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.

Ana Vergara | Radio Personality, Beauty Influencer & Entrepreneur

If it wasn’t for me taking risks, I wouldn’t be doing what I do now as a career. I remember having a 8-5 county job working as a supervisor which was very secure yet I took the risk to quit and live my dreams. The hobby became my career. It wasn’t easy but I look back and wouldn’t have changed a thing. Read more>>

Ron Artis II | Musician, Composer, Photographer & Production Manager

There are two sides to this for me. When we start a project, I ask the question, Is this something that we believe could make the world a better place. If the answer is yes. Then my finances should never be a excuse not to do it. My wife and I have spent our last dollar quite a few time creating productions. The otherside about risk for me is. “If you have a safety net, you will use it”. Do the right thing all the time. Even when your life depends on it. Read more>>

Katie Kirk | Artist & Product Designer

Risk taking is an essential part of my artistic practice and personal growth. I always try to welcome it even though it can feel uncomfortable. Sometimes it takes the form of a small risk like exploring a new material, while other times it is something larger like leaving a steady job to go to graduate school. The freedom to experiment often results in a moment that creates a totally new direction in my work or life. This is often how I create new structures and new meaning in my paintings and ceramics. Likewise, risk taking has usually been a way for me to lean into my passions and take advantage of opportunities that bring me more happiness and satisfaction. I try my best to stay open, embrace flexibility, and shift my mindset away from any outcomes or set paths I may have previously envisioned. Read more>>

Lui De Luna | Digital Marketer & Entrepreneur

There is no large reward without taking risks. Same as that famous saying by Ronald Reagan “The future doesn’t belong to the light-hearted. It belongs to the brave.” I remember being stuck in class and impatiently looking at the clock to leave since all my time was sucked into starting my very first business. My first risk was moving out of my house when I was 16, my second big risk was dropping out of Junior year of college. There were times when risk had me eating out of the dollar menu of McDonald’s for weeks with only $150 in my bank account and many bills due. But looking back that risk truly built my character and defined who I became. To be an Entrepreneur is to be immune to all the fears that come from risk, in fact, the act of “risking” is sort of like weight training or cardio training. Read more>>

Crystina Bond | Photographer & Fashion Designer

I think of risk as being very necessary when it comes to art making. It brings new innovative ideas to life! This keeps art interesting, we have to break the rules every once in a while. For me, risk have played a huge part in where I’m at today. Growing up in little ol’ Delaware I knew I wanted to explore more of what the world has to offer. When I was in school I took the risk of studying fashion styling abroad in Hong Kong by myself. Man did I learn so much! Then I picked up my things and moved to LA. I took a risk that I thought would be best for my career in art and it ended up being just that. Risk taking can also be seen in my art by going against the grain when it comes to traditional film photography. After my film has been developed I don’t stop there. I incorporate physical film distortion to add a CRYS touch to the photo. This all starts with a foundation of just taking a risk. Read more>>

Hope Hazy

As I reflect, I notice many fairly painless decisions I made were considered very risky by most people. I think people assess which risks are worth taking and which risks are not worth taking based on how they measure the importance of the posed losses. We ingest cultural, environmental, political, & religious messages and then filter that conglomerate through our own unique psychological and physiological constitutions. one common message Americans receive through its capitalistic culture is to prioritize, first and foremost, the importance of financial security as well as growth & power advancement. according to the cultural risk-meter, any decision that puts financial security or power at stake is considered high-risk and advised against. This does not resonate with me. Read more>>

Joshua J. Pinkay | Journalist, Podcaster & Creative Entrepreneur

I think about risk everyday. Risk is unavoidable as a creative entrepreneur, because it will come into play with almost every decision you make. And though the idea of taking risks can seem scary to most, I’ve learned to disassociate risk with negativity. To me, risk is where the story begins, and I’m a sucker for a good story. As a journalist, that is usually what will draw me in to writing about someone. I’ve learned to position stories centered around risk and how those outcomes have produced positive influence. Also, risk will always teach you something new. As a publicist and marketing coordinator, risk doesn’t just directly pertain to me — it usually impacts the creative decisions I have to make for my clients. Read more>>

Ros Gentle | Actress & Educator

There’s a quote I have carried with me for 40+ years. I found it when I was just an actor newbie and I share it with the actors I teach to this day. It was attributed to Robert Redford… who knows if he really said it ….but it goes like this….”you’re only as good as you’re prepared to be bad!” And this to me is a great definition of risk in both the acting profession …and indeed in life. You have to be a little adventurous as an actor AND as a human being. Just as a child does, I believe we grow and discover more about ourselves and life when we take risks and explore new things. When we stop learning, we die. When I was 21 I travelled from Australia to Europe touring several countries by train. It was an eye-opening experience at that age. I came home with a whole new perspective on the wonderful diversity of life. Read more>>

