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.

Stephanie Boyd | Master Life Coach

I think that risk is important for us to all take in life to a certain extent. It should feel good in our bodies when we think about taking any risk. Yes, it can be scary but all the best things in life are. Risk started playing more of a role in my life about 2 years ago when I decided to start a Life Coaching business. It was through this decision that I took the risk to sell my home, quit my job, and move across the country from Delaware to San Diego during a pandemic. Risk has also played a role in my life when I decided to go public about my Herpes diagnosis in order to help other people who are struggling with a diagnosis to shed the stigma that is attached to this diagnosis. I was so worried about what my friends, family, co-workers, strangers would think but something inside me knew that someone needed to hear my perception. Read more>>

Yura Lotonenko | Landscape Architect, Urban Designer & CEO

To my believe, and professional experience. I would say to take risks is tricky. Let me share with you my thoughts. When I participated motivational seminars, business-psychology events, had my own coach for LASD Studio, etc. Very often we see the same and the same – when someone jumping on the stage and screaming that you must take risks without actually diving into explanations, and specific parameters of that risk. I believe if we talk about risk, we also have to talk about managing those risks. See, for example, if somebody will tell you jump in the pool full of sharks – take a risk! You might think a bit before you do that. Also, it is not about procrastination, but mostly about possible beneficial outcomes that might arise after taking this risk. Of course, risks in a daily life are different. Read more>>

Ashton Phillips | Interdisciplinary Artist

In 2015, I made the incredibly risky decision to stop practicing law, in order to pursue a full-time art practice. I had just recovered from a health scare that required surgery and left me with partial facial paralysis. My partner and I were also expecting our first child, after years of trying. In retrospect, the coincidence of these events forced me to examine what I wanted out of the rest of my life and how I wanted to be in the world, as a person and a father. I felt my own mortality in a very concrete way, at the same time that I felt the immense promise and bounty of renewed life. And, somehow, I knew that the world would find a way to nourish me on this path. It hasn’t been a straight or linear journey, but I wouldn’t trade it. Read more>>

Lauren Grattan | Co-founder & Chief Community Officer

Risk has played a big role in my life and career. A lot of people think about risk mostly in the negative—in terms of what could go wrong. But I like to think about risk in terms of what could go right. Ten years ago I went backpacking from the Canadian border of Montana to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I hiked 2,500 miles in five months, largely on a trail of my own design. Pretty much all of my colleagues, friends, and family said, “You’re doing what?!” It seemed terrifying, but if (when) I managed to do it, how cool. That kind of energy is what drives me personally and professionally—It seems undoable, but if it works, how incredible would it be? My college friends and I joked that the line between badass and bad is very, very fine. Read more>>

Anna Cloutier | Photographer & Content Creator

How do I think about risk. I feel risk is a vital piece of what pushes us to become more. It’s almost like a puzzle piece we have to choose to push the vision we have for our lives forward and that’s what it’s done for me; it’s pushed me forward. Risking is betting on yourself. Without stepping out into the unknown I personally would have never realized my true potential as an artist or even as a photographer. Taking risks has helped me tremendously when it has come to growing my business, learning, and even growing as a person. It’s opened doors I never thought would be open for me; without it I wouldn’t have made it into rooms that only grew opportunities for me and pushed me forward. Read more>>

Nicki Gorini | Executive & Life Coach

What I’ve observed in my own life and for my clients as well, is that taking risks is a crucial part of achieving and growing. Playing it safe doesn’t create anything new, except safety. There are certainly times where it’s appropriate to choose safety and security – especially when it impacts your mental and physical health. Yet, there are certainly times where we have to take risks in order to achieve something remarkable for ourselves. That absolutely requires you to get out of your comfort zone. If you put it all on the table and risk it all, that is when you have a real opportunity to get what you want and access to your own personal power. When you can look the risk in the face and say, it will be scary, but worth it to take this risk, and I’m willing to deal with the consequence, then your passion and ability to achieve results is on fire! Is it ironic that you have to be willing to take a loss to get a gain? I think it’s incredible. Read more>>

Robt O’Sullivan Schleith | Spoken Word Organizer

I often think of myself as being risk-averse, but in reality I have often taken great risks throughout my life, most notably when merging my art with community service. I nervously attended my first San Diego poetry open mic in the mid-1990’s, having had a good number of poems published over the previous four or so years. Although I had been a singer-songwriter in my twenties, reciting one’s own poetry from a stage to strangers felt much more threatening and exposing than music had ever been for me. But within a year I was handed the reins of that open mic reading by my friend Lizzie Wann, who wanted to free her time up to pursue running a house concert series instead. I wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge at the time, but indeed have been hosting a poetry reading ever since. Read more>>

Valeria Bueno | Visual Artist

Taking risks has been a constant decision for my career. I think that risks will always take you to important lessons. Even if the results are not what you expected, theres a lot of knowledge in the experience. It will always be a win-win situation. Im not an impulsive risk taker, I usually give myself time to think about decisions, keeping in mind that there’s always more to explore for my project. Read more>>

Pili Aguado | Illustrator & Designer

Risk is something that is present in your daily life when you are dedicated to a creative work. Any new project always has a high probability of failure and it is something we must assume from the beginning. You have to learn to live with it and assume it as a part of your routine without it discouraging you. Read more>>

Yaneck Wasiek | Professional Photographer

Everything we do in our business carries certain level of risk. That’s the nature of any business. So we need to understand and be prepared in case it materializes itself. For example, our move from Chicago to San Diego carried a big risk as we were moving our business across the continent. However, we were prepared for it and planned for over a year our move. We develop a plan for the first 12 months and also save enough money to be without revenue for over 6 months. Read more>>

