We asked some brilliant folks from the community to talk to us about how they think about risk and the role risk has played in their lives and careers.

Dreana Johnson | International DJ and Inspirationalist

We’re taught that life is supposed to be lived a certain way. Go to school. Get good grades. Graduate with a high GPA and go to college. Intern then graduate with a corporate job lined up. All of this without question or deviation. But once we reach adulthood, life is really all about taking risks. Calculated risks – but risks nonetheless. You never know what’s on the other side of a risk when you’re betting on yourself and following your dreams. When you think about the greats in the world and what they accomplished – think about the risks they must have taken. I wouldn’t know who I am, if not for taking personal and professional risks and pushing my own limits. When I went full force with DJing, it was something I enjoyed and it came natural to me as a music lover. But investing time, money and energy into perfecting my skill was a risk. I started off in a “hole in the wall” club on the south side of Chicago. Now, when I reflect on how far I’ve come, I think about how critical of a first step in my journey that “hole in the wall” was. Read more>>

Alex Kahuam | Filmmaker

I think taking risks is a huge part of any business, however I would say filmmaking is one of the few professions out there that you have to risk it all in order to make things happen. I’ve seen many directors or producers in this town who think their golden opportunity will come and that one big production company or studio will hire them to make a film and that will never happen. You have to prove to them that you’re capable of pulling it off and in order to achieve this you’ll have to make many difficult choices. Without these risks you won’t have a career in the film world as simple as that. People in this town respect artists who take risks and that make unique films because they know how difficult it is to make one. It doesn’t have to be a massive box office success, but if they see that you had the tenacity to make an independent solid film they will give you your shot. Read more>>

Eric Martel | Entrepreneur, Real Estate Investor, Author, and Philanthropist

At university, I studied Actuarial Mathematics which is the science of financial risk. This formation helped me view risk in mathematical terms but this logical perspective is not sufficient as an entrepreneur. Not all risks are quantifiable and the emotional aspect of risk taking cannot be underestimated. I think of risk taking as a balancing act between all the potential outcomes. On a particular investment I may expect 30% return if everything goes as planned or, in the worst case scenario, I may expect a 5% loss. Part of the mental calculus includes the risk of inaction. Leaving money in the bank at 0% with 2% inflation will safely erode your purchasing power. None of that matters if you don’t take action. Read more>>

Calvin Picou | Actor

I don’t know how to speak to risk taking as it pertains to my career, but as far as the craft of acting goes I believe risk taking is essential. I think its easy to play everything safe and make typical character choices or get away with only scratching the surface of a character, but when I find something that excites me -a detail or a specific character trait- I know the best way to feel that inspiration out is to take it in public and give it a try in character. At the very least you have to give it a try in rehearsals, you can’t just let it sit in your brain. I have to find a way to activate the discovery, but it typically means trying something a little out there. It can feel like there’s a lot to lose and you can start to feel resistance from inside, but to me that just means you’re headed in the right direction. If there’s risk involved that means the stakes are high, which is excellent. Usually when something makes me feel nervous I make myself lean in, because I know there’s a good risk somewhere in there. There must be risks to reap rewards. Read more>>

Amanda Stewart | Musician

I spent most of my life in school or working a 9-5 job. I made enough money to buy a home and save a little money, but I never truly took any risks. It wasn’t until after I became a parent that I realized that I didn’t want my life to consist of the same mundane thing day after day. I hated only seeing my son and family a few hours in the evenings after spending most of the day working a job I didn’t love, and I wanted my son to know that he could do anything he wanted in life, lead by my example. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. This may be true, but I don’t quite live by that philosophy… Read more>>

Cooper Appelt | Upright and Electric Bass player, Studio Owner, and Recording Engineer

I think it is very natural to consider risk and reward in almost any part of your life or career. A large part of risk for me is being willing to accept an outcome that might not be ideal. Life and music often does not come out the exact way you planned, but I believe that’s all part of the excitement! I’ve been lucky to have a lot of support from my family, friends, and colleagues throughout my life, and that support has given me a lot of confidence to follow my dreams. In my musical career, I think that taking risks is just a part of the job. Read more>>

