Legend holds that Cornelius Vanderbilt had built a massive fortune in the steamboat shipping industry, but then realized the railroads were the way of the future and invested almost his entire net worth into railroads. The gamble paid off and made Vanderbilt one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs ever. But risks are inherently…risky. How do you think about risk and how has it affected your life and career? Some of our community favorites share their perspective below.

Jerica Scott: Owner & Founder of Fini Candles

Taking risks is important, to never take risks means you will never move from where you are right now. The way I see it is even if you fall right on your face, you still gain the insight and learn from any mistakes made. The word risk it’s self is made to have a negative connotation but it’s risks that have made every successful person successful. Risk taking was a huge part of starting my business, it was something that I wanted to do for a really long time. I finally took the leap and quit my 9-5, it was the scariest risk I’ve ever taken and it’s the one that paid off the most. Read more>>

Katie Walter: Nomad, Humanitarian, Speaker, Actress, Model

From the outside looking in, most people see my life as full of risk – around every turn – but I would call it more TRUST than anything else! I am a strong believer that we are always in our “right place at the right time” and I learned very young that we can trust that with everything – even when it would appear to our limited perspective that things aren’t going our way! Read more>>

Tyaun Drake: Shade /Accessories Brand

Risk Taking , when people think about taking risk there hearts starts beating fast palms get all sweaty and they tend to talk themselves out of doing something that can actually change there life’s. Read more>>

Cyann Ribeiro: Actress/ Author/ Model

I think life is all about the chances you take, and those chances usually involve some sort of risk. I moved from Boston to Los Angeles with no apartment. Sold all my stuff a d took back my deposit and bought a one way ticket. But if I didn’t take the risk of losing it all, I wouldn’t have all I have today Read more>>

Michael Schatz: Screenwriter

I think risk is an essential part of trying to break into Hollywood. I had always known I wanted to be in the film/TV industry, and knew that meant having to be in LA. However, I had never once stepped foot in California, let alone Los Angeles. Read more>>

Calabama: Hot sauce maker/private chef

I believe very strongly in taking risks. Fortune favors the bold is what I go by. Taking risks has played a big role in my success, I don’t think I would be where I am without them. I make a point to not listen to nay sayers and negativity. Believe your gut, trust yourself and your ideas, take the risk. Read more>>

Alex Gordillo: Visual Development Artist/Background Painter

Stepping out of my comfort zone is an essential part of my career, If I am in my comfort zone for too long, I know that most likely I’m not learning and that I have probably reached a plateau. I always make my biggest artistic strides forward when I’ve stepped into unfamiliar territory where I run the risk of failure. Without taking these risks often, it would become near impossible to improve. Read more>>

Fabrizio Daniele: Actor, Producer & Director

You know, I once read something along the lines of: “Do what is easy, and your life will be hard. Do what is hard, and your life will be easy!” Having to take risks, increases the stakes of the possible outcome. I deeply believe that the higher the stakes, the more effort, passion and commitment one will put into his or her work. So taking risks has been my absolute mantra in life, and it all started with my parents. They took a huge risk by leaving their country and immigrate to Switzerland. I’m just following a very good example by coming to the US and leaving my comfort-zone behind. Read more>>

NEVRMIND: Award Winning Dance Artist

Risks have always been my agenda. From a young age I always had the curiosity to “find out”. So I often think about if I never stopped working 9-5’s where would I be today. I was working a position that exceeded my qualifications, age group, and education. At the time I was painting the “perfect” picture of a typical college student. Then I quit, and went all in with my music career. Can’t say it was easy, but it was definitely worth it. Read more>>

Molly Cummings: Graphic Designer Extraordinary

In order to accomplish anything in life, we must take action. There is a movie I like to quote when people aren’t making a change yet they are complaining that nothing is changing. Simply “if you don’t want to get wet, yet all you do is stand in the rain, what the hell did you think was going to happen.” Read more>>

Olivia Michael: Actor

Risk-taking has played an important role in my journey thus far. My decision to pursue acting was a risk in and of itself. I began ballet training at the age of two and started acting in plays and musicals shortly after. I have always been passionate about acting and performance, but I never felt like those activities were secure and stable career options. Read more>>

Shranjay Arora: Director, Cinematographer & Editor

My dad still jokes about how my name “Shranjay” is just another term for Risk-taking, and he taunts my ability to be confident in taking risks. Not only has it cost me a lot in the past but also changed me completely. I understand his caring perspective, but I have lived all my life thinking nothing happens in comfort zone. Read more>>

Jade Watson: SickBird Productions Founder

My name is Jade Watson and I run a full service production company here in LA called SickBird. We specialize in video production, graphic design, copywriting and audio engineering. I believe that risk is essential in any business. Read more>>

