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.

Malik Manani | Massage Therapist

Prior to taking a risk, I typically try to imagine the worst possible outcome….and if the worst possible possible outcome is something that I could live with, it then becomes a lot to take that risk. And the reality is, that worst possible outcome probably isn’t gonna happen anyway. I’ve taken far too many risks to name, but I will say that without a doubt, taking risks has literally changed the trajectory of my life…SUPER thankful for every single risk that I’ve taken Read more>>

Josie DeVora | Art Director/Creative/Creator of RoosterPOP

I’m a very positive person. Growing up I had a pretty rough time. From growing up gay, dealing with domestic abuse and poverty. I have learned to be grateful for everything, everyone and everyday I am gifted. Starting my artistic career and brand was a risk, but one I was willing to take. In my eyes taking risks can only give you positive and always better results. Thanks to taking risks, over the last couple years I have been able to do things I could have never dreamed of. I have been a guest and hosted panels at conventions all over the US, Vended my art at art markets, galleries and even online. I have had the honor of creating children’s books, designing apps, animating for TV, comedy shows, podcasts. I have also been able to collaborate with major brands like Disney, Lucas Film, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Hot Topic, Box Lunch and many more. All of these opportunities became available because I was willing to take risks. Read more>>

Sanniyah Antoinette | Musician & Model

In my opinion, Life is all about taking risks! I’ve always wanted to move to Los Angeles from Philadelphia since I was a junior in High-school. This was back in 2016, and I’m now living in LA in 2021 (22 years of age). I’ve always wondered about the “what if”, and it was so easy for my mind to automatically shoot towards the negative. What if no one cares about my music, what if I’m not good enough to model, what if I move to Los Angeles and not fit in, etc. It was the biggest risk of my life to pick up my whole 22 years living in Philadelphia, on my own, and move here not knowing if I 100% had the job I currently have (I was in the process of interviewing for it), and if I got approved for my apartment (literally found out that I was approved while I was in air hours before landing). Read more>>

Tom Loerch | Writer & Animator

Life is risk. And life is chance. Francis Bacon used to say something along those lines, and he’s probably right. I dropped out of architecture school to pursue a writing career. I moved out to LA a few years later, no safety net. I think if you’re looking to do something exceptional, you’re always going to take on some risk, or have some skin in the game, as they say. And if you didn’t it probably wouldn’t be any fun. Read more>>

Daniel Bergeron | Photographer

There is no progress, without risk. We exist, as far as I know, for a relatively microscopic amount of time. We should make the most of it, before we return to whatever we were before we were born. I was raised in deep south poverty, and abuse. Found an “out”, via the Navy… but I didn’t like my job. After 6 years, my time was up. Took a chance on a career in Photography. It has been an amazing ride, and it wouldn’t have happened had I stayed in the comfort of a steady paycheck from Uncle Sam. I also race vintage motorcycles, sidecars, and have done a bit of canyoneering. My life has been anything but mundane, and much of that comes from a taking a chance. I have learned that the hardest part of doing awesome things is allowing yourself to put that foot in the door. What is frightening at first, soon becomes second nature. Read more>>

Carolina Acosta | Tragos Founder, CEO

As an entrepreneur and as a professional, I feel like taking risks has been a recurring theme in my career. I constantly think about it and where my decisions in taking risks have led me so far. I think it’s important to talk about because it’s not talked about nor encouraged enough, especially for women. Different nurturing styles for boys and girls have led to females being much more risk-averse than males and it shows in almost every industry. Read more>>

Gena Lee Nolin | Author and Ambassador for Gerrish Medesthetics

I knew at an early age I wanted to be in California. I had won a few beauty contests, but ultimately wanted to be on the west coast. At the time, I didn’t have any money and I didn’t know anyone there, but when you don’t have anything you have nothing to lose. That was my attitude. That’s what thrusted me towards LA. I was cast on The Price Is Right as a Barker Beauty on CBS soundstage 33. Across from us was stage 31 which housed The Young and the Restless and stage 32, The Bold and the Beautiful. As luck would have it, whenever they needed a model or actress, they would come over to stage 33 to fill spots and I ended up their go-to girl. That was my first time ever acting. My first scene was with Vivica Fox actually. I was star struck during the scene! My intent was never to be an actress. Showing microwave ovens and cabin cruisers felt like I had hit the jackpot at the time. I was totally fine being on The Price Is Right. Read more>>

Akin Kilis | Composer

In my opinion, risk is a very important topic. There are a lot of composition competitions in the world and in a year I apply to dozens of competitions. Also, I know from my friends in the art environment that the most important thing is consistency and practice. We have to take risks and apply to a lot of competitions, festivals, etc. However, we must work in proportion to that. Thus, we can feel relaxed and confident. There is a big difference between tolerance and patience. tolerance is a type of staying silent about the hard circumstances that we face. On the other hand, patience is a part of our success process. We should do our best and be patient with the results. Read more>>

