Red or Black? It’s only a 50/50 gamble, right? That is what I should be thinking as I walk up to the roulette table contemplating whether it is worth my hard-earned dollars to take a gamble.  However, my conservative approach to risk-taking endeavors usually results in a decision to play it safe.  So, when the opportunity arose two years ago to leave my stable position at a non-profit law firm and venture into the private sector of small-business ownership with another colleague, it was no surprise that taking this leap was daunting.

As attorneys, we often tell ourselves that failing is not an option.  I struggled to reconcile giving up a job where I excelled to enter the foreign world of owning a business.  Even with the odds appearing to be in my favor, the uncertainty of professional success in this new arena paralyzed me.

So, how do you move forward when it feels risky? As elementary as it sounds, you take one step at a time.  Simplifying what seems to be an overwhelming giant into manageable pieces allows success to become more attainable.  Additionally, I found that each step is easier to take with trust: trust in your network of support, trust in your product or service, and most importantly, trust in yourself.

  • Trust your support: Building a network of support that helps guide and affirm your decisions can offer the necessary reassurance to move you forward.  During the contemplation phase of starting a law firm, I received consistent and sound advice from trusted mentors, which provided clarity in the direction I needed to take.
  • Trust your product or service: The odds of failing diminish when you have a reliable product or service to offer the consumer.  In my case, the reminder that my law partner and I deliver an exceptional service and produce quality work impelled me to make this intimidating career change.
  • Trust yourself: The ability to confidently make decisions is improved by trusting what you know to be the truth about yourself.  Even though my partner and I had not experienced business ownership, we made the decision to build a business because we knew what we were capable of accomplishing.  Trusting my historical performance and current abilities allowed me to step away from the comfort of familiarity and encounter a new challenge.

While I still hesitate when I wander into a Las Vegas casino, I now know that having the courage to walk into the unknown often produces satisfying rewards along the way.