We asked some of the most interesting folks in the community to open up about how they think about taking chances and the role risk has played in their lives and careers. Risk is by far the topic folks talk to us most about and we hope the responses below will help shed light on many different perspectives.

Bobby Barzi | Dad & founder at fodada

I look at risk a bit differently than most. It is a source of fuel and energy for how I live and challenge myself. In all aspect of my life, beginning with my opportunity and responsibility as a dad. This ideology has now become the core of my business that began as a way to create a legacy for my boys; to risk, to follow a passion, and in the process create impact. I am constantly looking to blur and remove the traditional lines and be welcoming to the perceived risk in new perspectives and approaches. This has been monumental in my personal and professional growth,. Read more>>

Renee Anjanette | Photographer

I was raised in an area of the country where there were few people and we were very isolated, so it was up to me to create my own fun, my own adventure. I was also allowed a lot of freedom and I think that made me very comfortable being alone and handling things on my own. Living in the country was a hard life in many ways as I had to handle situations like snakes and wild life and harsh weather. I had to solve problems on my own because I was an only child until the age of 9 and even then my twins brothers were so much younger, I truly felt alone most of my childhood . Read more>>

Judy Carter | Motivational-Humorist and Author of The New Comedy Bible

How Quitting My Career Got Me Interviewed by Oprah What risk helped propel me to success? In one word — quitting. The advice we performer usually get is, “Never give up!” But what if the career you thought would make you happy… makes you miserable? By the time the comedy boom of the 90’s hit, I’d been a headlining stand-up comic for over 17 years. Although I was making decent money touring and doing TV shows here and there, the clubs were getting rough with aggressive heckling. Read more>>

Miska Kajanus | Actor, Filmmaker & Comedian

I approach risks as saying yes to opportunities. We are presented with many adventures, and as in improv theatre, it is usually good to say yes to these adventures. With each yes, there’s a risk attached, but I try to say yes to most of the things. We should say yes especially to things that scare us. Read more>>

Laura Max McDonald | Owner, Rad Max Vintage

Well. I’ve always been a do-first-figure-out-later kind of person. The fact that it’s led to a successful life has been due to a combination of great timing, great connections, a bit of privilege, and sheer, dumb luck. Sometimes I look back at the decisions I’ve made and I’m like, how. did. I. do. that. WHY. did. I, do. that. But my life has been a really great adventure. I’ve traveled around the world, moved across the country, started businesses, and made out with an Olympic swimmer while holding Alec Baldwin’s hand on 30 Rock. My life has been a crazy series of risks with a whole lot of reward. Read more>>

Matt Gold | Writer, Comedian

It’s hard to deny that everything worthwhile has a risk to it. That’s certainly been the case for my career. When I first began performing comedy at The Second City, I risked looking like an ass on stage. When I quit my day job to go back to film school, I risked my bank account dropping to zero. And when I moved from Chicago to LA, I risked ditching a community I loved for a city where I knew almost no one. Unlike in the movies, there wasn’t immediate raging success. Read more>>

Randall De Leon | Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer

When is comes to taking risks in my life, the main thing that comes to mind is figuring out the “risk vs reward”. In our daily lives some choose to play it safe and limit as much risks as possible, but for others, they see taking a risk as a living or a way of life. I truly believe that taking risks is a normal thing to encounter several times your life because it helps make you a stronger person, and it helps you learn from your mistakes if the risk you took didn’t go in your favor. Read more>>

Damian Joseph Quinn (he/they/she) | Actor, Writer, Yoga Teacher

The greatest risk in my acting career I’ve taken is letting go. I’ve wanted to be an actor since I was a child. It has always been my dream, & a large part of my identity. The risk I take every day is choosing to let go of the false notion that I have any control: over casting, finances, or the edit. I’m a straight A student who is now walking a pathless path. And I’m left vulnerable to rejection, unemployment & failure. Read more>>

Valerie Salgado | Special Educator, Dancer, Choreographer

There have been times in my career when I have made a choice that doesn’t seem to add up. There was one instance where I had a solid job that that earned respect among my peers. But my ambitions lay elsewhere. For many reason, it was hard to walk away from the security, but I often thought, “If my life was a movie, how would I want it to end?” When we watch great movies, the underdog wins, the impossible becomes possible, people go out on limbs with little guarantee that it’ll work out. But it does work out. I try to remind myself of that. Risks have always led to immense growth. And usually, choices that seem risky before you take them, don’t seem so outrageous in the aftermath. Read more>>

