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.

Casie “Tynee” Goshow | Dance Educator & Owner

Taking risks in any career can be unnerving. I think some of the best things that have happened thus far in my career are because I took a risk. Before I get to that maybe I should define what risk means to me. Risk to me means taking an action that will have possible consequences. One of the biggest risks I took was walking into an agency only dance class for Adidas. My friend was signed to a dance agency at the time and told me about it. She said, “Casie you are perfect for this, you have to go.” Going to an agency only call is a risk because sometimes there can be consequences if someone finds out that you are not signed. In this case it worked out, because I booked the job. I got to be myself, a bgirl dancing in her bedroom with adidas clothes on. Read more>>

Alvin Rangel | Yoga Teacher & Dance Educator

Risks have played an important part in my personal and professional life. My definition of risk taking is framed within a positive connotation. I consider taking risks as acts of courage, tenacity, GRIT and vulnerability. However, I know many people who consider risk taking as negative, irresponsible and selfish acts in ones life. Taking risks has allowed me to leave my comfort zone in order to expand my capacity to learn, develop and shape both my professional and personal life. We are often trapped by our fears, limiting our capacity to make decisions that in our heart we know are the correct for our growth. My experience has led me to understand that taking risks are a necessary part of our human existence. Without risks, we would not enjoy many of the things we do today. Read more>>

Mary Scholz | Touring Singer-Songwriter & Recording Artist

Taking risks opens a window of opportunities that would have not presented themselves otherwise. Read more>>

Erin Rouse | Founder & Principal at Tennis Anywear

I am one to jump off a cliff without a bungie cord or parachute, trusting that in following my heart with purpose, I will land safely somewhere. This is how it feels to me as an entrepreneur. Except, I haven’t landed anywhere; instead, I’ve built wings to glide. And maybe there will be no landing, rather, a constant fluidity of creativity and growth, being comfortable with being uncomfortable. I have met people, who reach for stability and certainty. “I just want something stable,” he/she might say in choosing a career. And I have read that we are more afraid of uncertainty than we are of pain, a finding shared in “Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently”, by Beau Lotto. Read more>>

Melvin Diaz | Comedian & Entrepreneur

I welcome risk. I welcome it with open arms. It’s something that doesn’t deter me when making decisions. I always feel that the bigger the risk, the sweeter the reward. Now, I know that this is not always the case, but for the most part it is for me. Every major life changing decision I have made in my life have all included major risk. I’m at a point that if something is not risky, then it doesn’t really excite me anymore. I left a full ride scholarship at a university to pursue my dream of being a stand up comedian. Even though I went back to get my degree, at the time I did it without a safety net or a plan b. I can’t imagine my life or where I’d be if I didn’t take this chance, my life changed forever in the best way possible. Read more>>

Johanna Tropiano | Human Rights Activist, Author & Speaker

I’ve stumbled into risk taking. It’s not necessarily a trait I would have chosen for myself, but I’m told over and over again by friends and colleagues that one of the things they most admire about me is my lack of fear for “stepping into new things.” This year I’m turning 40, and as I look back at my life and career, I definitely see a pattern of “risky” decisions. I’ve never been afraid of change and the challenges that come with that. But I suppose it’s more how we define risk. Most of the key decisions in my life that others would view as “risky”, felt more like taking the risk was the only option especially if I wanted to grow as a person. So I would say yes, risk is good, but it’s most definitely been calculated and centered around personal and professional growth. Every decision I’ve made, personal or careerwise, I’ve made trusting I would be ok whatever the outcome. Read more>>

Jennifer Kramer | Founder, Owner & Clinical Director

There is an element of risk in every decision we make. More often than not, doing nothing is riskier! I have plenty of fears but I know that opportunity lies in taking chances. I do this in both life and career by simply comparing the way things are currently (today and now) to what it could be if I take that risk. You know what’s cool? My confidence has increased the more I fail! Such a strange statement but it’s true- I’m so less attached to the result of the risk I take and more on the process because,,, a) it’s more fun b) I’m no worse off and c) it’s a numbers game: at some point, I’m going to win! Work is a perfect example of my risk taking. I started my own skin clinic when I was 23 years old. For the first 17 years, I worked by myself until one day I decided to grow my business so I could help more people. Read more>>

Melvin Diaz | Comedian & Entrepreneur

I welcome risk. I welcome it with open arms. It’s something that doesn’t deter me when making decisions. I always feel that the bigger the risk, the sweeter the reward. Now, I know that this is not always the case, but for the most part it is for me. Every major life changing decision I have made in my life have all included major risk. I’m at a point that if something is not risky, then it doesn’t really excite me anymore. I left a full ride scholarship at a university to pursue my dream of being a stand up comedian. Even though I went back to get my degree, at the time I did it without a safety net or a plan b. I can’t imagine my life or where I’d be if I didn’t take this chance, my life changed forever in the best way possible. This success then inspired me to start my own business and create my own app, called xLines, which has started to find success in Los Angeles this year. Read more>>

