is a state of mind. Knowing you can do it on a small scale makes it a lot easier to start taking risks on a larger one.
  2. Find comfort in the uncomfortable. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. You don’t have to go sky diving or base jumping, but you do have to go beyond doing what you’re used to doing and stretch out into new territory. Learn where you’re most comfortable, most skilled, and most proficient – and then step right past that to a place where you feel the most uncomfortable, the most uncertain, and the most unsure of yourself. That’s where the real progress begins.
  3. Risk it right now. At this very moment you have everything you need, you just don’t know it. Do you have food, clothing and shelter? Then you have everything you need, once you live by this simple philosophy, taking risks becomes far easier. Most business opportunities don’t wait around, so take action now. “Perfect timing” is a fallacy—there are few if any such moments in life. Don’t wait. Now is the time to capitalize on opportunities that present.

4. Do your own thing and do it your way. The concept of going your own way is not new. The problem is, it scares the s#%! out of most people. Fortunately, it can provide youa hell of a lot of freedom. Corporate mavericks live according to their own agenda and goals, and consequently, they have more latitude to blaze new trails. Find different, better approaches that can double results. In today’s cut-throat culture, originality is perhaps your greatest gift. Use it and go rogue.

  1. Fail. Don’t just give yourself permission to fail. Actually fail. Go out there and fall on your face. It’s the only way you’re really going to learn anything. The lessons you learn from those failures will be the ones that propel you to success. Throughout our career we proverbially fall down. But, perseverance and tenacity, honed with hindsight-based perspective so as to not repeat the same mistakes, are key to staying the course up the ladder of achievement.
  2. Repeat. Taking risks is not a “one and done” proposition. It takes tenacity, the ability to keep forging ahead, trying new things, and pushing past obstacles to achieve results. Tenacity determines how hard we fight for our dreams. Once you take that first dive off the edge of the cliff, subsequent dives become a lot easier. In fact, they become a way of life. After experiencing the exhilaration and ROI of risk taking, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.


Scott Petinga is the worldwide chairman and CEO of AKQURACY—a full-service, data-fueled communications agency that develops data-fueled, multi-channel marketing strategies supported by killer creative and delivered with sniper-like accuracy to deliver extraordinarily impactful campaigns that increase loyalty, boost cross-sell opportunities, and build long-term, profitable relationships. Scott may be reached online at www.akquracy.com.

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