There is a wealth of academic research that suggests that differences in risk appetite are at the heart of differences in career and business trajectories. We wanted to go beyond the theory and ask real people from the community about their perspectives and experiences with risk and risk taking.

Christine Perez-Gray | Health & Wellness Coach/ 500 RYT Yoga Instructor

I truly believe that life is about taking risks. If one lives without venturing in any risk, the possibility of reward is null. As a young woman I took daily risks with my life doing drugs and living a life of darkness. Today as a grown woman, in business, I take risks with my spirit into positive realms channeling to God and the Universe to create what I need. There are moments when fear tries to consume me, however I remember where I came from and keep moving forward. In my business, these risks have taught me the value of keeping my faith strong and my head above water. I have been successful in creating a diverse team of men & women who work in harmony and have become family. I have also failed in various limbs within my career having to dissolve major portions of my business. What I have gained has been invaluable insight to the next layer of myself through these lessons, catapulting my business/career into a whole new sector and direction. Risks are, in my opinion, undoubtedly the only way to achieve greatness. Read more>>

Natalie Calzadilla | Podcast Host, Business Coach, Shamanic Practitioner, and Artist/Illustrator

Risk is a necessary evil because growth happens on the border of order and chaos. Unless you take strategic inspired risks you’ll never know if an opportunity is on the other side. I take a risk every time I invest in myself for things like hiring a coach or enrolling in a program. It’s up to me to get the most out of my time and money. I took a risk when I quit my job, left my friends and family, to move across the country by myself to explore a new life. It was a great growth experience and I don’t regret it. Being an entrepreneur, healer, intuitive, and artist, they all require you to take risks every day both small and big because they require putting yourself out there, being seen, and vulnerable. You have a vision that nobody can see except you. Read more>>

Jocelyn Ventura | Photographer

For me taking risks is what motivates me to get up day by day, since I think it is the engine of motivation. Read more>>

Haley Jane | Painter, Designer, & Recording Artist

Risk is essential in business. So many amazing opportunities start with risk. If you risk nothing then how will you reach your full potential. Becoming a professional artist was a risk for me. There is no guarantees in life especially in the art world. Theres no formula or certification that you can get that will make you a successful artist. Art is crazy like that. That’s why there are sayings like “starving artists” or “you’ll be famous when you die”. It’s because it is really that hard to make a living being an artist, but if you are a risk taker like me, you’ll stumble upon opportunities and ways to make money and market yourself. For example, doing my first Scope international contemporary Art Show in Miami. I knew no one that collected art in Miami, The booth was very expensive, I had no idea how to ship my art, sell my art for the price I was wanting, and I had absolutely no help. Somehow I figured everything out. Read more>>

Lemar Scott | TV Host & Public Speaker

I found myself hesitant to even tackle this question because I wouldn’t consider myself a risk taker. In fact, I’m occasionally disappointed in myself for not taking more risks, but that feeling is usually mitigated by my comfort in safety. It may seem counterintuitive for someone with their own business to reject such an attribute, but I’ve learned that what we each deem a “risk” is also completely subjective. A healthy risk to one may come across as reckless to another because it doesn’t support their goals. To many, my entire career may look like a massive risk. Transitioning into entertainment meant leaving the security of a traditional job fitted with benefits, annual pay raises, and big bonuses. It also meant uprooting my life to venture to a new city and build a career in a competitive industry I had no formal background in. For me however, none of these things felt like risks as much as necessities – though I do acknowledge they played a pivotal role in my life. Read more>>

TRACYCHAIN | Fashion Designer

Both in my personal life and in business I find myself taking so many risks. Specifically to my personal life, I’ve always chosen to do what makes the most sense to me regardless of what is considered to be the “norm”. My hairstyles, outfits, lifestyle and other forms of creative expression have always been attention-grabbing moments for me and this is because I ‘m not afraid to take risks. I pride myself on this. I enjoy living life in a grey area where most couldn’t go. It’s fun and it keeps life interesting. On the other hand, being a risk-taker in terms of business is a bit more serious. Because money is involved the risks that I do take have to be a little more calculated. Like with most things in life, risk is sometimes inevitable. For the most part, the risks that I take end in positive results, but I understand that this won’t always be the case. The results from these risks, often take me further along in either personal or business development. That is why I will always take risks, the outcomes often exceed my expectations. Read more>>

