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.

Ashlynn Browning | Painter & Curator

As a painter, you have to take risks to keep the work moving forward and feeling fresh. I like to switch up certain variables in my studio periodically in order to be able to keep that sense of adventure and momentum in the paintings. Sometimes the scale of the work changes, or it could be incorporating drawing or collage, or working on paper instead of wood panels….as long as you’re always introducing some element of risk, you’re not in danger of getting too comfortable or making “easy” paintings. Read more>>

Jacob Wheeler | Poet & Artist

The choice of risk is one of the few choices that mankind gets to make everyday. There are levels of risk; risk that you are sometimes consciously ignorant to, like eating greasy foods or deciding when to pull out into traffic. There are bigger risks, like deciding to have surgeries that have no guaranteed outcome, and are dangerous. Whether or not these surgeries cure you, you are sure to have longterm internal damage done because of the invasiveness of all of those surgeries. Yet… we may risk it all for the cure. Then there are those like me who risk it all for the ride, the story, the substance. After awhile, having one or two of those surgeries become intriguing risks. You are not yet cured, but you do find some odd comfort in the risk of death. As they roll you down that long, white hallway, you grin slightly as you think to yourself, “here we go again old friend. Will this be the last trip… the final chapter?” I have had seven heart procedures in my years. Read more>>

Crystal Perry | Founder

Leaving a career where you have the big title and six-figure salary to build a non-profit could definitely be considered a risky move. But, what others call risk, I call faith. I also feel deeply, much as my shero Harriet Tubman, that it is not enough to secure my own (economic) freedom, I am compelled to help other Black women get to ‘the promised land’ of financial security and operate in their purpose. Did I encounter skepticism along the way? Absolutely! Unfortunately, the resistance often came from the very people I am committed to uplifting. If I had a $20 for the number of people who told me that a 501C3 centered on the needs of Black women couldn’t succeed or receive funding, Melanated PEARL’s operating budget for the year would be covered. Instead, much like Harriet, I evaluated the risk, assessed needs, developed a plan and executed on that plan. Read more>>

Jreams | Multidisciplinary Artist

I think its important to take risk but to not be reckless in your decision making. Like all things in life its all about balance. I think I take in the pros and cons and listen to my gut when it comes to taking risk. The biggest risk ive taken was at the beginning of this year when I quit my job at an advertising agency and moved to Los Angeles to work for myself as a creative director. Read more>>

Deyanna Denyse | Muse

I take calculated risk, often. Honestly, some of the risks I take are a success and other times they fall through however when I removed the idea of “failing” taking risk became simplier. I’ve learned that in order to grow I had to take a risk. Risks may look different from person to person. Stepping out my comfort zone is a risk. Funding my first tour was a risk. Having faith that my dreams is manifesting is a risk. A risk can make or break you but either way you grow. Its the growth for me. Read more>>

Beverly Carey Berman | Integration/Optimization Specialist & Curator of Experiences

For me, risk feels like an old friend. Taking risks and embracing risk as a pillar and sometimes compass settled in early. One of the most prevalent times I recall taking it by the hand was when I left a budding career in advertising in Boston for an unpaid internship with the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee in Utah. Leaving a definitive role with a fair amount of stability and growth potential, driving across the country, and jumping into an unpaid role of a lifetime seemed an easy choice. When I reflect now, seven Olympic & Paralympic Games and other major events operational and leadership roles later, it seems the taunting of that risk turned out to be the safety blanket of the next decade. The assurance of that experience quietly nudged me as I took another sizable risk forming Carey Communications in 2007 and earlier this year, a sister company, Live Alive, a women-led cohort of purposeful accountability groups committed to the collective growth of other women. Read more>>

Wendy Oshifodunrin | Business Owner, Videographer & Children’s Book Author

Listening to podcasts such as “How I Build It” inspires me to create and take the calculated risk for my business. I love listening to how other business owners worked through all the growing pains regarding starting a successful business. Not only do they share success stories, but they also share tales of caution when approaching business startups. I believe that well-calucated risk is healthy and necessary. I believe we are humans regret more of the risks we don’t take, rather than the risk we do that. With that in mind, I manage my risk-taking with pros and cons which include, how would l feel if I didn’t take this risk. Reading books such as Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, help me get over any Impostor syndrome that I may face throughout my journey as a business owner. Read more>>

Candi Hussle | Podcaster & Content Creator

I believe in the motto “No Risk No Reward.” Calculated risks are important. In November 2019 I was laid off from my job. I heard whispers around the office that a layoff was coming but nothing was confirmed. I started to plan for the launch of my podcast earlier that year. I was determined to achieve my goal. I was laid off on November 8th and recorded my first podcast on my birthday ( 11/12) as planned. I took a risk of launching a new business venture during a layoff and was able to remain committed. Had I not taken the risk I wouldn’t have a successful podcast. Dope Chick With Ambition Is a top podcast achieving great numbers and allowing me to build relationships with other ambitious women. I encourage anyone reading this interview to take the risk and have confidence when making the move. The rewards will come eventually. Read more>>

Tyler Jarvis | Pop Singer-Songwriter & Artist

Risk has a strange connotation to it. Usually, when you say the word “risk” it implies something dangerous or unsafe. There’s definitely elements of truth to that, but I don’t know if you can get anywhere you want to, in life, without some risk. Embracing risk is something that is necessary whenever wanting to do anything that is outside your current realm of understanding. I’ve learned to embrace risk, and I daily try to recognize how to navigate positive risk and negative risk in my life and career as an artist. Read more>>