Category Archives: Career

Living BOLDLY and fearlessly (while being smart about it)


I’m honored to have one of my articles published in the June 2014 inaugural issue of BOLD Favor magazine, a publication highlighting people, organizations, and causes that inspire people to live boldly and fearlessly. I’d like to share the article with you, my wonderful readers, in its entirety.


The founder and editor-in-chief of BOLD Favor, Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, is an impressive young lady who is a published author, CPA, attorney, speaker, and leader in her community. I always tell her that she is going to be another Oprah in a few years, so I plan to stay on her good side so I can borrow—no, have—a few million bucks from her one day. So when she asked me to submit an article related to living boldly, I was very happy to do so.


When I first thought about living boldly, I considered the time I stepped out of my comfort zone to ski on a steep slope (a mountain slope in the Austrian Alps, of all places), even though I had never touched a ski in my life. After two short lessons, I went up to the top of a hill and tried to practice making turns. Instead, I shot downhill like a bullet, straight toward death or serious injury in the form of a massive concrete support column. The other skiers spotted me as an obvious newbie and decided to move out of my path. I heard the ski instructor yelling for me to turn, but my leg wouldn’t listen. As I got within 20 feet of slamming into that column, I shifted my weight so hard that I executed a perfect 90-degree left turn at the last second. I drifted away with a new lease on life and a promise to start going to church more, as my buddy gave me that smirking “you-know-you-almost-killed-yourself-don’t you?” look.


BEFORE: Living boldly and fearlessly on the ski slopes

BEFORE: Ready to live boldly and fearlessly on the ski slopes


How I lived boldly and fearlessly on the ski slopes

AFTER: How living boldly and fearlessly on the ski slope worked out for me


While that was certainly living boldly, it was also a bit stupid to try skiing in that environment, especially one where most people didn’t even speak English and I didn’t know the German words for ‘hospital’ or ‘last will and testament’. I didn’t want to inspire someone to risk his or her life, so I decided to write about safer ways to live boldly.

Enjoy the article and check out the magazine!



Pushing BOLDLY Through Fear & Past Procrastination

Reprinted from June 2014 issue of BOLD Favor magazine

by James Reid


Taking a leap of faith

Leaping out of the comfort zone (which is safer than skiing)


To me, living boldly is stepping out of your comfort zone and changing your life. Everything starts with that first step.

Most people never take that step because of fear. Fear of being a failure. Fear of uncertainty. Fear of being ridiculed or of being uncomfortable.

I had those fears when it came to my writing. I love to write. I daydream about being a famous author. And I procrastinated—for years—in writing my first novel. It isn’t good enough yet, I told myself. I never learned how to do this. What if people laugh at me and say my book is garbage? Especially after I spent all these years on it?

If you are thinking like this about your own dream, stop it.

I used to volunteer and spend time talking to elderly people with no family. They appreciated the company. And while the conversations were pleasant, all of them expressed the same regret: they wished they’d taken a chance on doing something they loved. They said they made dozens of excuses for their inaction; they were too busy, kids got in the way, etc. They warned me not to make the same mistake because life sneaks up quickly. The situation and timing for living boldly will never be perfect. The best time is always now.

So for me, the fear of having critics rip my book wasn’t as strong as the fear of getting old and looking back on my life, wishing I had taken a chance to achieve great things. How about you? What do you fear most? Failure? Or regret?

I have a feeling you want to change your life and make that big step! As you live boldly, I’ll share some things I’m learning as I go along in my career:

  • Haters will come. They’re always going to be there, so forget them. I fretted about them until someone reminded me that even the Bible has detractors. So if some people have problems with the best-selling book in history, how can I expect my book to emerge unscathed? You’ll never get everyone to like you. Focus on your supporters instead.


  • Forget about making mistakes. In fact, use corporate puffery and call them learning opportunities. You’ll have plenty of them, especially when starting any venture. Of course, you should try learning from other people’s mistakes rather than your own, but it’s still unavoidable. Just learn from them. I’ve learned more of what not to do than what to do in this early stage of my writing career.


