Don’t let fear defeat you

Vladimir, Accountant for a crushing, screening, and conveying equipment & service company based in Woodland, WA told Session 3B of the Leadership Development Lab:

“Twelve years ago, I was sitting at home when I got a call from my brother. He told me that one of his fellow subcontractors for the company he was working with was leaving and they were offering me the job. I would be collecting cardboard from industrial drop box containers and then delivering it to recycling centers around Portland.

What was the risk? First of all, my pay was based on the amount of cardboard I could collect and successfully sell to the recycling company every day. I had just recently gotten my driver’s license and was still getting acquainted with driving a car around Portland and this job required me to drive a big truck about the same size as a FedEx truck. The job required that I drive all over town to locations I was not familiar with, and I was also required to back into tight parking lots during lunch rush hour in order to get close to the containers.

“Because of my limited driving experience my family was worried that I would not be able to handle it, I would get into an accident, or damage someone’s property. Another risk was the pay. I would be paid for the value of the card board I picked up and delivered to the recycle center, so my pay was based on the volume – the amount I could pick up and the price of cardboard that week.

“I decided to take the risk and it paid off. I never got into an accident or damaged anyone’s property. The first week I was working the price rate for cardboard went from $60 to $90 per ton – a 50 percent increase. Therefore, I was making roughly a third more than the individual who decided to leave the job just a week earlier.

“The lesson I learned from this experience is the importance of looking at the possibilities, the upside; not worrying so much about what could go wrong.

“The action I want you to take is to focus on the upside, the learning and the advancement that can be yours.

“The benefit you will gain is you will be in the driver’s seat and have a rewarding life and career that continues to move forward.”

I have heard over 4,800 leaders give short talks about the risks they have taken that paid off. Very often these class members begin by admitting that, as they reflect on their lives, they realize they have been risk adverse. A key characteristic of leaders is they take risks. They move into the unknown, the place where the outcome is uncertain, and then they do what is required to make the outcome a certain success.