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.

Jordan Louis | Music Producer

I think that risk is essential to leveling up in a career and in life. For me, taking risks has probably been the most important aspect of making progress. It was a big risk for me to move to LA when I did, and it was a big risk when I decided to do music full time, but without risks like that I would still be in the same place. Risks can be scary and uncomfortable, but they force you to take yourself more seriously. Gotta risk it for the biscuit! Read more>>

Alex Jiang | Film Producer

As a producer, there’s always a sense of risk taking in joining each film project. The responsibility of the producer in a film is to help the directors realize their visions in a creative but also pragmatic way, and this often means a lot of debate and negotiation, means a lot of commitment and anxiety, means you have to follow a project from its conception to its full fruition. Read more>>

Alejandra Guzman | Actor and Filmmaker

I believe that taking risks may be viewed similarly to taking a leap of faith. You do not know what the consequences will be, but you are confident that the risk is worth it. I first took a risk in my career when I applied to colleges in high school. Like many first-generation students of immigrant families, my family encouraged me to go into the medical field. They wanted what was best for me since that was what they knew. Read more>>

Peng Wang | Cinematographer

As a cinematographer, risk is an important factor no matter for this career or my personal life. On the one hand, it sometimes makes me feel pressured and insecure, the income of the freelance is unstable and there are always some new challenges with every project. On the other hand, the risk makes every project have some creativity and I always want to try to explore some new things. It’s important for filmmakers to take some risks to try to explore new ways of visual expression. Read more>>

Alejandro Montoya | Musician, Singer-songwriter & Educator

I need to take a minute and a couple of deep breaths to answer this one. I believe the safest way to think about risk is through the idea of trust. It applies to almost any aspect of my life, and I’d dare to say it even regulates many decisions I make on a daily basis. I wouldn’t be a musician if I didn’t trust that all the risks I took, and continue to take, are leading me to the goals and dreams I’ve set. Risking for me is ultimately accepting and surrendering to trust. Read more>>

Fernando Quispe | Brand Owner

Funny, I used to be really scared about taking risks.. but the older we get, the more we realize that life is all about taking risks (I’m not talking irresponsible risks) if you’re gonna do it, do it right! Plan, prepare, and execute. The risk you’re scared to take can be a major game changer for you. Read more>>

Tamari Zeigler | Salon Owner & Beauty Entrepreneur

Risks are inevitable in almost any decision we make throughout our lives, some bigger than others. Becoming a successful entrepreneur has always been about taking calculated risks and facing them head on, even when the outcome isn’t what I had hoped for. Maybe it’s the optimist in me, but I always look at the reward as being greater than the potential risk, even if the reward takes time to realize. I believe if you don’t ever take the risk you’ll never have a chance at the reward, so as scary as it might be it’s worth it take a leap of faith. It’s like Michael Jordan said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Read more>>

James Atkinson | I am a hip hop artist by the name of Forsyth

When I think of risk or taking risks and how it has played out in my life, one word comes to mind; Fear. I believe fear is one of the guiding principles in all of our lives whether we acknowledge it or not. Fear is an essential part of survival for many reasons but you must be aware of how it holds you back from achieving greatness or leveling up. We all battle this voice in our head that is constantly setting limitations on what we are capable of and usually these limitations are based on unsubstantiated perceptions that we have developed over time socially, professionally or emotionally. Read more>>

David Regoso | Creative/ Photographer

As an artist I believe risk taking plays such a huge factor to becoming successful not only with art, but also in life. By taking risks, we put ourselves into the realm of knowing what works and what doesn’t, rather than just dreaming because if we don’t take risks, chances are we’ll keep seeing the same results when we continue to remain stagnant without challenges and failure. When we learn and grow from the past challenges and failure, that is how we know the risk was worth it. We build from the small wins and eventually it’ll keep growing with the right mindset. Just recently, I have had to take a huge risk in my life/career that wasn’t easy to make. Read more>>

Larriet Emari | President & Creator

I think with risk there’s needs to be a balance. I think too much risk especially without planning will get you in trouble and with too little risk it’ll enable you to stay in your comfort zone and hinder your growth. Some risk are calculated and some risk you have to jump right then and there. You can only pray and believe that it’s the right decision and if not you have the ability to get back up but at least you learned and you followed your heart or what you believed was right. What you gain if you may not land where you want and even if you do is wisdom or knowledge to help you get closer to where you want be. Read more>>

