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.

SAGE .W. STEVENS | CREATIVE ENTREPENEUR

Risk management is truly the key to all growth and success – one has to take risks. It will put you in that ‘uncomfortable zone’, but it’s absolutely necessary. Risk has made me a multi-hyphenate, therefore allowing me to work in a variety of positions; filmmaker, executive, red carpet host, event producer, actress, writer, consultant, and some others. When I am approached with an opportunity, I don’t immediately say ‘no’. I construct a cost benefit analysis– weigh options. Once I have a vision or take, my comfort level sinks in and the risk taken forges my path. Read more>>

Rachael Becker Ashley Etchings | DIPHDA Co-Founders, Artists, Entrepreneurs

We have both had challenges in our careers & lives, always being thrown into the deep end looking for the greatest challenge. Our biggest challenge yet is the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a huge hindrance to our production. When we developed the business in 2020, supplies were not being transported regularly, some local producers had shut down, and others had just gone out of business. Getting sustainable materials and finding local artisans to partner with was no small feat. However, we both have serious work ethics and through sheer determination and a lot of leg work, we brought DIPHDA to life! And even though it has been a hurdle, DIPHDA may have never manifested if it weren’t for the pandemic. Read more>>

Kavia Simmons | Entrepreneur

Risk taking is an important tool in life, it requires courage and confidence. Great, unforeseen opportunities often come from risk-taking. Life begins at the end of our comfort zone, and with every risk you either win or gain wisdom. You have to manifest and pursue your goals which involves a great deal of risk-taking. Failure is apart of taking risk but isn’t something I am afraid of, instead, it’s something I embrace. I’ve failed at many things in life but those failures have acted as a stepping stone in elevating my career. Starting my own coffee company has been the riskiest, yet most exciting thing I’ve done in my life thus far. I chose to bet on myself and trust the process, trust my vision and trust my hard work. You don’t achieve your dreams by playing it safe, I’m proud to be a risk-taker, and I’m proud to be the owner of I Love My Coffee Black. Read more>>

Lina Takeuchi | Photographer

I learned how to take risks the hard way when I moved to NYC. The first year was tough since I had the mindset of accepting all the invitations and executing them all, whether it was a photoshoot or managing/promotion work that I was doing for the photo studio where I used to work. After all, the reason why I am in this industry is because I love to collaborate and create something that I have never even thought of on my own. Now, after four years of living in NYC, after many mistakes I made, I know for myself that how I used to work, which was to share the responsibilities, does not work. Now, I work as if I will take all the responsibilities for what we do. This fosters true teamwork because the more you take responsibility for your work, the more you attract the people who would take responsibility for themselves and the whole harmony happens on set. Read more>>

Maxwell Banton | Content Creator

Great question! You know risks can pertain to so many different situations. There are risks that can facilitate growth or risks that aren’t that smart like driving without a seatbelt for example. I believe it is first important to distinguish just what type of risk your’e taking and what the different outcomes. I personally consider myself to be a very risky person because on the other side of that risk there is usually a reward. As someone in their late 20’s I believe especially now is the time to take big risks in life and if doesn’t workout to learn from them and keep moving forward. Read more>>

Donnell Donny Wright | President and CEO InnerVizion Empowerment Center

I believe that life is all a chance I have always been a risk taker as it empowers me to break through self imposed limit while allowing me to become more creative. While dreamers sleep often waiting for the right moment to take action I think those who take risks are more likely than not to be successful because we do not limit ourselves and are willing to put it that energy others are often hesitant. I feel that I experience the passion of life via risk taking, its like a fire burning that pushes me forward. Read more>>

Ainamkoz Yemzharova | Director/Writer/1st AD

I was born in Kazakhstan and always dreamed about working or studying in the United States. In 2018 I won “Bolashak” scholarship in my country and got into New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. I’m an only child, never lived abroad before. So it was risky and life changing decision for me. I left my hometown, my friends and my loved one at that moment. I had culture shock, it took 6 moths to get used to a new life. But it was worth it. I got new experience, new friends and a lot of good memories. So taking risks is a part of a life to grow. And I still do it. Read more>>

