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.

Myra Hollis | Mental Health Therapist

I think about risk as a chance to bet on yourself. I took a risk in my life when I developed my non profit FEM Scholar and podcast Black Womxn Healing Pod. The chance I took with both of these is if it would be received by people. My first time taking a risk was with FEM Scholar and I am beyond happy I did because it pushes me to pursue other passions and that is how the podcast was birthed. Read more>>

Alysia Pope | Health Coach & Wellness Expert

I think about risks as ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway.’ I’ve learned to reframe how I think about failure as well, where I’m thinking about it as a positive that I’m pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and growing vs. remaining stagnant. I believe risks are necessary to grow, and opportunities are found when you get comfortable being uncomfortable. Read more>>

Natalie Atick | Photographer/Influencer

When I think of risk I think of having fear with that risk. For me in my career having fear has always motivated me rather than hold me back. If I didn’t take the risks that I did I wouldn’t be where I am now and have become the person that I am today. Being a risk taker is what will get us to our goals and fulfill our dreams. If our dreams don’t scare us they aren’t big enough! We have to take those risks and not be afraid about the chances of failure. Sometimes those are the biggest lessons we need to learn to get to the next step in reaching our dreams and goals. Read more>>

Mimi Marie | Nia Instructor, Embodiment Coach, Nutritionist and Writer

I believe that every passion or dream that we feel called to pursue newly is going to involve a certain level of risk and conquering our own fears. Every step outside of our comfort zone is a risk and we never know the result or the reward until we take the leap. The first time I taught a Nia class was a risk. What if I’m really bad and people don’t have fun? The first time I ran a cleanse program was a risk. What if it doesn’t work for everyone? What if I fail at it ALL? The problem is we never know until we take the risk and try. Those risks have always led me to greater experiences than I could have ever imagined in my own mind. The reward for helping people to live more healthfully and fully embodied lives is worth every risk in my book. Read more>>

Terry Taft | Artist & Designer

Risk has played such an important role in the process of starting my own small business. Like a lot of young people, I was working a full time customer service job and in school full time for a few years. At the beginning of this year, I decided I needed to take the risk to reduce my hours in customer service to allow more time to create art and product for my business. This was a scary transition because its consequence was a bit of financial stress. One thing I’ve learned through this process is that creating quality product and running a business requires time and constant upkeep. Taking the first steps to launch a project from passion to job is risky but can be extremely rewarding. Read more>>

Kelli Corder | Yoga Teacher & Podcast Co-Host

Whenever I feel that I have risk running through my veins, I know that I am on the right track. Trying something new, taking a leap of faith, and sensing risk create a recognizable feeling that I have come to welcome in my life, even though it feels really uncomfortable. I spend a sensible amount of time accessing the risks I take in my life and business, and once I know I have prepared best I can, I go for it! For example, investing $500 into a new website for my business can be a financial risk, but the risk I take of never trying will be much more costly. I have never regret the risks I have taken; I have just gotten more familiar with pivoting, shifting, and honestly, totally failing. Read more>>

Sonya Gomez and Angela Stanger

SONYA: Taking risks are an essential part of growth, and I have always been one for personal growth. There’s a thrill I get when I go for what I want – a thrill from the adventure of risk-taking. Despite criticism from others (and myself!), I have always enjoyed taking the next leap of faith into life. From obtaining higher degrees while being part of the first generation of my family to go to college, to solo traveling abroad, to starting my own businesses, risk-taking is part of my genetic makeup. There were several risks involved when starting Plant Based Meals. Angela and I started with nothing except our own skills and determination, and have bootstrapped our way to where we are today. We risked not having a steady income, health insurance, and other factors that come with the typical 9-5 type jobs. We continue to overcome risks on a daily basis as we continue to grow. ANGELA: Taking calculated risks is the foundation of forming any business. Read more>>

