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.

Elysia Johnson | Shaman & Singer-Songwriter

When it comes to taking risks, I feel I have a good relationship with that. I am comfortable being uncomfortable in that way. I logically understand that in order to create a life or experience you have never had, you have to do (or be willing to do) things you have never done. In other words, as humans we must take risks and not from a view of ignoring morals and values, but rather pushing ourselves to take bold actions that are in alignment with our goals and with who we are (becoming). As long as I can remember, I have always thrown myself into increasingly uncomfortable and unknown situations to accelerate my growth. This process has been very rewarding. The falling down and standing up is humbling. The rejection and loss taught me how to become someone who could take a situation that seemed like a defeat, and turn it into a huge win. Read more>>

Steven Fine | Writer, Producer & Director

People think I’m crazy, but I always consider the benefits of taking a risk rather than focusing on the issues. When facing the choice between a low risk or a high risk pursuit, experience has taught me that the high risk pursuit will almost always be the most rewarding, even if it’s the most challenging. This outlook has allowed me to take many productive risks in my life and career. I’ve been obsessed with movies my whole life, and after my movie themed Bar Mitzvah, I faced several crossroads on my way to becoming a filmmaker. Although I attended a directing film camp in high school, when facing the choice of a college major, making movies didn’t feel like the smartest choice. So I declared advertising. Read more>>

Malia Baldovi | Producer & Content Creator

Taking risks whether it being a big or small has always been a big part of my life and growth as an individual. I was born and raised in Hawaii and one of the biggest impulsive risks I took at that time was to move to Los Angeles. I had no actual plans of what I was going to do with my life and career. I picked up different 9-5 office jobs along the way and realized that isn’t for me. I wanted something different. I needed change and that was a risk I was willing to take. I had no back up plans, nothing. I started dabbling in the entertainment industry because I always knew that was the industry that I wanted to be in. I did many things anywhere from producing to creating my own music video, producing my own YouTube series and being guest talent on BUZZFEED. Read more>>

Yesenia Serratos | Dance Instructor & Director

I believe taking risks are always a win-win game. Regardless of the final result, in the end there is a learning experience and a most important one, it will take you one step closer to your goals. As a Professional Dancer you are constantly trained to take risks, just being a dancer you are taking risks for an audition, a job, even performing! My biggest risk was to move to another country to follow a dream. Coming from Mexico to the United States, without much money and speaking very poor English. You need to have a plan, and you can plan, but in the end you have to take things as they come and make the best of it, day by day with new challenges! I did, and now I speak fluent English, I have built a dance career I never imagined, I have experienced and learned so much, and looking back to the journey  makes it all worth it. Read more>>

Christina Twomey | Abstract & Resin Artist

Risk taking has been the primary driver of career choices throughout my entire adult life. I’ve never been one for accepting status quo, and always take it upon myself to push limits, ask questions, and continuously challenge decisions & ideas to ensure we’re providing the best possible strategy, product, or service to customers. I also believe that in life, if you’re afraid of taking risks, you’ll remain in the same spot far too long. Comfort may be a great choice for some, but for me, getting uncomfortable for the purpose of pursuing my passion is the only choice. Only a short couple years ago, I had a cushiony job – which I’d worked very hard at over the course of a decade. I probably could have retired early had I stuck around, but the job had become mundane and it was difficult to deal with the continuous office politics & lack-of support I had for upward advancement or share of voice. Read more>>

Amanda Michelle Foschia | Actor, Comedian & Writer

Taking risks is how I got to where I am today. I’ve always wanted to be a performer and still dream of the day of being a cast member on Saturday Night Live. I grew up in Ohio and moved to San Francisco after High School to live with my Dads. There I was able to study theater, acting, and improv. One summer I decided to fly down to Los Angeles and take one improv class at Second City. That one class turned into endless classes and I never went back. Six years later I’ve graduated from Second City, Improv Olympic, and perform improv, sketch and standup (all over the country). I currently study at the Groundlings and continue to push myself to be the best comedic actor. Hoping one day the hardworking and the risks I took to get here will pay off. Read more>>

Malika Williams | Founder & Coach

Stepping into the unknown. Banking on myself. Living by faith. These are the phrases that come to mind when I think about risk. Taking risks has been essential to my development as a person, artist, and entrepreneur. Over the years I’ve transformed my anxiety about what I can’t control or predict into curiosity. When I start to think “what if I…” I can accept the thought as an invitation to actually find out what would happen, with the mindset of an explorer or anthropological researcher. Then, if there’s an option to take a risk or play it safe – playing it safe becomes the bigger liability. When I play it safe I miss the opportunity for growth. Choosing into entrepreneurship felt like a huge risk. What if I’m embarrassed? What if I fail miserably? What if I can’t ever get anything off the ground and feel like I’m constantly struggling and overwhelmed? Read more>>