Irene Park | Actor, Writer, & Board Member of Penn Serves LA

Despite having job security at the height of the recession, I left my career as a corporate philanthropy consultant in NYC (at one of the world’s largest media, marketing, and communications holding company) and move to LA to pursue acting full-time. The funny thing about the recession (if there was one!) is that it gave me great clarity about not delaying my passion. If there are no guarantees in life, I’d rather roll that dice on myself and what I love to do. By all means, it could’ve seemed like a terrible risk to any onlooker. But for me it was a calculated risk, I had done plan ‘B’ before my plan ‘A’. Read more>>

Jac’leen Smith | Executive Producer, Director, and Creator

In terms of taking risks, life experience has taught me that it is necessary to take risks. One of the biggest risks I took was moving to Los Angeles. In 2018, I had become unsatisfied and unfulfilled with where I was in my career. In addition to that, though I loved New York City, specifically Bed-Stuy where I was living at the time, I just felt like my life began to play on one, endless loop that found me yearning for change. Having worked in non-fiction television for the majority of my career, I was looking to shake things up and lean into another interest of mine, which was the documentary film space. Read more>>

Marisa Saavedra-Gutierrez | Interior Designer

As a Chicana woman, mother of three, and wife, I innately believe that risk-taking is a big part of the entrepreneurial path and is 100% what has created my own personal road map to becoming an interior designer. I’ve always been drawn to venturing into the unknown while remaining steadfast, hard-working, and certain that the next step is the right step. Read more>>

Grant Grant | Casting Director & Writer

I used to be scared of risks. The idea of doing something out of your comfort zone and putting yourself or your work out into the world is… scary. There are millions of people that have your same dreams. They want to write, direct, produce, create, yet everyone is stuck at the same safe level because they are afraid to truly fight for what they deserve. Read more>>

Shiho Tendou | Japanese Dance Performer/ Instructor

I feel that the fact that I am working to perform and teach Japanese dance in a foreign country carries a great risk. Dancing Japanese dance abroad to the
audience who is unfamiliar with Japanese culture is a serious responsibility as
it can directly reflect the tradition of Japan in the eyes of the audience.
Entertainment will not evolve unless we break through the tradition and do new
things usually, but in this case, while we break through we must keep the core
of the tradition, the foundation of the dance that has been carried for more than
400 years so as not to misrepresent our traditions. 守破離 ”Shuhari,” three
stages of mastery: the fundamentals, breaking with tradition, Read more>>

Madison Anderholt | Founder & Candle Maker

Taking risks is a very scary thing. I was never a risk taker. I always stuck to what I am comfortable with, what I know, and what comes naturally to me. I am a teacher by day, which is what comes naturally to me so starting Olive & Co. was way out of my comfort zone. The whole process of Olive & Co. was a risk. From buying all the supplies, to turning our house into a candle factory, to opening up to people about myself and a passion I have was all a risk. When starting something new, you never know what others will think about it. Read more>>

Isaiah David | Stylist, Influencer, Content Creator

When it comes to risk-taking, I always look at risk as an obstacle to overcome. An opportunity to get myself out of my comfort zone. Taking risk is the only true way to grow because if you’re always comfortable and get complacent you’ll never take that leap of faith that can pivotal you to the next level in life. Risk-taking can be very fearful but it’s a learning and growing experience. Read more>>

John McCloy | Singer Songwriter & Graphic Designer

Comedian Steve Harvey uses cliffs and parachutes as an analogy: those you see living the extraordinary life we envy often took the risk of jumping off the cliff, and their parachute opened. They rarely open at first; dues must be paid. Setbacks and doubts will creep up to sabotage along the way. But if you never jump—oh, you’ll be safe and comfortable—but your parachute will never ever open. Sure, there are exceptions of pure luck and effortlessness, but too rare to consider as a rule. I wish I had heard that years ago, Read more>>

Chelsea Slayter | Filmmaker & Co-Founder of Vague Pictures

Vague Pictures is a boutique film production company that my husband and I founded in 2018. We started in documentary filmmaking, but since then we’ve branched out into narrative and commercial work as well. We do end-to-end work on projects; everything from creative consultation, pre-production, production, and post production. Read more>>

Phoenix Roar | Music group/ Composers/ Music producers/ Artists

Ganna: “Risk is an adrenalin-inducing experience and it is exciting. I would do it again to risk proving to myself that I can be a better person than I was yesterday, to learn new skills and apply them in my profession with the daily risks of failure and rejection that come with the territory. I will keep doing it and will encourage others to do the same. My method is simple: if you try to do something and push it over and over but it is not working. For example, you are getting rejections when offering your products or services to companies. I would advise changing the approach, or your strategy. In my case, l hired an assistant/consultant in the past to help achieve the best outcome. Read more>>

Angela Sorrell | Digital Marketing and Print Shop Owner

I am definitely a risk taker. I took the risk to move to California for a better life for me and my family after being born and raised in a small East Texas town. I took the risk to quit a job that I hated to start my own digital marketing and printing company. I knew that I would not be able to leave my abusive marriage and support myself and my children with the money that I was making working full time. The risks paid off and my successful business has been open for 6 years. Read more>>

