by Jonesy “The Podfather”

In every moment of your life– danger and prosperity hover in the shadows of almost every significant choice you are confronted with. The comfort of the present can be the enemy of progress. As I grow older, I think back to how much I’ve missed simply because of fear. 

Seeing missed opportunities become gold mines is one of the hardest pills I’ve had to swallow. Conversely, there are also some bullets I dodged due to good old fashioned caution. But those moments don’t matter when you see the stock that explodes after you failed to make a move. Or a real estate venture garners a triple return. And you didn’t have the guts to pull the trigger. Allow me to give you a little background on one particular debacle; I had stock in Netflix in 2007. Yet, somehow a broker convinced me, against my better judgment I might add, to drop it about seven months before the stock went crazy. I’m not going to the front–it makes me feel a little sick to my stomach. To this day, I cannot watch a NETFLIX movie without feeling the slight taste of vomit rising in my throat. 

Writer Edwin S Shneidman once said, “Hindsight is not only clearer than perception in the moment but unfair for those who actually lived through the moment.” Failure or missed opportunity are gifts. In that it gives us the ability to analyze situations and apply the knowledge toward future wins. Failure is often the roadmap to success, if and only if you remain vigilant. So, you may ask what keeps us from making a move? Even when it’s the slightest chance or possibility of being a life-changing blessing. 

The simple answer. Fear. 

Robin Sharma once said, “the fears we do not face become our limits.” I’ve found what I believe is the most effective avenue to eliminating fear. And that is to replace fear with preparation and data. Think about every time you missed the mark, left a dollar on the table. The school crush you let pass you by because you weren’t prepared to make a move. 

Not to be cliche or contrite but I’ve found that you should “always trust the data”. In my humble opinion, this one happens to be spot on. When you don’t plan, you’re winging it. And if you’re winging it you don’t have the data needed to help you decide. This eventually leads to hesitation, which leads to inaction. You didn’t have the guts to pursue what you wanted because you didn’t have a plan. You didn’t use data to make an informed decision. Knowledge and success go hand and hand. Knowledge also tempers anxiety and unrealistic expectations. 

I can say this because I have a lifetime of missed opportunities. Monies left on the table. I’ve missed the boat on some deals that could’ve set my family straight for life. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve carved out a pretty damn good life. The risks I took were smart and calculated. But what if– what if I’d thrown caution to the wind. 

My point, don’t be that guy: the guy I was who was too cautious to make an out of the box move. So, I would like to pass my little rule book—something to think about when you’re on the fence about a life-changing venture. 

I call this the Podfather’s Playbook for risks: 

1. A calculated risk backed with data and thoughtful planning is one worth taking 2. Paralysis by analysis can kill a great plan; sometimes, you have to jump from the frying pan into the fire. 

a. If opportunity doesn’t knock. Knock the door down. Opportunities are made in action more so than by chance. 

3. A worthwhile risk that fails is better than a risk never taken. 

4. Embrace the uncertainty. Nothing in life worth having comes without sacrifice and some form of opposition. 

The overarching point is being careful and being cautious are not the same thing. One helps you; the other holds you back. Cautious people worry about not doing the right thing. The fear of making a mistake leads to never taking action; careful people gather enough data to make the best and most informed decision they can. 

Fear and pride are strong deterrents to pursuing opportunities. It establishes invisible barriers. Trust me, I know it’s not easy to change your mindset. I don’t want you to feel as if this is an overnight process. However, I would like you to keep this in mind: 

The only thing that’s for sure is nothing is for sure. And you have to be in it to win it. Chase the life you dreamed of and not the one you’ve settled for. Because eventually, you’re going to run out of chances to chase your dreams. Moral of the story friends– carpe diem.

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