There is a wealth of academic research that suggests that differences in risk appetite are at the heart of differences in career and business trajectories. We wanted to go beyond the theory and ask real people from the community about their perspectives and experiences with risk and risk taking.

Erica LaRose: Producer & Actor

Risk taking has had an incredible impact on my career as an actress/producer as well as the exploratory process of my art. As a child, I was quite scared to take risks. I could feel how debilitating that was for me and wanted so badly to cut that cord and set myself free. There were baby steps along the way that brought me to the other side of this before making my first move to LA and pursuing my dreams. Read more>>

Mark Schroeder: Producer & Director

Without risk there is no reward. Taking risks in my life led me to life changing experiences, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t fail more times than I’ve succeeded when taking risks. But every failure led to bigger success, and I only had to be right a few times to change my life for the better. I took a risk moving from New York City to Los Angeles to build a sales & marketing office. Read more>>

Matthew Wurnig: Creator of 50 Dates 50 States

I believe taking risks is key to a fulfilling life. Lots of people don’t like to take risks because there is no certainty behind it but sometimes in life the best things are on the other side of risk. It allows you to step out of your normal comfort zone and grow as a person. Read more>>

Brie Walter: Artist

I think as an artist there are a lot of risks to assess. It’s such a subjective process. I’ve found I just have to create what resonates with me, and hope that it also creates a reaction in someone else who sees the work. There are never any guarantees in Art. So trying to guess what someone might like or what will be popular to sell probably wouldn’t feel as authentic if you chase hypotheticals. Read more>>

Hannie May: Actress

I think “risk” is a tricky word. In a process of deciding whether or not to do something that comes with potential risks, I used to tend to think about what I might lose after I fail. I think the word tends to trick many of us to want to stay in a safe zone and avoid the “dangers” outside of that zone. But I’ve come to a realization that not taking any steps forward does not mean safe and no lose at all. The loses from not taking enough risks and catching opportunities weigh more sometimes. Read more>>

Lisa Mae Brunson: Founder and Chief Visionary, Wonder Women Tech

I personally feel that taking risks is vital for creating success. There are so many instances along my career where I have taken great risks. I’ve turned left when everyone said to turn right. I have learned to follow my own instinct, even when it went against the grain and didn’t necessarily “make sense.” Read more>>

Monece Starling: Pie Business Owner & Food Vlogger

I view risk as learning lessons. It’s only a risk because you don’t you the outcome. I’d rather take a chance than stay where I am, because I already know that level and the worst that can happen is I’ll end up back where I started. I’ll take a risk over being complacent. I also think if it’s a situation that I may regret not trying, then I lean more towards taking a risk. Read more>>

Will Carrillo: Hairstylist

Risk is a challenge for me, It’s not about taking every risk that comes your way, but about training your brain to be able to run a few, while also allowing yourself to think about what would happen if things don’t go as planned. Read more>>

Dani Poppitt: Recording Artist & Songwriter

I think taking risks is one of the best things you can do. Calculated risks at least. Everything that’s worth having takes courage. It’s important to keep some sort of belief that the outcome of the risk, whether positive or negative, will be better than the never taking the risk at all. I can honestly say any time I’ve taken a risk, I’ve seen my life change in ways I never would have expected. Read more>>

Mykell Mathieu: Podcaster, Personality & Entrepreneur

I believe that we really have one life to live. So, I believe that we are meant to give all we have to be as great as possible. We are meant to empty ourselves during our lifetime being great for self and others. Taking the risk needed is to make great things possible. Taking risk with my career has led to a lot of great connections and opportunities I couldn’t miss out on. You must take risk to achieve career goals and I will continue to do so. Read more>>

Melanie White: Portrait & Product Photographer

Risk taking has been essential to me growing as a creative. I started off in college, walking up to other students I did not know and asking to take a photo of them. To my surprise, 90% of people I asked said yes and really did not care at all. This took off a lot of the pressure and made it a little easier each day. Read more>>

Zusha Goldin: Celebrity Photographer

I believe that taking risks is the only true way to grow. When you are in your comfort zone you are stuck in almost a loop. You stay within the comforts of your own brain and do the same things over and over again. Kind of like GroundHog Day. In order to succeed in any industry you must go out of your comfort zone to take risks and bring yourself to new heights. Let me just put it this way: If I never took any risks, I’d still be at my family apartment home in Brooklyn shooting local Bar Mitzvahs. Read more>>

Diana (Dee-ah-nah) Sanchez: Actor. VO Artist. Lover of all creative mediums.

