We asked some of the brightest folks in the community to open up to us about the most important lesson their business or career has taught them. We’ve highlighted some of those responses below.

Dan Palmer | Master Firearms Instructor/Owner

I retired as a police officer after 31-years of service and have discovered that as an emergency response person, we signed-up from the beginning to take risks throughout our career from the beginning. With a strong faith and relying on your training, I learned that to have a little fear was the right balance to help make clear decisions for successful outcomes and those that didn’t have any fear were not truly prepared for the overall outcome and responding blindly. Through family and friend encouragement I was propelled forward to do what I have always loved doing and with many blessings from God; to be a teacher, instructor, and mentor. So opening and managing a firearms training business just made sense. Now I am making a positive difference in the lives of my clients and the youth I coach at a high school to be prepared for the future and having a small part in them doing it safely. Without risk there is no reward and we become stalemated in our lives where we forget how to grow physically and mentally. Read more>>

Aria Rai | Singer, Songwriter

I think just being a song writer is a huge risk. You never know how people are going to respond when you make something public and it’s very risky to subject yourself to the criticism of strangers when you create something as vulnerable as music. For example, in my song “Numb” I made the decision to be extremely open and honest about some of the things I was going through and it was very nerve wracking for me to release it to the ears of other people. But, if I hadn’t taken that risk I would’ve never reached as many people as I did. I got so many messages from people all over the world who were extremely touched by my song because they were going through the same thing that I was. It ended up being a beautiful experience that turned one of my saddest songs into something that honestly makes me happy. I’ve made many performance risks as well. There was a time when I went to watch someone perform and she ended up asking me to sing couple of my original songs on stage during her break. I almost said no because that wasn’t something I had ever done before. Read more>>

Alison Miller | I’m a kickass/Determined Woman Filled With Grit and Grace, on an Odyssey of Love~

The most solid quote I’ve read, and that I live by since my beloved husband’s death, as I went out on the road on my Odyssey of Love, is the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt…”every day you must do that one thing that you fear the most”. What those words do is get me up each morning and keep me going. I’ve full timed on the road for 7 years, driving all over this country, towing my pink trailer behind me. New places, new people, every day. Risk taking gave me the drive to buy a trailer after he died and head out on the road. Being willing to take a risk led me to apply for a job as a groundskeeper at an opera camp, even though I’d never done such a job, rather than accepting the “safe” admin job in an office. Being willing to take a risk led me to devoting my last penny to finally filming a documentary about my Odyssey of Love. I’ve long since stopped accepting the status quo of life, and forging ahead in new directions. Read more>>

Kari Hogden | Oil Painter and Sculptor

I guess I took a risk when I decided to study become a professional artist rather than the safer option of being an art teacher. Once I took the plunge I had work hard and practice, practice practice to become a competent artist. Many times that meant giving something else up in order to have the time to paint. I stay diverse. That means I rarely say no to a commision. I have painted many portraits of both people and pets,murals,childhood landscapes and giant abstract paintings- all with the goal of pleasing the collector. Read more>>

Adela Antoinette | Freelance Illustrator & Entrepreneur

I find risk taking to be important for growth and progress. I didn’t think I was much of a risk taker until I reflected on the decisions I have made leading up to where I am today and on the feedback I’ve received from friends and followers on social media. I find myself to be a realist, logical thinker, and determine risks considering my goals and what I want to achieve. Today I am thoughtful and mindful of my decisions but I find that I will still take risks, acknowledging that it is okay to fail. I take what worked and carry it into other areas. I take what didn’t work and figure out where to adjust so that I may avoid from failing again. It is trial and error. I suppose this is easier said than done especially when taking big risks but as I continue in my field I am still determined. I find that as long as I am thoughtful and present in taking risks, they are usually worth the experience no matter the outcome. I do want to address that fear is necessary to make conscious decisions but it isn’t to be given full range in the decision-making. Be prepared emotionally and financially. I have been able to travel, experience new things and get out of my comfort zone just by taking risks. Read more>>

Kiara ‘The Jerk’ | Photographer

Risks are extremely exciting, they give me the opportunity to aim for new ‘limits’ but can also be intimidating sometimes. Taking risks has given me hope that I’ll succeed in whatever I go for and the confidence that I’ll excel as well as open me up to trying new things and meeting new people. Without risks how do we evolve. Read more>>

