We asked some of the brightest folks in the community to open up to us about the most important lesson their business or career has taught them. We’ve highlighted some of those responses below.

Rachel Saruski | Playwright and Multidisciplinary Theatre Artist

I feel like everything in my creative journey so far has been a risk. When I applied to be a National Young Playwright in Residence with Echo Theatre Company, I hadn’t even finished my first play yet. I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect, and I felt that the possibility of me receiving the opportunity was slim to none. But I felt I had a story to tell, and it was something that interested me. More than anything, it was something that made me nervous. And if something makes me nervous creatively, it’s usually a sign that I should do that thing, because that’s when I do my best work. Because I have no roadmap in my head of what something is supposed to look like or how I should execute a story or a project, I have no other option but to make it up myself. I have no other choice but to think outside the box and be unafraid of my creative or risky choices. But because of my risk-taking, I did become an Echo Theatre National Young Playwright in Residence, I have pursued other opportunities I didn’t even remotely believe I would get. Read more>>

Felice Grodin | Visual Artist

Risk is integral, I believe, to everyone’s life at the moment. Within this time of a pandemic, merely walking outside your front door is a risk. On a larger note, risk is something that people may choose to fear or mitigate, but in re-considering risk, it might something to integrate. In my life and career, I’ve made choices that took me off the beaten track, and certainly by choosing to be an Artist, that in itself is a risk. Yet, it was not so much a conscious choice, but rather a calling. Thus, integrating risk could be something positive in that we may discover that we have agency within the choices we make that contain risk. Read more>>

Nathalia Montenegro | Consultant on Brand Strategy & Business

I don’t think about risk as most people usually do. The first association people have with risk is the idea of losing. Their first thought when calculating risk would be “what can I lose?”. Despite this is not completely unwise, I think that focusing too much on that, prevents you from growing in so many ways. Because if you want to go further and grow in your business or in your life, you have to lose what you have, you have to leave from where you are stepping now so you can step further. You have to let it go of what you are “grabbing with your hand” right now so you can hold something better later. In fact, comfort sometimes is the only thing people have to lose. It is the illusory sensation of security they get from being in a place where they dominate. They might even be unhappy with the work they do, with how much they make, and with the rude boss they have. But they stick to that because they are in the “known”. This gives them a sense of control just by knowing how these things that make them unhappy works daily. Read more>>

Mila Bridger | Photographer

Risk plays major role in my art. Its about taking different approaches and directions Without it I wouldn’t improve , grow or find my voice – for me it really matters to go out of my comfort zone. Trying new things, new methods ,new ideas – it all contain risk, they could suck and time is wasted but it pushes you to bigger and better things. Read more>>

Rachel Leon | Lawyer & Entrepreneur

When I first began my Entrepreneur endeavor and opened Leon Law Firm P.A., risks seemed scary, it seemed like this one risk was going to be the end of the world, the end of my career, and the end of my dreams. I was fresh out of law school, I had just given birth to a baby boy, and I really had no idea all the road blocks that I would need to overcome. Now, the more risks I take, the more I look forward to taking them because it always leads to growth. Risks are a necesarry part of an Entrepreneur’s career because it leads to roads and doors unimaginable. I am now leading a successful law firm where we practice immigration, real estate title services and small business advising. I also decided to give back to the law community and became a professor for immigration paralegals, which is a risk in itself because paralegals are replacing more and more the need for lawyers in simple cases. At the point I currently am in my career I look at risks in a positive way, instead of thinking, “what am I going to lose if I take this risk?”, I think, “What am I going to lose if I do not take this risk, am I going to regret it?”. Read more>>

Raquel Genae Flores | Poet, Artist, Wellness Advocate

I think risks are woven into the framework of a creative life. One must take risks to create. It takes an incredible amount of bravery to believe in your work and to pursue it every single day. Taking risks has always played a pretty dominant role in my life. I am always ready to jump even when advised not to. I trust myself and my gut so I know even when things might not go “my way” they are always going as intended. Risks are refreshing. They are daring and remind me how thrilling it is to be alive. One of the biggest risks I recently took was publishing my book. It was a big affirmation to the universe that I am dedicated to my passions for life and it really opened this portal within me to keep creating—regardless of the response. Read more>>

Erin Rosenberg | Personal Trainer/Entrepreneur/Grad School Student

Risk taking can be essential for growth. In my experience, it’s always the scary stuff that’s way outside your comfort zone the brings the most growth and reward with it. The hard part is getting yourself to take the leap. I’ve done all of my best learning and growing when I’ve decided to take risks whether it be uprooting my life and making a big move or quitting my job to start my own business (while being a full-time grad school student). Any time the idea of something makes me uncomfortable, I have more incentive to make myself do it. Sure, it can be absolutely terrifying and overwhelming, but you always come out stronger and more confident. Taking a risk means that there will always be the chance that it doesn’t work out how you expected it to. But hey, the absolute worst thing that can happen is you learn from it, and then you try again, or you pivot. What it comes down to is finding your “why”. For me, my why is getting to live every day on my own terms, in my own happiness, doing what I love. Read more>>

