We asked some brilliant folks from the community to talk to us about how they think about risk and the role risk has played in their lives and careers.

Kim Kachmar | Wine Educator & Content Creator

I believe that risk-taking is important to create the life you want. However I don’t find it easy. I’m a cautious person who is always thinking a few steps ahead and risk scares me, but at the same time I’ve learned that it’s important to take risks when they are pointing towards your dreams. For example, I took a risk to start working in wine. I lost my former career job during the pandemic and could have gotten another job in the same field, but I took the risk to pursue working in the wine industry and starting my wine education and events business, Together With Wine. Read more>>

Mark Jared Zufelt | Visual Storyteller

I am by no means a thrill seeker. You will never find me jumping out of a perfectly good airplane or swimming with sharks. That being said, risk has played a HUGE role in my professional life… propelling me to opportunities I once thought were beyond my grasp. As someone who struggles with anxiety, risk can certainly be a bit of a double-edged sword. I fret over decisions (before, during and afterward), but also have an innate desire to lean into the challenges that scare me. In exchange for “pressing the bruise”, I have been rewarded with a number of grants and fellowships, travelled to the Philippines to direct a new play in Manila and shot fashion editorials in Paris. Read more>>

S. W. | Published poet, author and musician

How boring a life without a little risk? Although for me, the total consumption of risk, is the head-on collision with truth. To take a risk within what I write, within what I think, within all I share, is to confront those truths, my truths. And oh, what a terrifying thing that is! It took me some time to understand what being truthful with myself looked and felt like. Admitting things that I had experienced, accepting my faults. Because without every moment lived, I could not be who am I. The greatest part of this is vulnerability. Sharing myself, my truths with an audience that could say things without any consequences. And of course, what is the worst thing a reader or critic could say? Read more>>

Jake Brewer | Musician & Founder of FRNDLY Media

Often we think of “risks” or “risk-taking” as this 50/50 chance at either the best outcome or regretting we ever considered it. I don’t understand why we begun and still do frame pursuing opportunities that way, but one of the most empowering moments of my life was realizing that “risk-taking” isn’t a 50/50 outcome, but a guaranteed positive despite the outcome. Every risk we take results in us growing as a person, a creator, or however we define ourselves. Whether that result leaves us feeling satisfied or uncomfortable, we can always take a step back, remove ourselves from the moment, and recognize that whether we lost and learned something new or took a metaphorical step forward, the benefit is always present. Read more>>

Joel Pierson | Composer / Pianist

Taking risks is central to a career in the arts. Without risk, there is no originality. Most people choose the safer paths, but I have always tried to challenge myself by walking into the unknown. I always want to be putting my work out into the world without knowing exactly what will happen, or what people will think about it. Along the way I try to never settle for the obvious or easy route, and gauge success by the creativity that I see from my decisions. Read more>>

Diane Hamacher | Kids & Family Photographer

Taking risk: the fear of the unknown can hold you back. Calculated risks: knowing “your why,” the options, and back up plans you have can help you embrace change and adapt. Moving from France to San Diego 14 years ago with my husband was most likely one of our biggest adventures. We left family and friends behind to start a new chapter of our life. Risk was calculated, since my husband had a job, but for me it was the big unknown. Read more>>

Ron Sanchez | Balboa Park Content Creator and Photographer

Risk taking is necessary especially when you are pursuing your dream and it definitely played a major role in my life. While in college my dream job was to work for USA Today and cover sports, primarily hockey. When I landed the job I thought that I would work there forever. But after seven and a half years my passion for sports waned and I wanted to make films. I visited my college professor who changed my life by giving me direction and told her that I was quitting and moving to California. She told me it was a bad idea. My co-workers thought I was crazy because I was leaving a good job and didn’t have another one lined up. However, they admired me because I was taking a huge risk. Read more>>

GREY COUTTS | Artist & Creative Director

Risk-taking has shaped and changed my entire life and career. Fear is very persistent in all of our lives and once we learn how to push through it and not worry about the outcome of our risk-taking, we discover our real talents and who we really are beyond the limitations of our minds. The biggest struggle I used to have when making art was actually starting the process. I would find myself just staring at the empty canvas, waiting for something to happen. Eventually, I learned, that starting the process of an abstract piece is usually a risk in itself. The main part of being an experimental abstract artist is the risk-taking factor. It’s about throwing paint on the canvas trusting your intuition and creative flow. To then react to the risk and create something conceptual. Read more>>