Shoot your shot? Take a chance? Society bombards us with messages, phrases, examples and stories of how taking risk is the key to success, but is anything ever that simple? We asked some of the brightest folks we know to tell us about how they think about risk. We’ve shared their responses below.

Lauren Kinder | Vocalist for Hard Rock Band THEODY

Personally, I am more prone to a avoid risk than to take it. If I didn’t have friends surrounding me along the way I don’t know if I would have risked falling on my face to pursue the stage and spotlight. But for some reason, I’ve put myself in a role that has risk all over the place! It’s risky releasing music that you poured your heart into, what if people don’t get it? Or maybe worse, mis-interpret it? There’s risk in promotion, especially monetarily. There’s risk in pitching a tour, what if they don’t think your worth the fee? What if you don’t have a draw in that city? And after all that, getting on stage takes guts and there’s pressure to not just perform well, but also connect deeply with your audience! But once you’ve taken all those risks, you just might realize you can’t stand to live on the safe side anymore. Read more>>

Brennan Lawson | Housing Advocate, Policy Leader, & Fashion Designer

Risk-taking is essential to living a fulfilling life, because it almost always accompanies some type of adventure or personal growth. In a sense, it’s cashing in on all the knowledge and experience you’ve gained up to a certain point in the present and using it to place a bet on the future. Learning how to examine risk holistically has become an invaluable skill for me both in my career and personally. I’ve built a habit of heavily weighting outcomes like having fun, developing skills that I value, connecting with people who are smarter than me, and supporting friends and family. I’m always more likely to invest resources into projects that achieve one or more of these ends, because I know that I’ll always see an outsized return. So in that sense, launching ISM was less like of a traditional, risk-based decision and more of a natural direction based on everywhere I’d been and everything I’d encountered previously. Read more>>

Cinthia Artiaga | Entrepreneur & Founder

Risks are an act of courage. It’s hard to be brave sometimes. But the best outcome from that is that you can be the happiest you’ve ever been. It can have an amazing payoff. My greatest risk was not having any other form of income besides my business. I started Criatura Organics mid pandemic when I had nothing else. I’ve taken many risks as someone that’s mainly been working in acquiring experience. I’ve tried many different roles and the belief in myself is what’s allowed me to be successful in them. I think one of the biggest jumps you can take is believing that you can push through and making something work because there’s no plan b. Doing things outside of your comfort zone is a practice and the more we implement that into our lives the more fruitful we can be. Read more>>

Shauna Garriques | Head of Digital Marketing at Damn Write Originals

Risk-taking is an essential part of personal and professional growth. Taking a risk is simply making a choice. Each day we decide what type of risk we are willing to take to accomplish any given task. If you take a little risk, then you get little reward, but when you take a big risk the reward is BIG! Risk taking has played a huge role in my life – moving to LA from NY; and in my career – changing from law to marketing. Each time I’ve taken a big risk, I committed to the challenge and received a big reward! Read more>>

Sophia Ayala | SoCal Foodie

I think my view on risk/taking risks has drastically changed over the last few years. I used to think that taking risks was never the safe thing to do, especially when it comes to your career, but when I started to see that risks aren’t always a scary and bad thing, I came to see how beneficial taking risks could be! When building my personal brand, I always assumed no one would care about my content or resonate with me. However, I took a leap of faith and jumped out of my comfort zone to start creating my brand anyway and the rewards of that have been amazing. I think starting my foodie journey really encouraged me to start taking more risks, in all aspects of my life, and to stop letting the fear of failure consume me. Read more>>

Sharmila Mali | Self-Love Guide

Shoutout LA Risk taking: how do you think abut risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career? Having your own business is a huge risk–it’s a huge leap of faith! I have felt very uncomfortable (to say the least) with my choice of doing Reiki–something most people don’t understand, and the fact that it’s kind of an intangible concept to grasp for most people. It felt risky to explain what I do, what Reiki is, what energy healing is, how it can be most helpful. Read more>>

Alondra Vazquez | Entrepreneur & Motivator

Risk taking is probably one of the best quality traits I have. It has always put me in uncomfortable situations and when you’re in an uncomfortable situation there’s always a lesson to be learned and a new skill to gain. Read more>>

