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.

Rebecca Butkivich | Master Trainer, AKT & Performer

Risk taking for me has been a regular part of my life since I was a little girl. Growing up in dance and theater, I was always taking risks in auditions and on stage. Putting myself out there in front of an audience, or judging panel, while finding ways to stand out to get recognized. As I became older and began discovering ways to do what I love AND make a living, risk taking took the shape of simply standing up for myself and fighting for the things I want and deserve. Read more>>

Mica Tyler | Director, Cinematographer

Risk is key for me. I think that it is what takes me places. I enjoy going out of my comfort zone, because that is when I learn something about myself and about this world. It’s how I expand. I always try to listen to my intuition and follow it. The first big risk I took was when I was 16 years old. I decided to do an exchange program for a year abroad. I ended up doing my senior year of high school in Los Angeles (CA) and living with a host family that even I consider my second family. That experience opened my world and gave me confidence. Read more>>

Sofia Randahl Norschau | Actress & photographer

It’s funny to look back, on how careful I used to be growing up. To become a major risk taker in life. The biggest risk I’ve taken in my career wasn’t necessarily moving to the U.S., it was to stay. It’s what they say starting out is always hard. Fresh out of school I was offered a job in Oklahoma, and with a leap of faith I accepted the terms of moving from LA to OKC. Unfortunately the owner of the company got really sick. I was left with the decision of a life time, try to stay afloat in OKC, see myself defeated and move back to Norway, or to make my way back out to LA. I chose the latter. With help from family and friends. No security. It keeps you humble. Read more>>

Jim Nieb | Acting Teacher

I love this question because I would not be where I am today without taking risks. In 2016 I was studying PPE (Politics, Philosophy, and Economics) at Stellenbosch University and during my break, I did a 6-week Acting Course at NYFA (New York Film Academy) in New York. I was scared to follow my heart and pursue acting after school as it was choosing a path of uncertainty. I however overlooked the most important point of choosing this path which was choosing love. I wrote a letter throughout each year that will perfectly depict my journey of taking risks: Read more>>

Tom Fowlks | Photographer

taking risks has been everything in my path to where I am today. from the very beginning, I knew I didn’t want to do what seemed traditional at the time, taking pictures of models, beautiful people and celebrities. I mean I grew up and came up the ladder here in LA, so that made sense for a lot of people. it was everywhere and it was in a way, what people expected when you had a camera in hand. Read more>>

Catherine Haggarty | Artist, Co-Founder & Director of NYC Crit Club

I have always been rewarded for taking risks….in small or big ways. The apparent payoff wasn’t always clear, it is just that the risk felt more urgent than the alternatives that seemed easier and more safe. I think being an artist is a sort of inherent risk but also there isn’t much of a choice. As an artist I just keep investing in myself, the work and my studio time. I think you have to have an irrational idea of what you can do to really put yourself in tough positions and be challenged. Playing small and avoiding risk won’t push you or the work. Read more>>

Chris Canfield | Magician and Motivational Speaker

I seem to have always been a ‘risk taker.’ Maybe watching my parents and all these game inventors take a risk on a new venture helped. Although I’m pretty sure I don’t even look at it like that. I’ve spent my life pushing boundaries and forging ahead into unknown and unexpected areas. I understand others look at this as risk taking. I’m endlessly curious and I love to create. Accepting our fears, learning from them, and moving forward despite them can be seen as ‘taking a risk’ but I prefer to look at it as ‘stepping into what’s possible’. I’m sure it helps that I’m a perennial optimist. Read more>>

Bela Levin | Creative Executive | Film & TV

There is a misconception around the topic of risk as people tend to think that taking risks is the same as being compulsive or it is associated with lack of planning. My professional life has been filled with risk taking, but nothing was done without planning. It took a lot of it in fact. I received my bachelor’s degree in Marketing and soon after realized Film & Television was more than a hobby or just something I wanted to do in my down time. Even with zero experience in the entertainment business, I worked hard and got myself into one of the biggest film production companies in Brazil. Read more>>

