How do you think about risk? What role has taking risks played in your life/career? Check out responses from hidden gems from our community below.

Ameya Saraf | Composer and Music Producer

For the longest time, I grew up hearing “You should always have something to fall back on”. Noble and cautious as the notion is, it just never sat well with me. I am very much of a black or white person, it has its advantages and disadvantages and I at this point, have just accepted them. I don’t like Plan B’s, I am not a fan of them. I like to go all in. I dropped out of university to pursue music and I still don’t regret it. You just approach everything with so much fire inside you that it only propels you to move forward. Read more>>

Grayson Thorne Kilpatrick | Actor/Writer/Director/Producer

If I had not taken Risk I would not be the person I am today. Being an Actor is not an easy road to travel. I think back when I first started in this business I never thought I would be living in Los Angeles today. I was born in Huntsville, AL all my family lived in South. But I knew I love being on set and playing different characters. When I was given the opportunity to go to Los Angeles to film it was exciting and scary at the same time. I wanted to go but I knew I would be leaving all my friends and family. But I knew I had to take the chance. I am just so thankful my parents believed in me to also take a leap of faith. Read more>>

Michelle Yoon | Mobile Game Art Director, Storyboard Artist

I think risk taking is a big part of an artist life in general. Generally speaking, art students are often faced with 2 career choices after graduation – stable commercial work or their dream art job. As a fresh Animation graduate, I’ve taken the stable commercial route myself instead of pushing for movie career path. This is when I first took risk for the beginning of my art career. I moved from Toronto, Ontario to Minneapolis, MN in a heartbeat. As an amateur adult, I’ve faced many hurdles by myself in a new foreign city. Read more>>

Pricelis Dominguez | Coach, Advocate, Creator, and Educator.

Risk begins when we begin to exist in the world. Pregnancy and birth are two pretty risky things. When people choose that path, it includes a lot of things that can be risky – like eating the wrong thing or having risks come up in labor. So we start life with someone taking risks on our behalf and passing that spirit of risk-taking to us through the womb. Then we begin to live life as babies and children and risks come with that – from crawling in dangerous places to putting things in our mouth that we aren’t concerned or aware if it’s clean. And it continues in high school and college and then adulthood hits and we seem to sometimes forget the risk-taking approaches we took in the years prior. Read more>>

Gianni Taylor | Artist

Risk taking is one thing that I have learned to get comfortable with, and that I wouldn’t be where I am today without. From stealing blank cd’s from the store up the street when I had no money so that I could burn my music on to them and try to sell them at school, to dropping out of college while I was on a full ride scholarship for basketball to go on tour with an artist I’ve never met, to moving to LA with no money saved up and just trusting my work ethic to figure it out, all the way to releasing a country song after everyone knew me for making hip hop. Read more>>

AIRYVISION & CO. | Creative Director, Commercial Branding & Experience Design

“Playing it safe” is really the biggest risk in the world. Therefore we all are risk takers of some degree. From a stargazing concept, to the point of physical manifestation, true risk taking means believing in yourself enough to put in the real life work required to continue the manifestation of your most deepest desires. Less than 5% of our population fall within this catagory as true risk takers. Therefore, you can’t always look outside of yourself to friends and family, to find confirmation from others that you are on the right path. My ability and willingness to learn from life’s trial and errors, and move beyond the fear that proceeds them, is what has now allowed me to continue my advancement forward, at the current rate that I am. Read more>>

Shauvik Sharan | Music Artist; goes by ‘Flyght Club’

Risk taking to me is less about chasing a big reward but about the absolute thrill that comes with it. The heart-throbbing anxiety and fist-clenching excitement that constantly keeps your mind occupied as you put your faith in your blind optimism and hope that the risk you took plays out in your favor is really interesting to me yet it is this ability to take risks that has caused us to evolve socially and culturally to where we are at today. Risk taking is a very important factor in my life and career as a music artist trying to make it big in the industry. I was a 17 year old kid in India when I decided I wanted to move to Los Angeles to try my hand in the global music. industry and ever since then risk taking has been a regular part and aspect of my life. Read more>>

