Now Is the Time to Take Risks

Don't Settle for the Safe Route

By Published on .

Tyler Platts
Tyler Platts
I had a friend once tell me that now is the time to do the unthinkable, to leave the known and venture out to the unknown. Now is the time to take risks. It's not always about landing the biggest internship or job, but it's about obtaining the experience and skills that you'll need for the future.

Right now we are young, brilliant and enthusiastic, and we have everything in front of us. Most of us don't have worries or stresses of family life; we don't have dependents relying on us to bring home the bacon. We are allowed to take risks, to try something completely new, random. And let's face it, what do we have to lose? We can set out to learn and try new experiences that our parents didn't have the chance to do. The experiences we have will give us a unique opportunity to increase our value as employees.

I had the awesome opportunity to travel to Brazil and live in a different culture for two years. I was able to learn Portuguese and make tons of friends. I roomed with Brazilians from different parts of that vast country and learned how diverse a place it is. I ate with families who taught me about the culture, and even though the food was different from my American cheeseburger diet, it was delicious. I was able to participate in cultural events and see how another country celebrated Christmas, New Year's Eve, birthdays and national holidays.

This journey could be called a risk, to stop school and travel. Yet for me, it was an experience I wouldn't trade. I learned more in those two years abroad than I did in my first 20 years at home. Not only did I learn a valuable skill set, but I have stories that no one else has, stories and experiences that set me apart from the competition.

It's not always about where you go, but also about what you do while you are there. Never be idle; always look for opportunities, experiences and adventures. In the current economic struggle, this is the perfect time to take a chance and do something new and creative. I've learned that everything we do can be for our benefit. We can always use our past experiences to land an internship or job.

When I was looking for my first internship in advertising, I had literally zero experience. So I put on my resume anything I could think of--my custodian job as a freshman to my high-school job mowing lawns. And the best part is that I actually got an internship that semester. The employer could see that I was eager to learn and I had a good work ethic from these past jobs.

I've heard before that you should live life in your 20s, learn all you can in your 30s, make all the money you can in your 40s and retire in your 50s. Even though there is no set formula, I do love the principal of learning all we can to profit in our later years. Life's experiences and on-the-job experiences will be able to help us reach our professional goals. We shouldn't cheapen our lives by always working. If we take the time to try something new, we will see rewards later in life.

Tyler Platts is finishing his degree in advertising at Brigham Young University with a business-management minor. He interned in New York at Y&R as an account executive in the summer of 2009. He has filled many roles, such as account executive, planner and copywriter, in the BYU AdLab. The AdLab is a student-run, professionally mentored ad agency that does real work for real clients. He spent some time in the Brazilian Rain Forest and wants to return for the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.
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