Nicole Appleby | Actress and Writer

Taking risks is everything! When I was first starting out, I went to an audition, and when I got there, it was a bunch of ten-foot-tall Swedish models. I was like… uh oh. But I overheard that the next day they were seeing girls to play “country hicks.” Of course, I had no way to get onto the studio lot. Rejected and depressed, a really kind woman who worked in the commissary took pity on me. We started chatting, and she gave me her phone number and signed me onto the lot the next day. I totally crashed the casting call, booked it, and that’s how I got my SAG card. If I hadn’t taken that risk, who knows? Read more>>

Rudy Ortiz | Comedian & Radio Personality

I believe that the biggest risk you can take is to never take one. We are capable of much more than we assume and the notion of leading a life that does not explore what that may be seems empty. I don’t want to take that chance. If I’m going to pursue a goal then it might as well be one that I’ve poured my heart in to and requires the best of me no matter how unconventional it seems to those around me. The result will be a success or a failure but the self knowledge attained and the value of chasing a genuine dream cannot be understated. Life will never be fair but fortune favors the bold. Read more>>

Sarah Meyz | Pop Artist

From moving to a different country right as I turned 18, to moving to another different country to complete an internship with a mixing engineer I had only met once, taking risks have been a big part of my career and life overall, and I absolutely love it. There are many things I have learned from taking risks, but the one that has stuck to me the most is that although intuition plays a major role on taking a risk, planning and logical thinking should be right on the spot as well. My line of thought when I come to a place where I need to take a risk, is to ask myself: “Will this help me in the short or long term somehow?”. Sometimes a decision isn’t too positive right when you take it, you might find many obstacles as you start, but once you overcome it, it’s totally worth it. Thinking ahead and widening your view on how things can go is a good thing to have when taking risks. Read more>>

Dilan “Chef Dillo” Rajan | Vocal Producer & Engineer

Risk is the foundation of my success. From the moment my parents brought me into this rapidly changing world, life has been nothing short of a risk to survive and succeed. I learned at an early age that discovering success wouldn’t happen until I packed my bags & set sail off the shores of my comfort zone. Read more>>

Brandon Lim | Painter & Illustrator

Risk taking, it’s the only way to live. Is it? Taking risks in my own personal life, and career is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. I realize as I get older risk is something I am more concerned and fearful of, but I realize doing what you think the world has set as secure and stable lifestyle is just a false sense of security. No matter what happens to my career I realize it will all work out eventually. What’s the worst that could happen, fail? I would rather fail at something I love than something I think I should be doing. Although my career is just beginning, I accept all challenges and fall forward in this journey. Read more>>

Jen Fontanilla | Certified Money Coach (CMC)®, Author, Speaker

Risk has played a huge role in my life and career. I actually embrace it. I have this funny joke about myself that I function off of “Fire. Ready. Aim.” I understand that there are different levels of risk and I do think it’s important to assess the amount of risk that you need to take when it comes to making certain decisions. However, I find value in learning how to make decisions quickly and not vacillate too much on what could go wrong. Have things always turned out perfectly or the way I expected? Of course not! However, anytime I have taken massive risk, the one thing that I can count on is that I know I will learn valuable insight and tremendously gain so much from the experience. It pushes me to figure out things. I often say there is always a solution and that comes from the experience of failing but always coming back up and figuring it out and believing that I will always be okay. Indecisions will only let opportunities slip by. Read more>>

Jonathan | Musical Artist & Screenwriter

You absolutely have to take risks. I grew up in a place where the only way out is through education, sports or band. We really didn’t have an arts programs that deep in the south, so I knew I would have to take a risk and move out of my hometown to make it. Being from North Carolina and blindly moving to California without visiting was one of the biggest risk I took. But I weighed the reward versus the risk and the reward was weighed so much more if I believed in myself enough to go through with it. Read more>>

Lydia Hurlbut | CEO, Hurlbut Visuals

I am a fearless, resilient risk-taker who is passionate about wellness and techniques for optimizing health and learning. Loving what you do and getting paid for your unique talent is the greatest gift and ultimate goal for any entrepreneur. Risk-taking and fearlessly believing in yourself are the two most important character traits to achieve that success. I have had many different careers throughout my life that are completely unrelated at first glance. Many people have criticized me along the way for being flaky, inconsistent, and lacking follow-through with each chosen pivot. That could not be further from the truth and is based on jealousy and a limited mindset. Read more>>