Vishesh Mulchan | Photographer

I think about risk very methodically and usually only take risks if I’m willing to lose. What I mean by that, is that I don’t take risks when I can’t afford to lose. If success is absolutely imperative then I will play it safe. But if I have some measure of freedom, then I’m willing to take chances on things. I’ve worked really hard to be where I am now and I will progress steadily rather than hurriedly. Read more>>

Alfredo Buenaño and Ricardo Vargas | The Goodyear Agency

Risks have always been part of our careers. As creatives, we are always moving and pushing forward towards the next project, the next big idea, the next creative challenge. Starting a new business, especially in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, is a major risk, one of uncertainty by leaving the security of a job and having the responsibility of constructing that dream from the ground up. Your own process, your own vision and the unprecedented possibility taking any path from thereon. The unbeaten path is a risk but it has the possibility of infinite reward ahead, and like every step of our careers it’s the obvious choice. As creatives we are natural entrepreneurs that thrive in curiosity to see what’s behind the next door, exploring the confines of our minds to express each possibility. Read more>>

Chrissy Koulouris | Travel Blogger

Some times in our life we all come across an opportunity that can be risky. We go into deep mediation to wonder if taking the chance would be worth the desired outcome. Some risks do fail, but I feel not taking advantage when one presents itself can be a failure within itself. The unknown of what could have been can forever hinder our thoughts of what could have happened. I have always been a risk taker and throughout my life I have taken many regarding my education, marriage, relocating, and career. Not all have led to the outcome I expected, but those that have been worth the amount of work and anxiety that comes with taking chances. Personally, I would rather see what may come than to never know at all. Read more>>

Dayanitsa Mauricia | Raw Hair Specialist, Wig Maker & Instructor

I’m not afraid of taking risk, I really live by the fact that you only live once. When I started my business and decided to go to India I did not even have a business name or perfectly executed business plan. After India we came back with 10 kilo’s hair and the first thing I did was creating my first Facebook Page to let the world know I started a business . The bottom line is that you cannot wait for the perfect moment. Just be convinced that you can and will make it happen. Cause like Henry Ford said ‘Whether you think you can, or think you can’t. You’re right. Read more>>

Shauna Mooney | Consultant for Design & Marketing, Stuntman’s Wife & New Mom

I think of risk like I think of haircuts: If you don’t like it, it will always grow back. There may be some amount of healing time during the growth- but there are a lot of ‘scary’ decisions that can seem like forever choices when in fact they might just be a season of life. I’ve hopped in a car and moved clear across the country a number of times now. From Massachusetts to Georgia for college. (Note: I had never been on a plane, or really out of New England, until I was 19!) To California for a relationship (spoiler alert: we’re married) and then back again for work. Each time you take a risk you learn new ways to navigate and build a safety net- there’s a certain confidence you earn when you take risks that pay off! And although the word ‘risk’ inherently holds this glamour, like you’re a movie character with a dramatic soundtrack playing as you drive off into your new life…it’s the boring stuff that’s really made a difference. Learning to pare down belongings so it’s easier to move/travel. Read more>>

Antinese Stinson | Licensed Master Esthetician | Owner of Glam Beauty Bar & Spa

I believe that when there’s no risk there’s no reward. I’m the type of person who jumps out of a plane and figure out how to pull the parachute on the way down. Taking risks has paid off for me tremendously in my business. I would rather take the risk and figure it out than to always wonder what if. Read more>>