Becca Suh-Hee Han | Writer, Director, & Assistant Director

This may seem like a trivial statement, but it’s a simple truth: I wouldn’t be where I am today without taking risks every step of the way. Each milestone that I have achieved in my life and career has been accompanied by taking a daunting chance on myself in some way. Whether it was joining the Union as a special effects technician or moving across the country to pursue a Film & Television MFA, having the courage to pursue something new with unrestrained passion has led to the greatest rewards on my journey so far. Read more>>

Chase Cope | Cinematographer, Filmmaker and Photographer

For me I think anything involving creativity has a huge reliance on instinct. It’s like when you bite into food at a new restaurant, you know immediately weather you like it or not. With art we love to gorge ourselves, to find our own taste in what we like to watch or read or listen to. Yet when we begin being creative self doubt creeps in and we silence these instincts. When I realized this I began making the conscious choice to let my instincts guide me. These instincts are what allow me to take risks, to weather situations where the only options are sink or swim. Read more>>

hante Walker | Founder and CEO

I think about risk being in nearly every decision I make. While building a non profit might appear as admirable or noble to some, there are many risks that are unforeseen and often unconsidered. I think about risk from an organization point of view down to all the way through my personal life in which they both often walk parallel. Risk has played a positive role in my career and life, and even though these risks might be low compared to some, I’ve received good equitable returns, leaving little to no doubt that I would accomplish what I set out for. Realizing that there are risks in being an employee as well as a CEO ignited my journey, providing me a more realistic painting that I could sit around waiting for a boat to come and carry me across the big blue, or I could build one myself, so I did! Purpose taught me that I was meant to lead, that I had a message and a responsibility and that I owed it to myself to try. Read more>>

Brittney Mayes | Designer, Founder

I think that risks are a crucial part of what helps people become successful. No one can 100% guarantee what happens tomorrow therefore I believe we can all attempt to contribute to what we believe we want our path to look like. Most importantly, no one understands your vision like you. Sometimes being the only person to see your bigger picture can be discouraging but taking the risks that are most uncomfortable often end up having the greatest reward. In reference to the lottery my grandfather always told me “If you don’t play, you can’t win.” Read more>>

Gonzalo Tarragona Lopez | Film Producer

Overall, taking risks is as scary as exciting. When I was a teenager, someone rather important for me showed me a drawing of how magic happens outside of our comfort zone. Getting out of that comfort zone usually entails some risk-taking. What I have learned throughout my career is to assess the possible outcomes when risktaking to try to make informed decisions while being consistent and aware of where they might lead. And sometimes, even trying to control and minimize risks is useless because life can be somewhat random. Pursuing a career in the arts, moving to Los Angeles, and starting over are all the most amazing and beautiful risks I have taken and am more proud of in my life and career. Taking those risks has opened new paths and experiences. Read more>>

Kym Priess | Leader of STUNTDRIVER, Songmaker, Actor, Performance Artist, On-camera Host, Teaching Artist

Risk is how I live my life and therefore my art. Always has. My latest project , STUNTDRIVER, is an extremely theatrical, performance arty rock project. I’ve moved around alot, too. Moved to NYC straight from high school outside of Austin, Texas to attend NYU without ever having been to the city. Later, I lived in Hawaii, Amsterdam, San Francisco and now Los Angeles. I love to challenge myself and even scare myself a little – like asking myself, ” can I really pull this off?” When STUNTDRIVER launched, I made it into this huge immersive, multi-media production. Had never done that in my life but I did it and it sold out and I paid everyone from my own pocket ! Read more>>

Taylor Bosworth | Oil Painter & Jewelry Fabricator

I think all of life is a risk. Life can either be a faint ripple or a tsunami wave, a tiny drop or an ocean, lived in the shallow end or fathomless depths, depending on the height and intensity of your courage. Courage being the capacity to not give up on yourself no matter what. What higher ignorance than to give up on yourself when the whole of totality is invested within me. This is what my work is about. I aim to create painted images that dissolve time, distance, difference, alienation and have the capacity to mend, join, comfort, and reconcile. My work attempts to convey the inner process of transformation that we all move through on a daily basis. Read more>>

Lily Magaziner | Owner/Founder May Martin, Inc.