Nicole Harris | Event Planner & Designer

I see risk as opportunity. My entire mindset views it very differently. I am incredibly confident and optimistic about risk because I immediately see the gain. Risk has been a constant in my entire life from sacrificing my personal savings to invest in my business, to moving cities on a whim, to abandoning my steady paycheck from a great paying corporate job, to betting on new ventures overseas, to investing in a full time employee and multiple part time employees to carry the business forward, furthering the financial risk. Risks are what entrepreneurs must take and because I understand this, I am thankful for all of the opportunities I was able to approach the right way that have paid off. Read more>>

Marina Gil-Lemesheva | Founder and Designer at MARCO BAGA

I was 20 when I came to the States. I had a very blur idea of where my life would take me as soon as I land at JFK. With $400 in my pocket, next-to-none English and no family and friends, one would think that it was a perfect recipe for disaster. Every step I took in this country was filled with risk, occasional fear, and excitement. The particular risk was taken by me when I decided to somewhat gamble with my future career. Back in Russia I have studied economics although I was always on the creative side naturally. The choice of my previous career was limited due to practical views of my family and lack of opportunities in the creative field. Read more>>

Andrew Lux | Music Producer/DJ

Its not often you see someone who “makes it” that didn’t give up a lot or take a huge leap in their life. When I quit my career in the Navy to move to LA and pursue this crazy dream of being a music producer/DJ, I was not only excited but it also felt like I wouldn’t be fully content with myself until I did. It should’ve been a scary moment as I was just making rank, had great friends, and security financially. On the drive from the east coast to west I realized why the emotion of fear was instead excitement, I finally found something I 100% love and want to do for the rest of my life. When you figure out what this is taking a huge risk almost seems like an effortless decision. Find out what that thing is for you and go for it but be ready to fall in love with the struggle because its going to be a long tough ride, you just gotta keep moving forward and eventually it will come. Read more>>

Summer Swee-Singh | Composer, Orchestral Arranger, Studio & Touring Pianist / Keyboardist, String Contractor, Backing Vocalist, & Music Educator

Though I would describe myself as risk averse in most instances, deciding to take a chance on a music career was an extremely risky decision for me. I was very much planning on becoming a lawyer after having graduated from UC Berkeley in 2010 with a B.A. in Legal Studies and a Music Minor, studying for the LSAT, and landing my first full-time job as a recruiting assistant at an internationally-known law firm in San Francisco. Pursuing a career in law was what my parents encouraged me to do since I was young and, for some time, I was convinced that it was the right path for me as well… that is, until I started writing piano and string arrangements for fun and sharing performances of them on YouTube back in 2011. It was just a fun, silly hobby, until one of my piano and string arrangements was reposted by Skrillex–that repost gave me the validation and confidence to start really working on my arranging skills. Read more>>

April Luca | CEO & Creative Director

Speaking for myself as a creative in a creative industry, it’s important to understand that “risk-taking” suggests a false dichotomy—there is no business without motion, and motion in a creative industry is by definition uncertain. But for me, risk-taking would mean not doing the next event, not trying something that hasn’t been tried before. In other words, being an industry vanguard necessitates creative initiative, trying the untried. Read more>>

Cinzia Angelini | Director

I see risks as opportunities, as challenges that life sends our way to strengthen us both on a personal, and a professional level. I’ve always embraced risk throughout my career. It’s an approach that has worked well for me. Risk takers are usually those who challenge the norm, and push the boundaries of their professions. Without risk, we wouldn’t have much innovation, or discovery, or progress. I keep taking risks because I’ve learned that, even if things might not work out the way you envisioned them, you do end up somewhere new, and probably will have learned a lot along the way. Read more>>