Jona Sees | Designer

I have a pretty high risk tolerance. I see business like a big game that’s more of a substrate for an experience we’re having. That experience is my contribution and the richer and more full of learning the better. Taking risks usually pushes me into unchartered waters where I learn things I wouldn’t have otherwise. That said, as more people become involved in the company I need to consider their lives as well so the risks are quite calculated and we’re taking the risk collectively because it’s worth it. Read more>>

Elisei Baishev | Director, Screenwriter

Risk is something that has surrounded me since I was young. I decided to go into cinema because my life was at risk. When I was 7 years old, I became very ill. Doctors predicted that I would not live more than a week. In the hospital, I watched many movies and cartoons, that inspired me a lot. Of course, I am not going to say that this is what saved my life – this is due to the merit of doctors who, in the end, saved me. But for some small percent, I am sure, these movies and cartoons I watched gave me strength to also fight this illness. Since then, I started writing stories, that were published in my school newspaper. Read more>>

Zane Landin | Chief Empathy Officer and Authentic Storyteller

I think risk is something people tend to run away from because the idea of uncertainty can be a terrifying feeling. It is easier to avoid making a risky decision because we don’t know what the outcome could be. We don’t want to be disappointed in what we tried to accomplish, especially since we hold ourselves on a metaphysical, fragile pedestal, meaning we don’t give ourselves patience and grace after experiencing rejection or failure. Read more>>

D.J. Hale | Filmmaker, Actor, Podcast Host, Twitch Streamer

Risk is what separates the dreamers from the doers. I always use this analogy of success being a mountain you have to climb, and once you get to the top you realize the final step is to take the leap of faith and jump from the mountaintop to soar. For one, most people never make it to the top because while they’re at the bottom they look up and can’t see the top so they believe it’s unachievable. Others might start the climb and eventually stop and give up, after looking up and realizing they have so much further to go and haven’t made a dent. But the ones that persevere, they never stop climbing. Read more>>

Classique | Violinist & Singer/Songwriter

The scariest part about a risk taking is the unknown. What will happen? What will people think of me? Will I fail? Will I succeed. As a creative you always wonder what will happen. But the truth is you never know until you try. If I never taught myself how to play the viola and violin, I would’ve never been able to share my melodies with those who needed it most. If I never picked up a pen and paper to begin writing songs, I would’ve never shared my stories with those who needed to hear it. If I never sang those songs, I would’ve never shared my truth with those who could relate and be inspired by it. Read more>>

Lachi | Recording Artist & Founder/President of RAMPD

Conventional wisdom dictates that making a big move or pursuing a big idea is risky and should be mitigated or avoided altogether if one wants to remain safe and secure. I say, BIG NO. I say, Fear is not in the business plan. In my opinion there are no risks; there are only big moves, the big plans and diverse teams to make those big moves, and the clout or faculty to carry out those big moves. Read more>>

Antoine Paikert | Artist & Creative

It has changed the perspectives and opportunities that came to me. Starting my own business was a risk, especially with a very limited education in that specific industry. But I took the risk, placed a bet on myself that I could make it with hard work and passion. Read more>>

Quynh Le | Camera Assistant & Animator

For me personally, risk is an essential part of how I live my life. If you ask my friends, one of the phrases I say most is “risk it for the biscuit,” mostly as a joke but there is truth behind it. I’m a first generation Vietnamese-American kid from a small town in Pennsylvania called Bethlehem. As is the case with many first generation Asian-Americans, there was always the expectation for me to choose a career as a doctor, an engineer, or a lawyer. I kind of always knew that wasn’t really the path for me but I kept it to myself until it came time to choose a college major. Read more>>

Kyle Katz | Founder & CEO of Bigger Than Basketball LLC.

Taking risks has played the most crucial factor in my business’s success. When I started Bigger Than Basketball, I risked all of my money. I mean every dollar in my savings account, just to place the first manufacturing order for the clothes. I had no idea if the clothes would sell, but I risked everything that I had because it was something I believed in. I even risked taking a $30,000 loan from my grandfather with the potential of losing everything and losing the trust of a family member. Read more>>

Chelsea Cabrera Tram Vu | Co-founders at Mariposa Co.