Sunny War: Singer Songwriter

I believe nothing great ever happens to people unwilling to take risks. When I was 21 I was living with 4 roommates in a two bedroom apartment and working full time as a mall janitor. I was very depressed because I had no time to pursue music and thought I’d work at the mall forever. Read more>>

Tatyana Komaguchi “Guchi”: Stand Up Comedian and Actor

Perhaps the funniest part about my response, as I’m in the middle of a risk I decided to take in order to bring to life a sketch that I believe in. Risks are in essential part of success. CEOs, business owners don’t become successful because they complied. They continue to take risks, and continuously failed until they were right. Read more>>

Michael Hayden: Painter

I’ve always been a creative person but the decision to focus on fine art as a career was the first of many risks I’ve taken. In my 20’s living in NYC, I was always looking for ways to make extra money. I started a side business painting apartments and refinishing floors. Once I was asked to paint a marble finish on dining room walls and I said yes before even knowing how to do it. Read more>>

Nicholas Setter: Composer/Producer

As someone who tends to overthink the possible outcomes of important decisions, I’ve found it difficult to take risks at times. I can get caught up in weighing the pros and cons of a situation, but at some point you need to move forward and accept what you decided. Of course this depends on what we’re talking about because certain decisions can have more of an impact on your life than others, but following your gut is important. Read more>>

Dana Hamilton: Anti-Diet Dating Coach

The most notable risk–that ultimately led me to create my business–was when I decided to live on the road for a few years right before the pandemic. I left New York in 2017 to “try on” multiple cities to live in and, because I was a single sex & dating columnist for Playboy at the time, learn the dating cultures of each. Read more>>

Adam Welton: CEO, Mad Hatter Entertainment

Society is structured against people who take risks. Unfortunately, It’s easier to be a robot, a slave to the system, a ‘yes man.” It makes 8 billion people easier to control. What would society be like on the other end if everyone was always taking extreme risks at all times? Complete chaos! This is why creators, artists, and people like us are viewed as anomalies, eccentric, or sometimes they “celebrate” who we are because of the risks they’ve seen us take, which is where we get the word “celebrity.” Read more>>

Kate Davies: Owner, YO BK

I’ve always been attracted to risk as it brings opportunity, adventure and a bigger, more meaningful life. I believe in trusting my gut and looking for what’s possible. At 17, I shocked my my liberal New York parents by choosing to attend a University in Texas, which was far outside the expectation of a NYC private school kid! I fell in love with yoga and biked 5 miles daily from school to the studio to practice. I knew right away that I wanted to teach yoga and own a studio. Read more>>

Jack Conway: Songwriter | Artist | Producer

As humans, we have a natural survival instinct – which places comfort over risk, because taking risks is venturing into the unknown. Still, as the saying goes: “The greater the risk, the greater the reward” & I have seen that statement hold true in my life countless times. Read more>>

Alan Jones: Drummer, Composer, Producer, Educator, Student

risk challenges you, tests you, puts you in uncomfortable situations, forces you to come up with creative solutions, provides the conditions for growth…but then you need time to chill Read more>>

Heta Kuchka: Visual Artist

I believe that my motto: “never think before you jump,” has taken my career forward. Working on a crazy idea feels like stepping off a cliff knowing you can’t fly just crossing your fingers that this will be one hell of an artwork. Once I had an exhibition coming up in 6 weeks, sitting at my studio getting nothing done. Read more>>

Da’Vae Dukes: Singer/Songwriter, Producer, Engineer, & Founder of Kids Grow Up To Fly LLC

I look at risk as a necessary component of my career. I take a risk with the experimental instrumentals I use for songs, the raw lyrics I include, and how I present myself to the world. Taking risks has allowed me to drive through any challenges that have stunted my growth previously. I took a risk with releasing my first song, “Neon Brown,” since I was never taught how to sing or play the guitar. I haven’t looked back since. All the risks I’ve taken in my life have only pushed me forward. Read more>>

Fay Blackmore

I have always thought of myself as a very risky person. Most of my life I have been taking risks often on a whim of thinking I am in control or that the universe has my back. As I have gotten older the risks I take are definitely more thought out. Now when I think about risk I try to assess if this going to be worth it. If what I am hoping comes out of the risk doesn’t happen, am I going to be okay? Read more>>

Lyric Brklyn: Entrepreneur

I definitely believe that risk taking is very important as an entrepreneur because you will never know until you try. It is always important to calculate the risks and the potential results to see if it is worth taking. Risk taking has played a major role in my success and has given me so many opportunities to grow and learn as an entrepreneur. Read more>>

