Are you a risk taker? Do you think you have a stronger appetite for risk relative to your friends and family? We asked some folks from the community about their approaches to risk and have shared their thoughts below.

Ashley LaPrade | Lifestyle and Wedding Photographer

The stereotypes associated with the word risk is an interesting one to me. It always implies a negative connotation for most people.The best memories and successes I have come from taking risk. Whether that be something as small as trying a new restaurant (when I know I could go to a place I love). To, using new equipment and lighting techniques on a wedding day. A time when you only have one chance to get it right. Read more>>

Henry Drayton | Filmmaker & Comedian

I grew up as a thrill seeker, always looking for the biggest cliff to jump off, and pushing myself to add another flip before I hit the water. Risk and I are old buddies. Throughout my career as a filmmaker and comedian, risk has led to some dropped cameras and some angry audiences, sure, but with each boundary I push past I learn a new lesson. I like the word “risk” because it’s an action word. No risk is taken from the couch. So, I continue to take risks because comfort is the death of creativity. Any time I find myself getting to comfortable, I remember that thrilling feeling I get when jumping off a cliff, get up, and find my next risky endeavor. Read more>>

Bianca Pietersz | Artist, Mother, & Creative Free Spirit

Risk is interchangeable with opportunity in my perspective. Artistic careers and the pursuit of any creative endeavor, especially as an indie producer are super risky. You have to be taking chances and trust that your effort will take shape in the form of tangible success. Many times with artistic pursuits, there aren’t any set paths. You learn through experimentation what works and what doesn’t. Risk taking really has been the base of my career and it has led me to take many adventures.. Some have been full of joy and others have been painful lessons, but the only real constant has been risk. You never know until you try. I hope to continue expanding my capacity with each new challenge I tackle and look back 70 years from now with no regrets because I tried everything and lived life full out. Read more>>

Liam Gist | Filmmaker, Actor, Entrepreneur

I am a risk taker. I truly believe that with great risk, also comes great reward. I always wage the risks, however when the reward outweighs the risk, it is a no brainer for me. I packed my car and drove from Ohio to California to chase my dreams. Leaving my family, friends, and everything that I knew was a huge risk. The reward is creating a life that I want and making my dreams come true. The culture of LA thrives off of the hustling, entrepreneurial spirit and I fit right in. I have been here for 2 years and I have opened a business as a Food Vendor, a production company, and selling used cars. There were risks that came with all of these ventures that I eventually conquered and made me the man I am today. Read more>>

Kodi Milburn | Music | Theater | Media

What I do for a living is a risk. I am a young woman alone in New York City performing and designing for pillars in my industry that have been here as working artists for decades. I am often the youngest person in the room by 20 years. Mine is a typical story of a doe-eyed midwestern girl with $500 to her name coming to the big city at 18 to be on Broadway. A common story, but a risk nonetheless, and hey I’m still here. I’m not on Broadway, yet, but I have built a dream life better than what I envisioned as a child watching my mother sing in bands and star in community theater. Today, my risks look a little different. After graduating a musical theater conservatory, I had a “regular person job” as a preschool teacher, and quit to pursue my craft, risky. Read more>>

Pedro Gomez Jr. | Television Writer & Producer

As much as I hate labels in life or having to fit into a cookie cutter scenario, I truly believe that there are those in life who will follow the path of stability and those who are willing to risk it all in pursuit of a greater happiness. Do you ever wake up, go to work, go home, watch some television then go to sleep to do it all over again the next day? I once was that person who was comfortable in a routine! My life was based off of what society had secretly embedded in my head as stability equating to success. As I navigated through life, I found myself getting bored easily no matter the task or job at hand and I’ve had some pretty cool jobs if I must say so myself! Read more>>

Hillary Ciccarelli | Abstract Painter & Fashion Designer

Risk is such an exciting and important factor to the life of an entrepreneur. Anyone who has ventured out of their comfort zone knows that the entrepreneurs risk can be adventurous and at the end of a long work day, fulfilling. At 18 years old I moved to Los Angeles to attend an acting conservatory American Academy of Dramatic Arts instead of attending a four year university. I would call that my first risk. I worked in fashion to support myself through school and by 21 I was working in sales with Ralph Lauren a luxury designer on Rodeo Drive. While in fashion sales, the creative outlet of painting spoke to me. My entire life, up to that point had been involved in the arts in some form. Growing up I was a ballet dancer and in high school I went into acting. Read more>>

