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.

Donna Sternberg | Artistic Director & Choreographer

For an artist every new creation is a risk because you never know what the outcome will be or how it will be received. I don’t think you can be an artist and not be willing to take risks. If your art comes from your heart and a deep inner prompting you have to follow it no matter where it leads. When I begin a new work I think of myself as standing on a cliff. I’m going to jump off that cliff and there’s no telling if I will sink or I will fly. I regard each of my works as an experiment, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t but what’s important to me is to keep that spirit of inquiry and exploration no matter what the outcome or how it is received. In the end taking the risk is more important than the result. Entering into the art field is a huge risk – how will you survive financially, how will you deal with criticism and rejection, how will you be able to do your art – all of these come into play. Read more>>

Isabella Mastrodicasa | Talent Manager

I think that being a risk taker is absolutely essential when you are looking to expand your brand. New opportunities come from stepping outside of your comfort zone, and I try to do at least five things every day that will move my career forward and that make me feel ‘uncomfortable’. Risk-taking also allows you to avoid remaining stagnant, and to fall into a routine that won’t motivate you and push you to become the better and more successful version of yourself. Read more>>

Chad Gerber | Guitarist, Songwriter & Performing Artist

I see risk as an unavoidable part of life, and the sooner you develop a healthy relationship with it, the sooner you can work with it. Everyone experiences levels of risk daily, and each level seems to have the same feelings of uncertainty and fear involved, so mine as well learn how to get used to it and risk it all on what you want. I had to start taking important risks when I was a kid by coming up with creative ways to get backstage at concerts in order to speak with real touring musicians. I absolutely had to speak with them in order to learn how to get where I wanted to be in music. Sometimes that process resulted in me getting in trouble, yelled at, or kicked out, but no security team’s punishment for sneaking backstage was anywhere near as awful as the thought of me not getting where I needed to be in life. In retrospect I can safely say the risk was very much worth it. Read more>>

Courtney Abbiati | Co-founder, Mediation Teacher, Medium & Reiki Practioner

I think of risk taking as actually following your heart. If one were to look at the path my life has taken thus far I guess you could say I’ve taken many risks, but it’s always felt more like I’m following my heart and to me I’m unable to live a life guided by anything other than my heart. Read more>>

Maxwell Carraher | Sculptor & Humanitarian

I think risk is often misunderstood. Most people view it as a pathway to failure or success. Risk and success are not mutually exclusive, same goes for risk and failure. I don’t think risk is about either one of these. I see it as being valuable in itself as itself regardless of the outcome. The fire the gets lit inside when you take risks is the feeling that makes life exciting and worth living. Within my work if I’m not constantly challenging myself and my ideas then I will become less of an artist. Creating risks to take is the only way I have grown as an artist and, I think, the only way to grow as a person. Safety is the enemy of creation. Without risk what’s the point? Read more>>

Bri Seeley | Entrepreneur Coach

Every decision we make has risks associated with it. If we decide to not make changes, we risk becoming stagnant. If we decide to make changes, we risk things not working out and/or evolving. I don’t think enough people look at risk through this lens. Most people I speak with only perceive the risks associated with making changes and fail to assess the risks associated with staying the same. I am very pro-risk when it comes to making changes in my life and business. I would much rather risk evolution over stagnation. The risks associated with staying the same are much more terrifying than the risks associated with changing. Because of this understanding, risk has played a massive role in my life from a very young age. I embrace it, which is very evident as I look backwards on my journey of entrepreneurship. Read more>>

Silas Hite | Freelance Composer for Film, TV, Commercials & Video Games

Choosing to pursue a career in music is pretty risky.  I knew the odds for success weren’t good, but I felt confident that my work ethic and creativity would see me through. Once I’d actually “made it” as a composer, I had seven years of a pretty great in-house composer job.  But after awhile I realized I had hit a ceiling working under someone else.  I needed the challenge of striking out on my own to grow as a composer.  Leaving that job to become a freelance composer was probably the biggest professional risk I’ve taken.  But it’s been 10 years since then and things have gone really well thankfully. Read more>>