Nadine Bubeck | Dreamer, Doer and Blessed Boy Mom

I get my high from creatively challenging myself. While some run marathons with their feet, I run marathons in my mind- I’m always thinking of new ideas, new projects, and new endeavors. The funny thing- is I do it for me. I don’t, necessarily, pursue new projects to make millions (even though that would be nice); rather, I do it because I find it personally fulfilling, fun and emotionally rewarding. I believe in taking risks, as long as they’re safe and realistic. When I transitioned out of TV news, I was scared. It’s what I had worked so hard for so long to achieve, but it wasn’t working out. And so, I had a lot of thinking to do… What was my next move, and how would I do it? And so began a flurry of mompreneurial endeavors… many of which I would have done differently if I knew now what I knew then- but that’s the fun of it, right? Living and learning. I take realistic risks because I believe in what I do. When I pursue starting a new company, like literally launching a clothing line overnight… or publishing a book without any former knowledge of the process; those things, I believed in. I can’t help but “doing now and thinking later”- it’s who I am, and a part of me that will never change. Read more>>

Eve Levi | Dance and Writing Student (Arizona State University)

Any new situation is a risk, and I am constantly consumed by the desire to put myself in an unfamiliar setting. In other words, I am a tad obsessed with having as many contradicting experiences as I possibly can. It is the contradictions that challenge my worldview and force me to question the things I have assumed (whether consciously or unconsciously) to be true. Embracing the unfamiliar is probably one of the riskiest aspects of who I am, as I never really know how things are going to work out. Whether living on a remote island in Alaska, or deciding to take a part time job at my local Rape Crisis Center, each experience will expose me to a way of life, issue, and/or group of people that I have never experienced before, and that interaction is not always going to be 100 percent positive, but it will leave me with a refreshed sense of purpose and self confidence. Whether or not these experiences are in direct relation to dance, the unknown reaffirms my artistic work because it reminds me of both the world’s unity and its vast nature. It revives the awareness within me of knowing that I don’t know. Read more>>

Shelbi Kate | ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist (Personal Trainer), Parkinson’s Disease Instructor, Performance Nutrition Coach

In my opinion, risk does not come without the acknowledge of fear. If it wasn’t something that we felt vulnerable or slightly afraid of, it wouldn’t be a risk at all! With that being said, the role that taking risks and overcoming fear in my career has been highly at play. When first starting Shelbi Kate Fitness, LLC I was filled with excitement. All I saw was opportunity and endless ways for me to finally share my creativity to the online social media world. However, as I developed deeper into this calling of mine, I obviously came across a lot of failures, a lot of what felt like wasted hours and a ton of “bigger than what I can handle” moments. As much as it sucked being in those times of doubt, failure and disbelief, I learned what I think is the most valuable lesson when it comes to chasing your dreams; Do it despite the fear and maintain a humble confidence that if you believe it, you will achieve it. Nothing in life comes easy, but doubting ourselves will only make it harder. Read more>>

Amy Simons | Artist

The risk of rejection is important to overcome, embrace, and maybe even strive for! As an artist there are so many opportunities: shows, residencies, publications, grants, scholarships, teaching positions…and they are all extremely competitive. (There are many talented artists in the world, which is great!) I try not to get bogged down by rejection letters or take them personally; if I’m not getting rejected from opportunities it means I’m not pushing myself or my work far enough. The greatest opportunities I’ve ever been awarded came from the applications I was most certain I’d be rejected from. Read more>>

Katharine Leigh Simpson | Creative Thinker~ Manifestor

For the longest time, I never considered myself to be a risk taker. It just was never a part of my frame of mind. One day while discussing a project I was currently working on with my parents, I specifically remember my Father remarking how he could never take risks the way I do. He wasn’t making a point about himself in that moment. I’ve known my father to take risks for sure. He was literally telling be about a side of my behavior that I never realized. That I was, in fact, a risk taker. I still at times have a hard time seeing it in myself. I just see what I do as making a necessary decision to try something, with the ambition to succeed, and to acheive to the greatest of my ability an end result that I am proud of. Always with the intention of learning as I go. Read more>>


