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.

Rachel Svoboda | Entrepreneur & Philanthropist

“The biggest risk in life is not risking.” – Sara Blakely, Spanx Imagine if you want to bake a cake from scratch and there is no recipe and you’ve never made a cake before. But you’ve seen other people do it, so you know it can be done. You fantasize about the end result of this delicious, mouth-watering cake you’re going to create that’s baked to perfection – fluffy, sweet, and symmetrical. You do your best to gather quality ingredients, measure, mix, bake, and watch the timer. Hoping for the best and knowing that if this cake flops, you have a back-up plan to order one from the local bakery. Now imagine that you want to build a company from scratch and there are no instructions and you’ve never started a company before. However, similarly you’ve seen other people do it, so you know it can be done. Read more>>

Britton Darby | Business Strategist & Yoga Teacher

For me, I think about risk as 60% intuitive knowing and 40% cerebral calculation. I attribute my success to this 60/40 split as well. My first career was in dance. I was a professional working dancer from 3 – 23 years of age. I don’t really know anything outside of taking risk because as a dancer – in some way you are risking your body everyday to varying degrees – all the while knowing your career will be short lived once you become an adult. Not to mention that there is a pretty distinct glass ceiling for income potential as a dancer and so if you don’t love it and want it badly enough, you should probably redirect your focus. Read more>>

Gabriele Fabbro | Film Director

Risk is the key factor to improve. If you don’t risk, you’re probably walking off pre-paved path either leading to mediocrity or enriching other people. The entertainment industry is often dictated by fear. Fear of investing in the wrong idea, fear of not being successful enough, fear of not finding an audience, etc. All those fears lead many filmmakers to abandon their love for storytelling. Sadly, many stories are often conceived in terms of “what’s most fashionable right now and what is the most impressive thing the audience wants”. Cinema is NOT fashionable. People who think that way, are walking off the pre-paved path and their films are designed to an immediate success but destined to fade with time. Try go off paths. Read more>>

Michael Lin | Owner

There’s a quote that has really resonated with me since starting my business over 5 years ago, “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” Real growth occurs when you are pushed outside your comfort zone. This mindset has allowed me to take risks such as starting one of the first male nanny agencies in the U.S., traveling solo over seas, quitting a stable job, jumping into new business opportunities, and much more. I think many of us are afraid to fail. Honestly, I am more afraid not to fail. I have learned so much about myself by taking risks and not succeeding than succeeding without failing. There’s nothing wrong with failing and I think our society has created this stigma around failing and taking risks, especially when you don’t need to, but life isn’t an one street, one way, one speed journey. It’s about taking turns, going backwards, and, even, going off the paved road. When we pave new paths, we begin to see things we have never dreamed of seeing. Read more>>

Allee Futterer | Musician

I am probably way too comfortable with taking risks. As I get older, I am slightly more risk-averse, but I don’t think you get anywhere by playing it safe all the time. I try to avoid “stupid decisions” and give lots of thought to the things that I make riskier plays on. When I strictly play it safe my mental psyche and goals suffer so I always try to find a balance between risky immediate plans and long term goals. Read more>>

Branden Braswell | Actor, Writer & Producer

Taking risks has definitely played a huge role in my life and career thus far. I had just finished college in New York City when I was presented with my first big risk. I was doing college theatre shows and taking voice lessons on the side of my job and full time academic classes. But now, there was no guarantees in having another show to audition for in school or taking voice lessons for elective credits. Thinking about the possibility of not pursuing my passions was gut-wrenching. So as soon as I took this huge leap, it was both a heavy sigh of relief and absolutely terrifying to think about. After an additional 3 years living in New York and training constantly, I saw myself gravitating towards the film industry. Read more>>

Gina Woods | Amazon & E-Commerce Expert

I would be considered a high-risk taker to many people. However, most things that I do really isn’t as risky as the alternative. We just have been programmed to believe that it is a risk. An example would be when I decided to leave Corporate America for good. Many would have believed that doing that leaving a good paying job was a big risk; However, looking back having the fate of my career, the control of my income, the growth of my income, in someone else’s hands is actually a lot riskier than going out and starting a business on your own. Read more>>

