Taking Risk is essential, but how much, when and why? Taking risks effectively is as much of an art as it is a science and we’ve asked some of the brightest folks in the community to tell us about how they think about risk taking.

Nigel Ashford | Show Creator/Host

Before I answered this question, I wanted to look up the word risk, and after reading a couple of definitions from Webster’s Dictionary, I saw that the word took on a negative connotation. Here are a couple of examples: Someone or something that creates or suggests a hazard or the degree of probability of such loss. When reading these definitions, you would think the act of taking a risk is a bad thing and will most likely result in failure or danger, but I disagree. I believe that risk is the part of you that draws you to some type of hope or faith in something and that no matter how big or small the probability of your success, you’re willing to take a chance on the thing you truly believe in. I will tell anyone that I rarely have any regrets in my life, but the regrets I do have were due to my fear of taking risks. I wanted to be a talk show host, but I got discouraged when I had employers and co-workers tell me that I didn’t have the it-factor and I did not fit the look of a talk show host, so I let fear get in my way. By not taking the risk, I then began to be haunted by regrets, but I was afraid to bet on myself and take a risk in doing something that I loved to do. Read more>>

Katrina & Karl | Breaking Hollywood Podcast Hosts

Life is nothing more than risks. We take risks everyday, it’s just that people place different values on different risks. Walking out of the house everyday is a risk people take. However they won’t when it comes to living their dreams. We just chose to place the same value on all risk to achieve our dreams and goals. Read more>>

Pierre (P.Greatness) Johnson: Model, Actor, Rapper

I believe that risk-taking is extremely important It’s literally the foundation of my success I moved to Atlanta Georgia strictly on faith I had to take the risk I didn’t want to live in regret or have the thought of “what if” Risk taking Is essential to forward progression!. Read more>>

Sharenika Cummings: Actress | Model | Author

I have always been a risk taker. It has always benefited me in the end. The process does not feel good, but it doesn’t suppose to. Risk taking keeps me out of my comfort zone. Once you become comfortable it is easy to become complacent. My 1st major risk I took was leaving my 9-5 being stable after having a new born to move to Atlanta with no where to live, no plan other than I wanted to work at Tyler Perry Studios, and which that happened. I slept in my car for a month until I got on my feet. 2nd major risk applying for a 3 bedroom home with no money. I literally was lead by the spirit. When you take risk that is faith walking, and many times in man eyes you look foolish because it doesn’t make any sense. It dont suppose to make sense. You just supposed to be obedient and trust the process. I bought a house at the age of 28. Read more>>

Noraa James | Artist, Designer, Photographer, Producer

More often than not throughout my life, I’ve thought about risk with fear. Because of this survival trait, I did things like dilute the truest me, forego opportunities that seemed too daunting, and pretended to find 9-5’s tolerating. It got to a point where I was quite miserable and to continue down that road would have likely proved fatal. It’s ironic to think about it; being in perpetual survival mode bringing about my ultimate untimely demise. All of the things I wanted to do required that I risk something. I risk the identity people thought they knew, a job I’m burnt out in, and possibly unleashing a potential I dream of. I figured those were good odds to take. So I’ve been taking steps to consciously incorporate risks of varying degrees into my every day life. Read more>>

Terence Locke: Chef ,Author , Entrepreneur

I’m definitely a risk taker, I’ve turned many thoughts and dreams into reality. My faith in God is strong ,I’ve prayed over every step and I haven’t fell yet. One thing I’m going to do is always Bet on me. I have a long way to go but God isn’t done with me just yet. Read more>>

Laur’e Pen: Jingle Queen & Songwriter

I think there is no growth without risk. Risk has caused me to feel uncomfortable, without a doubt having to face some of the hardest challenges of my life. But risk also brought out my greatest strengths. Ones I never would have found if not pushed to my limit of capability. Risks helped me discover my passion for writing jingles. I am still learning my capabilities to this day. I remember working a dead end job back in Ohio where I’m from. I always knew I wanted to sing, and write songs for stars. I used to fantasize about it even. However, the environment I grew up in did not provide much inspiration for my dreams to come into fruition. So I took a risk, and quit my job. I moved to Atlanta, with about $500 to my name, and whatever belongings I put in my car. I had no real plan, outside of initially going there to record an album with some connections I made. That was 5 years ago. Read more>>

