Pat yourself on the back for taking a risk.
I want do know what you did, when you did it and how you were changed because of it.
Double points for successful failures.
Re: Risk Taking
I re-launched a training program for work. The initial project involved training upper and middle manager types in various topics of safety management. It was complex, high level stuff. I wrote and directed a series of training videos and developed new approaches to an organization's environmental, safety and health programs. The multi-day program was called, "ESU - Environmental and Safety University." It was hailed as ground-breaking, innovative and a benefit to the way in which my industry as a whole approaches the topic. I even developed new methods of teaching the topic. No one had seen anything like it in my industry before. Portions of it were adopted by other companies. I was pretty proud of it all and believed it to be the highlight of my career.
A year after it's completion and distribution, the information and programs developed went nowhere. When making inquiries of employees and front line supervisors about the systems that were taught, they hadn't heard or seen any of it. The very people it was intended to help were in the dark about what I was talking about.
I had made a very serious miscalculation regarding to what level of management and employee the material should've been directed. In my zeal to show off to company leadership of how smart and creative I was, I forgot who needed to know this more than anyone else in the organization. It was a humbling and eye-opening realization.
Since then, I've retooled and simplified the material. The videos are still shown but the systems have been revised and made more focused on real needs and true circumstances faced in a workplace. The information wasn't dumbed-down, but made more practical, useful. As a result, a handful of the programs have undergone drastic change. For instance, the original method of root-cause analysis we used employed the Isikawa "Fishbone" system and approach. I've used it for years, but in practical terms it has some inherent flaws which are difficult to overcome unless an extremely skilled facilitator is used. Instead, this portion of the program has been revised and improved by replacing it with a system that uses causal factor charting and a series of questions (not unlike Taproot systems) to arrive at a root cause. The results are repeatable and can be done by anyone with a rudimentary understanding of what to do.
As a result of me letting go and re-examining the program, it is now shorter, more meaningful, aimed at the right audience and most importantly, it is being used. It is making a difference and having a broader impact. The largest hurdle to overcome was me. My ego and excitement over my first born got in the way of realizing it had flaws that needed to be changed. My baby had issues and with work I think they've been addressed properly. Fortunately, I got a second chance to make it work. I learned to focus on the audience and the material's intended use rather than the material and how clever it all was.
Geesh, that was long-winded. My apologies but thanks for letting me confess a bit.
Last edited by Terry.Tyson; 07-11-2011 at 10:31 PM.
Re: Risk Taking
I haven't really taken any one-time big risks, but I am in the habit of doing things that many people (esp. my mom) considers "risky" for a young woman.
To wit, I travel long distances alone, I stay out late and walk home alone (sometimes after a few drinks!), and wear whatever the fuck I want.
This was brought on by a few things.
1. I've got shit to do and not a whole lot of friends who live nearby, so the idea of not doing something I really want to do just because one of my four-ish friends isn't available is kind of a stupid limitation.
2. In college, I took Intro to Feminisms, and that was the first time I'd ever heard the real rape statistics-- that "stranger in a dark alley" rape is actually the least common kind of rape, to the tune of only 2-3% of rapes. It is actually statistically safer to walk alone at night than it is to date! (And indeed, the one friend who has confided in me about her rape was raped by a friend while hanging out at his house.)
3. Why should I be afraid of and keep myself from doing something perfectly legal because I'm afraid of people doing illegal things to me? To hell with this internalized, pre-emptive victim blaming.
This has been my modus operandi for the past 4 years, and I've never been so much as asked for the time by a dude while taking part in this "risky" behavior. I've gotten stranded overnight in NYC, I've traipsed all around northern England (when I lived in London), had some of the best cocktails in my life at a bar about that's a 20-minute walk from my apartment, and have never hesitated to get a cup of tea after a late movie at the cafe next to the theater. And best of all, I save money on cab fare!
Re: Risk Taking
I gotta admit, this topic has been haunting me a bit since it was posted. Having seen several birthdays, I often wonder if I had taken a riskier path (many years ago) would I be happier, more fulfilled? I frankly do not know. I do know that for a variety of reasons, including lack of talent and skill, I probably took a much safer path early on. Not sure if the necessary skills would have be developed, but at the time, I viewed the prospect of being good enough to suceed as daunting and perhaps even an immovable block to further progress. I also know that because of the need for the well being and security of my family, I chose the path that provided a much clearer vision of prosperity.
Is it braver to admit that you don't have the chops to make it or is it self-defeating and risk adverse? By no means do I view my life as wasted, non-contributory, unimportant and full of regret. It's just a bit different than what I thought it would be.
I DO admire a number of friends who took the chance and followed their dream, used their talents and are seeing recognition and reward come their way. I am proud of them and what they've accomplished.
Perhaps it takes nerve to persevere in whatever we do to show up every morning and just do the thing we do to get through life. Perhaps it takes bravery to not just check out and say, I don't want to do this or anything else any longer. Perhaps it is just risky to put on a shirt and shoes and go to work because its the right thing to do at that moment, regardless of what that work happens to be.
I know you're speaking of other types of risk taking, but the entire subject has just been playing these dialogs in my head almost nonstop. Sorry if I got off topic or rambled too much. This is a good topic, KS.