Catherine Feliz | Artist & Herbalist

I think about risk as catalysts for change, and maybe even adventure! The more we listen to our gut and follow our hearts the more we exercise two very ancient life skills: intuition and purpose. Risk taking has really played a major role in my life and also in my decision to start Bótanica Cimarrón. It was always a big gamble to follow my heart because coming from a poor first-generation immigrant background you’re told that the only way to “make it” is to follow a prefabricated professional path because this society doesn’t value enough the skill sets of artists and traditional healers. But the call within me was always too strong to ignore. During the pandemic I found myself collecting unemployed checks and with extra time on my hands, so I funneled all of that money and energy into building this dream that I had been sitting with. LOL so yes the brand was 100% self funded with unemployment checks. Read more>>

Dani Pelkola | Vintage Curator

I would say every small business owner becomes familiar with risk. You learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’ve taken so many risks with this business since day one! But sometimes the riskiest moves come with the biggest payoff. I think the biggest risk I took was rebranding during a pandemic, but I feel that it paid off in the end. On a personal note, the biggest risk I’ve taken is having a baby with my boyfriend even though we hadn’t been together very long. I wouldn’t recommend that to everyone, but luckily I found my soul mate in him. Read more>>

Mia X RockNRolla | Herbalist, Reiki Master & RockNRolla

The definition of risk is being exposed to danger, harm, or loss. Some may find the idea of risk scary or intimidating and I’m guessing it’s because they are not comfortable with the idea of danger, harm, or loss. People feel comfortable with what they know. Growing up with a lot of trauma in the household made me well versed in the definition of risk. Trauma makes a sink or swim scenario. I realized early on that for me to reach any goals, I needed to set myself on a journey to find tools to gain inner strength and coping mechanisms for times of great hardships. Read more>> 

Jessica Joines | Spiritual Coach for Female Execs & Founder of Women’s Purpose Community

I am a big fan of risk and it has absolutely fueled my business and soul purpose. Because here’s the thing, something is only perceived to be “risky” when we have fear attached to it. The majority of our fears are unfounded; manifestations of the ego self. Therefore, I purposefully have a practice I employ in my life and business where I work hard to NOT take actions aligned with where the voice of fear is guiding me (e.g., don’t do it, you’ll fail, etc.). I instead follow my heart and higher self guidance, even if on the surface, this seems “risky.” This included, making the decision to step away from my successful advertising career in 2011 to spend a year on a spiritual solo-travel journey. To eventually walking away from my Global CMO role to start a spiritual coaching business. While all these choices could have been perceived as risky — they weren’t. Because they followed the directly my soul was leading me towards. And where our soul leads us is never risky, even though, our egos like to tell us otherwise. Read more>>

Tiffany Giang | Real Estate Agent

I believe risk is a necessary component for growth and is an inevitable part of everyone’s life. Whether or not the outcome is favorable, the experiences shape us to be who we are today. Prior to my real estate journey, I worked for a property management company in Downtown Los Angeles as a leasing agent for five years. Although my passion and love for helping people find their homes grew, I felt a level of complacency in my career and uncertainty of what to do next amidst COVID19. I found myself lost in my own self defeating thoughts: “What if I fail?” “ What if I don’t even like it?” I knew one thing for certain – I needed to take the risk and stop grappling with self-doubt. I took online classes and studied for my real estate license during my off time. I made it my prerogative to network and meet more people in the real estate world. Read more>>

Monika McKenzie | Yoga & Wellness Teacher and Entrepreneur

I would classify myself as a big risk taker when it comes to lifestyle, financial and career decisions. The risks are calculated but risks nonetheless. Risks are majorly scary, and I am a person who experiences a lot of fear and anxiety in general, so it is kind of ironic that I do take such big swings in life. Moving to an island I’d never been to in the middle of the sea was a risk, starting a yoga studio and signing that years-long lease was a risk, and I’m in the process of building out a company among some other major projects in the works where my initial thought is “I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, but here we go.” Read more>>