Hayato Takano | Artist

I’ve never been afraid to take risks in life. I believe that you must follow your dreams. Risks are what makes life exciting . It all started after high school, I had dreams of being a musician and so I enrolled in Berkley College of Music. This lead me to traveling to France and Spain, all alone right out of high school and then I moving to Boston. It was my first time in the U.S. and I didn’t know anyone. Then, I decided to move to Los Angeles to further my music career. But, since elementary school I had always wanted to make art. I had taken another path and forgot about art and so eventually I decided to go after my first passion. I knew nothing about the art industry and I didn’t know if people would like my art, but it didn’t matter. To me you have to take risks and follow you passion. Read more>>

Nathan Rohlander | Artist, Illustrator & Educator

I embrace risk, it’s what helps me get to the next level. Everyone experiences doubt and fear but with a little courage we can all walk through that dark veil and hopefully we will prevail. Failure is the worst possible outcome and in reality most times it is not that bad as long as we learn from it. In my life embracing risk has reaped rewards. Not to say that I haven’t lost, but the wins have absolutely outweighed the losses. Regarding my career as an artist, illustrator and educator, every time I put my work out there the risk of rejection is possible. The role I take in my professional life is try and try again. The desire for success and to have impact drive me. I am rarely satisfied, this temperament pushes me and helps keep me in a growth mindset. Read more>>

Donna Bond | Personal Transformation Consultant, Author, Speaker & Spiritual Mentor

I took an enormous risk when I resigned from my 28-year long highly-tenured career back in 2014. I walked away away from a top-level, quarter of a million dollar a year position, with a highly prestigious hospitality company. This risk was not only totally illogical, it was the pivot my soul knew I needed to make. It was the second biggest risk I ever took. (The second was saying I would marry a guy I met three weeks earlier on the internet.) The craziest part of the risk I took, was that I didn’t have a clear path to what I do today. What I do know for sure, is that getting out of my comfort zone – taking a risk- was the secret sauce in really activating my life and my purpose. i believe our soul, the higher part of us, calls us forward to step into unknown places, because it wants to expand through us. Read more>>

Ara Aslanian | CEO & Advisor

I believe taking risks is part of being alive and it’s in an entrepreneur’s DNA. In business, risk is everywhere. Most smart entrepreneurs take calculated risks but they are risks nonetheless. Risk has played a big role in my journey, since I have started a few businesses in the tech sector. Some have been bigger financial risks than others, but none of them would have been started if I didn’t decide to commit money, resources and, most of all, time to the effort. The biggest risks have the highest rate of failure, but they also have that small chance of turning into a thriving venture. When talking about risk, I am always reminded of a quote from Warren Buffett who said, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful”. Although this quote is about investing in the stock market, I believe it also relates to risk in general. Read more>>

Robyn Rhodes | Designer & CEO

I have always lived by the saying. “Successful people take risks.” I think that I would not be here 18 years later doing my business if I did take risks almost everyday. From picking out stones, to manufacturing and putting out collection after collection, I take risks– not knowing if anyone will like what I am putting out there in the world. Read more>>

Addison Paige | Dancer, Bassist & Skateboarder

They say you have to bet big to win big, and that’s how I feel about taking risks; the riskier decision probably has a bigger payoff (if you put in the work). The biggest risk I’ve taken was choosing dance, music, and art over grad school- and every day I am thankful for that decision. In 2017, I moved to LA after undergrad at University of South Carolina. I had no community and very little knowledge when it came to the entertainment industry, but I had faith. The commercial dance world was MUCH different than the dance team realm of things in the south east and I was going to have to learn that quickly. Taking that chance, moving across the country, and learning a new terrain was scary at times but I’ve gotten the biggest rewards from it. Read more>>

David Pressman | Event Producer & Wedding Planner

My father was an Optometrist who wanted to be an archaeologist and wasn’t allowed to pursue that. He instilled in m brain the idea that just because I might be doing one thing (as a job), that didn’t mean that I had to continue doing that for the rest of my life. I interpreted that idea this way if I could figure out the worst-case scenario before taking a risk – asking for a raise, asking someone out on a date, moving to a new city, etc., that reduced, or even eliminated, the fear of taking that risk. It didn’t mean that taking the risk would always work out, but that I had a pretty good idea of what would happen if I didn’t take the risk. I’ve had five successful careers so far – I never rule out what new opportunity might come my way – and I started each one knowing that I would have to learn on the job and prove myself. Read more>>

