Legend holds that Cornelius Vanderbilt had built a massive fortune in the steamboat shipping industry, but then realized the railroads were the way of the future and invested almost his entire net worth into railroads. The gamble paid off and made Vanderbilt one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs ever. But risks are inherently…risky. How do you think about risk and how has it affected your life and career? Some of our community favorites share their perspective below.

Janelle Nia Campbell-Simpson | Entrepreneur

I’ve always been an avid believer in the quote “No risk, no reward”. In my opinion, there is a certain level of growth that is required in order for each of us to reach our full potential and I believe we can only achieve such growth through coming out on the other side of discomfort, uncertainty and fear. I have recognized that success requires sacrifice and risking the known for the unknown, the now for the later and the present for the future. Simply put, there are no guarantees but we must be prepared to lose in order to win. The price of entrepreneurship, from my personal experience has involved risking security and comfort. Resigning from my full-time 9-5 career in the corporate world meant I no longer had much of a cushion to fall back on and ultimately forced me to work even harder to pursue my dreams. In fact, such risks are at times my fuel and a catalyst for me to keep going when success seems impossible. Read more>>

Danielle Branchaud | Fine Artist

As a fine artist who specializes in surrealism in a predominantly conservative region, risk is and always has been a big part of how I produce and share my work. There has to be a conscious decision to refuse to compromise one’s vision. This is easier said than done, especially when we are so often told that in order to be successful we should placate our audience. I tried that route once or twice; it only resulted in a sense of falsehood, and works that felt half-measured. Staying true to yourself is vital, not just for own comfort and identity, but for the work itself. The most profound and astonishing artwork I have every created was born from the most honest and genuine places within me. And while at times I worry that it will not be well received, I take the risk anyway. I create the work and I share it with the world. And I’m amazed every time by the responses they garner. At present, I am venturing into yet another leap of faith. Read more>>

Patricia Ruiz, MS CCC SLP | Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist

I think risk taking is an extremely important part of opening your own business. I took the plunge without any second thoughts. I went all in, i didn’t do it part time, or a few hours a week…i did it full time, 100% ,every day. There were no second options and there was no turning back. So i committed to my dream. In my head i was going to make and failure never crossed my mind. I worked hard every day, and i was dedicated to helping and making a difference. Today i am forever grateful to my old self for taking the risk, to my mother who taught me perseverance, and for my patients who believed in me. Read more>>

Florence Gaspard | Speaker, Author and Transformation Business Coach

I believe to move in life there’s an amount of risk needed. Our level of fear usually has nothing to do with the actual level of risk we face. Fear causes us to overestimate risk. Additionally, we’ll overestimate 0ur abilities and your chances of success. That’s why some people fall for get-rich-quick schemes. On the other hand, being totally fearless may land you in situations that can work against you. The decision-making process is often full of uncertainties; one can never be 100% sure of the outcome of their choices no matter the effort we put into making plans. I teach my clients and others that taking calculated risks is important when creating successes. It involved us taken careful consideration of risk levels, risk impact, and rewards and deciding with the information we gather. Risk-taking is fundamental to growing what we invest in. Without risk, there could be no return. As an entrepreneur, I needed to take calculated risks in order to expand my territories, influences and see a greater impact in my businesses and life. When I invest more into my goals I receive more return on my investment. Read more>>

Michelle Drummond | Contemporary Mixed Media Fiber Artist

I think about risk as an avenue for change. To venture into an unforeseen that can positively or negatively impact your life but hoping for the former than the latter. I have always been a risk taker. I believe in taking chances to pursue paths that will lead to my accomplishing my goals or just simply make me happy. If you are not taking risks, you are not living and that is what life is all about living and enjoying it to the fullest while you can because it is very unpredictable. One of the first risks I took was leaving the security of friends, family, a familiar culture and environment to come to the US to continue my education and venture into the unknown. I have dreams and aspirations and taking this plunge was one step towards accomplishing them. The other huge risk I took was to leave a “secure” position as a Program Manager in corporate and start a management consulting company to give myself the freedom to be my own boss. Read more>>