Warren and Kari Shulman | Valley Salt Cave Owners

Our early career choices were as an accountant and a librarian, which are extremely risk averse by nature. That said, we have taken many risks in our lives and careers. We left our home country of South Africa in 1994, with a four year old son to move to the United States, having never even visited before. We both settled into very comfortable jobs as a CPA and a Librarian in Los Angeles. In 2000, we moved to Philadelphia to join a startup company in the online and wireless reservation space. By then we had two sons aged nine and three. Unfortunately the startup was short lived and was part of the dot bomb crash. We moved back to Los Angeles in 2001 and Warren became a partner at his previous CPA firm in Westwood. Read more>>

Tiana Kocher | R&B Singer-Songwriter

I think taking risks is only beneficial in the long run. To be completely honest, this industry has become so saturated. Everyone looks the same, everyone dresses the same and so many people make music that sound the same. I’ve always strived to be different and embrace my uniqueness, and to me, thats a risk! Read more>>

Lidija Kljakovic | Digital Artist and Character Designer

It is playing the main role in my life and career. I moved a lot since I was a child and I have learned that change always brings new challenges but also opportunities. I see risk as a main driving force. Challenge is the only way to push boundaries, experiment and make something new. If you don’t take a risk you will never discover what could happen. With risk comes also failure, but it is all part of the learning curve that will through time improve your work. Read more>>

Raheleh Safdari | PMU ARTIST

2) Risk taking is definitely something that has taken a huge role in my business. Before I decided to take the leap and give myself the opportunity to focus more on being a permanent makeup artist, I was working full time for a cooperate company. It made it difficult to balance both at once since so much of my time was being consumed during the week. I finally made the decision to go down to part time, and was unsure if I would have enough business coming in to keep me afloat, but it was something I knew I HAD to do in order for my business and for myself to grow. It was a little challenging when I started my transition, but it was one of the best decisions I made. It has helped me keep my life and work so much more balanced and the additional time has been great to work with clients, and add on more projects to my schedule that I would not have had otherwise. Since then, I’ve learned to continue to take risks in other areas of my life as well, and just trust that it will work out in the end. Read more>>

Tarqaneh Tajdini | Creative Director and Photographer

It is interesting because as a self-taught photographer, every shoot I have ever been a part of since I was young has been a risk. Art has always been something very personal to me, so I never thought that I could pursue it professionally. However, putting my work out there for people to appreciate or critique was necessary for me to realize: the art I make is important and worthy of being seen. I go into every photoshoot knowing mistakes are bound to happen and to not assume everything will go to plan, so I have taught myself to appreciate every risk I take to get the shot we need. Those risky moments are when I end up getting the best photos, and the memories attached to them are so valuable for me. Read more>>

Nataly Rodriguez | Mindset & Empowerment Coach

I feel that risks always lead to growth, regardless of the result. If you fail there’s a lesson in that; if you are successful as a result of the risk taken, you build confidence in your ability to leap & grow wings on the way down. Every time I’ve taken a risk, my life has expanded in incredible ways. From leaving the safety of 9-5 jobs (more than once), to following the whispers of my soul, and letting my passion guide me. Every single risk has contributed to a life that I see as truly magical… and what’s the fun in staying within your comfort zone anyway? Read more>>

Dominique Keel | Event Manager & Social Worker

To fully experience life and experience it to the fullest, I think risk are absolutely necessary. I don’t think playing it safe is how life is supposed to be lived. I am a firm believer that the specific things destined for each of us aren’t discovered in our comfort zones. We either learn a lesson from taking a risk or step into what was always for us. Taking risk has played a huge role in my life and career which is why I feel so passionate about it. I wouldn’t be where I am today, nonetheless in Los Angeles, without having taken a risk. Read more>>

Hayley Vangäart | Actor, Screenwriter, Director and Executive Producer of Cosmic Demand Productions

My whole life has been just a culmination of risks leading to successes and failures. For example when I was 20, I dropped out of college and vagabonded around the country for a year; trudging around in San Francisco, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Baltimore, and Seattle. Example #2: I started my first business (asset liquidation) in New York City at 21, with about $60 in my bank account and one solid pitch to an investor in a coffee shop. I learned more than I probably ever would’ve had I stayed in college. Read more>>