Calvin Waterman | Graphic Designer & Artist

My first lesson in risk came Christmas Eve when I was two and half. My best friend Emma and I were having a stair jumping contest. She went first and jumped a single step. Even though the X Games did not exist at the time, you could say I went full ‘X Games Mode’ and decided to jump six stairs. I spiral fractured my leg, spent the night at the ER and left with a bright blue cast. In that moment I learned every action I want to take is a calculation in risk/reward, maybe in that case I could have still won with a three stair jump and left with all my legs. Now I use risk as a motivator, dipping my toe into things that feel risky if I see the reward as net-positive on my life. Read more>>

Markos Alexandrou | Farmer

Calculated risk taking is a necessary mechanism for change. If you are unhappy with the status quo then you might need to take a risk or two in order to improve things. For me personally, taking calculated risks payed off on multiple occasions. I made a radical change in my career trajectory (from PhD academic to livestock farmer). It has taken a few years to make the business profitable but now it’s starting to really take off. The harder I work, the more money I make. That’s something that cannot be said for most salaried jobs. The success comes with a major sense of satisfaction and pride, especially considering that most of my friends and family discouraged me from the move. Read more>>

Charles Benoit | Photographer

There is nothing more important than taking risks in a career. Risks are an opportunity to reach out of your comfort zone for opportunities that you wouldn’t normally go for. Once you are out of your comfort zone, fear enters the arena. Once you’re afraid then you will do everything in your power not to fail until you succeed. Risks in my career took the role in getting me out to Los Angeles in the first place. If I didn’t take the risk to come out to LA to pursue my dream of photography, I would never have had the pressure to make my art in order to pay my rent. Therefore it was either make it in photography or not pay my rent. Read more>>

Lisa Jenkins | Public Relations Consultant, Certified Domestic Violence Advocate, Author, Graduate Student, App Developer

When I think of risks, I first think about my WHY. If I am considering whether or not to do something knowing that it may or may not work how I see it in my head, it becomes a calculated risk, and something that I must do no matter what. The past eights years of my life has been full of personal and professional risks that I accepted scared and all. Nervous and all. Doubtful and all. Every important decision I have made since June 28, 2013 – the day my new life started – I made knowing and accepting the potential risks no matter what they were. All because my WHY was bigger than me. Bigger than my fear. Bigger than what if. Read more>>

Anika Murthy | Finance nerd turned Designer & Stylist

To me, risk is about taking chances in order to fulfill a dream. I went to school for Finance, and always knew a business degree would get me far, regardless of what specific industry I wanted to pursue. Growing up in the Bay Area, tech was always a natural path to take and it was easy to tell myself that finance in the tech world was a “safe” place to start. And it was, but I quickly realized there was something missing. Something creative, something that helped me express what makes me, me. Read more>>

André Montano | Actor & Model

As far as the meaning behind it all, “why are we here, what is the meaning of life?” yada, yada, etc. etc. I have always found solace in one obligatorily simple answer I came to terms with, within myself, quite some time ago; life is just the act of living. To live and truly have a life of your own, takes an immense amount of sacrifice and courage, both of which are required in progression and innovation. To risk, is a contract within ones self that is written in unbridled inner faith, un influenced by logic or destiny or outside distraction. To gather the past and presently make actions, within a moment, that will undoubtedly, dictate the outcomes of branches of your future. To live, to risk, to gather; in my opinion, the purpose of it all. Read more>>

Johnny Rome | Filmmaker (Director, Writer, Producer)