Michael Evans | Music and Technology Entrepreneur

Taking risk is what i live for there’s a wealth of knowledge you can obtain betting on yourself the outcome isn’t always certain, All my decisions are also calculated using sound judgement I believe in there’s “no risk no reward” fear is low vibrational energy. My thoughts are keep in a positive places to produce the result I desire. it’s like learning to fly it sound crazy until you do it. For instance when I first moved to L.A. to start our company. I had 1500 dollars in my account and one-way plane ticket. I told my self there no turning back if you really want this you’ll figure it out, At the time I’m was a recent college grad no work experience aka ex-college football player from Thee Jackson State University. My thoughts on the decision to move was, there’s bigger opportunity and you got be where it happen. Here I am in sunny Los Angeles so the risk worked out pretty good. Read more>>

Caitlin Sakdalan | Founder & Social Media Storyteller

I used to think about risk very physically and literally. My stomach drops, and I fear for my life every time I have to ride a roller coaster. The thought of cliff diving terrifies me. I’ve never grown to truly enjoy the thrill of these physical risks, which is why I never considered myself a risk taker. I’ve always considered myself to be a grounded, stable rock with a rooted foundation in faith that’s reliably there for my family, my friends, and myself. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that this firm foundation has freed me up to take risks without even realizing I was. When I was a little girl, I was always choosing to try new foods like Unagi Eel Sushi (one of my favorite things to eat growing up), instead of the standard Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich (something I didn’t try until I was on a missions trip in high school). Read more>>

Vidjay Beerepoot | Composer & Music Producer

My whole life I have been doing the things that I love most. In my case this is making music. Today I am very grateful for making music for films and TV shows here in Hollywood. Although a creative career in LA or anywhere else could be considered risky, I strongly believe risk can be decreased immensely by knowing what you’re doing and setting realistic goals. Determination is so important for reaching those goals especially when times are tough. Wanting fast results in a creative career is very difficult, especially with so many factors that are beyond your control. The only way to get through difficult times is to love what you do and to believe in it. I never thought of my choices in life as being risky because I always had a very clear view of my goals and with a solid plan you can make things happen. Read more>>

Carmen Zella | Art Consultant & Owner of Public Art Agency

Living a life in creativity and art is full of potential and full of unknowns. Its not the ‘safe path’ and its harder to calculate the rate of success in almost any creative sector. No matter how measured you are in life, fate plays a key role and will always be a main author on your life journey. I’ve always been attracted to poetry more then prose. I love the combination of space between words and the emotion and visuals articulated rather then the structure of a full sentence. My path towards success was strongest whenever I combined instinct, measured my environment for opportunities, wasn’t swayed by failure, and took risks. My personal risk taking kept my instincts on alert and responsive so I was aware enough to recognize opportunity when it came by. Read more>>

Daniel Olexa | Soul Connection Coach

Funny thing about risk…it’s not so much the risk, as it is the courage to take it that is the moment of empowerment. I meet people who think that they must be confident of their actions (or maybe the outcomes of them) before taking action, but that’s not it. Confidence builds from movement, reflection, and learning. You can only increase it while in motion. It is the courage to take the first step that begins the journey. Let’s face it…if you think you know the path before you walk it, you are deluding yourself. If you are attached to an outcome from walking the path, without knowing where the path truly leads, you are setting yourself up for failure and potential disappointment. Embrace the courage of risking that things may not go the way you want, but it will all work out. End of sermon. Read more>>

James Taggart | James Bond Impersonator

I would argue that a life without taking risks is actually far more risky than one where opportunities are analyzed and then acted upon. I feel there is a bigger risk in stagnation, boredom, complacency, regret and limited quality of life if an individual has even a small yearning inside to expand in to entrepreneurial pursuits. The rewards are seemingly endless if one has great success. Even if one’s venture results in the societal description of a complete failure, there are a multitude of lessons to be learned and maybe most importantly of all, the individual will have no nagging internal angst later, wishing they had tried something. I would not suggest throwing caution to the wind and jumping in to simply anything for the sake of risk, but I feel strongly about moving in the direction of your passions. Read more>>

