Taking Action via Strategic Risk-Taking
I don’t believe there are many career decisions that can truly be considered major risks, particularly for early careerists. Regardless of how much a job makes sense (or doesn’t make sense); you just never know how it is going to end up. That happens to everyone.
The true risk in my opinion is avoiding risk and deciding to accept status quo. How many times have we observed individuals receive wonderful guidance from a senior healthcare leader and never act on it? It could be advice to apply for a specific job, relocate to a new city, raise a hand for a new project, or meet with another potential mentor/champion. Somehow, for some reason, the person doesn’t quite follow through on this advice. This has to be avoided, if at all possible. Individuals must have a bias towards action—yes, you might fail but you might also succeed. The worst thing is to stay in place. One of my favorite books is the Dr. Seuss classic Oh, the Places You’ll Go. I read it to my kids all the time. I think the most important section of that book describes “the waiting place.” A place with people waiting for a bus to come, or the phone to ring, for fish to bite, or for a better break. Just waiting. I think that is so true. If people have a bias for action, they will make things happen, and thus avoid the biggest risk of all: doing nothing.
All of this is particularly true for a diverse individual who may need to be more assertive in seeking career opportunities outside of his or her comfort zone.