Shoot your shot? Take a chance? Society bombards us with messages, phrases, examples and stories of how taking risk is the key to success, but is anything ever that simple? We asked some of the brightest folks we know to tell us about how they think about risk. We’ve shared their responses below.

Mark Phillips | Musician | Woodwinds

I believe risk is essential to moving forward. At 23, I took my biggest risk, by moving from my parents house in suburban Melbourne, Australia where I grew up, to the middle of New York City. I arrived with a suitcase, my saxophone and 3 nights booked at the YMCA hostel in the middle of winter. I knew nobody, had no job, and very little money to my name. Read more>>

Ben Fairbrother | Health Coach for the Mind and Body

Risk plays a crucial role in my life and career, all of my growth comes from taking risks. Put simply, risk taking is doing something that might not work. Starting a business is a risk, moving to a new country or city is a risk, asking someone on a date is a risk. As scary as it is to put yourself out there and potentially fail, it’s far scarier to stay stagnant and live a life of what ifs. Read more>>

Ky’saun James | Recording Artist

Risk? Personally I see risk as an opportunity; risk means getting uncomfortable which makes room for growth, during the motions some may hate it others will embrace it, but determination carries all through it. For 24 years being atop this world risk has showed me several things remaining stagnant couldn’t have, leaving home at the age of 18 allowed me to gain new perspectives. Read more>>

Donella Barcelo | Sr. iOS Engineer & Film Music Composer

I embrace the idea of risk-taking and know firsthand the benefits it can have on ones life. Without risk, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Taking risks throughout my life has given me opportunities I would have otherwise thought were impossible, it also provided me with financial freedom at the current age of 26, and has given me the confidence and ability to trust and believe in myself in every waking moment. The first risk I took was at the age of 18, I decided to leave the comforts of my small hometown on the island of Hawai’i to start my adult life in a large city, Las Vegas. Read more>>

Dana Short | Owner, Spirit Yoga & Spirit Barre

I look at risk as a necessity for growth. When my husband and I decided become small-business owners, it was with the intention of growing professionally and personally, enabling us to spend more time together, working on the business. Unbelievably, it turned out to be even more risky than we had imagined as we purchased our business, Spirit Yoga studio, just 16 days before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the doors to small businesses everywhere, including our studio. Despite going through an incredibly challenging time as business owners, we doubled-down in May of 2021 and took another risk, opening our sister business, a barre studio aptly named Spirit Barre, adjacent to our yoga studio. Read more>>

perry vasquez | Artist and educator

The best thing I ever learned about taking risks was from my tai chi instructor who would tell us to invest in failure. Simply put but very empowering advice. By giving yourself permission to fail, you take the pressure off. In fact, failure can be as motivating as success. When a creative mind encounters a set of circumstances that resists its will, recklessly charging ahead is not an option. Never forcibly oppose it. Instead step back and listen to the problem. Then follow in the direction it wants to go. Read more>>

Denise Alba | Holistic Psychotherapist, Yoga Instructor & CEO

If you would have met me even a year before starting the business, you would have observed a safe, yet determined non-entrepreneur. Success to me was having a good-paying, stable job that let me have 2 weeks off to travel. As I looked more at my level of stress and happiness in this “stable, good job,” It was clear that this way of making a living was not for me. I think I just fell into the norm and what I saw around me in my career. When I finally took that risk and leap into entrepreneurship, it was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life. Read more>>

Thuy Pham | Licensed Permanent Make Up Artist & Brow Henna Instructor

I think most people can agree that the biggest risk in life is not taking any risks. I’ve noticed that I tend to slack off when I’m comfortable. For example last year, I moved back home briefly. As I was stepping into my small business while living off my parent’s couch, I didn’t really have the sense of urgency to push myself. I was afraid to work on clients and put myself out there because i had somewhat of a safety net. It took me 3 months to find the courage to start tattooing eyebrows on real people. Read more>>

