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.

Elisa Robyn | Astrologer & Wealth Consultant

Every step forward in my life and career has involved taking risks. My first career was in geology. I left home to earn both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees and entered a world run by men. I often worked on well sites in the middle of nowhere and was the only woman for miles around. When I left that career, I returned to college to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, in which I had no pre-requisites. I had to fight to be accepted into the program since I did not fit the profile of the typical graduate student. While I knew I could do the work, it was quite a risk to change majors at the Ph.D. level. I earned that degree in four years and then started job hunting. All I could find in the beginning was part-time adjunct work at several different institutions. Eventually, a job opened up at a local art college for the Chair of a department focused on obtaining regional accreditation for the institution. Read more>>

Lilach Mazor Power | Founder & CEO

Risk is opportunity. In the face of the fear that accompanies risk, I focus on the excitement, the opportunity to create, doing something new and the end goal. Taking risks played a big part in the evolution of my life and career. From seeing how far I could stretch my parents’ and teachers’ patience when I was younger to moving to the United States on my own at 22 and, ultimately, venturing into the cannabis industry before it was the cool thing to do, I have always been one to push boundaries. I jumped into cannabis in 2010, when no one wanted to invest, partner or even work for us! The risk of going to jail for working in cannabis was a real one and it was all self-financed. It was as risky as they come. I dream big and thrive in uncomfortable, stressful spaces; risk-taking is in my DNA. Read more>>

Joshua Laieski | Photographer

Risk to me needs to be calculated, working as a photographer I feel like the entire business of art is a risk in some ways. In my life risk has really been the key to my growth, I take risk on with as much understanding of it as possible. Read more>>

Ellison Keomaka | Artist, Inventor & Entrepreneur

Risk is inherent in the creative process. Following my intuitions and stepping boldly into the unknown is the only way i have learned to create. The constant state of riding the edge between embracing new ideas and following through with them is an art on its own. For me, knowing myself emotionally, physically, and mentally gives me the capacity to turn the fear of risk into new worlds of possibility. It’s often easy to settle into an idea or method of the way I create. Once I find a technique or style that I feel comfortable with, its time to take a risk and change. Read more>>

Cathy Koluch | Founder/President

I think risk taking is part of being an entrepreneur and of life. Without risk there is no real great reward. Not being afraid to take risks allows you to be innovative and an out of the box thinker. There is no failure in failure. Just another opportunity to try again. Every day there are risks factors of many kinds, if you live afraid, you can’t move forward. As they say “scared money never wins.” Read more>>

Cameron Call | Clinic Director & College Professor

I grew up very conservatively by two incredible parents. I was raised to follow the rules and directions I was given, learn what was expected of me, and to do the best I could in whatever capacity. As good as my upbringing was it also came with some downsides in regards to risk taking. I was always afraid. I would get severe anxiety any time a decision needed to be made that was not black and white and as simple as following the directions I was given. I never noticed how unhealthy it was that I was so terrified to consider the upside of taking risks and thinking outside the box. Learning to do so has been liberating for myself on a personal and professional level in so many ways. Some risks I’ve taken have been difficult, even painful at times. But the rewards and lessons I’ve learned along the way have been more than worth it. Read more>>

Amanda Capello | Maternity, Newborn & Portrait Photographer

I think of myself as a very overall conservative person. I don’t tend to be the one to take risks but at the same time I see the value in taking risks. I find that financially I am more conservative and find myself shying away from huge investments but rather making smaller investments that over time and practice pay off in the end. Creatively, I am all for taking risks, in fact, often time when I get into a creative “rut” , I find myself pushing my boundaries and limits and taking risks creatively to make magic and expand my knowledge as well as re-invigorate my passion! Read more>>

Karen McLain | Painter & Adventure Artist

My work is based on paintings done from life. The experience of painting in the filed, whether it is a wild horse, wildlife at a zoo, or a landscape are spontaneous and inherently comprised of risk. My subjects are not restrained and the light is always changing. That risk is a form of exhilaration, focusing my attention and energy into the painting. These paintings become the basis for my studio work. Read more>>