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.

Faye Bell | Wallpaper Designer and Artist

Risk taking is essential when it comes to making progress as both a small business and an artist. To push yourself and evolve as an artist you need to be willing to experiment and make “bad” art. Behind every successful pattern I’ve developed there are at least 10 left behind that didn’t come together. Some of these abandoned designs involved a lot of investment of time and effort so that can be frustrating in the short term. But in the long term, consistently being willing to spend time on ideas without the guarantee that they will result in anything is what creates the spaces for new and better things to happen. And when it comes to running a small business I’ve found that small risks have been necessary in order to make progress. When you’re setting up a business, no matter how lean the model, there will always be upfront expenses that you don’t immediately get a return on. Read more>>

Amy Tyler | Business Owner of Indulge Gourmet Popcorn

I think it’s hard to get very far in life without taking risks. However, I don’t subscribe to throwing all caution to the wind. I take risks that are calculated and perhaps overthought. I need to feel certain that if things don’t work out as planned, I will be able to recover easily enough. I would never invest all of my savings in a venture or put myself in a position where I might actually struggle to eat in hopes that it will pay off later. I do, however, sacrifice for success, try new things, and hold faith in my ability to make things work even when I don’t have prior experience. On some level I have been an adventure seeker my entire life, always wanting new experiences and challenges. It has pushed me in my previous career and been expanded in recent years as I became an entrepreneur. Opening a brick and mortar business has the most perceived risk of all things I’ve done and hopefully the realized reward will be worth it. Read more>>

Olivia Lovito | Multidisciplinary Artist

I evaluate risk in everything I do, but it’s a feeling I’ve become drawn to overtime. If I’m nervous about a shoot or a project, I know that it just means that I care deeply about it and want it to be perfect. Risk is also subjective. Being an artist is risky because success isn’t guaranteed. I believe the world doesn’t owe me anything, and that I need to create the life I want to have. The idea of building that life is what draws me to risk instead of pushing me away from it. I was shy about my art for a long time— I didn’t even post my work online until 2018. That summer I ran into one of my favorite photographers in a coffee shop in London and realized I had no public work to show her. The next day I created @luckymercury and have been posting on it since. I avoided Instagram for many years because it felt too accessible. I realize now that it’s a really important tool for any artist. Although my relationship with social media has changed a lot since then, putting my work online is just as scary and risky as it felt the first time. The art I make is directly tied to who I am, so exposing myself like that makes risk a constant in my life. Read more>>

Dale Carithers | Interior & Exterior Designer

I am a comfort zone person so taken a risk is a risk for me. My Interior design career (journey) has been nothing but risks and changes in my life since 1st day. Natural forces made me take this risk, which was my age of 46 at the time, financial situation, and most of all my passion. I am so grateful it happened, and I nerved looked back! I still prefer my comfort zone for stress maintenance but taking risk to me is like playing chess, you have to do strategic thinking before you move to minimize your loses. Read more>>

Morgan Bullock | Mindset Coach, Speaker and Author

I see risk as taking a chance knowing that there is a probability of failure or loss. While I’m not one for gambling because it’s heavily based on things out of my control, I’ve realized that my life and career are in my control. Taking risks in my life and career is me actively betting on myself. Without the risk of ending a marriage, starting a business and owning my truth I wouldn’t have my story, my confidence nor be the woman I am today. Without risk I would not love myself as much as I do. Read more>>

Spencer Thomas | Songwriter/Musician

I’d honestly say risk has been the lifeblood of growing my music career. At every turn I’ve had to make choices like spending most of my savings on a record or giving up on a sedentary lifestyle because I’m in no place to settle down. I’ve said yes to musical challenges I wasn’t sure I could do. I’ve put on shoes I was afraid I couldn’t fill. Every experience has brought on a vicious case of imposter syndrome but those same experiences opened up more space for me to grow. I’m thankful for those opportunities and sometimes surprised at my willingness to take them on. Read more>>

