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.

Elena Manferdini | Architect and Educator

I like to be prepared. I like to know how I am going to do things and what the end result should look like. Most importantly, I want to fully understand what could go wrong. Being in leadership position involves making decisions that have repercussions on a larger community of people. And for this precise reason the idea that a good leader is a risk taker is a lie. A good leader is one that is prepared to make changes because they have done the homework. Read more>>

Jennifer Evans Gardner | Founder and CEO, NextJen PR

For a person who was “raised on a steady diet of fear,” as I like to say, the daughter of two of the greatest fear mongers on the planet and someone who has struggled with anxiety much of my life, I have taken some surprisingly bold risks in my life.
As a child, my family moved a lot — the last time we counted it was 21 times before I was 15 years old, mostly to random small towns in Iowa, Oklahoma and Arkansas, before “sticking” in Tulsa. As a result, I craved permanence, safety and stability, and I can see how that drove many of my choices. At the same time, I was intrinsically wired to be outside of my comfort zone, so I have accepted my fate as a lifelong, nail-biting adventure seeker. I can think of three significant risks that brought me to where I am today: Read more>>

Parish and Tara | Filmmakers

Life means risk, baby. Without taking risks, you forfeit opportunities to grow. Waiting for others to give you an opportunity to advance is not our game. We wouldn’t have the body of work we have if we hadn’t taken risks. Read more>>

Nato Lopez | Music Producer & Artists Management / A&R

Risk is a necessary factor for success and plays an important role in everything that you do. Without risk there is no success and unfortunately this means that in order to reach your goals you have to be able to lose before you can gain. During my journey to becoming a professional musician I have had to give up many things such as spending time with my family and my children because I was putting 18+ hours of work in at the studio everyday. I risk losing loved ones, relationships, and friendships because of my determination to become successful, however, I also do not think I would be the same person I am today without those experiences. Read more>>

Violent Vickie | Musician

There is a lot of risk taking involved in my song writing. I often will make a beat and then improvise vocals and synth lines over that. I enjoyed many of the improvisations as they were so I left them that way and added a few things later on. I used unconventional approaches like clipping for some of the songs and my collaborator E put the entire beat for Serotonin through an FX pedal which really made the song. Read more>>

Sheila Bella | Pretty Rich Podcast

The beginning of 2020 I was the poorest I have ever been in year’s due to my business being shut down by the government. While I was down and my financial state was the most unstable it had ever been I saw that as a REASON (not an excuse) to SPEND the most money I ever had spent on MASTERMINDS & BUSINESS COACHING. I didn’t have the money, so I borrowed it. Read more>>

Ari Takata-Vasquez | Artist, Designer & Business Owner

Risk is probably the thing that’s lead me to live a happier life, overall. Before starting my businesses, I had just finished my master’s degree, I worked in a very secure and stable 9-to-5 job, owned a house, had a retirement. These were all the outward markers of a ‘successful’ life but I really didn’t feel very fulfilled. I did the un-risky things and so I ended up with an un-risky, but also sort of boring life. When I started my first business I was only 23 and so I figured this was the least risky time of my life that I could take on this venture. Read more>>

Rob “Krucible” Marshall | Professional Actor & Movement Artist

Risk taking is the act or fact of doing something that involves danger or risk in order to achieve a goal. Many times, when you think about the variables associated with risks, especially as an artist/entrepreneur it is based around fear of financial and social risks, as well as the illusion of control and security. If the last two years, have taught me anything it’s that even the most secure of jobs aren’t so secure, and often times we operate from the illusion of security. Throughout my career, I find that pouring into my career, being bold, having the courage of my conviction, and betting on myself is the most safe risk I could ultimately take.  Read more>>

Dee Simone | Drummer/Musican

I think of Risk Taking as a Leap of Faith and stepping out of your comfort zone. Back in 2010 I decided to make a BIG decision by relocating to LA for school. Taking this risk to leave my hometown gave me a fresh start to follow my dreams. Living out my dreams isn’t always easy but my faith and trust in God helped change my perspective on life. This change in perspective has opened up opportunities to play drums around the world and on tv with big and upcoming artist. Read more>>