Ziannah & Khaloni Dennis: Kid Model & Brand influencers

Ziannah & Khaloni Dennis started In the modeling & Acting industry pretty much by posting on Instagram. Gee George mother of The Dennis Sisters says: After taking so many pictures of ziannah she started to fluid my personal Instagram with pictures of her. So I made her own account I never knew at the time that kid Instagram accounts where such a big thing. Nor did I recognize that it would open so many doors for myself and my children. In 2015 my daughter (Ziannah Dennis) was 5 months old and went simi viral on social media once this happened I received a DM for ziannah to come participate as a extra in a TV commercial. I personally didn’t think this was or could possibly be real but I took a risk and leap of faith & took my daughter to this casting call. Which was indeed a real tv commercial gig.
From there both of my children ended up in the modeling industry. Read more>>

Reec Swiney: Media Personality, Entertainer and Fun Family Man

Risk taking has been pivotal in my career in radio and in life in general. It’s relative with betting on yourself and having the confidence that your goals can be achieved and will be met in one way or another, IF you are willing to go after them. I quite a pretty good paying job, that I didn’t really care for, in order to intern at a radio station, while focusing full time on our family non profit (Positive American Youth) and host community events. Hosting those events gave the station operating manager an idea of what my personality was like, which led to an on air opportunity. That opportunity got me to a full time on air gig!. Read more>>

Kesley Bou: Singer/Songwriter

Taking risks is SO SCARY! BUT! It is essential to leveling up. If you don’t take a risk every now and then you don’t move forward. It’s scary to take a risk because the thought of failure is scary. BUT! I like to think that there is no such thing as failure, because one thing always leads to the next, and there is always a lesson. My life motto is “live and learn.” Make mistakes, have grace and figure it out. My husband and I took a big risk when moved away from our families in 2018 to live in ATL. We didn’t have jobs and barely knew anyone. We moved in with an amazing couple that we barely knew, and lived with them for free for 8 months while we went to EVERY open mic in the city until we were gigging enough to get our own apartment. When you throw yourself into the deep end your desperation to survive breads the creativity you need to succeed. Everything you want is on the other side of your fear. If you don’t take the risk you’ll never find out the good waiting for you. Read more>>

Phoenix Gibbs: Affirmations Author, Intentional Living Coach,& Spiritual Wellness Products Creator

Risk-taking is the art of not allowing fear to stop you from making the dreams in your heart a reality. I have taken risks in my career since 2010 when I first became an entrepreneur and had no clue what I was doing and just winged it. I took it a risk because I never wanted to have any regret when I am on my death bed singing the shoulda, woulda, coulda song. This passion for asking taking amplified when I had a near-death experience in 2011 that solidified not wanting to die with regrets when I can live and make changes that are true gifts to my life. Read more>>

Zuri Soyinka: Actor

I’m a firm believer that without struggle, there is no progress. In my experience, taking risks has always led to some kind of breakthrough in my career. The biggest risk that I ever took was me deciding to turn down a full-tuition college scholarship to move back home to Atlanta- pursuing my acting dreams head- on. Read more>>

Tim R. McAdams: Enrichment Speaker & Actor/Stuntman

Risk taking is a built in component of success in my opinion. The achievement of our true desires is going to require unrelenting action and an acceptance of the inherit risk that comes with aggressive action. In order to achieve great success in any ambition it requires that we stretch ourselves past our comfort zone. Our comfort zone will only afford us the life/career that we currently have. However, once we stretch past that comfort zone we then position ourselves to unfold the beautiful progress that lies in the un-chartered territory of our potential. When we travel into this un-chartered territory that lies beyond our comfort zone we enter into the risk zone. The risk zone is a place where the possibility of failure, uncertainty, confusion, and lack of definite direction are found. None of these feelings are exciting but they are all present when taking risk. Most great accomplishments were preceded by these feelings and thoughts. On the other side of the risk zone is the reward zone.  Read more>>

Brandy Kennedy: Marketing Creative

Risk taking has played a major role in my career progression. If I had anything to regret thus far, it would be not taking bigger risks. Most opportunities are associated with some amount of risk. The bigger the risk, the bigger the win. Read more>>

Jai. Green: Director/Filmmaker

When it comes to risk, I bet on myself. If I don’t get it done I know it’s on me and I can live with that at the end of the day knowing I gave it my all. I’m apart of a collective called OPN SZN. It’s a group of people more talented than myself and they give me the reassurance like “Nah bro you got this”. That confidence booster right there just lets me know I can do anything. Taking risk has played a huge role in my life and career since I decided to bet on myself. It’s the reason I’m a full time filmmaker today. After my last corporate job did me dirty AF I went to get advice from my mother who went through a similar situation and she kept it 100 with me. Her advice was I should be my own boss. I needed to work for myself and her I am two and a half years later grinding it out. Read more>>

