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.

Cecille Ahrens | Psychotherapist/Business Owner/Entrepreneur/Speaker

I believe risk-taking is necessary for growth and success. We cannot play small and expect big results. However, risk-taking should be in proportion to our resources, values, goals, and risk tolerance. Too much risk too soon in the game can end up hurting us, and too little risk when there is a clear or viable opportunity to grow can cause us to become stagnant. That balance can be hard to strike sometimes. I would not be where I am today if it were not for certain risks I have taken in my life. I see risk-taking as the courage to fail and the will to succeed. One of the things I am very proud of is my private practice. Building it took time, a lot of work, and determination. I took calculated risks and learned from a few trials and errors. But every time something did not work out, I always learned and grew from the experience. Read more>>

Shy But Flyy | Singer Songwriter

Taking risks is a huge part of being an artist. Trying a new sound or going with a new way of playing is always exciting for me. I don’t like to limit myself so I like to take risks even down to my wardrobe. It has gotten me far. Read more>>

Reina Le | Photographer and Lifestyle Blogger

In 2016, I decided to move to the United States to pursue my graduate studies. It was a big risk for me at that time because I did not have any family or know anybody living here in San Diego. Moving here gave me the opportunity to pursue a passion of mine which is photography. If I did not take the risk of moving, I would not be able to experience witnessing the most beautiful sceneries in San Diego. Read more>>

NANCY GOUDIE | Motivational Speaker and Author

I have learned along the road of life that risks are always going to be a choice that you have to take in order to see any dream/vision come into being. 40 years ago, my husband and I took a huge risk. We left our home, our jobs, our families, our friends, our church, our car and even our dog to follow a vision of starting a band which not only would be great at making music, but also would carry a message to the youth of our land and beyond. My husband was a drummer and I was a singer. We both left our secure jobs to follow this dream. From that one risk, many more followed along the road of life as we put ourselves out there. Our band which we founded was called Heartbeat and we played to thousands of people all over the UK and beyond in the ten years we were together. We recorded many albums and eventually were on Top of the Pops (a massively popular TV show in the UK) when our single got into the UK charts. Our recordings were released all over the world. Read more>>

Knight Campbell | Climbing Guide & Executive Coach

Risk has played a huge part in my life for as long as I can remember. When I was young of course I just did things and was either strong enough or lucky enough not to get too injured. Then the Navy forced me to really dig into risk management. As helicopter pilot I was responsible for the safety of my crew and passengers. We thought about everything that could go wrong and identified how serious the outcome would be (consequence) and how likely it was (likelihood). Then we worked through each risk. Low consequence low likelihood, pretty much good to go. High consequence high likelihood, better mitigate the risk or not go on the mission! Now as a guide rock climbing, managing risk is similar in the mountains. Read more>>

Michelle Stansbury | Storyteller

I often hear that people think that starting a business is a big risk, but I think about entrepreneurial risk a little differently. One lesson I’ve learned about entrepreneurship that it is often fear – not risk – that keeps people from starting their own business. A useful exercise is to face fear by asking yourself “What is the worst case outcome?” Typically, the answer for a prospective entrepreneur is that the worst-case scenario would be that they would fail. That they wouldn’t sell a single product or land a single client and their business would fold as a complete failure. Sounds pretty bad! But then ask yourself, okay, so what would you do next, with this failure of a business behind you? Most likely, you would go out and get yourself a 9-5 job similar to the one you are considering quitting to follow your dream. Read more>>

Brandon Jameson | Scientist, Educator, Artist and Musician

I left the military after 14 years to pursue a degree and paint. I knew that my degree would take several years to get, and that was *IF* I got into grad school! I also knew that artists generally don’t make a lot of money. My friends ands family told me I was making a mistake, and I should “finish my 20” and get my military pension, but I had my sights set on other things. For me, It wasn’t about the money, the pension, or the security that comes with it. It was about doing the things that made me happy. I enjoy science, and I enjoy art. I served, and Im proud to have done it, but it was time to do something else, before my bones gave out. With these things in mind, the risk was always acknowledged, but the desire to be alive in the life that I make for myself was always first, and always has been. Read more>>

Rishi Deka | Artist, Author & Academic

I have been crafting a lot of poetry this year, and I would like to share my perspective on risk with a limerick titled ‘A New Trail’: Obscure Path Treaded. Mundane Existence Dreaded. Amorphous Realms Mutated Into Actualities Venerated. Beckoning Vitalities Created. Read more>>

