Jackie Summers talks about entrepreneur’s own special blend of risk tolerance that creates the unpredictable, terrifying and euphoric environment of a start-up.
It’s been said that being an entrepreneur requires a high degree of risk tolerance.
While there’s truth to this, it’s an incomplete thought. A truer statement might be: entrepreneurs strive to master the art of assessing risk-vs-reward.
For the purpose of argument, we’re going to define risk as the potential exposure to harm. Playing the lottery, for example, is very low risk, with astronomical possible rewards. It costs almost nothing–a dollar and a dream–and requires minimal personal involvement, yet can literally create millionaires overnight. Additionally, It is not only possible to win the lottery, it is probable that someone will.
It is just improbable that you will. The odds of winning Powerball, for example, are approximately one hundred seventy-five million to one. No amount of dollars you
waste spend buying individual lottery tickets will increase the odds in your favor. As your investment–financially, emotionally, mentally–is minimal, the risk is negligible.
Safety is relative. While it is inarguably safer to remain an instrument for the fulfillment of another’s desire–rather than to attempt to fulfill your own–it is equally unsatisfying.
Without a doubt, exposing yourself to risk means exposing yourself to loss. To most, this is unpalatable. To the entrepreneur, the fear of never having tried is a far greater pain to endure than possible losses incurred by taking a chance. As James Albert Michener said:
“Masters in the art of living make little distinction between their work and their play, their labor and their leisure. They hardly know which is which, they simply pursue their vision of excellence at whatever they do, leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing.”
Entrepreneurs accept one undeniable truth: everything in life involves a level of risk. They use a combination of passion and tenacity to skew the odds in their favor, and mitigate the uncertainty. The ensuing roller coaster ride can be simultaneously unpredictable, terrifying and euphoric.
And we love every second of it. Let’s face it; there’s a reason no one lines up for the merry-go-round.