Jeffrey Ball | Cinematographer / Steadicam Operator

I learned pretty early on that, for me, risk is an inherent part of getting to where I want to go in life and my career. I grew up in a very conventional household, one that provided me with the privilege to take risks, for which I will be forever grateful, but also one that pushed me toward the “safer” more “secure” decision. I have given up so many opportunities that would have provided me with more stability, allowed me the freedom to relax but that I always knew I would be unhappy with in the long run. Read more>>

A. Sincere Dennis | “Photographer”/Visual Artist/Creative Director

Risk taking is key to stepping out of your comfort zone and opening your mind to things you may have avoided in the past or never experienced, I feel like I’ve been doing it my whole life. Taking risk has played a major roll in my life even before I even started my creative career. Going into my senior year of high school in New York (The Bronx) I told my mom I wanted to move to Georgia to live with my aunt and two cousins to finish my last year because initially I wanted to attend college there, it didn’t turn out that way but the experience I had living in Georgia was all worth the risk. Fast forward 14-15 years later I decided to move to LA (2021) January 2 I was on a plane headed to my first home in LA not knowing what opportunities were waiting for me. But I was willing to take the chance and do what I felt would help get me to the next level. Read more>>

Greg Paul | Musician, Composer

Whether we’re aware or not, we take risk multiple times a day! But more important than the risk itself is the perspective of the risk. A lot of times we consider a risk with this “backdrop” of fear and self doubt, and we tend to make the fear of the risk bigger than the risk itself. But the reality is, every time you do something as simple as getting in a car and traveling you’re taking a huge risk with your life and I can almost guarantee that the career risk most people are thinking of isn’t life threatening. Read more>>

Luis Quijano | Filmmaker

I think that, as a filmmaker, there’s risk in every project and story that I decide to take on. The biggest risk or worry is that the audience won’t connect with your stories or your characters, and that your voice or perspective on a theme or topic won’t be enough for the audience to be engaged or be moved by it. Films, at the end of the day, are made so they can find an audience and hopefully present a new perspective or point of view to them. But the risk comes in a way that, if the story is not interesting to an audience or a community, the film won’t be successful. Until the film is released, there is no way of knowing what the film will be, as the audience and their reaction is what makes the film transform or become something meaningful and eternal. Read more>>

Thomas Zambeck | Film Producer

In my opinion, if I hadn’t been risky early in my career, I wouldn’t have failed – and failure is often the best catalyst for success. It was through my early missteps that I learned not only resilience, but how NOT to do certain things, and a better way to move forward. In a sense, that philosophy was what guided my partner (Brian Katz) and I to form Umbrelic: we saw film investment as pitfall for both artists and entrepreneurs alike, and sought to educate both parties on the best way to benefit from a symbiotic relationship. Simply put: lessen the risk, by understanding what risk really means. Read more>>

Jovon Roberts | Photographer

When it comes to taking risk your journey as and business owner, I feel it’s the only real way to assure growth. Whether you fail, or succeed, lessons learned, will help you to build knowledge to apply in the future. In my world, risk taking is more so going out of your comfort zone creatively or physically in hopes for a more well rounded project. Read more>>

Anna May | Songwriter, Musician & Piano Teacher

Risk seems to be inherently woven into any artist’s life. Pursuing any art thoroughly, in a wholly explorative way, brings one into more intimate space with risk or discomfort. Personally, my comfort around risk has expanded in recent years. Darkness and light can be found in risk, and in doing something differently from how you had been told might be the best way; in being further out on the edge or on the limb than may be comfortable. During the pandemic, i felt compelled by several factors, emotional & physical, to reignite my yoga practice in a dynamic way. Read more>>

Chris Greene | Actor/Acting Coach/Director and Producer

Taking RISKS should be and in most cases is apart of living life in my opinion! We wake up everyday, leave the comfort of our own home and run the risk of not making it back on a daily basis. The idea of comfort comes from feeling secure and in order to feel secure we must trust ourselves to repeatedly face a fear, obstacles, threat and or failure. As they say “no risk, no reward”. If I did not take risks in college at 19 years old to put myself out there and try this thing called Acting, I would not be where I am today in any way shape or form. Taking risks allowed me to gain confidence, courage, strength and most importantly…COMFORT! Read more>>

