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.

Abby Baron | Criminal Prosecutor & Judicial Candidate

Calculated risks are a necessary part of a life well-lived. We take risks when we walk out the door each day, when we talk with people who give us butterflies in our stomachs, or when we stray from our favorite pick on a menu. Life is made up of risks in the form of choices. Embrace it! Do your homework and make an informed decision, but make the decision without fear. At 22, I moved to California alone. I didn’t have family here and I came from a small town in the country, but I wanted to experience the diversity and bustle of LA. Read more>>

Chelsie Remanda | True-self Guide & Mindset Mentor

I thought I had an answer to this question lol. But when I start to think about all the risks I’ve taken in my life, I realize I think about risk much differently. My original answer was along of the lines how much I have traveled all over the world by myself as a female and quitting my job to start my business without a plan or giant savings account in place. Those things make me want to pat myself on the back and congratulate myself for taking so many risks. But a thought keeps popping up in my head; What made those things risks? Was I really taking a risk or was I simply living life? I think it’s easy to get the two mixed up. Read more>>

Rose Wilde | Pastry Chef

Risk is how one makes a life and sometimes a living. You won’t have all the answers maybe ever, the risk will teach you about everyone around you, there will always be hard lessons learned and you will find rewards in the end. As a kid I believed it meant taking every dare, especially the ones not meant for girls. I joined an all boys baseball team as a kid. I was told the risk was I couldn’t keep up and I’d get hurt. I wanted to play anyway. I learned that the real risk was how upset the other boy players were on the team. Read more>>

Ulrika Pettersson | Founder and CEO Unna Bakery

I never think about risk as something I should avoid. It’s part of life and I think that when you start calculating or “examining” risk, the outcome is only different ways to develop your business. By putting down on paper what can I win, what can I lose, what the best and worst thing that can happen is, a plan starts to form I can choose a path forward. If I choose to take a risk and loose, I already know the outcome and how to move on. It doesn’t feel like a loss. Same if I take a risk and succeed, things are going according to plan, it is not a big win. Read more>>

Diana Anpilohova | 3D animator, 2D artist

I did not realize the consequences of the risks I was taking, because my dream is bigger than those risks. Those risks become temporary obstacles and lessons I learn every day on a way to my dream. I think that I did not know all the effects of my action as it is hard to predict anything in the future. I find it interesting as playing the game. The game approach and positive thinking help to solve any problems that arise after taking a risk. So far I learned a lot from it. For example, one of the biggest risks I took on the way to my dream of becoming a professional animator was coming to study in a foreign country, from Ukraine to the U.S., completely alone. Read more>>

Krystal Bee | Entertainment/Media host & content creator

Risk has taken a huge role in my career since before I was even in radio. I was in college at CSULA and I remember telling my Dad I wanted to get into radio. He was shocked and kind of scared since he knew what a risk that would be. Us not knowing anything about the radio industry or anyone, he was telling me maybe I should consider a different profession. It was a huge risk but I did it, even though I was hesitant at the time I’m so happy I did it. Read more>>

Zaul Lizalde | Music Producer/Educator & Photographer

In this day, age, and culture my entire existence is a risk. I chose to be an artist and I consistently choose to do things that don’t have a guarantee of succeeding. It challenges me and forces me to bring out the best in myself. If you live life too afraid to ever risk anything you will never truly experience the joys in life. You will never be vulnerable enough with someone to have a real relationship, all your dreams and ambitions will just silently weigh on you, and you might lose respect for yourself in the process. Read more>>

Treya Bolin | Producer & Director

When I think of risks the first thing that comes to my mind is blind faith and supreme confidence. It’s like going into a tunnel and not knowing what’s on the other side, or a fork in the road where you can either decide to go left or right, or like in the movie, The Matrix when Neo had to decide to take the red pill or blue pill. Each of these examples are all choices that a person has to eventually make. Everything can be a risk if you think about it in that way however I’ve changed my entire frame of thinking when it comes to taking on risks and that’s just having an incredible amount of blind faith and supreme confidence. Read more>>

