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.

Stephen Ferrer | Personal Trainer, Co-Owner of Movement Society LLC.

Risk is scary, its the unknown and the uncomfortable. I tend to take a lot more risk then the average person. I believe a lot of my success is due to that fact. Taking risk is that leap of faith you have to make to achieve the success you want. Being comfortable results in being complacent, but taking the risk and going into the unknown allows you to climb to new heights. I took the risk of leaving my corporate Personal Training Job. This allowed me to create a business thats reaches more people and allows me to live the life I want. Risk can lead to failure but also risk leads to uncapped success. Read more>>

Bayardo De Murguia | Actor

I’m the type that likes to look at all the pros and cons before making a decision. Sometimes I even overthink it just to think about it again and again. Then at some point, I check my gut feeling and just make a move. This includes taking a big risk where I don’t know what the outcome will be. Despite your preparation and research, you might have to make a decision where you are teetering on the unknown. This is ok. This is what will separate you from those that stay in the safe zone and stay constant, or those that are constantly moving and progressing forward. Read more>>

Kitikhun Vongsayan | Artist

I see taking risks as a part of my life journey, say a new chapter of it or some sort. Coming from a foreigner who came to this country alone with little to know anything about the culture and the language, I think it’s fun and exciting to take risks in life while it’s safe enough to do so to progress. By safe, I mean somewhat knowing enough of what kind of risks you are getting yourself into. With that said, taking risks so far for me didn’t always pay off well, but it’s as good as it could. One of the major risks I took in the recent years that I could recall would be coming to the U.S., pursuing a higher education degree, and hoping to land in the industry I would like to see myself doing for a living was fun. It was hard, and I can only try my best to prepare myself up to a certain point for it. The reality still didn’t fail to surprise me, and I like to believe that I have learned so much from all of those experiences. Looking back, I would definitely do it repeatedly and continue taking chances as the opportunity provides. Read more>>

Leah Hayes | Illustrator and Graphic-Novelist

Basically everything about my career has hinged on a huge amount of risk-taking. My first career risk was getting a freelance editorial job at The New York Times by knocking on their office doors of when I was 19 (with a physical portfolio in my hands). In retrospect it was a weak portfolio- it only had school illustration pieces in it at that point. But someone in the Art Department took a risk themselves by seeing something in me and offering me my first editorial assignment. Then I had that published piece in my portfolio and under my belt and I was able to move forward/upward from there. Read more>>

Karl Zurflüh | Artist

Risk is such a personal thing, how we define it is a completely individual experience. As a society we give risk a lot of power. I strive to change that, by putting the goal ahead of the risk. When I can stay focused on the goal I react faster, operating with less holding me down. Sometimes those goals have been reached right away, but most of the time they are not. Failing has always opened other unexpected doors for me. Being present ready to act, or already being in motion, has granted me a lot of success. As I continue to move forward I try to continue to push myself out of my comfort areas and continue to take risks, knowing that failing is part of growth. Read more>>

Mark A Hermogeno | Kitchen, Bath & Interior Designer; ASID. NKBA

I have always stepped out of my comfort zone and have found those experiences seem to result into something happily unexpected and my business is not any different. When I found out I was HIV+ I decided I wanted to do what I felt was right for me which was quitting my full time retail management job and going back to school for interior design. That risk turned into me attending UC Berkeley Extension’s interior design program. Then while in school a teacher knew I had experience with design from my retail background and told me to work with clients directly. Read more>>

David Ramos | Post Production Manger at Spotify Studios Originals

I think that risk is an interpretation of stepping out of your comfort zone. Taking risks has worked out well for me in my life and my career; there is something about that lip into the unknown that is both terrifying and exhilarating. That one step has the potential to ruin you or make you into something you can’t even conceive from where you are standing. My approach to risk is about that “gut feeling” when you feel that correct combination of fear and excitement that shows you a glimpse into what it could be if so. That’s when I know that the risk is worth taking. Read more>>