April Hicks | Boutique owner and stylist

I think every decision I have made in my career has been a risk in some ways. Right out of high school I was not sure what I was going to do as a career. I did not bother applying for college, I knew my mother could not afford to pay for it, financial aid was not an option, and I knew I couldn’t qualify for loans. As a result, I enrolled in the local community college and just took whatever classes that I could get because as an incoming student classes were full for new students. Read more>>

Sean Renner | Film & TV Composer, Recording & Performing Artist

I think the idea of risk is a complex one. We generally define something as risky when there’s a potential for an outcome that we see as undesirable. And particularly when we’re afraid of that outcome it feels even more risky. As a composer and musician, one of the outcomes that is easy to fear and to see as undesirable is your music being disliked or not well-received by others. Especially when we’re first starting out this might feel like one of the biggest risks. Another outcome we might fear is a failure to creatively achieve what we’re aiming for. Read more>>

Tag Christof | Photographer & Writer

If the past few years have taught us anything at all, it’s that nothing is guaranteed. Our parents mostly lived in a world where progress was linear, institutions were stable and reliable, and success was mostly just a matter of following the rules. None of that applies to the world we live in today — in fact, it can seem like the more you follow established rules, the worse off you can be. So, perhaps paradoxically, taking risks has become a safer bet in many ways. I didn’t have much of a playbook for life set out for me. I didn’t grow up in a place or in a family where there were many examples of what success or a life well-lived should look like. I went to college early, got a degree in economics, went to work for a bank and then realized I hated the path I’d taken – it should’ve been clear much earlier that it had been the wrong path to take, but I just had no guidance whatsoever. Read more>>

Case Bargé | Performing Artist, Song Writer, & Designer

Risk taking has played a huge part in my success today. At times I can be very indecisive when it comes to creating, and I’ve noticed the times I step outside of my comfort zone and do something that’s not the “norm” or what I’m use to doing, it usually has the best result. I’ve out grown a lot fears by taking risk. Not just in creating but in real life as well. Read more>>

Leeanna Gantt | Founder of Tooktake Dosage Reminder Labels

This is really a great question! I don’t really consider myself a risk-taker at all, but I have been called one several times. I don’t take physical risks. No jumping out of airplanes or doing dangerous sports, but I guess some of the choices I have made in life could be considered by some as risky. When my daughter was younger I opened up a community art studio called Tinker. It was a place for families to come to so that they could be creative and make a mess and not have it in their own homes. Read more>>

Jake Spivack | Video and Performance Artist turned Social Worker

When it comes to risk taking, a few moments in my life come to mind. Having struggled with many developmental and emotional challenges in adolescence (and to top it off, going to a high school for theater in Los Angeles with lots of emotional and competitive artist teenagers), I decided to create a short documentary on adolescence and mental health in the 21st century, called “Embracing Psychological Differences.” While this project was initially created as a tactic to hopefully challenge some of the bullying going on at my high school towards neurodivergent folks like myself, the project ended up becoming a success and was lucky enough to be screened at multiple international film festivals. Read more>>

Janek Gwizdala | Musician

Risk is something I rarely think about in the moment, but in hindsight I can definitely identify moments in my life, in my career, or simply onstage performing that could be classified as a risk. Although I’m not conscious anymore onstage of what is risky or not, I know I try and take as many risks as possible, as playing it safe will almost never lead to anything new or interesting. It might not register as a risk in the moment, but the amount of time I spend with the instrument every day, and the repetition I dedicate to ideas I’m working on, eradicates all barriers when it comes to communicating with the audience. Read more>>

Courtney (Courtsie) Elliott | Creative Director & Art Director

Risk is the thing that can consume your mind if you let it. It could take the joy out of entering fully into an experience; I know this firsthand. Entering adulthood and being active on social media tended to increase my anxiety. When I thought about stepping outside of my comfort zone, I began thinking about the negative possibilities. Will my decisions backfire on me? Is this creative idea worth pursuing and investing in? Should I have uploaded the second photo, first in my Instagram carousel? This thought still weighs on me heavily at night. It was up until this summer when I realized that not taking risks is an insult to the gift of my creativity, to the knowledge I’ve gained over the years, and to my intuition. Read more>>