Lin Sun | Standup Comic, Producer, Writer, Mom

Risk taking is essential to success, for me. I am a single Mom. I do not have any help from family or the baby daddy. I pay all the bills myself and do my best to build a good life for my son. He is 5 years old now. I am highly ambitious now because I want to be able to enjoy life with him in the years to come. He has his whole life ahead of him. I want to do my part in being a good example of following your dreams. I don’t believe in “sacrifice”. I do believe in win/win. Read more>>

Reese Salken | Musician, Skateboarder & Artist known as WOLFTRAPROAD

Risk taking for me makes life worth living. Taking risk is the only way I have made it to where I am in life. You will never know until you go for it. Make that risk seem like its not a risk at all. Pretend that you have. a fall back even when you do not at all. I have no plan B its only plan A so I have no choice but to take the risk because otherwise I am not going anywhere with what I wanna do in life. You gotta get out of your comfort zone as much as possible. Read more>>

Olivia Liv” Ramirez | Fine Art Painter”

I’m the happiest I’ve ever been because of risk-taking! To me, risk-taking is exciting because you never know what the outcome will be and that’s the best part! It’s ok to live a little off the edge as long as you have big faith in God and yourself. My courage can only come from a higher spiritual source. Read more>>

Ben Forman | TV Producer, Entrepreneur

I always associated risk with opportunity. Taking risks, for me, means leading a full life; a life without regrets. The pain of failure has always been easier to swallow than the regret of not taking action. Despite the scars, the lessons you take away from failures (in life and business) are so much more valuable than anything you can extract from observing on the sideline. Read more>>

Gustavo David | Actor/Actress

For me, it is leaving my family, friends, and a great home environment to pursue my dream, MY career, I started studying psychology in Panama, I was one year far to finish my degree as a psychologist and at that prior time of my life I was doing theater and short films, suddenly I just fall in love with it, I couldn’t stop just having the feeling of loving something and not doing it in my fullest time, I needed it to have more, and that’s what I did, I quit before I finish psychology and I told my parents that I want to be an artist…an actor. Read more>>

Lydia Li | Film Composer & Singer Songwriter

It’s natural to want to feel comfortable and not take many risks, however, if we only make safe choices and never challenge ourselves we risk missing out on priceless growth experiences. When stepping out of my comfort zone, I sometimes overthink and downplay my abilities, but when push comes to shove I always find myself going above and beyond what I thought was possible. Overcoming those seemingly hard-to-reach moments are what have helped me become stronger and more confident in many aspects of my life. Read more>>

Madi Thomas | Dancer

Risk taking is something that I believe has carried my career from the start. I have never been one that likes comfortability. I think the moment we get comfortable is the moment for another risk to be taken. I want to feel 100% myself in all things that I do and to be purely yourself is a risk itself. I believe that with risk comes self trust, knowing that whatever I chose to do is meant to happen. I would rather live a life of “Oh well” than a life of “What if”. You never know what’s to come if you don’t take opportunities. I take risks in the way I look, the career I chose, where I live, and I have never felt more myself. Read more>>

London Mckoy | Singer/ Songwriter

Before the pandemic, I wouldn’t describe myself as much of a risk taker. Like most, I’ve experienced a lot of changes over the last 3 years, which has forced me to become more flexible. My full time job of 5 years, laid me off which has allowed me to pursue my music career full time. I’ve taken some risk that have resulted in amazing opportunities and connections. But I’ve also spent many nights in tears, wondering if I’ll fail or if I’ve made the best decision. I am learning that the life I desire requires risks and lots of faith. There is no safe way to pursue your dreams and I am fully surrendered to the journey. Read more>>

Darius Christian | Performing Artist & Music Producer

I find risk-taking to be an integral part of being an artist. My career spawned out of uncertainty mixed with a vision and a dream and taking incremental and intentional steps forward period. without risk, there is no reward but with that being said, there does need to be a balance where it’s not all on the line 100% of the time knowing when to pick your moments to go all in. I find it to be effective and based on tapping into your internal gut feeling so without risk I would not be here today. Read more>>

