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.

Emily Jimison | CEO

I think risk taking is a necessity in life and in being successful. I have always been a big risk taker – even if I fail or feel like maybe it was the wrong decision looking back, I ALWAYS find a silver lining and find a way to learn from it and grow. Taking risks in my opinion is the trajectory of your life. You either take the risk and learn from it, or don’t and remain in the same place. Some of the best advice I have ever had is from my mom – she always used to tell me “Nothing is permanent.” Through that saying, I learned that even if you fail, or even if something isn’t turning out the way you want it to, you have the ability to change that. Read more>>

Greg Scott | Singer-Songwriter

I think of risk as my door to opportunity. I feel almost every time I’ve taken a risk the universe opens up. The biggest risk I took was moving to Los Angeles without a dollar in saving and no real connections to pursue a life in music. My then fiancé and I lived on my uncles floor in Van Nuys until we could get our feet under us! Read more>>

Giselle Field | Founding Creative Director

Taking risks can be scary, sometimes downright terrifying, but it’s essential for growth. True improvement happens when we step outside of our comfort zones, and risks are how we do so. I like to take “calculated risks”, meaning I ask myself the question: “What is it that I’m afraid of by taking this risk?” and if I can debunk my fear then I give myself less of a reason to back out. Also, this lets me filter whether the risk is worth it, or if it’s potentially a terrible idea. For example, early in my career one of the biggest risks I took was quitting my job to pursue a different lifestyle. I didn’t have another stream of income lined up so I calculated what the worst case scenarios I would face. The big ones were money and nobody ever hiring me again. Read more>>

Roberto Quinn | Digital Strategist & Founder

One of the biggest lessons we are taught growing up, is to always exercise caution and avoid risk. It helps us remember to look twice before crossing the street, not touch a stove burner, and to steer clear of strangers in vans. However, the lesson resonates with most on a much deeper level. We learn to avoid non-conventional paths in life, ones that differ from those in our immediate circles. Most of our lives are spent wrestling with whether or not to take “the risk.” Read more>>

Alexandra Chandler | Caterer

Being a entrepreneur is all about taking calculated risks. It starts with believing in your idea enough to get started. I took that leap over three years ago in 2017 and began the journey of owning my own catering company. The next big risk came about 2 years later when I officially went full time on my business. It was scary, relieving, exciting, and so good for me. I was ready, timing is one part about calculating a risk. There are many day to day risks that come with owing a business. From sourcing, client needs, venues, and so much more, all come with surprises. Being able to make good decisions on the fly, pivot, and commit to your gut are all important qualities that grow with experience, but there is always a risk factor. Read more>>

Ro Rowan | Cellist, Composer & Sound Designer

When deciding whether to take a risk or not I usually ask, “Am I moving in the direction I want to go?” If the answer is yes and the actual or perceived reward feels valuable enough or even vital, I have definitely been known to risk it all. When I find myself saying, “I would rather try and fail than not try at all,” I am clear I have my answer. I would, without question, not be where I am today without risk after risk after risk. Emotional risks, spiritual and mental risks, financial and eventually creative ones. And they are all connected. The most significant risk I have taken in the last 15 years (which so nicely encompasses all the aforementioned) was to leave a career in fitness, travel across the country, and go back to school to pursue a dream of being a self-sustaining musician and composer. To date, it is one of the scariest, most challenging, expensive, tiring, and exciting risks I have ever taken. Read more>>

Polina Galkina | Photographer

Let’s talk about risks. I believe it’s an essential part of everyone’s life, and playing it safe is to hide from life itself. As for me, I went on an international solo trip at 18. I moved from Russia to the USA for school by myself putting all our family savings at risks. Well, I’d say living in L.A. is risky enough, and moving here isn’t a piece of cake. All of these milestones in my life are the most exciting and happy changes I could have made. As a photographer and a digital creator it’s vulnerable to put yourself out there for the world to see, and it’s a challenge sometimes, but it’s worth it. To summarize, I see myself the happiest when I take that step of fate and put everything on the line. It’s thrilling and most lively. Read more>>