The fear associated with taking a risk often stems from losing something that has brought you comfort. For me, I don’t think I’ve had the comfort, to begin with. Maybe that’s a really selfish thing for me to say, especially to those amazing people in my life who’ve donated the time, love, and support that has kept me from falling on my face. But after a childhood of being constantly berated and tossed around, it became hard for me to accept that I was deserving of comfort or the happiness that comes with it. So, every impulsive risk was one I took on, hoping to get one step closer to whatever I’ve been looking for. And even if through the worst of outcomes, I’ve found risk-taking to be a crucial element to defining myself as a person and an artist. Read more>>

Anthony (slimboogie) Vankova Armstrong | Movement specialist/dancer artist

Risk taking as a movement artist is always in full effect. From traveling outside the country and not knowing the people,food,or environment. To entering a competitive space and battling someone who is always winning. It’s a risk everyday even just sharing content on social media, now everything we do need to fit some mold, a trend. Either you are setting this trend which is a risk or you are following it. And myself find authentic motives extremely important. I strive to do this with every post, every entry to a comp or even a class to share information, conversations with friends exercising things like vulnerability is sometimes a huge risk in a community that somewhat thrives on being in the center. I constantly take the risk because i feel its what shows we are alive, that life exists outside of the bubble we call comfort. Read more>>

Mark Bernstein | Founder of Earthshot

I perceive risk from the view of an optimist. Despite all the bad things that happen around us, we can continue to find something positive to look forward to. And I am a technology optimist as well, in that I see technologies playing a role in helping create a better environment. I think some of that comes from Star Trek – watching the original series as a kid (actually in reruns as a kid) – where it seemed to me that technology was the enabler of a better world. But to achieve that we need to take risk. Now when I look back at Star Trek – the risks they took were pretty silly – and they brought them on. I’ve tried not to create risk unnecessarily. Read more>>

Malcolm Vinson | Realtor and Investor

“Bet on yourself, then double down.” That’s the motto I live by in regards to risk. In my opinion risk start with the confidence you have in yourself, you know how hard you can go, you know your limitations or lack thereof. From there you need a real plan as to how to get to your ultimate goals. When I set out and as I climb my way to the top I do so not by setting out to be the biggest and best agent out the gate, but instead I lay a brick by brick each day as perfectly as I can lay them, then before you know it boom I have a brick wall. Read more>>

Jair Burgos | Actor Producer

Risk taking has taken many interesting roles in my life and career for sure. For once living in 5 different states in my life for career opportunities. Then writing and producing my own movies having to use your own funds till you hit cero because you believe in yourself. Read more>>

Lilia Le Dieu | Producer & Director

I’m from Belarus and we have this saying in Russian: If you don’t take risks, you don’t drink champagne. Which, for me, means that you’re more likely to get rewarded when you’re brave. The best achievements I’ve had included a certain amount of risk, and I learned that if you feel scared, you’re probably on the right track. For example, I have done a reshoot of a film I’ve produced because the footage from the first shoot was ruined. The audio was also off. After trying to stitch this together and estimating the costs, we have decided to raise finance and do it all over again. Everyone said that I’m crazy. Other filmmakers tried to change my mind, saying that editing can fix everything. But the script was so good, I felt like it would be a waste – releasing it in a way that wasn’t translating the writer’s words at all. Read more>>

Alissa Medina | Writer & Strategist

When I first talking about social justice issues online, I was hit with a lot of criticism. It inspired my 60-page thesis for NYU on Reddit as a masculinist technology and a breeding ground for men’s rights activists. Since then, so many scholars have tapped into misogyny online. Taking that risk inspired a broader discussion which I helped contribute to. I love it when a risk pays off and you’re able to bring justice to a situation. And quite frankly, It’s a risk any time you post about social justice issues online. Fembot is an online magazine on feminism and social justice issues. The objective of this site is to bring awareness to issues millennials are caring about — and ultimately, talking about. And that takes a lot of courage to be behind. Read more>>