Starting my business was the biggest risk of my life and career. We started small and kept taking bigger steps along the way. The opening of our second location is a big risk for us but I believe you can only grow as a company or individual by taking some risks and challenging yourself. Read more>>

Demetrius Barry | Film Director/ Prolific rap artist

I think risk taking is literally a mandatory component of shifting culture and moving ideas forward. I have been moderately successful in doing what is normal but I cant recall a time where I looked up to someone who was “like someone else” for doing things as they had been done before. Ive only felt that I was on the right path in my life when i exposed myself to uncertainty and against the odds.. Thats where a persons truth is stripped naked and you find out what your capacity for creativity is. Theres no discipline that i know of that doesn’t require testing your extremes to graduate and break plateaus. Taking risks has allowed me to position myself to be something that I haven’t seen yet… Have the courage to continue taking risks will define wether I make my mark or not. Read more>>

Sean Johnson | Musician, Runner, Post Producer

I like to take risks. Taking a risk can mean you’re pushing yourself beyond what’s expected of you. As time passed though, I have realized certain risks you think are helpful end up having an adverse outcome. I don’t think my biggest risk of all was pursuing a life and career in music, although to many it would absolutely be a risk. Music was what I wanted to do, so I did it, but in my experience specifically as a drummer, my idea of risk was to be the one that proudly said “yes” all of the time. I felt I had no choice. Growing up and coming from a more DIY, punk rock background, “yes” is a badge of honor because you truly don’t care where you play or whom to. You do it because you love it and that’s it. It gets your name out there. It’s a good risk. I adapted to this ideal both in my musical life and in my personal life and it stuck with me. Read more>>

Kermit C Burns | Actor & Photographer

Risk is necessary in all stages of life. I essentially lived in fear most of my life scared to branch out and take risk. So I stuck to what was easy, familiar and comfortable. But there came a time when I had to do something or risk staying in the mundane and settling for a meager life. So I made a plan to leave my hometown of 25+ years and pursue my dream. The biggest risk I’ve ever taken, but the rewards were tenfold. That firs huge risk in my eyes, led me to many more and counting. You have to step out of your comfort zone to gain new experiences and explore the options of the uncomfortable life. It’s the only way to growth. Read more>>

Kristina Miranda | Lead vocalist for High Grass band

I think that risk has played a huge role in my life especially in terms of my musical journey. It began in 2009 with my arrival in Cuba to record my solo album. There I met Marciel Miranda, my husband, and bandmate. At that time, I studied at a university in Moscow at the Department of Applied Physics and Mathematics. Even though I was studying for a completely different profession, I always felt like I wanted to make music more than anything else, and that I should give it at least a decent try. So, I moved to Havana in 2010, and, together with Marciel, started our band – High Grass. I had no idea what the future had in store for me, nor could I imagine that we would relocate to the U.S five years later. These were spontaneous decisions that totally changed our lives. Read more>>

Gabi Colaneri | Creative Communicator & Travel Enthusiast

Risk taking has played a significant role in my life. Many of the opportunities that have been presented to me have been a direct result from taking risks. True, there is a level of unease and discomfort that comes with these risks, but if I had played it safe I wouldn’t have travelled around the world, met so many amazing people, or even changed my college major and found a new career path that I’m passionate about. Read more>>

Christina Garofalo Bonifacio (CGB) | Author, Screenwriter & Journalist

I try to find the opportunity in risky situations. When Hollywood shut down for the pandemic, I created the series LOVE IN 2020 to capture the time and, working with a knowledgeable COVID-19 safety officer, set protocols to film the series safely. As public attention to HIV waned, I wrote the book WHEN DOGS HEAL to memorialize the community’s setbacks and victories for a new audience, and remind the world that many still deal with the twin struggles of the virus itself and the associated stigma. In fact, my creative career was born from taking a risk: As my peers in the magazine world took promotions, I quit my job to write my way across Asia—a decision which led to travel writing and ultimately, becoming a professional storyteller. Read more>>

PETITE MELLER | SINGER SONGWRITER

My career started in London UK, Island records I had a huge hit song “Baby Love” in Europe but I always dreamt about living in LA and bringing my music out here to the US. Now my first show is at the Neuehouse this week at Andy Warhol exhibition, I couldn’t think about a better place for making my dreams a reality. I will sing my cover to ‘Sunday morning’ with A special guest on this special night. Read more>>