Alessandra Horn | Producer

I often think that the difference between courageous and cowardly people is the risk you take in life. To risk is to open up and venture into life, always with a plan and some goals to accomplish. It’s not that life-threatening thing we think about when we plan to parachute. It’s about our day-to-day choices, it’s about letting go of things and fears in every choice you make for your own story. “What if?” it is the question that we must ask when we wanna take a step forward; and consequently, our actions throughout that. As the future does not exist, each stage is a risk. Therefore, it is up to us to change our mentalities, embrace and take risks at times, so that we can learn if we are on the right path. I’m Brazilian, producer, living in Los Angeles; and I had to take some risks during my career (I’m still taking it!). Every move I make runs the risk of working or not. If it works, I’ll evolve. If not, I’ll keep moving. Read more>>

Jessica Silas | Owner & Web Series Creator

My adult life is marked by many big risks..some that turned out amazing and some that had me face down crying out to God wondering why I would ever do something that crazy. I think risks are necessary for anything that is worthwhile and I’ve heard over and over again the greater risk the greater the reward. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I am striving to live a life of great reward. Faithfully Healthy Meals was birthed out of risk after an extremely hard failed attempt at a different business. It would have been easy and safe for me to run away from this idea and just stick with a corporate job, but the idea that I would be robbing people of experiencing what me and my business have to offer was too great of a burden for me to carry. I decided that I would rather give it my all and try than sit around and make a lists of negative what ifs. Read more>>

Amina Touray | Photographer & Editor in Chief

One of my favorite quotes is – “The biggest risk in life is not taking any risks at all”. That is something that I live by! Some of my greatest accomplishments have been made when taking risks; such as moving to California from Sweden and not knowing anyone here or had even been here before. At that time, I just knew I needed something different than what my surroundings were offering me. From there, I eventually started my business as a freelance photographer, and then more recently I founded my own magazine. I didn’t have a team of people behind me from the very beginning, I had to rely on myself. Risk-taking is part of my way of living. Read more>>

Drew Harwood | Actor, Writer & Director

I think it’s all about perspective. To me, I like doing things I fear, so I’m always drawn to taking risks. I’ve had a pretty colorful life, so I don’t really feel like I have much to lose, therefore I don’t feel like I’m putting anything at risk. Anything I do, I always want to feel like I can’t do it, that way I have to fight to make it out alive. I believe if you just choose to do things that are easy, you never change, which means you never grow. Read more>>

Shakira Pressley | Television Writer

I think that the biggest risk I’ve taken in my career is openly making the decision to not just write what is considered marketable in the tv/film industry. Writing is all about finding your voice and passions. If the only thing you’re ever concerned about is making something that you can sell, you’ll only be holding yourself back on what you want to create and bring into the world. This goes for writing rooms as well. If you’re too afraid to insert that joke or intense moment into your script, then you’re doing yourself and the show a disservice. Be bold. Make what you want and be proud of those decisions. Read more>>

Paris Giraud | Clothing Owner, Recording/Touring Musician & LHP Occult Practitioner

Everything in life is a choice, for good or bad. In regards to risk in life and career, being a career musician and entrepreneur, my life has been nothing but risk and dealing with consequences of said risk, from financial instability, the constant shifting of locations, change in every possible way is the only security I’ve encountered in this journey, due to this necessity to exist and be, you learn to wait, have patience, keep an absolute eye on finances, you learn to improvise, more importantly, you learn to become a problem solver, which in essence, is the driving force behind my version of entrepreneurship. This choice that was made within me so long ago has absolutely nothing to do with the flawed idea that is sold as entrepreneurship today, this is a lifestyle, not a title. You have to truly want it since you will be the owner of a few triumphs and an uncanny amount of failures. Read more>>

Luigia Gio Martelloni

Risk is part of the life of an artist, it is almost without choice, but this is what made my life journey. I was born and raised in Rome, Italy. The first time I went to N.Y. It was during my last year at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma. I was working on my thesis in Art History, and I heard there was an exhibition in NY that was related to my study. It was about the affinity and influence Primitive Art had on the historical Avant-guard. When I finally arrived in NYC the show had just closed, but I bought the catalogue and I started working on the translations. I was fascinated by the city, the multi-ethnic make-up of the people, its many possibilities and the rhythm of the street. It was the middle of the 80s and I was in my 20’s.. Read more>>