Thursday, 5 November 2015

#SummerSays: Taking Risks

Curious - defined in the dictionary as ‘eager to know or learn something’. Are you curious? Do you ask questions and, most importantly, are you prepared to take risks? We've all heard the saying, "life begins at the end of your comfort zone". Damn right!

I used to have a teacher at college who would constantly tell me to be bold and take risks. To be honest, I always knew what that meant and was aware that the people who did it always seemed to produce great work. It was actually doing it that was the problem. I've always been a fairly confident person and I'm pretty sure that doors will open to those who are bold enough to knock, but it's not always easy to put yourself in a place that isn't comfortable or tell yourself to be bold if you feel the opposite.

Earlier this year, I flew over to in New York, for an 8-week adventure to work on a Broadway show, which was undoubtedly the best experience of my life so far. Liaising with people in the industry I never imagined I would ever meet, having to use all of the attention to detail I've learnt climbing my ladder so far and, more than anything, having to step up, offer opinions and use my initiative to make choices and be bold. Suddenly, you're in a new environment in an incredible city and you have to remember that you're there to do a job and do it to the best of your ability.

Sometimes in a new situation it seems frightening and you might find yourself trying to dig out all information you’ve previously stored. Hey, you're only human, and if you didn't get the adrenalin rush that leaves your inner monologue telling you to calm down then you wouldn't gain anything from the experience. Plus, frenetic isn't good in a professional environment. Calmness and good listening are the ones. Dig those out, they'll help you big time - I learnt that in the first week.

People who have started new businesses, changed careers, moved to a new city or spoken to a stranger have all taken a risk and been bold enough to accept the outcome whether that’s positive or negative. If you’ve taken some risks in your life, you've probably fallen into the depths of a failed risk a few times.

Milly Summer
After the experience of falling, you learn that hitting the bottom is rarely as painful as you perceived it to be (or thought it would be). Once you get up and dust yourself off, you may have a few bumps and bruises, but you realise you’re still alive. You haven’t been swallowed up by the thing you feared so much. Of course, the bigger the risk, the more uncertainty and fear will be present, but it’s the biggest risks and the boldest moves often reap the greatest rewards.

It’s easy to forget how to be bold and put yourself outside your comfort zone. I think as human beings naturally we love to keep our heads down, focus on our work and snuggle up at home as part of our usual routine. Maybe try and put yourself into some new situations and experiences that you might not necessarily think are ‘right’ for you. You might learn something, meet someone new or network with people you later realise could have an impact on your career. For me, Time Out London is my weekly bible. I’ll take it from the man beaming outside Tooting Broadway tube every Tuesday, flick through every single page with a pencil and find out what’s happening in London that week. After all, it’s the capital for a reason and there is so much going on ALL of the time.

I’m still learning every day at work how to be bold and take risks. Working alongside a team of agents who constantly take risks, negotiating what they want with boldness and confidence, is something I feel quite privileged to be able to observe. It seems to me that there are a lot of qualities needed to get to the very top of your ladder. Maybe you don’t ever stop learning? You might reach the top but still have things you need to work at and learn about, and that’s not a bad thing at all. It keeps us growing and improving all the time. You may have some heartaches, things may not go right, but you have to be using methods to keep moving forward, and I think taking risks is one of them.

Milly Muses: Only those who dare to fall badly can achieve greatly. Take a risk. Why not?!

Milly Summer

Milly Summer (25) is assistant to Michael Garrett at leading London talent agency Global Artists.
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