I am all for taking risks. I think the only way to grow and evolve with change is to take chances. That doesn’t mean you should blindly go into making changes. There are calculated risks you can take with proper planning. I have taken risks with my business by increasing prices when the demand for my services grew. I knew a few people might not be able to continue with me but the ones who could stayed as my client. This allowed me to continue to offer a high value service and not get me overworked and run down with too many clients and working over 40 hours a week. You have to be willing to accept that there will be some failure but it is how we as humans learn- through failure. When I am learning new techniques or skills to enhance my services there are always going to be some people who don’t understand it at first. They might think that if I change their programming that somehow that is bad. Read more>>

Anja Imamovic | Professional Ballroom Dancer & Beauty Influencer

Usually, we see risk as an uncomfortable, dangerous and unknown obstacle that stops us from succeeding or even just dreaming big. However, I see risk as something beautiful, challenging, exciting and freeing. First big risk I’ve taken was when I decided to moved from Bosnia and Herzegovina (where I was born) to Slovenia to study Pharmacy and continue my dance education. At the time I was just 17 years old. Few years after that, I met Kristijan (my husband) and together we decided that we want to move to Arizona and make our dreams come true. Kristijan and I are professional ballroom dancer and coaches for over 20 years, with our knowledge and experience we teach our students how to become better versions of themselves in dancing and in life, and we want to continue to share our passion for dancing here in USA. I can’t say that taking all of these risks always led to the outcome I initially wanted and to be honest, at first, it was very disappointing. Read more>>

Danielle Leoni | Serial Start-Up Enthusiast AKA Chef, Restauranteur, Tiny Bubble Maker & Good Food Advocate

Every decision comes with the risk of complete failure. Nonetheless, we don’t let that stop us from living – leaving our house, learning something new, finding work, traveling or forming relationships. If you choose not to fully engage in life you miss taking risks personally and professionally. You’re basically answering no to yourself and to everything in life. Teaching yourself to move into the space of uncertainty moves you closer to a yes in life and is the recipe for happiness. I say take the road less traveled. Heck, even make your own road. I attribute my success to following my inspiration. Moving in a direction without previous footsteps to follow can be seen as scary, but makes it equally as easy to forge a path uniquely suited for you. The success of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar opened in 2008 then Big Marble Organics in 2020 all rest on what I’ve learned from taking the risk of following my gut instinct. I didn’t have experience in the restaurant or the carbonated beverage industry. I had no roadmap for success and found taking the road less traveled has much richer rewards. Read more>>

Candace Carter | Fashion Stylist and Production Coordination

I like this question because this is one of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn. When it comes to my career, I feel like you have to take risks in order to grow and learn. When you stay in your comfort zone too long and never try new things you become stagnant. Failures teach you and help you learn to improve. Regarding fashion specifically, I’ve had to learn to take risks when it comes to styling, to be confident and bold enough to share my ideas. I started to experiment with clothing and try outfits people might think are crazy, because it may turn out amazing! And if it doesn’t, that’s ok too! Like the saying goes, it’s better to take a risk and fail rather than doing nothing and wondering what it “could be”. Read more>>

Ana Sofía Castañón | Artist

I’ve been taking risks from the beginning of my career, although I really don’t think about them as risks, more as facing fears, I’ve become a “fear facer”. If something makes me uncomfortable or makes me hold my breath for a few seconds, I know it is probably an opportunity for growth, so I will most probably walk towards the situation that is making me feel this way. I actually do this in everyday life situations, I used to be scared of spiders, so I went to a pet store and held a tarantula; I’m not walking around petting tarantulas whenever I see one; where I live it’s quite normal to come across them, I just see them in a completely different way now. I admire them, pretty amazing creatures. Read more>>

Jenny Jarnagin | Singer/Songwriter and Painter

Being an artist and risk taker go hand in hand. Artists are vulnerable because their work becomes subject to ridicule when released. But, “A poet must write, an artist must paint, and musicians must make music if they are to be at peace with themselves. What we can be, we must be” (Humanistic Education, Little Rock 1979). Many years ago I remember questioning how I was spending my life, and decided to spend it living out my purpose as an artist. Although there are challenges, the intrinsic value outweighs everything else. Read more>>