Giana Nguyen | Musician & Entrepreneur

I think having an element of risk in anything we do makes everything we do a little more interesting. The uneasy feeling makes you more alert and pushes you to think on your feet. Risk taking has been a part of my life even before I was born. My parents attempted to escape from Vietnam while my mother was 8 months pregnant with me. Though that particular incident was not successful, I’m here in the U.S. sharing my story because they didn’t give up. Ironically, the risk they took in order to give me a sense of security in America is exactly the inspiration behind all my risk taking endeavors in life and career (some more calculated than others). They gave up everything, so I’m not going to sit here on my laurels and be comfortable. Read more>>

Omoghéné Omoghéné | Singer, Songwriter & Poet

Someone once said “If you want people to take a risk on you, you have to be willing to take a risk on yourself.” Growing up, I thought there were some paths that were risky and some paths were not. Over time, I found there is risk in everything; there are just levels of risk, therefore, I just needed to choose the path where my gifting met my passion no matter the risk. There is a lot of risk involved in being an artist. One has to throw all their resources into their artistry and build a brand in hopes that one day all the hard work will pay off. I would bet on myself a thousand times more than anything else because I know that I will give 100% of my efforts 100% of the time. If you hit a tree enough times, It is bound to fall at some point. Read more>>

Jeff Sornig | Prop/Character Designer

There have been a lot of big life decisions that impacted where I am presently. It’s only in hindsight looking back that I see the crazy choices for what they were. When you’re in the moment it’s difficult to see where the path will lead. You have hopes. You have aspirations what could happen. Surely you’re praying for the best-case scenario to occur. When I was 18 years old and made the major life decision at that young age to enlist in the United States Marine Corps – that was as significant a lifetime defining risk as I could have made. You think you know what you’re getting into and then the reality runs right over the expectation. Everything I experienced during my Marine Corps service evolved who I was as a person. Read more>>

Linda Joe | Entertainment Producer & Executive

In pursuing success, taking risks is necessary. That opens up new possibilities for growth. I believe in being proactive, making opportunities, and doing the actual work, as things don’t fall into our laps by sitting around and waiting. Building my dreams throughout the years means not being afraid of having to take a ton of risks. I always follow my heart and pour my whole soul into everything I do as a producer. What I have learned over the years in taking risks and on my path to building my dreams, is that the fear of failure was something I was not ready for early on. Embracing failure and understanding that it is a stepping stone to success has allowed me to embrace risk-taking and its uncertainties. Read more>>

Nik Tizekker | Film Producer & Director

Taking risks has had a big part in my career. I took a big risk recently actually where I found a production company looking for projects. They help get funding for films and get them distributed. I took what remaining money I had and invested in them to help. They pushed me and now, with his help, have a fully developed TV series that is being currently shopped to networks and investors. I have also kept contacts from previous projects and have kept in contact with most of them. You never know what they will say. I mean the worst they are going to say is “no, I’m not interested”. You are no better off then you were before. So take the risk, use your contacts. It’s what life is about. Read more>>

King Klio | Songwriter & Life Coach

Risk is jumping toward your hope without expectation or judgement. It is fully giving yourself without second guessing. Risk is what has led me to change myself, my circumstances, and my perspective despite the fact that my mind might try to convince me to stay in fear. Read more>>

Murphy Perng | Founder & Wine Educator

Take the risk only if it’s worth it, and risk only what you can. How do you know if it’s worth it? If it’ll get you closer to the things you want most. How do you know what you can risk? That depends on what you can tolerate. A meaningful career and happy life – that was always the idea for me. And the most fulfilling career I could think of was one that had emerged from a passion I’d developed for wine. So after 5 years in a corporate role, I left to establish Matter of Wine (MOW) a wine experience company. MOW teaches in-person and virtual workshops on wine tasting techniques and offers private sommelier bookings for private and corporate events. In the weeks following, a thought would sneak into my head from time to time: that every day I put into building my own business made me one more day removed from the corporate world. Read more>>