Sarah Williams | Actress & On-Air Host

For me, calculated risk isn’t really risky at all. In some ways every decision we make has inherent risk involved. What if you make the wrong choice? With that in mind I don’t let myself get bogged down with the fear associated to taking risks or making the wrong choice. We all have gut feelings and intuition, trust yourself! I have absolutely followed my heart and made my career my number one priority, but I’m also pragmatic. At this point in my life I don’t have a ton of responsibilities and so I have the luxury of putting my career first. I know that may not always be the case, so carpe diem! I love saying yes, and I’ve set boundaries for myself and embrace any opportunity that falls within those bounds. For me, Bill Burr says it best, “Realize that sleeping on a futon when you’re 30 is not the worst thing. Read more>>

Jeesin Lui, L.Ac. | Licensed Acupuncturist & Holistic Healthcare Practitioner

In all honesty, I have never been one to take risks! Growing up, playing it safe was always a natural fallback for me. But as an acupuncturist with a private practice and now also an online wellness program, taking risks and putting myself in positions that challenge me have become a necessary part of my life. The field of acupuncture, as a healing profession, offers little in the way of employment opportunities once you graduate from school and become licensed, so over the past 16 years, I have had to pave my own way to establish my practice, all the while building a home and little family of five. As an inherent introvert, becoming an entrepreneur was not something I endeavoured to be, but my love of natural medicine and yearning to help others inspired me to overcome my fears and pushed me to take on new challenges. Read more>>

Connie Costa | Holistic Life Coach, International Speaker, Published Writer & Entrepreneur

I force myself to take risks. It’s the only way to live. To live a comfortable life “risk-free” is to die a slow, painful and boring death. The most exciting experiences in my life have occurred only after I took an enormous risk. I constantly set the bars pretty high and go after the very scary risks, because if I don’t, I know I will only have regret. You see, if you take a risk and fail, at least you know the outcome. However, if you never take the risk out of comfort, you will always wonder what could have happened. One of my biggest fears is being 90 years old and sitting on a rocking chair wondering “what if?”. So I force myself and I am usually pleasantly surprised. I know I am where I’m at in my career ONLY because of all the risks I took. I had a huge amount of faith in my life’s purpose and I just jumped off the cliff. Read more>>

Steven Neevs | Metal Solo Artist & Drummer

I think that risk is inevitable and there is always a chance of failure but in a lot of situations it can be somewhat managed. I have spent a lot of time trying to educate myself and experience the music industry. I too have heard about the nightmares people in the industry can go through and how unpredictable it can all be. I try as much as possible to not leave success up to chance. Learning about the industry has helped me avoid some bad experiences and it has at least reduced the whole school of hard knocks type of experiences. While risk can be managed, it should not be confused with it being feared. Starting out I had the impression that I had to know it all before I even began so I could stand a chance at succeeding in music. As I started learning and getting more experience, I began discovering that no amount of knowledge will completely erase risk. Read more>>

Mike Lugay | Co-Owner

Taking risk to me is something we all need to do. This is coming from a guy who was always fearful of taking risk. I would always be afraid to take chances because of my conservative upbringing. When I opened up a business with my partners, we had been talking about making this move for a long time. I never really took it seriously because I had always been content with being an employee and having a job. Even though many of the clients at my old jobs who have their own businesses would tell me that you have to take chances if you want to move up in life. Being an employee all my life I finally got tired of having to work for someone else and as I got older as well I decided to spend some money I had saved and take that chance of opening up our own business. I felt it was a sign to finally take all those years of experience and use them in this venture. Read more>>

Yumi Lee | Gym Owner & Personal Trainer

Risk taking equals taking a leap. It could be a leap of faith, love, passion, loyalty or determination but whatever the cause, you stand at that cross roads because you care and because the outcome matters to you. Whether it’s small, medium or large, when people think of “risks” they tend to focus on what they could possibly lose. Imagine a world where people would look at that opportunity as what is possible to gain. If you never try, you’ll never know. I studied Communications and Sociology in college with the dream that I would be an on-air news reporter. In my time, I wanted to be the next and new Connie Chung. Nearing graduation, a job opportunity to head a fitness program in a high-end Washington, D.C. gym was presented to me. I took the job immediately. I wasn’t thinking longevity of a fitness career or how much money I could be earning instead as a news reporter. Some called it “risky,” but I called it a leap of passion. Read more>>

Nora Stefanescu | Behavioral Change Therapist, Artist & Property Manager

When I was sixteen and a half years old I left my home town in the heart of Transylvania and went to Bucharest, the capital of the country. Not only is Bucharest the largest city in Romania but it is also a jungle, metaphorically speaking, compared to a small town of forty thousand citizens. Culturally, it was a shock and integration wasn’t easy. I was by myself, and socially and culturally in a completely different environment than what I was used to. It’s like going from Yellow Springs, Ohio to Los Angeles, California; two completely different worlds. Your mindset has to change in order to survive. But I wanted so badly to expand and that was the only way I saw possible at that time. I graduated from High school in Bucharest and then I went off to college. I studied Foreign Languages and Literature with an emphasis in German Linguistics and Literature. Read more>>