Micole Rondinone | Intuitive Culinary Coach & Photographer

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned through having my own business (two of them, actually) is that risk is imperative. I think you could argue that an opposite of risk is fear: we avoid risk because we’re afraid. But I’ve found that for me to be afraid is to be living fully alive… My life is full because every day looks different. I am forced to live in the full spectrum of experience and emotions. Before deciding to become a solopreneur I lived a very risk averse life. I was always waiting for life to happen to me rather than taking the risks necessary to create the life I wanted. Read more>>

Madison Bejarano | Makeup Artist + Lash Artist + Esthetician

Risk is so many beautiful things, while it can be scary it’s one of my biggest motivators. I think without risk I wouldn’t be where I am today because every facet of my career has lead me to have to risk or sacrifice something in order to get to the next level. And it never fails, every time I take the biggest risk, I get the GREATEST comeback, it’s like YOU already know what YOU need. In the middle of 2019, I wanted to quit beauty, I felt like there wasn’t space for my art or really for my heart because I kept seeing the same treatment across the industry. No matter where I went, it was the same negative energy, at times I would say “why can’t I just build my own beauty world? Why is everyone so miserable in a place that is supposed to be so colorful and why are we all faking it so that we can just sell products?” Read more>>

Alexander Jesus Burgos | Actor & Online fitness coach

Risk taking has played a very big role in my life. Not only from the point of view of a actor but as a hard blue collar worker. I like risk and I view as a necessity to move forward in life and achieve many goals we set out for ourselves. In my own experience risk taking has had of course its ups and downs but let me tell you that the ups greatly outweigh the downs with ought a doubt. Read more>>

David Wave | Emmy Nominated Title Designer

Taking risks is imperative to success. If you only work within your comfort zone and never push the boundaries, you’re limiting your chances of success tremendously. I grew up in a very small town in Spain, Girona, about 90 miles outside Barcelona. To achieve my dream of working in Hollywood movies, I accepted a two-week job offer and left everything behind, with no guarantee of what the future would hold. I’m happy to say that because I took that chance, I’ve worked on some fantastic projects that I would have never imagined would come my way. Read more>>

Viva Van | Professional Wrestler & Entrepreneur

Professional Wrestling is all about risk-taking. Everything we do to take our careers to the next level requires some form of risk taking. From our gear to our matches, every aspect of our profession is an investment in ourselves in what we think will help our careers progress. Personally, I’ve taken several risks in my career to cement myself in pro wrestling history. As the very first Vietnamese American female pro wrestler, my main objective is to break down barriers for people like me. Read more>>

Adam Neutzsky-Wulff | Producer and director

Risk taking has always been defining for me starting my own business and getting into movies in the first place. I started out early – making short films in high school, then went into music videos, that took me to tv-shows that led to my three American indie films. I quit my job at the biggest Danish tv production company 11 years ago – same time as I became a father and wanted to focus on movies. Read more>>

John Stanley | Founder & CEO, Stanley’s Wet Goods

Through my early passions of motorcycle racing and alpine ski racing, and my willingness to take on new career challenges in completely different fields (wine is my third), I’ve always been a risk taker. So my tolerance for the internal stress of taking risks is very high. Taking big risks has certainly played a huge role in shaping who I am today. I guess I’ve always felt that no matter the outcome of a given situation, I’ll be fine on the other side of it. Once I realized that, I was able to maintain a relative state of calm in taking on risks and maneuvering through tough situations, which allows me to appreciate and thrive on the energy associated with taking on risk – like “I’m not sure if I can pull this off, so I better figure it out – fast!” Read more>>

Yvonne Rubio | Actress and college student

For me risk is something huge because it could be the best decision you ever made or the worst decision you ever made. Risk has taught me a lot in life because growing up in a household where you’re expected to be a lawyer, doctor, engineer, or a job that earns you a lot of money so you’re financially stable. And you know the risk i took from going to college is that i didn’t want to be any of those things, I chose theatre, performing has been my most favorite things since i can remember and telling my parents about my major was hard because either i was going to be supported all the way no matter what knowing that i’m happy doing what i want to do OR it goes downhill where i would be forced to something else instead of theatre. Luckily my parents where ok with it, it took sometime but once i showed my parents what i would be able to do with my degree they felt relieved and happy knowing that i’ll be ok. My family are my biggest supporters in what i do, no matter what. I’m happy i took the risk. Read more>>