Chitwara Moise | Artist/Singer/Songwriter

Risk. Well I believe there is no growth if we only ride on the safe side of life. Every first step towards a dream that nobody else has got faith in apart from you, every single move one makes out of their comfort zone is a risk. This is because usually we take that route with no assurance of greener pasture nor even a better life than the one we had gotten used to, things could get worse who knows but still we take that one leap of faith and before we know it we are already blowing up. In my life risk taking is one of the major factors that have made me always stand out, if only at some point, I had let my fears get the best of me I wouldn’t have accomplished nothing completely for myself. It’s very important in life though to always take calculated risks. Read more>>

Brandi Diana Del Rio | Raising warriors/Truth Speaker/ Mentor

The greater the risk, the greater the learning experience! Weather I “Fail “or succeed, I learn. And when I’m learning I am growing. Almost every great success I have in my life has come from taking a risk. From my marriage, to my children, my health, finances and business. Almost all the results people see have been based off what the world would call a risk. I see it as a leap of faith and have lived and learned some incredible experiences because of it. Read more>>

Samantha Baugnon | Producer & Actress

Without risk I wouldn’t be anywhere in life. Risk keeps life interesting, whether it’s a success or failure. One of the biggest risks I’ve taken was moving to LA at 20 years old and not knowing a single person! I am so thankful I have the gumption to take risks or I wouldn’t have much joy in my life. It can be hard to jump into the unknown, but I’d rather learn from my failures than to always wonder what if. I never want to have regrets and as long as you keep true to yourself, take those risks and keep the faith you will lead a fulfilling life. It can be so hard sometimes when what you want doesn’t line up with what other’s think you should be doing, but you have to follow through and do what you know and hope is the next right move for your life. I am so thankful all of my decisions so far have lead me to be a Producer/Creative Executive at K Factor Films. The entertainment business is chock full of risk everyday, and you just have to believe in yourself and your team to keep going and trying new things! Read more>>

Jamie Wu | Actor and Photographer

I am by nature a very risk-averse person. So the fact that I am pursuing acting and photography, two artistic avenues, is very out of my comfort zone. Growing up, everything that I did was planned and calculated so that there was as little room as possible for uncertainty, which is a definite byproduct of risk. But looking back at my life, I can confidently say that all the amazing things I’ve ever done were when I’ve risked it the most. In college, I studied abroad in Singapore and that was life changing. It opened my eyes to different cultures and definitions of success. It made me let go of chasing the “American Dream” where I’d make a 6-figure income, have kids at 30 and live in a white-picket fence house. After graduating, I left the corporate world and didn’t use my engineering degree and instead pursued acting and photography. Read more>>

Nick Walker | Photographer & Director

Risk has played a huge role in my life and career. If I never took any risk then I would of probably stayed at home waiting for money to come magically. When I think about risk and my career I think about investing in myself… And taking the leap to put myself out there. I’ve always have put money and effort back into my projects in hopes that it would then bring in more of that caliber of work. If I knew I wanted to shoot more film than digital then I would take my rate from the job and use it for film and processing. It’s those risk that help set you apart, maybe not to the client, but to yourself and I think that is really important. You have to know that at the end of the day you tried your best… And if having to not make as much money the way to do that… Then so be it. I also think about “trying” when I think about risk. I risk “losing” every time I think of an idea… But the only thing that. beats a fail is a try. So I’m happy to risk losing, because I’m always learning something in the process. Read more>>

Newton Carlicci | Writer, Director and Cinematographer

Risks are a big part of structuring the way I strategize my life. Big risks can be daunting to most and I can see how the “what if’s” start meddling inside your head. However ever since being young I can remember taking risks in all sorts of ways but mainly failure. We learn best from failing in my opinion. If you do not try then how would you have known if the said goal or thing you want to achieve could have been done? I will be the first to say I have failed at many things but it has helped me narrow down my choices, build and grow from the mistakes, and mold myself into a fine tuned creative engine that I can now place my self in situations and know where my role will best be suited. Read more>>

Ronnie Kroell

Without risk, there is no reward! It can be scary to take risks because no one wants to fail, but the truth is … the road to success is paved with trial and error (failure). Those errors don’t define us as people, rather errors provide us with more information/insight on how to succeed on the next attempt. We must all be scientists in life … being curious, asking questions, and being willing to fall down and get back up. If we don’t, we risk always sitting on the side-lines and not realizing our purpose or manifesting our dreams. Read more>>

