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Arment Dietrich

Enjoy the Ride

By: Arment Dietrich | November 2, 2011 | 
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Today’s guest post is written by Lisa Gerber.

My stepfather and mother were visiting me this past weekend and I was looking forward to it. I happen to know my stepfather  has been a bit concerned lately that I have taken, in his opinion, perhaps some unnecessary risks in my professional life. So I was happy to have the opportunity to defend my position, in person.

You see, he’s a retired, successful businessman. He’s always been fiscally conservative, and given where he is in life, he is, justifiably, risk-averse. I have the utmost respect, and in the 20 years he has been in my life, I’ve always asked his advice on matters.

But these past few years haven’t exactly been predictable. They haven’t followed the status quo. I felt a little disruption was in order and I share this with him, which is why we may not see eye to eye right now.

I sat over a glass of wine explaining how it’s OK to live on the edge and not necessarily know what the outcome will be. I can’t worry too much about the risk I’m taking when the opportunity is great.

And then, I had a sudden flashback  to my three-year-old nephew’s visit earlier this year. We had asked him what he wanted to do that day: Would he rather go to the Museum of Science and Industry or to the Aquarium?

He chose: “The bus!”

And sitting there at that table, talking to my stepfather, I realized, in this particular situation, I think I’ll take advice from my nephew, thank you very much. He is not terribly concerned about where he’s going, but he does know he’d like to take a bus to get there.

I’m not just talking about our personal lives, I’m talking about choices we make for our businesses, our employers, and our clients. We get so caught up in measuring outcomes, showing ROI, and minimizing risk but it has to be OK from time to time to throw it all up in the air, take a leap on something, and enjoy the feeling of freefall. (Hey, I said from time to time. I’m still a big fan of strategic planning and measurable outcomes.)

I’m no spring chicken but given the past few years and the detours this economy has thrown in the road trips of our lives, (or train wrecks depending on who you’re talking to), doing something that is unexpected seemed in order.

Minimize the risk, but don’t avoid it.

  • Get the support of the people that matter most.
  • Assess the worse case scenario and don’t focus on it, but be prepared for the worst.
  • Take the leap!

I don’t always want to worry about where I’m going to land. I know if I keep my head on my shoulders, I’ll land on my feet. Even if the desired outcome doesn’t, for any reason, materialize, it will open other doors along the way.

Right?

42 comments
EricaAllison
EricaAllison

Great post, Lisa! As much as I talk about measurement and analysis, I'm a huge risk taker - just ask my husband! It drives him crazy! I think going with intuition is the best way to do it, but back it up and measure it with planning and analysis. It's the initial jump that is the risk; everything else should be thought out and planned so that if you do fall off that ledge, you have a safety net to catch you when you fall!

prpeep
prpeep

Great post Lisa - completely agree! There are so many times that I carefully planned, only for the outcome to be different. Accepting plan B, or plan C or no plan at all has been a good lesson for me. I've learned to work hard at what I do today, and worry less about where that leads tomorrow. This has only been magnified by all the economic uncertainty these days.

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino

I love this Lisa! So true, life really is the journey and too often people stop living while they are trying to get to a certain destination, instead of enjoying everything each moment has to offer. Being present in the journey opens up opportunities you would never have realized had you been too focused on the singular goal (professionally, this is a problem that is very common with entrepreneurs....they are so mono-focused, they let their businesses fail by refusing to observe the opportunities around them).

Life can be tough, uncertain, frightening and all the above at once, but that's part of the ride...and many ways the best part. I may not know exactly where I'm going, I probably won't understand the route I'm taking, but I have faith that I'm always heading in the right direction :)

Shonali
Shonali

Right, right, right! When I look back, there were so many instances in my life where what I thought would happen didn't, and I could never have imagined what WOULD work out. I guess I've been riding the bus too. I literally really enjoy riding buses as well (except in rush hour, ugh). I remember, when I first move to the US and started venturing out on my own (I didn't have a driver license at the time), I'd get on the bus and ride it, to see what was out there. It's incredible what you'll find when you do that. I love that you keep riding the bus, Lisa.

ChrisBradley
ChrisBradley

Exactly! You can forge the best plans and strategies, but ultimately they are not built on constants and can only serve as guidelines. As you said, it's about keeping your head and being resourceful enough to make the most out of situations as they arise.

Al Smith
Al Smith

Love this Lisa. Thank You. Enjoy the Ride. Definitely. Finding your passion and purpose and living it is very fulfilling. I love what i am doing. It does help to make some money along the way. Ha ! Still waiting for that. I always try to stay Grateful & Faithful. I know things will work out.

Speaking of that, I am so grateful to have read this and met you on line.

Glad to see some good quality content over here. Hi Gini. Lol. Luv ya.

Al

DanielMWood
DanielMWood

"It isn't the goal - it is the trip that matters."

I hope you settle things with your step-dad.Though I have to say, I like having a goal in mind - it makes it easier to plan the path and make the path more fun. I also work a lot with time management which frees up a lot of time "to take the buss" and be spontaineous.I think it is the combination of focus and sponatinaity that makes life worth living.

Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2
Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

JK Allen's most recent post was on the topic of "The Side Hustle" and I'm going to include part of what I said to him there, here, so if it copies weird, that's why.

I think a lot of people jump into doing their "Own Thing" without having any awareness of what's in store for them. They have a big broad idea but the business owner reality is much different than the employee mentality they more often than not are coming from.

Proof of concept is something I believe is the primary benefit of having a side hustle.

Too many people are in a rush to get financing from banks or investors without having ever put in any kind of sweat equity and have not only proven to themselves but to others that their business concept has legs.

