My offices were in downtown Cedar Rapids, requiring me to use a monthly parking card along with the rest of my team. We all parked in the same place, where there were two gates on the primary side. One is for monthly parking with a card reader, and the other manned by an attendant, who is retired, but returns to do a so-called easy job.

My employees were diligent about going to the side for the monthly parking, even when the hourly gate is left open. Eric, My VP, would get in line every day to swipe his card while I opted for the open gate, and drove right through, often waving at him while he sat in line.

Why Drive Through the Open Gate?

He would ask me why I drove through, and neglect to swipe my card. My answer is, Entrepreneurs always take the open gate, so why wait in line when it wasn't necessary?

It became a joke at our round table meetings at Entrepreneur Development Center, until Curt Nelson, who operates the EDC, witnessed Eric go out the hourly side, while the ramp is still open.

Curt happened to be going out the monthly line when Eric pulled this stunt and watched as the old timer parking attendant nearly has a heart attack yelling at Eric.

Curt called me immediately, laughing hysterically, as he knew immediately what was going on.

Not more than a minute later, Eric called me laughing, to tell me what he had done, and before he could get it out, I informed him that I already knew the story.

For the next month, Eric went in and out of the back gate, where no attendant worked as he was extremely embarrassed by what he had done. To this day, we get a kick out of the day Eric finally decided to be an entrepreneur and go through the open gate.

There were times that an open gate enticed me during regular business hours, but I would always opt for the card reader, keeping the parking attendant from potential heart attacks.

It's a calculated risk to take the open gate; something entrepreneurs must do daily. And, it's even smarter to see opportunity but to avoid jumping too fast, like going through the open gate without letting the parking attendant know what is happening.

I have a few other stories to share, that tell of capitalizing on an opportunity, and the risk that surrounds it. Being an Entrepreneur, I almost always take the calculated risk.

I laughed so hard, listening to the story unfold!

Do you take open gates?