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

Nikki O’Neill | Songwriter, Singer & Guitar Slinger

Risks have lead me to rewards I never could’ve imagined. I took the risk to move from Sweden to New York City in my late 20’s. It was an excavation of myself, digging through the rubble of my childhood and 20’s… discarding what wasn’t real. I found out who I am: what my beliefs and values are, what my talents are, and what I wanted to do with my life. It also sharpened my intuition. I took the chance to complete my bachelor’s degree and study music at The New School. I was broke, but took the chance to fly out to Seattle to attend a music conference, and met the co-workers of my future husband. A few months later, they invited me to a music trade show in LA. I scrambled together money for a plane ticket, went… and met my future husband. Read more>>

Julia Frances Vericella | Fine Art Photographer

Risk is such an important part of a fine art practice and is a constant source of inspiration for me. I am always pushing myself to take the risk, to make work that is an honest reflection of myself and to never shy away from subjects that are taboo. I think an audience can clearly see when an artist has stopped taking risks- the work becomes stagnant and expected. So far I have been rewarded for every part of myself that I have decided not to hide. Read more>>

Bartley Taylor | Director

My dad always taught to weight risk in terms of the reward, as I imagine many people were. Does the reward outweigh the risk? If so – take the risk. On the other hand, If I can’t live with the results if I were to fail, then I don’t take the risk. At the current point in my career, risk usually involves investing in self produced projects that will hopefully further my career by opening up opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. As a filmmaker, there is an incessant itch to create and tell stories that cannot ever be scratched, only temporarily subsided. Directors only get work by directing and since the business is so competitive, many of my early opportunities have come from the ones I gave myself. I’ve booked real jobs from clients after they’ve seen my spec commercials, short films and cooking shows that I did for others. Read more>>

Will Carpenter | Songwriter, Producer & Artist

I like to refer to myself as a ‘calculated risk taker’. Obviously risk is necessary in order to be an entrepreneur of any kind, but I personally try to find ways to minimize those risks as best I can. Being a musician, and pursuing a career as an artist, producer and songwriter is definitely on the riskier side of the spectrum as far as careers go, but I’ve been able to balance that aspect of my life with other types of professional pursuits that tend to be more stable… and by following ‘Plan A’ and ‘Plan B’ in parallel I feel that largely the uncertainty that comes with a purely creative career has been nicely mitigated. Read more>>

Ashton Roberts | Strength & Conditioning Coach

Many studies predict that many and all kinds of risky activities are related to impulsive sensation-seeking behavior. Often times, when I take risks I think about consequences in positive ways. My thought process involves an awareness that a situation or behavior could lead to both positive and negative consequences. However, having knowledge of my own strengths and weaknesses help me understand my motivations and opportunities involved with risks. As an entrepreneur, my career has been filled with taking risks for the the sake of ongoing development. Risk-taking is almost synonymous with entrepreneurship. Read more>>

Tiesha Williams | Makeup Artist

For as long as I can remember I have always been drawn to the creative process of Art as well as Entrepreneurship. As a young girl I was in love with (and still am) the idea of being able to provide a beautiful life for myself and for my family through doing what I love, music, makeup artistry and entrepreneurship. At the time, I had no idea that wanting to work for myself, create art and businesses that I love and get paid very well doing so, is Entrepreneurship. I did not realize the amount of risk that comes along with being a Creative and an Entrepreneur. All I knew was that successful people in the world are not afraid. They put themselves out there and they are not afraid to hear the word “no”. I tested this theory at the age of 8. I sat in my room on a Saturday morning thinking to myself, “I want to buy candy, but I do not have enough money in my piggy bank. Read more>>

