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.

Tommy Driscoll | Songwriter & Music Producer

As a songwriter and music producer the entire job is a risk. It’s a constant game of who will listen to your music and like what you create, you know? For me I just accept it. Take a chance and if it doesn’t work I’ll just try again. That’s definitely easier said than done and that mindset has put me in some pretty rough situations but also some really great ones. One of the biggest risks in my career was deciding to pursue music full time and no longer work in the corporate world. Definitely a life altering moment when you give up stability and structure to chase a dream but you have to do it if you truly believe in your talent. Read more>>

Shanna Pranaitis | Radically Traditional Flutist, Coach, Speaker, and Curator

Everything in life is and has a risk attached to it. We tend to think of risk only in terms of taking action when in reality it’s a ‘yes and’ situation. When we consider taking an action (or speaking up for ourselves or an idea), often inaction could be riskier. The same goes for choosing (or not) to invest in something, send a pitch, share our work, send an invitation, or make an ask – all of these are risky on both sides of the equation. The risk of inaction is maybe greater because the result could be missed opportunities, stagnation, or – for me the absolute worst – unfulfilled potential. Read more>>

Dani Burd | Dancer, Choreographer, & Movement Director

If we don’t engage with risk, nothing will ever change. I’ve taken a lot of risks and made a lot of changes thus far, and I regret none of it. Sometimes it feels like I’ve lived three lifetimes inside of this one already. Early on in my life, I was met with circumstances which would negatively impact my immediate future. A lack of resources and direct support made life difficult to navigate. Courage is the vehicle that allowed me to take the risks necessary to build the life I have today. Read more>>

Joshua Muhammad | Photographer

I believe that the luxurious lifestyle I want to live, the people I want to bless, and the great riches I want to obtain lies dormant outside of my comfort zone and in taking risks is the only way I can reach my own desires. Taking the risk in launching my own photography/ videography business started two years ago from an idea when I was in my senior year of college facing the hardships of graduation and financial imbalance. I asked myself the question, “What would happen if I worked for myself as a part time photographer?” It was that question that carved the path of entrepreneurship into my life. Read more>>

EduArdo Omondi | Artist & Model

I think risk is a necessary ‘evil’ in life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it is evil, I am simply acknowledging the fact that taking risks sometimes goes downhill and is bad for the individual. I personally can attest to that. In my line of work, as an artist, I do find myself having to make some decisions that would be defined as risky to develop and grow within this industry and they have paid off most of the time. I shall give an example of a show I did in Mexico City in November of 2019, Read more>>

Poetiik Soulja | Actor, Artist & Aspiring Film Producer

When thinking about risks it’s always important to weigh out the possible pros and cons of the outcome at hand. For me personally, when it came down to taking those risks I needed to make sure I was evolving into a direction that not only I was proud of, but something I could look back upon on and say my village/tribe would be pleased with as well. Read more>>

Pablo Fink | Art Director & Designer

I’ve never really thought of myself as a risk taker, but looking back now I realize that I am. Especially in my late 30’s, when I decided to move to the US from Argentina. I left my dream job as an art director in a multinational beauty company, where I got the chance to travel to different cities in the world to research the latest trends in design. I also got to be a part of the company’s growth journey designing all the brand identity and packaging from when they opened their first store until they hit 80 stores around the world. I had the opportunity to learn and grow as a designer. But at the time it felt very comfortable and I wanted to move forward. Read more>>

Josh Lekas | Musician

I’ve always taken risks on things I feel are apart of who I am, such as music. Trying to be successful in the music industry is like trying to become a professional athlete, it takes hard work, passion, skill, a lot of patience, and it may not even work out. Not “making it” crosses my mind a lot but if I don’t take the risk now while I’m still in my mid-twenties with my whole life still ahead of me, I’ll probably end up working a desk job I’ll hate. I think if taking a risk is what will make you happy regardless of the outcome you need to go for it. Read more>>

Jaz Gosal | Realtor

No risk, no reward. Nothing in life comes from remaining in your comfort zone. The ultimate question is, are you willing to take the necessary risk to propel your life/business forward with absolutely no guarantee that things are going to work out? Starting my Real Estate business has been the biggest risk I’ve taken in life thus far. I started with no handouts, no connections, no favors. All I had was my dream – the unwavering desire to help people live better lives. Read more>>