Anna Nicole | Singer/Songwriter

I don’t think great things come when you’re comfortable, and some of the best things I’ve ever done were things I was terrified of. I have spent years worrying about perfection but it’s held me back from being as creative as I would like to be. You never want to look back at your life and realize you missed out on things because you were being careful. Art isn’t about perfection, it’s about vulnerability and honesty. It’s a risk putting your innermost thoughts out for billions of people to hear, but it’s also extremely rewarding. Read more>>

Sam Silverstein | Director & Producer

I believe it is so important to take risks. Whether in business or everyday life, nothing compares to the feeling of triumph on the other end of fear. One thing that has always fascinated me about risks it that typically, they are derived from something you genuinely want to accomplish. Not something that someone else wants you to accomplish, but something you truly desire. Maybe it’s asking your crush on a date, jumping out of an airplane or starting your own business. Risks begin with a genuine want and I think that’s what makes them so important. Read more>>

Alan Bodner | Art Director Animation and fine artist

There is something a bit scary about risk, but taking a leap is really important. When you are first starting out is a great time to just go for it. When you start feeling comfortable is another time to just go for it. I have always had high goals for myself and to this day try hard to make new things possible. Being in animation has been a wonderful career and brought so much joy to my life. Along with that creating my own art is really important and motivates me daily. Read more>>

Eri Chikusa | Professional dancer&choreographer

I think risks as chances to grow. Taking risks means to me that I’m stepping outside of my own comfort zone and challenging something new. Every time in my life I take risks, they ended up giving me positive changes. At least I always think those changes are contributing to lead me the positive way. When I take risk, I wouldn’t know taking that action is right or wrong; it’s always uncertain and that’s often scary right? However, I manage to think jumping into that uncertainty is exciting because in the bottom, I am confident in myself that I’ll get through it no matter what. Read more>>

Scott Rogers | Game Designer

I used to call myself “risk adverse” because I don’t like making unsure bets. As someone who believes that success equals “when preparation meets opportunity”, I would tend to “hedge my bets” by making sure I was prepared for the opportunity that I wanted to have. Originally, that preparation was often subconscious, driven by my passions; but nowadays, that preparation is much more deliberate. As an older person, I realize that my time and energy are precious commodities which I don’t like to spend on ventures that do not yield success. Read more>>

Diana Iketani Iorlano | Data Security and Privacy Attorney

As an attorney, I evaluate risk daily and sometimes need to make quick decisions without knowing all the facts. But I know that I have an uncanny ability to weed through extraneous facts and get to those issues that really matter, and that’s why my clients come to me. Most of my clients have taken on a lot of risk to get to the level of success that they have achieved, and they know that I can relate to that because I made a similar leap when I started my own firm Read more>>

Kris Kaiser & Stephen McCaul | Engineers of noise, lovers of spreadsheets, synth nerds, and occasional frog enthusiasts

If we were risk averse, we wouldn’t be here. In 2016, Stephen had a lucrative programming position in the games industry and I was a biology professor (which took about 16 years of training to get to). We never saw each other, weren’t feeling fulfilled professionally or creatively, and felt zero ownership of anything we did. So we walked away from it all: we bought a house, quit our jobs, and went all in on our synth company, Noise Engineering, which had been a hobby before then. Read more>>

Christian Petke | Record Label Owner

When opportunity presents itself you have to decide if you want to embrace it. The reality is that you will never know if there is a soft landing on the other end. But you will never get anywhere without taking that initial risk. It gets easier once you have done it a couple of times. When I met John Fryer, a producer that I admired for decades, I had a choice. Get off the couch and do something exciting or stick to a simpler life. Needless to say, it was an easy choice. We are only given so much time on this planet and I like to use every ounce of it. Nothing is worse than looking back and regretting not making that scary choice. We all have opportunities, but most people choose to go the safe route. My advice – consider all angles but be brave and bold! Read more>>

Sarah Green | Front person of the band, Spare Parts for Broken Hearts

How do I think about risk? I’ve had a lot of moments in my life that challenged me to understand my relationship with it. The way I see it, risk is often associated with fear and hope; hope for a better feeling, fear of the consequence. Risk also often asks of me to confront and evaluate my relationship with self-worth. There’s so many things I’ve done in my life that I thought, there’s no way, I’m terrified, or who am I to think I’d be the one to pull that off? The reality is, most people doing great things in life feel this way. Read more>>