Leen Alramlawi | Unlicensed Paralegal and a Menstrual Equity Advocate

Taking a risk is never an easy decision, especially when you are an immigrant woman of color. Taking a risk is really following your intuition in pursuing an idea that has no guarantees of the outcome, it is working towards the unexpected. Putting in work and time not knowing what the results would be. Taking risks has played a huge role in my life, from starting my own company fresh off college to following my passion in advocating for menstrual equity and starting an initiative in partnership with two advocates and flying overseas to launch campaigns to help tackle period poverty. Read more>>

Michael Formanski | Musician & Filmmaker

Taking risks is how we grow. Step into the unknown, break down and rebuild again stronger than before. I’ve uprooted my life so many times at this point, changed career paths, settled down in new places, picked it all up and started over again just in the search for the path that’s right for me. Really simply speaking all in the pursuit of happiness, validity, and meaning. A big part of risk taking is just having the confidence to step into the unknown, knowing that no matter where you land it won’t be the end of the world and you’ll figure it out. By all means it’s important to be precise with the level of risk that’s worth taking on, but it’s never a waste of time and there’s always something to be learned from it. At the end of the day if a new venture doesn’t work out, no one is tearing up the road behind you, you can always go back. Read more>>

Filippos Tsapekis | Film/Commercial Director and Video Editor

I firmly believe that the risk is for Bold people. Bold, for me, does not mean fearless, but rather people who strive to improve themselves, believe in their talents or passions and are always ready to take action. If you dont take risks, then you will never see yourself in the next level. The comfort zone is not for artists or people who work in the art industry in general. You have no other option than to take risks, or better put, make choices that can change your life. My career has been marked by many of these decisions, from the moment that I made the decision to move from creative director to a film director, to moving to Los Angeles from Europe, and many more choices that I had to make to better myself and my career. Read more>>

Kong The Producer | Rapper, Singer, Songwriter, and Producer.

Ive found that the best things in life hide behind risk taking. Read more>>

Theadina Von Seyfried | Actress & Artist

I believe that risk taking is essential for the progress of anyone’s life. Calculated risk taking is even more important- knowing when to strike and being ever aware that things come into fruition when they’re meant to be. If I would not have taken any risks I would not be where I am today! Read more>>

Sydney Leday | Creative Consultant & Brand Manager

If I didn’t take any risks I wouldn’t be doing what I love. Taking risks is parallel to having faith. Bet on yourself! If you stay in your comfort zone you’ll always wonder what if. I never want to live in regret. In my last 6 months of high school I changed my entire career plan. I was going to pursue a degree in medicine but then I saw the school of my dreams, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. If I didn’t go for it, today I’d be unhappy and struggling to get a degree I wasn’t passionate about all to fund my creative endeavors. In order to create the life you want you have to take risks! Read more>>

Ron “Profo Won” Creer | Bboy coach

I’m my opinion about the concept of risks odd to me. For example when something talks to your soul even though everyone around you believes its not a good choice if it’s truly something that inspires you. There is no risk it’s a calling. So for me I chose dance as a living I had no choice so in a way there is no risk. When I made the choice it was more of the question of how can I make whats in my heart happen. Read more>>

Karli Hausman | Founder & CEO

When I first started Lyte Up Clothing, I never imagined I’d be where I am today. I am in the process of leaving my full-time job to take on the Lyte Up Clothing company to the next level. While there is a risk everything could crash and burn, I have done everything in my power to map out every single step. Some business owners build the plane on their way down after jumping off of a cliff and others build the plane before even taking the leap. While I loved what my career was, I even went to school for it, I always had this in my DNA to pave my own path. If my vision to change the world is to ever come to life, I’ll first have to put it all on the line to make it happen. Read more>>

Kamaal Malak | Music Producer & Audio Architect

I’ve always been a huge advocate for risk-taking. The bigger the risk the bigger the reward. Growing up in Philadelphia we had a lot of musicians and a lot of good music, but not a outlet with publishing and record labels were not so prevalent, so I chose to move to where it was – Los Angeles. I would say, it was the best move for me at the time. From there I noticed Atlanta was jumping off the music charts and I had to be there. When I arrived it only took three months to join the music group Arrested Development. Now I reside in Nashville – Music City! I could say it was another best move for me because it’s considered the center of the music industry now! Read more>>

