The courage to take a chance on people

~3 minute read.

Loane Avenell is a marketing and communications leader who cares deeply about relationships. She’s hard-wired to connect and inspire others to grow through collaboration. She’s also a massive advocate for people, talent and growth. As our guest blogger, she shares why she takes a chance on people.

In her own words …

“We rise by lifting others” – Robert Ingersoll 

An aspect of courage I am really interested in, and personally gravitate towards, is the courage to take a chance on people. Reflecting on Robert Ingersoll’s quote “We rise by lifting others”, I wonder what’s the opportunity for us – whether in a company leadership position, or in our personal lives – when we take a chance on someone to help them on their path.

For me personally, when the opportunity to take a chance on someone presents itself, I notice how easy it would be not to do it by simply walking away, in order to and not put ourselves, or anything about ourselves, on the line or at risk. But what happens when we listen to that little voice inside us and take the courage to act on that opportunity?

I have had a number of experiences where I could help someone – even when it meant I was taking a risk (or perceived risk) in my professional life.  Why I say perceived risk is what happened if they didn’t work out in the opportunity such as a job – would that reflect poorly on me – my judgment and my ability to pick the right person? Most of these opportunities included helping someone apply for a role, establishing a connection that opened a door, assisting someone in searching for a job, and putting someone forward for a promotion. Maybe the person didn’t tick every box in the traditional sense or score highest on every score or algorithm, but there was always a deeper instinct, a type of gut feel, about what the person I could help was about and that they were worth taking a chance on. I had the opportunity to either not pay attention to my inner voice, or to listen to it and act on it. In that moment, it can feel like a leap of faith to take a chance on someone – but at the same time, isn’t it an honour, or even a privilege, to be able to help someone and make a difference? Isn’t it a call of good leadership to back someone and take a chance on their strengths, rather than their deficits? 

But what happens when we listen to that little voice inside us and take the courage to act on that opportunity?

A few years ago, I met a young retail assistant who was very smart and personable. In particular she seemed very bright and friendly – there was a realness about her which was connecting and engaging. She was studying marketing and expressed an interest to work in that area, which is also the area I work in. When a role came up in my team some time later, I encouraged her to apply. While she wasn’t the most experienced on paper – I took a chance on her as I sensed she had all the attributes for the job and more. I’m glad to say my ‘gut feel’ was right in backing her, as this young person blossomed and grew, receiving several promotions during her three-year tenure, and going from strength to strength in forging a successful career path. 

What I have also come to realise, is that when you have the courage to back someone and place that belief in them, it can pull forward resources from within them. Instilling belief in someone gives them confidence to get out of their comfort zone and often awakens more capability than they knew they had. Having the courage to take a chance on others brings out the best in people, and it brings out the best in you. For me personally it’s reinforced belief in my intuition and choices, and built a desire and the confidence to want to back myself and take a chance on someone more often. 

Having the courage to take a chance on others brings out the best in people, and it brings out the best in you.

Got a story on courage and taking a chance on someone? I’d love to hear! I can be contacted on:

  • m. +61 401 535 660

I met Lo (Loane) at the launch of the Protégé Business Mentoring Program earlier this year in which she is a volunteer mentor. Since then, we have exchanged many messages and each time, I come away with a smile on my face and something to think about. When Lo first shared this piece with me, I thought, “Who knows, perhaps someone once took a chance on me?”  She certainly got me thinking.

Recently, I had just come out of a pretty tough conversation and read a message from Lo; it lifted my spirits and enabled me to continue with my day. She certainly has an amazing strength to bring out the best in others.

Thank you,


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