Emily Cummings | Yoga/Pilates Instructor & Creator of Body Language

I think that risk taking is instrumental when it comes to building a business. If you are committed to always playing it safe then you will never move beyond the confines of your comfort zone. I took a huge risk in leaving my corporate career in order to become a Yoga Instructor. Each time that I stood up in from of rooms full of people, I took a risk in teaching authentically and from the heart. I’ve taken many risks in my business, some have been successful in moving me forward towards my goals, and some have been successful in teaching me what works and what doesn’t work for my business. Taking risks, is like jumping out of an airplane and having total trust that your parachute will open and that your feet will eventually touch the Earth again. Without faith you would never jump. Read more>>

Manuel Del Valle | Film Director & Producer

There is an innate need content producers have to explore ideas that are not conventional or accepted by general standards. This organic form of inspiration is often numbed by the need to succeed or make audiences happy. This begs a critical question; is cinema supposed to be molded for the audience, or is the artist only inviting the watcher to join him/her in his own catharsis? I believe it’s very valid to state that the answer varies from medium to medium and artist to artist. Everybody talks about risk-taking as an artist but not many people debate about risktaking as a content consumer. In my own experience, I have formed a strong inclination to produce content I would be hesitant to experience as a movie watcher myself. Read more>>

Danielle Taylor | Singer-Songwriter

Taking risk is 100% built into the music business. There are so many different ways to find success as an artist… and each one presents a zig zag obstacle course of risks. My personal journey has been fraught with mistakes — poorly mitigated risks that were presented in shiny packages intended to dazzle. Unfortunately for as much talent as there is in the business, there’s an equal number of wolves in sheep’s clothing hoping to take advantage of a hopeful heart and a deep pocket. I started my musical journey in 2008 – I didn’t know anything about anything but I knew I wanted to sing. Over time, I learned to play an instrument (piano), to write songs… to be a business woman. The first opportunity to do something exciting came in 2010, in the form of an “Artist Showcase.” Read more>>

Taylor Bay Jackson & Jordyn Belle Jackson | Social Entrepreneurs & Founders

When my sister Jordyn and I were 10 and 5 years old, we started our charity Soaring Samaritans Youth Movement to help children living in difficult circumstances. I was reserved and conscious of how others viewed me. This mindset kept me from stepping outside of my comfort zone. However, being a founder of a charity at a young age forced me to take risks. I had to learn that being uncomfortable is the key to success. We had to converse with CEOs of companies who were looking to partner or donate to us, make friends with children from other countries (who spoke different languages), speak in front of crowds of people we didn’t know, and get more creative with the ways that we raise money and the types of donations we make. Read more>>

Justin Emord | Bassist, Love and a .38 & The Pride

As an artist, risk is introduced as soon as you dare to dream. Whether it’s going on your first international tour, or rock climbing in the darkest of desert nights to capture the perfect photograph, risk takes on many different forms and on many different levels. For me, I’ve always been a proactive type of person and would regret not doing something more than I’d regret doing something and possibly not getting the results I expected or hoped for because at least I tried and gave it my best effort. They always say you miss all the shots you don’t take and that’s something I try to live by in both my creative and personal life and thus far, I think it’s served me well. Without risk, I wouldn’t be where I want to be. Read more>>

Kevin Hicks | Trombonist & Musician

There’s always risk. Especially when you’ve moved as much as I have. I’ve moved to Japan, Utah, Texas, Florida and California to live and anytime you move to a new city (or country) you risk everything. I’ve learned to rely on my musical abilities and skills to prove why I belong in a new scene. I have also learned to keep a great reputation for being on time and prepared for gigs as well as easy to hang out with. Those things, plus my sight-reading skills and musical memory, allow me to take risks and play and perform with people I’ve never met without even rehearsing. As a business owner I take risks every time I invest in creating a new product. The product might not be of any value to anyone and flop. There are also risks on a daily basis. I often drive to the places I work and driving comes with its risks especially in Los Angeles. We all have to accept a certain amount of risk and I believe more so as a creative person /business. Read more>>