Ki | Artist

As careful as I am with my decisions, every step I take may be viewed as taking risks. Making a living and name for yourself in a city like Los Angeles comes with managing risks and learning when to take them. 8 years ago, I took the biggest risk to leave college behind to chase my dreams and goals. It’s also about perspective. I used to be outcome driven and I’m sure you could argue that I still am. But in terms of micro, I try not to let outcomes and expectations dictate my decisions. Read more>>

Brandon Dorsky | CEO of Fruit Slabs & Cannabis and Intellectual Property Attorney

Risk is something we each confront daily and managing risk is part of life. Evaluating the landscape of risk and taking calculated risks is part of the fabric of being a successful entrepreneur. Practicing law in the infancy of the legal cannabis industry, as well as managing the growth of a cannabis infused edible required taking calculated risks and recalculating risks as the market and competition evolved. Read more>>

Jessica Amerson | Photographer & Studio Owner

Risk is a word that has been coming up lately for me. When I think of risk it is truly something that feels uncomfortable, challenging and for me, there is a the element of feeling scared. Can I do this? Will I fail? Will I grow if I don’t rise to the risk? Recently I took a leap in my business by opening up a studio in Nashville (Sonder- www.sondernashville.com) and I was terrified! I have not felt this feeling in a long time but while refelcting on where the fear was coming from and where I had felt it before I realized it all boils down to taking the risk! Read more>>

Jessica Furey | Real Estate Agent & Wellness Advocate

When I think ‘taking risks’ I often think of taking a leap of faith and have to put my trust in god. I took a risk when I moved from NJ to LA 12 years ago. I’ve been so grateful for that. I also took a leap of faith when I chose to make a career change from fitness to real estate. I am still a huge advocate & practitioner of the wellness and fitness world although my passion to fulfill a new career in realestate is where my drive, love, as well as tenacity is what keeps me taking risks and trusting in faith. Read more>>

Miriam Yohannes | Actress, Dancer & Choreographer

I will be completely honest, I am scared to take risks. All the time. But what I do know is that without taking them, I would not be where I am and accomplish all that I have done. I think most people think you have to be fearless to take risks in your life, like move across the world, live in 2 cities in the same year with little money or leave the beauty/fashion corporate world to pursue your dreams full time during a global pandemic. But it takes courage more than anything – to see the greater meaning and purpose behind your choices and accepting any outcome. We all have fear. Its inevitable. But without it, we don’t see the levels we ascend to, the abilities we obtain, the lessons we learn. Read more>>

Brigitte Williamson | Actor & Filmmaker

As an actor, there are a huge number of risks I’m constantly evaluating – artistic risks and also business and financial risks. In every audition I’m making artistic choices about how I want to embody a character to tell a story. Since I do this work with limited direction and limited information- maybe I don’t even have the full context or a script!- it’s up to me to take chances in my choices even though they may deviate from the unknown expectations of the filmmakers. Though there may be strategy in how I make artistic choices, at the end of the day I have to follow my intuition and create in a way that fulfills me. And then there are the financial risks! I was raised in a frugal household, and I always avoided spending money when I didn’t know if it would pay off. Read more>>

Lex Halaby | Creative Director

I’ve always thought of risk as a catalyst for growth. The biggest swings of my career have always led to the most rewarding outcomes. I’ve learned from every success and every failure, but if I don’t push the boundaries of my comfort zone I stop growing as a Creative. Early in my career risks helped me find my creative voice through trial and experimentation. As I found my voice risks became more about pushing the boundaries of my capabilities and expanding my creative vision. As a Director, I constantly need to stay inspired and nothing gets my mind humming more than upping the stakes with high-risk high-reward creative ventures. Read more>>

Al Greene | Comedian and master barber

Life is about taking risk …especially if you are following your dreams and not taking the traditional work for someone else route …your going to have to be willing to take that risk and believe in yourself Read more>>