Janelle Hamilton | Journey to LA

Risk taking has played a major part in my life this past year. I grew up in Cleveland, OH and went to college to pursue a fashion career. I knew for a while that I wanted to move to LA so after graduating in May 2018 I told myself that I would move by the end of summer. End of summer turned into end of the year. I started turning to family and friends for advice and expressing my desires and goals. So many people told me that California is too expensive…. I need to save more or I need to look into other places to go because I’ll end up just moving back home. I let their fears get into my head and at some point let the thought go. I felt like maybe they were right.  Read more>>

Leah Raquel | Psychic Spiritual Healer

I’ve taken several risks in life and I continue to do so. From moving to Los Angeles from the mid west, to opening my first business as an esthetician and now starting another business after finding my life’s passion. I feel that it is very important to go for what you want and give it a try. If it doesn’t work out, the worst that can happen is you just try something else. But you will always learn and make memories. Read more>> 

Emmitt Hayes | Real Estate Broker & Business Man

Risk is very tricky. When I was in college my Finance professor used to always tell me low risk brings low reward and high risk high reward. Risk plays a big part in my business, not only do I have a realty company, Hayes Realty, but I also have an investment company where we buy, rehab, and resale single family homes. I’ve always considered myself a risk taker in business but not so much in life. Read more>>

Kevin Mejia | Gym Owner & Coach

As the owner of a gym during the COVID-era, risk is inherent. However, I’m a believer that fortune favors the bold. I never thought that I’d find myself in the fitness industry but a series of risks led me to the most enjoyable career I could ask for. I think that without risk you can never take great leaps towards what you want. Risking time and money should be no brainers for something you truly care about. It may be because I grew up skateboarding, mountain biking, and rock climbing that I’ve developed a desire to take risks for the rewards they reap. Those same risks and failures also set me up to be tenacious, never giving up on my goals, just because I fell, or lost a few bucks. Read more>>

Keith Friel | Creator of Utah Funk and multi instrumentalist

I built myself on risks! I quit everything i knew construction, good money, living in a home. I left my job and chose to pursue music, after a 7 year battle with heroin. I slept behind the Christian Science church on brooks ave in venice, i busked everyday so i could eat candy bars and sum pringles. It was the hardest times in my life but im so glad i did it. If i didnt take those risks i wouldnt be where i am today! I learned so much coming to LA. After years of residing in venice beach I finally now have worked my way to be apart of the scene out here. I went from seeing and hearing about radio venice to playing it and becoming friends with everyone in the scene. I love it here and i plan to keep taking risks to move forward… most people who dont take risks get stuck in small town usa raising kids and that aint for me. I plan to keep building my music even if that means i risk living a “normal” life. Read more>>

Daniele Truocchio | Film-TV Composer | Music Producer

When you decide to dedicate your life to the music and entertainment industry I believe that you are also deciding to be an everyday risk-taker. When thinking back I can clearly recognize at least five to ten life choices I made throughout my career that are considered very risky. I do believe though that everything happens for a reason in our lives. For example, I wouldn’t have ever thought that I was going to live and work as a composer in Los Angeles, but a series of events happened, and the ones that now feel like big risks, and that to me only felt like “the right choice”, were necessary decisions to be made. If I think about when years ago I made the decision to leave Italy, my family, and my (now) wife to go study music in Boston for almost 4 years it feels unbelievably risky and crazy, but, thankfully at the time the feeling was different, of course, it felt like a big tough choice to make, but also an opportunity to embrace, which in fact has changed the course of my life and career. Read more>>

Ethan Kregel | Musical Artist

Taking risks is part of any career. If you’re not willing to take a risk for something important to you, it is probably not that essential to your life. I’m taking risks all the time with my music. Currently, as I’m writing this, I am on a tour that involved me dropping school for the month, and has me making little income. However, this tour was a risk I wanted to take because of the potential outcome. Read more>>