Brazil Raine | Miami Makeup Artist

I always knew I wanted to be a makeup artist, but getting there was never and still isn’t easy. I think it’s always been about taking risks, some greater than others, to find work/life balance and do what makes me happiest. It’s funny, though, because after 10 years, I still feel like every risk brings about reward, whether in the form of a failure I can learn from or a win I directly benefit from. One of the biggest risks happened in the beginning when I was 20 years old with a desk job and guaranteed salary, leaving that pay security for a minimum wage salon job then getting the boot from my house the day after. But it taught me the biggest lesson; surrounding yourself with people who lift you up will always be the best way to bounce back. I crashed with my boyfriend (now hubby) and began assisting my boss on weddings on the side. Before you know it I was making what I made before and then some. My most recent risk was buying a camera and macro lens to start shooting my own work in my down time. Read more>>

Denise Gordon | Film Maker & Screenwriter

When it comes to making films or the entertainment industry in general, you will hear no a thousands times in a thousand different ways. And it’s unfortunate. Because of this I had to learn how to be creative with my approach and what I was creating in general, taking calculated risk had to become a refined skill. I had to get out of my comfort zone, buy equipement, learn how to write authentically and make connections to make quality content. All of these were a risk in itself considering equipment isn’t cheap and achieving these goals take time and discipline. I had to invest in myself even when others wouldn’t. Some of the Sacrifices that were made were changing my major from Biology to Film, going against the dream of my parents of me becoming a doctor and blocking out the voices who said being a filmmaker is unrealistic. The role that risks played in my life, was being the push that I needed to follow my dreams and make them a reality. When you doing something that you love and put in effort, things always fall into place. Read more>>

George Mullinix | Cinematographer & Filmmaker

One of my first big hurdles was making the transition from being an environmental scientist working in a lab to pursuing my dream of being a working cinematographer. I loved science, don’t get me wrong, but I had always wanted to work as a visual storyteller and I knew I couldn’t wait any longer so I after taking calculated risk I took the plunge. I hung up the lab coat, picked up a camera and went for it and I really have never looked back. Looking back to that decision 10 years ago, I realize I did something that’s really helped me make some tough decisions. I ask myself, “what’s the best possible outcome of this ‘risky’ decision?” and I focus almost entirely on that. Often, I hear about people deciding not to pursue their passions, their dreams, and it’s a bummer because I think that mean’s it’s easier to focus on the ‘worst’ possible outcome, it’s a quick way to say ‘whoa, I’m not doing that, I’m good right where I’m at.’ While I’m an artist, I’m also a scientist in a past life so I try to be real. Read more>>

Matthew Callans | Entrepreneur

Any big opportunity that presents itself in your life is going to come with a certain level of perceived risk. Transformation doesn’t come without discomfort and sacrifice. What a lot of people don’t understand is that taking steps forward in the direction of that risk, opens you up to receive answers that will push you further along the path of actualizing the opportunity. You have to put yourself in it, submerse yourself, dive in the pool. Answers come to those who show the courage and initiative to step onto the path with full commitment to their journey. I’ve experienced this several times in my own life. Making the decision to be an entrepreneur is a risk in a lot of ways. Turning down lucrative job positions to work for myself and create something out of nothing required some serious self reflection and willingness to surrender to the journey. Fully committing to something makes you develop a “whatever it takes” mentality. Read more>>

Melanie Rae Perez | Multipotentialite | Yogi, Researcher, Student of Life

Growing up I was always afraid to take risks, I was that girl that played it safe, followed the rules, and planned everything out to perfection. This worked for me up until I had no choice but to take a risk. It was either I stay stuck and unhappy or jump completely into the unknown. With taking risks comes a lot of vulnerability and courage. I found myself trusting my gut not sure where the journey would lead and feeling extremely uncomfortable, yet it was at this point where I found my power and deepest passions. I think taking risks is essential for our growth as human beings. It takes us getting into the uncomfortable and vulnerable stages of life to push us to the place where the most progress can be made. Read more>>

