Many Wall Streeters consider themselves risk averse and they make the mistake of assuming I am not.
Looking at my career choices—leaving Goldman to “do nothing” and leaving Carlyle to become a self-help expert—they assume I am risk loving, but nothing could be further from the truth.
It took me five years of planning to leave Goldman and for almost three years at Carlyle I was focused on leaving and sharing my ideas.
Like the majority of us, I am risk averse, it is just I have always measured risk a little differently to most.
When I was a kid growing up poor and dreaming of a better life, the risk wasn’t that I would fail in high school and university and end up where I started, the greater risk was that I would never aspire for more.
At Goldman, when I kept my job after half the office was laid-off, the risk wasn’t that I would be next to go, the greater risk was that I would stay in a job that I didn’t love.
When I got to Carlyle and realized the buy-side wasn’t everything I imagined, the risk wasn’t that I would leave and fail, the greater risk was that I would stay and live a shadow of the life I could imagine.
You see, I am incredibly risk averse, but my entire life the greatest risk I have avoided is looking back on my life wishing I had done it differently.
To dream and imagine and chase the life that might be is only a risk if you see the world differently.