There is a saying among old cowboys out West: “One man with courage is the majority.”
When I write about courage, intestinal fortitude, guts, and boldness to differentiate yourself, it’s not to encourage you to do stupid, risky things. I’m not looking for the daredevil mentality that causes you to rappel off the Brooklyn Bridge or swim with the sharks. Nor need you be like one CEO who said: “I’ve always taken chances. At 54 years old, I married an 18-year-old. Her dad didn’t like me or the idea at all. I told him, ‘Look, you’re not losing a daughter. You’re gaining a brother.’. . . I was a hyper child, always getting into trouble like the time I looked inside a gas tank with a match. I learned you don’t do that.”
I’m not asking for utter fearlessness and risk without thinking. Just “go for it” a little more and more often than you have in the past—and more often than others do. If you hold back, you’ll get into a rut, slip behind, fade out of sight, and sink into the sameness of the people around you.
A calculated risk is just another way of saying to:
Show some spine.
Put it on the line and see it through.
Leave it all on the playing field.
Creatively work with fear.
Think the unpopular thing.
Have the gumption to go off the grid.
Be willing to bet your job on a hunch.
Step out of the box.
Be unafraid to fall flat on your face.
If you don’t fight through timidity, you will have regrets. Few individuals look back on their lives and think, “Wow, I should have never tried for that bigger job.” But many will look back with regret: “Why didn’t I have the guts to try for that bigger job?” Or “Why didn’t I speak up?” “Why didn’t I step up?” “Why didn’t I step it up?” “Why . . . why . . . why?”