Legend holds that Cornelius Vanderbilt had built a massive fortune in the steamboat shipping industry, but then realized the railroads were the way of the future and invested almost his entire net worth into railroads. The gamble paid off and made Vanderbilt one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs ever. But risks are inherently…risky. How do you think about risk and how has it affected your life and career? Some of our community favorites share their perspective below.

Tony Murrietta | Photographer & Film Maker

I feel like taking risk is something everyone does on a daily basis, whether it’s going to work, going to the store or starting a business. There’s always a risk in everything, and I feel that taking risk is essential to getting to where we are supposed to be in life and without it we would be stuck in the same place and situation for the rest of our lives if we don’t allow ourselves to take risk. For myself, I love to work on passion projects with video and photography with other artists in different cities and areas in California, but due to previous experiences while driving, I hate driving. Read more>>

Robert Canali | Artist

Risk, like many things is life is subjective. Whenever I find myself in situations which feel “risky” I reflect on the fact that not taking that risk is just as much of one. The unknown is an intimidating space to navigate but often a rewarding one. The concept of relinquishing control and embracing the unknown largely informs my practice and the questions I am trying to answer in my work. While we cannot be certain of anything in life, we rely on our lived experiences to inform our perspective of the challenges we choose to face and how we face them. In my life, choosing to pursuit art as a career felt less like a risk and more like an acknowledgment of self. Read more>>

Raea Gragg | Graphic Novelist, Author, Illustrator

A professor once walked up to me out of the blue and said “Raea I’ve figured it out.” I looked up from my project unsure of what he was getting at and he concluded, “You’re fearless.” Fearlessness is the definition of risk-taking and it’s my recipe for success. As a little kid, I decided to part with my fear of failure and instead replaced it with the fear of not trying. It was hands down the best life decision I’ve ever made. Read more>>

Eszquire Harris | Chief Executive Officer & Creative Director

Risktaking.. is an interesting topic lol. I remember as a kid, I was afraid to leave my foot hanging off the bed. I felt like a monster would grab it because that is what my older brother taught me.. to scare me. I’m sure I saw it on TV at one point or another as well. But I remember one night my foot was hanging off the bed because I was hot and just trying to stay comfortable and cool, and I remember thinking to myself “if a monster eats me, at least it’s going to eat good because I am hot!” lol. In Arkansas, it gets extremely hot! Lol! I remember waking up in the middle of the night and my foot was fine. Read more>>

Janay Harding | Professional MMA Fighter

Risk taking has been a very pivotal part of my career as it has always been an important push out of my comfort zone and in to the next part of my journey. Whether it was selling up and moving to unknown countries or taking on tough challenges, risk taking has allowed me to grow more integrity in myself and overcoming uncomfortable situations for the reward of progession. Read more>>

Ansherina Shei” Bohol | Artist + Graphic Designer”

I love taking risks! My family, friends & lovers think I’m crazy for doing the things I do, but ultimately, all the risks I’ve taken have brought me where I am today: the first in my family to graduate college in the US, an independent artist + graphic designer, and now a small business owner. Twice I’ve moved far away from family to have the space and freedom to discover, create and re-create myself. Moving to a new city all by yourself means you’re solely responsible for your own care and survival. The best part of that—you’re in full control of your life! This can be really scary for some people, but I highly encourage it. Read more>>

Lori Overstreet | Destination Wedding Planner

Risk is defined as a situation involving exposure to danger. If you think about it, we take risk in our everyday lives but let’s talk about risk from a business owner’s standpoint. When I started Imagine This, I was working full time and taking care of my sick mother. I knew that there was a huge risk in leaving the 9-5 world, not only was I losing a steady income but also my 401K and benefits. Read more>>

Darren Fishman | Creative Director

Risk taking is a part of my every day. Every time you present a new concept to a client, and want to push the creative envelope a little to make them standout, it’s a risk with whether they will accept and approve it. But the biggest risk of all was moving from Australia to Palm Springs to set up shop in a new country. But I felt it was time for new horizons and new challenges, and it’s all worked out well as I seem to vibe better with the American “can do” attitude, confident outlook and entrepreneurial spirit. Read more>>

Jack Maxwell | Actor/TV Host (Booze Traveler)

It’s so easy to lean on clichés about taking risks. Clearly that can be taken too far and you can risk everything all the time which is not advisable, but I think you can’t live without taking risks. Just the word itself “risk “, is called that because there’s a certain fear about the result. I’ve never been able to live that way. Taking risks excite me. I don’t do it just for the sake of doing so, but it’s the only way to really test yourself. Read more>>

Nicholas Marion. | General Manager of Fit Athletic

Taking risks are individually subjective. The thought of trying something new should be viewed as exciting and not risky. We live in a world influenced by false security and promises. Most of us are brought up learning that stability is safe and that conformity is normal. This is called a fixed mindset. I have taken many “risks” in my career just by merely saying yes to opportunities that were presented to me. I have never been fearful of risks because I perceive “risk” as a new challenge and opportunity for growth. This is called growth mindset. Having this mindset has taken me places all over the world and allowed me to help, educate, and influence people to become better versions of themselves. Read more>>

Emily Artalejo | Yoga Instructor & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultant

When I first founded Elevated Elements Yoga, I was compartmentalizing and playing small. I thought that if I severely restricted the amount of time, money, and emotional attachment invested into my business, then it wouldn’t hurt so much if it failed or inevitably faced a roadblock. I have let go of that mindset and embraced the idea of “failing fast.” I have learned that I can take risks and pivot as needed. I feel much more authentic and empowered now that I have accepted that risks are necessary and that making mistakes is a part of the learning and growing experience. Read more>>

Alex Vasquez | Alex Vasquez owns an LA-based boutique digital agency called DigiSavvy which provides WordPress design and development services. DigiSavvy also provides email marketing and sales automation for businesses.

Being tolerant of risk allows one to take the necessary steps to get to where they want to go. I grew up poor and as such I have a certain mindset about money. I didn’t want to invest or put my money at risk, even though there was a good chance I’d earn more. Without risk, one can become complacent. It’s a recurring theme in my life. My mother is risk averse, she’s never seen another country, has no interest, and is always working to ensure she’s safe. I understand that impulse. I try to fight it or identify it when it comes to decision making and weighing the pros and cons of a big decision. Taking a risk and leaving my job to start my own business was a huge one. Read more>>

Nicole Marie Majewski | Mother, Outdoor Educator and Play Advocate

Honestly, I believe taking risks is a very important part of living. We really need to be more brave in the face of adversity and challenging life choices in general. So many people get stuck in a certain career or a certain lifestyle direction because they are terrified to take the risks necessary for change. Anything from moving to a different city, changing jobs or majors in school, As a young person, I was always interested in moderate risk taking – wild adventure opportunities like white water rafting in the New River Gorge in West Virginia or extreme sledding in upstate New York or diving into the frozen river on a dare or biking through the city streets on my way to work or quite literally, jumping off the bridge with my friends. I enjoyed the thrill of it all. Read more>>