We asked some of the most interesting folks in the community to open up about how they think about taking chances and the role risk has played in their lives and careers. Risk is by far the topic folks talk to us most about and we hope the responses below will help shed light on many different perspectives.

Heather Koepp | Photographer

What is business, or life for that matter without a little risk taking? When you have a passion for something you chase after it. You learn to play the harp, or earn that black belt, you study all day and night to win the spelling bee ; all of those instances have a risk behind them but the reward is beyond worth the fear of missing out. I’ve taken many big risks in life. I’ve started and quit various jobs and businesses; some before I even hit my lunch break. Simply because my heart was just not there. I think that is the biggest risk of all. When you put your dreams in a drawer, you risk losing yourself and you will always wonder, ‘what if?’ I couldn’t be that person, I wasn’t built to be that person; so when the timing was right I dove head first. Read more>>

Ali Romero | Life Enthusiast & Escrow Sales Rep

Risk is HUGE and has become a main component in my life over the past 4 years. If I didn’t welcome or choose risk ever, I would not be where I am today. In my mind, risk has two outcomes. Win or lose. Succeed or fail. It’s a red light or a green light. It’s stop or it’s go. Every single one of those outcomes is part of my journey and has gotten me to the next step. When something didn’t work, I reset and tried again. Some of those outcomes have cost me time, money, stress, even embarrassment. But without ever taking those risks, I would still be stuck, unhappy, and the same person I was 5 years ago. That to me, would be the ultimate failure. I have learned to make risk apart of my life. I enjoy it and it helps keep me learning and excited for an everchanging way of living and growing. There are 3 specific situations in the past 4 years where I took a major risk that changed the trajectory of my mind and perspective, career, and life. To say risk played a role in my career and life is an understatement. Risk is the reason I wear the shoes I have on today. We must take risk. When risk is absent, so is growth and progression. Read more>>

Austin McAdams | Furniture Designer/Maker

First of all, pursuing a creative career in building furniture is a risk. There is a great deal of time, energy and money to equip yourself with the knowledge and tools to be a professional woodworker and furniture designer. Risk has been a frequent element in my career and I have grown to be comfortable with it. The most recurring risk in my career has been from taking on projects that were over my head. I have frequently taken on projects that I knew were out of my comfort zone as far as the experience needed, machinery, and or scale. Risking failure on a big project could ultimately sully my name as a maker and degrade my business. I also knew if I did not take these projects head on I would not grow and become stronger as a maker. I have always enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to build something that I have never done before. No matter how long it took or money I lost I worked hard to make sure I completed each project at the best quality. After many years I can look back and see how much I have grown as a maker and designer. Read more>>

Antoinette Ransom | Hollywood Correspondent & Brand Influencer

I think I was born to take risks, because I can remember as early as five years old taking risks. Just based on my diverse creative background, I believe risks have played a part in everything. I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and as a little girl I always dreamed of being an actress, model or TV producer. My family and friends use to laugh and make fun of me, but I understand now they couldn’t see that path for themselves. We have to be careful when we judge others, we might not have the foresight they have. Having an open mind is what has helped me survive. Usually the most successful people in world take risks. From what I’ve learned to be successful you have to know what you’re doing, love what you’re doing and BELIEVE in what you’re doing. Not all risks are great and sometimes turn out to be a financial catastrophe and I’ve been there before. I do believe you learn from these mistakes and that’s the true formula to success. I’ve been a hip hop dancer, fashion designer, stylist, event producer, pit boss, insurance broker, model, publicist, Hollywood Correspondent, and now a Brand Influencer and Playmate. Read more>>

Kaitlyn Walls | Brand & Web Designer

I never considered myself to be a risk taker. I always thought of myself as someone who played it safe and did everything by the book. But over the course of 2020 I have been able to reflect on my life choices. One thing I realized about myself is that I actually have taken risks. I would say now I am a risk taker. I take calculated risks. I used to have a negative association with “risk taking”, but I realized that it’s really all about perspective. I think risk is essential. I feel it’s a necessary part of life, because why on earth would you play small when the earth is so vast? Anything we desire is possible. Possibilities add variety to life and allow you to test yourself beyond your wildest dreams. I no longer look at risk taking negatively anymore. I rely on my intuition to guide me to make a decision and I trust things happen for a reason – even when things don’t go according to plan. Read more>>

Shel Nuht | Fashion Buyer & Illustrator

I wouldn’t say that I’ve led a recklessly risky life but I would say that I tend to like change more than most people. This has led me to move to San Francisco with $200 to my name, take the leap to London alone and most recently choosing to quit my career job because it felt too comfortable. I think our intuition is much stronger than we accredit it to be. With a little introspection, strength and applied mindset, the risks in my career and art have always proven to be positive. Read more>>

