Make Great Decisions While Facing Risk

Get your copy of the book, Shape the Future, Lead Like a Pro

“I’m concerned that I’m backing away from making the right decision–because I’m backing away from risk,” my client, Henry, said.

“Here’s something that can help: You can have a strategy for making a great decision while facing risk,” I replied.

I then gave him information that I placed into my new book.

Here’s an Excerpt from my book: Shape the Future, Lead Like a Pro: 3 Skills Every Great Leader Needs to Succeed [click here to look inside the book].

My intuition gave me certain questions to help me ascertain if something is what I call the “Right Risk.”

  • Will I grow?
  • Will I learn?
  • Will I make new alliances?
  • Can I avoid “losing the store”?
  • Can I make money all the while?
  • Does my heartfelt intuition call me to go forth in this direction?

Now, I’ll talk a bit about each question and add some wise council from Walt Disney.

1) Will I grow? Will I learn?

I’ve written over 2 million words. Over the years, I have been working to improve in the craft of writing—both nonfiction and fiction. I don’t get stuck like I did several years ago. I’ve learned how to jump in and get writing even when I don’t feel like. Writing has become like dancing to me: You stretch, you learn the steps and then you have moments of real grace.

Many of us writers learn to revise and revise.

“Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it’s done right.” – Walt Disney

 2) Will I make new alliances?

Many times, we make the biggest strides forward when we team up or at least get some coaching. This is one of the reasons why I find so much meaning as the Spoken Word Strategist and Executive Coach. I help my clients learn things faster, get unstuck and streamline their process to reach higher levels of success and fulfillment.

My phrase is: Alliances make advances.

I’ve hired more than ten editors. I’ve learned from each one. Often, we go farther faster when we team up with effective people.

For example: In the early years, Ub Iwerks drew Mickey Mouse for the first animated Disney films. Without Ub’s contribution, Mickey would not have looked nor moved the way he did. This is an example of the power of alliances: Walt Disney’s story sense and Ub’s design/animation sense.

Later, Ub left the Disney Company to head his own studio. This bothered Walt a lot. Still, it’s said that of all the telegrams that arrived to celebrate the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt kept only one telegram—the one from Ub.

Years later, Ub returned to call upon Walt. Ub wanted a job, and Walt gave him the facilities so Ub could experiment with some technical processes. One of Ub’s advances made it possible to efficiently make the feature film, 101 Dalmatians.

Walt had a habit: He would ask the team members to “plus” [add to/improve] each scene of a film.

Now it’s your turn.

How can you team up with effective people?

What gaps in your knowledge or resources do you need shored up by working with others?

Write down notes about how you can gain team members or collaborate with others.

3) Can I avoid “losing the store”?

“Everyone falls down. Getting back up is how you learn how to walk.” – Walt Disney

My point is: Build in a buffer zone so you avoid “losing the store.” By this I mean, be careful about a budget and the use of resources. If possible, avoid spending too much on a project.

Some people note that in the same year James Cameron spent $200 million on Titanic, Steven Spielberg spent $63 million on Jurassic Park.

We realize that Titanic called for more expenditures. They built a replica of the great ship, for example.

Still, Steven Spielberg is a master of choosing what to place in a movie and what to leave out.

For example, a river scene with attacking pterodactyls was dropped from Jurassic Park (considered too expensive) and only revived for Jurassic Park III.

“The difference in winning and losing is most often… not quitting.” – Walt Disney

To avoid quitting, it can be helpful to retain some money to keep going.

Be careful of budgets of time, money and other resources.

4) Can I make money all the while?

When the Walt Disney Company opens a new theme park they start with a few rides. Then over the years they add more attractions.

“Disneyland is like a piece of clay: If there is something I don’t like, I’m not stuck with it. I can reshape and revamp.” – Walt Disney

At the Disneyland Resort, when California Adventure Park opened several things didn’t go as planned. In the first year 2001, only 5 million visitors attended. To give perspective to that, in that same year Disneyland saw 12.3 million visitors. In response, the Disney team lowered ticket prices.

