A few weeks ago, I cold-messaged one of my favorite Asian American authors (who happens to be a Nebula award finalist) to ask if she would like to be on my podcast.

My podcast with 598 downloads ever.

You know what? She said yes.

I also put out a call on Twitter for other Asian American writers, editors, and agents to spend an hour yakking with me. I got 90 retweets, maybe a dozen messages, and a few other guests scheduled.

And that’s maybe my risk-taking, shot-shooting quota for the year, except I also sent off a proposal for a very cool project that I’ve never done before but am charging fully Big Kid Prices for.

I’ve always admired those who take big risks and get big payoffs. I tend to tread a more cautious path, carefully measuring my odds of success and weighing the price of failure. Part of me really wants to be the kind of person who throws caution to the wind and has the splashy success to show for it.

I think I sometimes glorify a careless attitude because it seems more…glamorous? Exciting? Cool? All the things I don’t think I am. But sometimes the answer to “What have I got to lose?” actually is A LOT. And there’s nothing wrong with being mindful of that risk.

During my (ill-fated) direct sales career, my team leader once issued a challenge to rack up as many rejections as possible. The intent was good – I certainly need to break my approval addiction – but it also kinda seemed like a waste of energy that I didn’t have at the time. (And still don’t.) 

When I was more active on Upwork, I didn’t apply to anything that I didn’t fit ALL the criteria for. Meanwhile, some freelancers I knew shotgun-applied to hundreds of jobs. I’m sure they got more gigs than I did, but they probably also spent a LOT more time getting those gigs than I did with my (probably overly) targeted approach. 

Like most things, the balance probably lies somewhere in the middle. Shoot your shot, but it’s also okay to save your powder for the most important shots that you have a good chance of making.

Think, Feel, Do

  1. Are you more likely to shoot your shot or save your powder?
  2. How do you feel when you imagine doing the opposite?
  3. What’s a risk with good odds that you could take this week?

Let me know how it goes!


Auntie JDF