RISK! Necessary for change and momentum. It feels scary at first but it’s finally jumping in and taking a risk that pushes you to the next level of things. Read more>>

Alexandra Massetti: Founder and Creative Strategist of DVLP

Taking risks and pursing constant curiosity have been the foundation of my success. I believe that jumping right into the work will answer more questions than theorizing. I see risk as an essential part of growth, I am constantly uncomfortable with my next moves. I make many unpopular decisions in all parts of my life but it has only added to the richness of my dreams. Read more>>

Abelina Sabrina: Content Creator

I usually end up taking risks when I’m feeling energetic and impulsive but have been stagnant for a while. That’s how I ended up in Portland, Oregon a few years ago! I felt like Jim Carrey in Yes Man and was honestly feeling great. Don’t get me wrong, not all risks were worth it either but there is one big one that definitely changed my life for the better. Read more>>

Veronica Njodinizeh: Business Owner & Independent Consultant & Rule-Breaker

Risk taking: how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career? I am the product of two risk takers: my parents – an East Indian/Anglo Christian Woman who decided to marry the seventh son of my Nigerian grandfather after courting him as a pen pal. My parents who lived separately many of my early years on two different continents would move to a third – a place I only knew as America. Read more>>

Evan Gregory: Music Producer

I’d be leading everybody astray if I claimed to be a confident risk taker by nature. Risk taking is inherently difficult, and being constantly aware of what’s at stake when taking a risk is an entirely different skill in itself. But it’s an essential part of everyday life. Even the most careful, frugal, and meticulous person takes risks everyday. Knowing this makes me feel better about not being as gung-ho of a risky taker as I’d like to be. Read more>>

Rojonna Handy: Dancer, Actress, Writer, Director

Risk taking is the most essential part of being. How can you truly experience life if you don’t take risks? You cant. Fear of exposure to possibilities is what keeps people stuck in the norm/comfort zone. Instead of fearing the possibility, I welcome it. Opening up the possibilities, taking the risks, will always be beneficial to ones life journey. Read more>>

Theodore Ramirez: Film Composer

I believe we encounter risk as a constant part of living. We decide what risks are worth taking and what risks we should stand reserved for. Taking risks is what gets us out of out comfort zones and that’s where we grow. And sometimes, not taking a risk is a risk in itself because we end up looking back on those moments, wishing the outcome was different Read more>>

Katie Chrishanthi Shipley: Artist & Art Director

Risk seems apparent in every aspect of being a freelance creative. Amongst other more obvious things, it is sanity that hangs in the balance most often. Aside from seeking out projects, the risk of making my most innate activity, my job, has so far been the riskiest risk! I love that I am paid to be creative. Read more>>

Jacqueline Herrera: Creative Visionary & Co-Founder of Kitechild

Starting Mon Petit Mojave was definitely a risk, on so many levels. Would anyone show up? Were we violating any of the pandemic rules? Would the production work, given we were operating out in the middle of the desert, running off a generator? But when I had the vision in my head, I stayed focused on the bigger picture. And I knew that if I dwelled and became paralyzed by the smaller details, the vision would just end up an idea that died in my head. That’s the thing with risks – they can be scary. But also, very exciting. Read more>>

Beau Bridgland: Voice Actor

Risk has played a very important role in my voice acting career. Being from a small town in the countryside in England and wanting to move to America to be in cartoons and video games… Read more>>

CK Reed: Artist & Designer

It’s been important for me to try new things which can FEEL risky at times. I continue to make adjustments and learn from what worked out and what did not. If I didn’t take risks, I might still be stuck behind a desk at a corporate design job feeling dead inside and not being able to fathom the possibilities of my own potential.  Nothing great comes from playing it safe. Read more>>

Barbara Elaine Stamis: Teacher, Healer & Alchemist

For me, right now, risk taking has to do with my intuition, fears and the archetype of the saboteur. When I am tuned in and I receive an idea or a desire to offer something in my teachings, if it is right, I will feel really elated, and then quickly the fear will set in. My inner saboteur will say so many things! “My idea isn’t good enough.” “Who am I to offer such a thing.” “No one needs this offering.” “What will people think of me?” The inner saboteur is quick, extremely convincing, relentless and it takes courage for me to not listen, step through or beyond the fears and into the risk or adventure of newness. Read more>>

Brett Cline: Co-Founder/Executive Director and Janitor of THELOSTCHURCH.ORG, INC

Growing up in the 70’s surf/skate world of Southern California, my favorite quote was, “Go Big, or Go Home!!” I still believe that. Either give it 110% or don’t do it. If it’s worth the risk, it’s worth giving it your all. However, as I got older I added to this my dad’s favorite quote, “Life, is Risk vs. Reward.” In the business world, he was a risk taker. Read more>>

Ashton Rae: Cinematographer

When I set out to move three thousand miles away from my family and support group, I didn’t feel like I was necessarily risking anything besides seeing my family regularly–I was moving toward the future and better version of myself. I was moving toward my dreams. Read more>>

Jake Lawler: Screenwriter

I think of life as a series of risks…and those that calculate those risks the most become the most successful. In my honest evaluation, life has never been too short. Instead, I have always viewed life as much too long to not do the things that you are passionate about. The regret of not doing something you love has always been more terrifying than the risks associated with that pursuit and I have learned to fall in love with the leap. Read more>>