Shalandrea Houchen | Founder of What’s Ya Vibe?/Art Director/Entertainer

Risk has been my life. At-risk black kid, at-risk black woman, at-risk American. I’ve faced every risk as an opportunity to excel. I also love risks, because I grew up in as an at-risk of well, everything; risk is my natural state. I moved to NYC with two hundred dollars in my pocket when I was twenty-one years old knowing every risk. I also subconsciously knew that pushing through those thoughts of fear and doubt would give space to every blessing I received. Risk is necessary for growth in my life and in my career. Read more>>

Vanessa Dunlap | Real Estate Agent & Pilates Instructor

I would actually consider myself to be a fairly risk-averse person however when I changed careers and went from a salaried Ad Sales Executive to a 100% commission based Real Estate professional I would say it’s definitely the riskiest move I’ve made to date. In my mind, it felt like the ultimate example of a high risk, high reward situation as I was feeling very stagnant in my career and just the thought and hope to be able to spark joy in a new role & industry was all the motivation I needed to take the risk. I knew I had to go for it in order to re-ignite that professional passion and in many ways the thought of hitting the reset button really did excite me even though I knew it would be a long and tenuous road to get there. Read more>>

understandud n/a | Artist, Recording Artist and Producer

To take risks is to breathe. In your every day you participate in risks you’ve mostly muted. Driving in your vehicle, eating that second slice of cake, going on a walk, NOT going on a walk, these all come with different risks with different severities should “things go wrong” and yet we do them anyway. Yet when it comes to taking risks regarding our well-being and happiness – this is where we are frozen. I believe the root of this comes from parenting, our culture, and of course – our own brush with failure and rejection. Read more>>

Seema Shakti | Visual Artist & Educator

Risk means growth and development. Sharing your art and creative practice with the world takes a lot of courage because it’s such an intimate part of who you are. Showing my art to the public for the first time without knowing how it would be received was definitely risky! However, I experienced so much growth over the years because of this decision. Deciding to sell my art and paper goods in a cooperatively-run store is another risk that I recently took. Whatever the outcome of this current experience, I trust that I’ll build community and continue growing as both an artist and small business owner! Read more>>

Sophia Dubuisson | Artist

My personal philosophy is; the person who doesn’t take risks has nothing to loose but also nothing to live by. Risks can be very scary. I took a leap of faith with my art career, the risk of failure was equal to the risk of success. Knowing i took that risk i was able to sleep at night knowing that at least i tried.
Because there is no guide on how to “life” risks are the way to live by.
I choose to make the risk of success greater than the risk of failure, (it doesn’t always happen) but I’ve made it this far by take a lot of risks Read more>>

Missai (Nancy) Madrid (Vuong) | Model & Artist & Dancer

Risk is scary as hell! However, without taking any risks or that small/ big jump, you won’t be able to grow as a person. You need those certain hurdles to continue to grow. One risk I took was starting to join the modeling world and OnlyFans. Putting myself out there and some parts of life, you’ve out to have thick skin for that. I was afraid of how my family would react, mind you- they are Vietnamese immigrant who have super different morals, ethics, and ways they feel about things. I definitely took a big risk with family, friends, and the public. Definitely was afraid of the judgement and how people would see me and if they would see me differently. But I am certainly glad I took the risk. Read more>>

Jerome Renard | Mixing Engineer

I personally take risk as a way to go further in my life, my career. This is something that takes a huge part of my life -I bet a few times on moving across the world to live in other places, experience lifes there and work with people from different cultures. Music being an intenrational thing, if you’re willing to take some risks, it can brings you to unbelieble place. Coming from Belgium -I took any chance I had to push my career further -which brought me to work in Paris, London and make me moves and. as far as now, settle in los Angeles.
There were definitely risks -especially moving to the USA -which was so far the biggest risk I took -but each of those push my career forward but also myself and how I interact with life. Read more>>

Tinsley Tarot | Reiki Energy Healer | Tarot Card Reader | Spiritual Coach

Risk is what makes us bold and defines who we are. For me taking risks has always been easy, but dealing with the aftermath is the tricky part. I have lived a nomadic life: Houston, Chicago, Boston, and Long Beach being some of the places I have called home. But what fun is life if not lived on the edge? I definitely use risk more constructively now as I have gotten older. To make passion your career you must stay resilient and ready to change course when needed, ever-adapting, re-prioritizing, learning, and growing. Starting a business is inherently risky and most entrepreneurs put all of their time and resources on the line for a chance to live a better life. It’s a gamble that offers a glimpse at the ultimate prize, autonomy. Read more>>