Karla Vargas Gastélum | Film Writer/Director

Existing as an undocumented person in this country, everything is a risk. Life is just uncertainty. Moving to the U.S was a risk. I did it at age 11, leaving most of my family behind, to find better opportunities for myself. Going to school was a risk. I worked hard for many years without knowing if all my efforts would be worth it, since financial aid for undocumented students didn’t exist at the time. Read more>>

Raniesha Wassman | Entrepreneur

Risk taking is so necessary. For us, risk taking has been a necessary lesson we had to unlearn and relearn. This unlearning came from a cultural mis- and understanding about risk. As owners of many businesses, many people have an understanding of which businesses are riskier than others and part of this understanding is fed by our upbringing and identities we hold. However, this unlearning takes place in spaces with other business owners and entrepreneurs because the conversations around risk look a lot different. Read more>>

Mollie Jay | Singer, Songwriter, and Rapper

Risk taking for me is everything. If there is no risk than there can be no reward. I’ve been singing melodies and writing songs since I was at least 5 years old. It feels as natural to me as breathing. It is what I love, and I feel dead not doing it. It is a major risk to pursue a career as an artist because unless you pop off you ultimately lose money- all of the recording time, the money poured into promotion, the music videos, the dollars put out for publicists and playlist. However, if you love it, you have to do it. There is no plan B and if you have a plan B you should get out now. Read more>>

Chris Bellew | Session/Touring Drummer

I think that taking the right risk at the right time is a crucial part of being able to be successful in your chosen career or in your life. The biggest risk I took is also the one that has made me the most happy and been the most rewarding. I risked a lot giving up a future career in commerce to decide to focus on being a professional musician. It was a big risk as it is very hard to be successful in the music industry, but it is also the risk that has paid off as it has forced me to be accountable for myself and to keep pushing towards my dream. Read more>>

Nicky Egan | Musician, Artist & Writer

It’s interesting because I think of myself as a pretty practical, non-impulsive person, which aren’t things you associate with risk, but then when I actually think about the things I’ve done in my life, how I’ve chosen to live, and the career path I’ve chosen, it would probably be defined on the more risk-leaning side. But, I think that’s where risk and non-conventionality get wrongfully placed in the same vein. I believe risk-taking is essential in living one’s full truth and in exploring as much as you can during this short time we have on Earth. Read more>>

Krista Moy | Comedian & Writer

Every good thing in my life has come from taking a risk. Not all of my risks have been smart, but they have helped me learn how to trust myself. As a creative, trust in the self is a must. If you can’t trust yourself, how the hell you gonna trust somebody else! Can I get an amen? Read more>>

Symone Fairchild | Warrior of God, Founder & CEO of EyeOnDV, Mother, Master of Tien Shan Pai, Survivor of Domestic Violence, Actress, Screenwriter, Producer, and budding Director

Simply put, risk-taking has saved my life and that of my son. Without risk, I wouldn’t be here today. Without risk, my organization, EyeOnDV, would not exist. Risk equals reward. Risk equals blessings. Spiritually speaking, risk equals faith. Only by stepping out on God (faith) will I have every began to reap the benefits (blessings) that He has for my life. Only by stepping out on faith (risk) will I become my greatest self. This is a lifelong process though. Read more>>

Ryan Conner | Stand-up Comic and Writer

I’m active in weighing risks around things like physical safety and investments. But in terms of my career and creativity, I don’t believe in considering risk. What risks do people worry about? Things like, “Will I ‘make it’? Will I be able to pay my bills?” Well, what does “making it” mean? To me, it means living a life that makes me happy, that isn’t confined by fears that I’ve been told to have. Being able to pay the bills is obviously important, but if that informs your creative decisions, you’re on a slippery slope. Read more>>

Anais “Siana” Bergues | Singer/Songwriter, Motion GFX Artist, & Business Owner

Taking risks has played a HUGE role in my life and career. Working in entertainment itself is a risk. Having my own business is a risk. There is no guarantee to anything you do wether you are behind the camera or in front of it.. It is a lot of hard work, overnighters, and constant forms of self doubt. But when you are pursuing something you love and are passionate about, you almost have to dive in head first if you want to give yourself a chance. Read more>>

Britton Buchanan | Musician

Taking risks is, single-handedly, the most important aspect of having and maintaining a career in the music industry. Leaps of faith are required on a daily basis. Quite literally, every decision you make in this industry is a risk you have to be prepared to take. Perhaps the next song you put out might flop, people may hate it, the comments might be horrible, but there’s always an opposite side of the coin – it may blow up, people may love it, and the reviews could be glowing. Read more>>