ChrisTeddyPaints: Independent Published Artist, Architect & Creative featured in Rolling Stone & Yahoo News

I think about risk as an opportunity for growth. The term “risk” tends to have a negative connotation and we really have to start training ourselves to be at peace with failure. Things may not always pan out the way you intended but you have to turn those losses into lessons, apply them to your life and translate them into wins. Read more>>

Jenna Suru: Festival Director, Line Producer, Director, Writer, Actor

Risk and risk-management are key in our creative lives, all the more when your goal is to bring a positive change in the life. The most risky thing you can ever do as a creative, is probably not to take any risk. Likewise, even the number 1 company must adapt and take risks, otherwise it is likely to become uncompetitive sooner rather than later. Read more>>

Dario Lee: Actor

Leaving Indianapolis Indiana was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do for my life. I had alotta friends, family or community in general that didn’t understand or agree with the decision I had to make only none of them had to walk or live in my shoes. Leaving my place of comfort when I didn’t want to was the scariest thing ever but God was like I’m your father and I got you. The risk were hard but the reward was worth it. Do I suggest it? No not at all. You have to remember I was targeted by the police and I had to do what I had to do. Read more>>

Joe Reynolds: Dancer & Technologist

This may feel like an excuse, but I make my riskiest decisions on behalf of others. To clarify further, I make my riskiest decisions when serving or protecting others. Part of me thinks it’s from countless hours or superhero cartoons or my natural servant leadership ways. I love helping other people in the simplest ways and receiving the feeling like I’ve saved their day. Read more>>

Liz Fohl: Songwriter, Producer

Taking risks has been hugely important to me, not only in terms of career moves, but to my life in general. I firmly believe in going for things that are just out of your reach – – assuming you’re doing the work in the meantime to be ready to say “yes” when the opportunity comes. I think of it like cross-training. Read more>>

Jake Hanna: Music Video Director & Editor

A few years ago I would have described risk as something that is to be afraid of. Something scary and dangerous. Now I describe risk as one of the most essential parts of building a business and accomplishing any goal. I have found that especially in a creative line of work that taking risks is the best way to boost creativity and find new opportunities. Read more>>

Tanee Osborne: West African Musician & Entrepreneur

Before my creative entrepreneurial journey began, I was an estimator and project manager for a construction company. My job was to look at and analyze the blueprints of an upcoming project for all of the potential costs to supply materials, provide labor, and complete the job at hand, and then execute and manage the project through completion. I learned to transfer those skills over into my creative world to take educated and calculated risks, allowing me to make decisions with confidence. Read more>>

Diane Barnes: Succulent Designer

Risk taking to me is very…… risky. I’ve never been the type to take big risks, but would rather go the comfortable or what I perceived as “safe” route. The fear of the unknown, or failure, is very unsettling to me, which ultimately causes me to not take more risks. Ironically, taking the risk of owning my own business has resulted in my biggest personal success. Read more>>

Rose Devika: Singer-Songwriter

If there is one thing I have learned it is that it takes risk to be vulnerable. It takes tremendous courage to be honest. I was not built to be an open book. I am admittedly more than a little jaded. I have wrestled with my fair share of demons. And yet everything I do, I do with the intention of being honest. Read more>>

Aaron Haxton: Photographer / Artist

Any real successes come with some amount of risk. Whether you are risking your time, money or looking stupid – you have to put yourself out there and take chances. If you are staying in your comfort zone, you are not growing. I often have to remind myself when I’m feeling nervous about a project or a shoot, that this is a good thing – it means I’m stretching my boundaries. Given the opportunity to fail is a great position to be in, as also a position to succeed! Read more>>

Shelby Cude: Director for Live Events & Concerts

I’ve always been attracted to risky endeavors. Growing up, my parents pushed me to, “just go for it.” I saw rules as suggestions and have often chosen to abide by my own intuition. It started with sports–I was a natural born adrenaline junkie–which shaped how comfortable I am under high-pressure situations. If we were down 18 points in our volleyball game that we had to win to make it on to the next tournament game and I was up to serve, I knew I could deliver a few aces. Read more>>

Taylor Hall: The Tried Equestrian Owner/Founder

When I started The Tried Equestrian, most people thought it was “too risky” – there was no way selling used items for a niche industry could make any money as compared to the “safe” job I had that paid well. I have always been okay with risk because I’m okay with failing. I trust myself to be creative, pivot or change what we were doing anytime there are signs something isn’t working. And we have pivoted MANY times! Read more>>

Pete Majors: Music Retail Minion & Caller of Cats

This is an interesting question for me. I feel that many people avoid taking risks throughout their lives because of a fear of failure. for most of my life I’ve chosen to set realistic goals for myself whether it was in education or my career. by my early 30’s I had mostly achieved what I aimed to accomplish. this definitely grew my confidence as I was learning so much in the music industry. through years of retail experience & a constant passion for creativity within making music I realized I was ready for a challenge. Read more>>