Kevin Bouknight | Creative & Fashion Curator

I believe taking a risk is exposure to something uncommon or uncomfortable. It can be an action or motive that pushes one out of his or her comfort zone. Since the initial thought process of my brand or what I wanted to do in my career, every thought and choice has been a risk for me. Although everyone in college thought I was a fashion major or designer, I never believed I had the ability to thrive or be successful in the fashion industry. The summer before leaving for college I became intrigued with wearing bowties. I self-taught myself how to make one, and from there a small business began to bloom. Over time I became complacent and wasn’t doing much with the bowtie business. Read more>>

Kosta Lois | Music Producer, Composer and Songwriter

I really believe that achieving successes while on the road to the bigger career goals, requires a strong belief in yourself and what you are doing plus taking risks on people and situations. It is always worth it in the end. The biggest example for me is that I take risks on unknown talent all of the time. If I believe strongly in their talent and that it compliments what I do as a producer, I always will try to see if we can create music that is special or that pushes their limits to new heights. Read more>>

Ericka Spradley | Chief PowHer Officer/Founder- Confident Career Woman

I’ve heard it said “The greater the risk, the greater the reward” but that’s not always the case. The reality is that there are times when we risk so much and gain very little. I decided that I would approach risk by: (1) weighing the pros and cons assoicated with my action as well as my inaction (2) assessing my commitment to the successful outcome I define (3) accepting what I have the power to control. Read more>>

Elizabeth Tran | Filmmaker

RIsk taking has been the story of my life/ career. I moved to Los Angeles two years ago without knowing a single person in the middle of the COVID pandemic with only 2000$ in my bank account and decided it was either now or never to start my creative career. Without that type of mentality, I would not be where I am right now. In order to become a successful filmmaker, there is always a level of risk taking involved, as you have to constantly step outside your comfort zone and be willing to take on new types of projects and situations to learn new things. Read more>>

Patricia Lewis | Professional vocalist , music producer and tattoo artist

Honestly, risk taking has been my biggest teacher. I had to become best friends with uncertainty in order to truly believe in myself. I learned that sometimes, not knowing where my next paycheck would come from was the risk I had to take for the sake of achieving a vision that only I understood. Stepping out of everyone else’s concept of success was key to finding my path. I had to step out of my comfort zone and also my need of control. It was a crutch that was no longer going serve me. I had to l trust in my talent and let go. It requires great courage and faith. That in itself is a great lesson when it comes to tackling any obstacle in life. Read more>>

Cindy Le | Actress & Intimacy Coordinator

Some days, you’ll win. Other days, you’re gonna lose. There’s no easy way around it. I just wake up grateful for another day, ready to conquer it all. Acting isn’t easy. Getting rejected is even harder. That’s my biggest risk right now, having the confidence to stay on this path – even with a thousand rejections coming my way. Read more>>

Aisha Wharton | Broker/Realtor®️

I firmly live by the motto “no risk, no reward.” It has been brought to my attention that I am a big risk taker, as I took a chance and uprooted myself more than once. I initially left my hometown of Toronto, Canada to move to Miami and upon deciding it wasn’t the right timing, I returned back to Toronto to reassess my next steps. Despite that minor setback, I didn’t let it stop me from ultimately finding my place and career success in Charlotte, North Carolina where I currently reside. Read more>>

Phoenixx Rose | Rapper & Recording Artist

I think risk are like Russian roulette, exciting, but possibly consequential. I think people think risk takers go out and make frivolous decisions, which is quite the opposite. Dreamer is a synonym to risked taker in my eyes. Chasing a dream like rapping is a risk that’ll I’ll pay off or it won’t, but the gambles worth it. Taking risk like playing with my musical sound and just being vulnerable in my music have helped me grow emotionally as a human, and be more sturdy as a fellow dreamer. Read more>>

Ayesha Fernandez | Creative Director & Producer

Living fearlessly has always been my ultimate goal. Which means you are constantly taking risks and trying things that might or might not workout, but truly that is what makes life interesting. One of the first risks I took was moving out of Mexico City at 17, all by myself to a different country with a whole different culture and language. To be honest I never quite realized the “risk” it was because for me there was so much potential and growth into doing this. I have no regrets and ever since I started being independent, every choice in life became a potential risk. The more I say it the more I ask myself okay but what are you risking? Nothing. Read more>>

The Official King Pain | Comedian/ Social Media Influencer/ Owner of Style King Hair Care