Jessi Kerr | Visual Arts Educator and Artist

I am interested in this question about risks. I’ve always lived in Arizona but we did move quite often when I was growing up. I never knew anything different as a child so it didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I think it made me expect and accept change more easily than a lot of other people. Change is exciting. I think this prompted question about risk taking refers to business decisions. However, instead I’d like to talk about risk taking in art. Visual risk taking is thing! Visual risk taking might mean layering media that don’t normally pair together. Mixed media is so fun and an easy way to add “Wow” to an otherwise ordinary piece. Visual risk taking might mean ripping, burning, cutting or obscuring your subject rather than presenting it pristine and unobstructed. Another practice I like to engage in is risk taking is to “wreck” my canvas before beginning a painting. There’s nothing more intimidating than a blank white piece of paper, right? Before I begin painting I like to collage, glue tissue paper and use a pallet knife to paint textured swatches on the canvas. Read more>>

David Bryson | Realtor and Husband

No matter what goals you set for yourself if you attempt to achieve them you must take some level of risk. 30 Years ago I wanted to be a professional actor so I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles with $2500 in a Red Honda Civic with no air-conditioning. 1 week later I was in a car accident after rent and car insurance deductibles I was literally down to $11. Did I “make it” as a professional actor, not to the level I wanted. Did I learn lessons that would serve me for a lifetime about persistence, overcoming adversity and always trying to innovate new ways to meet my goals, yes I did. Would I have learned those lessons without taking risk, absolutely not. We may not always get the results we want but we will always get a lesson we need to learn when we take risks and step outside of our comfort zone. Read more>>

Loren Yaskin | Founder, The Flip Side Communications

We essentially risked it all. In 2007, I left a corporate managerial position to stay home and help raise our newborn daughter. It was an easy decision, but one that created a significant drop in income for our family. A few years later, during the Great Recession, my husband, Keith, looked across the room at work and decided he didn’t want to transform into an older, disgruntled employee sitting before him. He left behind his corporate salary and benefits and despite the whispers of people who considered us crazy, he partnered with me in business to start our company, The Flip Side Communications, a media company focusing on video production and public relations. If risk were easy, everyone would take them. However, risk is exactly that, taking chances that others will not. These risks allowed us, more than anything else, the freedom to live our lives under our own direction. One of the challenges is to not forget where you started and fall into complacency. Read more>>

Jon Diaz | Video Director

What ever you choose to do in life is a gamble. It might cost you money,time,embarrassment. But the lesson you learn as you go through your career journey is that the money lost time lost are actual extremely important lessons. It teaches you the value of being well informed and prepared. And if you truely love what you are going after the risk is a small cost to do buisness. Read more>>

Nick Manson | Musician – Educator

I have never really had an aversion to risk regarding life/career goals. I have always embraced risky opportunities. I grew up in a very rural setting 60 miles north-east of Seattle. Consequently, I realized at an early age that I needed to meet like-minded musicians from all over the world and make music with them to achieve my artistic/career goals. During middle school, I began to discuss the Berklee College of Music with my parents. I had read about the school in both Downbeat and Musician magazines. Because of this desire, I began to practice my instruments and honing my composing/arranging skills diligently. I spent no less than five hours per day from that time until I graduated from high school in preparation for my education at Berklee. That personal dedication eventually enabled me to attend the college on scholarship in 1981. After two years at Berklee, opportunities presented themselves to move to Los Angeles through contacts made during that time at the college. I jumped at that chance without hesitation. From that point forward, things just fell into place. Read more>>

Vicki Speck | Outdoor Artist

I used to think of risk with a negative connotation, like it was something unwise and that I should only be afraid of. But some risks are dangerous and scary, it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of the biggest decisions we take in life are risky and demand a step of faith. As someone who deals with anxiety and struggles with mental health, risk is something that I always “see” in everything I do. The fear that comes from it can be paralyzing. I had to learn to give this pain unto Jesus and have faith that God is always there for me. Thanks to Him I have been able to use that weakness and turn it into something that strengthens me. By making big decisions and taking risks, I have come to realize I am stronger than what I thought and I don’t break as easily as I thought. Risk is something that has definitely shaped my current life. I made the big decision of moving to another country and getting married. I moved form Chile to the US in 2018 and I was so scared because of this huge change in my life of leaving everything that was familiar to me behind. Read more>>