Exavier Castro | Creative Director & Photographer

Having a 9-5 job wasn’t me so when I started pursing my photography career it was a huge risk. It was a huge adjustment for my family, my mental health, and also finances. My family 100 percent supports me but it was a weird idea to them at first because its not a normal job. Taking the risk of pursing photography allowed me to grow into a better person and to see how much I am capable of. Another risk I take is sharing my ideas, creativity is a very vulnerable thing to do because you’re opening yourself up for judgment and criticism. I build my sets all alone, I spend money that isn’t sometimes there but I know I’m investing in something bigger in my life, I’m chasing my dreams. You never know unless you take the leap. Read more>>

Stephanie Weitekamp | Visual Artist

I like to think of myself as a cautious individual, but my actions typically prove otherwise. My intentions to enter into a comfortable life have always ended with a grand exit, flailing wildly into the next adventure. Risk has always been seemingly accidental until just recently. I realized that every single time I made a huge life change, I’d stumble into something I deemed practical or “safe”. It was a vicious cycle that silently declared I was disrespecting and denying my innate desire to create the life I wanted to lead. I lacked the confidence it takes to break that pattern and embrace the unknown. Read more>>

Charles Kallaghan Massabo | Music Producer / DJ

Risk is what I do every day. You don’t become a professional working producer without a 100% commitment to risk. Risk is coming from France to work on Rock music and stick with it until you get on billboard charts and get a gold record in USA. I recently became bi-costal and now I am starting a career as a Rap producer and Electronic music producer/DJ. Talking about risk haha! Taking new risks is what drives me to be more curious and learn new skills. Risk is what drives me to become better, everyday. Read more>>

Marika Tamura | Artist | Creator

The biggest risk I took in my life was when I decided to study abroad in order to pursue a career in animation. When I was 16, I watched a documentary about animation production in the US. Because I wanted to work in a team and art has always been my hobby, I was attracted by the creative and collaborative environment of the animation industry. Although I was focusing on my studies at that time, I wasn’t able to ignore my dream to be an artist in the U.S. Eventually, after graduating from my middle school, I started studying abroad in Canada to prepare myself for college applications. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave my home country on my own when I was only 16. Read more>>

Shreyas Ayaluri | Screenwriter

I’ve always been a scribbler, always scribbled. Be it doodles, shower thoughts, ideas, catch phrases or just to-do-lists, but I digress. A good mentor at the time suggested that I carry a miniature note pad in my pockets to capture all my haphazard thoughts and to work more efficiently. That’s probably the best advice I’ve ever received. And I say scribbled because I didn’t think anything I wrote made sense to anyone but me. Well things took a 180 degrees turn when I saw what I wrote spread across a huge billboard, it moved me. All those feelings, emotions that I didn’t know existed in me, gushed through my body and I just knew it. Read more>>

Spencer Rydholm | Recording Engineer + Mixer

I think the entirety of pursuing a career in any kind of art is taking a risk. I chose to pursue audio engineering so it’s slightly more comfortable than maybe acting or trying to make it as an artist, where there is more competition, but it’s still extremely difficult to do because money is never guaranteed. There is very little security, but I believe anything good in life requires risk. Love requires risk and vulnerability, building friendships, moving somewhere, success. All of it requires sacrificing comfortability and security, to give all you have to pursue a dream. Read more>>

Paulina Pinsky | Writer

I teach Comedy Writing to high schoolers at Columbia University, and on the first day of class, the first three rules I tell them are: 1. Don’t be cool 2. Don’t be funny 3. Fail Aside from getting a reaction out of them (usually/ hopefully laughter), these three rules have been honed and perfected over the last four years. And quite frankly? My entire lifetime. But more than anything, when it comes to my teaching philosophy, I want to create an environment in which risk is rewarded. Read more>>

Diana Burbano | Playwright and Performer

I spent a lot of my early life in the theatre being timid, being a “good girl”, working hard, and being thankful for whatever I got. When I switched to writing, I decided that I wasn’t going to underplay my talent or skill anymore. One of the things I do is say yes to things, even if they are terrifying. I submit my work to everything, without apology, and when I see an opportunity I go for it. I find that intuition works best for me, so I generally jump on things that other people might take a longer time to consider. It’s served me very well. I banish any thought of impostor syndrome. If I have been asked to do something, then I belong there and I can be confident that my work and my talent will get me through. Read more>>