Eduardo Ayres Soares | Director and Editor

I am absolutely sure that without risk-taking, I would not be where I am right now. We, as creatives, need to allow ourselves to get out of our comfort zones to experience the world in different ways, broaden our perception of life and society, and even simply expand our creative references. In my opinion, the comfort zone is the death of an artist, and it is an obstacle to reach their true potential and new opportunities. Read more>>

Divya Sethi | Actress

Personally, I’ve never been one to shy away from risks. I think risk taking is crucial in leading a fulfilled life. Because every time we take a risk, whether it has a positive or negative outcome, we grow as individuals. I don’t believe we ever fail when we take a risk. We only fail when we stop taking risks. Wow.. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word risk so much haha. But that being said, risks have molded me into the person I am today. Read more>>

TaKayla Johnson | Photographer & Creative Director

‘What is life without risk?” If you ask me, boring. Stepping into photography I have learned to love the feeling of being uncomfortable. Allowing yourself to become uncomfortable brings you growth. You either win. or you learn. In my opinion. you only fail when taking risk if you take a lesson as a loss. There was a point in time where I feared being uncomfortable and in turn it only lead to constant frustration and disappointment when I realized my person and career goals were not being fulfilled. I now fell as though if I’m not taking risk, I’m not living, only surviving. Read more>>

Micheaux Dossette | Actor & Singer/Songwriter

I truly believe taking risks are under valued as one of the primary steps that shift a person’s mind into manifesting whatever success they are chasing. Taking risks has been the one of the special ingredient that has consistently brought me closer to, and succeeding at my goals. This leap of faith into the dark of taking a risk, has been a lighthouse that has directed me, knowing that on the other side of that risk is what I want. And also, through the process of getting to that goal, important character traits that are necessary for whatever new space I enter are developed. Read more>>

Zack Teperman | President of ZTPR & Bestselling Author

Life to me is all about taking risks. Not stupid risks, but thought-out risks that may just work out in your favor. When I started my company ZTPR in 2014, it was risky. I was leaving behind a guaranteed paycheck which helped me live a comfy lifestyle. But I wanted more. So, I took a risk and went out on my own. A lot of people are happy and content with playing it safe, and there is nothing wrong with that. But it is the ones who take risks that get the “bigger rewards”. Everyone is different though. It’s one thing to dream about success, wait for it, put it off for another day or hope it’ll eventually happen, but if you take a risk and just do it, you will achieve it, or at least gain some valuable lessons for your next “risk”. I never decrease my goals, just increase my efforts and plan forward… risks and all. Read more>>

Sarah Molasky | Stunt Woman

You could say my career as a stunt woman is risky. I find myself in challenging and nerve racking situations always thinking about the risk and danger involved. It is important for me to be honest with my capabilities so I ask myself, “Is this stunt one I know I can perform safely without any major injuries. to myself or others” If I’m confident in myself and the task at hand then I’m happy to take on the risk and usually find it quite thrilling. Read more>>

BEVERLEE | Music Artist & Producer

I do seek stability, but I think any success involves evolution. I am a Cancer Zodiac, which I say not to be woo woo LA, but to just make the comparison of the crab symbol. A crab builds a shell home, and is loyal to that place, but when that shell no longer serves, the crab will crack its own shell and move elsewhere. But the unknown can be really scary!!! So when people ask me, “how could you stay married so long knowing you might be gay?” or “why did it take you so long to release music again yourself?” the answer is: I was really afraid of what was on the other side, and worried if I would be safe to come out of my shell and make myself another home that fit. Read more>>

Andrea Fenise | creative entrepreneur

One of my favorite quotes actually by a friend of mine is “Be dangerous. It’s careful out there!” It sets the tone and theme of my life thus far. I am definitely one that adapts the philosophy of “life is short, take the risk. I studied biochemistry then went on to pursue my doctorate in pharmacy. I gambled on myself for the first time ever by deciding to quit pharmacy school. I’ve learned since then that taking a risk on myself is well worth it. I truly believe that the role of taking risks has led me on the most fulfilling path of my life. That path is choosing personal fulfillment and just trying is the best thing I could ever do for myself. Read more>>