Karim Merchant | Industrial Designer & 3D Visualizer

At its core, I would say that most major wins I’ve experienced in life were due to taking a major risk. Now it’s important to note that I don’t advocate haphazard risk taking, but when an opportunity presents itself and you genuinely feel like you have the power to drive a desired outcome, then It’s a pretty good indicator that the given risk is worth taking. Risk itself is an incredible teacher, in my opinion. The old saying, “necessity is the mother of invention” certainly holds true when talking about it. Being forced to rise to the occasion and to adapt and overcome significantly accelerates the learning curve of many things and in turn teach new skills which bring new opportunities. By acquiring new knowledge and experience, you open new doors, even if you fail. Read more>>

Taehee Kim | New Media Artist & Designer

I tend to view risk as an opportunity. It doesn’t necessarily mean I’m always a risk-taker but when I look back on my past, I learned and developed myself more when I was on a difficult path than an ordinary and easy one. And eventually that time has become the foundation for further growth in my life. For example, a few years ago, I moved from Korea to the U.S. to experience a different culture and to do so I had to give up everything that I’ve achieved in Korea and start from scratch in the U.S. for at least a few years while I’m staying here. I was excited but at the same time worried about whether it was a good decision or not. It took a few years to adapt myself to a new environment and I’m still learning new things. Read more>>

Justin Edward Baker | Musician, Educator & Digital Storyteller

Every good thing that comes out of life involves some sort of risk. That relationship that you let go of to find something better, the comfortable job you left to pursue your passion, and what may be especially true now, making bold stances on things that matter most in our society for a better future. I remember being in grade school and seeing that poster hanging above the chalkboard in front of the classroom most of us have all probably seen: “Stand for what is right, even if it means standing alone.” Those are pretty powerful words, even for a young kid in elementary school. We all want to be liked, have a circle of friends, and belong to the pack. Going out on our own for something we know is better for fear of losing all we have does not come easy. Standing alone can be scary. Read more>>

Tamea Scales | Costume Designer & Event Producer

I think about risk as being a life gamble. Moving to Los Angeles was a risk in itself. I moved here with a resume full of sports and dedication, what could I possibly have known about the fashion and event production industries? Not much, but I was NOT going to let that stop me from taking advantage of all the opportunities that came my way. For each tv show I have worked on, every movie set I have assisted and for each event I have produced/coordinated I have approached each opportunity with a fearful heart. That fear I felt inside was fuel for me, it propelled me each time I decided to take a chance and step out of my comfort zone. Whether I was taking a new position or accepting a new project, if it had not taken advantage of the fearful and risky moments I don’t think I wouldn’t have made it over the humps meant to stop me. Read more>>

Jill Sutherland McKenna | Photographer & Multimedia Artist

Risk is essential in being a trail blazer. No Risk – No Reward. I feel I have always been known to be a risk taker. I like to buck the status quo. In accepting risks and moving forward with those choices – I have been rewarded with experience, self knowledge, scars, fantastic memories, forever friends, tangible pieces of art for the archive, and true feelings of magic… Now more than ever, taking “risks” in my personal life & career as an artist is more about listening to my inner compass and following my intuition. Gauging the impact of the choice & reward. I am working on tuning out the inner critic and external world and rather listening to the inner voice and finding the thread of awareness that is connected to something greater. It is not with the rational mind but with the heart I find my greatest inspiration… Read more>>

Vanessa Hsia | Travel Documentary Photographer

Three years after graduating from university, I have been through a lot of various jobs. Although I was drivingly focused on pursuing my passions in travel photography and filmmaking, it wasn’t a comfortable journey. I had to learn and fully understand what hard work and maintaining my motivation meant. It’s naive to think that achieving one’s goal just requires a little elbow grease and hard work to lead you where we want to go in life. We sometimes forget we have to accept ourselves patiently through the process and be prepared for detours. There were a lot of tears and sweat involved in my journey thus far, but also fear and doubt in my skills. Being hardworking is all good, but maintaining that persistence as an artist during the pandemic was a risk I had to take. Speaking of risks, how about working at a grocery store during a pandemic! Read more>>