Devyn Iglehart | Real Estate Professional (Isellhomes)

A while ago someone told me that if you do not take risks you will not get to the next level, because you perform better when your back is against the wall. Risk brings reward but it is very scary at first. I had a full time 9-5 type of job and cut back to go part-time and take less money to put more time into becoming an agent. I later would quit my job entirely to sell real estate full-time even though I only had made 1 sale at the time. I also took a huge risk once I switched companies. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life but it paid off and my career went to the next step as I would go on to make 4 quick sales. Read more>>

Jose Mohler | Quarterback Trainer/Mentor

Risk are essential, or should I say calculated risks. In order to be successful when taking risk one must be willing to have the curiosity for the unknown that makes it a so called “risk”. Our process is what will create results when taking those “risk” & no matter the outcome there is always learning to be found despite a loss. Often when Im in the process of taking risk my fear of losing often creeps in, urging me to educated myself on the process of that calculated risk. Read more>>

Isaiah Nunez | Entrepreneur and small business owner

risking taking to me is viewed more of a lesson than risk. What lesson can I learn from attempting to do something I’ve never done before? When it comes to “Risk” we as people see it differently from situation to situation. I myself in this situation associate ” risk taking” with my business and life. How has this played in my business and life? Without risk taking i would never learn new lessons, without risk taking I wont ever grow as a person and explore new possibility, without taking a risk I leave doors of endless possibilities closed never to be been open by anyone but myself. At the end of the day all of us have one thing in common and what we all share is time. Read more>>

Danielle Mendicelli | Record Store Owner

I’ve always been pretty cautious. In the past I associated risk with danger or loss. Once I started to work on myself, I became more conscientious of my inner voice. Inevitably, my perception of risk shifted from danger to possibility. I absolutely have personal doubts as I have two children relying on me financially and emotionally. Taking that first leap was an ode to myself in a sense and it helped me approach the next risks with confidence. The moment I made the decision to bet on my dreams, I took the greatest risk of my life. I put everything on the line and I have a great respect for each one of you who’s belief outweighs fear. Read more>>

Jayne Amelia Larson | Creative content producer and podcaster.

It’s all about risk. I’ve been a creative all my life and constantly have to reimagine, recreate, and essentially renovate myself as I grow as an entrepreneur. No matter how much due diligence I commit to, I still have to regularly make a leap into unknown waters to move ahead creatively and professionally. It’s always unsettling but very often life affirming. My recent work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer with foster youth led me to launch a new podcast, BONUS BABIES, featuring the stories of youth with a lived foster care experience and the people who care for them—all through the unique 360 degree lens of a CASA. Read more>>

Rac | Visual Artist

I’m always taking risks, my work is all about avoid the “normal”. What I do a lot is to experiment with different materials (painting) and patterns (clothe). Risk always takes me to new possibilities. Read more>>

Jael Francisco | Entrepreneur and Cookie Creator

Risk has definitely played a big role in my life and career. Ever since I was young, I was always taught to play things safe. Go to school, get good grades, go to a nice college, graduate and get a great paying job. I never really took any risks, and I always tried to follow this “ladder” that society teaches us. After working in the corporate field of sales and marketing, I struggled with finding a career that I was truly passionate about. It was only until I started my own business that I then realized what truly made me happy and what I could still make a living out of. This was one of the biggest risks I took in my life. Read more>>

Kristen Reyno | Fine Art Photographer

Risk taking is in our daily lives, you don’t really think about it but it is. I think a small portion of being an entrepreneur is being able to take risks, to me it is a calculated risk. I hear people all of the time saying that they have this great idea but they are too scared to put it out into the world. They don’t want to be humiliated or disappointed. If you don’t take risks then you may have the regret of never knowing where you could be in life. In my life, taking risks has played a huge roll in my career. My father always said “If you aren’t comfortable trying something new, then that means you are learning and growing.” Risks are a huge part of growth. Read more>>