I’ve spent most of three decades writing books and scripts for television and films. I’ve seen great successes and disappointments, but in general I’ve always followed my instincts.
I was in the process of writing my eleventh book and ninth novel when I decided to take a different approach. I wasn’t sure if my publisher (or any other publisher) was interested in the idea, but it was important to me, a book that I not only wanted to write, but had to write. It was a big change in both direction and target audience, and with that comes the risk. But it was a risk he had to take.
The book number 12, Three dreamers, my first non-fiction work since 1995, will be published on April 27th. These are three women in my life who taught me about courage, kindness, and the power of storytelling: my mother, my grandmother, and my late wife Susan. At this point, I have no idea how well it will sell, but I know it was worth the plunge. It was a book I wrote at the perfect point in my career.
Were there any risks with this jump? If many. But here are four things to consider when deciding whether it is time to try a new approach to your career.
Don’t be afraid to try something old to make it fresh
Never be afraid to take that plunge if you believe in your idea, whether you want to try something old and remodel to make it feel fresh again, or try something you’ve never done before and work on it until it fits into your comfort zone. Own it just like you have every other career move you’ve made.
Be honest with yourself when it comes time to make changes
Take a step back and be honest with yourself when it is time to change course, regardless of whether your career is going smoothly or you are feeling bad. If the idea is strong enough and the challenge is big enough, this is the best time, perhaps the only time that you have a chance to take this step. It will either help you get out of any depression you may be in or it will re-awaken a creative flow that has stalled. And the fear of failure will make you work harder and do better than you have in a long time.
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Do what you think is right, not necessarily what everyone else is telling you
It’s always better to do what you want to do and steer your career in the direction you want. The easiest way is to let others determine the path you have been on for a while in most cases. Trust your instincts and talent. Think of your own solution to every problem that has arisen in your career and don’t let others decide for you. If you fail based on your judgment, your disability will still be considered. So, if you accept success or failure, leave it due to something you wanted to do.
Never be happy or stagnant
Do not leave your career in calm waters – this kills creativity and the desire to move yourself to peak performance. Never be afraid to try something new and always be ready to know how this fresh new adventure, this exciting and different approach leads to an excess of pleasant surprises. You will be proud of what you have achieved and what you have worked for.
And above all, proud to take risks and bet on yourself.
That only makes you a winner.