There is a wealth of academic research that suggests that differences in risk appetite are at the heart of differences in career and business trajectories. We wanted to go beyond the theory and ask real people from the community about their perspectives and experiences with risk and risk taking.

Sara Shermis | Psychic Medium Akashic Records Reader

Overcoming my fear of sharing with the world that I am a psychic medium was sort of my first step to moving past everything that was holding me back from accepting a deeper part of myself and meeting who that person really is. When it comes to working for yourself, I think there are tons of risks to consider when you decide to walk that path. The risks are far beyond how you will be perceived by the world, too. For me, revealing myself as a psychic may have been the scariest part initially, however, so many others fears showed up. What I learned was that fears do change though, and may even disappear. Read more>>

Madeleine Collins | Wedding & Portrait Photographer

Risk taking is what has led me to my career and my husband, so needless to say, it’s a topic that means a lot to me and my life. Before I started my photography business 4 years ago, I had a stable corporate job in Washington D.C., that I liked just fine. I was working in business-to-business media sales, focusing on the government contracting and energy industries. Sure, the financial aspect was great and I got to travel for client visits, but unsurprisingly, this wasn’t what I was passionate about nor what I saw myself doing for decades to come. I had always been the type to have multiple side-hustles, so one day, after giving it some thought and deciding to follow my gut, I gave notice to my corporate job. Read more>>

Sunnie Heers | Adventure Wedding Planner & Photographer

Risk has been such an important foundation of my business. I think one of my favorite quotes I’ve heard is “it’s better done than perfect”, which just means that it’s better to start something instead of procrastinating because your work isn’t perfect. When I first started out I didn’t know how to edit or make my photos look like the ones I aspired them to be similar to. I started taking photos of my friends, did free shoots for couples, and learned everything along the way. Quitting my other jobs was also a risk but it pushed my to make photography actually happen. If I wasn’t getting inquiries, I brainstormed other ways I could attract clients and reached out to them. Read more>>

Scott Elgram | Fine Art Landscape Photographer

When I think about risk I try to think about what it is that I’m risking and whether or not that risk is worth the reward…a little cliché I know but still I think it’s totally true. If the risk is too great then you need to find a new \different way to do it. That being said, when it comes to my art, my photography, I have to think about what I’m actually risking. When I started to put my work out there I risked rejection, ridicule…all that inner critique stuff that keeps a lot of people back. But for me, none of that really matters, I just wanted to expose the world to my vision. Read more>>

Didi Rio | Video Creator & Comedian

I think risk taking is gnarly. My entire life right now is based off of a huge risk I took back when I somehow convinced both parents to let me quit public school and take super self dependent online courses instead. At the time I remember trying to think of ways to explain to people that I don’t actually “go to school” and when asked why, having to explain that it’s because I now have more time to “shoot stupid videos for fun”. I don’t know where this risk will take me next but that’s what risks are all about I think. Read more>>

Arthur Soriano | President & CEO

Youth Empowerment (YE) has provided reentry services for justice involving youth and adults from the City Heights and Southeast San Diego area since 2015. YE’s inception was to productively support justice involved men and women successfully reenter their communities in a positive, constructive manner utilizing peer-mentoring, job search assistance, and connections to community. Upon release at 36, founder Arthur Soriano found himself below the poverty line, struggling to obtain employment and, more importantly, struggling to reconnect with his community in City Heights. Read more>>

Redin Winter | Abstract and Mixed Media Artist

Taking risks is probably the one thing that propelled me into my art business today. I have always been a risk taker. I started a lucrative career as a model at twenty-eight years old and a mother, when most models start in their teens, and that risk led to me signing with one of the largest international modeling agencies, Wilhelmina. Of course everyone told me the idea was lubricous at the time. I began a rigorous PhD program with two children, one that was an infant, I still wonder how I managed to pull that off. And after completing the program I made a risky, bold, and vulnerable decision to put myself out into the world as a painter. Read more>>