Jenelle Raimo | Owner, Bee You Bee Happy Childcare

The greatest risk is the one I didn’t take. I relate risks to missing beautiful opportunities, as magic that was failed to be seen, glitter that was never thrown in the air and hidden miracles that never came to be. My greatest career risk was resigning from the most amazing corporate role in March of 2020. I had achieved the pinnacle position with a fortune 500 company, stellar salary and benefits, flexible schedule, brilliant coworkers, and everything that on paper would make for a long standing professional career. Except the inherent joy, purposeful meaningful work that I was expecting. My journey began more than 6 years ago after having my first born daughter. It was a whisper that turned into an overwhelming roar in 2020. I could no longer deny myself to pursue my dream of building a childcare program to serve children and families in my community. COVID-19 was just heating up in the world when I gave my notice, began to prepare and plan, build my business from scratch amidst a global pandemic. Was I scared? Yes. Was it worth it? Hell yes. Read more>>

Daniela Gutierrez | Baker & Entrepreneur

I think risks are one of the biggest things of what can make a business or a career successful. By never taking chances and only allowing yourself to be in a safe bubble you’ll never be able to truly grasp the entirety of what you hold. You need that push within yourself to be able to reach the success point of what you want or else you’ll never realize how much work really went into it. Now don’t get me wrong. Taking risks means something different for every individual but as long as its a step that you may not be comfortable with but you know is for a good reason is all that matters! I spent nearly $500 when I was fifteen to start my business. For a fifteen year old I felt like the richest person in the world but I was willing to let it all go for a push to make my dream a reality. Now I’m at the point in my business where I’m getting orders weekly and booked for months ahead. That 50/50 chance that I risked doing was something I’ll never regret. Read more>>

Monica Cardone | Metalsmith, Florence Fanatic, Tenacious Fun Finder

After “playing it safe” most of my life, I took the small risk of saying yes to hiking the medieval pilgrimage across northern Spain called The Camino de Santiago de Compostela with a girlfriend in 2014. After hiking those 500 miles, One of the most valuable lessons I learned is that “fear” is a bad advisor…it can keep you small and not expressing the whole of who you are. I mean, we all know fear can keep us safe in certain situations right? That’s a good thing, but I’m talking more about the fear of not doing something only because you don’t know how, or you don’t think you’re good enough, or whatever your excuse is. What I started thinking to myself when faced with a decision, I asked myself, “Are you saying no because you are afraid? Because you’ve never done this before? Because you don’t know how? Because of what others might say or think about you?” If my answer was tending to a no just because I was fearful of the above, I make myself take the risk and say YES to push through the fear if the opportunity was something I wanted to do with a full heart. It’s completely the reason that I find myself where I am today. Read more>>

Bill DiLuigi | Nashville Songwriter and Word Pusher

To swerve is always scary. You might hit a wall or you might discover something awesome and néw . There’s an old saying that if you do what you always done , you’ll get what you’ve always got . That’s fine if your banging in the doors of success but if you’re not, then maybe it’s time to swerve a little . I started out on a much narrower path. I wanted to be a rock star guitar player in a band I was in in the Northeast . It allowed me to write songs for the band as well . For years I had tunnel vision ; write, tour , go after the big record deal . The deal never came . The band broke up . Then there I was thinking what’s next ? As Divine intervention would have it, it seemed everywhere I turned people were talking about Nashville . I had envisioned living in New York or LA with the band prior to this . Nashville ? I wasn’t even a fan of Country music . Isn’t all the food fried ? My first risk was to enter a song contest out on by the Phila NARAS chapter . I wrote a bluegrass song of all things . It’s like God proved his sense of humor by making me a finalist! I started gathering information for trips to Nashville at the judging event. Read more>>