Tami Barrios | Hair and Skin Beautifier

“No risk, No reward.” When I heard someone say this, it resonated with me for so many reasons. I thought if I do not take a chance on myself, then I won’t be able to reap the benefits. I would never truly know if I’d be successful at having my own business. Self-doubt is toxic. Risk taking is a hope of something you really want and its encouraging! Sure, there is the chance to fail, but failures are lessons that create growth in your business and in yourself. For me risk taking played an invaluable role in my career and life. I was 29 years old when I took a risk to change my career from a kindergarten teacher, to being a cosmetologist. With having four children to help support, it was a huge risk. Read more>>

Sade Moore | Entertainment & Sports Journalist

I think risk taking have to be done with a clear head. Usually taking risk in life is required when reaching new levels . I took several risks in life from choosing my career path to moving to Los Angeles. I am happy I didn’t let doubt and fear hold me back from taking those risks . I grew as a person, meant many creative peoples, and grew as a person. I encourage everyone to take risks no matter the outcome because success doesn’t always mean succeeding each experience in life is an opportunity for growing and learning. Read more>>

Lindsay Teske | Music publicist

I think taking risks is so necessary for growth. Naturally, it’s not always going to feel comfortable, but you never know what kind of payoff could be lying on the other side of fear. Reshaping my relationship to risk was probably my biggest learning curve when launching Carnival of Oddities, and it’s something I’m still actively working to strengthen. The idea of risk used to make me really nervous initially, and I quickly realized that my own fear was standing in the way of my own growth. I reframed my thinking around risk by telling myself that it was simply a part of my routine now. Read more>>

Mireya Frausto | Makeup Artist

Taking risks in life is always a scary decision to act upon. I believe if you never take a risk on yourself, you will never know your true potential of the amazing things you can accomplish in life. Most of us fear change because we are unaware of what lies ahead, but that is what life is all about! Our lives are not written out for us to follow, we are prone to bet on ourselves and take risks. The best part is that we can only grow from the lessons we learn. Read more>>

Aidé Hernández | Founder of @Gradconmigo

I, like many others, feared taking risks. Why? Because there is much more stability, prediction and comfort in “playing it safe”. However, there is no growth in these instances. As a first-gen Latina, I would have not made it this far in my career if it weren’t for the risks I took every step of the way. My academic and social media work is not possible in isolation. This is where risk taking comes into play. For me, taking risks is needed to grow. If it weren’t for me stepping out of my comfort zone, I would have not applied for scholarships, job opportunities outside of my institution, or even launched my social media platforms, where I share my experience as a PhD student. By taking risks, I have sought opportunities for personal and professional growth. Read more>>

Annica Taalbi | Reiki Master, Psychic, & Yoni Practitioner

The first quote that comes to mind when I think of risks is, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!” That is exactly what taking a risk is, you either make the shot, or you don’t, but you’ll never know if you would’ve made the shot if you didn’t at least try. My husband, and I have moved across the country multiple times to pursue our dreams, risks we as a family decided to take, but I truly, and deeply believe that everything happens for a reason. I have learned in my adult life that each risk I have taken has led me closer to what my soul desires. Read more>>

Sarah Holland | Makeup & Hair Artist

How do you think about risks? How has taking risks played a role in your life/career? Throughout my life I never considered myself a big risk taker. I was always one to overthink every situation and land on the side of playing it safe. Despite the fact that I dropped out of community college to temporarily move to New York City for makeup artistry school, Read more>>

Gara Hunt | Creator & Artist

I think of risks on a “nothing ventured nothing gained” level, in a sense of something’s gotta give but you gotta give something! When taking a risk it’s important to believe not only in your vision but your ability to make that vision come to life, whatever that looks like for you. It’s gotta be bigger than you! In my personal life risks have played a big role in how I operate which is exactly why I chose to take a risk and create my brand. I saw a need for something and took that leap of faith and it got me far in such a short time, this Interview alone speaks volumes and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon! Also, when you take a risk having faith will take you further than anything, it’s essential! Read more>>

Christina Brous | Stop Motion Animator and Multimedia Filmmaker

There is always a certain amount of risk involved any time you follow your passions, especially when it comes to your career. Growing up, you’re usually going to be told to choose a “safe” career and definitely not a career in the arts. Most people assume you won’t find steady work or make any money, but with the right amount of perseverance and knowledge in your craft, you can make it work and be that much better off because you’ve chosen to do something you find fulfilling and worthwhile. Read more>>

