Taking Professional Risks Can Net Big Career Rewards

Right now, just a few weeks away from the New Year, the blogosphere is chock-a-block with economists, political thinkers and pundits focused on the looming fiscal cliff (i.e., the sharp decrease in the U.S. deficit that will result from significant tax increases and massive spending cuts set to occur if Congress and President Barack Obama fail to agree on a budget deficit reduction plan by January 1, 2013).

Many experts speculate that the fiscal cliff could cause a recession for the early part of 2013, and therefore believe that the President and Congress should cut a deal before it’s too late. But some experts believe that letting the economy go over the fiscal cliff would be a good thing because it would lead to better long-term fiscal reform and would result in a stronger U.S. economy in the long-run. That’s a big risk for President Obama to take.

Great leadership knows when to take a risk on outcomes versus settling for known results. Of course, deciding what approach to take depends on the circumstances, but generally speaking the greater the reward, the greater the risk we are willing to take. That’s known as the risk-reward principle.

The risk-reward principle has application for you as the leader of your own professional life. Take me, for example. By my own account, every day I am achieving moresuccess as a partner in my commercial law firm and as a leader within the cultural organization that I support. I love my work and my involvement in Chicago’s business andarts and culture scene. With so many rewarding things happening in my professional life at the moment, I’m settled.

So why risk doing something I’ve never done before, like starting a blog for TCW, the most resourceful and forward-thinking women’s magazine in Chicago? Because the potential for abundant career rewards is so great. There are the obvious benefits of expanding my networks, enhancing mybrand and enriching my creative horizons, but I truly believe that the most rewarding part will be sharing my perspective, along with thoughtful insight from respected professionals in various fields on a variety of issues, trends and hot topics for Chicago’s business community, and hearing your perspectives, too.

When I put it that way, starting this blog for TCW is really no big risk at all. So it’s now time for me to step to the edge of my own professional cliff, raise my eyes to the sky and joyfully shout, “Geronimo!” I invite you to take my hand and jump with me. I’m willing to bet you’ll be rewarded, too.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author and should not be considered or interpreted as legal advice, nor is it intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. You should not act upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel.

Lauren Blair

About Lauren Blair

Lauren Blair is a partner at Pedersen & Houpt. A member of the firm's Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group, Ms. Blair focuses her litigation practice in the areas of commercial, family law, employment law, and state environmental law. In every area of her practice, she thrives on working closely with clients to develop sound end-game strategies and is tenacious about delivering desired results. As a member of the firm's Labor and Employment Law Practice Group, Ms. Blair also counsels large and small corporate clients on employment law compliance, including on-site training for supervisors and non-supervisory employees and drafting/auditing employment policies, practices and handbooks. She also protects and defends employers against federal, state and local employment discrimination claims, and she's president of Goodman Theatre's Scenemakers Board, a group of young, diverse professionals whose mission is to support the Goodman in audience development, fundraising and membership. Her blog titled “Working It” offers a lawyer’s perspective on issues, trends and hot topics in the business community.