Che Holloway | Actor, Artist, Blogger & Producer

As an artist, as an entrepreneur or even as an individual who has dreams, it is essential to practice risk-taking. There’s an old and common saying that still resonates with me to this day and this saying is “Dreams are just dreams until you take action and do something about it”. What this means to me is that you can have visions or aspirations of achieving your potential, but unless you apply action, the dream will only remain a dream. Research! Sign up for work shops, classes and courses, get involved in whatever community aligns closest to your aspirations, practice, and most importantly never stop believing that you are capable. Read more>>

Cole Fairbanks | Writer, Producer & Voice Actor

My general approach to risk taking is if you’re going to be,daring you better be tough. I knew starting a company in the entertainment industry was going to have its fair share of ups and downs, but I never fully anticipated the challenges I would face sailing through uncharted seas.. Sometimes you just have to find that balance between taking a calculated approach and knowing when to listen to your gut. When I look back on everything that brought me to where I am today, the most life changing moments came from the decisions that carried the most risk attached. Back in 2013 I took what little I had and moved down south to further my education at Louisiana State University. Read more>>

Cat Sherwin | Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist

Risk has definitely played a significant role in my life. If I had never taken any risks in my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I believe making any change in your life involves a degree of uncertainty and risk, as you never know exactly what the future holds, “A comfort zone is a nice place to be, but it’s not where things grow”. I love inspirational quotes and have many pinned up around my home. If I’m ever procrastinating, or putting off doing something or feel scared to make another change, I read them. A few of my favorites are “Go for It Now, The Future is Promised to No one, “You Miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go” TS Elliot. Being a Makeup Artist was something I’d dreamed of as a little girl, but I came from a very traditional background in the North East of England. Read more>>

Erin Morrison | Artist

I think risks are just a part of decision making. There are certainly times in my life that I’ve had to make difficult choices. Moving to Hong Kong last year was a big one for me, but I knew it would also be an exciting challenge. An opportunity came up for my partner that we couldn’t pass on, and while the last thing we could have anticipated was being there during one of the most intense social revolutions in Hong Kong’s history, as an artist making work more focused on sociopolitical issues I find myself incredibly inspired by the pro-Democracy protests. I think the umbrella movement has made a global impression, and the movements we are seeing that focus on human rights has propelled a much needed dialogue into the forefront. It’s an exciting time to be taking risks. Read more>>

Bree K. Jones | Producer, Screenwriter & Deaf Culture Merger

Risk taking is scary for a plethora of reasons. Risk taking has played a HUGE role in my life and career. I went to college to become a Psychologist. During my junior year, I was having internal conflicts because I ended up falling in love with American Sign Language, Deaf History, and Deaf Culture. I was becoming immersed in the community. This new found love I was developing was the start of me questioning if Psychology was the path I wanted to continue on. Because of comfort and because I had already planned my future, I decided it was. However, my internal conflicts grew until I finally decided not to pursue a career as a Psychologist anymore. I Making that career change was huge for me. Read more>>

Cheryl Pawelski | Record Producer, Omnivore Recordings Co-Founder & Co-Owner

To me, taking chances and risks live on the same side of the coin as knowing your fundamentals, relying on your experiences and expertise, and drawing on skills and talents you’ve developed. The other side of that coin is being careless, thoughtless, impulsive or ignorant. If you’re careful, and consider all your options while knowing your stuff, risk is greatly reduced. That having been said, no one I know has a crystal ball, so you never quite know what tomorrow is going to bring. I think you just have to be confident that whatever tomorrow does have in store for you, you know you have the tools to deal with it. Considering risk has been important to my life and career, but has manifested itself mostly in the lack of the fear of failure or making mistakes. Read more>>

Michael Rogers | Pet Stylist

I believe risk is the only way to truly become independent. The greatest risk for me was leaving the comfort of Baltimore where my parents, siblings and friends I grew up with were.. When I arrived in 2001 in Los Angeles I literally knew nobody, but I remember this exhilarating feeling come over me in this town, it felt like anything was possible and I’m a natural born artist so really there is no where else like Los Angeles for a creative soul.. I began my search to see where my artistic abilities would be best suited.. I stumbled upon the LA pet styling world and it felt challenging and right for me.. I always cared very deeply for animals and the human animal bond.. Los Angeles is also very much focused on outward appearance and style so it was perfect storm for me to develop my styling abilities and to also create looks that didn’t exist. Read more>>