Kyle Ellison: Executive Director & Artist

I think taking risks is how we get to innovation. I don’t necessarily mean in technology, which does play a part but more importantly innovation in life. Your life, your friends lives, people’s lives, the world. I love the feeling I get with risks and making a decision to do something people will scratch their head at. For me, the willingness to take risks is the only reason I’m here to do the work I’m doing now. Read more>>

Dario Harris: Dario “G.R.A.C.E.” Harris | Artist & Filmmaker

I’m a firm believer in the saying, “No risk, no reward.” You have to ask yourself what are willing to put on the line in order to reach your desired goals. Every time I’ve took risks and stayed focused on the mission I’ve come out on top. Some goals are attainable within days or months. And some goals can take years to materialize. You just have to stay the course and remember it’s a marathon not a sprint. Read more>>

Arreinston Branch: Founder & student

Risk taking is a big part of many aspects of not only my lifestyle but many other Entrepreneurs, leaders and/or workers lives. As taking risks separates the momentousness one may have for a specific goal their trying to reach in their life. Read more>>

PBG Tay: Rapper

I’m a risk taker . In this game of life your not going to always be dealt with the best hand . You have to learn to adapt and find ways to benefit and be successful. Taking risk molds you into a sharper individual. You will never know a outcome of something with out trying it . Take the risk and believe in god , every risk is not a risk . Some risk you learn from and some risk get you rich . Either way it go stand 10 toes and believe in the main above. Read more>>

Daysha Excel: Entrepreneur & Beauty Expert

I believe that calculated risk taking is important. The reason I included the word “calculated” is because I believe things need to align/add up with your over goals and where you want to see the best version of yourself. Risk taking can be similar to “stepping out on faith” depending on how you choose to look at life. When you are aligned with the right things mentally, spiritually and emotionally you see risk taking as an act of faith and opportunity to solely believe in a high power. Risk taking is vital to the process of growing a brand or business and even in the journeys of life. I see risk taking in my life and career as an opportunity to tap into my faith that whether win or lose I know that I am wiser. Risk taking has led my name to enter rooms my body hasn’t. Risk taking landed me a cosmetic line that I only imagined having. Risk taking has made me qualify for things I may have been “under qualified” for to some. Read more>>

Kelly Romo | Artist & Music Producer

The whole process has been a risk! From the moment I decided to really pursue a career deemed “unconventional” it was a risk. The only thing scarier than those risks I had to take to really go for a career in music was the idea that I might not ever try. Deciding to step out initially as just a DJ and now as a producer made a lot of people uncomfortable: friends, family.. they just wanted to see me secure in a career and externally music wasn’t something a lot of people could wrap their heads around sustainably living off of. It was a risk the first time I stepped behind the decks at my first house party, having never played on any of the equipment. It was a risk with my first residency, my first clients telling them I could do things I knew I’d be looking up later. It was a risk going through a music production curriculum and continues to be a risk as I put my name, face, and now voice on the projects I release. Every single new thing or new advance in my career has been absolutely terrifying, to the point that things like my first single, my first video, even just pictures of myself on social media were shoved as far back as possible. Read more>>

Tyler Correll | Portrait Photographer

Starting my photography business was a risk within itself. Even though I created a business plan and came up with ways that I could make money with photography, I spent a good a mount of money on a camera and lenses without knowing for sure if it would be profitable. Naturally I am not a risk taker, but as a entrepreneur and I had to become more comfortable with taking risks. They come with the territory!. Read more>>

Michelle Booker: Boutique Owner and Wardrobe Stylist

When it comes to taking risks, fear is the only false preeminence that actually makes it a ‘risk’. I started Mod Instinct during a pandemic with confidence when I left my career in film, but nothing measures up to following your passion. Taking risks has played many roles in my life from moving to another city with two young sons as a single mom and countless other circumstances that I am grateful for. Unforeseen opportunities have appeared on my radar from taking these risks. What has always been instilled in me and I thank my father for this is not having fear because in the end it always works out. Read more>>

Gina Marie: Vegan Recipe and Lifestyle Blogger

For a while I played very small. I grew up with my grandmother, and she valued safety over risk and so that has been indoctrinated in me for most of my childhood and adult life. I thought I was doing “the right thing” in playing it safe. I use to view risk as dangerous and unnecessary. However, the older I got the more I realized that playing it safe was a bigger risk than taking a chance because it stunted my growth in all areas of my life. Now I feel risk is necessary and a vital part of life if you desire to get ahead and move forward. I took a risk last year by leaving my job to pursue Vegan With Curves full time. It has been a bumpy road but an exhilarating one as well. I also took a risk recently by wearing open toe shoes in public for the first time. I was born with missing fingers and toes and would always play safe, keeping my “flaws” hidden from the world. Taking that risk of exposing myself for the world to possibly criticize, has done tremendous leaps and bounds for my self confidence and self esteem. Read more>>

