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.

Brand Lambert | Talent Manager & Producer

There is “risk” in every aspect of life, it’s your job to identify and quantify the level of risk prior to making your decisions. I make an effort to really not let “fear” impact my life or my decisions, which allows me to be “fearless” to an extent and not be “paralyzed” by the fear of failing. Not having to deal with that allows me to have a clear head when pursuing opportunities and evaluating the risk involved. I don’t look at things as winning or losing, I genuinely look at it as I either win or I learn. So as long as there is not massive repercussions on top of “failing”, I learn and push forward. Read more>>

Sonia Alcazar Collier | Minority Business Owner & Podcaster

Risk taking is a very interesting concept… Especially as an entrepreneur. Risks basically go hand-in-hand with owning your own company. Early on when we launched Cinch Events and management I was noticing a trend in the clientele reaching out to us: almost every single inquiry was to support someone with their first. Their first conference, their first expo, their first gala, firsts, firsts, firsts, was a trend for us. Someone’s launch project is one of the riskiest ones ever and we were right there supporting people to produce an event for the very first time – you can imagine the type of risks that might’ve been involved with being a part of an event that had never been done before. I remember when we had our first University contract. That was by far the riskiest step a new, small event business could take on. We were a small fish in a very big and honestly, quite frightening pond. Read more>>

Blair Cohn | Executive Director

Since graduating college, I have both knowingly and unintentionally taken risks while pursuing my work experiences and into a full career. I believe that risk taking is a necessary part of progressing, at least for me it is. I never had the idea of going to work for one company for 35 years and getting that gold watch at retirement. I was always seeking the holy grail somewhere, somehow, but had no idea where to find it. My first job out of college had me managing a music rehearsal studio and production company. I used all my basic principles from business school for two years to get the business organized, streamlined, and functioning to capacity. At that point I applied to graduate school to pursue an MBA. I wasn’t accepted and then decided just to quit the job with no Plan B except to somehow keep pursuing the music business somehow. Read more>>

Amanda Benson-Tilch | Business Consultant

For me risk and opportunity have always gone hand in hand. When an opportunity presents itself I always way the pro’s and con’s, and in this case the pro’s outweighed the con’s. That is how my consulting business, Ask Amanda started. A few opportunities to work under contract with two different businesses, helping them with marketing and social media needs came about, which was enough for me to leave my current job. Then, I slowly got another client, then another, and when I closed out the books on my first month, I had doubled my income from my previous job. I actually couldn’t believe it! Huge risk in starting my own company, being a single mom with two kids to support. But I saw a need in our community, and I know my work ethic and I quickly learned my value. I knew I could do it, and I did. Read more>>

Denise Eger | Founding Rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami

Risk is a necessary part of life. It’s not optional. Risk is what happens every day when we get up in the morning and take our first breath. You are risking that your body will work, that you will be able to take that breath and even get out of bed. If we understand that as a basic premise of life then understanding risk as simply part of the decision making process and sometimes as something one does that is as natural as breathing, changes how I think about risk taking. But don’t underestimate that it all takes courage. Every single day takes courage in life. Because you never know what will happen next. And in the risk department this is why you have to be prepared to respond authentically, and have guiding ethics and principals and morals to guide your decisions and action. These are the part of the formula that helps you move forward in wholeness. Read more>>

Yancy Trinidad | Event Specialist

Risk is very tricky because at the surface it can look very scary and there is always that fear of failure. However, it’s actually an opportunity to assess your position and the outcomes of your possible actions. I have learned from my own experience that failure might actually provide you a better option that’s why I’m not afraid to take risks. I believe that through failure you’ll learn so many things about yourself. It’s the most effective way of improving. It will help you become more critical and make more informed decisions in the future. I’ve always been a risk-taker, I wouldn’t be where I am today without taking risks. Ten years ago I decided to shift industries from working corporate to creative specifically in the fashion and lifestyle industry. It was a very huge risk for me because there is a notion that there is no job security in the field that I chose. Read more>>

