Are you a risk taker? Do you think you have a stronger appetite for risk relative to your friends and family? We asked some folks from the community about their approaches to risk and have shared their thoughts below.

Avonte Hartsfield | Food Truck Owner

Risk is a necessary part of success. I always equate risk to money, because I have always had to work hard for what I receive. I had to risk my savings in order to make my dream of opening my own business come true. I didn’t have the luxury of being able to take a loan, or borrow from family. If I failed, then it was all on me. When I think about taking any risks it is a scary feeling, because it is taking me out of my comfort zone, but I know that there is no growth in doing the same things every day and feeling comfortable. I have come to learn how to love the feeling that risk gives me, because it feels like progress. It has helped me to learn not to be afraid of failure. Risk has completely shaped my career. I no longer look at taking a risk as something to be scared of. I simply look at it as a new opportunity. Read more>>

Chris Ahrens | Writer, Film Director & Public Speaker

Anyone looking from the outside would have considered my becoming a writer a million to one shot. . Even though I never had one word of encouragement in my early days, I somehow knew it would work out. I, I generally play it safe, but to me, a writing career was a sure thing and no risk whatsoever. If you’re going to bet on a longshot, make sure you know the players. Read more>>

Kinga Philipps | Journalist & TV Host

Risk in my career choice has encompassed everything from entering a rather male dominated field in the capacity of hosting travel, adventure and investigative television series; diving with sharks; trekking to remote areas and digging into stories of travelers who met their end somewhere in the wilderness and visiting hard to reach locations to explore history. Without risk I would honestly not have a shred of the career I have. It was only with risk I learned that in order to do what I feel passionately about I need to fight for the opportunities to do so and blaze my own trails if there are none for me to follow. Risk should be calculated and one should approach it fluidly, knowing that there is no set course and redirections are part of the journey. In my personal life, risk is part of the process as well. Read more>>

Jules Stewart | Session Drummer & Graphic Designer

If 2020 has shown me anything it’s that life is a lot less predictable than I thought it was. Spending much time at all thinking of what might go wrong seems like a waste now that I’ve been thoroughly proven wrong for an entire year’s worth of projections. Even prior to COVID times, I have really seen the value in digging into my feelings around important decisions. I try my best to parse fear (or feeling like a decision is too risky) from legitimate reservations. And if my entire hesitation around moving a certain direction in my business life is that something is risky or scary, that tells me I absolutely need to move that direction. I suppose humans have fear and risk-avoidant tendencies for a reason. Oh, you know, like to keep us alive or whatever. But I repeatedly remind myself that for the vast majority of my business decisions, the “worst-case scenario” is almost never ACTUALLY death, no matter how I feel at the moment. Read more>>

Theresa Martin | Owner

I always go with my intuition and I’ve been known to make big decisions very abruptly. For instance, I had a career as a hairdresser in my early 20’s and managed a salon in Pacific Beach. One day while jogging on the boardwalk I started thinking about my future and within ½ hour I had decided to quit my job and go back to college. I enrolled the next day. If something feels right, I plunge ahead and I think a lot of people would think that would be risky. I quit my software career of 25 years to focus on my business and took a huge drop in income to do so. But, I knew it would be the only way I would make it, so I took the leap. I love change and embrace the journey into the unknown! Read more>>

Jessica Zaragoza | Executive Director

Interestingly enough, my views on risk have significantly changed over the last 10 years. For the first 30 years of my life I played it safe. I am the oldest child, and when you’re a new parent you really don’t have any clue what you are doing, so you have a tendency to put the eldest child in a protective bubble of sorts. All attempts of safety for siblings following the eldest are out the window though; that bubble pops real quick when parents realize the first born survived. Before you know it the 3rd child is changing his/her own diaper lol. At any rate, risk was never on my radar. I eventually had children of my own and rolled that risk-free behavior onto my own parenting. Mind you my son’s challenged me every step of the way. Give them the any opportunity to jump from the highest jungle gym and they will do it. Any sport that they can break a bone, and they wanted to register for it lol. Read more>>

Michael Kling | Optometrist & CEO

I believe risk is an essential part of any business owner’s success. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 40% of all businesses survive beyond 6 years*. Considering this fact, I believe anyone that steps into business for themselves must assume some degree of calculated and planned risk. Whenever I’m faced with a new venture or opportunity, I always consider what the worst-case scenario might be, and how it relates to the ultimate goals I have for my business. Once I have a better understanding of the potential risk, and how it might affect me personally or professionally, I often find clarity in determining if the risk is worth taking. During this process, alternatives and potential solutions often surface providing further support of my decision. Read more>>

Pushpa Santhosh | Entrepreneur

I believe planned Risk taking is one of the best ways to grow business! Just don’t move all your coins at once. I say yes for most new opportunities/processes only when I am prepared to face the worst case scenario of that plan failing, given I am comfortable and sure that it wont shake the existence of my business. The key here is to not stop trying after a failed attempt. If it works out then it is a great bonus! If it fails, you know what is not working for your business and you can channel your time and energy on the next opportunity that might actually boom your business! Read more>>