How bad were things? The park only had about 5,000 to 9,000 visitors on weekdays although it was built to have a capacity of 33,000.

Okay. That was a rocky start. Disney CEO Bob Iger announced a multi-year revision of the park. It had cost $600 million to build California Adventure Park. The Disney team would further invest $1.1 billion to revise and remodel the park. Let’s remember the idea “make money all the while.” California Adventure has been open and earning income across the years.

One detail that captures my interest is that the entrance area was changed to a representation of Los Angeles as it appeared when Walt Disney moved there in the 1920s. What a great idea! This brings in the element of magical, nostalgia energy similar to Disneyland’s Main Street U.S.A.

Find ways to bring something to the marketplace and keep improving the product in subsequent versions.

5) Does my heartfelt intuition call me to go forth in this direction?

“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.  And one thing it takes to accomplish something is courage.” – Walt Disney

A number of people have asked me, “How did you write 45 books, Tom?”

I reply, “I was called to each one. I wanted to go on the journey of writing each particular book.”

“You reach a point where you don’t work for money.”  – Walt Disney

Walt Disney emphasized: “Disneyland is a work of love. We didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.”

Walt had been called to create Disneyland:

“Disneyland really began when my two daughters were very young. Saturday was always ‘Daddy’s Day’ and I would take them to the merry-go-round and sit on a bench eating peanuts, while they rode. And sitting there alone, I felt that something should be built, some kind of family park where parents and children could have fun together.” – Walt Disney

So, my friend, I now invite you to pause and ask yourself: “Does my heartfelt intuition call me to go forth in this direction?

My heart has called me to direct feature films, create graphic novels, write and sing songs as part of a band, teach MBA students at Stanford University, write 45 books—and more.

I’ve answered the call again and again.

What does your heart call you to do?

Yes—there may be years in which you do a “rent job” to support yourself and race home and do your heartfelt work.

We, who adopt the plan of “Whatever it takes,” step forward without regrets.

Just imagine what you might do if you quieted down fear and took some good steps forward.

Make a plan and step forward. Shape your future.


Tom Marcoux
Spoken Word Strategist – Executive Coach
Speaker-Author, 45 books so far 🙂

51gjiy0bzvlSoar with Confidence: An Executive Coach Reveals Secrets, Lies and Countermeasures So You Excel Like Top CEOs and Leaders – Pitch, Lead, Succeed

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This invaluable guide, used by people in 15 countries and now in its second edition, will help you become immune to dark persuasion. Learn to use countermeasures to defend yourself against unethical persuasion and seduction tactics. Break any trance in which a salesperson is trying to get you to buy something not to your benefit. “Learn how to defend yourself against manipulation. Best book you’ll ever read to protect yourself, feel strong and move forward in your life. Highly recommended!” – Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter


Secrets of Awesome Dinner Guests: What Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Helen Keller, and John Lasseter Can Teach You About Success … (The Power of Your Personal Brand)

Imagine dining with Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Helen Keller, and John Lasseter. These seven people share one thing: They’re great communicators. So this book will help you become a great communicator. “Marcoux especially stresses the importance of personal branding, of coming across as trustworthy and dependable.” – Einar Masson


What the Rich Don’t Say about Getting Rich: Work Smarter, Live Better

You want wealth, abundance and enjoyment–yes? Wouldn’t it be great to learn the real strategies that the Rich use to create Sustainable Wealth? This book takes you behind-the-scenes to what really works. You’ll see a lot of myth-busting, and you’ll learn the strategies that get real results. “Tom Marcoux gives you an inside look on the psychology of what it takes to be successfully wealthy in life. It’s more than just taking advantage of opportunity, but also about taking care of yourself. This book discusses a number of strategies that we often overlook when it comes to leading a successful life that leads to wealth generation.” – Barry Adamson II

5-28-17)FINAL2_amazingyouVers6webAmazing You: Enjoy the Power to Get It Done, Get Stronger, Get Credit for It … featuring Secrets of Extreme Confidence