Risk is one of the most important factors of running a business. It begins with taking a risk on a new idea and continues with our willingness to pursue that idea. Being uncomfortable while taking risks is a true catalyst for success and is an integral part of growth and evolution. Us taking the chance to leave our current lifestyle to pursue this new venture is both transformative and rewarding. To make a commitment to the dream and to each other is risky. To put everything on the line for this common vision is risky. Read more>>

Mariah Kate | Multi-Medium Artist & Entrepreneur

It’s funny because if you had asked me a couple years ago if I consider myself to be a risk taker I would have said no. Mostly because I always thought “risk takers” were the people who scale mountains and dive off cliffs. I am a risk taker, but more of an emotional, financial, and life directionality risk taker. I switched my major from Landscape Architecture to Child Development at the start of my 4th year of college, I moved to a new city alone at 24, I’ve put my heart on the line more than a few times, I’ve given up good jobs for jobs I wanted more and I started an art business in the middle of a global pandemic. Read more>>

Haley Weigman | Graphic Designer & Health Coach

Risk is necessary to achieve anything great. I’ve been known to take risks a lot in life, but it always has a way of working out and elevating me in some capacity. Creating my business was a risk. It started as my senior thesis project for undergrad in 2018. Students spend a lot of time and money on these projects, but I took a risk in making a project into an actual business. It cost a lot of money to do that, but I looked at it as an investment with return. I built my website and within my first few weeks I hit $200 in sales. I knew then I had something special that people resonated with. Read more>>

Xenia Rollinson | Creative Producer

Risk taking, to me, is akin to the idea of being a beginner again, of the transformative power of starting or trying something new. Learning something new or branching out in your field to expand on your current capabilities and can feel awkward and scary, and the same pertains to risk taking-when you don’t know whether the risk will pan out or not, it’s the same as being a beginner at something again where you don’t know whether you’ll master the skill or not. Read more>>

Aaron Rokjer | Craft Distiller

I think about risk a lot. When you bootstrap a small business, like I have, risk is every present. A bad decision, or a risk that is low reward could sink the whole ship. You have to make these little calculations before all decisions. Do I buy this extra piece of equipment now or can I manage without it for a little longer? What spirit should I release next? What is the cost vs potential return on trying something unusual? Should I hire someone or do I work a little later each day? This seem like small things but they can have huge impacts. Read more>>

Roderick Johnson | Designer

Risk is an opportunity. When I look back at the past 10 years of my career, my first risk was deciding to enter the space of creativity. Following my passion and not going the standard route was itself a risk I took to ensure myself an authentic opportunity. At an early age, I understood what I wanted to do and how I would get there. Providing myself the opportunity to create new products and share them with others, outweighed the fear and risk that is often self-generated. Read more>>

Lucia Mallea | Crafter & Content Creator

I’m a bit impulsive, so taking risks is very much part of my nature. I think risks provide an opportunity to grow and learn. Throughout my career, I’ve seen that the more risks I take, the more I grow. I became friends with NOs and came to realize that there’s no such thing as a failed endeavor. After all, there’s always something to learn from every fall. Read more>>

Kevin Walker | Actor, Model, Writer, and Realtor

1. How do you think about risk? I think risks are necessary in order to achieve your biggest goals in life; without risk, I would probably still be in North Carolina wishing about my dreams instead of living them. 2. What role has taking risks played in your life/career? There is risk with every decision you make rather that be positive or negative. Deciding to walk onto a D1 football program instead of excepting offers from other lower ranked schools was something I thought was going to work in my favor but instead the unfortunate part of the risk was that I did not make the team. Read more>>

A. Love | makeup artist

Risk taking is one of the key ways in which to grow, It allows you to jump out of your comfort zone into a world of unknown, which is essentially the place you want to be. Taking controlled risks allowed me to be the person I envisioned myself to be. Moving to NYC was probably the biggest risk that I’ve taken. It’s also the best decision that I’ve ever made. Read more>>

Danny Barros | Music Industry Executive

If you aren’t willing to take risks, you’re only limiting yourself from growth. I think taking risks, experimenting and just getting out of your comfort zone, is important to become the best possible version of yourself. As an entrepreneur, starting my company was a huge risk. One that several friends and family members tried to talk me out of. Read more>>

