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.

Annie Tao | Lifestyle & Commercial Photographer

Living life authentically is all about risk-taking. You have to step out of your comfort zone and jump in because often our dreams require us to take the road less traveled, so it can be scary. One example of when I did that was when I left the corporate world. I had been “climbing the ladder” for about a decade in Fortune 500 companies that appreciated me and paid me well! I studied at UC Berkeley in order to land jobs like that, so it was unfathomable to those around me that I’d walk away from it for a path that was unknown and uncertain. Read more>>

Levi Tucker | Singer/Songwriter

I feel like following your dreams is a big risk. But it’s one you have to take. I changed my whole life to follow my dream of playing music. I had to sacrifice everything and literally leave an entire life behind. But I think a dream like that chooses you. You don’t choose it. In a way you have no choice but to follow. I think if you didnt you would just live in misery. Who wants that? Read more>>

Tim Van Damm | Luxury Real Estate Specialist, Broker Associate

Risk is critical to any successful business. When I started this business I had very little capital, a bunch of small kids, and my family was dependent on my income. I knew I had the skillset to be successful in real estate but I didn’t have the hands on experience of selling real estate day in and day out. I took a risk and bet on myself. There was no safety net which meant sink or swim. However, I understood the fundamentals of what it takes to get a new business off the ground and I was mentally prepared for the challenges, rejection, and roadblocks. Had I not taken that risk of jumping into a new profession and going all in, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Read more>>

Eric Burgess | Fractional Chief Product Officer, Writer, and Game Designer

In my life, I’m generally cautious about major risks because I have a highly risk-averse wife. Without going into detail, taking business risks ruined her childhood. So, I’m careful to manage my professional and personal risks based on being aware of what it will take to recover if the worst happens. I calculate those risks and explain any concerns to my wife because she is my partner and deserves to be part of any major professional decisions I make. This process also includes looking at the upside that comes out even if the risk doesn’t go my way. Opportunity can even out the concerns. Read more>>

Ricky Ray | Co-Owner of ManaKind

The biggest risk is not taking one. Ask yourself what happens if you don’t take the risk… what will your life look like then? You might end up living a life full of “what ifs.” If taking a risk is scary, wait until you see the price you have to pay when regret brings your bill to the table. Make sure that when you do take a risk that you have given it sufficient thought and research. Blindly taking risk doesn’t make you courageous… it makes you a moron. Read more>>

Suzanne Maslyk | Furniture Refinishing & Entrepreneur

Taking a risk is an opportunity to open another door to the future. Every job I had or had to leave was another experience to add on my list. I’ve had jobs that were easy and paid poorly, and harder ones showed me income potential. Never say you can’t do something that you want to do-my risks were always worth it even if I wasn’t sure what I was doing at first. My entire resume is a series of risks which gave me exposure. I’ve done rough electrical work, sold vacuums, been a barista, sold insurance and managed a bakery as baker and cake decorator. Read more>>