Would you like to Amaze yourself? This book helps you Get Stronger so you can Get It Done! You’ll learn how you can Get Credit for It! All three elements are crucial so you rise to a higher level of success and happiness. Think about it. If you get it done, but you’re a physical wreck—you lose. If you get things done, but you don’t Get Credit for It—you cannot get new clients. And, you’ll lose your current clients—if they don’t know, in their gut, how their lives are better because you’ve brought them significant benefits. Here’s a secret: You can unleash the Amazing You! Executive Coach Tom Marcoux helps you develop Extreme Confidence. “Tom Marcoux, once again, has written a book filled with practical insights and veteran business expertise that allows individuals to acquire the tools to balance personal and professional life. Tom’s wisdom possesses depth and the experience of someone who has ‘walked the walk.'” – Dr. Arthur Ciaramicoli

Darkest Secrets of Charisma: Overcome the Lies about Personal Magnetism, Get People to Feel Your Charisma and Influence Others with Your Words

Learn how you can tap into your natural gifts and tendencies to radiate Three Types of Charisma. Discover how to influence people with your words. “Marcoux explodes this myth: Charismatic people always feel comfortable before and during an important event, such as public speaking, networking or some other social event. This book shows how you can feel discomfort but still come across as confident and charismatic.The secrets include ways to radiate all three forms of charisma Marcoux describes as Warm Trust Charisma, Natural Charm Charisma and Magnetic Charisma.” – Danek Kaus

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This book will empower you with the 3 Skills every Great Leader needs to succeed: Relate, Optimize and Intuit. Learn to excel as a RoiLeader. The Bottom-line: You need an “unfair advantage” of top communication skills. Use Expansive Thinking to handle Disruption and get out ahead of it. “Shape the Future, Lead Like a Pro empowers you with essential leadership skills. Integrity is the foundation of Authentic Leadership. This book helps you lead and retain people who appreciate true leadership and who will excel for your organization.” – Christopher Salem, Host of Sustainable Success Radio Show


Use Powerful Methods for Risks and Making Big Decisions

Tom Marcoux addresses Stanford University PhD's and PhD-candidates with his topic "Soar With Confidence"
Tom Marcoux addresses Stanford University PhD’s and PhD-candidates with his topic “Soar With Confidence”

“It’s hard for me to make the big decisions,” my client Cara said.

“I hear you,” I replied. “That’s understandable. I’ve been listening carefully to your current situation and you have a lot at stake.”

Working with clients, and as CEO, leading my international team members for my own company, I work with people taking appropriate risks.

I recall this quote:

“Failure or the risk of failure could often be a crucial step on the road to success.” – Dominic Randolph

Being skillful about “risk of failure” is valuable.

“The heart and soul of the company is creativity and innovation. … People don’t like to follow pessimists.” – Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company

I usually write about having courage and using strategy to take appropriate risks.

There is another side to this equation.

It’s valuable to learn when taking a particular risk is ill-advised.

I use 3 Considerations Related to Saying “No” to a Particular Risk

  • “If It’s not hell yes, then it’s hell no.”
  • I don’t feel a burning energy to do this.
  • If in doubt, leave it out.
  • Bonus Consideration: Really wanting it to be true does not make it true.
  1. “If it’s not hell yes, then it’s hell no.”

Years ago, I saw a comment by Cheryl Richardson in one of her books: “If it’s not hell yes, then it’s hell no.”

This is useful. Why? Because whatever you decide, you’re going to pay for it. For example, years ago, I directed a feature film in which I played a leading character and I did my own stunts.

I held onto the hood of a speeding, classic, cherry-red Chevy truck going 60 miles an hour.

Would I do that today? No. I’m not interested. Been there, done that. I’m older, and I’m not interested in risking great injury. I’d rather devote my time to leading my team in making six graphic novels of my series Jack AngelSword.

Now it’s your turn. Do you really want something? Is it a total, enthusiastic “hell yes!”? If not, then maybe it’s NOT worth it to you.

  1. “I don’t feel a burning energy to do this.”

