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.

Brad Bernthal | Associate Professor of Law & Mental Tennis Trainer

There are blurred lines, in my life at least, between risk taking, a calling, and quasi-calculated desperation. Risk taking is the rational calculus of projected costs and benefits. A calling is, as with a pastor who is “called” to theological service, a somewhat mystical compulsion to do something. And quasi-calculated desperation is a choice fueled by unhappy necessity: this life course is not working for me, so let’s just try something else, anything else, Many decisions get explained, after the fact, as a rational cost/benefit risk calculation. In my case, if I’m honest, many – if not most – decisions are a calling or borne of quasi-calculated desperation. Over time I’ve come to accept that reason is a useful tool, however, seldom does reason decide anything consequential in life. Read more>>

Cielle Amundson | Educator & Life Coach

Taking risks is what I do. Being willing to be courageous enough to try and fail at things that are important to me is something I am proud of and is a driver in my life. When facing a risk, it feels risky because I don’t know the outcome. If it is something that I care about knowing the answer to, I tend to go for it. For example, the risk of asking someone out when I liked them. I’d rather ask them out and deal with the insecurities for the moments (or days) leading up to the ask…and then know the answer. Yes or no. Either way, I can then move on with my life knowing and not wondering. Read more>>

David Chavez | Production Manager at Wake Up Pueblo

I think risk is something that comes with the job. You have to take a risk to push yourself in life no matter the cause. Worst case scenario it doesn’t work out, best case scenario it does. Worst thing to do to yourself is when the end comes you’ll regret not taking the risk of finding out whatever it is you’re seeking out in life. Read more>>

Heather Quinn | Tattoo artist

I feel like my whole career is a risk in general. People have a sort of notion about tattoo artists, that we’re all criminals or live an unstable lifestyle. When I tell people what I do for a living they look at me differently and then when they see my artwork it’s pretty much over haha. Ive never lived or acted “traditionally” and that can be a risk but one well worth it. The subject manner of most my artwork is risky and not for everyone and that’s okay, it’s what it’s all about. Good or bad, it makes you feel something. Read more>>

Leigh Sullivan | Principal + Branding & Marketing of Leigh Sullivan Enterprises + Founder of Colorado FIVE + Executive Director for Pepper’s Senior Dog Sanctuary

Putting yourself out there takes a lot of guts… I have on so many different occasions put something out there and it has been celebrated with great fanfare, or there have been times I have put something out, and I’ve fallen flat on my face. There really has never been a middle ground between flat out failure & and a home-run in my 30+ career in the restaurant business. Regardless of how you think people are going to react you have to feel good enough about the choices you make because at the end of the day — those were your ideas, your vision and you had to feel good about them to execute them. Be bold & be humble and NEVER believe in your own PR and always be good to your community, Read more>>

Artist Name: Who’s Calling Individual Names: James Edmunds, Michael Bolland | Musician

Risk is what makes music so magical. Artists are constantly trying new things and it’s the new ideas that lead to creating something spectacular. It can be overwhelming to think about, and can sometimes even hold artists back. At times we put ourselves outside of our comfort zone, but we know that we won’t keep improving as musicians if we don’t take chances. We have a lot of fun continuing to experiment with our sound and playing around with new concepts. Read more>>

Lynn Cornelius | Artist and Educator

I think risk is inherent in the creative process. As someone who’s been an artist and an educator for most of my adult life, I would even say that cultivating risk, that is, playing at the edge between the known and the unknown, is one of the best things we can do to face down the fear of failure. Accepting risk as a part of my artistic practice and how I’ve approached my career has made spending time worrying about ideas of “success” and “failure” less interesting and has imbued the process of making–whether it’s a work of art, a garden, a class or workshop, or a career move–with curiosity. The choices become more about discovery than achieving a certain goal. Artists are incredibly skilled at is problem solving. Trying things over and over again, learning from the results, critiquing, editing…these are all skills anyone in the arts learns how to do. Iterating is second nature for those of us who have the privilege to make art and be in creative fields. Read more>>

Brook Ferguson | Flutist

My decision to follow my dream to become a professional musician was already a gigantic risk. So everything that came after was aligned with that risk tolerance. Taking this chance made me work harder than I ever thought possible. And in the end, I was able to score a Principal Flute position with the CO Symphony as well as with the ROCO (River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Houston, TX). I am also the flute professor at Utah State University. All of these positions call upon a different skill set and I enjoy them all because of those contrasts. SEE! Highly employed! I could have never imagined it. Read more>>