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.

Yasmin Neal | Filmmaker

I have never been afraid to take risks. Its not the taking the risk that has been my fear, my fears have always been deciding which risk to take, not the inability to take one. and, I just do it. it has resulted in me having a number of big successes in my life by not having that fear… Read more>>

Ariel Shaw, MBA | Businesswoman

I have a high tolerance for risk. I do not know any entrepreneur who has had significant or merely significant success without risk. For you to take the leap to go into business for yourself or to start something that doesn’t exist requires a level of courage that many simply do not act on. The role that risk plays in my career is critical. Once strategy and mind mapping occurs for a project, event, or new service, there is always a risk analysis review. My typical response is how do I make this as successful as I can, and then I go all in. To be a person with a high risk tolerance, your team must be just as progressive, with solutions on how to make a project successful, and less reasons why a project cannot happen. For me, I do not accept the word no. Read more>>

Keisa Talley | Business Owner

OMG! This is such a great question, especially since we are in the days of COVID. Anyone who decides to launch a business is a risk taker by default. If you think about it, you have this idea of a service or product that you want to share with the masses but there is also a cloud of uncertainly hovering above because you just don’t know how you and your brand will be received. This was the case for me when I “officially” started Lyfestylz Plus in 2012. The thing about risks though is that they NEVER go away. We are now in the middle of a global pandemic that has taken so many lives. One of the toughest things I have had to do this year is to figure out just how to move forward with business as usual. How do you market to a group of people that include the unemployed or the ones who may have actually been impacted health wise, or even had a loved one suffer? The fact is that business does go on but the message to consumers just has t change. Read more>>

Jesse Walters | Co-Owner & Founder

Being an entrepreneur, risk is a necessity, however, it is almost always calculated before jumping into it. With Camacho Coffee, for example, we’re currently building out a new space to expand our operations and give people a place to come and experience what we’re doing. It’s not cheap, and we had to take out loans to see it through, but before signing that lease I knew exactly how much business we have to do to keep the doors open. From there, I examine if it’s possible to do and then take the “risk.” That being said, there was one pivot-able point in my career that was not calculated, but I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do. Camacho Coffee was six months old and I had a full time job. The business was growing and getting to a point where I couldn’t do either job well. Read more>>

Sophia Sabsowitz | Artist

Taking a risk to achieve a goal requires the courage to face the fear of uncertainty. No matter the outcome, we grow through the process and become more resilient and confident. I believe risk is an essential part in creating art and that encountering doubt or insecurity ultimately surfaces truly authentic ideas that can lead to artistic success. If we didn’t fail every once in a while (or often), how would we know what works and recognize our growth and tenacity in the process? As a society we’ve come to associate risk with negative connotations of aggressive behavior or recklessness. I believe calculated risks go hand in hand with my success; whether it be painting, branding or selling work. Read more>>

Cara Reid | Actor, Voice Coach & Teaching Artist

You know the old adage “the only thing constant is change”? For me, this is all too true and with change comes risk. Risk of how long I will be employed, risk of losing my health insurance, risk of having to give up huge life milestones in “hopes” that something worthy of my sacrifice will come along. Perhaps that’s a bit dramatic but I am an actor, after all. As an actor, voice coach, and teaching artist none of the things I listed above compare to the emotional risk it takes to spend your life as a storyteller, a presence coach, and an avid pursuer of vulnerability. To be an artist, you have to live in risk so often. Enough sometimes that you start to question the value of it as well as your lack of sanity until you come across that one student you were finally able to reach. Read more>>

Melissa Ehrhardt | Risk Taker & Executive Director

Taking risks has been a crucial part of where I am today. I’ve always been adventurous- and loved the adrenaline that came from things like skydiving or driving cross country and living in the car. In college, I wanted to be on the cover of Time Magazine as the World’s Most Successful Woman. With a great job lined up after graduation, I thought I was heading in the right direction until God intervened and told me to turn down the job offer and go to Africa for a year instead. After much prayer and attempted negotiations, I tried to bargain with God and offered to give Him a year and then I would be able to get on with my plan. I convinced my job to wait a year to hire me (because I was worth the wait 😉 ) and googled yearlong mission trips to Africa. Read more>>

Robin Hancock | Certified Forest Therapy Guide

For me, risk risk taking is essential, to an extent. As a child and early adult years, I toed the line for the most part – meaning I busied myself meeting the expectations of those around me. I was very hesitant to upset the apple cart, so to speak. This began to take a toll on me, until eventually I came to a breaking point. Professionally, I was very good at what I did and had a certain amount of security in that job, but it had begun to diverge from my inner values to an extent that I could no longer reconcile the two. Personally, I was also at a tipping point. My mother died in 2015 and it made me think about the end of my life – if I would have a regret if I didn’t pursue being a Forest Therapy Guide. The answer to that was that I would regret it, so I literally made plans to pursue that certification and retire, all within the same week. Read more>>

Keshia Prince | Blogger & Psychologist

Fear is what tends to hold us back from reaching our goals at times, so taking risks is very important. In my life, the most difficult and satisfying goals to reach have been those that I chose to do the opposite of what my fear was telling me to do. I moved from Georgia to California pretty quickly with no plan, simply because I chose to follow an opportunity. I chose to start my blog, even while having doubts that it may not be as successful as I hoped. The point is that I did what my intuition told me to do. I didn’t know how I was going to get it done, but I just knew that it would work out, but that I had to start to even give it a chance to do so. So learning to trust my intuition is what has given me the ability to take risks. Read more>>

Mia L. McDonald | Communications Specialist & Service Leader

I think risks are necessary. The thing that you’re scared to do just might be the difference between where you currently are and where you’re trying to be. Taking risks fuels me, but it also keeps me humble. I’m always willing to bet on myself no matter what. If a plan doesn’t work out, fine. Back to the drawing board. The key is knowing when to take a risk versus really sitting down and planning what’s next. Again, risks are necessary, but you have to be strategic. Read more>>