In every career industry, there are individuals who have led the way to how procedures or ideas are done or thought about. Many of us dream about being that person; only a few, however, have the opportunity to get there. The biggest difference between these two is that one of them takes more risks.
Risk-taking is one of the few actions that provides a long-term positive result. The dictionary has several definitions for the word risk; my favorite is “the hazard or chance of loss”, which to me, best aligns with the action. Pursuing an idea while overcoming the potential for hazard or loss.
Like much in life, risk-taking is easier said than done. The action is a muscle that needs exercise. Like weights to a physical muscle, there is a tool that can help us take risks as we look to reach our goals. Saying yes. The word can be difficult to say at times as it can define and bind us to what’s to come — but it provides long-term rewards.
It’s not about just saying yes. I’m not asking you to be Jim Carrey in Yes Man — that’s never been the point. I’m referring to the potential of saying yes even when you’re not sure of the outcome. Agreeing to work on a project that requires a specific technique or tool you haven’t fully grasped is a good example.
Saying yes can be difficult to say as it can define and bind us to what’s to come.
A few years back, I was contacted to design and develop the front-end of a website. The design portion of the project wasn’t a problem, as I was comfortable with the tools, but I couldn’t say the same about code. At the time, I had a few Codecademy courses under my belt; for some reason, however, nothing worked when I practiced what I learned. All that in mind, I said yes. That spark of confidence that I would simply figure it out was enough to say yes to the project.
Initial deposit went through and I was excited to get started. I would be designing and developing a site — a dream come true. I began the design process and received approval after a few revisions. Now it was time to code. I kept practicing my coding skills while in the design process to be prepared for what was ahead. Unfortunately as in previous occasions, none of the skills worked. A week went by, trying to get my code to do something on the browser but achieved nothing. One night I even had a small panic attack thinking, “These guys paid me and I’m not able to do this.” My wife was scared for me.
I kept pushing through trying to make sense of everything until one beautiful Saturday morning. I forget which editor I started to code with, but I was ultimately led to Dreamweaver. The app served as a visual mediator for me to get started. It was exactly what I needed. I completed the project. By the end of it, I transitioned to a less visual editor and realized the value of everything I learned.
That process was fun, terrifying, nerve-wracking, and exactly what I needed to take me to the next step in my creative abilities. My goal was learning to code, I agreed to a project that would push that skill forward and resulted in a successful outcome.
I don’t know what your dream is. I don’t know what you’re looking to pursue. I do know that if you actually want to get there, remember:
the answer is always yes.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
— Helen Keller