Dan Hodge | Freelance Actor, Director and Writer

Funnily, I think a life in the arts is just one risk after another. I mean, it’s risky to dive headlong into a career whose benchmark is instability. You never know when the next job is coming, or what the next year will look like. Who could have predicted where we are now? I was in a show that was cancelled by COVID, and most of the theatremakers I know won’t be able to work in their vocation for at least a year, and likely even longer than that. But, in terms of risks, everything comes down to a leap. When I moved to Philadelphia in 2008 (after finishing my MFA at the Old Globe), I had no idea what that was going to mean. Everyone wanted me to go to New York. But, Philly was where the work was, and I managed to do between 3 and 7 shows a year for almost fifteen years. I founded a classical theatre company with some close friends – and that was risky, too. Read more>>

Cindy Saadeh | Owner and Co-Founder of Wine Nook

I think most entrepreneurs have a comfortable level with risk that perhaps many other do not. In my life there are certain times when I took risk that changed the trajectory of my life’s path. Perhaps the first and most significant was studying abroad in college. That single risk ended up leading to other moments of risk taking that paved that path. I never decided from an early age to start a business, it’s just something that organically happened, when the time felt right. When I think about it, most decisions I’ve made have been similar–I never think about whether they are risky or not, I just do what I feel is the right thing for me at that moment. I’ve always had an optimistic view about the outcome of my choices and although there are always obstacles to overcome, frustrations to bear (all entrepreneurs understand what I mean), these are the things that make us learn and become stronger. Read more>>

Joel Moody | Owner Revolution Bike Shop

Jumping off the ledge can be hard to do. But I can say from experience that when you do there is a 100% success rate. I would encourage anyone to challenge themselves. We will always be our worst enemies. But if we take that leap it accomplishes many things. It allows you to feel the confidence and thrill of challenging yourself. Whatever effort and energy you put into something you will get back, so taking that leap generally makes you put in more effort thus almost guaranteeing success. Be passionate about what you are doing and just go for it! You will be surprised what you can do! Read more>>

Natalie Gill + Meg Blancato | Owners, Native Poppy

Everything about starting and growing a business is a risk, really. The longer you are in business, the more you are able to use past learning experiences to weigh out risk vs. reward. However, what has been instrumental in the growth of our business have been believing, unabashedly, that we can and will do anything we put our minds to which gives “risk” a whole new meaning. It’s not about whether we will or won’t, it’s about how we will and when. Read more>>

Shawn Walchef | Cali BBQ Media Founder 🔥 Podcast Host 📲 Sports Fanatic ❤️ Proud Dad

Without risk, there’s no reward. I was fortunate to have my grandfather raise me as a son. He was an immigrant who was born in a village in Bulgaria and was destined to be a farmer. It was only because of his curious mind that drove him to read more, to learn more, to ask more questions. The more information you have, the less scary the risk is. My grandfather ultimately had to ask permission to go to get more books from the other village. He had to ask his family to go and get more education in the neighboring city. He had to ask if it was okay not to work on the farm because he wanted to become a medical doctor. All of those things he wouldn’t have been able to do if he didn’t have a basis of knowledge or curiosity driving that knowledge. Read more>>

Deena Von Yokes: Salon Owner

In hindsight, starting my own business didn’t feel very risky; it felt vital. What worked in my favor is I was never great with authority or having someone tell me what to do, so in my case risk was never a factor when getting started. I had my ideas and my drive once I connected with what my passion was. My passion has always been to help others. Once I had that realization, I simply decided to go all-in with collecting knowledge and skills. In addition, I never lose sight of how I started with little to no money, no means, and no skills; all I had was pure desire. Once you commit, there’s no other option but to go for it when it came to the risk-factor. At this point in time, I went on a quest to sharpen my skills and continue to seek knowledge. I made an even bigger commitment when sharing my knowledge and experience that I had learned throughout this journey to others. Read more>>

Jon Luce | Traditional and Digital Artist

Taking risks is what art is all about. I was always too timid to take the risk to venture into art and it held me back for far too many years. I went through fast food jobs, escrow work, construction and even management type positions for far too long. One day, I took a job as a tester at Activision and it changed my life. I had always loved video games, feature films and the art associated with them. Being a tester, I was on the inside of the business and could see the development process right before my eyes. I was so close to the dream job I had always had in video games, yet was no where near where I needed to be skill wise to acquire an artist career. That was the last job I ever took where I would doubt my capability to make my dreams come true. The only thing standing in my way was the fear of failure and risk. I was getting older by now, in my upper 30’s and married, There was much more on the line for me to start a whole new career as well as go back to school for the needed skills. Read more>>

Daniel Jaffe | Filmmaker & Graphic Designer

Honestly, I find risk taking extremely difficult but essential. Primarily as a filmmaker the risk is mostly one of confidence. It’s a risk to make a film and convince a group of people they should be a part. To invest countless hours and money into a story. Ultimately you have to believe in some aspect of it dearly to drive you through the lengthy process of making a film. Read more>>