Why it Pays to Take Risks in Business


By Gloria Rand

My mother used to tell me, “If you want something, get it now, because it may not be there later.”

She learned that lesson the hard way. I remember her agonizing over whether to buy a piece of jewelry, but ultimately deciding not to. Then, she’d have a change of heart and go back, only to be disappointed that the item had already been sold.

My mother may have been indecisive when it came to buying nice things for herself, but when this woman wanted to do something significant in her life, she went for it.

Like the time she ran for a seat on the county school board. She lost the election. But she tried. That’s more than most people do!

Or the time she drove from Michigan to Florida with only her 7-year-old daughter (me) along for the ride. This may not seem significant now. But in 1971, it was a pretty big deal.

But the biggest risk my mother ever took came when she was in her 50s.

That’s when she learned how to fire a gun and became an officer for Wayne County Juvenile Court. If you’re not aware, Wayne County, Michigan is better known for its largest city, Detroit. Now you might not be able to tell from this picture, but my mom was only about 5 feet tall. (For years, she insisted her height was 5’2″ until I passed her by!) So picture this petite, middle-aged woman, dressed in officer blues, complete with badge and handgun in a holster, escorting teenagers that stood a foot or more taller than she from lock-up, to the courtroom and back again. Can you say fearless? I can!

I may not have grown up to be a court officer, like my mom, but I have taken some risky steps in my professional life. And I know that I’ve had the courage to do so by emulating her.

One risk was the decision to quit my job writing for the PBS show, “Nightly Business Report,” to produce a business show for a startup cable network. What made that decision particularly gutsy was leaving my husband behind in Miami while I moved to Tallahassee to take that job with our 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son in tow!

My latest risk was the decision to launch my own copywriting business. Not only did I have to get over my shyness to give the ubiquitous 30 or 60-second “elevator speech” at networking meetings, but I’ve gone even further – conducting in person workshops and webinars on search engine optimization and social media marketing.

Unfortunately, my mom didn’t live long enough to see me in my new role of entrepreneur. But I’m sure she’s proud of me. And I thank God every day that she showed me how much is possible in life, if you’re only willing to take a risk and go for it!

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