Riskon in the News

February 27, 2002

Leaders & Success
IBD's 10 Secrets to Success
“Don't Be Afraid to Innovate; Be Different; Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.”

Remember being a student and participating in sports, studying poets, analyzing works of art, learning math and logic, and writing essays on subjects ranging from the death penalty to John Lennon?  Alone, each activity was interesting.  As they bounced off of one another in your brain, they were exhilarating. 

You can get that creative energy back today by diversifying your life, suggests Ronald Law, a Littleton, Colorado-based cardiologist-internist and businessman.  When he was 45, says Law, he went into business with his three brothers (Dennis, a thoracic surgeon; Christopher, a plastic surgeon; and Jeremy, an orthopedic surgeon.)

The four Hong Kong-born brothers formed Law Bros. Co., a partnership with interests in real estate, live theater, printing and product development, among other things.  Their yen to practice medicine in the morning and business in the afternoon arose from a desire to explore and experience life ( and themselves more fully, he said.

Law says the urge to rev up your life and creative energies is a natural byproduct of aging, but one that many people shrug off as a midlife crisis.  “It is common for people to tire of their chosen occupation because you made those choices while you were young,” he said.  “So as you approach the fifth and sixth decade of life, frankly, you burn out or you have (an opportunity) to come to a better understanding of yourself.”

            Spreading your wings and trying new things isn't easy, he admits, but the rewards (personal enrichment, enhanced creativity and fun) are worth the risk.

            Barry Honig, an avid downhill skier and windsurfer, agrees.  He's been blind since birth, but his inability to see hasn't slowed down his life or squelched his ability to take risks.

            Honig, 40, says the challenge of skiing (and its “differentness” from the everyday world of business, in which he is president and owner of Riskon, Inc., a Tenafly, NJ-based executive search firm) is what attracted him to it.  “Why do something easy?” he said.  “I took something hard and, after years of training, am able to do well with it.”

            Honig wears two-way headphones as he winds his way down the hill, following a sighted person's directions to ski left and right around trees and other obstacles.

            Honig and Law believe that engaging in a variety of activities can make you a more creative person.  Their tips for diversifying include:

Read an assortment of books and magazines.  Honig, a scientist and engineer by training, enjoys reading history and uses it to learn how to manage people better.
 Law, 53, reads about medicine, business and more, and writes with an innovative twist.  His book, “The Body of Business,” draws interesting parallels between a healthy human body and a healthy business.
Take risks.  “Self-discovery is a pilgrimage that all ponderous minds make,” Law said.  So when you feel dissatisfied with your job, or too tired to get up and face another day, consider what new activities or professional projects you might add to the mix to spice up your life.
  “Go for it,” Law said.  “Whatever side interest or new occupation or new risk you take, you will be enriched by it.”