We had the good fortune of connecting with Autumn Woods and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Autumn, how do you think about risk?
What an interesting thing, the concept of risk. So many of us are risk-adverse, concerned with exposing ourselves to danger. But what is life without constant exposure to risk?

A few years ago, a woman shared with me how she ended up paralyzed from the neck down. One night she dreamt she was swimming amongst friends and decided to practice a swan dive – she awoke just before her dive connected her with the hardwood floor, having jumped in her sleep from the foot of her bed.

With no previous history of sleepwalking or lucid dreaming, this strange occurrence changed the direction of her entire life. And what risk did she expose herself to? Sleeping in her comfortable bed.

There was a lot I learned from her that day. One lesson in particular was the idea that, life in inherently risky. So why avoid living? If something as simple as driving to work is statistically the most risky thing I could do, don’t I put my life at risk every day? And if I do, don’t I want to be taking more meaningful and rewarding risks than driving in traffic?

The point of this anecdotal tangent is that, everything is a risk. Despite all the premeditation we might make about a decision, all the caution we take to avoid any negative consequences, there is always a chance, or a risk, that something can go wrong.

Or does it?

I’ve often found that what feels like a consequence due to taking a risk almost always ends up serving my development towards my goal in the long run. Making meaning of something is the greatest power we have – did my risk lead to a negative result, or did it just redirect me to a different path?

Of course, not all decisions are equal – the difference here is intention. Why did we take the risk in the first place? Was it because we weren’t practicing self-discipline and made decisions out of self-interest?

Or was it a risk you deemed necessary in the pursuit towards fulfilling your goals? In which case, even if the immediate results cause stress and discomfort, you’ll find in hindsight the results were necessary for you to continue on your journey.

Sometimes the risk involves throwing ourselves into the fire so we might be forged into our final form. How do you forge strength into a metal? By repeatedly dipping it into the fire and hammering it into shape.

Perhaps we think less about risk, and instead about which fires we discern worth enduring so we might be forged into our next best form. Might we focus more on the hammers that help shape us rather than avoiding the pain of formational experiences, we’ll emerge strong enough to serve the higher purpose that fuels us.

I can say with certainty that I am incredibly grateful for the fires in my life. While the hammer hurts as it falls, my resilience strengthens with each blow.

what is talent,
but passion driven by your karmic truth
when you finally decide to tune into you
and you’re not afraid of what you’re called to do
you’ll find passion loves practice, every chance you’ll pursue
and slowly but surely, your talent is brewed

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
If you’re familiar with the enneagram, I am the classic seven, “The Enthusiast”. Think renaissance man – in fact, my senior superlative was “most versatile”.

I’ve always been driven by a curiosity for, well, everything! It’s what helped me through school, a general interest in what I was learning that bred intrinsic motivation. It’s why I’ve worked a wide variety of jobs, and why I’ll most likely continue to add even more to the repertoire.

The beautiful thing about art is how it lends itself naturally to the exploration of mediums that most interest you. In this way, I think of creativity as a first language of sorts. Regardless of the medium I’m interested in, be it hair, makeup, music, fashion, etc, it all speaks to the same truth.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Speaking of a wide variety of jobs, one I really enjoyed was being a tour guide! Because of my background in biology and ecology, I’m impartial to the nature of San Diego. One of my favorites was an old tour site of mine, La Jolla cove. Not only did I guide kayak tours through the caves for a summer, but I used to swim the cove to practice for triathlons while attending UCSD. It’s my absolute favorite place in San Diego. Only downside – the parking. So we’d probably take an Uber, which means we can explore a bit on foot and let the day take us – if it’s farmers market day, even better!!
Naturally if I want to guide through the highlights of San Diego, I’d have to take them to Balboa Park and explore all the hidden trails, and maybe get a roller skate session in around the air and space museum.
The last thing we’d absolutely have to do is go dancing – and there are so many amazing spots to do that, we’d just have to see what the night brings!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Life is amazing and curious in who it brings to us. I’ve been so extremely fortunate to be surrounded by a team of friends scattered amongst both San Diego and beyond, who I can call whenever I need to recenter. I appreciate so much getting their honest feedback because it helps me check in with myself to make sure I’m still on the path towards achieving what I know is true to me.

Website: autumnwoodsbio.wixsite.com/home

Instagram: autumn.w00ds

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