Taylor Chan | Writer & Director at Wong Fu Productions

Risk has been a major of my life and career. Being in the film industry is inherently risky as there’s no set path and work can fluctuate drastically. I do believe a level of risk taking is essential for success but it has to be strategic and working a digital production company, we constantly face that. With every new production, we never really know how it’s going to perform or if it’s the best way to grow our company and audience. We gain confidence in those decisions by seeing what has done well in the past, staying true to ourselves, trusting each other, and preparing ourselves for any outcome. Then when things do fail we learn from it and channel that into making more calculated risks. Read more>>

Leslie Lluvet | Artist

You have to take risk in order to get anything done in life. My mother was my teacher in this motto. If you don’t jump into this game of life then you will just be playing the same game. Being comfortable can get dangerous. Read more>>

Denise Coke | Owner & Creative Director of $NP Designs

As the owner of a black-owned, woman-owned company, I’ve found taking risks is literally my entire life. Looking at the history of black Americans, many people tend to play the safe route or as my mom says ‘keep their head to the ground’ because they just want to take care of their families and live the ‘American Dream’ without any issues. We face injustices and inequality daily, so just making it to work and making it home is a big risk within itself. While this is fine in some cases, this doesn’t allow us to A. have generational wealth or assets to pass down to our future families, B. gives us the tools to teach future generations careers that some may never look into or explore, and/or C. makes people afraid to try something new they may have never tried before. Read more>>

Gabriella Rochin | Interior Architect

Risk is something everyone always talks about, and is usually associated with being a scary idea. I’m not sure I agree, I find taking a risk exciting, and usually allows you to discover things about yourself and life you never would otherwise. My first risk was heading off to Europe to study Fine Arts. From there my journey began. The risk of picking up and moving to a foreign country allowed me to discover so many things about myself, and unveiled the passion I discovered I had for architecture and design. Switching directions, and starting over with a completely different major, in another foreign city was another part of the process leading to where I am today. Read more>>

Ashley Benton | Executive Producer at Barking Owl New York

I think you have to take risks to keep growing as a person. Comfort, as wonderful as it may be, can be a little stifling. Risk and change are what push you to discover new things about yourself…new capabilities, new strengths, weaknesses, weird thoughts…the whole enchilada. Change sheds new light on how you perceive things. Solitude makes you sharper simply because if you don’t figure it out yourself, there’s no one else to figure it out for you and that’s damn effective. When I was in college, I started taking some International trips by myself and I loved how sharp I felt. Read more>>

Glenndon Chatman | Actor/Entrepreneur

Risk taking is a vital component in being an entrepreneur. Knowing when and what risks (risk management) to take in order reach your present & distant goals help shape the road/path to success. Moreover, risk taking has been the catalyst toward reaching life/career goals. Read more>>

Jamal Moore | Singer-Songwiter

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life. Muhammad Ali My entire journey has been built off of risk-taking. I took a risk in deciding to go to Rochester, New York to pursue my passion for music at the Eastman School of Music instead of staying home and attending college in my home state of Georgia. I took a risk in joining a completely new a cappella group after college because my friends and I decided that we wanted to go experience the world together. Read more>>

Mariano De Luca | Director of Photography / Cinematographer

As a Director of Photography, the word “Risk” is basically everywhere! Any artistic career mixes life and work, there is no one or the other. As an Artist you have to be permeable to everything that happens around you at personal or professional level, and that’s why you deal with a high percentage of risk. From the very basics of just being strong enough to put your work out there for everyone to see, to that crucial decision to accept or turn down a project that might put yourself in the spot. In my case, every step forward felt and keep feeling like taking risk. All the decisions I’ve made changed somehow my life and my career. Sometimes for the best and some for the worst. I even move to a different country to keep going with my career, so that means that there is no decision in your life that is risk free. I like to say: “Never regret of something that you didn’t do…” is always better to try, and if it doesn’t work there is always a way to fix it! Read more>>

