During times of relative stability, it's so tempting to grow complacent. Sure, there are those professional risks you've fantasized about taking to boost your practice. But the dreaded string of "what ifs" soon follows and puts those fledgling temptations to rest.
But here's the thing: Those "what ifs" are crippling and can actually hurt the longevity of your business. Risks are not only necessary to thrive, they're crucial to survive.
Here are three reasons why you should take calculated risks in your legal practice:
If you don't take calculated risks, risks will find you -- and devour your business. You must learn to confront risk to move your business forward. A static business is a business with a death wish. You're going to win some and you're going to lose some, but each of those risks will help you improvise solutions along the way and propel you forward. We're not talking the glamorous binge-"Eating, Praying, Loving" kind of risk-taking. In fact, don't throw caution to the wind. Think strategically: Carefully weigh the odds of success, flesh out the worst possible consequences, and make a decision. It will be more a date with number-crunching than a rendezvous with Italian food and ashrams, but it's worth it!
You will face failure, so get familiar with it. No matter what you do, you are going to face adversity at some point in your business. Even if your practice area is known to be stable, the natural state of business is change. You should chart every foreseeable possibility, but an unexpected circumstance will still thwart you at some point. Taking risks will help you get comfortable with being "in flux" and adapting to new circumstances. Most importantly, it will help you successfully bounce back from failure.
It's fun! Sure, you may have your lunch-making and scheduling routine down to a T. But aren't you a little bored? (C'mon, be honest.) Liven it up. One option is to gamify your office. Another is to propose fun challenges to direct competitors. As Richard Branson wrote in a piece on risk-taking for Entrepreneur, "Aside from any business concerns, one of the main reasons my colleagues and I undertake any adventure is because it's fun, whether it's a bet [with a business competitor] that ends with me serving drinks to passengers in a skirt or whether it's one that leads to the creation of a company that transforms the space industry." How do you feel about that cardboard-flavored cup of low-fat soup in your hands now? Yeah, thought so.
Is there a professional risk you took recently that you feel pretty proud about? Let us know about it @FindLawLP on Twitter.