Shoot your shot? Take a chance? Society bombards us with messages, phrases, examples and stories of how taking risk is the key to success, but is anything ever that simple? We asked some of the brightest folks we know to tell us about how they think about risk. We’ve shared their responses below.

Ke`ena Belk | Hairstylist and Entrepreneur

I think of risk like roller coasters. You don’t know how big the drop is, but you still climb up to the peak anyways. It could be a very fast and immediate thrill on the other side or only a slight twist. Then you have those looking up at you go on this crazy ride waiting to see how you will react once you get off, just so they can make a decision of whether they will try it for themselves or not. Then there are the ones that are too afraid all together. Taking risk for me is still scary. I overthink, but I always remind myself that on the other side of fear is where success lies. Read more>>

Kasey Hicks | Owner of Mind Over Matter Clothing & President of KK Management and Productions, LLC

Risk taking is the core of not only entrepreneurship, but of life. No risk no reward! I feel like we take risk in our everyday lives directly and indirectly. For many people where I grew up leaving from home itself is a risk, for the fact that it’s possible one won’t make it back home. In this day and age as shameful as it is, being a Black male or female is wonderful yet risky. People are intimated by this and consider you to be a threat. So, daily life is a risk. Read more>>

Shel Levy | Photographer, YouTuber , and sneaker reseller

I believe risk plays a huge part in starting anything in life. Without risk you aren’t able to grow or at least trying anything new for yourself. In my life I have taken risk to start my sneaker business especially when everyone and their mom resells sneakers. Tons of people told me not to join an already over saturated market but I took the risk and I’m thriving in just a few months. Read more>>

Brittany Lumpkins | Nail technician

I am a big risk taker! I mean am I scared to take risks? Yes, but I feel it’s better to know the outcome than to wonder what if. Starting this business was definitely a risk because, I am fresh out of the military and I was so used to guaranteed money. Being my own boss is very different. The amount of money I make depends solely on me. All in all it’s still one of the best choices I have made in my life so far! Read more>>

Courtney Appling | Hair Witch

I believe that taking risks is an important part in personal and professional growth. Without taking risks and challenging myself, I absolutely wouldn’t be the person I am today. I do not want to be ‘comfortable’ in my career; I want to prove to myself how strong I am and to inspire others to do the same for themselves. Taking risks has helped me accomplish so many things in my life: graduating high school early, starting my career in hair at such a young age, and learn to prioritize balance/boundaries in my work life and personal life. Read more>>

Rabiya Goldsmith | Entrepreneur and Founder Baitul Oud LLC

Risk-taking is a challenge. It almost feels like I compete with myself. The feeling of being uncomfortable and challenged drives me to try to explore more. Over time, I realized that throwing myself into a new venture unleashes the creativity within me and forces me to look things up in a different kind of view. While growing up in Kenya, I did not see many people working in jobs that I could see myself doing as an adult. The career opportunities available were quite limited. I have always known from a very young age that I loved to sell. In fact, I started my first business venture at school. I remember asking my mom to make potato fritters when I was around seven years old, which I then sold to my fellow students at break time. Read more>>

Elijah Everett | Actor & Enterainer

I think any role in entertainment/entrepreneurship is a risk. You’re crossing the imaginary line of stability that society has conditioned us too leading to a mountain of unknown trails and “if ‘s”. Everything rides on you and your decision making in the environment your in to get to your goal. You have to make the best of everything. After Learning to be an associate producer for BET network’s the show I worked on which brought me here from Philadelphia was cancelled and I had a choice like many other who moved from LA to go home or stay. The life I wanted was not in philly Entertainment was in Atlanta so I stayed. Read more>>

Ed Eberhart | Painter/Mess-Maker

I feel like “risk” is maybe a scarier word than it should/could be. Wayyyyyyyy back in 2011, I was travelling 30-35 weeks a year with a job I didn’t really enjoy, and I was looking for a way out. I’d been painting and doing some marketing/design/photography projects, but never with any regularity or focus, and for sure never thought of doing so to pay bills. I had a ton of vacation pay/time saved up, so I put in my notice and committed myself to only working on things that interested me for a few months before finding a new full time job. It went better than I could have imagined, and I learned so much about work ethic, balance, and myself as I continued to do freelance work and produce commissioned art for a few more years. Being brave is way easier than being regretful, and the consequences are very rarely as dire as we imagine they’ll be – “Leap and the net will appear,” as Mr. Burroughs said. Read more>>