Vonn Cummings Sumner | Painter & Teacher

The longer that I work, the more I feel able to take risks. The element of risk has become absolutely necessary for my creative process. I need to feel like I could scrape off a painting at any time and start over; and I also need to feel like any time I finish a painting it is a risk- the risk that it could be embarrassing, ridiculous, or a failure of some kind. I have come to see this risk of failure to be central to my process. Read more>>

Olivia Steadman- Oladipo | Yoga Instructor & Writer

I believe life is a risk when lived fully. To truly live a purposeful life, you have to make choices that challenge and ultimately grow you. These kinds of decisions don’t always pan out the way we’d like them to. I am a risk taker at my core, I’ve always found my way by taking the unconventional route. In my life, I enjoy traveling. I’ve traveled 22 countries with 14 of them being solo. Does that come with risk? Of course, but it also comes with immeasurable experiences I’d never get within my comfort zone. In my career, I quit my stable, well-paying, government job to follow my heart and put action behind my dreams. I left working for others to become a full time entrepreneur and that may be the biggest risk I’ve ever taken— to fully believe in myself and my power with no back up plan. Read more>>

Heather Bowling | Director & Curator

Risk taking has been a huge part of my career as well as my day-to-day running of the Brea Gallery where I am Director. Without risk there is no reward, as the old adage goes. Storytime: I graduated with my Bachelors in 2012 back in my home state of Virginia. Fresh out of art school, I had no real idea of what I wanted to do with my life, aside from ‘something art-related’ and definitely something outside of my small hometown. So naturally I decided to head out to California to make all my dreams come true. I sent my resume out to something like 40 art spaces in Southern California, and only ended up hearing back from one. Turns out the City of Brea Art Gallery was hiring a front desk attendant and the boss liked what I said in my cover letter. Read more>>

Nicola Majocchi | Photographer & Director

Taking a risk is always a crucial and primary element part of the creative process, a great assistant to help us to push our boundaries every day and most importantly at work on set. It is paramount to challenge ourselves always to reach higher standards and goals, and the more risk involved during such process, the more rewarding the results are at the end. It is important not to be afraid of failure, but instead to learn from it. Since my teenager years in Italy as a downhill ski racer, risk taking always played a key role in our training, and with time it became natural although often occasionally dangerous to apply the “no risk no gain” rule to the everyday life and ultimately to my career. As a photographer, risk can easily be taken every time I’m behind the camera regardless the nature of the photograph I’m about to take, or the subject, wether is portrait or fashion, or an action shot, or a still life. Read more>>

Kyle Krone | Songwriter, Producer, Musician & Artist

If you’re an artist or someone with a creative vision who is searching for some form of expression that rings truth, be it in your own heart and soul or in something you observe outside of yourself I believe inherent risk is always present. While these feelings are quite natural and add up rather beautifully in the natural world at least in your head, at the same time dualistically we are also living in an unnatural man made world with unnatural expectations and real life consequences. In other words you may write what you feel is the best song or book of your life, or you may paint what you feel is the greatest painting you’ve done that perfectly expresses your vision and that act of creation created some kind of desirable return in terms of emotions and contributed to some sense of well being though didn’t result in some quantifiable benefit so it can be risky. Read more>>

Sasha Koozel Reibstein | Artist & Educator

Risk taking plays a big role in both my life and practice but in very different ways. In the studio, I fully embrace risk and find it is one of my biggest attractions to ceramics, the dominant material in my work. For me, creating art is a collaborative and exploratory process and by working in clay, the kiln becomes my collaborator and the material is able to transform through firing in ways that surprise me, an alchemic process which I find very rewarding. When I am not satisfied with how things come out, that just becomes another challenge and the problem solving and experimentation that comes from tackling these “failures” is often when I discover new techniques and ideas that are even more exciting than what I originally imagined. Read more>>

Brandon Rauch

Risk is everything. How can one truly excel in any facet of their lives if they’re not willing to take a risk? I think people always identify risk with something monumental when in reality that tiny little risk you take can greatly affect your life. You have to wake up every day and do something different from the previous day, we’re human, we need change, we need risk, we can’t be static. As a band, touring is a huge risk. We spend most of our time traveling to play 45 minutes of music, not knowing if anyone will come to the show or care, yet the risk is always worth it. It can suck financially, you will be exhausted, maybe you got some weird venereal disease from the last town you played in (that’s a risk in itself), but that feeling of showing your art and craft to people in person, where everything can go wrong, is so worth it. Read more>>

Joanne Newman | Mixed Media Artist

What is so risky about artmaking you might ask. It has been my experience that taking risks in art making is essential. It takes me places I have never been, reveals where I want to go, keeps me motivated and pushes me forward. But, it can be scary! Rejection is always possible. What if no one wants to buy it? The vulnerability is daunting! Then I remember it’s just paint. After many years of learning painting basics in technique and process, I have built a vocabulary of skills that are the foundation of my practice as a painter. The true satisfaction in art making is when I can expand beyond this basic alphabet soup and use it to construct my own stories in paint. Every painting presents a series of decisions. I enjoy exploring the “what ifs” as I paint. Read more>>

Sureya Davis | Art Instructor & Painter/Draftswoman

I think risk taking is an essential part of success. I always tell my students that without it, one runs the (dare I say) risk of missing out on their potential. Taking risks can be scary, sure, but it has also played an integral part in my life and my career. For example, if I hadn’t taken the risk to attend art school rather than major in something more “practical”, my whole life and happiness would look vastly different. If I hadn’t taken the jump to apply/ask for the teaching positions I am currently in, I don’t even know what life post college would look like for me. It’s absolutely worth it to take the leap, what’s the harm in trying. Read more>>