Whitney Moorman | Actor, Writer, Producer & Fitness Trainer

As an ambitious Capricorn, I knew that I must persist until I succeeded at my goals. In fact, I have taken risks most of my life. This may have been developed from growing up between two cities, Chicago and Indianapolis, due to being raised by two divorced parents. I moved around quite a bit as a young child and I also had the opportunity to travel. When I became an adult I decided to move to London, New York, and Los Angeles without ever visiting any of these places and without knowing a single person. I made the move even when I was afraid because my passion to pursue a career in acting drove me to take big risks, even if I failed every step of the way. Read more>>

Diane Dollar | Professional Pilot

I left my home to join the US Coast Guard when I was 17 years old as soon as I graduated high school. It was a risk, terrifying, and way outside of my comfort zone. I had pink hair and facial piercings-how in the world was I going to fit into this whole new regimented world that was completely foreign to me? Worst case scenario is that I would hate it and be stuck in a four year contract, which at 17 seemed like a life time. First of all, the pink hair and piercings had to sadly go! It was not always perfect, but at the end of the day I got to experience and see things most people will never get to in their lifetime. Read more>>

Igor Fedenkoff | Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Brybe Digital Creator Marketplace

I think every single person has a vast potential for greatness, but due to a number of reasons and many outside factors, many choose not to. And in my opinion, it’s not exactly the risk that is causing aversion, but the possibility of a failure and a preconceived notion of being inadequate. I still remember getting my courage together and asking the prettiest girl in class out, and being shot down, but still thinking – hey, I did it! Leaving the comfort of my family’s home at 17 to go study in the US, working 6 jobs to pay for school and getting my BS in 3 years and then an MBA, because someone said I couldn’t, first motorcycle ride or the skydive, speaking in front of 20 people, and then having a speaking engagement with a few hundreds in the audience, tasting fried crickets and becoming a husband and a father Read more>>

Eleonora Chessa | Professional Photographer and content creator

Risks… you gotta risk babe ! If I didn’t risk in first place in 2001 moving from my small home town Alghero in Sardinia Italy ( don’t keep me wrong is a paradise if you had the chance to Google it but no chance for artists ) to Milan I will never be a pro photographer. If I didn’t risk in 2011 I will never be traveling the world and be able to work in America as a pro photographer and attend the most amazing red carpet. I could have failed in first place but with no risk I will not be here as a mother and wife because I will never met my husband … all the people that o have been connected as well and the new amazing Friends Read more>>

Lea Roman | Beauty Therapist

I believe risk taking is a part of life, IF you want to be successful. This applies to business and personal. Growing up, I always took risks, but I didn’t realize thats what I was doing. I would take the road less traveled and March to the beat of a different drum. Sometimes the risks weren’t always followed by good outcomes, but there were and still are lessons behind every mistake! If I never dived right in to situations, I wouldn’t have the experience or the hilarious stories to tell! I think I thrive on risk taking. You never know unless you DO! Read more>>

Darryl Yearby | License Massage therapist

Risk taking is important, it’s the difference in dreaming about your goals then actually moving toward and accomplishing your goals. Read more>>

Alek Lev | Writer / Director / Producer

I want to make movies, TV shows, plays, and podcasts. The whole damn thing is risk. Luckily, it’s not, as they say, heart-surgery risk, so it’s acceptable. That said, deciding that my goal is to produce creative works that require financing and approval from an Escher-equse series of gatekeepers means that there is no established path to success, and there is the very real possibility that life will be a series of Really Good Ideas that Almost Made It but ultimately Didn’t Work Out. (I’ve mitigated this risk enough to provide for my share of the food, housing, and natural Sumatra coffee beans by working as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter for the last 20 years. Read more>>

Melissa Duncan | Author, Mental Health Influencer

Risks…. When I was diagnosed with Bipolar1 disorder over 10 years ago all of my ‘risk’ taking started to make sense. I had such a vivid imagination, ever since I was a child. Seeing my dolls dancing at 4 years old, gave me that first spark that my mind wasn’t like everyone else’s. Growing up it evolved into me either wanting to or taking more risks than I needed (or should have). From binge spending 40k in a month to taking a walk in a barren part of Paris just too ‘find a hookah bar’ I pushed the limits (Both true stories lol). Read more>>