Tiffany Lagod | Creative Director & Founder

Honestly, risk is the worst! The unknown, the doubt – all in all, risk sucks. It keeps you up at night analyzing every decision, makes you second guess yourself, and at times can be paralyzing. Yet without taking risks in my career I wouldn’t have made any progress. The way I’ve learned to approach it, is to acknowledge that risk is present and then do my best to not let it stop me at every turn. With my company the risks were immediate, leading with quitting a job I loved in order to do something I’d only dreamed about. Everything in my life and career that has meant the most to me has always been on the other side of a risk, both minor and major. In the end, I look at risks the way I look at my husband eating chips: “God that’s horrible, but there isn’t anything I can do about it, so better keep going.” Read more>>

Rebecca “Bexx” Francois | Photographer, Producer, Director \ @BlackGirlPod Co-Host

I process taking risks as leaping towards rewards. One time in Vegas – while docu-recording Kamala Harris for her primary campaign – I decided I was going to jump off the Strat Hotel Tower. By myself. At midnight. My excitement carried me through the process, eclipsing any fear or doubt. I took the elevator to the top floor and stepped out onto the ledge. Read more>>

Gerreka “Gigi” Gilliam | Mental Health Therapist & Entrepreneur

I have been taking risks since I was a child. I remember being in elementary school and singing the solo “Freddie the Frog” because my music teacher thought none of the boys were good enough to do the lead, and I had the best voice for the role. For me playing a boy as a lead in a play over 15 years ago was scary. I was afraid about what others would think and if I would be judged especially growing up in a conservative City like Irving, Texas. Fast forwarding to adulthood, I moved to Los Angeles jobless, with no definite place to stay and only $1,000 to my name. Read more>>

Connor Abrams | Marketing Consultant | Realtor

I believe the issue facing creative professionals today is the lack of opportunities for upward trajectory on their career path. Staying “safe” paves the way for linear movement and passive job growth which drains all creativity and drive. Taking a risk seems daunting, but 20+ years ago, that was how you broke into the entertainment, media, and creative industry. If I didn’t take risks I would still be in a corporate office. Was it right to leave that side of the entertainment industry and start businesses on my own? Yes, it’s been enlightening and allowed my skill set to evolve. Will I ever return to a corporate structure in the future? Maybe. That’s the point! Read more>>

Anita Maldonado | Owner of The Craft House

Risk taking has played a major role in my life and career. I took a huge risk when I decided to leave my “secure” government job of 16 years. It was a risk not knowing whether my business idea would work or whether or not it would succeed. However, I didn’t take the risk based solely on the business model. I took the risk on myself. I knew my work ethic and my drive. I knew I would make it work no matter what and that I would learn and grow and adapt as needed. Although I wasn’t sure if the business idea would succeed, I knew I would. Whether that meant pivoting and changing my original model, I knew I’d be successful no matter the circumstance and I feel that’s exactly what I’ve done. Read more>>

JP Cordero | Photographer/Videographer

I love this question because taking risks is a daily activity. I truly believe that risk taking is what excels many of us to go beyond what we thought we’d be capable of. Risk was the driving force that separated me from the world of the overseer, the clock punch, the employee handbook, to no longer battle with coworkers over covering shifts, or to participate mundane workplace disagreements. I had spent all too many years working for people who didn’t get my ‘perspective’, not only as an employee, but as a person. Having never really fit into any work scenario, I increasingly found comfort behind the lens. Read more>>

Nicole Leighton | Leadership Development Coach and Culture Architect

For a long time now, I’ve made decisions based on the question of ‘what story would I want to tell about this when I’m 80?’. It has facilitated some big life decisions, many of which had the element of risk attached to them. Can I move to another continent and start a life there? Should I take this job in Los Angeles and move our family to the United States? Should I leave the ‘steady-paying job’ to pursue my dreams? Read more>>

Alex Salibian | Record Producer, Co-Founder & COO

I think of risk in entrepreneurship like salt in cooking. It’s necessary to embolden the natural flavor of what you are cooking up. Too much and you’ll spoil the whole thing. Too little and you’re make something mediocre and bland. Some dishes require more, some require less. So you better study the dish you’re creating and ask people who have made a similar dish before. Get a clear understanding of how much risk is necessary to take in order to create the best version of that product. Once you are sure of what you are making, and why you are making it, take the jump. Read more>>

