Guts to Climb Your Pole – Risk-Taker

“If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be a risk-taker.” (Schussler, 2010, pg. 9) Whether there is victory or a do-over, you must step out of your thoughts, step out of your dreams and go for it! We were created to solve problems. And your creative passions hold answers to problems people don’t even know they have yet because you have not walked it out of your head. Potential means that you have done nothing. Why, because potential requires an action and an end result. That end result it what separates the entrepreneur from the successful career person. Schussler suggests, “A successful businessperson operating in a corporate environment is like an acrobat doing all kinds of elaborate tricks on a high wire. Sure it’s impressive, but he’s got a safety harness on.” (pg. 9) How many of those brilliant ideas feed someone else’s dream because of fear. We all want security- job security to take care of our family; relationship security to build healthy families and support circles; and financial security to not only live but to enjoy life.

When it is time forfeit the safety net and just walk the wire without the fancy antics? Schussler says, “Entrepreneurship is like performing a steady walk across two forty-foot-high platforms. It doesn’t have to involve fancy footwork; it can be just moving gingerly along the taut wire….What makes the performance impressive is that lack of a safety net.” (pg. 10) Your taut wire walk is impressive because of the guts it took to just walk out on your dreams. Schussler states that you need “passion, ambition and talent” to climb someone else’s pole, “but you need guts to be in business for yourself. “ (pg. 9) You need guts to climb your own pole.

Take a look at this video of an 83 year old gentleman climbing a pole. His age, the height of the pole, nor the difficulty were not factors. I think it was his passion, ambition and talent.

If you call yourself and entrepreneur, you are saying, I am a risk taker. defines you as a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and RISK. Taking risks leads to success when you make the do-overs count. Julie Zeilinger has compiled 7 Reasons Why Risk-Taking Leads to Success for women, as views from successful women who “put it all on the line.”

    • Great, otherwise unforeseen opportunities often come from risk-taking-reframe risk as an opportunity to succeed
    • Taking risks shows confidence and helps you stand out-present yourself as a leader and not a follower satisfied with status quo
    • We learn from risks — and those lessons may lead us on an important, new path-external opportunities and internal growth
    • Success won’t fall in your lap — you have to pursue it- active pursuit
    • You don’t achieve your dreams by playing it safe-open you up to a world of possibilities you have yet to consider
    • Embracing risk-taking helps you overcome a fear of failure-eliminate this major roadblock because failure isn’t the end but usually the beginning
    • Taking a risk doesn’t mean doing so haphazardly-it doesn’t occur in a vacuum

Lucille Ball, Oprah Winfrey, Vera Wang, and J.K. Rowling all failed before succeeding. So jump! Our passion is such a spring board and the harder we jump on it the more we will be propelled. You will either fly or make the perfect dive into the life you want. Failure is not an option. – The world’s favorite online dictionary! (n.d.). Retrieved November 05, 2016, from

Schussler, Steven. (2010) It’s A Jungle In There. New York: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.

Zeilinger, J. (2013, August 13). Seven Reasons Risk-Taking Leads to Success. Retrieved November 5, 2016, from

11 thoughts on “Guts to Climb Your Pole – Risk-Taker”

  1. Hi Michelle,

    That was a great article, thanks for posting this! And wow, that video of the old gentleman climbing that pole…that was really amazing. We really need to have the courage to accomplish whatever it is that is in front of us! As Shussler says, the footwork doesn’t have to be fancy – it is simply one foot at a time and you make progress.

    Again, nicely done,

  2. I think that so much of success in life is determined by taking well planned, calculated risks with defined goals. If you were to search “risk” on youtube, I can almost guarantee that you would be met with a series of somewhat questionable decisions. However, risk for an entrepreneur is much different. Risk is the ability of an entrepreneur to know where they are, see where they want to go, and being able to devise a plan to bridge the gap. Having the faith to step onto the bridge is what makes entrepreneurship great!

  3. Michelle, quite frankly the article was very well written and it gave me the positive energy to take risk.
    However the video of the 83 year old man was amazing and it gave me a long lasting desire to take risk. This gentleman took the risk and climbed the pole, not 50 percent a 100 percent and still was able to come down the pole under his on power. Simply amazing!
    Thank You for this post.

  4. Michelle,
    Great post. I loved the video. Not only did he climb the pole, he did it so fast and it looked really windy. Excellent inspiration. Yes, we women must jump and soar as Steve Harvey says.
    I think you will like this video about Jumping from Steve Harvey.
    It is about identifying the gifts each person has and how they can be offered to others in a business, if you use them.


    1. This reminded me of a perspective that I typically use when discussing entrepreneurship in my class that I teach.

      The greatest leaders of our time (Gandhi, Mandela, King, Theresa, etc.), none of them started with the achievements they are known for… they started where they were, with what they had, and what they knew. That is the (for me) practical definition of risk… starting where you are, what what you have and what you know…

      Your post was quite informative and energizing… quite inspiring. The video of the 83 year old man reminded me that it is never to late to start, but it is always too early to quit! Thank you!

    2. Cece – this video from Steve Harvey says it ALL! I mean JUMPING in — going all in… is what life is all about. My father once told me that the most important thing you can do is LEAN IN… lean into the storm, the opportunity, the challenge. I have carried that with me always – Cece, thank you for sharing this resource!

  5. Very interesting post. I believe in taking calculated risks, not just jumping at every opportunity that arises. I think that being a risk taker is a part of everyone’s life regardless of being an entrepreneur. Its all about perspective. Even someone with traditional job security may feel they are taking risks when at work. For others that are use to taking risks, this may seem like no risk are taken. On the other hand, someone with a traditional job may view the risks of an entrepreneur and unstable and crazy. Its all about perception.

  6. Great video – thanks for sharing. That video fit the mold of what passion and confidence could look like. I also saw the video of Steve Harvey’s jump message. As entrepreneurs, we are basically taking a risk and jumping into life…..Steve couldn’t have said it better!

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