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.

Pentené Milner | Wardrobe Healer and Style-Wellness Coach

I believe that risk taking is a great way for you to be fearless and boundless in taking a chance on yourself in any capacity. It is an opportunity to practice believing and trusting in yourself more. Risks to me are part of the life experience. I take a risk every time I put out new content, tell my story, invest money into my business, create a new service or program – there is always a risk involved. And without risk there is no change or expansiveness. One of the biggest risks I took was removing myself from a harmful situation that may be considered a fail, and instead I consider it a new beginning. Read more>>

Marilyn Reles | CEO and Publicist at Present PR

It’s funny because, the older I get, the more risk-adverse I become. That is why I’m so grateful for how bold I was in my 20’s. See, this may not apply to everyone but for me, taking risks was necessary in order for me to get to where I am today. The music industry does not come with a map that tells you where to go and how long it’ll take to get there. So you kind of have to jump out of your comfort zone in order to find your footing. Read more>>

Gunner Thind | Sports & Business Consultant

I think risk-taking is a strategic assessment; it is a means to evaluate the path ahead, identify roadblocks, and test your grit. I would even say risk-taking is essential to plot the best way forward. You never know what lies ahead, and calculated risk-taking is the best way to find out and strategize for the win. I don’t think anybody can get comfortable with taking risks, and it makes the experience wholesome; it is a constant process of learning, evolution, and seeking ways to maximize your creativity and live up to your true potential. Read more>>

ÉLI SOKHN | Film Director & Entrepreneur

I find risk attractive because I love the feeling of winning. If the risk is big then the win comes at you bigger. I still remember the first risk I’ve taken on my first week as an intern at a production company; I was 19, and I was sitting there observing an editor edit a TV show and when he went on his lunch break I jumped and took his seat. I had absolutely no clue what anything was. And I was playing around with the editing software when the owner of the company walked in with a bunch of DV tapes and he told me that the show airs next Sunday so I better get to editing. So I nodded my head and I said “YES” with no hesitation. Read more>>

Taylor Alley | Art Director @ Apple TV+

There is this philosophy in life that you can’t plan or expect too much because it will never look that way. So why not say yes to something that feels scary but could be that life-changing opportunity. For me this simple two-word statement “taking risks” was vital for my path and success. It’s incredible how we’re taught to always have a place to land before we leap. But, I think taking risks is essential in life. If you don’t try for the things you want, one day you’ll wonder about the “what if’s” or, even worse, stay content. (which, let’s be honest, creativity and art are not created with contentment) Secondly, you must have faith in yourself, which can be tricky. Read more>>

Perveen Singh | Actor and screenwriter

As a child of immigrants, risk has had a huge hand in where I am today. When I step back and take an aerial view of my life, it amazes me to see where I’ve come. I was born on a tiny peninsula almost ten thousand miles away from this amazing city I now call home and where I pursue my dreams. Every step along the way was rooted in some risk. Read more>>

Deja Portet | Actress

I think risk taking is fundamental for success especially when trying to make it in the acting industry. A lot of times the people around us don’t want us to take risks because it can be scary. I think we’re all afraid of the big “what if?” If more of us were willing to bet on ourselves and reframe our mindset to focus on “What if everything went great?” instead of “What if I fail?” A lot more people would be happy with their lives. Read more>>

Jerry Costanzo | Singer, entertainer, bandleader

Risk? Oh yeah! My life has been a series of risks. I have never taken the easy path with anything. I’ve never been afraid to take chances. I suppose the biggest risk I ever took was walking away from my construction company to pursue a career as a professional singer, entertainer and bandleader. My family and friends thought I lost my mind. In retrospect, I probably did lose my mind! I hated where I was in life and felt that if I didn’t pursue the things that made me happy, I never would. It was my risk taking personality that was ultimately the driving factor that allowed me to take the leap. Read more>>

Tam Young | Actor & Model

I think about risk being an action such as a leap of faith. Sometimes I can get curious and get an intuitive thought. All it takes is willingness to try and do something different or the opposite of my “usual”. Through risk, I find out more about myself, my limits, and my endurance. I see risk as being something proactive. Risk has truly helped me in my career by helping me truly trust myself first and leaving the outcome to something greater than me. No risk, no reward. Every time I take a risk, I am never disappointed. Scared, but have never regretted it. Read more>>

Noah Reilly | Actor

What a strong start! Risk taking is a major part of who I am not only as a person, but also as an artist. “Take a risk” is one of my mottos. I would not be where I am today without taking risks. I will say, it’s not just me who believes this, but also my family! My family and I moved around a lot when I was growing up. We moved houses thirteen times! Those were risks my family had to make to live a better life each time. At the time we were moving, I didn’t really understand that, but I am glad I know that now. Even as a child I was taking risks without knowing it. Going to new schools, meeting new people, living in entirely different states…that’s a big deal for a kid! Read more>>