Mallory Baxley | Choreographer

Taking risks is one of the most freeing things that an artist can do. When you decide that failing won’t make or break you, you can indulge in being fearless. For many years, I desired to make work that I thought people would like. I wanted to make work that emulated the work of the artists I admired. I tried to follow a specific formula each time I started a new work because I didn’t allow myself to think beyond the resources at my disposal, whether that be time, number of dancers, space, money, etc. Fear held me back. I made the same work over and over and over. After 10 years, I set out to complete a project that I had been dreaming of since I started working professionally in the industry. The project took over a year to conceptualize, design, visualize, strategize and complete. I asked for help, I considered options that I had never fathomed before, and I worked with artists and people that I trusted. Instead of following my old formula, I let go of the old perception of what I thought my work needed to be or look like. Read more>>

Matthew D. Russom | Company Manager and Founder

From the beginning -early 1992, I / we have always based our process on making promises and over delivering. Thankfully we were careful enough and seemed to instinctively know how and when we needed to say yes to risk. From the Business side of new hires or equipment additions – to a customer providing an opportunity that in that moment we possibly didn’t know 100% of the process, we stuck with being honest. If we needed to say I don’t know, or no or, if we agreed and then had to move heaven and earth to deliver we have stuck with overdelivering in mind. That reputation has been an established one and has allowed us to proposer even when economic times were shutting other small businesses down. Regarding Risk I’d say, if you’re not willing to risk it all either 1) You shouldn’t start or own a business or 2) you know deep inside your plan will not deliver. Read more>>

Catrecia Martin | Artist, Creative Director & HBIC

When I have my heart and mind, set on doing something, I jump headfirst into the deep end, and fully submerge myself into that project. I’m a person that likes immediate gratification, so I believe that’s why going full speed works well for me. I also call myself a Crafty Rebel, so there’s that! Challenging myself to just dive in – even with small tasks – makes me feel like the end result is near, and that part of it excites me. Despite a few frustrations – and curse words – that come along with figuring things out as you go, some of the best decisions I’ve made in my life have started with big risks. Moving completely away from my family to another state, starting a career that I had no experience with, and starting a business during a pandemic are all risks that most people will find intimidating. All of these risks have made me who I am today and ultimately have resulted in the success of my business. Sometimes, you just have to trust God and have a little faith that he’ll order your steps in the way you should go. Read more>>

Nate Mask | Poet, Storyteller, Spoken Word Artist

Taking risks has been huge in my career. I don’t think you can really get anywhere without taking risks. Like the cliche says, “no risk no reward.” It was a risk to get up on stage at an open mic for the first time and share something I wrote. But without that first step, I couldn’t have known this was something I wanted to pursue as a career. It was a huge risk for Ryan and I to book, schedule, promote, and fund a nationwide tour on our own. But without going out on that limb, I wouldn’t have had those experiences that helped me grow as a person and artist, and I wouldn’t have been able to reach new audiences all across the country and even into Canada. Ultimately, taking risks make life more interesting and exciting. And if nothing else, at least my journey hasn’t been boring. Read more>>

Jessica Locklar | Painter | Creator

Every time I share a new piece or body of work, I feel as though I am sharing a peek into my diary, psyche, and soul. Opening yourself to the world to see, relate, and potentially to judge you, feels risky. You are opening yourself to criticism, not just on your artistic merit and skill, but your world view and life experience. However, the risk is outweighed by the reward. You connect to others, indulge and inspire in ways you never fully understand. It takes strength and courage to be vulnerable and open. It takes a risk. Read more>>

Leslie White | Co-Founder| BEKA Beauty

You can use it as something you are afraid of and take no risks, or take action and do something for yourself. My personal approach to all things risk related has been to think it out – map it – and take the risk because you know there is some form of growth to be had. From 2014 – 2016, I took risks relocating from Washington D.C. to Atlanta, Atlanta to California, California to Miami for the company I was working for – each time I was up for a promotion I had to move, and leave the support system I had built. I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable – which is a risk within itself – to grow in my career. Academically, I took a chance on myself by applying to an MBA program, resigning from the company I had moved with so much, and relocating to Madrid to attend the university full time. During the move I had to challenge myself to get to know new people and clients as I developed my business model, abroad. Read more>>

Teale Greene | Digital Strategist & DJ

When I think about a plan or strategy as it pertains to my career, or life in general, I weigh out the pros and cons. If the “what ifs” leave me feeling more anxious than inspired, I may redirect my energy or come up with another approach/solution. It’s good to think in any decision there are risks, but could you live without yourself if you didn’t try?” Each business role I’m in had come from me, with very little knowledge of what I was doing, but I had a natural knack for the position. I took the risks and they have worked out in my favor. Read more>>