Jezlan Moyet | Co Founder & Creator

In 2019, Jezlan Moyet, took a very calculated risk with the creation of her live show The Trading Belle and joined a small legion of on camera female business personalities pioneered by the likes of Maria Bartiromo, ‘the Money Honey.’ What truly differentiates The Trading Belle from all other financial trading tv shows is that Ms. Moyet has successfully been able to implement the trading strategy she has learned from her network of WallStreet Veteran traders.  This pool of proprietary  knowledge has allowed her to become the first female to trade stocks live on TV which is done with the purpose to entertain, inspire and educate. Financial literacy has been cited as the single greatest need for the younger generation to embrace. The risk can be intimidating, but if we take action and invest in our future, that is a priceless risk worth taking. Read more>>

Renee Ritchie | Entrepreneur Mentoring Artist to Creating Finical Freedom Online

I believe taking a risk but a smart educated risk is the NO. 1 to all business and big career choices. I have taken multiple finical risks, lifestyle style risks and it is the only way you are going to challenge your creative mind to learn something new. Most importantly you learn from risk-taking. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose but in the end, the losses are actually a win because you learn from those mistakes and make a wiser decision the next time. Read more>>

Merrilyn Duzy | Artist

To be creative and put your efforts out into the public is always a risk-taking venture. Yet as artists, we do this over and over again ─ judged, accepted/rejected ─ no matter the result. Each of us is compelled to do so, as it is not enough to merely produce work in oftentimes isolation, but necessary to complete the dialogue by showing it. In looking at the trajectory of my life, I see that I have always been a risk taker. Experimenting with new forms ─ sometimes lacking the knowledge or a game-plan ─ moving forward frequently without the means to do so. I have been creating situations in which to present my art and yes, risks were always there. Read more>>

Travis Walker | Singer & Songwriter

I think risk is the ultimate breaker for life in general I feel like taking the risk can prove how strong you are having the confidence to say I’m going for it regardless of what anyone thinks or says without any hesitation knowing that you went for it and not having any regrets about it having risk is like taking the leap of faith it’s a belief it’s either you’re going to get of your mind and go or be complacent and stay at the same spot I’ve took the risk to move to another state by myself with no friends no family just a duffle bag I did what I felt like I needed to achieve my dream as an entertainer I had no management no funds no hand outs i went out and got every resource that I could find on my own i had a lot of doubt when i moved to Los Angeles I moved from New York at the again of 20 I’m now 28 I’ve been here for 8 years still risking everything and continuing to set bar for myself. Read more>>

Ashley Teel | Salon Suite Owner & Hair Stylist

Risks play an essential role in every action and decision you make in life. It propels you into a whirlwind of hope, anxiety, and excitement all at the same time. Taking risks forced me to get uncomfortable with myself, and open up in ways i never could have imagined. It has taught me that no matter what, i can push through it, and make out onto the other side. Regaurdless, it has absolutely brought out the best in me, to achieve my goals and make my dreams a reality. Someone once told me that if you are not completely and utterly terrified, then don’t do it. That’s when i decided to finally step up and start off on my own. My terms, my rules, and my vision. I jumped at the chance to start my business in Phenix Salon Suites here in Redondo Beach, Ca. Working in a traditional salon was hindering my growth as a hair stylist and person- mentally, emotionally, and creatively. I knew i had more to offer and show everyone what i got! Read more>>

James Fairbanks IV | Animator, Writer & Producer

Having a career in general regardless of your profession is all about risk taking. If we are too afraid to leap out of our comfort zones, we will never discover what we are truly capable of. In the early stages of my career I found out first hand that if I wasn’t willing to take the kind of risks I thought were impossible, I wouldn’t even come close to where I am now. If there is one thing I have always said about myself it’s that I was always too stubborn to try anything else or in this case accepting a new career path. Once I finished college and got my BA in television screenwriting I knew learning how to animate and draw was the next step in my evolution. However that’s against the so called “status quo” of what individuals who claim to know how to get into the entertainment industry follow. Read more>>

Shahla Rahimi Reynolds | Artist: Sculptor & Painter

If I had to choose a superhero, it would be Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) for his willingness to risk it all in order to save so many. For me that means facing life’s challenges head on, even when the odds seem insurmountable. My works are a reflection of my experiences as a whole. I have had to design and create works that not only have represented an event, but also an organization, therefore telling the story through a single design involved taking the challenge of facing objections head on from the beginning. It is not an easy task to convince committees of 40 to 50 people to agree on anything, but having the courage to introduce them to reasoning and elements behind an idea is very rewarding. In many ways, as I get out of my comfort zone and confront the mundane routine, my work takes on a new direction, allowing me to grow as an artist. Read more>>