We had the good fortune of connecting with Beth Ronsick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Beth, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is where intuition meets the urge to grow, to become, to expand.
In this season of spring, the daffodils and crocus dotting front yards are perfect metaphors. It’s simply in their DNA to bloom. Year-on-year, they follow nature’s directive: To gather enough energy to push through the soil and to unfurl toward the sun. In doing so, they’re not immune to snow, dog paws, an errant soccer ball. But what is set in motion is bigger than any individual flower; they’re participating in capital “L” Life, in the whole of it, all unfolding together.
We all have the impulse to bloom, but it can’t happen without taking some risk.
A scene from my own life comes to memory: It’s August 2006, and I’ve just arrived in Shanghai on a one-way plane ticket, with 3 suitcases and the cash from selling a used car.
Like so many risks I’ve taken, it started with a strong intuitive sense that wouldn’t abate. A few months earlier I had come for a holiday to visit friends, having just finished coaching certification. I found myself inspired and enlivened and inextricably pulled to be there.
Then a “hypothesis” of sorts landed: Maybe this is the moment to introduce coaching to an eclectic, fast-moving mix of Chinese and Western residents at a crux of time when the economy was off like a rocket. People worked hard, played harder and when they burned out, it was B-I-G. What if offering a different way for people to find purpose, balance and effectiveness might be just what was needed?
Then more details backfilled around the hypothesis: A visa would be easy to obtain and renew. Housing was affordable—it would only take a handful of clients to break even. Networking groups were bountiful, productive and anything but dull. Those are the risk-negating details that the mind does well—plan and research. But it starts with intuition and desire. There’s an Emmanuel quote that has always resonated: “Minds were designed for carrying out the orders of the heart.”
Was I afraid? Of course! It was 7,000 miles from home, and culturally and linguistically, a world apart. But stronger than fear was an orientation to see this as an adventure. To show up. And to stay curious.
The hunch panned out. Within weeks, a journalist at a networking event asked to write a feature article. Within months, I had a full coaching practice, and have never looked back. I believe that this happened because of a decision to be 100% committed to going for it, risks and all, embracing the unknown.
I suppose that means there actually is a default formula for risk: Tune in to intuition. Sit with it long enough to discern infatuation from a valid hypothesis. Do some planning, but don’t let your head stop you from taking the first step. Every decision carries risk. It’s not the decision itself or even the risk that matters—it’s how you choose to dance with everything that happens once you take that risk. Will you worry and hedge against what you don’t want? Or play all-in and trust that you’re off on an adventure, even if the road takes you somewhere else? What I know for sure is that hedging saps life of its vitality, while playing all-in builds momentum and opens doors.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I help people and teams to multiply their impact without selling their souls. Everything we do has an impact on someone or something. Bottom line: Do you want yours to be a meteor shower? Or a door ding?
As a coach, it’s my job to bring out the authentic gifts each person brings and to shine a light on the blind spots that hold them back. We’re at an amazing inflection point in history…if I can help leaders to be more intentional, inspired and inclusive, their organizations can’t help but flourish.
Clients are often in arts and culture organizations, tech, marketing, healthcare and environmental science. I work to keep a balanced portfolio of clients in the corporate and non-profit sectors, as it is meaningful to see non-profit leaders amplify their mission in our community.
The road here had a few twists and turns. I started my career as a writer in New York ad agencies on brands like IBM, American Express and Reebok. An interest in what makes consumers tick led to an interest in what makes employees tick, and before long, I had created a new role to take on staff culture and knowledge sharing. That role led to a transfer from New York to Hong Kong where I had the honor of working with teams in a dozen countries across Asia. And that led to a fascination with cultural differences and helping people harvest the best of their differences when working together.
The best lessons learned along the way:
-Listen to people. Let them know you see them. Our world would be different if we really took the time to listen and appreciate others. Everyone brings something valuable.
-Build strong relationships. Make every client a client for life. Check in on them. Make time to know them as people, not just clients. This is the foundation for repeat business, because we all want to do business with people we trust and care about.
-Focus on serving people well. The extra phone call, meeting or idea you offer to take on because it’s the right thing to do is way more important than whether or not it was scoped as a line item in the contract.
-Find sparring and collaboration partners who see things differently. Watch the creativity surge.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
It would be all about arts, culture, nature and food!
Day 1: Visit either History Colorado or the Molly Brown House to soak up stories of Denver’s past life. Gather up noshes and a good bottle of wine at Marcyzk’s, then head to Denver Botanic Gardens (ideally for an outdoor concert).
Day 2: Head up to Boulder and find a good spot to paddle board with a view of the mountains. Afterward, head to the Longmont farmers market and pick out ingredients to cook something seasonal and yummy.
Day 3: Get our art game on and choose an exhibition at the Denver Art Museum. Then do a walking tour of galleries and outdoor murals in RiNo. Drop in on a Wonderbound open rehearsal. End the day with a cocktail at Cooper Lounge in Union Station.
Days 4-7: Road trip! Get in the car and start driving. Probably to the Gunnison / Crested Butte area. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a knockout. If the season is right, maybe do the West Marron Pass hike from CB to Aspen. Leave plenty of time for chillin’ and letting adventure find us.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents. They said they knew early on I was “a different breed of cat,” yet they loved me unconditionally and have always had my back. And so many friends over the years who have become family.