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.

Andrea Barrera | CEO & Founder

For the majority of my adolescence and adult life, I thought of ‘risk’ as something inherently negative and usually a precursor to loss or carelessness. Within the last few years my perception of the word has taken a completely new meaning. I learned the biggest risks often reap the biggest rewards and if you want to do big things and make your dreams come true you have to be willing to risk it all. In my life and career, taking risks has played a huge role and has become second nature to me. Read more>>

Dale Chung | Music Producer & Filmmaker

No risk, no reward! I believe that absolutely! Eighteen years ago, I quit my job to pursue a career as a musician and a music producer. I was slightly late in life embracing risk and change but once I did, my goal quickly became “To not die thinking What if?”. I try to recognize the small accomplishments as a sign of encouragement. It’s the small rewards that keep me going everyday. So I try not to overlook the. Read more>>

Mathieu Szymkowiak | Actor, Model & Voiceover Artist

Risk has been a major theme in my life. Starting from when I moved to the USA. I moved from a small town in France, not knowing much English, leaving all my friends and loved ones, all for love. I ended up marrying the girl I moved for and we’ve grown our family, so obviously, the risk was worth it. Risk is inherent in my career because it requires you to put yourself in a vulnerable position on a daily basis. Auditioning for limited roles, in front of strangers that ultimately influence your fate. Read more>>

Jameca Lyttle | Founder

If someone was to ask me 10 years ago if I considered myself a risk taker, I would have unequivocally answered no. While not averse to risk, most people tend to associate the word to things like uncertainty, gamble and in some circumstances danger. Practical, calculated, realistic and all the other synonyms that make up my Capricornian nature just didn’t logically seem to align with that of a risk taker. But if I were to stand in the mirror and take a long look at myself, the reflection would tell a different life story. Read more>>

Mishka Clavijo Kimball | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Life Coach, Speaker & Professor

I think of risks as opportunities to grow, learn and transform. One of my favorite quotes is… “do one thing every day that scares you” by Eleanor Roosevelt. I am a true believer that the best way to overcome your fears is by doing the thing that scares you or the thing you believe you can’t do. This helps you take a step outside of your comfort zone, and while it may feel uncomfortable, it is incredibly valuable because that is when real growth and learning happens. Read more>>

Stas Orlovski | Visual Artist

When I was young, my family fled the former Soviet Union to Tel Aviv then Paris before settling in Toronto. This was done with no money, while having to learn new languages and change careers multiple times. Growing up, I internalized the idea that taking risks was fundamental to not only achieving success, but also a matter of survival. In my mind, moving to Los Angeles for an MFA, scraping together enough money to buy a house/studio, having a child, and pursuing a career in art are not unusual, but nevertheless require a certain willingness to take risks. Read more>>

Shelley Iocona | Founder & Principal at ON ITS AXIS

Risk-taking didn’t come naturally to me. Sometime during college is when I started to realize that if I didn’t take risks, many of the experiences I wanted in life likely wouldn’t happen and I would remain in the status quo. Naturally, the way I think about risk-taking now versus during my early life/career is quite different. I believe risk-taking is required to achieve anything of great magnitude. This is especially true when it comes to entrepreneurship; starting a business is one of the biggest risks an individual can take. Read more>>

Mengting Hou | MBA; Music Business

Time has value, and I don’t want to risk losing its value. As time goes by, there is a risk of drying out our energy and losing opportunities gradually. To me, that is the biggest risk I cannot afford, which drives me to chase my dreams no matter how unrealistic they look. I’ve done some so-called courageous things around 20 when I was in a Law School back in China, such as working as a waitress and setting up a stall at night to sell bags, starting my businesses while taking two majors and being a part-time teacher, building a commercial brand while exporting products to the US, etc. Doing all those, I did not risk failing my studies. Read more>>

Marisa Bean | Photographer & Brand Manager

I like to consider myself more of a traditional thinker than an innovator. Usually, innovation means more risk, and I generally prefer to take small risks, or no risk at all. However, life has pushed me more to find the courage to take bigger risks. I’ve discussed in the past the “10s of courage” rule that has helped me take bigger risks. Once you start down that path, it gets easier and easier to accept bigger risks. You really have to think, “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” If you have literally nothing to lose, why not go for it? If what you lose is a little bit of comfort, give it a shot. Read more>>

Stacia Hiramine | Photographer & Designer

After a tumultuous childhood of following humanitarian parents across the globe, I stepped into adulthood in a similar fashion: up to my ears in post-grad programs and trips that would plunk me down in no less than 13 countries for purposes related to everything from photojournalism to refugee support to studying theology. In the rare moments I would pause to process what risk meant to me, I’d feel relatively confident, reasoning that I understood risk thoroughly – an idea further amplified by the wild, adventure-packed three year itinerary stretched out before me at the time. Read more>>

Kumiko Yamamoto | Doctor & Wellness Clinic Owner

When we hear the word “Risk Taking,” it may sound like a grandiose concept to us or it may make us want to shy away. I believe the essence of “Risk Taking” is simply being true to ourselves. This can be something as simple as “it feels right” in our gut. Looking back at my life and my career, I have taken what now seem to be “Big Risks.” Those decisions that I made and actions I took have lead me to amazing places that I didn’t imagine possible in my life and in my career. One of my biggest risk taking moments in my personal life was when I went through a divorce. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever gone through in my life. Read more>>