Shoot your shot? Take a chance? Society bombards us with messages, phrases, examples and stories of how taking risk is the key to success, but is anything ever that simple? We asked some of the brightest folks we know to tell us about how they think about risk. We’ve shared their responses below.

Laura DalSanto Wu | Trainer, Nutritionist & Owner

I believe if you don’t take a chance or go after a dream, then life will feel unfulfilled. One of my favorite quotes: ” A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for” I have taken many risks and leaps of faith throughout my lifetime. Some leading to the best things that could have possibly happened and then of course some not ending as planned, but that is what life is about. Almost 16 years ago, I moved to Naples,Florida from Maryland. I was competing in fitness at the time and did a lot of traveling to Florida for shows and fitness modeling opportunities. During one of my adventures, I said I am moving to Florida. I love the constant beautiful weather, the green palm trees and the beach and it made me feel happy everyday even if I was having a bad day. Read more>>

Luke Liscom | Freelance Motion Designer & Illustrator

I have never really known what I wanted to do in my life. I deliberate and hypothesize about different situations and opportunities, hoping I will learn something along the way. The thing I’m starting to realize, as I am standing over yet another precipice of unknowns, is how risk pushes me to grow in ways I would never imagine. If I just accept the status quo I might never be able to grow to the level I want to be at, not in my art, not in my relationships, and certainly not in my career. I have jumped around career paths, I’ve taken on jobs fresh out of college that no sane person would attempt, and in hindsight, I can now see the beauty in my mistakes and accomplishments. All of that can be boiled down to a single notion. Don’t take a leap that you aren’t willing to land. A motto I strive to live by and to keep myself grounded so I don’t do something too stupid or outrageous and hurt someone. Read more>>

Natalia Barlow | Professional Makeup Artist

To take a risk in my eyes is to follow your inner knowing with confidence that regardless of what happens, it will be for the ultimate good. So far, so good. Read more>>

Brooklyn Kohl | Singer-Songwriter

There’s an element of danger when it comes to taking risks. The word itself even sounds like a derogatory term – similar to the word “mistake”. However, just like making mistakes, taking a risk offers invaluable life lessons and opportunities that you may not receive otherwise. Being a musician and writer, risks have taken on an exciting and necessary new meaning to me. Without taking a risk to move across the country on my own to pursue music, I would not have met the people in my life that have motivated and pushed me forward in my career, played at beautiful venues, or had a few heartaches to write about. Being uncomfortable, in regards to trying new things and not allowing my creativity to stay stagnant, has become a bit of a life motto for me over the last two years and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. Read more>>

Zina Perlman | Photographer & Art Director

Life is all about taking risks. I believe that to get to where you want to go, you always need to risk failing. Without taking risks, it would be very hard to achieve your goals because I believe in this world you get what you give. Specifically in my life and career I’ve taken many risks that have led me to where I am today, opening my business and doing what I love for a living; photographing food & architecture. Yes, it can be scary to make big jumps from career paths to jobs and investing in yourself but if you won’t do it, no one will do it for you. One of the biggest risks I took was leaving Pratt Institute where I was studying architecture to focus more on art direction. At the moment no one could understand why I would leave such an amazing career path when I was doing so well and advancing so quickly. Read more>>

Ilene Adams | Web Designer and Graphic Designer & CEO

Looking back on my career I can certainly see that I have been a risk-taker but I think it is just part of my makeup and not really a conscious decision. I started my own business when I was 27. I had been director of marketing for a small chain of clothing stores, and frankly, I didn’t like having to report to a boss and attend so many meetings and so I decided to go out on my own and start an ad agency. Throughout my career, I have just continued to leap into the next step trusting blind faith that I would succeed. I have continued to grow my business over the past 20 years or so and whether you call it drive or instinct, I guess you could consider it being a risk-taker. Read more>>

Alessandro Sarno | Photographer

My all life has been based on unconscious risk taking. With unconscious I mean that when I took certain decisions I just did because I had no other choice. So, yes we can call them risks but in reality they were only “forced” decisions. For example when I left Italy and moved to Miami in search of a new life I had no idea one day I’d become a photographer. Things just happened one after the next just connecting the dots that were already marked. Read more>>

Leslie Lawson | Pilates Studio Owner & Instructor

Without risk there is no growth! In 2008, in search of warmer weather and a more relaxed lifestyle, I left a successful freelance career in television in NYC, and moved to Miami. Several months later we were in an economic downturn and of course, I questioned my decision, It wasn’t easy, but little by little, I started to meet people and pick up small freelance gigs. In 2016, after leaving a contracted job at Univision Deportes and re-habbing a botched shoulder surgery through stem cells and Pilates (which I started practicing in 2001), I made the decision that I wanted to help people (particularly those with injuries) while having more control over my destiny. In November of that year Renegade Pilates was born. Read more>>

Jamie Silva | Recipe Developer & Food Photographer

In early 2016, I quit my safe, secure, full-time job in search of something new, creative, challenging, and fun. I wanted a career that offered freedom and flexibility, and a break from the mundane everyday routine. Little did I know, what started off as a silly idea of opening an Instagram account to share food photos ended up turning into my dream career. It was something I had wanted since I was a teenager. If I wouldn’t have taken the risk of quitting my 9-5 in an effort to find what truly made me happy, I wouldn’t get to cook for a living, write about it, shoot photos, and GET PAID FOR IT! Not to mention, I also have the honor of coaching other food bloggers to do what they love too. This career is a dream come true and one that I never thought was possible. Read more>>

Jason Odio | Hospitality Entrepreneur

I feel pretty good about taking risks. Everything in my industry no matter how well thought out, executed, equipped, is a large risk. You can have all the right ingredients but there’s no perfect formula. But personally I haven’t done anything that I don’t strongly believe in. I’ve had plenty of failures in the past but I think those failures have given me perseverance to work through challenging obstacles in my successes. Read more>>

Ravina Kumar | Wedding and Landscape/Nature Photographer

Word Risk- I always thought about this word as something dangerous connected to it or something that everyone should stay away from. When I found myself as a photographer I found myself too! I never thought I was one of the people who would be doing what I’m doing now for living. I used to live in 4 different countries since I was a kid I always was on the move but always around friends. For a very long time I wanted stable life with stable friends and school but it never happened. When I finally moved to America I had no idea how different my life would change. I used to work only for $10-15/h jobs and never thought about myself as someone who can achieve something big. Read more>>

Andrea Cross | Real Estate Project Manager & Yogi

I embrace taking risks! Whether in business or in life, I believe great risk comes with great reward and there is everything to gain in taking the leap forward. When I am looking at a new project, taking the first step is daunting but I mitigate my ‘fear’ by preparing and taking calculated risks. When I feel confident about my numbers, the rest is for the taking! Read more>>