Karen Braveheart | CEO/Founder, Prodigi Kids

Risk taking is a big part of my life. Without it, I wouldn’t be living my dreams. And, to me, that’s not a life worth living. I learned early on that I must take risks in order to achieve my dreams. They go hand in hand. I grew up with parents who never took risks and weren’t happy either. This had a big impact on my life and motivates me to this day to continually grow and evolve to reach my full potential. I learned how to take risks by listening to others who had achieved what I desire the most- they made lots of money doing what they love to do and serve the world in big way with their God given gifts. They were leading happy lives because they had inner happiness in their service to others. They are not motivated by money, but instead are motivated by the number of people they impact and share their gifts. The one common denominator I found was that they all took risks- esp. risks that scared them shitless. Read more>>

Maurice Levardo | Editor in Chief of The Naïve Journal

Although uncertainty can attract a certain fear, I do believe it has also become the most empowering motivation in my search for growth. I’ve meandered from one city to another, acclimating towards unfamiliar climates, introducing my craft to new communities with respect and kindness. Through innocent curiosity, I observe every interaction as a humbling opportunity to learn. To listen closely. To celebrate the nuances of personal transformation. To share stories unapologetically. This is what I want my voice, The Naïve Journal, to illustrate and embody. Risks involves valor. The capacity to embrace trials and tribulations. Sure, we can expect the unexpected, though I’d rather welcome the unexpected with excitement. I honor my narrative with the priority of my own judgment – freeing my insecurities by focusing on my own comfort. Read more>>

Rodin Eckenroth | Photographer

In my career, I have engaged in calculated risk. Laying the foundation of education by pursuing a BA in photography while working in the processing industry learning just how different film types are used, digital applications such as the Adobe suite and doing restorations, in addition to full custom framing. Working in a rental house/photography studio/gallery was the finishing school of applied knowledge and how to be adaptable through every circumstance. My photographic eye with the base knowledge & experience gave me the fundamental confidence to risk everything & pull up roots to move to Los Angeles. It provided the support needed when my Mac was stolen within a week after my arrival and I had to find a quick job in photographic retail. Risking everything again to become an unpaid assistant to a high profile photographer to expand my connections. It has since paid off & I am in a more stable place in my career working for Getty Images among others. Read more>>

Lauren Golick | Artist, Certified Veterinary Assistant

What’s life without a little risk, right? Growing up, I was shy, very self conscious, and I rarely put myself in new situations or tried new things, simply because they were new or uncomfortable. I was afraid of what people would think so I held myself back a lot. I was often met with that little voice in my head saying, “What if you’re not good? What if you fail?” Oh, or my favorite, “There are people who are better at this than you.” I will tell you right now that there is always going to be a chance of failure and, yes, it is very likely that there is someone out there who is better than you at what you do. But if we let those thoughts dictate how we live our lives and approach our goals, well that’s just no good for anyone. I can honestly say that I’ve grown more as a person in these last few years because of the risks I’ve taken in my career. I moved from the East Bay Area down to SoCal for a job that I no longer work at. I made the decision to leave my most recent job to follow a new career path and try to establish Mars Road Artistry as my part time business. Read more>>

Michael Brown | Music Producer

It is super important to take risks if you believe that the risk is something that will truly help you learn or grow in some way. My life would not be the same if I had not taken any risks. I have benefited from taking risks in my life in many ways. It has improved my relationships with people, boosted my confidence in my work, and increased my feeling of fulfillment with my work. Taking risks is an important part of music-making for me. I love the happy accidents that happen when I am trying something totally different than what I am used to. I often will put myself in “uncomfortable” situations just to see how my brain reacts and try to consciously learn about my own reactions in an attempt to grow. I have found all of these benefits to be direct results of risk-taking. Read more>>

Jamie Newbold | Business Owner

I began my career search at a young age. I felt destiny sent me into paleontology, but in San Diego there was little educational options at the collegiate level for that career. I took all the considerate classes a junior college had to offer in the sciences. I lost focus and desire when survival became an issue. I quit college and went into construction, for the money. I risked my future on the skills I sought working with wood. I took classes and taught myself fine woodworking. Then, I grew restless again and went the opposite direction to become a police officer. The inherent risks speak for themselves. That career is nothing but risks, but risks born with greater confidence as I acclimated to those new skill sets. That career lasted twenty years, until I was injured on the job, again, from taking risks. The injuries cancelled my future as a cop. My options for a replacement source of income were narrow. I took the greatest risk and became a comic book dealer. I was a hobbyist for two decades before losing interest. The hobby had changed greatly over the years I was out. I risked ignorance, money and pain to become a comic book dealer and a businessman. Read more>>

Natalie Ann | Dance Educator & Choreographer

The words “risk taking” did not exist in my vocabulary up until a year ago. At the age of 15 I was abruptly pushed into adulthood and had to provide for myself. Since that time I have always had 2 or more places of work. I always looked for stability and consistency when it came to income as I could not afford to fall short. About a year ago I was faced with a chronic health diagnosis along with experiencing my first global pandemic with the rest of the world. During that time many negative attributes of my place of work came to surface. The environment was professionally and mentally toxic. I could no longer bring myself to work in such a suppressed and incompassionate work environment. After 5 years of undying loyalty, I took a deep breath and gave my 2 weeks notice without having another job or source of income lined up. Even though the risk was beyond treacherous given we were in the middle of a pandemic, it was the best decision I ever made in my life. Read more>>