Taylor Gallegos | Artist

My relationship to risk is based around the concept that I feel that I have unique opportunities, I have a unique skillset, I have a relatively solid level of support around me, and I have a relatively low level of responsibility weighing on my shoulders. With all the these factors in place, I feel that it’s my duty or my charge to go as big as I can in the time that I will have here. Not everyone is lucky in the ways that I am, so I need to aim high, risk big, and ultimately succeed for them. There’s no reason for me not to thrive, and then do as much good in the world as I can with that success. Read more>>

Gianna Tesone | Fine Artist, Creative & Mentor

In my line of work, risk is everything. I gave up fitting into a social norm to pursue a life of unyielding uncertainty to create beauty in a society where success is defined by monetary value. Even though I am willing, does not mean I don’t face fears and doubts about who I am or what I’m doing; however, just because the fear is there doesn’t mean it’s true. But it’s because I live outside of comfort and complacency that I see results and experience purpose in what I do. And this doesn’t just go for my artist career – it rings true for every day life. Read more>>

Darcy Bly | Video Creator

I always think of the quote, “leap and the universe will throw you a net”. It goes hand in hand with taking the risk & I believe it to be true. To take the initial risk is the hardest part of starting a business, but once you get going, there’s only momentum to gain from there. I am a risk taker by nature and it has definitely allowed me to continue being the purveyor of my creative freedom and craft. Read more>>

Brittany Marquez | Artist & Entrepreneur

Risk taking has been a pretty big factor in the way I’ve moved throughout my life- it’s been a roller coaster ride, but I wouldn’t change any of it. Taking risks is really just peeling back the “what if’s” and making them a reality. Good or bad, you will learn something from taking risks. You’ll learn that sometimes you have to lose or you’ll learn that sometimes a great risk will lead to a greater reward. But everything in life is a risk to some degree, it can be as simple as starting a conversation with a person You don’t know. This person may instantly reject you- or you may have just met your new best friend. Read more>>

David Kindness | Medical Lifestyle Photography

No truly great upside is available without some commensurate degree of risk. Starting a new career means quitting the old one. Pursuing your passions might mean leaving the “safe” or “conventional” life path. It also means being accountable for your own success or failure rather than being held accountable to someone else. But if your dreams are big enough, and the upside is great enough, then the risk is worth it. When I started type1wild – my medical lifestyle photography brand – I had just left a position as a CPA (certified public accountant). CPA’s, lawyers and doctors are usually thought of as being some of the safest career paths in the world pretty much everyone needs them at some point. Read more>>

Ryanna Jordanne Declines | Small Business Owner

When I think about risk – I think of it as an opportunity to learn. In most cases let’s be honest risks are scary. The fear of not knowing what is on the other side or where you’ll land after can prevent most of us to even start. One of my friends told me a quote that really changed my perspective about risk. She told me “Everything you want is on the other side of fear” Even today when I think about that quote I realize how much truth there is to it. Risks have allowed me to break past my threshold whether I was ready for it or not. In the past it has led me to quit my desk job to pursue my dream career in Beverly Hills even though the commute was 2 hours each way. Read more>>

Gabryel Harrison | Painter & Poet

I invite risk. This is an an action of necessity that one must take over and over again in the creative process. In the many years I have now spent making paintings, each time I am able to act with the courage to risk everything, to lose what I may be cherishing as my most favored mark or passage of the particular work, I give myself the opportunity to extend my vocabulary to push my boundaries and to make something that surprises me with its freshness, difference or newness. I trust that risk will be my guide in the journey towards making the unknown, known. Read more>>

Tiffanie Mang | Fine Artist, Digital Illustrator & Art Instructor

Risk Taking is the number one tip I tell my students in the workshops, classes, and mentorships I teach. In my personal experience, all my best life lessons have come out of taking risks, and I cannot stress how much value failing and learning from those mistakes has given me. In my career, the biggest risk I took was moving to a foreign country, Poland, for 6 months to work on a film, Loving Vincent, the world’s first fully hand painted feature film about Vincent van Gogh. I flew over in March 2016 to take a test, bringing one suitcase with me, and not knowing if I would pass or not. 6 months later, I had animated 6 shots from the movie, and was going on a 2 month back-packing trip across Europe. Read more>>