Catherine Martinez | Social Media Content Creator & Future Audiologist

I often see the Angel Numbers such as 1212 and 555. They say If you often see 555, it indicates that you are a person who relishes opportunities to expand and grow. You constantly want to be in the middle of the action and are always looking to move forward in your life. When you see this number, it means that significant and necessary changes will be happening in your life. These changes will move you closer to your divine purpose. When it comes to 1212 wants you to stay focused on your best possible future, and to remain optimistic throughout the entire journey. Your angels are right behind you as you turn your dreams into reality. It’s an indication that life is about to shift in a big, positive way. You may have to step out of your comfort zone, but your angels want to reassure you that it will all be worth it. You simply can’t spend your life being timid or afraid. Read more>>

Tristan Onfroy | Photographer

People often focus on the risks of pursuing something different or scary, all the while forgetting that there are also risks with choosing to stay the same. From my experience, everything I’ve ever truly wanted to pursue began with taking a risk that scared me. When I first started with photography, it took me a long time before I felt comfortable with sharing my photos. Once I allowed myself to push past this fear, the real work of growing my passion began. Each step of the way was a battle with my fears. From learning to be comfortable with taking photos of human subjects, to leaving jobs in order to travel the world and capture the beauty I’ve always wanted to see, it was a risk I knew was necessary to do what I love. To take productive risks is to stretch yourself towards a version of your life that you may have never known otherwise; a version that creates and manifests opportunities that align with your goals. Read more>>

Joud AlAmri | Filmmaker

In a nutshell? My whole career has been a risk and that hasn’t changed till this day. Ever since I graduated high school from Saudi Arabia I kept taking risks to make it in a profession that wasn’t acknowledged by my home country then. I risked everything and everyone I knew for a chance to pursue my passion for storytelling and the arts. From moving to Dubai, setting up a life there, then risking that for yet another move to Los Angeles, I kept taking a chance on my talents, what I had to offer, my voice, and myself. Now working in the independent film industry, every project is a risk, but I like to see it as taking chances. Taking chances on a story, its crew members, actors, and most importantly its message. I think of risk as trust in the process and trust in what I have to offer. Risks are what got me to where I am today and I hope I never stop taking them. Read more>>

Harrison Baum | Founder, CEO & Owner

I’ve noticed that people have been quick to label me as a “risk taker”, even more so because I invested all my savings into a traditionally “risky” industry. But I have always disagreed with this. I like to think I don’t take risks, only confident and calculated decisions. When I walked out of my 9-5 and gave up all stability in my life, it looked like a risk. But from my perspective, it was the only choice. Failure was not an option and it was not even conceivable. And even if the business went under, I would’ve learned so much that I would not have “failed”. I think taking a risk would be investing all my money into the lottery, that seems risky. But starting a business or initiative never seems like a risk, just a calculated decision that I know is going to be successful. Read more>>

Marie Senghore | Actress

Risk has been and still is, one of the biggest factors to why I am where I am in life right now. For better or for worse I have always enjoyed risk-taking. The biggest risk I’ve taken in life have always been my moves. From Sweden to Spain. Then to the US and South Korea. All while pursuing my wish to work in film. There are always up’s and down’s but the growth I get from every risk outweighs any down. I am definitely saying this from experience. Every risk will lead to a experience and every experience will shape how you move in this world. On all levels, not just professionally. I do always advice to take extreme caution and think over the pro’s and con’s before taking a big risk but personally, after I have done so, I always go with my desire. That way, regardless of however the situation might turn out, I can always be happy with the fact that I went after what I wanted. And if the result’s aren’t what I hoped for, it’ll be because it didn’t work out, and not because I didn’t follow my passion. Read more>>

Laura Whitmore | Founder, Mad Sun Marketing & Singer-Songwriter

Assessing and taking risks has played a huge role in my career. First of all I think the music business is inherently risky, but more specifically, leaving a steady job to start a business was probably the first big career risk I took. There was a lot of stress and hard work involved in making that business become successful. And over the years I learned to trust my instincts more and more. I often took risks that didn’t pan out, but those also helped me to learn that sometimes those missteps lead to some really great knowledge for the future. Most of all I think of risk taking as the only way to achieve big steps and to grow in any significant way. Don’t get me wrong, research, knowledge, hard work, team building and so many other things go into having a successful result as you take risks, but even so, sticking your neck out is the only way you can progress and achieve a new goal. Plus it’s exhilarating and never boring! Read more>>

