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.

Ashley Rose | Colorist

I know we all have heard it before, “No risk, no reward.” *insert eye roll* What if I don’t want to take the risk? What if I stay in my little bubble of safety? If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? I’ve been in the beauty industry for 12 years now and I have seen the evolution of so many trends. From “stripy” to blended highlights. “Peek a boo” streaks of color to all over vivid colors. From baby lights to balayage. This industry is a revolving door of change! So for someone like me who embraces little change, it comes to no surprise that I was not one for massive risk taking. I loved my bubble of safety! I knew exactly what to expect there. Read more>>

Emylee Ratzlaff | Shuffle Instructor and YouTuber

In order to get somewhere you’ve never been, you have to do things you’ve never done. I think about this quote all the time when it comes to my personal brand. Whenever I feel stagnant or that I’ve plateaued, I ask myself “what’s something I may be scared of doing or that I’ve been putting off?” Then I follow up and ask myself “how could that potentially put my closer to where I want to be?” Often times I think we have the answer for what we need to do to accomplish our goals, it’s just that we are scared to do it. But the best things in my life have always come from my biggest risks. For instance, when I decided I wanted to leave corporate life, I didn’t really have anything lined up afterwards. Read more>>

Chelsea Blaire | Silversmith | Owner | Designer

Life is messy and taking risks is part of it. Risk has launched me from a journey of unplanned single parenting to healing, and from being another employee on the books to becoming an entrepreneur. Six years ago, after some uncontrollable events happened, I was faced with some big changes — the biggest being that I had become a single parent. This was the most risk I had ever faced in life, but I knew deep in my heart that I was moving in the right direction. With this, I had the opportunity to rebuild life exactly as I dreamed of, within my role not only as a mother, but who I was entirely, including my career. Transitions like this can be extremely scary, yet the reward of the risk, comes not in the risk itself, but in what comes after. Read more>>

Kelly Bourgeois | Artist, Sculpture, Nurse and Lover of Life

Risk taking: how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career? As an artist and business-owner, I take risks with each of my artworks. For example, I strive to paint pieces that encourages the viewer to look at nature in a completely different light. With my paintings and quillings, the macro world is immersed in color or the individual quill becomes a key point in a large scale sculptural art work. The risk in each piece is sharing a piece of me while asking the viewer to slow down, form a relationship, take a risk, and look at the world from a different perspective. As an artist, if I stop taking risks I stop growing and stop making art- to me my job is stretch boundaries and encourage others to stretch their boundaries of how they perceive the world around them as well. Read more>>

Oscar Riveros | Digital Strategist. Filmmaker & Musician

We always seek safety and comfort, it is instinct. But risk is what really makes us grow – purpose is it’s fuel. In my life, it has always been a fine balance. A back and forth between safety. comfort and risk. Such is the time when I wanted to open my own business, again (for the 3rd time, after 2 failures). There was this hunger deep inside me; nagging at me. I was about to take the leap over the cliff, my entrepreneur wings ready for flight; fueled by motivation and coffee. Suddenly, we received news that our daughter required heart surgery. It stop me dead in my tracks. I couldn’t take the risk – what if I didn’t have enough for the surgery, the insurance, the medical bills. So I decided it was necessary – I needed to go back to safety and security. My daughter (thank God) had a successful surgery and recovery. In the process I was able to find stable work, study, train Boxing, and pick up new skills for these new world challenges. I picked up a renewed purpose which enabled me to try and take the risk one more time. Read more>>

Jane Turner | Entrepreneur and Adventurer

How do you think about risk? Risk to me is about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to learn, grow and move forward. I am adventurous by nature so risk tasking is part of my DNA. I typically do not enter into things blindly and try to mitigate my risk taking by having a certain level of understanding of what I’m about to do and belief that I’ll yield a positive result. I like to visualize the end result and work back. Along with that I follow my intuition, if it feels good, I go for it, committing 100% and not looking back. Read more>>

Val Mendez | Barber, Educator & Shop Manager

Since the beginning of my barber career I’ve been taking risks, the decision alone to be in the hair industry was just the start. I started my career not fully understanding what I was getting into as far as the amount of work it would take to be successful aside from knowing how to cut hair. I didn’t grasp the concept of “being my own business”. Even after quitting, I had a reached a point in my life that I decided to take the risk of reentering the hair industry. Starting from zero again was a huge gamble and I wasn’t sure in what direction I wanted to take it. I just knew that this was the career path for me, I have a passion for being in this industry that I had not experienced for anything else. Read more>>

Kathryn Rogers | Founder and CEO, Maya Moon Co

I’ve been on a spiritual path for over 15 years, and I’ve sat in a wide range of ceremonies and have had some pretty intense experiences along the way. Nothing comes close to the intensity of being an entrepreneur. The journey of creating something from a spark of inspiration, like any great adventure, has been full of twists and turns, triumph and defeat and reminders to keep going when I need to hear them most. Also like any great adventure, entrepreneurship involves taking risks. Two risks stand out to me specifically that were paramount in my company Maya Moon Co’s creation and growth. Read more>>

Mike Eshaq | Standup Comedian | Filmmaker | Real Estate Investor

I love taking risks so long as the risk doesn’t end with me splattered on pavement! I’m a standup comedian and taking risks is everything in our business. Especially when it comes to trying out a new joke that will more than likely probably not get a laugh, or worse, get the audience to turn on you. But we comedians have to do that every once in a while to see if a joke is going to work or not. Taking risks is exciting and I think that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy doing stand-up comedy. (Another reason is women will find a short, bald, broke-ish guy like me hot all of sudden!) Because when you get to a point where you make a joke work, especially if it’s a joke that was once something that wasn’t working – the feeling is exhilarating! Read more>>

Caryn Sandoval and Brendan Cleak Caryn Sandoval and Brendan Cleak | Video and Photo Creatives

For us, risk taking has been less about calculating risk vs. reward, but rather, standing by our philosophies, creative perspectives, and aesthetic quality. We held fast for almost a decade – working with like-minded clients only and selectively volunteering our photography and videography services as a way to build our experience and test our theories. We had a gut instinct that video and photo production would change in the coming years – and it finally has. The risk of staying true to ourselves has become the reward. Read more>>

John Loera | Tai Chi Master Instructor

I associate risk with regret. Burn the Boats. That’s how it was for me. I left the security of a management job I’d had for 28 years because the fear of failing was nothing compared to having to live with the regret of not investing in myself and the brand I wanted to create. In January 2020 I opened Legacy Tai Chi Martial Arts to the public. Today I’m proud to say that it was worth every personal and professional challenge I’ve had to face. I’m finally doing what I love to do which is teaching my brand of martial arts. I focus on teaching relevant and useful Tai Chi principles that help practitioners align their physical and mental energies. Tai Chi Chuan translates to Ultimate Supreme Fist. My method involves cultivating a strong and healthy mind and body connection as a way of developing practical self-defense skills. As the Chinese Proverb goes “it’s better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war”. Read more>>