StereoRiots | Indie Rock Band

You have to give anything a try even if there’s a chance you may not succeed. You never know where the roads might take you, but you got to be daring enough to take the initial steps to travel down them first. Read more>>

Juliana Riccardi | Singer-Songwriter & Animal Rescue Advocate

Deciding on a life change or choosing any action that will spark some part of you to grow, discover, learn and overcome is worth the risk. A good risk, to me, makes me more excited and fired up (from the heart) than it makes me nervous. Also, nerves are good. It means you’re feeling. Something is being triggered. It’s up to you to explore whether it’s positive or negative and WHY. Safety is good but when we get too comfortable and too complacent in our situations, I believe in asking some questions to ourselves and honestly answering them. Read more>>

Kid Lennon | Artist & Musician

Whether it was leaving highschool with the blind confidence to become a full time artist, or the time i decided to step on stage in front of Shaq, risk has always been the main driving force in my success. I have never had a plan B on this journey, therefore the risks only seemed like necessary leaps that needed to be taken to eventually find my footing as an artist. Read more>>

Ainjel Emme | Producer, Recording Engineer, Songwriter, & Musician

Going into the music industry is not for the risk-averse, especially if you’re on the creative side. There’s no clear path to financial security. You tend to learn more from failure than from success. And, of course, you’ll always be up against people who don’t think writing songs, playing instruments, or making records is “real work.” When I made the jump from artist to producer / engineer, I didn’t realize how fully I was jumping from the frying pan into the fire! It’s a highly competitive field that requires a lot of investment–financially, physically, mentally. It demands an evolving education, so you have to check in with the technology daily and learn new things all the time. Read more>>

Jon Bullinger | Founder of Yeyo Tequila

We all take risks every day. Should you invest in college, take a new role at work, move out of your hometown, date on an app, etc? Every choice you make in life is a risk and time you will never get back once a decision is made. Risks are also an opportunity to learn and grow as a human. Every day I try pushing myself to stay outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes the more uncomfortable, the more I grow, learn and see reality with a different lens. I believe all successes begin with risk-taking. Every business starts in a kitchen, garage or office with carefully crafted decisions made along the way. Read more>>

Christopher McCain | Photographer & Graphic Designer

How do you think about risk? When I think about risk, I think about the lack of inaction that is done in the moment due to the disharmony of our own fear setting us back from the lack of understanding of the unknown. It is necessary to take a risk; mind you, there is a difference between creative risk where there is a goal that a person wants to accomplish, and it is a make-or-break moment. Compared to the irrational action of not seizing an opportunity to propel us forward in the right direction of where we want to be in life. Risk is an essential part of any person’s career if they’re going to move forward in life. Read more>>

Rebecca Totman | Associate Producer

To be honest, making this career jump was a huge risk. The Simpsons afforded me stability: I was paid well, had good benefits, and worked with amazingly talented and kind people, on an outstanding series. This, along with general security, buffered me from the perceived perils of being an independent contractor. Then the pandemic hit – and it solidified a realization that in order to move forward and live how I wanted, I had to take a step into the unknown. Working from home only expedited this, further boxing me into this reality. Read more>>

Amy Nghe | Amy Nghe Photography

Three words come to mind whenever I have a big decision to make and it’s “You’re gonna die.” I definitely wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with death but I do think about death when I’m scared to take a leap or make a risk. Basically we are all going to die and I just wouldn’t want to leave this planet without going for all the things I wanted to – the scarier or riskier the better. Read more>>

Evan Roth | Singer-Songwriter & Composer

I think in life, we are often subconsciously reminded to play it safe or follow the practical, more predictable route, and personally, I have never really been drawn toward that. With that said, I’ve learned over the years that when taking a risk, it’s good to take calculated risks as it can keep you safe and prevent any unnecessary damage to yourself or others. I think when you put yourself out there, the universe can generally be kind to you and reward you. I can remember one of the times I took a risk recently during a video shoot for my new single Dreamer. As an artist, you often walk a fine line between staying in your comfort zone and branching out to try something new. Read more>>