LaSean Shelby | Entrepreneur & Cosmetologist

Risks are necessary. If you don’t take risk you will stay in the same place and will always wonder what if? I am from Albemarle, a small town in North Carolina. It’s country, family oriented, can be a little ghetto and a little racist but I love where I am from. My mother has always encouraged me to be different and not to follow a crowd. When you do something don’t just “do it” be the freaking best at it, no competition. My mother is a huge impact on my life and has always pushed my siblings and I to take risk. She taught us to not be afraid and always lean on God. Read more>>

Helynn Hallock | Retail Graphic Designer

Sometimes to follow your dreams, you’ve first gotta risk it all, and jump in with both feet. I was never the best student, I cared too much about drawing, graphics, and anything artistic I could get my hands on. All I’ve ever wanted to do was graphic design. When it was time to choose where I wanted to go to college, I had to tell my UCF alumn parents that I wanted to go to a private school called Full Sail University. Read more>>

Aquilla Chase | Woodworker/Artist

I think art is risky by its nature, and in my career as a wood artist take risks all the time by using local logs I salvage and mill into lumber from my area in the California Central Coast. A big risk I often take is incorporating, or even highlighting, evidence of a tree’s life and death in my work. This could be knots, cracks, scars, burnt outer layers, or even wormholes. To my eye, the so called flaws in a piece of wood that usually are discarded often show character and tell a story, beyond what a person might see simply from a highly polished surface. In addition, I think the juxtaposition of an old scar against a highly finished surface enhances the luster and color of the wood by showing some of the wood fibers underneath. However, often in the middle of a project, I wonder if maybe I’m leaving too much “character”, and my client won’t appreciate it. So far, it hasn’t happened. Read more>>

Asanté Deshon | Actor & Artist

Risks are essentially apart of life. For me, I like to call it “Walking by faith”. My parents however, took the very first risk in raising both me and my little sister Shanté on the south side of Chicago. Growing up as an African American male, statistically speaking, I had every reason to fall subject to my surroundings but my parents did a darn good job in making sure that I didn’t. At the age of five, my parents placed me in my school’s Christmas production. I played a minute role as one of the twelve mice, I indeed believe that this was the very moment when I caught the bug for acting and entertaining. My parents tossed both me and my little sister into every extra curricular activity they could think of to ensure our attention was fixed on purpose and passion within life-despite the chaos around us. Read more>>

Robert Mack | Visual Artist: Fine art photography, filmmaker, painter, Cheer Leader!

Can be enormously rewarding or a disappointment. But disappoint only teaches us and then makes eventual success so much more rewarding. Read more>>

Josefine Hallen | Singer/songwriter & Performer

Taking a risk to achieve a goal requires courage. In order to possibly reach your dream or goal you have to face the unknown and that itself is a big risk in my eye. Growing up in Sweden with the safety of family and friends sometimes made me too comfortable to think outside the box. At the age of 19 I left everything and everyone to move to America to pursue what I had always dreamt of, being a performer. The odds didn’t look too good as a young shy Josefine from Sweden who did not really speaking the language, however the risk of moving far away in order to potentially reach my dream was a risk I was ready to take. And so I did. Read more>>

Songe Riddle | Animator, Illustrator; Artist

It’s hard to imagine the pursuit of a creative career that didn’t involve some degree of risk taking. It’s different than, say, deciding to become a barber or a nurse. People will always need health care. And hair will keep growing back until you die. Not a lot of people need a painting of a zombie shooting lasers out of its face. Or maybe they do, and they just don’t know it yet. The risk taken is to see if you can convince them that they do. Read more>>

Sonya Padalka | Film Writer and Director

I truly think that you can’t live a fulfilling and exciting life unless you take risks. In my life, it turned out to be that the majority of the risks I take are connected to my career choices and creative ideas. It all started with a decision to pursue directing and go to a film school on the other side of the world (Los Angeles), instead of going for a more “usual” path like most of my classmates from high school did. Most of them decided to attend universities back home, in Russia, and started to study business, law, medicine, or science. Not necessarily because of their wants, but because of fears that they won’t be able to do anything else. Read more>>

