In business there are many situations where taking risks separates successful
businesses from unsuccessful ones. This most often arises in the area
of legal risks. Taking on liability in a contract, even though your lawyer
advises against it. Accepting risky work, even though the potential for
liability is high. Terminating employees, even though there is potential
for unwarranted employment claims. The risks of these unknown and unchartered
waters with worth it if, once taken, the outcome is beneficial to your
business. Any lawyer can tell you why not to take certain business risks,
but a good lawyer tells you what those risks are
and appreciates the upside to your business in taking those risks.
Andre Malraux said "[o]
ften the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one
has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on
one's ideas, to take a calculated risk - and to act."
This recently became abundantly clear to me in a personal endeavor. My
wife and I recently completed an Adventure Race called the Spartan Race.
This was an eight mile, eighteen obstacle course race. Prior to committing
to do this race, I knew that I had never run eight straight miles and
I had no idea what the obstacles in the race were. I only knew that the
race was challenging even to the most experienced athletes.
With little information or experience, I took the risk. I prepared to the
best of my ability and trained for the unknown. I refused to listen to
my own doubt and the doubts of others. I refused to do what was natural
to me - go to the gym and exercise the way everyone else does. The outcome,
my wife and I completed the race and have a more intense confidence and
drive to challenge ourselves physically. We climbed twenty foot cargo
ropes and twelve foot walls, carried boulders, rappelled bridges, swam
the ocean in full running gear (sneakers and all), crawled in mud under
barbed wire, and ran though a forest with no end in sight. The end result,
I feel like I am a much more productive person now than I was before taking the risk.
This risk in life translates to risks in business and vice versa. Don't
listen to naysayers, especially your lawyer. Your lawyer should be your
coach to encourage and prepare you for your business risks.
Alex P. Rosenthal, Esq.
Rosenthal Law Group
2115 North Commerce Parkway
Weston, FL 33326