Michelle Newson | CEO + Event Wonder Woman

I believe I was born a risk taker and it plays an extremely large role in my life and throughout my career. I decided to start my business at an early age while I was working at my dream company. Then I moved to multiple cities from coast to coast to start and expand my business. Which meant starting completely from scratch in a new markets. I make calculated risks because I realized I wouldn’t grow in life or business without doing so. Read more>>

Julie Harrop | Actress

When I think about risk I try to focus less on the possible negatives of the risk and more on the positive outcome. Hence why I happily took the risk of being an actor, regardless of how uncertain this industry is. Taking that first risk of being on this crazy path has positively changed how I look at & approach risks now & in the future. To be completely honest for me, acting is and was always an inevitable risk, it’s the only thing I have ever wanted to pursue professionally. Read more>>

Kara Duncan | Actress & Entrepreneur

Without risks there will never be any rewards. My motto is no risk no story. The best advice someone has given to me about acting is a quote by Winston Churchill: “Success consist of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. I have also been told as a child to color outside of the box and let your imagination take flight, because whatever you believe you can achieve. With acting you are told a lot of No’s. But it takes just that one YES to propel you further in your career. So to stay the course, keep training and stay dedicated to the craft. Read more>>

Jordan Davis-Miller | Actor & Singer

I see risk as a form of opportunity. Every success I’ve experienced came from my understanding that there is possible failure. I try to lean into risk. Learn from it, adapt to it. Take it head on until I overcome it or work with it. Read more>>

Shyanne Benjamin | Actor, Poet, and Community Support Counselor

I went to college for Speech Pathology. Knowing that the only thing I could see myself dedicating my life too was creative work. However, my family really didn’t want me to risk student loans only to not be able to sustain myself. My first step in risk taking was changing my major to Social Work. I knew that I loved helping people and creating/performing in equal measures, and that I could find find fulfillment in both. Now having graduated, and now that I have been working full time in social services for 4+ years, I am leaping again. Read more>>

Armand Atwater | Pop Star

I believe that being able to take a risk or a leap of faith is about 50% of the journey, to get to where you need to go you must be uncomfortable. Letting go of the idea that I need to be comfortable when creating held me back from actually exploring how far my creativity can grow. I took a big risk moving from Detroit to LA, I don’t think anybody truly believed I could actually make it work but I’m in a much better position than I would’ve been in back home and it’s all thanks to me sticking through my goals. Read more>>

Mathieu Nozieres | Fine Art Painter

When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time with my neighbor who was in his sixties. He was very wise, had long gray hair and reminded me of Merlin the magician. One day he told me: if you have a friend and you care about him, when you leave him you don’t say “take care of yourself” but “take risks”. Because it’s by taking risks that you go the furthest and that you can discover the most things. I thought that was really cool and I’ve since made it a life motto. Read more>>

Ilsa Wynne-Hoelscher Kidd | Photographer and film director

I have a love/hate relationship with risk taking, but somehow have consistently been drawn to taking risks in life and work. This has likely stemmed from my childhood being raised by two fascinating and inspiring people who constantly took risks. Despite the challenges that can come with risk taking, I firmly believe they are worth it as they offer opportunity for growth and new directions. Ultimately when taking that dive, you must have self belief and determination – the driving force to surrender, absorb, evolve. Read more>>

Niyah Lashae | Artist. Creative Visionary. Dancer

Everything in life is a risk. Waking up in the morning is a risk, answering a phone call is a risk, going outside is a risk, even staying home is a risk! To not take risks, is to not be living, and I actively make the choice to live every single day. I think the word “risk” comes with a negative or taboo connotation. To me, the word “risk” is a synonym for “choice”. We as people will always face the “what if” scenario. It is embedded in every decision we make. Personally I struggle with taking risks for that very reason. Read more>>

Yazmine Verdieu | Owner- Verdieu Learning Center

I am going to use this part to talk to my readers: Taking risks in my life has always brought the best outcome, indeed. Taking a risk gave me a one-way ticket to freedom. Now I understand that it could be scary to take risks. The doubtful thoughts, fears, and anxiety come because it is something you are supposed to do. The fear of failure is just a blockage. If you have to take a risk to get what is meant for only you, you will not fail. The stronger the fear, the most likely you are meant to do it. Read more>>