Laurren Jones | Speaker & Embodiment Coach/ bodyworker

Risk is an essential part of life. Since the beginning of time we have risked our safety, comfort, livelihood and resources in order to step into the unknown and continue to create the future. For me risk has been the core driver and birthplace of my brand and business Trauma Queen Therapeutics. It took the risk of investing my time, money and effort into coaching and Mentorship to help develop my craft. It took the risk of sharing my intimate truths, raw unfiltered wisdom and knowledge into the online space. It took the risk of believing in myself beyond doubt from loved ones, peers and the status quo to lean into a world that has changed my life forever. Without risk there would be no future. Read more>>

Simone James | Private Chef & Caterer

I think of risks as an opportunity to be great. When you take a risk that is saying you have the strength and courage to do whatever it is you set your mind to. Even if it may not work out the way you planned it, you tried and you learned a lesson. Failure is not an option so every risk I’ve taken was a lesson learned for me. I took the risk of leaving my job and packing up to move to Atlanta a few months ago. Things haven’t been exactly how I would like it to be but I know with hard work, consistency and determination I will be right where I need to be with God’s graces. I truly believe everything happens when it’s supposed to. Read more>>

Randy Mallard | Fitness Trainer & Gym Consultant

My motto for both my brand and my life is “what you give is what you get” Risk taking is all about your belief system. Do you believe in yourself enough to get out of your comfort zone? Are you clear on your vision? No matter what obstacles come your way, are you committed enough to your values? Are you willing to see through NO MATTER WHAT? You have to bet on yourself. You will either learn from it or earn from it. I am just a guy from Indiana, first generation college student. I grew up in an area where people didn’t discuss the future much. I did not know much about success, or how my life would pan out. I just always knew I wanted more. Read more>>

Jack Moffet | Filmmaker

When I was a teenager in high school, I made the very risky decision to pursue a career in filmmaking, and I’ve been chasing that dream ever since. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Filmmaking is fulfilling in almost every way I can think of, especially at the creative level. A few years ago, I decided to take my career to the next level by opening a film production company: Black Fox Productions. Having creative control over my projects has proven immensely satisfying. And if it turns a profit, then that’s just a bonus! Read more>>

Luciano Wallace | Model/Stylist

I believe that fortune favors the brave. In my life there have been few moments where I’ve taken a risk and was able to reap the benefits. You have to be smart with you decisions and make sure to play your cards right. Read more>>

Nautica Houston | Licensed Cosmetologist and Educator

I feel as though, taking risk requires faith! You have to already believe the outcome is in your favor. My risk taking experience began when I quit my full time government job to pursue my career as a full time licensed stylist. I had no clue how I would make it work, I lived on my own, didn’t have a full clientele, luckily I was still under health care benefits with my parents I just knew I wanted out of working for someone else so I made it my duty to make myself my own boss. Read more>>

Julie Martin-Murgatroyd | Home Stager & Designer

Prior to starting Hart and Haven, I worked in the competitive media industry for more than two-decades. In order to advance, I had to take a lot of risks along the way. Often times, this meant coming out of my comfort zone. I learned to trust my gut when it came to difficult assignments, career moves to different cities, and managing unforeseen problems when on a deadline. Looking back now, these are all skills that help me manage my business! Ultimately, having confidence and trusting your instincts is key, and that has proven to be true in my staging and design business. Read more>>

Brea Sands | Singer/Songwriter/Actress

I think that risk is required for success. When I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to be singer/songwriter and be able to live off of being a creative. At my school it was frowned upon to not travel the traditional path of going to college. My gut instinct told me I had to create my own path and I definitely caught flack for that. But because of those first initial risks I took then, today I am not only able to still create music and have my own schedule, but I was able to discover other passions like acting and actually gain an income from that as well. I’m so glad I didn’t follow the crowd, because now I’m able to be as creative as I want, whenever I want. And that’s freedom. Read more>>

Sana Ahmed | Business Consultant & Social Entrepreneur

Some of the greatest blessings in my life have come from the courage to take more risks. “Take more risk” sounds easy enough, right? But the choice to take more risks has always come with a lot of fears and self-doubts. Naturally, at first, when I thought about taking risks I feared rejection, failure, uncertainty, and change. Every time I even thought about taking the plunge, I got knots in my stomach telling me to fight or flight. Read more>>

Nelysia Lari Knight | Content creator, Stylist & Lyrical mastermind.