Dom Root | Entrepreneur and Creator

I embrace risks. When I first got into business, I was in middle school and I sold candy. I sold snickers, starbursts, skittles, and other popular candies in the early 2000’s. But in order to make that happen, I had to convince my mother to invest the start up money in order to buy the candy, under the risk of losing the money and blowing my chances of getting help in the future. So with that in mind, I’ve always moved with an understanding of value and risks and that understanding has played an instrumental role in my decision making. Read more>>

Tyler Lidwell | Videographer & Photographer

Through working for myself over the past three years now, I’ve come to realize to live a life of freedom is risky. Life now is tremendously different than life 4 years ago. 4 years ago I had just moved from Pennsylvania all the way to Tucson, Arizona to pursue a new role at a craft brewery as their brand ambassador (risky). Long story short…I was let go after about a year of working there. All I could think in that moment was “Did I make the wrong choice of coming out here?” I didn’t really know what my future was going to look like next. Through my time while employed at the brewery, I had become obsessed with learning videography and photography in my spare time. I had the occasional client project here and there making very little money and didn’t envision anything actually happening. After weeks of wondering what to do next, I started to promote my work more and people were catching on. What started as just a few projects on the side, turned into recurring client work. Fast forward to the present day, this is now my career. Read more>>

Freddy “Jay” Walker | Director, Composer, Image Consultant, Actor

It’s important to think outside of the box. Sometimes the biggest challenge is recognizing that you’re in one in the first place. There are risks with anything you do, but I would rather know what the risk would lead to versus not trying or taking a risk at all. I’ve learned that risks are what got me to where I’m at. Coming from years working in pharmaceuticals, the sudden change to the arts; film, acting, modeling and composing was not in the forefront of my future. I came to a crossroad in my life where I had to take and try opportunities and explore avenues that I wasn’t certain would work out. Through struggle, patience, practice, prayer and perseverance, I was able to take what was an unknown risk and turn it into a positive opportunity. The motto I live by is that, it’s better to try and to fail than to not try at all. Read more>>

Iz Wyrd | Creativity Alchemist, Herbalista, Artist, Sound Wizard, Medicine Mama & Muse

I’ve felt both the benefits & negative consequences of taking risks personally & professionally. Yet there’s something so invigorating & exciting about taking risks….maybe it’s that rush of adrenaline for having done something new or different. I’ve seen lot of folx unwilling to take risks due to fear. & then some take too many risks, losing it all because of poor choices. It’s such a balancing act that must be rooted in trust … Spirit-led Guidance. I believe risk-taking is an essential part of our soul’s journey. If we never take a chance we’ll never know or grow. Risk disrupts stagnation & complacency, & that has been an electrical current throughout my life & work as a facilitator over the last 10yrs. I’ve taken all kinds of risks with my body, my wyrds & lifestyle habits. Being willing to take risks has inspired me to question authority, unravel outdated programs & challenge the status quo. I love the work of the Sacred Rebel! I’ll admit sometimes I reflect back upon certain situations & think “That was stupid….What was I thinking?!” Haha. Maybe I wasn’t. Read more>>

Sarah Glabman | Professional Photographer of Picturegroove Photography and Publisher of BodyScape Magazine

My Mother gave me a tile with a hangy-ribbon thing on it about 20 years ago. At that time in my life, I was at a pretty major crossroads, and didn’t know what to do. Honestly, this tile was the best gift she’s ever given me. It reads “LEAP AND THE NET WILL APPEAR”. Truer words have never been spoken. As I sit and reflect back on not only my career as a photographer and publisher, I can think of hundreds of times when I have applied this principal. Nothing in life is worth anything without taking some kind of risk. We never grow in our comfort bubbles, growth comes from un-comfort. Risk is just such an abrupt word- it strikes you in a way that can either be really exciting, or really scary. I’ve always leaned on the side of excitement with it. There are countless times when I have shared “the tile” with friends, that were also at a crossroads; in fact I literally just shared it with my friend Patty the other day! So always remember to go forward and trust that if you leap, the net will appear. Read more>>