Katherine Pudish | Actress

I pretty much live by the quote “The risk is worth the reward” and it’s done wonders for my career and really for my life as well. My entire career is based on taking risks, because the actor who takes the riskier choice is the one who books the job. I’m naturally not the person who’s going to do something out of impulse, though I envy those with that nature and hope it’s something I can develop in myself with time. I grew up moving around quite frequently which resulted in me being rather reserved and I guess this was mistaken by a lot of adults as my attempt at being courteous and well mannered. I became so used to being praised for being the kid who was so inside the box that I really think it came as a bit of a surprise even to myself when I made that bold announcement that I had set out to become an actress. That in itself was probably the biggest risk I’d ever taken, and the most valuable reward I’ve ever had has come from it. I’ve grown so much as a person and as an actress in such a short amount of time it’s unbelievable, and the best part is I’m not even close to finished growing. Read more>>

Celeste | Filmmaker & Photographer

You never know what the outcome may be and putting complete faith in a result that you don’t know for certain will prosper can deter you from going after the things you want. Back in September, I was working for FedEx shipping ground as a package handler. I was making decent money but I was miserable. I hated going to work and I was so exhausted due to work that I couldn’t put any effort into my dreams. That made me depressed and unsatisfied in my life. One day, I was lying in bed and realized that FedEx was NOT my stopping point. So I quit. Soon after I quit, I started receiving opportunities that deal with the path I’m trying to go in with film and television. Has it been tough for me? Absolutely. Do I regret my hasty decision? Absolutely not. I refused to let ANYTHING or ANYONE put me in a place of defeat and keep me there because I know I am destined for greatness. Read more>>

Allayna Marie | Creative & Entrepreneur

I’m definitely a risk taker. After all if you don’t take any risk, you’ll play it safe your entire life. Sounds pretty boring to me. Look the conditions will never be perfect and you will appreciate the journey and be aware of your strength testing the unknown. If I hadn’t been courageous enough to take a risk, I wouldn’t be where I am and I wouldn’t have any accomplishments. You want to be comfortable or successful. Read more>>

Andre A’todd Williams | Artist, Actor Athlete

Risk is the possibility of something bad happening. We take risks everyday just getting out of bed. you live in a world of not knowing…. Not knowing if tomorrow is promised or not knowing what our purpose in life truly is so you have to take risk in finding who your true you is. Taking risks has played a major role in my life. So much doubt from myself and the ones around me and not enough hooray behind me to say I can do it. I feel like some counted me and even my siblings out from doing anything we wish we could. That type of stuff can really bury someone’s dream and have them in there heads with lack of confidence and no balls. So at a certain age taking risk was something that I grew in to especially watching others and thinking how can I get to that position. I knew I was going to have any handouts, support/ believers or push so I prayed about it and start taking risks. Because that was the only way I was going to see any changes for the better. Read more>>

Domonique Mills | Owner & Creator of Faith Over Logic

Taking risks means stepping out of your comfort zone to make steps toward where you want to be and where you’re supposed to be. If you avoid taking risks to stay in your comfort zone, you place limits on how far you can go and what you’re able to accomplish. Taking risks is the only reason I’m doing this interview right now. I’m a very reserved person. I love what I do and I love helping people, but I tend to shy away from the spotlight. I could have easily kept “Faith over Logic” as just a motto for myself. However, the push to share it in hopes of inspiring others was greater than my desire to stay in the background. I definitely had concerns at first. What if no one reads the blog? What if no one buys my stuff? There are already so many apparel lines already available. So, was there a risk? Absolutely! But I started the blog, created the apparel line, and launched the store anyway. Now, here we are. Taking the risk and starting my business puts me on a path that pushes me from behind the scenes and straight past the “what ifs”. I now have to be more visible and share more. Read more>>

Leshea Folds And Khandilyn Hicks | Co Founders of iConicallySHEA Beauty Bar

We both firmly believe that taking risks or stepping out on faith is what has kept our business successful in the two years we’ve been open! Faith, prayer, and consistency can take you farther than you can imagine. Read more>>