Adam Stanzak | Filmmaker & Photographer

Although it’s all relative to one’s own story, taking risks is part of the equation in progression. At some point, maybe closer to the beginning (for many), the idea of risk transforms into more of a condition, than the possibility of something not panning out. If you’re in pursuit of an arduous journey, the only guarantee is you’ll experience failure. If you don’t, you’re either aiming too low or the pursuit isn’t that difficult. When I think about risk, I reflect on investing in equipment without seeing an immediate return. Spending countless hours on a project that gets shelved or scrapped. Trusting a business arrangement and not getting compensated. Driving hours for a shot, only to come back with nothing. I think people forget to ask themselves, “how bad do I want it?” Risk is embedded in journeys that yield massive victories. Read more>>

Vanessa Villegas | Model & Actor

When it comes to risk, I believe it comes with any lofty goal. Nothing great comes easy, and noting easy is all that great. I know I have a good head on my shoulders, so any risk I’m willing to take has been properly evaluated. I am always willing to take a risk to get to where I want to go. The career I chose, as a model, and hopefully an actor one day is mostly chasing risk. Castings that you most likely won’t get, and then, there is that one. And for me its worth it. Anytime I book something amazing it reminds me why I put up with the struggle. And its because for me, my biggest fear is never living up to my full potential. There is no place I rather be than on set. Read more>>

Vanessa Contreras | Stylist & Personal Shopper

Life is meant to be lived with some risks, you can not grow as a person either professionally or personally without pushing yourself to live outside your comfort zone . It’s really important that the risk will be worth the sacrifice, and when it is the reward is that much better because you chose to believe and persevere even without knowing what the outcome would be. I’ve had to take risks numerous times both professionally and in my personal life, it can be scary to have the possibility of your ideas being rejected, your vision does not align with somebody else’s. Then there are times when everything just comes together just as you had imagined it. Either way I try to take something from each experience and turn it into a positive. Read more>>

Christina Galioto | Entrepreneur, Fashion Model & Investor

Ahhh, the forever lingering risk vs. reward consideration. It is generally true that the more risk a person takes, the greater the reward. Wins and losses are all part of the game of life. While I want to urge aspiring investors and entrepreneurs to accept some risk, I’m not suggesting that anyone throw caution to the wind and put money into something that has an ice cube’s chance in hell of making a profit. But I also don’t want to encourage anyone to take life as it comes. That’s boring, and destined for mediocrity, at best. The truth is that sometimes you just don’t know what will happen until you try! When you believe in something with all your heart, and brain, you create a plan as in-depth as you possibly can, you take a chance, and you jump. Very often you learn to fly on your way down, or at least glide toward your next move. Read more>>

Elvia Guadian | Tattoo Artist

I have overcome the fear of risk by aggressively protecting the important things in life that I value the most (health, family… ) from the superfluous. That way if things go wrong I wouldn’t have lost anything. In my career by having faith in myself, my skills and continuously updating knowledge has helped me a lot to take action, but also understanding and accepting my failures is been a big step to cultivate my rational skills and just focus on the areas I value the most. Read more>>

Nigel Napolion | Cooking Classes for Kids

In the past I wasn’t a risk taker and I believe a lot had to do with a lack of confidence in myself and my abilities. Fear of succeeding was another roadblock to overcome. However, once I made up my mind to truly go after something important such as a career change and starting a business, building confidence and having faith in myself was a priority. To make any change in your life, you have to put yourself out there by taking a form of action to get things going. For example, before starting the business Creative Plate, there was no previous experience running a business. My business partner and I knew what service we wanted to provide and formed our company immediately. Read more>> 

Sokha Ny | Co-founder

I feel that risks are worth it if they are thought out and worth taking. I feel that great success comes from risk because with risk comes change and for me I welcome change. The role of risks played in my life/career has been good, but I did have to sacrifice a lot (time, friendships, family, hobbies) to get to where I want to be today. Read more>>