Amanda Morie | Artist & Photographer

It was once said by Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” At every crossroad in life there is risk of one kind or another. If you choose one road, there is the risk associated with the road not taken. It’s hard not to wonder “what if?” and I would tell you that taking calculated chances helps you stand out and brands you as forward thinking and visionary. I also believe risk-taking can be practiced. The more you practice taking risks, the more comfortable you will become with the emotional discomfort that can accompany it. Over the past few years, it has become a made practice of doing something every day that takes me out of my comfort zone. Whether its going somewhere new, talking to a company about my art or photography that I dreamed to work with, or doing something that just physically makes my heart race and when I get that feeling I know the risk I’m taking is going to be well worth it. For bigger risks plan ahead, and know how you’d handle what could be a risky situation before you’re in it. Read more>>

Kale Roberts | Creative Director/Artist

Risk is a necessity and vulnerability. I feel like it has been unintentional in some ways too. Much of the work I do is performance or social practice, so inevitably it folds into an art life embodiment. I share stories and have public interactions in places as mundane as a stop light and other times being so visibly queer in driving around TGP it can also incite aggression. Although this aggression can be risk, the emotional is a higher cost. Driving and making my personal truck a collaborative gallery and performance platform is a risk, but the smoke signal to others is worth it. We are in the south where toxicities and trauma around truck culture and truck identities are exhausting. The risk is muted and the stakes are higher. Art performers/ and artists we can redefine these objects and rituals. Through visibility and vulnerability(risk) we can create change and queer the landscape. Read more>>

Lisa Pierce | Founder, Event Planner & Stress Reliever

I always had my own event planning business. However, I was working as a consultant for another event company for many years. I absolutely loved my clients but I never felt fulfilled or was able to freely create what I dreamed of. I would listen to Oprah Winfrey say… What is your purpose? What is my purpose? Is this it? Working tirelessly for someone else as if it were my own company? This can’t be it? My purpose and most of all my PASSION was to fully launch my own event planning company. So what was stopping me? I was comfortable consulting but not happy. I mean I literally worked 24/7 as if this was my company and clients were under the impression it was. Contemplating when is the right time to do this? My mother would always tell me that in order to be happy, I needed to do what I love. Ok, I am ready. Then, in 2015 my world came crashing down. My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 uterine cancer. My mother was my best friend, my hero, my everything. Read more>>

Kerstin Recker | Co-Founder I Strategist I Marketer

Taking risk and being comfortable with the new and unknown has always been a theme in my life. I grew up moving every couple of years and as such I had to put myself on the line to make new friends, to try out for new teams and to create new opportunities. It would have been a pretty lonely road if I did not confront my fears and take risks. The good news, the more you welcome risk the better you get at it and the fear of taking risks subsides, and excitement of possibility takes over. Years ago, I quit my job as a VP at MTV Networks to travel. People thought I was crazy, but I was confident that I would land on my two feet no matter what. My daring adventure changed my career trajectory. When I returned I made the decision to leave corporate, start a nonprofit, enter into the world of tech start-ups, and eventually take the leap into entrepreneurship as a female tech founder. Whenever I am contemplating risk, I draw upon this quote from Eric Hansen: “What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”. Whether you are an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur you have to face the fear of uncertainty to achieve the things you aspire to. Read more>>

Rami Zeidan | Founder & CEO of Life House

Perhaps I am conditioned from my training as a student of economics & finance, but fundamentally I evaluate the risk-reward relationship of every micro and macro decision and historically in a financial sense. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I had initially taken a very financially risk-averse approach to entrepreneurialism – I started out in the investment world where the skill set is broad enough to narrow focus later without career trajectory set-backs. Doing so allowed me earn a great living before I had 100% conviction in an entrepreneurial endeavor. When my brother passed away a few years ago, my perspective on risk shifted a bit. Not necessarily with the cliché “life is too short to be risk-averse” mentality, but rather that being so risk-averse was in itself not rewarding and a manifestation of a lack courage and self-confidence (for me). My brother was a humanitarian and a doctor and was giving so much to the world and worrying about finances as secondary. Read more>>