Megan Brown | Chief Marketing Officer + Brand Advisor

I’m a true Aries, so I’ve always loved the adrenalin rush that comes with any form of risk. There’s nothing more exciting than the unknown brought on by change, coupled with the excitement from a good challenge. Those things that can bring great change in life are always associated with some form of risk and the greater the opportunity the more risk. For me, the choices I’ve made with my career have always come with a significant form of risk in regard to stability and security. For that reason, I always play the same scenario out in my head when presented with life-changing career moments. What would be worse, passing on the opportunity due to fear, or do I accept the challenge and go in full force with the attitude that I won’t fail – plan for success! The latter has generally worked well for me, so I’m a big fan of risk. Read more>>

Andres Mejia Vallejo | Producer, actor, athlete, artist, entrepreneur.

Risk is the definition of excitement. Risk is the definition of doing without projecting or over thinking. Risk is fuel, energy and instant turned into action. Every since I came to the USA my life has been all about taking risks. Leaving my country behind, my family and my life in Colombia was itself a huge risk. Coming to the USA at 19 years old, speaking no English, having no papers, having no money or connections was the biggest risk I’ve ever taken. Every since my life in the USA has been based on taking risks, professional risk (like submitting for roles that I’m not a fit for and going to the audition. Like crushing auditions and booking the parts. Read more>>

Lakshmi Chandrashekar Subramanian | Vocalist, Scholar & Performer

Risk is inevitable in life. To make any real progress on the career or personal front, we have to take risks and have faith in the intangible elements that contribute towards a successful outcome. I went from having a career in finance in Manhattan to pursuing graduate work in Religious Studies at Stanford University and today, running a music and media company with my husband Aks. Those few months when I was changing career paths were tough as I didn’t know if taking the risk to pursue my passion would yield the results I hoped for… in fact, until we take the leap, we don’t know with certainty that it is our true calling. Today I can say with satisfaction that taking risks do pay off, when it is backed by a real passion that fuels perseverance and hard work. However, it would be wise to take calculated risks based on one’s stage of life, financial situation, etc. A friend once told me, “the path will reveal itself,” and it always does. Read more>>

David Skato | Writer/Producer /Director

I think that the old adage no risk no reward is absolutely true. Risks play a role in my life every day. From big risks like what film to produce next to minimal risks like drinking milk that expired yesterday. In my career, I’ve found that if you calculate the risk just enough to make it rewarding but not overthink it to the point of talking yourself out of it, then you will continue to succeed. At times you will fail undoubtedly but with the proper calculations, it won’t hurt as bad. Read more>>

Rhonda Cole | Fashion Designer

No risk…no reward! Moving to New York City a year after college was a risk: I bid farewell to family, friends and everything I knew and loved to live in a city where I didn’t know a soul. As a young child, my endless fascination with New York haunted me throughout my college years, and I saw it as an adventure of a lifetime. Fast forward a few decades later, deciding to leave my job was a great deal riskier, especially to start a business in an industry where I had no experience. Read more>>

Fatima Laster | Artist, Curator & Gallery Owner

I’ve been told often that I’m a risk taker, but honestly, I don’t know if that is true. The things I pursue and commit to I naturally believe I can get done no mater what arises. I can see potential and get excited about the process and possibility of what is to come. So while people project the characteristic of risk taker onto me, I think it could boil down to me not having the innate fears about trying that the most might have or I might have lower aptitude to see the limitations or dangers it pursuits. I like exploring and creating and I know I don’t like being retrained or told something is not possible for me. Read more>>

Casey Mensing | Writer

This is an interesting concept for me to think about. I grew up in a very risk-averse environment. The notion of taking the well-worn path was definitely ingrained in us. I think I largely avoided challenging situations growing up because of this. When I was a senior in high school and I started to become aware of the creative person inside me and my passions were driving me to pursue the arts, I began to question many of the notions I grew up with and needed to make that break. Until I was around thirty I teetered between living the type of life I felt I was supposed to, and one that I felt more at home in. Now risk and uncertainty feel normal and I’ve proven to myself that if I approach any situation with an ability to adapt and improvise, I’ll be fine. Read more>>