Roxana Sora | Artist and Consultant

I think I learned taking risk from my parents. I was born in Cuba and when my parents saw that the Cuban government was going to take children away from their parents to indoctrinate them in Russia is when they decided to leave everything behind and start a new life in a free country. They left everything behind. An affluent lifestyle to start all over again. When I finished high school, I decided that college was not for me. I had to get an education that would help me open doors. It was up to me to make it to the top. I went to secretarial school and got a degree as an Executive Secretary. In the 70’s that was the next best thing. I went to my first interview and got my first full time job as the Executive Secretary to the President of the company. It was an insurance agency. a few years later I became one of the first woman insurance agents with a niche in the construction industry., most dominated by men. I became a mentor, Sales Manager and COO. Today I am the President of their Private Client Division. Read more>>

Amy Schissel | Visual Artist

Some of my most successful Art Exhibitions are the result of having taken major risks. Usually, for me, risk-taking also involves time-sensitive deadlines, so once I decide to take the plunge, there is no turning back. For example, when offered a high-profile Exhibition to create a large project at a scale that I have never attempted before, I go for it, even if I only have the vision of the end result but do not quite know how to get there. I thrive on the excitement of being faced with new installation challenges and learning new equipment and software that help my projects get underway. How I grow artistically and professionally is by trusting my creative process but also by not playing it ‘safe’. If the past is any indication of the future, when I go for it, good stuff happens. Read more>>

Christopher Beytia Frentzel | Writer, Director, Producer

Prior to March 13th, 2020, we had filmed a considerable amount of our independent feature film. Then Covid-19 happened. We thought we’d be able to jump back into production a few weeks after spring break, but those weeks turned into months as we all were thrust into quarantine. However, in August 2020, we planned our comeback with carefully thought-out safety and health procedures as outlined by Florida filmmaking standards. We knew the risks of resuming production during quarantine, and we even had a lead cast member leave the project because he was uncomfortable with filming during a pandemic. We’ve had to cancel or postpone shoots due to cast members being sick or positive, as well as making sure cast and crew tested negative before coming to set. Nonetheless, we did our best and were able to wrap production in December 2020 by following our strict on-set safety guidelines. Read more>>

Kylie Venezia | Business Owner and Mentor

Risk is ever-present in our lives; however, we always have a choice. We can choose to stay tucked under the blanket of comfortability or we can choose to leap with the intrinsic knowingness that the net will always appear. Personally, I choose to view risk-taking positively and as a necessity in growing in business and in life in general. To be fair, this has not always been my belief. After earning my Bachelors degree in psychology, I knew that I would have to continue in school to obtain a degree that allowed me to be free financially and in my career. I went on to earn my Masters in Forensic Psychology and then entered into a Doctorate program with the intention of becoming a licensed psychologist. Although my passion in the field had been waning for years, I kept continuing in school because I thought there was no other way to succeed in the path that I had chosen. I already invested close to a hundred thousand dollars and almost a decade of my life to my schooling. Read more>>

Cailey Stephens | Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Exercise Therapy Specialist and Certified Sports Nutritionist

Being a risk tasker takes a significant amount of courage and bravery that most people cannot face. I find it intriguing to pursue passions that have potentially good or bad outcomes. You’ll never know what can happen in your life happen if you think about the negatives, overthink or worry. I’m guilty of worrying a WHOLE lot; however, whenever I take a risk, I plan it out it and pray on it. Being a risk-taker has played such a positive impact on my life/career thus far. I think it’s the millennial mindset mixed with my zodiac sign of being a confident Aries that encourages my risk-taking motives. One of the most significant risks I took was quitting my first career at Enterprise-Rent-A-Car to commit to my fitness business fully. Had I not believed in myself and took that leap of faith, I’d probably be miserable and mentally beating myself up. My business has grown tremendously in the last four years. I’ve grown to learn so much about my character. I am learning how to get better over time while owning a business and overcoming the fear of failure. Read more>>