Manessa Lazare: Makeup Artist & Lash Tech

Always betting on myself to win! As I recall back to my childhood, my Haitian parents always instilled, more like drilled, into me and my siblings to shoot for the stars, to dream big. I quickly grew to learn that, my dreams went far beyond what my parents envisioned for me, which was to be a college-educated and a successful career woman. They never had a preference of what I should do as long as I made them proud. But there was still a void; with the help of therapy and self-help books specifically one titled Trust: Mastering the Four Essential Trusts: Trust in Self, Trust in God, Trust in Others, Trust in Life by Iyanla Vanzant, I learned that I am the master of my destiny. I received my Masters in Business Administration: Human Resources in 2014 from Nova Southeastern University for my parents and I bet on myself and enrolled in Victoria Duke’s Academy of Glam and went on to become a certified makeup artist in 2016 and launched Glamour By Ness LLC shortly thereafter. Read more>>

Stacia Dashiell: Owner

Risk is what life is all about. In order to move forward you have to have faith in the unknown and unseen. You have to trust yourself, be optimistic, have courage, and ignore the static. Just like the story about the train who said, “ I think I can, I think I can”. He had faith in himself and took the risk to move. That’s how I think about risk. In life everyday you wake up, get dress and walk out the door, you are taken a risk. You do not know your destiny until you put on your armor and take that leap. If I had n’t taken the roads that life has directed me to, I would not be here today. As a young girl, risk was a part of life lessons for me. I learned early to observe good risk and bad risk. I had to think critically to determine if the outcome would be beneficial for my current situation and my future. I learned to put my faith and trust in a higher being in order to mustard the courage mentally to take on the many challenges in my life and in my career. Read more>>

Watty Tha Shepherd: Artist, Songwriter, Producer, Audio Engineer

I recently left my job in retail to fully pursue music. Financially it has taken quite a toll. My income is nowhere near as consistent as it used to be; however I am much happier with what I do now. I feel as though I am moving in the right direction, which is what’s most important to me. I’m serving my purpose. Read more>>

Dina Shadwell: Visual Artist, Theatre Professional, Disabilities Advocate

I’m not a sky-diving type of risk taker, but I think I’ve had some interesting opportunities arise because I’ve been willing to open myself up to possibilities beyond my own limited vision. What I mean is, I’ve had moments in my life where I feel like my career has hit a wall. Things didn’t turn out as I thought they would. In those moments, I have been willing to say to the Universe—okay, I give up. I am willing to try something entirely new and different. Whatever it is, I just want to use my skills to serve. Show me the way. And that’s when “coincidences” happen that can lead me down a cool new path that I never could have imagined for myself. It doesn’t sound very risky. But in that moment of surrender, it can be pretty scary. It takes a lot of trust. And looking for those signs. And saying yes. Read more>>

Alpha Whiskey: Female DJ and Air Traffic Controller

Every thing in life is a risk. Every decision you make on a day to day basis is a risk. You just have to learn how to calculate those risks. Risk taking has helped my brand and my confidence tremendously. Both of my jobs require me to think ahead and out way the risks in every situation. To become a black female air traffic controller I had to take several risks. It did not come easy at all. Also as a black female DJ I had to take risks in starting my business. I have a strong passion for music so I knew this is something that I would be dedicated to and strive to be the best at it. So far those risks have turned into rewards and I am so thankful. I have a radio show on WYXR 91.7 every Thursday (6pm-8pm) called Flight Risk where we take a trip to a new destination!. Read more>>

Stew Frick: Clothing Designer & Painter

Within my life and career, I feel that I aim to take fewer risks than is often expected of those in the creative field. While I have taken some decent risks (dropping out of college, or moving without much money), I largely reject the common thinking of “risk everything, be willing to fail completely if it is in pursuit of your goals.” Risk is necessary, especially if starting your own artistic business, but don’t be fooled and think that if you aren’t constantly on the precipice of your life imploding, you aren’t committed to what you love. Creativity and art is often a slow process – it is not ‘now or never.’ Read more>>

