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.

Nikkie Bendross | a.k.a. Nikkie B., the Elegant and Regal One | Beauty Consultant, Plus Size Model, Host & Inspirational Speaker

First off, when you take a risk you go against self-doubt and all the supposed logic that has been instilled in you. What’s more, risk taking should be calculated, otherwise, it is simply acting out in a reckless manner. I was never one to take any sort of risk, that is until I met Eric Bendross, the man who would become my new husband and bestfriend. I was just 5 1/2 months out from having my divorce finalized after suffering nearly 20 years of emotional and spousal abuse in my first marriage when Mr. Bendross came on the scene and began to really shake things up a bit. We met and became fast friends over social media while he was living in California. An actor, entrepreneur and bona fide adventurer [in my eyes at least], I immediately became aware that this man was a risk-taker. And that was solidified when Eric up and moved back to South Florida. Long story short: we started dating in February of 2015 and were married by November of that same year. Read more>>

Dr. Alex Osorio | Doctor of Chiropractic

The official opening day of the Optimum Spine office was also the first day of the mandatory lockdown in Miami. I had all these plans to open my doors and build a business from scratch and we were forced to close because of the pandemic. It was an uncertain time since nobody wanted to leave their homes and we had to cancel all the appointments. There was a lot of confusion with local officials as to what businesses could remain open and how to safely do so. When we were able to reopen I had pretty much spent the budget on construction to open the new office. Permits, licenses, remodeling…ate up all the savings I had to start this new business from the ground up over the course of a year. Then we were finally able to open in March, we paid rent and all the expenses and invested what money was coming in on marketing. Everyone was saying not to do it, that it was crazy to spend money on marketing since things were so uncertain. Read more>>

Ana Paola Vázquez-Rosa | Mama Maker & Owner of MACA+LENA

On January 22, 2015, two days before I turned 25 years old, I was proposed by the Dean of the Architecture Department of the Polythecnic University of Puerto Rico to go on a Study Abroad program that would take place in Madrid, Spain in February. Basically a month away from that day. It was Thursday afternoon, the administrative offices were about to close until Monday, and he asked me to think about it through the weekend and pass by his office on Monday morning. The weekend arrived and my big 25th birthday party was a blast. Monday morning I went by his office and he waved at me saying “when do you leave?” I immediately replied by default “as soon as I can” without any hesitation. He said, “you are good to go, you better decide soon beacuse you need to be in Madrid in less than a month to start your End of Carreer year.” I was shocked, going to Spain was a dream at the moment, but it never crossed my mind that living on the other side of the world was part of that dream. Read more>>

Peggy Mackey | Celebrity Hair and Makeup Artist

I have never shied away from taking risks. I have learned from an early age that taking risks is really was grows you and helps to make you whole the most. In my business, it is essential. I had a very steady, full time job with benefits,etc within the creative world. I decided that I wanted to work for myself when many around me thought that was absurd. Now, I have built my reputation up where I work with celebrities, many big networks and can still be a wife and mom. This past year I worked with one of my childhood inspirations,Michael Jordan for the Netflix show The Last Dance.I feel like I am living a dream. Read more>>

Gretchen Scharnagl | Artist & Educator

I consider risk taking as one of the most important components to the creative process. In teaching art, I always place risk taking, the abandonment of fear and rejection of ideas of perfectionism, uppermost in importance. Risk taking can take many forms, but in my art making, it could be as simple as leaning toward the difficult or unknown, rather than maintaining the familiar. The choices I make are driven by what I have read, the current news cycle, the state of the Environment, combined with embedded narratives of my suburban life. This results in often using untraditional art materials and tools that make everything about the work more challenging and difficult. Like taking two years to collect used Christmas trees from trash piles or using the hoarded waxy graph paper I found in my father’s effects or working on fragile paper or paper refuse. The work is often ephemeral or lacking permanence, resisting the archival demands of the art market. The imagery can be ugly or disturbing. Read more>>