Heather Stants | Dance & Yoga Teacher

Because I’ve always followed my intuition the decisions I’ve made that have led me to what I’m doing now haven’t necessarily felt like big risks in the moment. They just felt like the right thing. From moving to Chicago to work in the commercial photo industry, to joining a dance company, then moving to San Diego to start my own dance company and turning that into an international touring career, I’ve followed a path that felt like it was just meant for me based upon my skills and passion. This latest incarnation of my love of movement came about as a culmination of all of my years teaching both dance and yoga. The two movement practices became intertwined in a way that felt quite natural. Listening to my gut and then checking in with friends and peers helped me to move forward with my current movement business, Dance Flow Yoga. Read more>>

Alicia Countryman | Professional Wedding and Commercial Photographer

I have never really considered myself to be a risky person, but when I think back over the last 15 years of my life, taking risks is what has gotten me to where I am today. If I hadn’t taken the risk in high school to audition for drama school, I wouldn’t have moved to Los Angeles and met a couple of my closest friends. If I hadn’t taken the risk to move to Las Vegas on my own in my early twenties, I would not have met my husband. If I hadn’t taken the risk of quitting my office job to pursue photography full time, I wouldn’t have the succeeded with my business. It’s easy to fall into a comfortable routine and sometimes scary to think about deviating from that routine, but without taking some kind of risk, especially when it comes to investing in and running a business, you’ll never get anywhere. It’s easier for me to take action when I have specific goals in mind and when I want something bad enough. Read more>>

Laurel Glass Lees & Jessa Spainhower | Entrepreneur, Co-Founder & CEO

As entrepreneurs, starting our own business demands we trust ourselves and are confident in our capabilities when others may view it as risky. Risk-taking is built into the nature of the A STELLAR CO business and aligns with our core value of courage, which means we choose to do what is right even though other options seem easier. As stakeholder capitalists, we choose to focus on long-term rewards for ourselves, society and the environment even when a short-term return is tempting. And being a part of the regenerative business movement has its own challenges and risks but standing up for this feels good for us — and we consciously choose to go for it. We trust it’s all “figureoutable.” This mentality carries through our business ventures together and in our personal lives, which are so interconnected and mutually beneficial that it’s hard to separate them! Read more>>

Angel Mannion | Musician & Community Project Manager

I’m a full believer that taking risks is essential for getting the most out of life. But even as a rock climber, I wouldn’t say that I enjoy putting myself in positions where I would regret a decision if the outcome didn’t go the way that I’d hope. I think that it’s crucial to create multiple scenarios that are more enticing than your current situation so that life-changing opportunities feel less like risks and more like exciting, calculated choices. In late 2018/early 2019, I filled two roles at San Diego Opera: half of the time I created digital content for the marketing team and the other half was spent creating a new program called Opera Hack – a project that brings together experts in theater and technology to collaborate and discover new ways for current tech to make opera more exciting, affordable, and environmentally sustainable (funded by OPERA America). Read more>>

Justin Pearson | Artist, Musician, Record Label Owner & Actor

From what I can tell, so far in life, I don’t consider risk as a normal person would. I think I can trace the way my mind works in relation to risk back to the threads of my DNA. But on a more tangible level, I suppose the way I was raised allowed me to take risks, and do so as often as possible. I think I had a weird childhood and never had what one would consider security. Anything from lack of parenting, to lack of safety and lack of decent food as a child, I’ve developed ways to navigate in this world and have survived for 45 years. I should have physically died a handful of times, and should have plummeted financially into the gutter over and over. Granted, I live below the poverty line, but I have done so on my own terms. As much as I like to consider myself an anarchist, I don’t think humans in general are capable of self-governing themselves. But I feel that I have a moral compass, ethics, and more importantly, empathy. Read more>>

Rich Rudzinski | Founder & CEO

I think of risk as a calculated decision that can have big consequences. You must fully understand the impact of what happens when you win vs when you lose, as well as the realistic possibility of success vs failure. Bootstrapping a software development agency is a tough road, and my career has been paved with risk taking. Whether it was quitting a stable job at a large digital agency to start my own software venture to shifting our services and going all-in on a rebrand to transition away from white-label services to doubling down on our marketing efforts during a global pandemic; no big decision is without risk. For me, I’ll always bet on myself and my team even in extremely risky situations because I believe in the talented people that work at Tragic. Read more>>

Maidy Morhous | Visual Artist, Sculptor & Painter

After finishing my Masters studies in Fine Arts, I dismally realized that the job market for teaching on the college level opportunities were far and few between. With little or no prospect of landing a job on the west coast I set out with my portfolio in hand to call on interior designers, galleries and anyone selling artwork. This was a challenge for me as an artist; I let my artwork speak for me and am rather meek and understated when it comes to representing my own artwork. A little over a year later, having sold a piece here and there to design companies, I met with an international gallery out of Beverly Hills, California that liked my work and for the next ten years purchased all that I produced. I never looked back to teaching, although I think it would have been a great direction in my life, I pursued a career as a professional artist, then sales representative and marketing director for a developer in San Diego, Ca. Life evolves and sometimes that uncomfortable step is the one that opens doors. Read more>>