Coviello Salines | Founder and creator of Amour Geneve Co. ( The World’s First Naturally Blue Wine)

Risk is an action that starts as a vision that can either make or break an individuals life or can essentially create the world you wish to live. It takes a very resilient, aware, and dedicated human being to understand that some risk takes time and- at times- unknown results can become apparent. Read more>>

DERRICK BODY | Active Duty Military (Navy) Roller Skate Instructor

Hello, Risk to me is a direct reflection of our trust. We must all be willing to risk what we don’t know, don’t have & can’t see for a specific outcome. As an active duty service member I decided to risk everything I’ve ever known prior to serving my country to potentially provide a better life for myself. Time progressed and it turned out to be the best decision I could have made however, if I weren’t willing to risk my familiarity for the unknown challenges ahead I wouldn’t be where I am today. Joining the Navy allowed me to dream again and take more risk just because you never know the country may be up against and personally my risk taking allowed me to regain control over my life again. Read more>>

Sierra Cornell | Songwriter

As a songwriter, risk is an essential part of the job. Whether it’s releasing music, performing, or working with other people, there’s always the chance someone won’t like what you’re doing. It’s scary because songs can feel like a part of you, and then criticism feels personal. However, you’ll never see any rewards if you keep your music to yourself. Taking that risk every day is necessary. Read more>>

Tonya Papanikolov | Founder & CEO, Holistic Nutritionist

I think anyone who is willing to start their own business and go out on their own, comes to face risk head on, constantly. What if the market doesn’t like this product? What if people don’t understand? What if I’m too early? What if I can’t find clients? What if I lose all my money? It is so important dig in, evaluate, do market research and evaluate things practically. Start where you can – risk is a spectrum. It’s easy to confuse risk and fear. Risks are your practical considerations while fear holds you back and keeps you playing small. It’s always good to be aware of the difference here. Write them out so you can see clearly what your risks are, and what your fears are. Release on your fears. Read more>>

Charlie Engle | Adventurer, Speaker, Writer

I think you risk-taking a truly essential part of both my athletic career and my business life. Risk takes many forms. If I am running a 100 mile race, there is a certain amount of inherent risk physically but for the most part I know that I’m not actually risking my life. The rib is more about how much I’m willing to suffer and how important the lessons I will learn are. But for me, the far greater risk is not putting myself out there and opening up to new opportunities. The same is true in business for me. All of my risk-taking is somewhat calculated. But at some point, no matter the size of the risk, Read more>>

Nikki Mehr | Candle Maker & Hair Stylist

Taking risks is something I’ve been familiar with for a long time. I spent too much time playing it safe and feeling stagnant in jobs or certain situations, so one day I decided I was done with that. I always joke that you’re too young to hate your job.. which is true! I once saw a graph that showed how much of your life is spent working, so why wouldn’t you take a risk and try something you love? If that doesn’t work, try the next thing. Keep trying but never settle. Taking the risk of starting Blew, my candle company also led me into taking my other career as a hair stylist to the next level. Read more>>

John Safari | Event Producer, Booking Agent & Poet

Taking risks is the most fun part of operating my own business. For me, it’s imperative to push my limits daily and to compete with yesterday, not other people! In business, there must be risk in order to warrant reward. The best possible way to do that is by finding your niche, and then providing them extreme values to those using your service or product. Taking risks is not only fun, but it shows how much you believe in what you are doing and that you’ll be happy going through uncomfortable growth to attain your goals.
I don’t think I’d still be doing business without the challenges and risks. It really is exhilarating. Read more>>

Michelle Roberts | The CrackerLady of Smokin’ Crackers

When I think about RISKS, my first thoughts are the lifestyles of my parents and grandparents. They played by the rules and they played it safe. I have N E V E R played by the rules nor have I played it safe. I remember deciding early on that I would never settle for what’s offered – I will push the envelope at all costs! I use to call it blind faith – I just know it will be great, because it’s of me. Read more>>