Ariana Torres | Intuitive Wellness and Branding Coach

When I reflect on what “risk taking” signifies to me I first reflect on the years I spent living in my comfort zone, attempting to create a false sense of safety in fear of stepping into the unknown. I spent the better part of my 20s working towards releasing old stories and re-programming my mind so that I could view risks as something exciting, something essential for my own growth and transformation. It came down to giving the word a new energy – charging it with new intentions. I believe most of life is about re-framing past thoughts and ideas so that you can choose a new perspective that best serves you. In my business, taking large risks means trusting that I will always be supported. Whether I’m launching a new program, investing in something new or simply allowing myself to be seen and witnessed, I can experience a deeper sense of peace and equanimity. I’s a process of releasing expectations and instead leaning more into the excitement so that we can remain open to the unlimited possibilities that await us on the other side. Read more>>

Tanya Markul | Poet. Writer. Author of The She Book Series With Andrews McMeel Publishing.

I started writing poetry when I was six-years old. I’d layer squiggly line on top of line and call it a poem. I was enchanted by Dr. Seuss, nursery rhymes, and even good ‘ol Hallmark cards. But I stopped writing when I lost the man who was my father just before I turned 10 years old — and was woken up to the harsh reality and trauma that had been happening all around me. Not allowing myself to create was like my first step towards self-sabotage and punishing myself for all that felt bad in my childhood. I kept writing, but kept it secret. I’d journal my heart out, then burn my notebook or throw away the pages so that no one could read my uncensored feelings and deepest thoughts. Ok, so where am I going with this? I want to acknowledge the feelings of shame, imposter syndrome, and the overall fear of being exposed by our writing. Because this was a huge part of me that I had to face when publishing my first collection. But I knew I had to do it — I wanted to do it — in order to break free from the spell of self-disbelief AND to break the seal on my own creative expression, so that I could heal and move on. Read more>>

Shelby | Kristina Dash | Clifford | Video Content Creators & Writers

Risk is scary AF. We’d know, because we’re presently in the trenches of it. Our business is in its infant stage. That being said, we think it’s an accumulation of risk (big and small) over the years that got us to this juncture. First of all, coming out to Los Angeles to pursue acting was a HUGE risk, as it’s one of the most difficult careers to ascend. In order to stand out, we took another risk: producing comedy videos for social media (before it was popular). We knew nothing about the filmmaking process, but dove in and taught ourselves how to film, edit, and write short form content. The pandemic actually forced Kristina and I to embrace risk yet again, since we both lost our “day jobs.” Luckily, our passion for making comedy videos paid off, and we organically transitioned into making branded content. The flexibility also enabled us to become laser-focused on our screen writing. (We just finished a romantic comedy feature that we’re super proud of ). Now our “day job” has become our passion and, to be honest, I wish we had taken the risk and become full-time video creators/writers sooner. Read more>>

Valerie Mar | Boutique Owner & Wardrobe Sylist

Risk is scary! But it’s also very thrilling for me. If I’m not taking risks, I’m not living! The role as a “selfpreneur” is continuously teaching, testing, and pushing me out of my boundaries. It’s the only way to find out if something is working or not in my business. The great reward that has come with it all is the amount of learning that it has brought up in my personal life. I get to learn about my character each day. I get to dissect where my motivation comes from, where my habits were built, and what I want to change about myself! ……It’s interesting really!….Running a business (even a small business) positions you into a whole world of self-development. I love it. Read more>>

Dr. Carleigh Golightly | EmpowerMed Integrative Clinic Founder & Naturopathic Doctor

I think a life without risk sounds awfully boring! Deciding to step into the journey of building a business is a huge risk in itself. I come from a long line of 9-5 salaried-job-with-benefits family members and had no idea what it meant to start a business. But my mission to help people heal with naturopathic medicine was so strong, I was willing to step outside my comfort zone. At the end of the day, if your mission is strong enough, you’ll be willing to step out into almost any risk. Whenever I feel overcome by the uncertainties of business ownership, I re-center myself on my mission: using integrative medicine as a platform for healing the body and freeing people to access emotional and spiritual health. I believe we were all put on this earth for a purpose. But no worthy purpose comes easy. Your greatest work in this life will take grit, courage, and a whole lot of risk. Read more>>