Samuel Dominguez | Artist & Designer

It has a huge roll in my life/career. I get so much motivation and inspiration when I take on projects that I wouldn’t usually go for. You’ll never know how much potential you have until you take those risks. Getting intimidated from art is normal. When i finish a project that once challenged me, the feeling and benefits I get from it fuel my art. Read more>>

Mike Moreno | Content Consultant, Producer and Creator

Being a creative professional is all about stepping into risk, embracing it. The same is true if you plan on building a business. I would never have built a podcast talking to celebrities and reaching thousands around the world without taking a risk that “people wouldn’t like it.” I never would have built a profitable content consultation business without working and experimenting with business owners on their content. The fear of “getting it right” would have stopped any forward progress. Read more>>

Dj Alize | Dj/Director/Content Creator

Risks are just mental calculations.. From hypothesis to truth. Nothing is proven true until you execute. My whole career is based on risking my time and energy to create a lifestyle I’ve always envisioned. What type of headaches do I want to deal with on the daily? How will this benefit my personal goals & types of conversations I want to have with like minded individuals. I LOVE getting inspired from people in my circles. Read more>>

Vittoria Rizzardi Penalosa | writer & director

I think risk taking is key to any accomplishment in your career. You have to be brave enough to trust your guts and your vision and stick with it even if it ends up being wrong. I always think that I rather make a decision and be wrong, than making other decide for me due to my own insecurities and succeed. It is key for every artist to be faithful to their vision cause that what builds something long-lasting rather than a “momentum” that will eventually get lost in time. To stick to your vision is to take a big risk as there isn’t certainty that it will be understood and appreciated, but that’s, probably, the beauty of making movies. Read more>>

JASPER | entertainer & recording artist

Originally I am a suburban boy. I grew up a mix between a city father and a country mother. The suburbs were pleasant and inviting, but I knew I wanted to discover more for myself. I wanted to look through my own eyes and have my own experiences. I knew there were different kinds of lives out there being lived. I went to college in Nashville, Served with a community in the California Bay Area, then I took charge and made my way to Los Angeles. Read more>>

Bjarne Hecht | Ballet Teacher & Actor, Owner of BjarneBallet

Risk taking hasn’t just been a part of my life, it has defined my life. Whether it was leaving conventional schooling for a theatrical education, leaving a lifetime contract at the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen to go explore on my own, or leaving the known and safe life of ballet behind to go deeper into acting in New York and Los Angeles; I never thought of it consciously as risk taking. I don’t think you can do that at the moment of making a big life altering decision. For me it was always a situation of “no other choice” Read more>>

Erin Mcdermott | Mentor & lover of Gods people

Taking risky leaps of faith changed my life. I think risk taking is of extreme importance or you’ll just stay average. Comfort is an enemy to our dreams. I say prayerful risk taking is essential to making an impact in the world. Read more>>

Tex Dworkin | Raddle Co-founder & Chief Community Officer

I used to: 1. consider it risky taking action before I was certain I could do something or before I knew exactly how I was going to do them 2. associate failure with a risk that didn’t pay off 3. think about all of the money, time, and effort I’ve put into my business to assess whether it’s ‘worth the risk’ and all the sacrifices Read more>>

Ariana Simone | Model & Actress

I always tell people, at any moment, anything can happen. We are literally put on this earth to live and to die. That’s it. As morbid as it sounds, it brings comfort to me knowing that every moment brings so much fulfillment to my life. For me trying to follow the standard life path ending up with me feeling anxious, depressed, and stressed. Ironically, society has put so much pressure on us to achieve this unrealistic life standard. Read more>>

Emily Dorrien Flynn | Transformational Health Coach for Entrepreneurs, Influencers & Super-Achievers

Bottom line, f i’m not taking risks, I’m not growing. And my intention in life & business is to always strive to BE MORE and to make a bigger impact in peoples lives + in this world. I’ve found that my greatest opportunities for growth and learning have been in taking risks. You know what’s even scarier to me than all the “what ifs” that come with taking a leap of faith … is treading water inside my comfort zone. Read more>>

Salmah Beydoun | Performance Designer

Doing theater and being an artists is already a risk. A risk worth taking. From jumping into the theater world without knowing anything about it, to coming to America to study at Masters degree at CalArts was a risk for me. And I really believe that if you do know do the things that scare you, you will never grow and find the full potential that your talents have. And risk is also a big part when creating, I always try everything in a rehearsal, in a drawing, in a model, before throwing the idea away. So I always feel good when taking risks because is always going to be the best move, either you realize it is not working and it is not what you where looking for or you find new ideas, new questions, new ways of creation. Read more>>