Yuya Parker | Commercial and Fine Art Photographer

Risk often teaches me something about myself. I once made the mistake of spending a lot of money on marketing platforms and materials, hoping that I’d get paid work through them, but it didn’t result in a single paid project. Later, I realized I had taken the risk because of my insecurity, not because I had a particular vision. I hadn’t trusted my own instincts about how I should promote my work, and had placed the responsibility in the hands of marketers who had little stake in my success. Once I realized that, I decided to start spending more money on personal shoots where I created the type of work that I wanted to be hired to do. I began to post the photos on social media and sent personal messages to agencies and brands I wanted to be noticed by. As a result of taking the risk of promoting myself and investing in my own projects, I now get much of my work through social media platforms. Read more>>

Billion Godsun | Freedom Fighter/Community Organizer

Standing up for Black people has always required taking risks For me it was a matter of not standing by and watching people be hurt or violated From domestic issues to more systemic injustices, I have always had to take risks to help others because it is still normal for society to violate Black people
It has paid off because we have gradually been able to rebuild a consciouness in our community of looking out for each other Read more>>

Tj Floss | Designer and Creator of Amerikan Outkast

I believe taking risk is a part of life , not just in business !! People often limit there own possibilities because of the fear of taking risk. So many people are afraid of taking chances. Being a small brand in the street fashion industry is very challenging, and I attribute my risk taking for giving me the edge that has helped the brand continue to thrive. The name of my brand is a risk itself. To name a clothing brand something bold like Amerikan Outkast was risky. I knew that there was a chance that people may misunderstand the brand. Read more>>

Amadi ‘Akilah’ Oubichon | Artist

Well I feel like risk is a major key if you will. I have always been a fan of taking risks as I am a bit of a thrill seeker, but I also think the idea that the best things in life often come from taking risks is very true and I’ve taken some MAJOR risks this past year. In February 2020 I made the move to LA with my boyfriend Cory, at this time we had only actually spent time together a few times over the course of about a month in LA (2019), then I went back home to Albuquerque. Read more>>

Jose Enrique Montes Hernandez | Artist, Photographer, Videographer, Curator and Director of Arcade Art Gallery

If it wasn’t for taking risks, I don’t think I would be where am I today. My life has always been about jumping blindly into the next project or venture, and forcing myself into the unknown and I don’t really see that changing anytime soon. Risks are important in my career. Taking that leap of faith for an artistic project is important; whether it’s successful or not, it doesn’t matter much. It’s more important to go with my gut feeling and to just trust in it. In the end, I always feel like the risk was worth it, as risks always bring new opportunities, skills or perspective. Read more>>

Elias Hatzon | Actor/Musician

I think taking risks is incredibly imperative in achieving a successful career in any field or industry. If I hadn’t taken the risk and moved out to LA from Australia, I wouldn’t have even grown into the performer I am today. Read more>>

Yulia Zhukova | Singer, songwriter, producer

I firmly believe that great achievements require taking risks. That’s what I’ve been trying to bring into my life recently, especially with regard to creating new music. Playing safe by attempting to keep a similar sound hinders a lot of musicians from progress. If we are confined to just one sound for a long time, our music is going to get stale, and that’s what I happened to experience myself. I’m willing to become more bold in creative process and experiment more with genres. Eventually this only helps you become more aware of your new facets as you’ve got to do something that you’ve never tried before. To me switching comfort zones in music turned out to be a crucial and rewarding experience that contributes to resilient growth. Read more>>

Sincere Rose | Rapper & Producer

A quote that I live by is “If you risk nothing, you risk everything.” Taking risks has completely changed my life, and my way of thinking. All of my greatest accomplishments and breakthroughs have come from taking risks. I’m never afraid to fail, I’m afraid of not trying at all. I always encourage people to take risks. I’m not saying bet the house on everything, but you have to do something. Read more>>

Adam Silvestri | Musician and songwriter

When talking about risk what we’re really talking about is sacrifice. Sacrifice is a crucial component to any sort of growth. Embarking on a path inevitable takes you farther away from other paths and sooner or later, if you travel far and long enough, chances are you will find yourself all alone, far away from where you started. That can be scary but it is the only real way to accomplish anything in life. Risk taking has always been the catalyst that has brought me farther along in both my career and in life. Read more>>