  • Aim high. You’ll need to, because people will always be pulling you back down with them. For example, writers groups can be depressing. We’re constantly told we have a better chance of hitting the lottery than of getting an agent and making money, blah blah blah. Yes, the odds are astronomical. I experience them every day. Living boldly means you will, too. So you need to be a realist.


But don’t confuse realism with pessimism. Pessimism is naysaying, with no thought of positive outcomes or solutions. A realist understands the risks and troubles, but plans to overcome them. It’s true that most writers make little money. Yet, James Patterson made $94 million in one year. So somebody is making money by writing. Will I get there? Who knows? Most of us won’t reach that level (if money is your measure of success). But he started at zero like everyone else. Aiming high and believing you can get there is living boldly. It’s difficult, but not impossible.


  • Be patient. I struggle with this myself. But unless you’re lucky, success won’t come fast. However, people expect everything to move quickly these days, so they’ll question you and doubt you, wondering why it hasn’t happened for you yet. Just keep at it. Big things have small beginnings. That first step is the hardest. Once you get going, you start rolling.

It took me ten years to complete and publish my book. People always wonder why I didn’t give up. It never crossed my mind. I love writing stories and I still hold on to that dream.

If you take that bold step to change your life and do what you love, giving up won’t be an option for you, either!

Career Change does a body good

I’ve been blessed to learn and cultivate a particular set of skills, skills I’ve acquired over the course of my career.

I’ve always wanted to say that.

Actually, it would be cool if I were a former spy like Liam Neeson in Taken, but the skills I’m talking about won’t help me take out violent criminals single-handedly. Instead, they’ve helped me survive layoffs and do well in six industries and disciplines. In about 17 years, I’ve worked in retail management, finance, pricing, marketing, and product management. I’ve also written my first book in a murder mystery series.

Lots of younger professionals (20’s – 30’s) ask me how I transitioned through multiple career paths. Those that ask me usually seek a career that is more fulfilling. Therefore, I thought I’d share a few things I learned. If you find yourself in this situation, I hope you find this useful.

Figure out exactly what you want to do

Hopefully, you’ll already know this, so I won’t spend a lot of time on it. We only live so long, so you don’t have time to taste-test a thousand options. Research your targeted choice and interview folks already in it. Make sure you really want to try it. You don’t want to waste years getting into something only to end up hating it.

Understand and build your transferable skills

I jumped from retail banking to financial management to marketing. Although the roles are different, all require strong analytical capability. I cultivated that skill and positioned it as an asset for each role.

Let’s say you sell used cars but want to work in product management one day. Start by determining the basic skills required for success in each role. Suppose one is understanding and meeting customer needs.  Another one may be influencing buying behavior. If you build on those skills and can demonstrate them, you’ll make a huge leap in including yourself among the candidates in your targeted career.

Remember that skills can be learned. Although I majored in marketing, I ended up working in finance because I couldn’t get a marketing job when I graduated. I had to learn how to be analytical and look at the big picture because I sure didn’t do much of that in the beginning of my career.


This is obvious but is even more critical when you’re switching careers. You’ll be an unproven commodity in your new field. Building connections is key to convincing someone to give you a shot. Also consider joining Toastmasters to brush up on your public speaking; the ability to network and present and convey ideas will open doors everywhere.

Offer yourself on a trial period

Some people apply for jobs outside of their field, don’t establish relationships, but expect to command top dollar without working their way up. That’s ridiculous. Instead, find someone in your new field and offer to assist them with a project—for free. Or join a cross-functional project team at work to gain exposure. If people don’t have to pay you, they’re more likely to bring you in, show you the ropes, and give you valuable insight. I’ve landed a couple of jobs this way.

Understand it will take time

Everybody wants everything now. Life doesn’t work like that for most of us. Things take time, even for things where we feel we’re a natural fit.

I love writing—and yet, it still took me about nine years to write and publish my first book. It also cost a lot (i.e., attending writer’s conferences, paying copy editors, paying for promotional tactics, etc.)

Hopefully, it won’t take you as long to start your new career as it did for me to write my novel. Just understand that this effort usually isn’t overnight. Your career path might resemble a line dance; you’ll have to take a step forward, one step back, and two to the side before moving forward again.

But as long as each step puts you closer to your goal, you’ll keep acquiring those valuable sets of skills that will place you where you want to be.