S.A.E. | Performing Artist

Every successful artist I’ve looked up to has mentioned that taking risks is an important aspect of their success. Being a performing artist, I always have to be prepared to be put on the spot. I have noticed that when I am prepared for a potential risk, I succeed. Taking risks, no matter how scary that can be, provides you with the opportunity to take the step that get you closer to your goals. Through preparation, dedication, and commitment, you build the confidence needed to take those risks. Read more>>

Tehani Farr | Graphic Illustrator & Cover Artist

The vivid reality of Risk has ever been a constant through my life, the feeling of Imminent chaos forever driving me forward. Since the fist moment I can remember, the belief of danger just around the corner was their, I learned to face it, to get over and done with it, that some dangers lurk in the corner, silent and waiting for far to long, and they grow, and they feed, and if you let them, they can turn into monsters enveloping your world… Living is to take risks, face the monsters before they get to big and out of control, For me some of the monsters are disguised, some hide in the mundane, in the comfortable, in the places where we stand stagnant, not going forward, but slowly creeping back, these monsters of the mind plants seeds of doubt and uncertainty, keeping us from moving forward, into the unknown, Giving the fist faith step is damn scary, but the best way to keep heading forward, following your true path is taking risks, of course, well planned and strategized. For my entire life for me it has been moving, I have moved from country to country, first as a child, then as a teenager, and today as a artist. Read more>>

Peech | Rapper/Singer

Risk is very important in growing as a person or as a business. Growing up in sports, risk was a necessity and with my career now as an artist it’s just as important as it was then. If you’re not willing to take that risk to push to the next level, I don’t believe you’re ready for that next level. If you don’t take that risk you might lose that opportunity, I’ve always lived this way. I don’t wana miss any opportunity, no matter how small. Many of the risks I have taken have paid off in big ways. From taking the risk of investing in myself for my music, to quitting my day job. Read more>>

obin Saex Garbose | Director, Writer, Producer

Risk taking is integral to the creative process. All great artistic achievements are born from great risks. There’s simply no escaping it. As a child, I was fortunate to have had some special teachers who encouraged me to actualize my big ideas. Those early successes would play out later in my life and career when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges that required great leaps of faith and courage. I was able to dive in knowing full well that I could lose everything. Or grow exponentially. When I was 30, I was confronted with a consequential moment of choice. Read more>>

Lucy Alexandra Harper | Designer and creative facilitator

I used to think of myself as someone who was pretty risk adverse. I hated gym class, mainly because being asked to do a rolly-polly was one of the most traumatising event of my younger teens. Leotard on – very risky. Bum in the air and lots of girls waiting for you to flop sideways – abhorrently scarring. I always thought I’d break my neck or something else equally as dramatic. I’m still not a very confident gymnast, or climber, but I’ve definitely changed my attitude towards what it means to take risks in life. Read more>>

Melanie Rashbaum, LMFT | Licensed Psychotherapist

I moved to Los Angeles in 2004 to pursue a career in acting, and when I did not find the grind of auditioning and selling myself to be my life’s purpose, I stopped. To be honest, I didn’t work very diligently at that career for two reasons. One, I had no direction or control on how that dream would become a reality, and two, I wasn’t intentional with my dream. I didn’t take many risks on that journey because at the time I wasn’t sure of who I was as a person. Fast forward to my late 30s, and I felt it in my bones what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Read more>>

Martini La’Rossi | Student of Life

I have always been a risk-taker. Taking risks is a natural part of who I am. I am more afraid of not taking the risk than doing so and learning a lesson if it doesn’t pan out. Being spontaneous and taking risks(sometimes calculated, sometimes not) has played a massive role in my life, from joining the military to following my purpose and not my pocket. Very rarely have I come to regret a decision, no matter the outcome. I’ve traveled, held positions in a variety of career paths, and met beautiful people along the way. Read more>>

Ryan Satterfeal | Actor, Writer, & Collaborator.