Kate Gale | Managing Editor, Red Hen Press, founder, swimmer

When I was 18, I left the cult where I had grown up. I had two dollars, a sleeping bag, and a dog on a bailing twine string. That risk prepared me for a life where risk equalled great adventure as well as the possibility of being in the dark for a while. Starting a non profit literary press in Los Angeles at thirty when I was single with two kids, a boy friend who also had two kids and literally nothing was another risk. We lived on rice for years and went camping with our kids so the press could survive. Read more>>

Marwan | Musician & Co-owner of “Apiary” – Music and Art Shows

Risk is essential. It is non-controversial in theory but often forgotten in practice. In my life, if I feel like things are going well, that things are easy, that’s a red flag. I know that in order to succeed and climb as far as I can see in my mind, that I must fall a million times before I can truly rise. It is for this endeavor of failing in order to succeed that risk is essential. Let me tell you the story of how I started my own weekly Music and Art show (@apiaryofficial) and built an entire music/production team as a newbie fresh to LA. I first got to LA in August of 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic and as a freelance musician and artist I was desperate to get my feet wet in the LA music scene. Read more>>

Nicholas French | GLOBAL HAIRDRESSING CONSULTANT

RISK TAKING IS REALLY WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT REGARDING MY WORK AND CAREER. IF YOU WANT TO STAND ALONE IN YOUR INDUSTRY YOU NEED TO EMBRACE FEAR AND NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP. IN THE WORLD OF THE HUMAN ART OF HAIR ONE HAS TO BE FEARLESS AND ALWAYS SAY TO YOURSELF “WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CREATED SOMETHING NEW FOR THE FIRST TIME” INNOVATE DO NOT IMITATE IS MY CREED AND PUSHES ME TO TRY AND REACH FOR THE MOON AND YOU NEVER KNOW YOU MAY CATCH A STAR ON THE WAY DOWN. Read more>>

Kameko Wild Beckner | Founder & Owner of So Good General Store

Risk taking seems to have been an innate part of who I am, since as long as I can remember. I was constantly questioning the rules and ethos of the cult I was raised in as young as 7 years old. By 17 I had left my family to live and try to make it on my own. I’ve made complete pivots when it comes to my career more than once, quitting a great job as a fashion designer to become a private chef with zero culinary training and then another pivot to being an entrepreneur and small business owner. Read more>>

Noelle Roberts | Pilates Instructor & Founder of Noelle Roberts Studio

Losing my husband suddenly in 2019 changed everything. I went from being a new mom, madly in love with my husband and having a bright future to finding myself catapulted into a new universe- one in which I didn’t know if I could survive- all in the span of moments. And while some days I’m still reeling inside of grief and loss, I’m also learning. Learning how to envision a new future. Learning how to build a business from the ground up. Learning how to be a solo parent. Learning how to be kind to myself. Learning how to build a whole new life in a whole new world. Read more>>

Jeffly Molina | Artist & Founder

When my husband and I first decided to start our own company we did not categorized risk as risk. Our first year was packed with inspired actions and decisions that were carried out with a combination of naivety and hope. Not having much capital made so that our biggest investments dealt in time, creativity, and our own artworks which we traded for numerous services, like website design, marketing, etc. In my case, trading artworks for services and labor, as opposed to money, was particularly meaningful because it is through the sale of my artworks that I support myself financially. Read more>>

Alex Lawrence | Songwriter & Recording Artist

Risk is scary and my fear of rejection runs deep. As a result, it’s taken me much longer to start taking risks necessary for personal and professional development than would be ideal. Hence my artist name, Sloe Learner. Like many, I deal with relatively severe mental health issues. When the anxiety is firing on all cylinders it’s near impossible to send out a review request or ask out a woman. For this reason, I didn’t start really dating until my mid-twenties or start sharing my music with even the closest of friends until around the same time. Read more>>

Jihad Johnson | CEO/OWNER

I feel like taking risk is very important in life because without taking the risk you will never find out if you have a chance at what you would like to pursue. Every day I take risk for my business because without taking the risk I would probably be working for someone else and putting my dreams to the side. When I was 19 I took one of my biggest risk and invested into starting my own clothing brand not knowing if people would support me or not. Then when I was 23 I took another big risk by putting all money in that I saved into getting my own store. Everyday is a new day to take a risk towards your dreams. Read more>>