Cultivating the Courage to Take the Buzzer Shot by Jenna Abdou


Each time I challenge my dad’s insight to “enjoy the process,” he reminds me that, “It doesn’t matter how many home runs I hit. It matters how many times I step up to the plate.” 

The sentiment echoes the advice my friend William King, the Founder and CEO of Zephyr Health, gives to young startups: Fire a lot of bullets and then shoot the canon

Regardless of what we’re each working on, we fire bullets daily. For me, it’s reaching out to founders and investors to interview on the show; A challenging task due to their packed schedules.  

While the ‘Yes’s!’ leave me feeling like Lebron James after making the buzzer shot, the process isn’t always fist pumping glory. 

Most times, I feel the same way I did in my fifth-grade basketball uniform. Significantly smaller than the rest of the team with a single basket on my score card.


A few Sundays ago I had a Lebron James moment (Yes, the pose ensued) when an email from Scott Belsky appeared on my phone. 

Ironically, the most impactful lesson that stemmed from our time together is the importance of taking initiative. 

Scott is the Co-Founder and Head of Behance, Vice President of Products at Adobe, an international bestselling author, and an active investor.

Although he’s a heroic figure in the design world, I was most curious to uncover how Scott delivers world-class work in each of his roles.

Scott’s emphasis on the importance of taking initiative is an ideal representation of the difference between dreamers and doers.

We shouldn’t wait for our passions to land in our lap. We should make sure that we are incrementally getting closer to them.

Scott on finding your sweet spot.

To reference my favorite children’s book, the doers embody the mentality of the little engine that could. The others stand by; Paralyzed from taking action simply because they don’t believe that they can. 


I’m most inspired by the way Scott embodies the finesse of a Hall of Fame quarterback combined with a rookie’s courage to throw a Hail Mary on the first drive of Championship Game. 

We spend too much time crafting a net when we should be spending time jumping.

Scott on taking risks.

His ability to keep a tight reign on his rookie smarts stems from constantly debriefing about his performance. For Scott, self-awareness is “gold.” 

Before you run away from the daunting idea of “deep self-awareness,” Scott has a simple strategy to avoid being fooled by our blind spots. 

Whether it’s a senior executive or an intern, Scott reveals his blind spots by asking his team: "If you were me what is one thing that you would be doing differently right now?”

It’s a scary question, but the courage to discover how your light shines in the world is the only way to make it brighter. 

Whether it’s for personal improvement or product development, Scott advises us to “break the ice” when it comes to asking for and sharing feedback.  

As entrepreneurs, often times, we want consensus. We want everyone to understand and agree with our product and our business.

As a result, we strive to be familiar. Familiarity is the enemy of innovation. We grasp at what’s familiar and avoid charting new territory.

There’s something to be said about recognizing your convictions. You know, understanding that nothing extraordinary is ever achieved through ordinary means.

As an investor and a leader of a team, conviction drives you somewhere amazing. Consensus typically just keeps you safe.

Scott on choosing Conviction > Consensus.

Scott’s cognizant that choosing conviction can be terrifying.

When it comes to the unknown, he encourages us to focus on our big goals and embrace the ‘a-ha moments’ we encounter along the way.

Ambiguity is fine so long as you capitalize on the moments of clarity.

Scott on navigating the journey.

I used to approach uncertainty like the plague. However, as I slowly become more comfortable with ambiguity, I can confidently say that moments of clarity really do make you feel like Lebron as the ball swooshes through the basket.

Ambiguity is our time in the grey area. According to my friend Jordan Kretchmer, we spend most of our lives there, seeking to find our callings. 

The only way to navigate the grey area is to enjoy the process.

As a young and impatient creator, Scott faced this challenge in the early days of Behance. 

Preferring to abide by the ‘Move fast and break things’ mentality, it took him time to become acquainted with the importance of process. 


Some problems solve themselves over time. I could spend 24 hours immediately trying to solve it or I could focus on something else, and it will go away on it’s own. There’s some sense of process tolerance you only get over time.

Scott on understanding the importance of process.

Scott’s experiences “enjoying the process” have enabled him to capitalize on a huge range of life changing opportunities.

When it comes to the balancing act, the most important way he maintains his priorities is by ensuring that each new opportunity aligns with his “must,” described by Elle Luna as “the intuition that explodes inside of you.” 

The conscious decision to “Choose must” is the cape that makes Scott super human. The best part is; you have a cape too. You just have to find it. 

To learn more about how to find your sweet spot tune into Scott’s episode of 33founders, follow him on Twitter, and visit 99U, the Behance Think Tank dedicated to making ideas happen. 

Here’s a glimpse what we discuss: 

  • How to be an initiator 
  • Simple strategies to request and process feedback 
  • How to beat uncertainty by giving problems a chance to solve themselves
  • Why “Conviction > Consensus” 
  • How Scott evaluates potential investments 


Further Reading
  • How Inclusion Made Food52 the Web’s Hungriest Community — Before launching Food52, Amanda Hesser, and Merrill Stubbs spent their nights and weekends testing over 1,400 recipes for The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century. The experience laid the foundation for their co-founder relationship which is as fluid as the ebbs and flows of two chefs collaborating in the kitchen.
  • x.ai Unveils the Future of Artificial Intelligence — When Dennis R. Mortensen hired his founding team members at x.ai, he pitched them by illustrating his vision of a world where everyone has a personal assistant to schedule their meetings. Recognizing the complexity of the challenge, he concluded by saying: “We may die trying.”
  • The Power of Explosive Creation: How to Harness Your Creative Callings — If Steve Martocci could give everyone a fortune cookie with a customized saying inside he’d write: “Lost cookie. Please Return” with his name and address. “Imagine if I managed to reach the billions of people in the world. I’d love to see what kinds of letters I’d get back if I gave them a feedback loop,” he says.


back to the blog