Robbie Adkins | Graphic designer, Artist & Writer

I started out life with optimism which ironically came from my father. Ironically because at a young age I wanted to be a scientist but he would not allow such a thing. I was to be a wife and a mother so it was OK to study art because that would come in handy. But in every other way, he taught me that if I made up my mind to do something, I could do it. Some things I did early on: In college I entered the Mademoiselle Magazine Guest Editorship contest and won a month in NYC working on the magazine. Upon returning to California, I married an experienced sky diver and took up the sport, eventually participating in a world record made with all women. Next we took up hang gliding in the beginning of that sport and I was the only woman to qualify to compete in the nationals in 1974. All those accomplishments were supported by my parents. It was OK with them because, most importantly, I was a married woman. Read more>>

Audrey Kang | Actor

Acting is a collaboration with the different creative people authentically to depict the real-world in artistic ways. However, when it becomes a limitation, it restricts creativity and enthusiasm. Right now, acting is do or die. For example, going to the auditions in person is not normal anymore. Even if I do, I need to wear a mask constantly before being taped on a camera. Also, staying away from the casting directors at least 6 feet is vital. The virtual meetings or self-tape auditions become the new normal. Furthermore, to be on the set, people need to take the tests previously. I believe that while the production is going, taking the test once in a few days is recommended or mandatory. Social distancing is required too. There’s a huge responsibility to take as an actor now more than any time. It’s not just a job. It’s representing humanity. Read more>>

Susan Lizotte | Artist

Risk taking is weighing failure and success. When I started my own business at age 29, I wasn’t sure if it would be successful or not. The risk of failure was pretty huge at that time for me since I w as a single divorced mother. I had been working for someone else for ten years. Fortunately my gamble worked and it was successful, as well as very fun to be my own boss! Risk taking is anything that really do

In all things, I prefer the road less traveled. In that regard, I have not chosen the easiest career or the least challenging clients. I prefer something that gets me excited. The record industry was a challenging career choice because of the competitive nature and yet I believed that my passion for music would lead me to success and for a while it did. Artists I worked with received MTV awards, Grammy nominations, Oscar nominations (Best song). If you don’t pursue the unusual, you have to settle for the ordinary. That bores me. I love clients that inspire me. Read more>>

Skye Amber Sweet | Street Artist, Canvas Manipulator & Random Sphere of Logical Babble

I am a risk taker. I naturally am mesmerized at the application and it the internalization of the human process but I like to push limits and challenge things that most artists would say is beyond their control. Especially through a creator or an artist. In my field I admire and also want to share new ways to risk take with others. I am cursed with the adventure side of me and incorporate it into all things including the risks of art in LA. Read more>>

Heather McLarty | Artist Blacksmith

Since college I have known I would take many risks in my life and especially in my career. For that reason (and many others) i made the conscious choice to not have children. I wanted to be able to take those risks without endangering others. It meant I could make choices on what I loved to do instead of what I needed to settle for in order to survive. Doing what I love has made me more successful, whether that was building props for theaters or making things for real people. I do asses risk when I make decisions but I understand that there can come a point where there is incomplete information and you have to jump off that cliff. With each risk there is an education. Although I may make mistakes, so far none have been fatal. Read more>>

Luke Austin | Visual Artist

As a visual artists I know that most of what I make is going to be bad, and I hope it is. I want to be learning with each piece, and how you learn is by making things that are not going to work at first. What you’re exercising when you take risks is your intuition and it ‘s like a muscle you need to train. These past few years I have worked on training this muscle through risk taking and have never felt as close to my work, really seen myself in my work, as I do now. Not every piece is perfect, far from it but what I get out of it is clarity. When you overthink things you’re loosing what makes you special as an artist. However when you’re constantly pivoting and shooting from this hip you’re able to see yourself clearer through a lack of mediation in your decisions. It has been incredibly liberating to work this way. I had always been an indecisive person who thinks ideas to death, but practicing risk taking in my studio helped me practice it in all aspects of my life. Risk taking doesn’t mean potential failure, what it means is that you’re exercising your intuition and as makers that is our greatest weapon. Read more>>