Amanda Madrigal | Fiber/Installation Artist

I think taking risks is an extremely important and necessary part of being an artist/creative person. Great art has never come from staying in your comfort zone. Each time I start a new piece, I ask… how can I challenge myself this time around? What can I do to level-up and push the boundaries of what was possible in my previous work? I believe this in all aspects of art, creativity, and life itself. You need to take risks in everything you do in order to reach your highest potential, creatively, financially, and personally. When taking risks and putting yourself out there you will sometimes fail and inevitably face rejection, these are the moments that have helped me to learn from my mistakes and build the thick skin that is essential to becoming a successful artist. Read more>>

Ashley Conyers | Licensed Social Worker & NJ Photographer

Without taking risks in life, we are prone to become stagnant and less likely to challenge ourselves. Going into 2021, I am making myself a promise to try new things and put myself in positions to grow both personally and professionally. It is not easy to leave your comfort zone by any means, but it is something that is needed in order to make your dreams come true. At this point in my life, I am getting to know my DIS-COMFORT ZONE while learning more of myself and what I am capable of. As an inspiring entrepreneur / creative, launching Time Capsule Photography (TCP) is definitely one risk that I am more than happy to be taking. I can’t wait to see where it leads me. Read more>>

Renee Phillips | Process Artist

Risk excites me. Without risk there is no reward, but I didn’t always think this way. In 2011, my husband and I both quit our illustrious NYC careers to travel the world together. We spent the first few months exploring Southeast Asia, and then road tripped through France, landing in Paris for an extended 3 month stay. Upon our return back to the States, our mindset had shifted, and that is when we both decided to pursue a separate career path – mine as artist. I turned our small alcove studio nook into my art studio and began experimenting with various materials – polymers, paper, acrylic, spray paint, ink. I began manipulating the paint in ways that was not taught to me in art school, and it was resulting in really unique things. It was exciting, but it was risky and I knew I needed time. I spent the next 3 years deep in alchemical experimentation before officially showing my work. It was risky, and I had to get a part time job to secure me financially because I knew that my art would not sustain my financial needs, and I didn’t need that pressure. Read more>>

Barbara Rachko | Visual Artist/Blogger/Author

My journey to becoming a visual artist was circuitous, to say the least. Risk-taking gave me the life and career I enjoy now. The biggest – and scariest – risk I’ve ever taken was deciding to leave my active duty Naval career to pursue art full-time. The second most significant risk was moving to New York City in 1997. I have never regretted doing either one. When I was 25, and a civilian, I earned my private pilot’s license and spent the next two years amassing other licenses and ratings, culminating in a Boeing-727 flight engineer’s certificate. Two years later I joined the Navy. As an accomplished civilian pilot with thousands of flight hours, I had expected to fly jets. However, women were barred from combat in those days (the 1980s) so there were very few women Navy pilots. There were no female pilots on aircraft carriers and no female Blue Angels. Women were restricted to training male pilots for combat jobs and priority was given to Naval Academy graduates. My BA was from a different university. Read more>>

Connor O’Brien | Co-owner of The Collection Media, an Advertising Agency in Lakeland, Florida

There are two words that have saved us from countless hours of wasted time and energy. These two words have allowed The Collection Media to engage in unique opportunities that we otherwise would never have discovered. And in 2020 these two words: imperfect action, became our battle cry in the midst of a wild year. Imperfect action is what we take when risk is involved because sometimes – actually, most times – it is better to take action than get stuck in worry and doubt. There was already enough worry and doubt in 2020. We knew that in order to truly make a scene, we couldn’t afford to feel stuck anymore.  Read more>>

Yvena Despagne | Art Curator

Taking risk in life is necessary, even when you are fearful. One of the biggest risk I had to take was leaving a stable job, in the medical field, to pursue my career as an artist. Although it terrified me I gained a lot of experience and became very confident as a creative. No one has ever taught me how to dream beyond becoming a nurse, lawyer or engineer. With most Caribbean cultures, to dream beyond becoming those things was a waste of time! When I found art, I realized I had to pull myself out of that way of thinking and take that risk. I had to learn how to stop caring about how others felt about my decisions, including my family. I had to break the ties that were holding me back from a career I knew I was destined for. Read more>>