There is a wealth of academic research that suggests that differences in risk appetite are at the heart of differences in career and business trajectories. We wanted to go beyond the theory and ask real people from the community about their perspectives and experiences with risk and risk taking.

Sydney Francis | Visual Artist & Soul Work Teacher

I am currently on my fourth business. I have realized in the last few years that I am a risk taker and have a relatively high tolerance for risk. I make decisions with a lot of optimism and then figure out along the way how to implement my big visions. It doesn’t always work out. I have definitely failed and returned to the drawing board many times. Hence business #4. But I have learned really important lessons along the way and I continue to improve. In the past few years, I have invested a lot of time and money in myself to learn marketing strategies and business skills to make my art business successful. In 2020, I quit my job two weeks before the pandemic shutdown in March. Most of my sales in art came from live events and from visits to my studio. Honestly, I faced some pretty rough financial challenges last year. But because of my ability to take risks and tolerate the uncertainty, by the end of March I was taking the necessary steps to pivot my business in order to survive the changes to the industry. Read more>>

Barbara Mulleneaux | Independent Artist

With art, risk is everything! Whether we are discussing visual, musical, written or performing, to stretch beyond our comfort level is how we develop our skills. To even consider a career in the arts requires tremendous courage and faith. My first inclination toward visual art was in middle school. I distinctly remember the awareness I had. My art teacher provided many different mediums and encouraged students to explore unusual forms of expression- not just drawing or painting. (It was the late 60’s after all!). Though I always loved to draw, color and paint, it was then my desire to do more was brought forward. But I lacked courage and confidence. Instead I pursued an academic route. Art was too risky and I was a high achiever. Read more>>

Rebecca Nguyen | Marketing Expert in Automotive, Photographer and Videographer, Founder and CEO of Print Driven

Risk taking to me is a formula. Start with the extreme of what you want to succeed in and then work backwards to add up to that result. Along the way there will be risks that have no guaranteed positive outcome and sometimes the end result will change based on the give and take of those risks. The very first risk I’d ever taken was when I was 18. I dropped out of college after only a semester. I had to hope that I would be able to produce results without guidance and or formal education. From there, it set the precedent of how my professional career evolved. Read more>>

Cathy Rankin | Singer, TV Host and Actor

My entire life has been one continuous risk! That may sound crazy, but from a young age, I was a dreamer, and when I had a dream in my head, I would do whatever it took to pursue it. I don’t think failure was an option or factor that ever really entered my mind. I never shied away from risk, because I was always just automatically laser focused on my end goal. I think part of this inclination for me was how I grew up – I had 4 older siblings so I had to speak up and be bold in order to be heard, and my family also moved overseas twice when I was younger, so I think those experiences forced me to learn how to adapt and not be afraid of change or disruption. I’m also type A like my Dad, so maybe its in my DNA 🙂 Over time, through marriage, divorce, finding love again, parenthood, and creating my own successful business and brand doing what I love, I think the value of taking risks was reinforced in my mindset over and over. Every time I played it safe in life, I ended up miserable or felt like I was settling. This doesn’t mean you should be selfish or careless in your risks. Read more>>

Krysta Craig | Curvy Model & Actress

I believe that I would not have accomplished the things that I have in my life thus far, if I hadn’t taken any risks. Taking risks takes a lot of courage and it allows you to push yourself despite the fear of the unknown. I always say that it is better to try and fail than to not try at all. I would have never gotten into modeling if I didn’t take that risk to go to my first casting with no experience. I did not allow that to stop me, and I ended up getting booked for that show and the rest Is history. Read more>>

Lee Perreira | Marathon Musician | Full Time Musician, Ultra-Marathon Runner, Non-Profit Owner

I believe risk is so important. With risk comes growth, learning and new possibilities. They say, if you always do what you’ve always done then you will always have what you have always had. It is in taking steps into the unknown that we truly learn about ourselves. Over the past several years I have been more focused on investing in myself as a person, as a human and it has paid off more than anything else that I could’ve spent time on. As we increase our personal value we will see our financial value grow as well. By taking risks like running 16 marathons in 16 days for Charity, which I have now done twice, I learned so much about myself and the impact I can have on my community. I had never done anything like that before in my life but I took the jump and the road literally was laid out before me. I now own a non-profit called 16×16 Inc and giving back has truly changed my life. It was a risk to do what I did. Read more>>

