In 1984, I knocked on the door of a house at 2:00 a.m. and told a 52-year old mother, twice my age, that her 18 year old son was dead. He was the same age as the football players I was coaching. She became hysterical. She was home alone. Her husband was working midnights. We were strangers but bonded by one commonality – we were both parents. Five hours earlier, I almost got my brains blown out by a psychopath who barricaded himself in his house after threatening to shoot his neighbour. These were only two examples of how I learned to speak a different language.
There’s a 4-letter word that, when misused and wrongly defined, will scare the hell out of you and stop you dead in your tracks, making you unwillingly and incapable of moving forward. The 4-letter word is so offensive it will put you on the defensive until you are incapable of going on the offensive. Unless you re-define the 4-letter word, it will change your mind, literally and figuratively, until you are unwilling and incapable of making the tough calls that need to be made. The 4-letter word is “risk.” Wrongly defined, risk will instill unmanageable fear that skews worldview and logic.
The risk of getting hurt psychologically, physically, and financially exists in every challenge. Risk is inherent to challenge. They work together like a team. Risk is also the essential ingredient in reward. The problem starts when you focus on the excessive potential consequences of risk. What you focus on grows. Left unchecked, risk grows unnaturally. It becomes freak-size like artificially-induced muscles.
True risk is being unfit for duty in whatever field you’re stepping on to. Being unfit for duty makes you a risk to yourself and your team. The problem is that the concept of “fit for duty” is extremely subjective – subject to wide-ranging interpretation that will make your team or break your team, depending on how close or far you are from the truth.
I was blessed to have experienced enough life-and-death to speak a different language, to re-define risk, and put risk in perspective, not distort it like fear-mongers who twist the word out of shape until it does the job – scaring the hell out of you so that you can’t get the job done. Don’t listen to fear-mongers. Listening to pessimists is the biggest risk I have faced in any profession or in the business world. If I had listened to pessimists, I never would have started three businesses from scratch – a publishing company, a gym, and a non-profit collegiate football team. One of my businesses, Jordan Publications, had its 21st anniversary this week. No one gave it a chance to survive. Every self-professed expert called it a high-risk business. Lawyers, accountants, publishers, and alleged business experts all were pessimistic. Listening to pessimists will destroy any chance of thinking straight and any chance of success, by whatever definition you choose. Be careful about the business advice you get.
Surviving in business starts at the top with mindset. The wrong mindset will kill your business with destructive decisions. Self-generated business is the toughest job I’ve ever had but it’s been worth it to escape the workplace hell of being controlled by people who can’t control their own lives let alone others.
Be careful how you define “risk” and how you use the word in your vocabulary. Your inner dialogue influences your external dialogue which influences how you do business in an era where compelling communication is the difference between winning and losing.
I started Jordan Publications before the Internet. It grew before social media. Now, it’s trying to compete in the social media world. No one could have predicted the full influence of the Internet and social media when we designed our business plan. No one could have predicted any part of the future. The world is changing at warp-speed. It changed during the time it took you to read this article. To survive in business, I had to learn how to learn and what to learn. Certain principles are timeless. Others are not. Be careful about change. Change for the sake of change is dangerous. So is not changing when you need to change.
Be careful about the Internet articles and social media propaganda that profess to know what’s good or bad for your business. There is no straight line to business success. There is no neat list of things-to-do and things-not-to-do. Your business reality is unique. It’s one of a kind. The most important business education you’ll receive is from studying your own business. Investigate your business. Self-study is never easy. The difference between subjectivity and objectivity is how much your business grows – up or old.
Please listen to the new Blunt Talk #Podcast episode called “The Big Hit” with guest Leon Robinson who discusses his business journey in art and music. The elusive big hit is a personal and professional goal in everyone’s life. The desire to be a big hit, produce a big hit, create a big hit is one of the differences between making a difference and making no difference. Guest Leon Robinson, is an X Football Player, a former football player who was coached in my X Fitness system of football and fitness. Leon discusses #TheProcess he goes through to produce music and art. #TheProcess is not limited to a chosen few but few choose it. #TheProcess is available to anyone who chooses it and commits to it.
Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., Level 3 NCCP (Nat’l Coaching Certification Program)
Head coach – Niagara X-Men Football
Owner – X Fitness Inc.
Blogs – www.GinoArcaro.com and www.SWATFootball.ca