Veronica Perez | Public Affairs Specialist & Attorney

I definitely consider myself a calculated risk-taker and it has led me to a fulfilling career that I love! I took a risk moving from a big law firm to a public sector job, and then again when I left employment to start my own business. While the move from lawyer to public affairs specialist may have seemed incongruent to an outside observer, my moves always built upon existing skills and tapped into my growing network of colleagues and contacts. Risks are scary. And that’s okay. The key is to acknowledge your fear and move past it, rather than becoming paralyzed by it. Growth is usually uncomfortable, and I have grown to embrace that. Read more>>

Richard Bell | Artist/Painter

I was born a risk taker. My mother would probably say I was born without breaks. As far as my schooling was concerned, I was more into sports, and getting into trouble. I could’ve done better academically, but it was hard for me to sit still enough to focus. I was a lot more settled at my second attempt at college, where I even made the National Honors Society. College was also where I discovered that I had a talent doing Artwork. That came about after I took a class to complete some credits. Read more>>

Joseph Wilson | Editor, Videographer, & GFX Designer

When it comes to risk I accept the challenge most times whether its minor or large scale. Moving from Atlanta to Los Angeles with no family for insurance, showed me that everyday you will see split second opportunities that you can only take at that moment. But will you risk it? Nervous? Too Tired? Broke? Taking risk when geared towards my career have been at times failed lessons but more so successful. While shooting for super producer TM88 of 808Mafia over a 4-5 month span in L.A., I was in multiple situations where I had to take that risk even if I felt new to the room. Read more>>

Shay Revolver | Indie Filmmaker

When it comes to taking risks I’ve always been a go big or go home kind of girl. Without taking risks you don’t get the rewards ( or lessons, if it doesn’t go according to plan) that come from going after what you want. Whether it’s love , life or career taking risks is essential to bringing you one step closer to your goal. There’s this fear that holds you back and tells you that you’re not going to succeed but, I find that if you just jump and go for it sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised. Read more>>

Michelle Mundy | Executive Director, Production Operations

I could identify several pivotal points in my career that directly tie to one moment in time that I was brave enough to take a risk. You have to push yourself. You have to be uncomfortable. If you are comfortable, you are not reaching high enough. No one ever accomplished anything without taking risks. When I started my career, I was newly out of college and desperate for an opportunity to prove myself. Once a company gave me an opportunity, I was off to the races. Read more>>

Karon Cash | CEO of Wright Hands Mgmt

I believe taking a risk is a key instrumental part of your life and your career without taking rest there can be no reward and now all risk are going to end up in a pitfall some rest have a greater outcome of being truly fruitful I believe that risk help you put yourself out there where as in which you would normally not do it but being that the reward to be great you’re willing to risk it not only for yourself but for your family your friends the longevity of your career and the hopes and dreams and aspirations of yourself and your life of what it can be Read more>>

Lauren Grace | Integrative Physician & Co-Founder of Healus Health

Risk taking has played a pivotal role in my life and career. And as someone who prefers safety and stability, risk taking has not come easily. In my 20’s I was a bit more adventurous and took risks such as moving to New York City by myself, then picking up and leaving all my friends and family for a job in Florida. After a few years of that I decided to go back to school and made a drastic career change. At the time none of those decisions were rational. In fact I think my loved ones thought I was a bit crazy. And while these risks were certainly out of my comfort zone, I felt an intuitive pull to pursue them. Those risks ended up working out quite well for me, and helped me create a business and life that I love. Read more>>

Cory Krcilek | Singer, song writer, poet, rapper, photographer, cinematographer

I feel like risk-taking is vital in growing your career and in life in general. I feel like the higher the risk the higher the reward in most cases, and if you want to get somewhere these days you need to take that risk! I feel like every time I have taken a risk doing some thing I was afraid to do I almost always was happy with the outcome. Read more>>