Taking big chances to find big success
July 18, 2008
Gregg Vanourek is all about getting down to the business of life. Or rather finding new joy by incorporating the spirit of small business entrepreneurship into our everyday lives.
He co-authored “Life Entrepreneurs” ” a self-help book about how to manage life, relationships and personal purpose through entrepreneurial finesse ” with friend and business partner Christopher Gergen. Together they run New Mountain Ventures, a leadership development firm based in Thornton.
Webster defines an entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and manages a business undertaking, assuming the risk for the sake of the profit.” In other words, Vanourek and Gergen believe that taking chances is the only way to truly succeed in any part of life.
“This book is about creating your extraordinary life and so it’s written for people who are in transition in life or work or just looking for more out of life,” Vanourek said.
Entrepreneurial behavior is often only thought of in the business sense of the term, according to Vanourek, but that model of thinking can be transferred to any part of life, be it spiritual, recreational or monetary. Think of it as the start-up process of a small-business venture ” figure out what the enterprise is all about, find a vision to approach it with, gather a support team and look for long-term solutions to problems. These steps will help those looking to find a new way to tackle life with vigor and determination rather than being victims of a “can’t do” business model, Vanourek said. A greater balance in life can be found by practicing the principles found in their book, Vanourek said.
“This is a do-not-miss program,” said Dani Janklow, marketing director for the Vail Symposium. “All of us face the challenges of balancing work with play and our other passions that we have living in Vail.”
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Vanourek will speak Monday night at Donovan Pavilion during a Vail Symposium discussion about how to find a more dynamic approach to life by being a “life entrepreneur.” The panel will include Bill and Penny George and Karin Weber who were just three of the 55 people interviewed for the book that exemplify Vanourek and Gergen’s model of behavior.
When she was asked to give her story for the book, Weber said it was a “humbling” experience and that she didn’t feel her tale was grand enough to be in the book. Obviously, the authors felt differently.
“I’m sort of ‘everyman,'” Weber said. “I’ve had a lot of different jobs in my work history and have approached them all in an entrepreneurial fashion and then I’ve taken that knowledge to the non-profit world.”
She’s been a teacher, real-estate broker, stock broker and currently owns and operates her own retail store called Fusion located in Eagle. She’s also written a couple of books and earned two masters degrees in her downtime. Finding new and constant challenges is what keeps Weber fulfilled, she said.
“You can open up opportunities by not limiting yourself with your own self-perceptions,” Weber said.
And back to that whole risk taking part of the philosophy. According to Vanourek, calculated risk is all part of the game. Many of the people he interviewed for his book started a business when it looked like they should have held on to their money.
Vanourek cited Cakelove bakery, Adirondack Creamery and Mental Floss magazine, all small businesses launched during a recession that are still prospering today. Taking chances shouldn’t be limited to businesses either, he said, but spread across all parts of our lives.
“It’s a matter of taking effective action in the world but not getting too caught up in things … it’s taking the long-term perspective and that’s very much what this book is about,” Vanourek said.
High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.