Angela Keller | Writer & Style Expert

Risk taking is essential to success in business, especially when you’re an entrepreneur. I’m not talking about spontaneous risky decision making, but rather calculated risks that take you out of your comfort zone to achieve a goal you’ve set for yourself or your business. Throughout my life and career, there have been a number of times where I’ve decided to leave a comfortable situation to pursue a goal. And, I have never once regretted my decision or looked back. A few examples that stand out are when I left a successful corporate career in high-tech public relations to start my own PR consulting company, or when I pushed myself to move from behind-the-scenes media coach to on-camera style expert, or when I started over seven years ago in a relatively undefined space. Were these decisions scary at first, albeit financially and personally? Sure! But, as my husband (and biggest supporter) always tells me, “You should go for it. Read more>

Ash Dahlke | Artist

When things happen through serendipity, new “problems” take place in your work and impel things forward either formally or conceptually. This type of risk-taking is so ingrained in my daily studio happenings that it happens innately. The risk of the work becoming stale is more of a concern than if I need to cover up any misstep with another layer of paint. This comfortability with risk-taking stemmed from the years I spent in the ceramics studio. With ceramics, it does not matter if you spend 20+ hours constructing a vessel, sometimes a small crack or a klutzy incident in the studio will destroy the piece forcing you to start all over again. If you don’t take the leap, you will be in the same place you were yesterday, and the day before, and months earlier. That is not to say that each move on a painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. happens without any sort of intention. Just as with risk-taking in life, thoughtful considerations should be made knowing that one misstep will not take down the entire artwork, your entire life, or career but will give you something new to learn from and respond to. Read more>>

Brian Miller | Illustrator of Limited Edition & Collectable Art

I definitely think I’m wired a bit differently than most people. Metaphorically when other people are running out of a burning building, I am the one running in. When I was fresh out of school working as an art-director for a large tech start-up I quit to work in comic books and sci-fi popular culture as an illustrator. At the time all the reports were of an industry that was dying and a bubble that had burst. Back then companies like Marvel were on the verge of bankruptcy and the common belief was it was time to get out just as I had decided to try and get in. People in my life thought I was crazy or foolish. For the first few years family members would ask when I was going to get a, “real job”. I am sure from the outside it appeared I was throwing my life away. I believed in my vision and my artwork and within a few years started landing high-profile projects with Marvel, DC, Disney, and others. While at the same time the pop-culture entertainment industry experienced explosive growth. I ended up being just where I was needed most at the right time. Read more>>

Aaron Kes | Wedding Photographer

Risks have been a big factor in getting where I am today. I see them as opportunities to grow and rise to a challenge. Without this, I would never have made it as far as I have. As long as I’m honest with myself, usually my instincts as to which risks to take on are pretty spot on. Anytime they haven’t panned out, those were the risks that something in my brain lingered and left doubt. I’ve learned through time how to better recognize that. But in the end, as long as the risk is primarily a bet on myself and an extension of what my gut is telling me, It’s usually played out well. Read more>>

Darius Mylik | Musical Artist – Genreless | The Collective

Faith is something that I use everyday. It revives me, it renews my ambition and purifies my intentions. Without Fatih I would not have launched out to become a music artist. Music is heavily oversaturated and there is a stigma with new artist where as people hear about new artists so much that they almost would rather not give your new music a chance. I didn’t allow that to break me or wrap me in fear. I make sure that I am unique, that I work hard on my sound and most importantly grow. Belief plus action is the definition of intention and execution. Faith is everything in starting a new venture and it has to the driving point. Read more>>

Emtesha Newble | Entrepreneur & Podcaster

I would have never considered myself a risk-taker. I think by most accounts my family and friends would categorize me as consistent and predictable. All of that changed on October 26, 2018. I walked away from my corporate job and decided to grow and build my business full-time. I left behind a consistent salary , with 401K, benefits, and a host of incentives to bake cookies. It was the best decision that I could have ever made because not only did it allow me the opportunity to grow my business in a real way but it also gave me the opportunity to chase my dreams. Read more>>