Kyle Confehr: Mural Artist and Designer

Someone told me once; “Any time you put a piece of artwork on the wall, there’s a 50% chance it will sell and there’s a 50% chance it won’t.” That comment was specific to hanging work in a gallery setting at the time but I think it holds true for most creators. We’re taking a risk every time we put a piece out there and try to sell it. Someone’s will dig it and someone won’t. When I look at the choices I’ve made in my career through that lense it keeps me humble and it also makes me think; “wow, I’ve got a lot more work to make.” Read more>>

John Paul Horstmann: Filmmaker, Producer, Editor, Director

To me, taking risks is the only way to truly grow.  Filmmakers are natural risk-takers. And that’s why they always fail. 
You see, failure is good. Success is only possible when you no longer fear failure.  You need to take risks, fail and fail again, until you are no longer afraid. Read more>>

Jose Negrete: Photographer & Event Production

Risk taking is necessary for growth. Pushing yourself to do something new or something you might be anxious or scared about will always lead to a new lesson. Taking calculated risks has helped me grow and learn and achieve new levels in my life. Not all risks have panned out the way I wanted them to. Read more>>

Jennifer Brodmann: Finance Professor & Researcher

I have often taken risks in my different career directions, making conscious decisions that I felt passionate about. Once my mind is set, obstacles will not deter me from my achieving my goal. This has led me to entrepreneurship, deciding to pursue an MBA, as well as a Masters and PhD in Financial Economics. Read more>>

Michale Sturdevant: Photographer & Videographer

Risk is a necessity when shooting for your dreams. I lived such a calculated life with little room for acceptance of failure; often to a point where I missed out on even trying. It wasn’t until I approached life with risk that I got to experience the best highlights of my personal and professional career. I still live in the midst of risk today, but that comes with the territory of turning dreams into memories. . Read more>>

Emiliana Guereca: Entrepreneur/Activist

My career has completely been build on being a risk-taker; I’ve been a risk-taker by my circumstances and not necessarily by choice. Growing up in poverty makes you take risks. I’ve been fortunate enough to be rewarded by the risks I’ve taken. Read more>>

Wade C. Long: Musician-Producer

Risk is everything! I can’t think of anything great ever done without a huge amount of risk connected to it. Wherever risk is involved I ‘ve learned you can expect fear to be right behind it. For me, the key to progressing in spite of risk and fear is recognizing the risk involved in not trying to reach a goal is normally greater than the fear in going for it. So, go for it! Read more>>

JAY STEEL: Model, Artist, Skateboarder

Well I honestly feel like if you don’t take risks in life, in your career, or with any new opportunity you’ll always live with that never ending question of “what if” I think risks are so important in your career, especially when you’re young! I look at high risks with the potential of having a high reward! When i’ve taken risks with my career and my life, i feel even more empowered and motivated than if I hadn’t. Read more>>

Alex Roma: Indie Pop Artist

Without taking risks and diving into the unknown, I would not be where I am today with my music. Since the moment I stepped out on a stage for the first time, almost every move that I have made involves risk. Writing songs is already something that is not easy, but sharing them opens up a whole new level of vulnerability. Read more>>

Will Collette: YouTuber & PR Expert

If you don’t risk anything, you’re guaranteeing a lifeless outcome. I like to take chances of risk anytime the odds won’t get me killed or hurt someone else. And even then, I’m still gambling my life when I take a car on a race track at high speed or jump out of an airplane. But the moments I’m closest to death are when I feel most alive. Read more>>

Jane Clark: Filmmaker

Every new production you enter into as an independent filmmaker is, almost without exception, a risky proposal. Some of that risk revolves around putting together a project that has the best chance of reaching an audience and earning money. Read more>>

Madeline Northway: Photographer & Director

Essentially, anyone pursuing a career in a creative field is “taking a risk” simply by choosing that path. However, there are no guarantees in life; even for someone with a Masters Degree and a salary job. I think the pandemic has made that very clear. So how I see it, no matter what you do in life, there is an element of risk. So why not place your bet on something that you truly love to do and are passionate about? Read more>>

Alia Glasgow: Professional organizer and interior stylist

When I was studying to become a preschool teacher (my first career) I read a book called “The Blessings of a Skinned Knee.” I admit I don’t recall much about the book other than the title and the basic idea of allowing children space to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them. Read more>>

Kevin James Barry: Screenwriter/Director

When I decided to start production on my first feature film I was still in college and was not feeling 100% ready to jump into such a big project. I had a lot of apprehension about starting a long term project with a lot of people who were volunteering. Read more>>