Destinie Lynn | Singer/Songwriter

I think taking risks is necessary. Don’t get me wrong, I think those risks should be calculated haha, but without taking risks a lot of great things wouldn’t happen. Risk has played the role of a jump-start in my career. Every time I take a chance on something I’m propelled to see it through and really give it my all to try to ensure that it pays off. But I think ultimately my relationship with risk is a direct reflection of how much I trust myself; either how much I trust myself to figure things out and make it work when I’ve taken a risk, or how much I trust myself to be able to bounce back and recover if it doesn’t. Having that trust in yourself takes risk taking from being a nerve-racking anxiety inducing experience to being something that’s actually fun and exciting and invigorating. Read more>>

Suhasini Yeeda | Writer & Communications Consultant

I came to embrace risk only recently in life. However, in small ways through my life I’ve always taken risks out of sheer necessity. For many people, there is no other option than taking a risk on ourselves, so we take big risks and just hope. Most recently, I took the risk to start my own communications company, NITI Communications. I began freelancing with a few QTBIPOC small business owners while working 9-5 and I became really excited by the work I was doing and the communities I was serving. Then one day, I made the wild assertion that I deserved to spend all of my time doing things that excite me. I left my full time job with benefits. I took the risk without family financial assistance or capital investors. I’m still not guaranteed that this risk will be worth it. Yet, when I reflect on the best parts of my life, risk has always been central to connecting to my most authentic self. Read more>>

Susan Van Daal | Ayurvedic practitioner and Doula

I don’t know if I really believe in “taking risks” but I believe in leaving the known behind and stepping out of what feels comfortable and expand in all unfamiliar areas of life. After a break up at 28 years old I left everything behind, a good job, a house and my home country. I moved to Portugal and started life from scratch. Three years after I moved to Los Angeles and started my holistic doula service – Inanna care. It has never been a risk but it came with insecurities, for sure. Will I make enough money to sustain myself? Will I find a community again that I can rely on? Read more>>

Aiqi Zhang | Multidisciplinary Designer

Taking risks is an indispensable part of the design path especially for multidisciplinary designers. For me, it means how we could step out of our comfort zone and be open to all the possibilities. Most of my family members are architects and great at mathematical topics. However, I’m afraid of doing topics that are related to it, because I felt my comfort zone is designing and communicating an idea through visuals. This time, I wanna try to see how I can combine mathematical information with those intriguing visuals that the public will understand better. A rebranding project of mine that demonstrates this is Sound Studies Lab. What the lab does is invite young and experienced scholars and artists to work on the sonic sensory aspects of individual lives and in societies, cultures, and historical eras. Read more>>

Carson Grant | USA Actor and Artist

My whole life has been about risk taking and performing in fascinating projects. Whether at 18 yrs. old dropping out of University of Rhode Island and moving to NYC in 1970 to study method technique with Lee Strasberg or at 68 yrs. old packing my belongings into a 24-ft truck to drive cross-country relocating to LA to explore higher-end film projects, I have not lost my tenacity to take chances to explore literally new territories in performing. Risk tasking has kept the smile on my face my entire life, and as a senior, I have not slowed down. Five years ago, in the film “One Penny” in the role of ‘Professor Allen’ I was strapped in protect gear and for several days rehearse with a stunt expert how to flip 220 lb. stuntmen and be flipped, throw and dodge punches and knives, stab knives into walls and floors inches from the stuntmen’s faces, all to save my adopted son and holt the evil doers criminal behavior. Read more>>

Juan Manuel Fernandez | Artist entrepreneur in search of transcending centralized platforms.

Gotta risk it to get the biscuit. As artists we are catalysts of human experiences. It’s our JOB to go “out there”… Beyond where most people are ok with going. When I started to get into crypto I was overwhelmed with a sea of negative opinions… Sometimes things aren’t gonna pan out and that’s ok, the best thing you can do in that situation is to try to learn from the experience. Turns out NFTs are the coolest thing to happen to art and music (IMHO). It’s been a total paradigm shift from working towards millions of streams, towards NFT sales. IDK It’s also a matter of fun. I have more fun going as far off as I can from the beaten path. Read more>>

Jenny Lu | Elementary School Teacher and Children’s Book Author

If you think about it, we take risks every day. Most of these daily risks are small, though occasionally we take bigger ones. I have always been on the cautious side when it comes to risk-taking, due to the fear of failing. Some say the biggest risk is not taking risks at all, as you are missing out on all of those opportunities. During the beginning of the pandemic, I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and take the risk of doing something I have always been passionate about: publishing a children’s picture book, which I have titled Emma Ren: Robot Engineer. Publishing my book was considered a huge risk for me, as I am normally a shy person. Putting myself and my writing out there for the world to judge was scary. Ultimately, this risk was worth the reward, as I was able to fulfill my dream of writing a children’s picture book. Hopefully, my book will inspire children to pursue their passion and follow their dreams as well. Read more>>