Jason Berger | Motion Graphics Artist

Let me first start off by saying risks without a doubt has played a huge role within my life and career. With that said the reasons why it made such a big impact all begins with the little and big risks iv’e taken. I feel without risks you aren’t able to reach your highest potential whether that’s within your work choices or life choices. Making big changes really takes a huge amount of risks because not knowing the outcomes can worry us. I see it as everything is a scale and you have to give something up in order to gain something of equal value. It doesn’t mean it has to be something materialistic either, it can be simple as your time. Read more>>

Chandler Kilgore-Parshall & Walker Sayen | Filmmakers

In these uncertain times like the CoVid-19 Pandemic, taking risks seems like the last thing anybody wants to be doing right now. From the massive unemployment rate to the spikes of Coronavirus cases we’re seeing, the word “risk” is certainly on everybody’s lips. But what we at TinDragon Media have learned during this crisis is that many Americans are taking stock of what matters to them. From their relationships to their aspirations to their beliefs, we are all thinking about how we better our lives and for the people around us. Taking risks is being proactive in what you believe in, no matter the circumstance. As a Millennial-operated company that focuses on producing meaningful content, we love collaborating with businesses and entrepreneurs that promote social awareness like education and healthcare. Read more>>

Jeannine Self | Professional Makeup Artist

I’m usually always in favor of taking a risk when the ultimate benefit of it is to better myself. There are two kinds of people that view a favorable situation. One is, “Why can’t that happen to me”? And the other is, “If they can attain that, then why can’t I”? I have always been the latter. Taking risks thus far in my life has proven to me that if you want something bad enough, you CAN have it. Most everything is attainable with persistence. As for my career, taking risks is something I’m extremely proud of myself for. I walked away from working for others, to pursue self employment. That means, I gave up a guaranteed paycheck, as well as the benefits. Just to pursue my dreams and my happiness. Read more>>

Evan Chambers | Metal and Glass Artist

Choosing to take the career path of an artist is highly irresponsible. I knew this when I started on the path, so risk for me has always been part of the equation. Now as a parent and partner, the same type of risks take on a new level of responsibility. The stakes are higher, and directly effect other people. Knowing when, where, why and how to make choices that will inform future projects and in what ways those choices will ripple through my life are survival skills. The big difference in the evolution of risk is the confidence that comes with having risked for so long. I know how to recognize my own failures and move through them patiently and I’m proud of the skills I’ve collected that have so far allowed me to land on my feet. Read more>>

Lynn Klopfer | Bookseller, Journal Maker & Writer

Risk is everything. It’s putting yourself out there, letting yourself be vulnerable to critics, but also to enjoy the fruits of your labor and creative expression. We’ve been thinking a lot about risk in the last few months, given the stay at home orders we’ve all experienced. There was (and always is really), a tendency to just ‘give up’ in a way when a road block is presented, and it’s been very interesting to re-group, focus and organize, and to lay down plans for more risk taking in the future. It is exciting (if you let it be), to think what we’ll be doing as we move out of these ‘stay at home directions.’ For a bookseller, stay at home orders actually helped our business, as much as we’d like to see the seriousness of the pandemic over. Where we will go from here becomes an exciting opportunity to take more risks. Read more>>

Ragnhild Bjoerge | Stuntwoman

Since my job is to do stunts, I’d say risk taking is pretty much the essence of what I do. Though of course the stunts are calculated, carefully prepared and rehearsed. But even so there is a reason it’s hard to get an insurance company to cover people like us. Read more>>

Everlee Blu | Counselor, Mermaid & Transgender Ally

I consider taking risks an opportunity to explore something new, and a chance for discovery. Discover something about yourself, discover a new culture, discover a new road, discover a new interest. Life is an adventure and should be explored to the fullest. I think everyone should try something new, at least once, to see if they truly like it or not. By not trying stuff, we are limiting ourselves, and that can lead to living in fear. Fear of the unknown, or fear of change. Change can be scary, but change means growth and learning, and that is what life is about. When we don’t try something for ourselves, we are living by the opinions of others, which can be very biased. Read more>>