Maria de Sa | Actress & Writer

Taking risks has played a crucial part in my career, in fact is what kickstarted it. The desire to get out of my comfort zone led me to the most fulfilling experiences. The first I recall is at 15 years old deciding to move to London to start my acting training. I didn’t know the language perfectly nor I had ever lived away from home, but taking this opportunity led me later on, at 18, to be able to embrace a bigger risk which led me to Los Angeles. Read more>>

Max DeLoach | Actor, Singer, Musician, Dancer

It’s important to me to include a healthy amount of risk in my life, as long as it’s confined to the right areas. As performers and artists, we risk many things as we pursue our goals. To choose this life at all is a gamble. I won’t say it’s necessarily easier, but it is more straightforward to choose a career with long-term employment and a steady salary. As a freelancer of any kind, you’re taking more of a risk. You have the potential of a very high pay ceiling, but there’s also the reality of a non-existent pay floor. Read more>>

Emily Satterfield | Visual Artist & Animator

Life as a career artist will forever be risky business. Work (and paydays) can be wildly inconsistent, which at times leads to questions like “Will I make enough to live this year?” or “If I fail, what do I do?”. When I began to pursue digital art as a career in my early teens, I had these ideations that work as an artist would be smooth sailing once I got my foot in the door at some big studio or something (haha, that’s a big no). Even after 5+ years of working for some of the ‘big studios’ in Los Angeles, finding work can still be as scarce as water in the desert. There will at times be work for some months, a few weeks, or just days, and then I’ll go for a long stretch living off savings. The artist life ain’t always glamourous, haha. Read more>>

Gena Milanesi | Fine Artist

In any creative realm, there is risk. As someone who enjoys the thrill yet respects its nature, I am constantly challenging myself to find ways that carefully measure and balance risk because that allows me to take gambles without losing sleep. In Eli Broad’s book, “The Art of Being Unreasonable”, he mentions the importance of being a “why not thinker” vs. an “of course not thinker” – the latter will paralyze you. Read more>>

Beate Walden | Catalyst for Human Development, Poet, Mother.

Risk-taking is a choice of being ok with failing when you really think about it. It is Beowulf going down into the lake to fight the monster, not knowing whether he will come back. It is Hamlet asking the question: ‘To be, or no to be, that is the question.’ It is Camus’ quote: ‘Live to the point of tears.’ It is the inner journey of equanimity and non-defeat. Read more>>

Adelmari Rodriguez | Dancer, Teacher, DJ

Choosing to pursue art as a career, is a risk. Artists surrender to the fact of not knowing every detail within our journey. Holding on to our love for the art we chose to pursue, is what allows us to continue making the sacrifices that get us to where we want to be within our career. Risk and surrender make up the core of our reality. Read more>>

Dave Brunelle | Guitarist, Arranger, Music Director

Risk is inevitable and evolves over time. Quitting my pizza delivery job in 2006 to be a full time musician? Minimal risk. Agreeing to music direct an 80min live stream concert for Jordin Sparks with one week’s notice? Big risk. Touring in Asia for 6 months with people I’ve never met and hoping my in town gigs will be there when I get back? Huge risk. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into until months or years after each of these decisions played out. Each risk had different reasons and were vital for growth. Read more>>

Chris Kapcia | Actor, Director, Writer & Photographer

Everyone knows the saying, “no risk, no reward.” Well, that may be the case. I don’t disagree with the sentiment, however, I believe that I mostly take calculated risks. If I am ever in the position to make a decision, I typically try to weigh out as many of the outcomes as possible. My first step in this process is to recognize the opportunity to initially know I have a decision to make. I am continually re-evaluating my actions and behavior, which I think is imperative to our lives. Read more>>

Angela Carter | Creative Entrepreneur, Teacher, and Choreographer

I heard somewhere that our brains are designed to keep us safe – that when it suspects we’re in danger, it tells us to run away. I have experienced this many times over throughout my life. There’s always been this sort of internal tug-o-war. I’ll get an impulse to take a risk and act on an idea, then the voice of doubt creeps in and I second guess it. So I’m always battling this fight between my higher self (who wants me to take all the risks because it’s essential growth), and my lower self (who wants to hide in the corner and scroll social media). Read more>>