Taking Risk is essential, but how much, when and why? Taking risks effectively is as much of an art as it is a science and we’ve asked some of the brightest folks in the community to tell us about how they think about risk taking.

Ablay Nurmanbetov | Screenwriter/Director

The more you take risks the more you get a payoff. I can call myself a risk-taker since changing my major from civil engineering to screenwriting. I didn’t realize how hard and painful that path would be, but it was worth it, and still, it is. By taking this risk, I graduated from college in Houston, went to Los Angeles, got new friends from the cinema industry. I remember shooting my first short movie (“The Burning Blue”) that participated in 40 festivals and won 16 awards around the globe. I remember going back to Kazakhstan where I wrote the feature movie debut (“QASH”) and it is because of the aforementioned risk. Read more>>

Zac Clejan | The Trap Violinist

I think risk taking is one of the most powerful tools any aspiring achiever can use to get to their goals faster and smarter. The phrase ‘The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward’ comes to mind, and i definitely believe there is merit in that – but I want to put add one word – “Calculated”. Calculated risks, in my experience, are going to be the difference maker in your success and your life. It doesn’t do to simply take a risk because it is there, or even if you truly believe in your ability to overcome those risks. The best types of risks are mitigated as much as possible. And there’s a few different ways to do that. Read more>>

Justin Vibes | Singer, Songwriter, & Vibraphonist

I think about risk as an opportunity to embark on something new, with the hopes of positive outcomes being the only result. Taking risks in my life/career has been the focal point for my journey. I’ve failed more times than succeeded but I’ve learn something new with each risk I took. In other words, each risk whether it was a win or loss still moved me forward to my goals. Read more>>

robert enriquez | Filmmaker, Talent manager, Dad, and Friend.

To me…LIFE = RISK. I’m not even sure how to live otherwise. I have always been one to take risks. The thrill of knowing “I will always find a way” excites me.
Quite honestly it is almost innate for me as I love the thrill.
The role Risk taking has played in my life is very evident. Mainly as someone who has had a long 30+ career in entertainment I have been taking risks from day one. Not a single person in my family had been in this industry and from day one it has been all about taking risks. Read more>>

Lindsay Nielson | Producer & Actress

You know the amazing quote, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” Wayne Gretzky is credited with saying? I took that to heart the first time I heard it. I repeat it to myself often. I understand that taking risks will result in failure all the time – but failure is life’s greatest teaching tool. I’m lucky enough to be the mom of four adorable children and I often teach them that when learning to walk, we fall time and time again while someone helps us up, over and over again. We don’t stay down do we? We eventually get up and then turn around and help others do the same. Risk taking for me right now is saying YES to film projects where I am continually taking on larger roles. Read more>>

antonina clarke | Artist & Carpenter/Welder

Risk tolerance is a huge part of what I do and how I’ve gotten to the place I’m in now – A full time artist and part time fabricator, with 12 years of building trades experience. I paint, dye, sew, weld, produce animated videos, and build. All that makes me deeply happy, to fluctuate and draw on lessons learned from each medium. In a world of specialization, this choice to generalize is one of many risks I was told would hold me back, but I’m so happy I chose. Read more>>

Eric Padilla | Digital Marketing Entrepreneur

To me, risk taking is inevitable. On one hand, you can choose to play it safe and avoid taking risk. But then you risk being complacent and comfortable, unable to push yourself beyond the boundaries you have set for yourself. For me, leaving the restaurant industry was a huge risk because I had a great job with a great company in Orange County. However, as most people know, working in the restaurant industry can be taxing on yourself and your family. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to work 12-14 hour days, sometimes longer if there was a convention in town or a huge concert. So for me, I was risking this comfortable job but also risking the relationship with my wife and our son. So I took that risk and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Read more>>

Lauren Scott | Freelance Film & Social Media Manager

I think taking risks can be a good thing if done correctly! The first big risk I took in my life was making the leap to move across the country to Los Angeles at age 20 with zero connections and not a lot of money and it paid off both career wise and in my personal life. That decision has definitely shaped my life for the better and I don’t know where I’d be today if I hadn’t had the courage to make a huge jump like that. Read more>>

