No Risk Equals No Return

2023-01-09T11:49:44-08:00 July 15th, 2016|Tags: , |

Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.

As mentioned in my blog post Humility: The Key to Success, Prem Watsa, CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, spoke recently at the Ontario Prayer breakfast. The corporate values of Fairfax reflect his personal values, which are informed by his faith in Jesus Christ. One of them is “We are entrepreneurial. We encourage calculated risk taking. It is all right to fail but we should learn from our mistakes.”

I relate strongly to this value as I spent over forty years engaged in financial risk taking. From corporate lending to non-recourse project financing to venture capital investing and to publicly traded equities investing, my teams assessed risk and from time to time tasted its consequences! As an entrepreneurial investment firm, my company routinely took risk creating and marketing new financial products.

In reality, we must take risk to earn a return. However, as per Fairfax’s value, risk taking should be calculated. In the investment business, the task at hand is to identify and assess all the quantitative and qualitative risks associated with the opportunity.

In order to move ahead and experience a fulfilling life, we must take risk

This example from the investment industry also applies to life generally. In order to move ahead and experience a fulfilling life, we must take risk. There is no avoiding it. Playing life safe is very dangerous. Every day, we make choices regarding education, career, marriage, friendships and activities. We intuitively understand that these choices involve risk.

There is, however, a risk that many do not acknowledge or, if they do, do not investigate. This risk is indifference toward God. For many, this risk falls under the category “we don’t know what we don’t know”!

On the other hand, marketplace leaders can choose to acknowledge and evaluate the foregoing risk. As Christians, we believe that this assessment necessarily involves considering God’s unconditional offer of forgiveness and the full life that comes from being in relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

Accepting His offer requires our agreeing with the biblical assertion that we have erred by de facto declaring independence from God. To paraphrase Frank Sinatra’s well known song, “we have done it our way”!

It takes humility to make Jesus our leader. This is particularly challenging for those of us in senior business positions. However, taking this risk was the best decision of my life. For me, the return has been priceless – an abundant life full of meaning, joy, peace and adventure.

Intrigued? Please connect with us to learn more.

Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.