Nisa Williams | Financial Education Instructor

Growing up, I would not have considered myself to be a risk-taker. I was a soft-spoken and somewhat shy young lady who cared a great deal about what others thought. I did all of the things that one is expected to do; I went to college, got married, raised a family, joined a church, and settled into a great career. On the outside it looked as if I was living a “successful” life, but in reality, I was unfulfilled, bored, and longing to break free of the imaginary box that we so often find ourselves in. Beginning in 2014, a series of major life events led me to reevaluate how I’d been living my life. Read more>>

Gem Nelson | Actress, Writer, Director

For a very long time I played it safe. I had an issue with taking risks because I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes, and I really cared about what people thought of me. As I matured and experienced life, I understood that pleasing people is truly killing my dreams and that the only way to succeed and break free was to jump! Take a risk. I’ve built a healthy relationship with risk over time. Now if there is no risk involved, I feel like it’s missing something, and I am not as interested. Some call it risks, but I truly believe it’s taking a step of faith in the direction you are working towards. Life without risk is a sad one and one full of regrets. For me – risk now plays a huge role in my success. Read more>>

Joe Zhang | Actor, photographer

I think not taking a risk is the most dangerous thing in life. Put a frog in a pot of warm water and heat it up, the frog will die without feeling the heat. After getting my bachelor’s degree in Photography in China. I decided to pursue an acting career when I could easily get a well-paid job as a photographer. And I wanted to take a risky path by applying for American schools for the best education. Without any acting background I came to the United States and auditioned. Now I’m graduating from Calarts as an actor. Life would not take me onto this path if I didn’t choose to take the risks. Read more>>

Ramoni Overton | Owner of Glow with R.O. Fitness

Risk taking has played such a major role in my life and my career. Since I know who I am and I’m confident in my ability to succeed at anything, I’m always willing to make risky decisions with no knowledge of the end result. Even if a risk doesn’t turn out exactly how I planned, I’m always grateful that I took a chance and I still work to reverse the outcome. I never think “oh man I failed,” I think “ok how can I turn this situation around?” Read more>>

Leyla Marzbani | Makeup Artist

I think risk-taking is a necessary part of building a career as well as life in general. I grew up in a small town in Vermont and as anyone from the east coast can tell you, Los Angeles (and the west coast altogether) is a completely different world. I come from a place where everyone knows everyone. Taking the leap and moving to Los Angeles to pursue my career as a Makeup Artist felt astronomical to me back then but it pushed me past the limits of what I knew about myself and my comfort zone. Coming from a close-knit community and family-oriented background to a city where I didn’t know a single person for thousands of miles was extremely daunting, but I wouldn’t be where I am now without having taken that risk. Read more>>

Jennifer Bouley-Gemmell | Make up Artist for film and television

In my life, taking a risk begins with the simplicity of desire. What is it I desire? How do I want to feel? Early in life, the feeling I found myself endlessly chasing was a type of euphoria. This idea of “euphoric fun” inspired all of my desires and soon every risk I took mirrored that objective. Risk taking became so second nature because I found whenever I took a risk is when I felt most free, and when I had the most fun. So eventually, risk became less of a daunting choice of facing the unknown, and more of a comfort of possibilities for creativity. Read more>>

Kali Kirkland | Entrepreneur, Branding & Website Designer, Crystal & Athleisure Wear Boutique Owner

I think I’ve always been a risktaker. For most of my early-mid 20’s, it was unknowingly. I don’t think I realized I was taking risks that would turn into these life-changing rewards. But, when I took these risks, it was always with the best of intentions. Moving to New York at 17 years old, dropping out of college to start a very low paying job – even if it wasn’t what I wanted yet, were all calculated decisions driven by my desire for freedom or need for change, or simply because I felt called to do it. Read more>>

Michael Cornacchia | actor

I don’t know if you would call it, “risk.” It all comes down to what you want your life to be. And that can change without you even realizing it. Every decision you make holds some kind of risk. But yes, I thought I was invincible when I was younger. I had an incredible support system. I left home at a young age and went 3,000 miles away to study theater in Los Angeles because that is where I wanted to be. It was scary. But I knew if I didn’t do it, I would always ask, “what if?” And to me, the “what if?” is far worse than any risk. Read more>>