Aiman Samat | Filmmaker & Visual Effects Artist

I think in every type of career there are always risks. For someone like me who’s pursuing a career in the film industry, I certainly have learned that I can only grow when I feel uncomfortable. When I’ve written a screenplay and I feel confident in making it, that means it will not be worth making at all. I find that I have to somehow question myself when I’m about to get into a project. When I first got into Ingenuity Studios, they asked me to “lead” the GFX for Solos, an Amazon Prime series. Have I ever worked professionally as a visual effects artist then? No. Have I ever touched anything remotely that big? No. Was I uncomfortable? Yes. Read more>>

Anthony Porras | Digital Freelancer

Life is just too short! Taking risks throughout my life has been one of the biggest factors of where I am, what I’m doing, and how I’m doing it. Most of the time my thought process going into risk taking is just thinking “will I enjoy doing whatever I’m taking the risk for more than what I’m currently doing now”. That’s the main thought that crosses my mind for anything I ever do since enjoying what I do, who I meet with and how I do it, matters to me. If I was playing it safe, staying inside, and not opening up the conversation to the person next to me at an event. I wouldn’t have had the experiences of traveling across the world, being finically stable and happy with life now. Taking risks in life is worth it. Read more>>

Ravyn Neal, Esq. | Attorney

Taking risks is necessary for evolvement. Risks are frightening, because the intended outcome is not guaranteed. Nevertheless, I’ve never been one to avoid a challenge or avoid difficulty. I embrace challenges and fear, because I’m constantly trying to push myself to achieve better. When I’m deciding whether to take a particular risk, I wait for that little voice in my head that says “Do It”. Then, I do it, whatever the risk is, with full force and intention, purposefully.  Read more>>

Penelope Eaton | Actor | Writer | Producer | Chef

I think risks are opportunity seizing moments. I remember when I was a kid I wanted to be a singer, so I spent 3x’s a week singing with coaches and exploring my sound. On days when I wanted to quit, when my voice wasn’t sounding right and I was tired of taking these risks, my coach would say to me, “close your eyes and imagine you’re older, much older, and you’re sitting on your front porch reflecting on your life, now are you gonna smile because of what you accomplished; having tried all the paths and taken the risks? Or, are you gonna feel an overwehlming sense of disappointment because you didn’t? Do it for that older you, that future woman.” Read more>>

Rylan Scott | Bass in Juniper Park

A lot of what we create is motivated by pushing our boundaries & being honest with ourselves. In that sense, I think that risk comes hand in hand with making honest art— with being honest in general! For Juniper Park, we want to make music that WE are passionate about. Not just music that we know will hit the charts. We write a lot of songs dealing with topics that are a little more taboo such as mental health and suicide. It can be scary because you never know how people are going to respond. Ultimately, we believe that there is more good to be had with bringing more difficult topics to the table, even if it’s risky. Read more>>

Meet Christopher Watkins | Musician, celebrity Personal Trainer

Without the leap of faith, what would any individual have? My life is a constant reminder that anytime things seem at their worst! Opportunity is right around the corner. Not because it’s suppose to happen, but the thought of what else is left? I won’t ever be wealthy unless I attempt! I won’t ever be healthy unless I attempt! I won’t ever be successful, unless I believe in myself! The rewarding risk in moving from Houston Texas to Los Angeles California has humbled me with wisdom and Patients I will never regret. The teachings of a different place you’ve never been can scare you, but not being overwhelmed by challenges in life can prepare you for any risk your willing to take in the future. It’s who I am, and why I reside in Southern California! Read more>>

Birdee | Photographer specializing in immersive underwater portraiture

Taking risks is what brought me from living according to how I thought I should be living, appealing to those around me and staying small, to discovering my true voice and living my dream as an artist and photographer in LA. Growing up in Orlando, I did all the things I felt were the correct course to becoming an adult. I got a degree in Diagnostic medical Sonography and landed a great job as a high risk OB sonographer at a hospital when I was 20. I got married at 21, and bought my first house at 23. Read more>>