Kia Sativa | Tattoo Artist

Personally I believe life is all about taking risks. Whether it works out or not you’re still able to learn from it and apply it further on. If you’re too comfortable you’re not growing and progressing. Taking risks is what got me in the career that I’m in currently by quitting my warehouse job and pursuing tattooing full time. It was definitely a little nerve wrecking at first but I was happy that I was pursuing something that I loved and would be able to express myself creatively everyday. Read more>>

Emily & Abigail Bache & Breslin | Wardrobe Stylist/Blogger

For us as best friends and business partners risk has always been vital. It’s led to starting our blog, The WanderLust Girls and shortly after our company that offers wardrobe styling and consulting. It also has allowed us to travel the world! When opportunities arise we never hem and haw. We trust our instincts and move forward when others may hesitate of overthink. We’ve always been “yes” people. We will try just about anything once and if we love it that is just something else we can offer as a brand. After one year of blogging we were approached by the VP of Design at Playboy. She said she loved how we styled ourselves on our blog and wanted us to style an ad campaign for Playboy. We had never done wardrobe styling before! Instead of waiting till we got enough experience to work with a major brand like Playboy, we said yes! The risk paid off and we continued to style for mega brands, like Elizabeth Arden, MLS, Bloomingdale’s, SNL and Nabisco. Our general rule is – say yes, take the risk, figure it out as you go along and if you love it do it for as long as you can. Read more>>

Yohan Rodrigani Designer | Celebrity Jewelry Designer

To me risk is simply another step in the process. It is as necessary to business as jet fuel is to a plane with plans of eventually taking off. However, it important to do your due diligence in order to minimize loss, especially at the beginning when most startups have less resources and capital. Without risk I would have never placed my first order for the materials to make my first bracelet back in 2011 or quit my 9-5 or traveled overseas with hopes of finding the best luxury leather goods manufacturers in the world to produce our first leather collection. Risk has not only paved the way to some of my most extraordinary achievements, it has also been a part of my everyday life. I take risk while designing, while choosing a construction method for a specific project, and even when selecting a new theme for our next collection. Risk is in every second of living, yet many times we tend to associate risk with only the possibility of losing money. Read more>>

Thesha Lashley | Flight Attendant & Costume Designer

Living life is a risk in and of itself. Every day we as humans put ourselves in risky situations. Whether driving to work, hopping on the elevator, or even being in the same space as someone else- risks are a part of life. I don’t see them as something to shy away from because with great risks comes even greater rewards. What some people may see as risks, I see as creativity. I see them as moments to stand out in the crowd and put yourself out there for the world to appreciate. This doesn’t always happen, obviously, but the benefits of diving in head first, in my opinion, are much greater than never dipping in at all. It is because of this attitude that I have been blessed with opportunities to share who I am and I what I love with everyone I come across. I have been able to build a brand around what I love and build a foundation for my friends and family. Finally I am able to be the shoulders for those around me to stand on and make the changes they want to see in the world. Read more>>

Ginny Dixon | Photography Professor and Photo Ninja and Mixologist

Whenever I have felt too comfortable, I have made it my business to become uncomfortable. This always involves risk. Risk involves commitment . There was some Goethe quote I read decades ago that always informed my risk taking. Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and Creation) There is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: The moment that one definitely commits ones self, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamt would have come your way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Read more>>

2xr Design | Design, Animation & Fabrication Studio

Taking risks as a design studio is thrilling and something we strive to do day in and day out. It helps us push the edges of the work that we’re creating, it allows us to be innovative and bring a vision to the table that had not yet been thought of. This also allows us to take the brands we work with on a journey through our imagination, and by the end of it they are more times than not sold on the idea we come up with. Taking risks and accomplishing what we set out to achieve has created a strong bond with the brands we have worked with and it has also allowed us to expand our work to other areas. Read more>>