Stephen Emrich | Musician, TIkTok star

Risk is something everyone has to face at some point in their lives, it’s how you approach and assess that risk that matters. Jumping off a bridge into water that you have not tested is really risky, and the reward is quite low, maybe 30 seconds of adrenaline, a cool video to post on TikTok, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s not a risk worth taking. On the other hand, if you spend days planning the jump, have a good,experienced safety crew, and clear the area, then it’s a risk worth taking. You could make thousands of dollars or more from that content you create online. That’s how I view risk. It’s a tool, and like all tools, it can be dangerous if misused. Different people can view risks differently, for me it was taking that leap of faith and putting out music that I knew was incredibly subpar, borderline terrible. At some point I just thought to myself, “It’s worth it for the experience, it can’t hurt anything.” and now look where I am today! Read more>>

Alana Zack | Artist

In my bedroom I have a piece by Nathaniel Russell that reads: START OVER
[photograph of a hand pointing towards an overgrown field] You can if you want
No biggie Over the last couple years, it’s lived with me in Ohio, Martha’s Vineyard, Brooklyn and California. I try to carry it with me. Learning to start over and sit with uncertainty is extra relevant for me right now. I find myself in constant transition as a typical twenty-something romantic, confused by too many interests and dreams. I like to joke I’m a fantasy a minute. So naturally, keeping up means taking some chances. For better or for worse, excitement (over information) is what gives me permission and conviction to go for it: new city and community, new palette without blue, new shapes to describe a figure floating, this recent reality where somehow I call myself a painter. Read more>>

Leila Amia | Photographer, Astrologer, Data Analyst

I personally love risk. Maybe it’s just the way I’m wired, but I find the safe and certain boring. I say this, not coming from a place of brazen impulsivity and irresponsibility, but calculated risk-taking. I view life as both a game and a school: a school with the coolest playground if you will. I believe that if one takes the necessary steps to learn about oneself, as well as certain universal laws, risk becomes much more contained. It becomes the parameters for growth. Read more>>

Brea Peck | Artist

Taking risks has been necessary and a big part of where I am today. I’ve taken risks in moving location, where you really have no idea what to expect and cannot understand it until you’re in it. The same goes for decisions around my artistic career. I think pursuing any kind of creative path can feel risky. Nothing is guaranteed and success is defined in different ways. I have always been creative and attracted to art and art making. I didn’t think it was something I could actually pursue in my life, rather I thought of it as a hobby. As I explored further I knew this is where my passion was. Turning away from self doubt and outside opinions to follow inner motivations was a risk, but your drive certainly pushes you through. Risk taking in an art practice is important too. If you keep doing the same thing you are just repeating yourself and that gets old fast, you have to mix it up, mess it up, and make it weird. Read more>>

Sophia Chang | Designer in Entertainment Industry (Concept Art & Vis Dev)

I am a designer in the entertainment industry. I do concept art / visual development, mostly for environments and props. So basically I design the stuff in the background that the characters walk through and interact with. I think of life as if it were a game. There’s certain things that you can plan for, and certain things that are just pure luck. I always think about things in terms of risk/reward levels, and how much energy I want to put into maintaining it. The highest achievement would be to have multiple things going on for you that are low risk/high reward and run on autopilot. Read more>>

Bita Arefnia | Actor & Filmmaker

Everything that I get to do in my life has been based off of taking risks. I was born and raised in a small town in Austria to two Persian parents who took risks by moving to Austria in the first place. They showed me how important it is to trust the process and know that everything happens for a reason. I took the risk of leaving my small town and my small country in general to pursue my career in the entertainment and film industry in the United States. That risk motivated me to study at the New York Film Academy at their New York and their Los Angeles campuses. I completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting for Film and am currently enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts program for Film and TV production at the University of Southern California. Read more>>

Philomene Simon | Soap maker & Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, you have to take risks. You must think of risk as something that will produce a positive outcome. Risk is what makes businesses successful and grow. Before opening our store we were only doing farmer’s markets and festivals but once we took that risk of opening the store the outcome was better than we imagined. The key is being patient and always thinking of new ideas. Read more>>