Karl Learmont | Musician (Angelspit)

Pursuing a career in music is a risk, but pursuing a career making your own music is a crazy risk! Increasingly a “band” is just one person who wears many hats – song writing, production, engaging with your supporters, admin, merch, marketing…coffee making (!) You need to be well versed in all aspects of the music industry – or have trusted people who can give you pointers.
Most of what you do, you will do alone. People will not understand your decisions. Read more>>

Henry & Cely Galeano | Owner of OCBuyBack.com

We believe that sometimes risks are good lessons to learn from. There are only two things that can happen, you either fail but you learn from it or you succeed. In our case, we took a risk of leaving our full time jobs and investing all of what we had to start our business. 9 years ago, we had no idea our business would be were it’s at today. It is still growing and we have so much work to do but we’ve come along way. We are proud that we were able to grow our business all while being first time parents. Actually, a few months after we started our business we found out we were expecting! We took the risk of following our dreams of becoming business owners and thankfully that risk has paid off significantly. Read more>>

Jennifer Whalen | Adventure Wedding & Elopement Photographer

I have several thoughts when it comes to risk and I love this topic. First of all, I try to think about risk in the big picture of things. I am from a long history of English and Irish ancestry. The English side has been here since almost the beginning. The Irish side has been here since the potato famine. I would like to think that they didn’t risk crossing an ocean under frightening conditions only for me to live a mediocre and scared life. Whenever I find myself being paralized in indecision on weather I should move forward in risk, I think about that. I’m a proud American, and a proud northerner, and I can do all things. Second of all, every risk I’ve taken has proven to be 100% worth it, which proves that fear is more-or-less in my head, vs. real. And the really spontaneous risks have been 1,000% worth it. Read more>>

Christie Capo Pace | Founder, Vintage October

I took my very first risk at the age of 30, only 3 short years ago. That risk was the decision to quit what was intended to be my lifelong career in fashion merchandising. After finally achieving my most coveted role as an associate buyer for Macy’s corporate offices, I made a relatively impulsive decision to leave it all behind. If you come from a small town like me, risk taking is highly discouraged let alone not typically an option. I was noticing that the joy and true passion I had for the industry was quickly diminishing along with what felt like my entire being. Read more>>

Jesse Brune-Horan | Entrepreneur, Chef & Whole Living Expert

I really love this question, mostly because I don’t believe in risk. I believe in making choices. I’ve learned having attachment to specific outcomes is grounds for major upset and suffering. Some ideas and projects work, some don’t. Sometimes you’ll hit a home run and other times you’ll strike out. There’s rich potential in both scenarios. Read more>>

Matt Zane | Vocalist, Producer, Photographer, Director & Author

Taking risks is tantamount to luck in becoming successful and both are equally important. Unfortunately there isn’t much we can do about luck except pray but taking calculated risks is within our control. I can spout advice and observation until the end of time but real world stories always drive the point home more effectively in my opinion. A good example of taking a risk is when I decided I wanted to get into producing tracks for Hip Hop music seemingly out of nowhere. I had zero experience in Hip Hop or working as a strict writer/producer. What I did have was DMC’s (from RUN – DMC) email because I directed a music video for him and Wayne Static. Read more>>

Afina Madoian | Music Artist | Singer | Songwriter | Actress

I wouldn’t be in the country of opportunities today doing what I love doing if I wouldn’t risk everything 6 years ago and decided to move to the United States on my own at 19 years old, where I didn’t know anybody. I think if you don’t take risks in your life, you’re missing out on many life-changing opportunities. Consider everything that is outside of your comfort zone – a risk. You’re opening yourself up to possibilities for a better life and are giving yourself a chance to get closer to your dreams. Now, it doesn’t mean that you won’t fail or you won’t get hurt. Most probably, you’re setting yourself for something that might bring a lot of challenge and require a strong will. Read more>>