Risks are intimidating but necessary on the road to success. You have to be ready to be uncomfortable in order to reach heights. I had to adjust to different patterns, sacrifice as well as study my craft before I was able to begin my journey. I gave myself time and created my own pace to reach a level of steadiness so that I could maintain one goal set at a time. Read more>>

Elizabeth June | Licensed Esthetician & Brow Specialist

Where others might hold back to avoid loss or failure, I think of taking risks as having the opportunity to advance and grow in life. All the risks that I have ever taken have taught me useful lessons or have open doors for me in my career and personal life. I have learned to overcome my fears and trust myself more by taking the risks I have taken. Read more>>

Jamie Fuller | Jamie Fuller owner empowerME Fitness Studio

Honestly, opening a business during a pandemic was and still is a huge risk! My business itself is a risk because most people sexualize pole dancing/fitness. They do not know about the health benefits of pole fitness such as improving muscle tone, core strength, upper body strength, and flexibility. I took the risk because I truly believe in my brand and the positive impact both physically and mentally it brings to individuals. Read more>>

Shawn Alexis | Kung Fu Master / House music dj/producer

To me you have to take risk or else you don’t progress in life it’s simple as that. Risks have been a major part of my life of my development as a person I take so many risk you could say i’m risk embodied. It’s been everything because my life has been about breaking conventional wisdom and basically all I do is take risk but that is how to live life as well to follow your intuition. Read more>>

Anna Cipolla | Seasoned Global Marketer + Newly Licensed Realtor

Risk-taking…even the word feels…well…risky. Some of my most thrilling accomplishments and career moves have happened by taking the first step out into the unknown and risking something…security, familiarity, comfort, a paycheck, etc. I think taking risks is critical to advancement in your career and life. I don’t think we were made to stay stagnant in a life of pure comfort and ease or monotony, which certainly is easy to fall into during these pandemic years. Like any muscle, you have to exercise your risk muscles so they don’t atrophy. With that said though, I also think it’s critical to know the times to take action and take a risk versus the times to stay put. These days the world screams at us to “jump for our dreams”, “get moving”, “take bold risks!” But that’s not always possible. We need to consider the seasons of life we’re in and trust that there will be times where we must take a risk, and times when we must stay put for one reason or another. Read more>>

Larrisha Fletcher | Fashion Designer

I think that risk is the foundation of my craft when it comes to designing for my clients. From the beginning and even now being a self taught designer, it has become second nature for me to toe the line. Most of pieces that I’ve created have been garments that I’ve never made before.. The courage to see a difficult project through, along with confidence and skill are the reasons that I’m successful in my business as a fashion designer. Read more>>

Rochelle Johnson | Marketing, Media and Management Specialist

“No Risk, No Reward!” Stepping into entrepreneurship is a risk in itself. You leave security and stability of a 9 to 5 to become self employed, no days off, risk of gaining or losing more than you left in secure employment. Entrepreneurship is not for those who fear taking risk or second guessing the decisions you MUST TAKE to gain something you never have before. Read more>>

Y$N | Artist / Radio Personality/ Podcaster/ DJ

I think risk taking is the catalyst for all the great people, moments, and things we have today. I’ve always said that you can’t get anywhere in life walking on eggshells, sometimes you have to take a leap of faith to get where you want to be. Throughout my life, I’ve taken so many risks that eventually secured some major opportunities for me. I whole heartedly believe that I would not be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for my willingness to bet on myself at all times and walk into the valley of the unknown. Even if I didn’t win, I always learned and kept it pushing, and that’s what matters. Read more>>

AARIA | Singer, Songwriter, & Actress

I’ve been taking risks my entire life. I am firm believer that without risk there is no growth or reward. I took a risk and moved to New York at 18 years old to study musical theatre. I took a risk at 20 years old and relocated to Hong Kong, accepting a job as Disney’s Princess Tiana in Mickey and the Wondrous Book. I then decided to take a risk and fully commit to pursuing music. Every risk that I have ever taken, always led to growth and reward. Read more>>