The 2018 Winter Olympics figure skating competition didn’t go exactly the way eighteen year old Olympic figure skater Nathan Chen had hoped. Entering the competition as the only male figure skater in the world to complete five different types of quadruple jumps in a single performance, Chen stumbled through the team competition and short skate , where he failed to land several required jumps. On the eve of the long program and far down in 17th place, Chen said screw it , and decided to go all out, aiming to do six quads instead of his usual five.
I was, like, I’m not going to hold myself back and play it safe [Chen said.] I had literally nothing to lose, so if I made a couple of mistakes, so be it.”
The rest, of course is history with Chen completing five quads and touching a hand down on a sixth – an Olympic first.
Chen’s story gives lawyers something to think about. Where are you going by playing it safe? Maybe you suffered a career setback like being downsized from your law firm or maybe you never found employment at all, so you’ve been doing document review or doing temp work just to pay the bills. Or maybe you work for a government agency or in-house and it’s just fine but not the work you dreamed of back in law school.
Here’s the thing. If you continue going through the motions in your current position hoping that something better will fall into your lap, the years will pass and your situation won’t look any different five or ten years from now. Nathan Chen could have written off the 2018 Olympics as a wash, sleepwalked through his long program and plotted a triumphant return for 2022 – but he realized that there’s no time like the present to start over.
Maybe starting a law firm will be the final stage of your career. Or maybe it will serve as an entire to something new and completely different. But unless you give it a try, you’ll never know what can happen.
What have you got to lose?