Maya and Amber: Real Estate Investor

I believe risk is necessary in any part of life. Often times, most people stay in the same place for their entire life because they’re scared of what may or may not happen. They’re scared to risk their comfortability for the unknown. But you never grow if you never step out and take a chance. It could turn into something beautiful and change your entire life. Risks has played apart in our journey because you never know if your investment will be a success and everything could crumble right in front of your eyes. But it was necessary to step out and start the foundation that we want to build on for future endeavors. Read more>>

Rebecca Boyko-Blando: Motion and Graphic Designer, Cat Enthusiast, Plant Woman, and Crafter

I’ve taken risks my entire adult life. I started community college with no idea what I wanted to do, pursued bowling with full intent to become a professional, signed a four year scholarship to an art school to compete in collegiate bowling, moved back home in 24 hours because of covid and got a full time job, and now I’m starting my business. I think about risk like this: if I’m scared or nervous it means I care enough to do it. There are a handful of things that have to be taken care of to mitigate risk that always come to mind: finances must not be strained, expected stress must not continue past a year, and there must be some sort of fallback plan. All of my life I’ve been blessed enough to have a solid support system and that is what has allowed me to both take risks and mitigate any problems I may have had. Whenever finances, stress, or lack of fallback plan have been a factor I have had wonderful mentors to guide me. Read more>>

David Morgan: Entrepreneur

I think risks are very important and fundamental to businesses, organizations everyday. When you don’t step out of your comfort zone to take risks you’re not expanding your horizon. This is why risks play an important role in my life and with my businesses. If I didn’t take risks, I wouldn’t be where I am today. There have been losses and wins but I look at every risk as a win, because even when I fail I still tried something new and got the opportunity to learn from it. Read more>>

Robert H. Johnson Jr.: Diversity & Inclusion Practitioner & Leadership Coach

Life is all about risk. From the moment we get up to the time we lay down at night, we are faced with a series of risks and choices. I learned at an early age, to achieve success in life and business, I would face and have to take risks. One of the first risks I decided to take was to go to college. I was the first person in my family to go to college and I had no point of reference. There was no-one in my family that could walk me through a FAFSA or scholarship applications. I had to leverage school resources and relationships to even get through the process. Taking that risk and having the audacity to believe I could do it was a game changer. It led to bigger risks in my personal and professional life. For example, I took the risk of leaving my hometown of Miami after college and relocated to Chicago, Illinois to accept my first job. Leaving the comfort of family and familiarity was scary as hell. However, it was the biggest growth experience I’d ever had. Read more>>

Natasha Robey: Natasha L. Robey | Licensed Esthetician & CEO of Yebor Luxe Beauty

I truly do believe that had I not took risks my business wouldn’t have took off as fast as it did. I quit my job went to school and looped ninety percent of my money into was what only a dream at that time, that takes courage! I knew that me taking risks and not operating in fear is what would separate me from the pack. Many people look at taking risks as more so of a gamble, I look at it as having confidence in yourself and your abilities to go after what you feel like you deserve. I always tell people, running a business is uncomfortable, so if you’re comfortable then you’re not growing and growth comes with taking risks!. Read more>>

Dj Big Twin: Event & Radio Mixhow Dj

In entertainment or being an entrepreneur you have to be a risk taker. Sometimes you have to take chances and step outside the box In order to reach your full potential. Taking chances or being a risk taker has played a major part in my growth as a dj, and entrepreneur. Some people may question my choices but you can never be afraid to fail or even look back It and think what if?. Read more>>

Brittany Buttrey: Director of Fitzpatrick Industries

I chose this question because not only has “risk-taking” been on my mind almost daily through COVID-19 (hospitality industry during a pandemic = scary), but all throughout my life’s personal and professional development. These days, I consider myself to be a confident, capable and effective woman but I haven’t always been like this. As a youth, to say I lacked self confidence would be an understatement. Typical teenage insecurities that I took to the next level… body image struggles, constantly seeking approval, underdeveloped social skills… all the rest. And it wasn’t until I entered the work-force that I began to gain the kind of self-worth that eventually helps one overcome those types of insecurities. I learned I could gain confidence by kicking butt and taking names, over and over again. But doing so requires taking risks. Sometimes big ones. Read more>>

YUNG ZEN: Artist & Model/Actor

Definitely a fond believer in taking risks. Calculated or not I think they better your chances of success. Playing it safe has gotten me no where. Taking risks has gotten me everywhere. I don’t ever think anything is just a coincidence. You get what you desire when you take risks. Read more>>

Shelby Franklin: Tutor & Logistics Broker

In order to see results, I believe you have to take a risk. No matter if the risk is Big or Small the invest is the true meaning. I took the risk of Investing in myself in order to see my results. Read more>>