There are a million clichés about taking a big risk. About fortune favoring the bold. Taking a leap of faith. Betting on yourself.
I’ve never been afraid to take a calculated risk. I went skydiving for my bachelor party. I invested $1,500 to have a designer build a website about sportscasting that I had no idea if anyone would read. I had the idea to start a podcast without knowing if anyone would listen or if I could even get enough guests to sustain it for more than a few months. But the benefits of each outweighed the chances of failure.
When you gamble, there is never a guarantee of winning, but if you can stack the deck enough, you can give yourself a good shot. Well, the moment is right in my career and life to take a calculated risk. My wife Sarah and I have decided to uproot ourselves from our careers, home, and lifestyle to move to a major media market and chase the sportscasting dream. This was not an easy decision, but whether I succeed beyond my wildest dreams or fail spectacularly, I believe it’s the right one.
The path to this decision started about two years ago when my employer in Aberdeen, SD lost the rights to Presentation College. I really loved covering that team. I have many great memories from that time and many of the people I met there are still some of my best friends. However, while I was there, I developed a comfort level that made it difficult to move forward for anything but a clear upward opportunity. Those don’t come very often in a community of 30k, five hours from the closest top 50 market. So when the first domino fell and we lost the rights, it became obvious that I needed to move on. It also turned out to be a potential blessing in disguise!
I had recently proposed to Sarah, my girlfriend at the time and now wife, and she lived three hours away in Sioux Falls. Our long distance relationship had been a challenge. After losing the Presentation College rights, it made sense for me to relocate so we could finally be together in the same city.
The initial plan was to transfer to a Western Iowa station inside the same ownership group that I already worked for. We had done everything but dot the i’s and cross the t’s when another opportunity came out of nowhere that I couldn’t turn down. It was working for the station I’ve been with for the last year and a half in Yankton, SD.
I’ve covered a ton of sports and made a solid income during my time in Yankton. But after talking it over with mentors, we agreed that my talent, ambition, and network of contacts has expanded to the point where I’m ready to chase bigger opportunities. Those opportunities are few and far between in South Dakota, which means that in order to move up, we need to move out.
The timing is right for this move. As mentioned before, I’m a newlywed with no kids in the picture yet. After having a conversation with my incredibly supportive wife, we decided if there was ever a time to roll the dice, it’s now. As a teacher, her job is in pretty high demand regardless of location, and the hope is that she will be able to find a full-time position while I work my way up the local ladder doing part-time and freelance work.
We researched many cities to see where opportunity was likely to turn up and also where we were both well connected. While we are still open to opportunities in other places if something were to come out of left field, we have narrowed down our potential locations to Denver and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
As with anytime you dive into the unknown, there is both excitement and anxiety. This could be the start of a path that leads to the fulfillment of all my wildest sportscasting dreams. It could also lead straight to poverty, failure, and disappointment. But when it comes down to it, the worst thing that can really happen if I fail is that I realize I’m not cut out for a big market. I can always move back to a small market, and continue my career at that level with no regrets knowing that I gave it my best shot.
At this point there is no turning back. We’ve both turned in our resignations and given notice to our landlord that we will be out of our apartment at the end of May. We’re then going on a delayed European honeymoon and coming back to the States homeless and unemployed. And for the first and probably only time in my life, I’m happy about it!
If you happen to be a program director or hiring decision-maker looking for talent, feel free to contact me. If you’re a superintendent looking for an elementary music teacher, I would also love to hear from you. I know a few people who may be great for your station/school….
Have you ever taken a leap of faith in your career? Share your story or advice in the comments section.