Tia Ramey | Social Media Strategist and Communications Consultant

I believe risk-taking is about creating possibilities. Sometimes you just have to reach, and keep your mind open about what you will get when you try. I’ve learned the real risk is not trying to reach for the best possible future. Either you can take the risk that great things can happen to you by chance, or you can reach for something great and get better and stronger by creating positive outcomes. Taking risks for me means committing to creating possibilities for myself and my family. Read more>>

Tamarra + Katelyn | Interior Designers

Well, we think its safe to say that things do not always work out the way you think they will… After years of running our 2 person Interior Design firm safely from Tamarra’s kitchen and plotting our next moves over coffee at her countertop, we decided to take a leap of faith and follow our dreams. Summer of 2019, we signed our lease on Monte Vista Street in Highland Park and jumped straight into the full renovation and creation of what is now our design studio, home goods, and lifestyle retail store – Sayida. People say its all in the timing and little did we know ours could not have been worse! As renovations were coming to a completion, we were busy with client work and excitedly planning Sayida’s grand opening party. Read more>>

Sasha Monique Lewis | Brand Strategist & Designer

I truly believe taking strategic and well-calculated risks are how you get ahead. We see so often the world around us evolving and changing especially in the areas of tech and social media. That alone shows us that risks are valuable and conducive to growing and evolving. I think the best way to take risks are to trust your gut, follow industry shifts, and look at the data. The data never lies. Starting my own business, making investments, and trusting myself was the biggest risk I could have taken, especially as a single mother. It also has been the most rewarding. The best stories and best successes always start with someone taking a risk, and usually that first risk is always betting on themselves. Read more>>

Sophia Louisa Lee | screenwriter. actress. producer. director. artist.

I think the biggest risk anyone can take is getting to truly know who they are. It’s scarier than you’d think. I’ve known (and have loved) people who are afraid to look inside of themselves — to dive into their hurt and pain and allow it to heal. It seems “we” forget we only have this moment of now to truly live life. Some people don’t even realize what that means. The biggest risk I’ve taken is to be honest with myself, to truly know who I am and to love myself for it. I know whatever I choose to do, I do it with love, passion, and integrity. Read more>>

Morgan Clae | Director and Musician

Risks are DIRECTLY tied to success – but they have to be calculated. I’ve known since I was a kid I wanted to direct movies and make music. When I first got to LA, I worked for a production company that was steady, stable and safe – but I wasn’t doing a single thing I dreamed of working towards. I asked myself, “okay…so when do i start ACTUALLY doing what i want to do?” This question haunted me, and I quit working at that production company after six months. I knew it was going to be hard work to get to the point of being able to direct and make music full time – but now two years later I’m doing it. Hard work, patience and kindness make the risks yield results. Read more>>

Sorayda Diaz Leon | Communicator and Latin American Specialist

Risk is something worth taking. I would not be where I am if I had not taken many risks in my life. For starters, I am an immigrant, I took the risk of leaving the unknown and going for the uncertain; I left my journalism career in my country, Mexico, and moved to a new way of life and a whole new career working at the YMCA. With VozEs, I am taking a new risk, the risk of retaking my career in a different way, as a personal project. With it, I am in a way asking immigrants to take the risk of exploring their talents and following their dreams to unpack them, some of us kept them in the luggage we brought to this country for a long time. Is time to fully unpack who we are. Read more>>

Mandy Lehto | Executive Coach & Podcaster

Risk taking sounds, erm, risky — and mindless risk clearly is. I see NOT taking risk as risky, but I’m referring to Opportunistic Risk. There’s a difference between mindless risk and opportunistic risk. Most of the juiciest things, people and opportunities that have come into my life came by taking opportunistic risks. I applied to Cambridge University to do a PhD, a kid who’d grown up in the sticks in rural Canada. I put on my Big Girl Panties and followed the faint voice that said, “What have you got to lose?” instead of snarky voice that sniped, “Who do you think you are?” I got in. Ditto for the investment banking job I applied for, or the businesses I started. Read more>>

Ciera Payton | Actor & Entrepreneur

Risk-taking is one of the scariest, most liberating things one could ever do. And here’s the secret, you’ll be challenged to take risks all of your life, so get comfortable with taking the leap and taking the risk, but always do it with faith; knowing that everything will work out for you in the end. I took my first major risk when I set out to be an actor (I prefer using the term actor instead of actress because I feel I can play many different types of roles that aren’t only limited to female roles). When I was 16 years old, I took becoming an actor very seriously. I was already enrolled in a performing arts high school in New Orleans; New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). Read more>>