Clear Mortifee | Singer, Coach & Medium

Along my journey, I’ve made a habit of making choices in favor of my greater vision, instead of prioritizing my fears of failure. I’ve learned that every L is a lesson, every lesson is an insight, and every insight is an asset. I now seek out risks to the point where I no longer see them as risks, but as empowering next steps. On the other side of these courageous steps inevitably lies the next levels of my success. Read more>>

Luke Hartelust | Innovator, Operator, Leader

In entrepreneurship risk is inevitable – You cannot succeed without taking risks. In my life ive built up my risk tolerance and this has been the cornerstone to where I am today. My first business was in a foreign country where I did not speak the language, I did not live full time and I had never started or owned a business before. It failed but I learnt some valuable lessons that allowed me to be successful in my next venture. Read more>>

Becca Khalil | Actor and Poet

I think every choice I make is a risk. Every word I write, even at this moment, is a risk. Words can be defining and that is risky. As a kid, I took risks without even knowing. I entered talent shows. I talked to strangers. I wore denim skirts over denim pants. Risks I took without even knowing. Further, I took bigger risks. I articulated my identity. I put myself in spaces that didn’t understand me. I wanted to be an artist in a cultural household. These risks I took defined me and I didn’t even know they were risks. Recently I performed in a play called Settlements at InterAct Theatre Company in Philadelphia. Read more>>

Jordan Calderon | 4 Time Founder, 1 Exit

Risk is one of those things that are synonymous with life for me. Risk has become my best friend. I’m one of those people that if I’m not undergoing a risky endeavor, or I’m not in a situation where I’m constantly stressed out thinking of my next move, I’d be in a perpetual state of boredom. That’s why I really assimilate with Houdini, you know, the guy who used to tie himself up, hide a key, and submerge himself underwater in hopes of getting loose before he ran out of air? Houdini thrived in risky situations, and I get it. That makes life exciting. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with being risk averse. It’s just not for me. Read more>>

Karla Mosley | Actor, Producer, Writer, Teacher

During the pande-monium, I decided to start a podcast with my friend, Roxana Ortega. It came from a conversation that our theatre company, Ammunition Theatre Co. (also LA based), had about why it’s necessary to RISK. While we believe it’s important to create environments that are inclusive, empathic, informed, and warm, we also believe that – particularly in regards to the creation of art – it is vital to push our thinking beyond our comfort zone if we want to make any kind of change. From that idea came The Risking Space Podcast. We took a year to talk to artists from filmmakers to actors to visual artists to Olympians turned writers and we asked them all about how Risk has formed the art that they create. Read more>>

Jamarius | Recording Artist/Music Producer

It’s not a reward without the risk. You can’t stay stuck in your comfort zone if you want to improve in life. I made the decision to move to LA from Florida right after I graduated college, with very little savings all to pursue music. Every struggle that I’ve dealt with was worth it because I feel like I found my purpose. Read more>>

Xochitl Violet | Singer/Songwriter, Director

Risk taking plays a huge role in every aspect of my creative career. Being a front woman who does all her own marketing, visuals and music is an accumulation of years of risk taking. The fear of failing subsides over time but I very much remember one of the first times I felt afraid I was taking a risk. When I was around 4 or 5 my class had a dance recital and I vividly recall being terrified. Myself and a couple other kids in my class went up to perform and half way through the performance I ran off stage and into my moms arms. Throughout my life I’ve had to overcome similar instances where there was a risk of embarrassment or failure involved and music has always been the light to guide me through those dark moments. Read more>>

Mia Hicks | Writer, Producer, and Director

I think that taking risk are an inevitable part of life, especially if you want to grow through life. For me personally, I always would be in my own head about a lot of things and because of that I was my own worst enemy at times. I missed out a lot of opportunities and experiences being afraid to put myself out there. I stayed in my little box that I thought was safe for me but it just was so restricting! It honestly wasn’t until I began to write my blog, that I begin to take the risk and bet on myself. and I was scared out of my mind to do so! When i decided to put my stories out there, I wasn’t even confident in my work! It was literally one of the biggest risk that I have had to take and looking back on it, it was honestly one the risk I’ve had to take for me. Read more>>

Masakazu Yamamoto | DJ / Event Producer

Taking risks is a manifestation of preparedness. I would like to say that taking risks is a question and confirmation to myself before actually starting to work on anything or challenge. Are you ready to take responsibility without fear of failure? Do you regret not doing it rather than losing something? Basically, the choice is in your hands. Read more>>

Maiana Rose | Artist & Author

There are two primary types of risk taking that I generally think about. One is about making bold statements artistically and the other is about taking risks in pursuit of passion. Pursuing anything for the sake of passion (as opposed to money i.e. security) requires stepping out of one’s comfort zone and is inherently “risky”. Navigating risk taking is an art in and of itself. There has been a natural eb and flow to my career as an artist, author, and entrepreneur. While I found ways to maintain a sense of security, I have also found myself leaning further into risk-taking, and getting more and more comfortable with it. Read more>>