Charles Denois | Restaurant manager, Sommelier & Epicurean

Since I was a child I have always been an adventure / adrenaline seeker. So far, I have managed to maintain a risky lifestyle keeping it close to the edge of where there is a real danger . What started with a quest for rushes of adrenalines, surfing or riding motorcycles at a young age, became contagious to many other aspects of my life. Because fear is associated with a risk I tend to be more committed with a more risky situation. Somehow the danger of failing materialises your decisions. In sports like in life, wether you drop in a 10ft wave or you invest in a new venture, if your head is not 100% in the moment you are likely to fail. Besides, there would be no real progression in life without risk taking. Read more>>

Steve Balderson | Film Director & Author

Did you know there is no such thing as a problem? It’s true. The only thing that exists is your reaction to a situation or challenge that other people might consider a problem. Likewise, risks aren’t really risks. They’re just situations that one moves through to either achieve the desired result, or to find out it didn’t achieve the desired result. And if, in the event the situation wasn’t desirable, it is always possible to go back and make another choice. Oftentimes people are so frozen in the fear of the situation not ending up desirable, that they never do anything. Staying where you are already is comfortable because you already know it. Living the status quo is easy because almost everyone else is doing the same. Doing something different, or taking “risks,” is harmless so long as you realize it’s no big deal and you can make another choice. Read more>>

Lizzy Hogenson | Filmmaker

Risk means something different for each person. No one can tell you what an appropriate level of risk is for your career and life. However, there is no progress, no change, without risk. I took a big risk by leaving a good job in finance, and moving across the country on a feeling that I knew that I always wanted to work in film. But it was also a calculate risk, I moved to LA to pursue an MA in Film Studies at USC, so I came here with a plan and the possible backup plans a field of study like that might offer. When I finished the program, I used the several months to work on a short film. I’m really lucky that the film did really well, so it’s a risk that paid off. I think it’s easier to take a risk when you enjoy what you’re doing, and you know your basic financial obligations will be met. I wouldn’t be where I am today without taking big risks, but I also had to make other sacrifices along the way to be able to afford (emotionally and materially) to take those risks. Read more>>

Sara Pilchman | Ceramicist, Studio Manager & Exhibition Preparator

Every major step I’ve taken in my life and business have come with fear and risk. Transferring to art school at 15, moving to Pennsylvania for college having never lived outside of California, starting Sara Pilchman Ceramics with absolutely no knowledge of how to run a business, and attending my first trade show last year when I knew I wasn’t ready. Honestly, so many of these things still make me l feel like an idiot for admitting to but in reality doing things and taking risks I wasn’t ready for meant I no longer had a choice but to succeed. It was the push of taking risks that I was forced to learn independence, how to run a business, and how to hold my own in a room of people who were more experienced than me. The successes I’ve won by taking risks hasn’t made me less fearful, but it has made has made me more of an adrenaline junkie. Read more>>

Shenee Randolph | Cosmetologist

Without risk there is no reward! I risked Failing miserably I’m starting a new career at 31 with a husband and two kids to work as a cosmetologist. But I knew that following my purpose I’d be ok. There were setbacks but they were just a part of the setup!!! Read more>>

Michelle Johnson | Entrepreneur, Writer & Filmmaker

I believe entrepreneurship is built on risk taking, however the risks are greatly reduced when you are not only passionate about the product or services you are selling but you use the products or services religiously and you can vouch for them. I took a lot of risks as a business owner, really believing not only in a product I was selling but one that I invented and had patented. All of that requires a lot of investments, and I had to really come out of my own pockets and make a lot of sacrifices when I started. I was also a single mother as well, so I don’t necessarily no if I would’ve recommended someone committing the same risks I did with my small business. Read more>>