Cate Luzio | Founder and CEO, Luminary

Growing up with two brothers and a dominant father, living in a neighborhood full of boys and playing sports since I can remember, I was encouraged (ok, pushed) by my dad to show up every day, determined to do better, and further, to learn and develop my skills. Those skills included leadership, being part of a team, working together, playing together, collaborating to win, and supporting in defeat. I also learned the difference between success and failure. At an early age, my eyes were opened take risks often, especially when you’re betting on yourself. Read more>>

Isabel Padilla | Cinematographer and photographer

Risk in my career presents itself in a very ambiguous way. Risk might be taking a week off, traveling for work, rejecting a gig or even taking it. I believe the reason why I even live in the city in which I do (NYC) is because of previously taking risks by traveling by myself, living in foreign countries being young, and sensing that being ambitious means not always knowing what making a decision will convey. Read more>>

Reneta Tsonkova | Business owner

I think we live in a time where everything around us invites us to risk. We risk with our thoughts, our actions or lack of such, accepting or rejecting, falling in and out of love, commitment or loneliness, loyalty or betrayal.. and we risk financially. It’s a risk that we are tempted by every single day. We are surrounded by things we “need” which we didn’t even think we needed, but someone else thought of them for us… buy, sell, get it on a payment plan, don’t worry about it now, you’ll figure it out later, we can help you then too. I started my businesses with my own money, with the conviction that even if they don’t make it I wouldn’t have lost more than what I already had. When it comes to my finances and business, my risks are always measured and premeditated. I never allow myself to be reckless in that regard. I can’t allow someone else to make a decision for me because I’m responsible for my family and the people I work with and I can’t take a risk unless I intuitively feel it with my whole being. Which is how I made the decision to start working for myself in the first place. I felt it instinctively. And maybe that’s way my progress has been slower. Read more>>

The Poet Andrew | Musical Artist

Risk taking plays a huge role in my life. I believe that to achieve any goal in life you always have to take risks. As an artist my entire lively hood is built on possibility. In order to work in the entertainment world you have to be able to be bold and take action. It requires an intense amount of conviction, belief in yourself, and the willingness to face your fears head on. I find that when it comes to creating art and producing work that matters there is always an element of “failing” attached to it. I feel most people do not end up pursuing the things that they love most because of this fear. Read more>>

p.m. lipscomb | Producer, Director & Writer

Choosing the path of making your own movies for the rest of your life and being from the small town of Hamilton, Ohio is in itself a risk. There’s noway to have the foresight to have seen that, fifteen years later, I’d be living in West Hollywood and have made three feature length films and thirty six short films. In the beginning, I chose the path of filmmaking my favorite past time and didn’t keep track of how anything might have come to be. That’s how I always lived my life. Which truly, to some, that sounds like not the most responsible decision to make. School never sat well with me. Looking back, it is obvious that education is a very good thing. Read more>>

Jessica Joan | Bestselling Author, Actress & Poet

Risk to me as an act of bravery, courage and faith. I think for most it’s easy to play it safe and make only logical decisions. That too is important, but the element of listening to your intuition and going against the grain by taking a risk, is what separates “good” from “great”. Life is unpredictable and full of unknowns and taking a risk is betting on yourself. Now sometimes these risks don’t turn out the way we had hoped, but the lesson in that is also a gift. My whole life and career has been laid on taking risks and following my gut instinct. It has gotten me in interesting situations, but ultimately has led me to be right where I am. Living my life’s purpose. I took a risk, bet on myself and am sharing my story with the world. Read more>>

CLARA NAVARRO DE MORA-GRANADOS | Actress & Dancer

This is a really interesting question because, wondering about it, I must confess that I probably have a love/hate relationship with risk. Undoubtedly, there have been some situations and moments in my life when taking risks in different aspects have entailed a feeling of vertigo which was difficult to overcome. We have all been there! However, I have to admit that risk has also become a kind of addiction for me. Every time I remember the best adventures and the most encouraging opportunities that life has brought to me, I realize that there were risks involved; there was a decision of stepping out of my comfort zone. Read more>>