Daniel Davis | Owner of Art of Doors

In my experience there seems to be a direct correlation between Risk and Reward. If you don’t take any large risks, (those that are riskier than waking up, walking outside or just clocking in to the J O B) then your reward will be less if you try things out of your comfort zone. If you do take the larger risks than you are more likely to gain a larger reward. The rewards aren’t always represented by money, but sometimes in how you feel, how others feel, or just simply the cool factor when you step back and say: “I’m glad I tried that.” I have always been a risk taker, and starting a business can feel like a big risk. It can be stressful, time consuming, money consuming, mentally, spiritually and physically exhausting. However, with all of those investments you hope that it will eventually pay off. For me I have sacrificed so much of myself, my relationships and all of the above, but I have also gained so much in all of these areas. Being able to work with my hands, create jobs and help support families and my community brings so many dividends in so many forms. Read more>>

Susan Pohlman | Author/Editor/Writing Coach

In 2003, I took a great personal risk. Rather than signing divorce papers to end a 17-year-marriage, my husband and I signed a lease to an apartment overlooking the sea in Genoa, Italy. It was a Hail Mary pass, a last-ditch effort to save a dying marriage. We quit our jobs, sold our home, threw a few things into storage and left Los Angeles with our two bewildered children, ages 11 and 14. It was both petrifying and exhilarating. That risk saved our family, taught me many life lessons, and put me on a new career path that I enjoy to this day. I learned that times of disequilibrium are fertile opportunities to shed old paradigms. None of it was easy, but it pushed me beyond my comfort zone and enabled me to imagine new possibilities. Now, when I find myself feeling stuck, or given an opportunity that unnerves me, I know to go toward the uncomfortable to push limits and see what gems await. Understanding the upside of risk allows us to create a life of adventure and positive growth. Read more>>

Cristall Harper | Professional Artist

I think that actions are more important that knowledge. I see many artists trapped in the workshop cycle, intent on gaining all knowledge before they take action and start painting. Taking actions before “knowing everything” is a risk, but if you don’t put any miles on your brush, you will never discover what truly makes you an artist. Read more>>

Duffy Sheridan | Artist

My wife and I have been married for more than 50 years and looking back it seems that many of our life decisions could easily have been viewed as risky. But the choice that most influenced the rest of our lives was the decision to move to overseas in 1976. Although at that time I was a working artist in California and could have continued along that path, we decided that as members of the Baha’i Faith we wanted to take the opportunity to live in another country where we might be of service. Along with two other families, we decided to move to Trinidad to set up an art studio in the Caribbean. We sold everything we owned except bathing suits and beach towels and headed to the National Baha’i Center in Chicago. When we got there, they said if we wanted to go to Trinidad, that would be fine, but they asked if we might consider another small group of islands whose Baha’i community had asked for some help. She said, “Before I tell you where they are, let me tell you a bit about them. Read more>>

Reshauna Striggles | Public Relations Consultant

Risk-taking is a necessity. When going into entrepreneurship, every move you make is a risk but every risk comes with a reward. Whether it comes in the form of a lesson learned or a major come-up, it WILL be worth it. So take a chance, spread your wings, and believe you can fly. Before you know it you’ll be soaring and that’s how it worked for me. My biggest win came after I made the decision to pack up and move to LA without a plan. (I don’t suggest this) I learned how to be resourceful on a new level. I learned how to learn faster, and take care of a wider workload. I learned how to effectively communicate my worth and MEAN IT. Most of all I gained the type of PR clients I had always dreamed of. Read more>>

Danielle Pino | House of Pino/Interior Design, Owner

When I think about risk, I ask myself, what is the worst that would happen if I failed, and what is best case scenario if I were to succeed! Data is great, sometimes all the data in the world is meaningless if you are not in touch with your intuition, your passion and a vision. I believe that If you don’t follow your gut you cannot realize your true potential, and can miss critical opportunities when they come along. I had established myself in a successful sales career, but always felt a bit stifled by the constraints of the corporate environment. Don’t get me wrong, the security that a regular paycheck and the benefits brought where difficult to walk away from. One day I realized that I needed to create on my own terms, and that the security was secondary to my passion to build my own business. It hasn’t been easy, and frankly some days more risky then others, but the reward has been most fulfilling! I now have a successful business, have the freedom to choose projects that best utilize my creativity, innovation, and imagination. Read more>>