Have you heard the one about the entrepreneur who took the audacious step of selling her multi-million-dollar company and decided to do something completely different with her life? Probably, because apparently the world is lousy with them. And the blogosphere is desperate to share their stories with you, presumably to illustrate that you too can change your career.
“Yes, you too can take the bold move of changing your career to whatever you like,” they’ll imply. But woe to those who follow the example of a rich kid from White Plains who dropped out of Harvard to start a social media company. His story, while impressive in its own way, is not one that can be replicated by a single mom in Detroit with three part-time jobs. The risks she takes on regularly are more dire than a tech bro in Silicon Valley will face in his lifetimes.
Are there lessons to be learned from these obnoxiously wealthy entrepreneurs? Perhaps. But how to take risks is not one of them. It is quite likely they know nothing about the subject. They may think they do, and therefore will speak with great confidence, but it’s doubtful they truly understand anything about it. Their risks could jeopardize a portion of their massive fortune—perhaps force them to sell off some of their real estate holdings. While this may sting, it cannot be compared to what a family living paycheck to paycheck goes through when someone loses a job or can no longer make rent.
Those who did not have certain advantages early in their lives or who made egregious mistakes that held them back, are left with little to no leverage for making drastic and abrupt life changes. This means they must move forward in a thoughtful and cunning way in order to realize great success, which takes time and patience.
That is not to say all risks should be avoided. Far from it. Great success comes with risks, but these risks must be addressed in a way that takes one’s own circumstances into account not the circumstances of someone who has his and hers cryotherapy chambers at a villa in Stadt.