Taking risk make champions. Even the most successful people/businesses take risk everyday. Each day I wake up and choose to chase my dreams instead of the traditional 9-5 is a risk. But it’s the most fulfilling, the most gratifying, the most courageous thing an individual can do for themselves. If you don’t believe in you, how can you expect someone to invest in you. Read more>>

Kristin McBride | Owner/Esthetician

The word “risk” by it self is so broad and open ended, and I truly believe it means different things to different people. When you look up the definition of risk it is defined as “a situation involving exposure to danger”. Danger? Of succeeding? Great that’s my goal!! Failing? Well at least I can say I tried. Maybe I’m just wired differently, but I just never had this fear that I would fail. I knew if I was patient and worked hard I would make it. I think a better term would be “to take a chance”. Read more>>

Princess Bizares | Background Painter & Illustrator

“Risk” is kind of a scary word to me. For someone as calculated, someone so intent on making lists, planning, making back-up plans to the back-up plans, someone who tries to come up with a solution for every possible outcome, taking a risk is the last thing I would ever want to do. But ultimately, taking a risk has always ended up the reason for my growth and for accomplishing dreams I never thought would be possible. Read more>>

William Aguilar | Entrepreneur

This is something that is paramount to me when you have a goal in mind or want to start and run a successful business. There are two kinds of risk that come up and both are not equal in outcome. The first is the risk you need to take daily to fail a certain amount of times to finally reach a threshold. This threshold allows an individual knowledge and growing pains that as my God Father put it, “Im giving you Pearls kid!” These struggles, are necessary when growing your business acumen and learning on how to ask for a sale or an opportunity. It may take you needing to hear “NO.”, “No thank you!” 100 different ways so that you adapt to the circumstance and ultimately refine your approach and or skills. That’s the risk you have to take to get extremely good at getting people to say “Yes!” to you and do business. Read more>>

Jarvis Rhone | Serial Entrepreneur & Inventor

Risk is where the edge is. The place is where faith, preparation and action meet. For me, taking risk is where the true fulfilment of living starts to manifest. One of the greatest risks I ever took was moving to L.A. with no place to stay, no family and barely any friends. However, if I had not taken a risk to expound my musical capabilities, I would have never invented U-KEYS®. I move to L.A. to become a music producer, but thanks to living on the edge, and being willing to make mistakes, I was able to inspire someone into asking me, “where I bought my keyboard”. They didn’t know I customized it myself. This inspired me to figure out how to sale my product to the world. Now, I have patents in multiple countries and help people who are visually impaired. When I started, I would have never thought I end up here. If you fear risk, then you fear success. Read more>>

Debora Medici Guetta | Artist

I am always careful about what direction I go. I think about the next step carefully as I always remind myself that the decision you take today will shape who you’ll become tomorrow. When I decide where I want to be in months from now, I ask myself if the risks involved in getting there are worth taking. I let the question sit within me for few days thinking about what kind of risk may unfold, until I receive an answer. When I am sure that a risk is worth taking I commit to whatever it is that I want to pursue with all my beliefs and I only concentrate on the positive little outcomes that unfold ahead. I stayed dedicated to what I feel true to my heart and trust the process with gratitude. This process never proved itself to be wrong when done with love. Read more>>

Dalton Taylor | Motion Designer and Animator

To me, taking risks means always saying yes to opportunities that come my way. There have been moments in my career where I have been asked to work on projects that require techniques for which I am unfamiliar. Despite this lack of experience, I always jump at these requests as a means to challenge myself and learn. There have certainly been moments where I have failed in successful execution; however, the majority of the time I have been surprised by the outcome. Additionally, this mentality has opened doors for me that would not have been accessible should I have refrained from taking these risks. Read more>>

Sally Ghattas | It’s Bigger Than Us Lead Organizer & UCLA Medical Assistant

You’re living life in fear if you’re not taking risks. The best bet you can make is on yourself. Personally I feel as though I’ve taken the necessary risks to elevate my career and life which have paid off tremendously because every move I’ve made has bettered myself and family. I have a career job which I love but I also found a passion and calling within my community outreach which has shown me that a dream is always worth the risk of trying. Read more>>

Nicole Mayfield | Nicole Mayfield | Founder of ComayCreates

For me risk taking coincides with Faith. My Faith has always been a part of my life and a huge factor in my decision making. I can admit that I used to be a person who liked to play it safe because it was comfortable and I knew what to expect. I graduated high school, went to college, then straight to the corporate world never really shaking anything up. I later realized all my safe picks weren’t allowing me to truly live life the way it was intended or allowing God to fully use me in an incredible way. Risk/faith moves can be scary but also exhilarating and life changing. You have no idea where you may land or what may happen but if you hold on something very beautiful can happen. Read more>>