Shermineh Ghane | Fine Jewelry Business Owner & Tech Product Manager

I always think about risks as an opportunity to set myself up for huge growth opportunities and a way to experience new things. Every time I’ve taken a risk, especially in my career, I’ve been rewarded in ways that I couldn’t have predicted. The first risk I can think back to was deciding to not continue grad school for Psychology, and making an intentional shift to direct my career towards fashion and retail. I had absolutely no experience within the industry, and had no financial safety net. So I started a personal style blog just to create my own version of a ‘resume’ that showcased the knowledge of the industry that I had, and took a waitressing job to financially support myself. Read more>>

J. Connor Bjornson | Cinematographer

Taking risks has been essential in my life and career as a cinematographer. It’s hard to tell where I would be now if I had played things safe, but choosing to leave part of my old life behind in Toronto, Canada to further my studies in cinematography at the American Film Institute was not an easy decision. It was definitely a risk — financially, emotionally, and so on. In my opinion taking risks are key in continuing your growth and furthering your life and career. It’s important to realize they may not always pay off. I can surely say some of these risks have weighed on me, however, in the end they resulted in many positive outcomes such as new friendships, life experiences, and knowledge. Read more>>

Kate Zarouk | Kate Zarouk: Executive Director

I believe that it is often when we force ourselves to take risks that we yield the most satisfactory results, even when those results are not what we originally intended. I learned to grow more comfortable with risk as I have aged, but I would still describe myself as a calculated risk taker. Risk taking has played a role in both my life and my career. I took a risk and changed my professional focus, not once but twice transitioning from a career in the law to a career in education and now to a career in the world of nonprofit organizations. I took a risk in my personal life moving across the country not once but twice. I can honestly say that my biggest risks have reaped the greatest rewards. As T.S. Eliot said, “(o)nly those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go”! Read more>>

Naja Crawford | model, yoga + mindfulness facilitator for kids and adults, meditation guide, nutrition coach

taking risks is the single most reason I live the magical life I do. if I can say one thing about me, ive always listened to my Self. No one else has to live with being afraid to take risks or fulfill my purposes. So the risk of taking risks isalways less than the risk of playing smal and missing out on the life im meant to live. Albert Einstein said, “You either see everything as though it was a miracle, or nothing.” Thats how I approach life, win or learn. Risks are vital to growth and discovery. Being a model, actress, yoga instructor, nutrition guide, meditation/sound healing guide amongst other things, is obviously not the conventional list of careers, but the success of them all is rooted in my desire to take risks and push myself, even through fear and doubt. Read more>>

Joseph Mizrachi | Entrepreneur

The conventional wisdom is that risk and reward are correlated. I tend to agree more with Sir Richard Branson’s method of approaching risk. That method is to eliminate as much risk as possible while leaving the upside potential intact. Through my first foray into entrepreneurship, I learned the lesson the hard way. In my first company, I did not reduce the risks and just jumped in gungho. The end of the story wasn’t very fruitful or pleasant. The lesson is still there and thankfully the failure of getting that business off the ground lead me down a path of self-improvement and self-reflection which has made this experience with OG Watches USA all the more pleasant. While there is never a guarantee of success even if you are able to reduce your exposure as much as possible, the reduction of risk allows for a smoother path forward. Read more>>

Gina Main | Photographer

While it makes sense that a certain amount of risk-taking should be logically calculated, I believe it’s imperative to our humanity to leave a good portion of risk-taking to instinct. That amount inevitably shifts and changes over a lifetime! Growing up as the daughter of an American Diplomat my family picked up and moved to another politically fraught country every few years. There were so many risks involved with every move, but since this was the family’s norm, we all learned not to fear “different.” We learned that the risks involved with change only yielded new experiences, not necessarily better or worse, and that adaptability was inherent in us all. Despite the fact that my father died at 49-years-old while on duty in South Africa, I still believe this to be true. Read more>>

Ted Kelliher | Drum Instructor

When risk is involved, people tend to focus on what’s at stake and end up not pursuing their dreams. But risk also brings opportunities and learning experiences! Even if the risk you take feels like a loss, then learn to let go and continue on your path. As long as your vision is clear and your intentions are good, the only obstacle in your way is if you decide to give up. Risk has been a positive experience in my life. It has taught me to trust myself and the process and even the pitfalls. Read more>>