Eric Staves Trent Eisfeller | Woodworkers

Trent: “The line between taking risks and failure runs parallel to me. Any artist will till you they learn and grow more when they take risks and fail. The major difference in woodworking is that risks have to be measured on a scale of how safe or dangerous they are. Am I too tired or rushed to use a certain saw or tool? Am I asking too much of a certain tool or of myself? Have I anchored this beam or post well enough to handle the load it will be taking on? Outside of the obvious safety risks of working in a shop there is also the risk attached to measurements and materials. Read more>>

Scott Richter | Restaurant Owner

As I was growing up, I wouldn’t describe myself as being the biggest risk taker. I was more cautious when it came to new things. What I can say is that I did stray from the norm, beat to my own drum, but also admired those who did take risks. As I was entering the professional world, I learned how taking risks played a large role in the success of many people I looked up too. After graduating college, I recall talking with my peers about their next moves after school. I found myself then having slight envy of those who said they were moving to different cities and starting a new journey, as opposed to those who said they were moving back to where they were from. Read more>>

Joana P. Cardozo Dunlap | Visual Artist and Lawyer

I think risk is inevitable if one wants to change and grow professionally, personally, spiritually; i.e. in any aspect of one’s life. I was raised by a solo mother who believed, as many Brazilians still do, that in order to succeed in life, one has to be a doctor, an engineer, or a lawyer. I worked full-time while attending law school at night to become a corporate lawyer in a prestigious Brazilian law firm. To become an artist, I had to challenge the expectations not only of my family and society but also of my own expectations. Read more>>

Tye Nave | Photographer

Without risk I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. At a young age, I had dreams of pursuing an art career. Once looking into options I came across Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I decided that if I wanted to pursue this seriously, I would have to take the biggest risk of my life. Ultimately. I decided to move 2,600 miles to San Francisco, CA from a small town of Latrobe Pennsylvania. At that point, I left everything behind with a optimistic outlook on what was to come. Read more>>

Byung Gun Park | Artist & Animator

My life motto is “Do what your guts say”. When I was a junior at college, I was behind at work and got burned out. I talked to my mother, and she suggested I take a gap year break. I refused for many reasons. First, I was an international student so taking a gap year requires me to reissue my Visa and prepare all the paperwork again, the school said there’s a possibility that I cannot be readmitted to the school. Also, I didn’t want to leave my professor and I wanted to learn from him. The professor was very popular there was no guarantee that I can meet him again once I am back. Read more>>

Barrett Crake | Artist/Singer-Songwriter

Looking back I can see how several steps I’ve taken along the way would seem risky : Quitting my stable desk job at CBS to pursue Acting is the first example. But in my head I didn’t have a choice. I knew I needed to try the creative path to see where it would lead. I was frightened of the change but the excitement outweighed it. As the saying so plainly states…there’s no reward without risk but thats what makes them exciting to me. The most recent example is moving to Portugal. It’s been years in the making and is a big risk to start over in a new country. There are so many challenges to my comfort zone almost every day but thats what keeps me feeling alive. That feeling of endless possibility keeps me dreaming and I plan to never give that up. Read more>>

Britani Ninice | Artist

When I think about risk, I see it as an active choice in believing in yourself. Even when things don’t go according to plan, or the journey gets lonely, I still take the risk because I believe in myself that much that no matter what, the reward is far greater than the risk. Taking risks has played a huge role in how I navigate my career, simply because being an artist requires taking risks when in the process of releasing music, videos, pictures, and content as a whole. Read more>>

Aaron Philip Clark | Novelist & Screenwriter

Writing a novel that you intend to publish is always a risk. You can never be sure if your work will connect with audiences or if you’ll find an agent to represent you or a publisher who will publish your book. It took me some time, but I learned to embrace the risk. I walk through any door that presents itself that will potentially help my career. If I determine it’s not a good fit or something I no longer want to do, I move on. The biggest and most rewarding risk is putting yourself first as an artist. It’s always necessary to protect your gift and nourish your creative spirit. No amount of money is worth losing sight of that. Read more>>

Quani Burnett | Creator, Writer, and Beauty Marketer

The biggest risk I’ve recently taken was making the shift from working in healthcare to beauty. For most of my life, I did what my family wanted from me which was important. I receive great honor in making my family proud of me. As a first generation college graduate, they only wanted what was best for me. And it’s what I did. I graduated not only with my bachelors but with a doctorate of physical therapy and started working for Veterans Affairs Medical Center shortly thereafter. Read more>>

Dijon McCain | Multimedia Journalist

When I think of taking risks I think about one of my favorite quotes from Steve Harvey “if you play it safe you won’t have much of a life.” I believe that I am becoming the epitome of this quote. My entire life, I have never “played it safe.” I am from Minneapolis, Minnesota and I moved to Los Angeles during a pandemic. This was something that most people could never fathom the thought of, nor would be willing to endure, but I placed my faith in god and did took the leap of faith. My time in Los Angeles has been very rewarding. Read more>>