Natalie Newton | Fine Artist and Illustrator & Lab Coordinator

With the mention of “risk”, I find myself recoiling. As an introvert, I consider myself fairly risk averse. However, upon further reflection, what may have been outwardly perceived as risks may have been opportunities to me. By reframing those risks as opportunities, I realize the extent of my risk taking. Those closest to me may claim my risk taking began in early childhood, but it certainly made the difference for me in college and beyond. Putting your artwork up on the wall for class critiques is an obligatory part of every studio art class, but it felt daunting to me at the onset of my art curriculum. I genuinely felt like an outsider. All of my peers in the School of Art were edgy, defiant, and exuded a sense of identity I had not yet known for myself. Many of them had already developed a style they were refining since adolescence, and those without a set style had the talent to make up for it. Yet, here I was, the imposter biology student, not yet officially a drawing major with no sense of style and only the faintest semblance of formal elements in my insipid drawings. Read more>>

Mindy Jaffar | Author and Collector of Oral Narra

Risk is not solely a gamble where if it goes well, you win or if it doesn’t go well, you lose everything For me, risk ran concurrent with security as I made my choice to enlist into the United States Navy. Even more so as I re-enlisted raising my right hand and John Hancocking the enlistment document time after time as a single mother. Every time, I committed to donning a uniform, working wherever and whatever capacity I was told to do so, and ultimately swearing to give my life to our country and freedom in war or peacetime. This was incredibly risky because if i deployed and went to war, I would’ve had to consider my daughters living arrangements, her emotional stability without her mom, and if I would come home or not. But, I also gained financial security knowing I would receive a paycheck even if the country hit an economic downfall, which it did. I always had a home, food, and medical provisions. As I watched many American’s file for bankruptcy and lose their home and life savings, my daughter and I were stable. I experienced safety and risk simultaneously for 20 years. I believe we always collectively experience some sort of safety and risk. Read more>>

Bryan Ostro | Founder, Pure Skin Medspa

The biggest risk I’ve taken was starting Pure Skin Medspa and it’s played a huge role in my life. I was looking for my next move after Laser & Aesthetics school. I had always wanted to start my own Medspa, but I had never started or owned a business of my own…I was apprehensive to say the least! In school, my instructors and mentors always gave students the advice to work for a medspa first before we tried to open our own business because there is a lot involved in starting a Medical Spa business. I ignored their advice and took the risk – thus, Pure Skin Medspa was born! Taking this risk has changed my life in the best way possible. I get to live out my dream every single day where I get to help my patients feel more confident and beautiful in their skin with a variety of different treatments. Read more>>

Tracy Foltz | Watercolor Artist

I had never thought of myself as a risk taker but a few years ago I realized that I was always the one to say sure, I’ll try it. I love trying new things, I’m not afraid of change and as long as I don’t think it’ll kill me, I’ll give it a try. Seven years ago my husband Tim and I embarked on a new adventure that seemed crazy to all our friends — we closed our life in the Midwest and started over in Arizona. We lived on Main Street in a small town where we knew everyone and everyone knew us, we both worked for family owned small businesses who treated us well and we had a good life. But the kids had scattered literally across the globe and didn’t care where we lived anymore. It was our time to adventure. We bought a house online, sold our house on Main St., quit our jobs, sold what we could and loaded the rest in U Hauls and headed west. That three day journey with 4 dogs and a parrot in the heat of summer was incredibly stressful, exciting and has turned out amazing! We came to Arizona with a plan but no jobs. Read more>>

Antonio Bomar | Music producer/ Artist

My outlook on taking risk is very simple. If you dream it, you can achieve it! Don’t over think things or ides, make it realistic and try. Of course things don’t always go as planned but you learned from it, life’s all about chances.. roll that dice. Read more>>

Tabitha Wall | Co-Owner & CEO

I believe that risk is a necessary component in life. Without taking risks, it’s easy for life to become a series of “what ifs”. I’d rather be uncomfortable for a while exploring whether or not something can work than wishing that I had dared to try it a decade from now. My husband and I will always knock on that door. What’s the worst that can happen? You hear a “no” “no” or a “not right now”? What if you could guarantee it was a “yes”? Of course, you can’t, but people forget that yes is also a viable option. When taking risks, you have to be comfortable with the possibility of both success or failure. Read more>>