Financing your own operation also shows you that you need to earn your money rather than depend on others to give it to you like so many of us are trained to. This is the biggest stumbling block I believe new business owners run into. They’ve gone from an environment where even if they did a half-assed job, they still got a pay check.

A side hustle will knock you on your ass if you approach it with an “employee mentality and proves to do so year in, year out with so many people going out of business.

I believe that anyone who isn’t battle tested should start with a side hustle just for the pure benefit of getting a nice dose of reality without having to bet the farm. But that's just me.

Wishing you the best on your adventure Lisa!

TheJackB
TheJackB

I rather enjoy risk taking and have been known to travel the road not taken myself, but I have to admit that it would be easier without children. Of course I have been doing it with kids so what the hell do I know about any of this.

Sometimes you have to leap and see where you land.

SocialMediaDDS
SocialMediaDDS

Oh @Lisa Gerber I have not had the joy of meeting you in person but I have to say, you are my soul sister (okay Aunt....)!! Last February, you wrote this post http://www.spinsucks.com/entrepreneur/there-is-nothing-to-fear-in-fear-itself/ and it came at a time when I was struggling with a very risky decision and people were cautioning me and inadvertently (or maybe purposefully) increasing my fear within. And then I read that post and, it was like a message to me. It sparked that part within me that knew I was doing the right thing and so...with much thanks to your "encouragement' via that post, I went ahead with my vision. Today I am smack dab in the middle of this vision creation and every day I wake up and experience a combination of adrenaline induced fear and adrenaline induced excitement. Like your nephew, I am taking the bus each day and fighting back the predictable messages with the logic of illogic. Today, you reminded me that I don't have to do the customary and usual thing in life to be safe. There IS no "safe" in today's economy and so, as you so eloquently asked in February "what's the worse that could happen?" I have taken that message with me and I will add today's post to my mantra...I plan on enjoying the ride...the one on the bus...not the one everyone expects me to take.

Thank you @lisagerber ...you are delightful and inspirational. Know that the first time that I get to meet you, my hug will be filled with gratitude!

Claudia

BobReed
BobReed

Right! I've been a lifestyle entrepreneur for 14 years. Now, I'm retooling to build my company into something far more visible and valuable. I could have taken a different course, but, frankly, I don't like being told what to do. I know that @ginidietrich understands that perfectly well.

JeffaCubed
JeffaCubed

Wise + thoughtful words. One of the biggest risks, is in insulating oneself & career from the magnetic benefits of good risk(s). Thanks for writing + sharing that piece Lisa G

KenMueller
KenMueller

Great advice, considering I did this myself several years ago, going out on my own. I think the most helpful thing was having the support of my family. We never would have made it if that hadn't happened.

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

@prpeep Ha! I just saw something on FB today; if Plan A doesn't work out, there are still 25 other letters in the alphabet!

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

@lkpetrolino somehow it always works out; even if it doesn't in the short term. there always seems to be a bigger picture reason for things. . . OK, now I'm starting to sound cosmic.

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

@Shonali I think about how fun it would be to just go to the airport and get on the next plane. But the odds of being disappointed are pretty great. :)

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

@ChrisBradley Hi Chris! thanks! Nice splash page by the way. I just signed up. Sounds very mysterious. ???

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

@DanielMWood What you said. :)

I'm actually big on goals, and being distracted along the way with scenic routes. Oh, and my stepfather is totally fine - we're all good. It was a very healthy discussion that I thought would make a good blog post!

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

@Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2 Hi Lewis, Interestingly, in my particular case, I went from being a solopreneur back to being an employee, so it's the opposite for me. HOWEVER, I agree. I certainly am not advocating being careless about it. There should be a vision. and a plan. but embracing the unknown should be OK as well. THe plan is just words on paper after all..... you still don't know where you'll land.

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

@TheJackB I think it's great for the kids. It gives them a same sense of adventure. We were just talking about sheltered people last night, and how unprepared they are for the world.

I like risk too, but when I'm in the midst of it, I ask myself why the hell I do this to myself.

SocialMediaDDS
SocialMediaDDS

@Lisa Gerber Oh, and just to be clear...the implication was supposed to be that I was more like your "Soul Aunt" ...not that YOU were MY "Soul Aunt" ...THOSE days are LONG gone....sigh....;-)

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

@SocialMediaDDS@lisagerber WOW! Thanks for this Claudia. What an amazing comment.

One thing I left out; I did all the safe things all my life, haven't most of us? saved in a 401 k, invested in real estate rather than rent..... who knew? You are so right, there is no such thing as safe. :) I look forward to meeting one day soon!!

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

@BobReed@ginidietrich Yes, you definitely strike me as someone who doesn't like being told what to do. Now, get back to work, and eat your vegetables!

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

@KenMueller If you don't have the people you love the most backing you up, it's pretty hard to do it, don't you think? It's nice to have that safety net; if the risk totally doesn't pan out - that it's OK, there's no judgement and you figure it out.

prpeep
prpeep

Haha! That's so absolutely true. What's good is that those plans can even better than Plan A. :)

SocialMediaDDS
SocialMediaDDS

@Lisa Gerber@Shonali But maybe not...disappointment only happens if you have expectations. If you jump on that next plane without any expectations, you can't be disappointed...you can only experience the journey. I sound like an old sage here ;-)

ChrisBradley
ChrisBradley

@Lisa Gerber Thanks Lisa, it's all coming together nicely, we will certainly get an invitation out to you as soon as its ready!

JeffaCubed
JeffaCubed

You're welcome Lisa. I've experienced many of the same/similar *risk warnings* via my own immediate family + global colleagues. Thumbs^^ -JA, WestCoast

Trackbacks

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