Steven Buckner | Film Composer

I think of risk like going to a casino. The odds are usually always against you, but the rewards can be beneficial if the odds go in your favor. In my life, risk has always played a dominant role when I wanted to achieve something. Never has things come on my plate like a silver platter! I recall the year 1997 which was a year of big risk for me. I was looking to start a career in music and didn’t know what to do or how to get involved. As a Michigander, it is mostly an auto industry state so if there are any opportunities then I would need to have ventured out. I was obsessed with this radio show that was played in San Francisco all throughout my life. The station was a big influence on the type of music I create which at the time was called New Age Music. Read more>>

Nikita T. Hamilton | TV Writer

I think about risk as something that should be approached cautiously and thought through thoroughly. However, at the end of the day, risk is a little bit like faith: there’s a point at which you just have to jump and hope you’re right. Taking risks has played a big part in my career. It was a risk to leave the academic path that I’d been on for 5 years to try and become a TV writer. It was a risk to quit a steady production job I’d only started three weeks prior for a 10-week gig as a Writers’ Assistant, and it was a risk to quit a Showrunner’s Assistant job with no back-up plan because of the hostile work environment. Each of those risks got me to where I am in my career, and who I am as a person, today. Read more>>

Marian Lopez | Owner & Baker

For me taking risk has always taken me to a better place, I feel it’s truly what they say, “no risk, no gain”! You must put yourself out there and take chances even if you might lose because if you do not you will always wonder “what if”. If I hadn’t taken the chances that I did; I would not be the person I am today, I would not have attended college in Oklahoma, nor lived in Europe for three years, or on an island for two years (hey I was a kid born and raised in East LA). I would not have had two of the best children who have given me the best family. I would have never pitched a business to a group that in turn lead me to my current business! I would not have had the opportunity to speak to groups of over 1,000 people about business, about life and the direction of my business. Read more>>

Ethan / Jessica Kogan / Silvetti | Filmmakers

To me, risk is an essential part of doing anything creative (…and other non-creative endeavors, for that matter). The way I see it, if you don’t take a chance on your own work than who else is going to? You need to be willing to fail by putting your work out there and have nobody like it. Worst case scenario, you learn from the mistake and do something better the next time. But you will not know where you stand unless you take a risk by putting yourself and your work out there. Risk taking leads to growth which leads to success. You just need to read the signs along the way and make the appropriate adjustments. I, admittedly, am very cautious by nature. I think a lot. I just do. And sometimes that slows me down. But there comes a time when my ambition overcomes my rational nature and I risk everything. Read more>>

Ashley Cole | Contemporary Abstract Artist

Taking risks is the most important part of being creative. It is the crucial point between staying in a comfort zone and challenging yourself to try something new. As an abstract artist who’s style has changed over the years, taking the risk to create from within vs what may be familiar has made my work more authentic. The most difficult part for some is making the decision to take a leap knowing the outcome could be the opposite of what is expected. I believe that if the risk isn’t death then take it. Especially when it comes to art. Be fearless when it comes to trying new things, learning new things and incorporating them in your art. You will find out the outcome isn’t as bad as you imagined. Read more>>

Kristen Silva | Visual Artist

As a visual artist, I’ve had to learn a lot of traditional ways to go about painting. Those lessons are very helpful but they can be a little restrictive if you let yourself dictate what your art is through that lens. You eventually have to risk trying something new and it can be a little intimidating if you stick to those expectations as a benchmark. Risking things is very essential to making your own style and voice. If you don’t get in there and form your own voice, it will get lost in the crowd. Read more>>

Renita Smith | The Drinklady aka Auntie

I don’t think about risk at all. I just do whatever is set on my mind to do. What’s a risk if it is not done? It’s just a thought about thing and I don’t have time for things undone. Risk have played ever part in my life. It’s waking up daily and placing one foot forward than the day before. I see it like this…everything in life someone have wanted to do or have thought about doing. Let it be you. What is your hold? Jump! Read more>>