Recently, I was offered two big opportunities. Both required that I invest money and time in big proportions. I said to my sweetheart, “I don’t feel a burning energy to do this.” That was an important point! It’s good to listen to yourself.

Now it’s your turn. As you talk with people you trust about a particular risk, how do you REALLY feel about it? Do you feel a burning energy to do it?

  1. If in doubt, leave it out

I’ve made big decisions. I’ve led five companies—plus directing my first feature film, giving my first big speech in front of 700 people, writing a book [I’ve written 40 books now. CLICK HERE to look inside the books.], hiring important team members and more.

Did I have any doubts when I went ahead? I did have a small doubt or two. But during those times, my big, positive burning desire was more important than any fear I had.

On the other hand, a Big, Important Doubt, might be your intuition saying: “Hey! Pay attention to this. Something is OFF here.”

If you have that kind of doubt, “leave it out” – that is, protect yourself and don’t go down a dark path.

Now it’s your turn. Do you have a “Big, Important Doubt”? Is your wish for a particular outcome maybe blinding you to a big downside?

3a. “Bonus”: Really wanting it to be true does not make it true.

One particular time, someone invited me to join a business opportunity. When I first heard about the business situation and what MIGHT blossom out of it, my heart filled up with “Oh! I hope this is true — and this works! My life would change so much. This could be my Big Breakthrough!”

It was necessary for me to quiet down my fantasy-thoughts, and take a close look at the whole situation.

I call myself an OptiRealist. That is, I’m optimistic that we can make things better AND I’m realistic to know that strategy is necessary. Another realistic view is that any project can get bumpy or even fall apart. Maybe you could barely hold the project together, but with the wrong people involved, you could waste a lot of your time.

For example, I directed a particular film project years ago. A certain actor refused to re-record certain lines of dialogue. This person was afraid of losing close-up shots. Wait a minute! If the scene does not make sense, this actor would still lose!

I carefully explained the need for the scenes to be re-edited to make the whole film project work. Still, this actor refused to record new lines of dialogue.

My solution: I replaced the voice of that actor through the whole film. I had to fix the scenes. That was my job as producer and film director.

A Special Consideration: Ask yourself, “How much control do I have in the project so I can take action to fix things?” If you have multiple opportunities before you, you may want to focus on those projects that give you a good degree of control so you CAN fix things.

It is realistic to understand that sometimes people will be so self-focused that they may hurt a project.

My point is: Pay close attention. If you’re in a project with trustworthy people, you’ll be okay. If you doubt the professionalism of people involved, it may be time to avoid the deal or situation.

Now it’s your turn. Have you interviewed a lot of people related to the proposed deal or situation? Have you made sure to realize “wanting something to be true does not make it true”?

As an Executive Coach and the Spoken Word Strategist, I often work with clients who need to take appropriate risks. How do you know if the risk is appropriate?

One part of the process is to thoroughly submit the risky deal or situation to these 3 Considerations Related to Saying “No” to a Particular Risk

  • “If It’s not hell yes, then it’s hell no.”
  • I don’t feel a burning energy to do this.
  • If in doubt, leave it out.
  • Bonus Consideration: Really wanting it to be true does not make it true.

You really need to get access to your intuition. Some researchers identify intuition as “unconscious intelligence.” That is, they suggest that you really KNOW something but it has not risen to the neocortex of the brain yet.

Pay close attention.
Guard your time and resources.
Then you can get the most value when you take an appropriate risk.


* See my new book Year of Awesome! How You Can Use 12 Success Principles including 10 Seconds to Wealth  (CLICK HERE to look inside the book)

Tom Marcoux
CEO (leading teams in United Kingdom, India and USA)

Speaker-author of 40 books (with free chapters on )
Executive Coach
Spoken Word Strategist
Author of Time Management Secrets the Rich Won’t Tell You (See more when you CLICK HERE )
1.8 min. video (on YouTube): Tom Marcoux pulls back the curtain about how his directing a feature film that went to Cannes Film market helps with “Building Your Brand”:
Author of Connect: High Trust Communication for Your Success in Business and Life (See more when you CLICK HERE )