Melissa Barba | Mortgage Loan Originator, NLP Master Practitioner, Author

I think your risk tolerance determines your success reward. There’s countless ocassions where I have taken major risks, mostly betting on my self, whether it was leaving a relationship, or a job, or switching carreers, borrowing money, moving, trusting people, but mostly the biggest risk is was trusting my self and my every move, knowing that someway some how things always work themselves out. Read more>>

Joe Silvera | Jewelry teachers and owners of Silvera Jewelry School

(There are 3 partners who own Silvera Jewelry School in Berkeley, CA. Joe and Anat Silvera, husband and wife, who are the founders of the school, and Jenn Parnell Kirkpatrick. All three are teachers at our school, too). Anat: It’s scary to take a risk, and yet when I think about how many times I’ve taken steps into the unknown, it’s a lot. When I finished my masters program in folklore, I could see my path ahead in academia. And then I turned away, and without any sort of safety net, I decided to become a jeweler. Read more>>

Tasha-Nicole Terani | Entrepreneur, CEO of the TNT Soccer System LLC and Founder of the Every Child’s Dream Foundation 501 c3

Risk can be much bigger in our minds than in our reality. As I approached the biggest risk in my life, I recall feeling scared, worried, confident, determined and passionate all at once! This was normal, yes. Ultimately, what took me through that cloud was that I desperately wanted it! I was hungry in my core. It had deep rooted meaning for me and it meant my life is worth something. I have more to offer! Find that, and you can conquer anything. Read more>>

Omar Walrus | Producer | Guitarist/Music Director

Theres that cliche saying, “the biggest risk is not taking the risk at all”. I’d say that stands true. I like the idea of chasing risk, chasing whats uncomfortable for the chance at the opportunity to grow. Personally, I decided to jump and risk my stable and consistent job in 2021. I quit to chase my dreams. I didn’t know exactly what was next but I embraced the uncertainty. If I were to fail then I would fail greatly; if that makes sense. I’d pick myself back up and try again. But right after I quit I got to work on a live recording with one of the Cheetah Girls, Adrienne Bailon, and her husband, Israel Houghton. Read more>>

Michael G. Bauer | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Registered Art Therapist

I took a risk in 2012 and ventured into an unknown space. I knew myself as an artist and musician and that changed. I decided to embark on the journey of becoming a therapist. And moving into this unknown world of psychology was a risk for me. I didn’t know if I’d be good at the work or take to the material we explored in and out of class. And pursuing a degree in marriage and family therapy opened up a whole world of internal work, including me going to therapy and beginning to better understand myself along with meeting with clients. This experience challenged many of my assumptions, deeply held beliefs, and orientation toward the world. Read more>>

Thomas Fuks | Restaurant Owner

I believe that if you want to be successful, you have to take some risk at some point and get out of your comfort zone. Hard work, lot of manifestation and attraction, but most important be willing to take some risk. Without taking risk I would have never been able to start members. Indeed It was in the middle of the pandemic, I had no cash on my bank account, and was already struggling to pay the rent. Read more>>

Deion Higginbotham | Screenwriter & Actor & Producer

Risk taking for me was always a scary thing. My thought process was, If I am close to home nothing can really hurt me. I think the first time I ever took my biggest risk was when I moved out of state three years ago. Me taking that risk to leave a familiar place that I was so accustomed to really has made me a better storyteller. Read more>>

Jessaca Rowe | Mindset Coach

As a business owner, risk taking is necessary. Taking risks helps you maintain a growth mindset as you build your business. You will become open to opportunities that can get your business to the levels you desire to see. For me, taking risks has introduced me to people who have become business and accountability partners. It has helped me become more confident in myself and leveling up my business. Read more>>

Starr Shontere | Shamanic Mentor

Risk! I love unpacking this question, because this question also implies a certain fear of failure. The word risk itself means to expose ourselves to inherent dangers. As a wellness specialist and shamanic teacher, I see this as a huge trigger for many people in their lives. This fear of failure, (and even the fear of success) becomes an emotional and energetic block to the very success they are aiming for! The real questions become: Are we really ready to be exposed? Are we really ready to be Vulnerable? Read more>>