A life as an actor means constant risk taking – not only in the scene, but throughout your career. It means not taking the “traditional” route through life. There’s no 9-to-5, no weekends off, and no guarantees. There’s no instruction manual for the creative life; there’s many books that can help you, but when it comes down to it, a lot of decisions involve trusting yourself. Taking a risk makes it exciting. Risk taking made my life and career more adventurous. Read more>>

Amanda Dickerson | owner of Fearless Fitness

Fearless fitness was built on taking a risk. I truly believe that everyone should take risks, and do so fearlessly. Just go for it, there is so much in life to gain. Being fearless and taking risks is what helps me navigate through an industry where the word “no” is heard more than the word “yes” but I’ve never been afraid of pushing myself and my business outside of my comfort zone, it’s how we get to the next level. Read more>>

Quinton “Tex the Artist” Lover | Artist, Creator & Media Specialist

Risk-taking is something a person has to endure to reach that next level. I believe a huge misconception about risk is that every part of it has to be dangerous or dramatic for it to propose a major impact. Risk can be positive and create a purposeful outcome by first starting with the mindset of what “risk” is. Everyone is going to perceive and understand the topic differently from the next. A hack or cheat code I would recommend for taking risks is finding your true definition of the word. Find comfortability in that definition and design a plan that minimizes the risk-factor to the best of your ability. Read more>>

Alaura Devereaux | Actor

The ability to see risk as an opportunity for either great success or an important lesson is a major key to the way I achieve my goals in life. I believe that risk taking is why I am where I am today as much as who I am today. When I was 20 years old I dropped everything and took a job in Alaska. That move changed my life forever in a way that changed my outlook on the world. It was a very humbling experience in comparison to the fast paced city lifestyle I was living in Tampa, FL at the time versus the calming genuine nature of the people in Trapper Creek, Alaska. It impacted my belief in myself that I can move anywhere in the world and adapt. So that very risk ignited the confidence in every move I’ve made throughout my life. Including the one to Los Angeles to pursue my dream of being a successful actor. Read more>>

Hannah Kling | Full time food blogger and content creator

Risk can be a scary thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Each time in my personal life or career when I have taken a risk, that’s when I was able to grow and reach a new level. It’s easy to stay stagnant because it’s comfortable and it’s something that you know and are familiar with. But a beautiful thing happens when you take a risk, good or bad. You grow, you learn and you essentially level up. Even if that risk doesn’t go as planned, you can always look back and see that if you hadn’t taken that risk you would have stayed in the same place that you were before. Read more>>

Karesia Batan | Executive Director, Queensboro Dance Festival

I think taking risks, calculated ones, is instrumental when building your own career and pursuing your life dreams and goals. You have to plan, envision how you would execute things, and go through the scenarios of “what ifs.” When you have dreams where the outcomes are not guaranteed, you have to rely on your own resilience and skill set– whether it’s a competitive dance career or starting a non-profit. It especially feels risky when you don’t really have anything to compare your goals or plans to. When I started brainstorming about how to create the Queensboro Dance Festival, I didn’t really know any other festivals that were dedicated to a specific geographical area like the borough of Queens. Read more>>

Ashley Lloyd | Jeweler and Small Business Owner

I have never considered myself as much of a risk taker. However, the biggest risk I ever took is what led me to where I am today. In my early to mid 20’s, I always played things safe. One day, I decided I wasn’t going to do that anymore so I quit my job in order to give myself a three-month period to figure out a more fulfilling occupation. During this time I was already silversmithing recreationally, but I never imagined doing it professionally. The day after I quit my job an opportunity came to me when a stranger messaged me to purchase a pair of my earrings they had seen online. Read more>>

Erin Day | Hair & Makeup Artist

Risk taking has always been the name of the game when it comes to the beauty industry. If you’re not taking risks, then you’ll never find opportunity. I took a risk choosing to become a cosmetologist, where the percentage of people that actually get their license and continue to use it, is less than 50%. Im happy to say that 2021 will mark 11 years that i have continued my practice. I took a risk when i went to Eufora Educator Boot Camp, an intense 3-4 day program that tests your ability to teach your craft to your peers. Read more>>

Leoren Davis | Music Producer

I think taking risk can be detrimental but also beneficial if executed correctly. Funny thing is, there is really not a right way to go about it. I think it is more so putting yourself in headspace of having confidence and drive to make anything happen. Especially when it comes to art which is mad subjective these days. But if you believe in yourself when it comes to making certain moves, I think your peers and audience will see that and do the same. Read more>>