Louisa Barnett | CEO, Bounce

Risk is my middle name! I’m a firm believer in the saying, ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone’, and to grow a business, you need to take risks. Of course, taking risks can be dangerous, so there’s a balance and a limit. I take risks but ensure they’re not at the detriment of our staff. For example, I’m not going to take a risk that could put us in financial jeopardy and risk us having to lay-off employees. Read more>>

Courtney Hart | Musician & Actress

Taking risks is imperative in the entertainment industry. In music and film, you will be told, ‘no’ 99 times and you will get 1, ‘yes’ and you risk and work so hard for that one piece of a large puzzle, that may not even get you far. I grew up in a small town in Georgia and everyone is settling down with jobs and kids and marriages. Choosing art, for me, in itself has been a risk. I’ve risked that stability of a husband and children and small town life because I cannot see myself doing anything else. Risking being told, ‘you’re nuts’ or ‘you’re getting too old,’ Read more>>

Darryll C. Scott | Film and TV Producer

Risk is everything. it’s cliche but with out risk there is no reward. Every time I take on a project there is risk involved. The key element to risk taking is hedging your bets. It’s like getting in a car, there is a risk to drive to work but you put countless hours behind driving that vehicle. You also where a seatbelt. To me that is no difference in business. I make sure to do the research and I way the pros and cons then make a decision from there. Not all the time you make the right decision and have to suffer from the consequences that come along with it but that’s part of the game. Read more>>

Izabella Waters | Creator, painter, designer,

I believe that risk taking is an essential part of growing as a person. To take a risk is to be more brave than the fear of failure. The underlying shame of not being what you want can be heavy until we understand that we are always only to be what we are and failing is healthy for us. Pause and take a step back to assess the choices made previously that led us to our shortcoming. I’m grateful for the courage I have to be brave and take risks in my life. As an artist I feel that the biggest risk that we take is on ourselves and our creative channel. Read more>>

Jobie Battle | Realtor-Los Angeles

Risk taking has played a big role in my career whether that’s from my past entertainment career to now my. most current career as a Realtor in the Los Angeles area .Taking risk comes with so many severe life challenges but with me consistently being productive, learning,, growing, being optimistic,,keeping my mind on the greatest/most rewarding outcome, putting my trust in God and thoroughly knowing everything will work out for my greater good and a greater purpose..That is the secret!! Read more>>

Joseph Wetherspoon | Model & Fitness Trainer

I believe to see what you are truly made of, is judged by how much you believe in yourself. Life is all about taking risks or else you will settle for anything. Taking risks impact me with proving to myself time after time that I can do what ever I put my mind to. I grew up in a environment of people who didn’t believe in their dreams enough to turn them into reality. I feel that listing excuses to why I’m unable to do something would be dumbing down the belief I have in myself. Read more>>

Lindsay Wolf | Hair and Wardrobe Stylist

For me, risk taking plays an integral role in my life and career. It’s been the key ingredient that fuels my motivation, ambition and desire for growth. I think both personally and professionally, one must have a clear point of view with specific goals in place when looking towards growth and the future. This allows for risks to not seem as daunting. Risk taking may seem like a scary thing initially, but when you follow your intuition, the fear melts away, exposing success Read more>>

Leandro Wu | Visual Development Artist & Illustrator

I think risk taking is a mandatory task that oneself has to do constantly in order to find new ideas, new things and new experience. Without risk taking, we just stay in our comfort zone and we are not allowing ourselves to become someone greater than we currently are, and sometimes we even receive a little bit of surprise he he. When I do my artwork, I’m always trying new things, new color palettes, new designs, new styles, and most of the time, I have no idea what I’m doing but one thing I know for sure is, if I don’t stay out of my comfort zone and avoid risk taking, my learning experience would be slow and dull. Read more>>