Kimberly Meredith | Medical Intuitive Medium -Author

I believe the manifestation of my work has nothing to do with belief but everything to do with what is real. I welcomed my abilities to be tested with multiple organizations who investigate energetic phenomena including Dr C Norman Shealy, founder of the American Holistic Medical Association, Psy Ten Subtle Energy Laboratory and Research Facility and the IONS Institute of Noetic Sciences. I also enjoy medical reading people live on radio and podcast shows or walking into an audience of thousands or people where I can see into bodies and know who has what emotional or physical sickness. After my Near-Death experience in 2013 I lived through a car accident and long intense recovery this led me to my reapeance of my blinking eyes that I now can communicate my gifts thru GOD. Read more>>

Kris Crews | Writer

Risk is uncomfortable, but necessary. For so long I avoided taking risks out of fear that things wouldn’t work out or that it would make my current situation worse. After betting on myself and stepping out of of my comfort zone, I began seeing how taking risks actually helped me grow and learn more about myself and what I am truly capable of. From time to time, I think to myself “what would’ve happened if I didn’t take that risk?” and that thought alone continues to push me to take risks, even if it’s difficult, because it reminds me that I truly never know what will happen until I try. I would rather take a chance than continue wondering “what if” for years to come. Read more>>

Karrie Ross | Artist, Book Designer, Visual Artist & Consultant

My Mother had a phrase she encouraged me with “What is the harm in asking as long as you accept the fact that the response might be no?” As a small girl I never imagined what affect that phrase would have on my life, where a fascination with questions would take me. Taking ‘calculated’ risk is something that happens with each project I create. I begin with questions, exploring, and planning the experience, there is no failure just seeing in a new, different perspective. I assess all aspects and ways to proceed. Then it’s just a matter of doing it. A gathering of materials, and trial and error phase help in discovering the vision. Over my 40+ year career in advertising, marketing, sales, consulting, I found out just how important asking questions, taking risk, and thinking there is no failure can be. Read more>>

Rustic Bodomov | Hollywood Stuntman & Content Creator

I’m a professional stuntman. So you could say that my job is inherently dangerous, and therefore full of risks! But as a deeper answer to your question, “risk tolerance” is something I’ve had to learn, not something I started with. You see, I grew up in a strict Russian immigrant family, which meant I always had to be the best student in my class, and I had to follow along a prescribed path laid out by my parents. So when I made the decision to take some time out of college, and move out to Los Angeles to get into the film industry.. you could say that was a pretty big risk! Calculated, but still a risk.. Since then, I’ve taken hundreds of physical risks (through my career in stunts) and business/creative risks (through my creative projects), and I’ve grown more accustomed to uncertainty. Read more>>

Phillip Silverstein | Artist & Entrepreneur

Well, I wouldn’t have a career or half of the photos that I have without taking risks. Flying in a helicopter, sneaking on top of 60 story buildings, speeding to make sunset in time are all parts of this job. Without chasing magic, you’ll never find it. Risks have been a part of this since the start. I took a risk when I quit my full time job, I took many risks traveling to 3rd world countries, I’ve risked losing my luggage for a photo (tossing it amidst a 600 stair climb to make sunset on time while in Japan.) I’ve been detained in Morocco for illegally flying a drone, I was headed to Dubai the following week and was focused on getting my UAE drone permit, completely missing the fact that drones were also illegal in Morocco. Read more>>

Daniella Batsheva | Illustrator & Designer

I view risk taking as an absolute necessity. As an artist, your goal should be to go above and beyond in creating something fresh and eye-catching. In order to do that, you need to be comfortable with taking risks. I don’t believe anyone is truly afraid of breaking the mold; it’s failure that scares people out of taking a risk. For me, I’ve always told myself, “If you have a plan B, you’ll fall back on it.” That sink or swim attitude might be torturous for some people, but it’s helped me achieve my goals. I work splendidly in chaos. If I’d have played it safe, I wouldn’t have pursued illustration, I wouldn’t have moved out to LA, and I wouldn’t have accomplished all that I have. Any career in the arts these days requires risk. The real question is, how comfortable are you with failing? Read more>>

Nikki Parisi | Celebrity Hair Makeup & Wardrobe Stylist

Risk taking has literally been, and all I do on a daily basis. I have had to follow my heart, I have had to tell some people no to one job, to take another, hoping that’s what the universe actually needed me to do, to better my future. I have had to try to do new things I have never done before, but, because I knew, someone else could be had, I went for it anyway. When I was 21, I took off in a car to Las Vegas, NV, after a bunch of my good friends moved there. I did this, because, I had secretly gotten into makeup school in LA and I didn’t want to tell my parents, and I figured coming to Vegas, would put me closer to LA. Then when I was 24, I took off to LA, and it was so scary for me. I had not a lot of money, but I knew I had to make it here. It was my destiny in my heart and in my soul. Read more>>