Kurt Steger | Sculptor and Architectural Designer

Even the choice to be an artist was based on the risk that somehow I could make a living and survive doing what I love to do. Joseph Campbell famously said to “follow your bliss”, and as a young man I took these words to heart, trusting that by doing so, all else would fall into place. In a conversation with a financial planner years ago, I was told how much I would have to set aside per month to prepare for retirement. Instead of following his advice, I decided to invest the money into time in my studio, creating art that would generate the income that would be my pension in old age. Risk-taking also plays an important role in my process of creating sculptures. I know my medium so well that I’m confident in pushing the boundaries of the materials, trusting that my execution will be solid. This confidence, built over four decades of working with a variety of materials, allows me to take risks and trust my intuition when designing a piece or a structure, knowing that I have the skills to pull it off. Read more>>

Samantha Hope Galler | Soloist with Miami City Ballet – Performer, Educator, Mentor

Risk has played a vital role in my life personally and professionally. It works against you if you do not pursue it. Over the years, I have become more and more comfortable standing outside the bubble of mine where I feel safe. When I think about risk, I get a knot in my stomach because I know it will be a bumpy and not so easy road. With that said, as I self reflect, especially during the last year, I realize how much risk has shaped me as an artist. Pursuing what makes me scared, uncomfortable, or unsteady is where I find myself exploring another side of who I am. Read more>>

Ty McKinnie | Singer-Songwriter

Risk are essential to getting to the next level. As an artist, it’s important that I don’t become stagnant. I have to find ways to keep my creative blood pumping. A recent risk I took was releasing a single in this pandemic. I recorded remotely, hired a small team to produce a music video and completed a whole marketing campaign to push it. It was risky due to the fact that I’m currently unemployed, but I felt compelled to create so that’s what I did. Read more>>

Janai Dawkins | Visual Artist

I think taking risks is something everyone should do. You learn and grow whether you feel like you’ve failed or not. Taking risks opens your eyes to much more than what you know. Being comfortable keeps you still. One risk i keep taking in my life is quitting my job and turning to my artwork. I love that fact that I can always turn to my paintings even though i don’t have a huge fan base, it always works out. I trust in my talents that much and that’s one risk that’ll i’ll never stop taking. Read more>>

Molly Aubry | Visual Artist & Educator

Taking calculated risks is essential to artmaking and entrepreneurship. My best work comes when I follow my gut, take a deep breath, and try. In the fall of 2020, I left a job managing a gallery in Palm Beach to pursue my creative practice full-time. I used my savings to set up a studio space that I can grow into, without knowing exactly how my vision will unfold. Since I created this spaciousness in my life, opportunities have organically appeared. I was invited to teach at the New World School of the Arts (an extension of UF – Go Gators!), where my undergraduate students give me optimism for our future. Just as the money was running out, I was awarded two local grants. I’m pursuing opportunities in public art, and new and seasoned collectors alike have reached out to me to collect my work. While I sometimes still fear the unknown, I know that this is how I can create a better world, serve my community, and thrive. Read more>>

Bella Amore | Actor/ Commerical Model

If you never take risks you’ll never know what your capable of accomplishing. It’s Important to take risks on the road to success, so you can learn your true self. Taking risks in my career has brought me a long way and opened so many doors and opportunities. The best risk I took was going from fashion styling on Instagram to taking acting/modelling training with some of Hollywood’s biggest coaches. I took a risk to build my foundation and now I’m taking a risk to build my legacy. Never stop taking risk and never give up. Read more>>

Udenie Wickramasinghe | Vegan/Vegetarian Cook

I grew up in a traditional culture with set values, no one ever questioned anything! Being a woman in such a culture is nothing but mind crippling. I had to seek approval from everyone even when I wanted to wear anything I liked. I was scared of being judged all the time based on my gender..this made me question everything around me and it was heavily in my mind when I immigrated to America. Suddenly, I could say things like “I am sad” “I deserve better” “I am able”. If I ever wanted better for myself I had to do something I have never done. The best thing I have ever done to myself was accept all the faults in me, question my purpose and wanted to do better..it was the riskiest thing I have ever done! Going inward without seeking protection from outward. When you really think about it, everything we do in life is a risk..sometimes we win, sometimes we don’t. Read more>>

Anahys Ramos | Fashion/Lifestyle Blogger and Content Creator

As the saying goes: If you don’t risk, you don’t win. Once fear is left you risk going after your dreams. Almost 4 years ago I risked leaving my zone of conformity and it was the best decision. Read more>>

Jackie Shatz | Artist/Sculptor

Choosing to be an artist was probably one of the most risky careers I could have chosen – financially, socially and aesthetically. However I feel that it choose me and that I had an inner compulsion to be an artist – beware of choosing it if you don’t have that compulsion. Although taking risks gives me anxiety I do like a challenge – so there is a constant balancing that takes place. Every time I start a new sculpture I take a risk, and all the decisions I make throughout the process involve risk. I want the sculpture to surprise – something new I couldn’t have foreseen. So risk taking is intrinsic to my process as an artist and has worked well in any successes I have achieved. It has been worth it. Read more>>

Natalya Kochak | Contemporary Artist and Adjunct Professor Miami International University. Owner of Bluebird Design Decorative Painting.

Taking risks has been an integral part of my growth since the very beginning when I headed to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago for Undergrad. After graduation, I began a decorative painting company named Bluebird Design to support my arts practice, another risk. From there I continued to do things such as travel to China twice for artist residencies, teach an art program in Uganda, and continually push myself to apply for more and more. I believe to be an artist you must be a risk taker. There is nothing safe about creating work. You must have a drive that pushes you through the rejection and difficult times. After years out of undergrad, I went back to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago for my masters, because one of my biggest dreams was always to teach. I try to always pass on the knowledge that risk is ever important to complete an ambition. Read more>>