Let me tell you a story about a guy who noticed some white space. And filled it. Literally. Then figuratively.
I got a chance to sit down with Roy Schwalbach, the head of JACK Studios and JACK eyes last month to pick his brain a little, find out what his story was, how he got to where he is now and so on. The biggest takeaway from our conversation was simply, belief. The guy just happened to be an inborn visionary. When he envisioned what some beat up space on the west end could become, a rags to riches kind of deal, he only partnered with the yes. Next thing you know, JACK studios was up and running with big clients like Vogue and Apple coming in to do shoots, Tommy Hilfiger and Martha Stuart lugging their teams into the new space, and so on. Roy pioneered the space for a lot of the big guys who are operating out of the city's west end now. All because he saw something and acted on it.
It's a similar story with JACK eyes, Roy's separate eyewear line that I came across while visiting his studio. He explained that his sport fishing hobby had him associating with a lot of wealthy business owners who came out to sea with all the proper attire but lacking in the appropriate sunglass to accommodate their look. The cheap plastic fly fishing glasses they would wear bothered him. So being the visionary that he is, Roy chased this white space and thus was the birth of JACK eyes, which now provides for a higher quality sunglass option for all the pro sport fishers out there who want to keep their eyes protected. All this to say, this guy made me think of risk in another way. "When you're an entrepreneur, you never see the failure, you only see success. You probably take a lot of risks but you don't see them as risks," he said.
Risk. I've been thinking about this a lot these days. In fact, my mind has been consumed by it. Do I see opportunities or do I stare at risk? Have I missed the boat? Has it already sailed?
And in this reoccurring battlefield of my mind, I have to slow down to remember: there is no such thing as risk.
We are alive. We have a purpose. And we only move upward.
It is about how we see that makes all the difference.