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.

Will Campbell | Director and Cinematographer

Risk has been really important to my career, but it’s been most successful for me when it’s a risk I’ve earned the right to take. In 2017, two months after my second child was born I left my job as a creative director at a successful film production company to get out on my own and freelance as a commercial director and cinematographer. The whole scheme very nearly didn’t pan out. But I had saved about six months of cash for my family to live on (I should have saved for a year). During the previous two years I had been hustling on the weekends and already had bought a decent camera, one nice zoom lens, and a solid laptop. Read more>>

Isis Lanigan | Photographer & Artist

I jumped off a cliff again. Just kidding! Only cliff jumps with water below please. Though I have been known to cliff jump, metaphorically speaking. Like when I quit a job before having another one securely lined up next. Is that risk taking or just stupidity? Also, the time I backpacked solo with only one plane ticket and no return “plan” felt risky. Sometimes risk is a “rollercoaster ride” and other times it can be pretty ordinary, yet potentially life changing. Trying something new, facing a fear or doing something that makes me nervous feel like risk. I like to think that I have taken many risks throughout my life and learned to do things that are outside of my comfort zone. Read more>>

Ulyana Horodyskyj | Scientist & Mountaineer

I believe that risk-taking is necessary in order to pursue and achieve goals. Risk is something constantly on my mind, too, given I am a scientist that works in the mountains and other extreme environments around the world, like the Arctic and Antarctica. There are many objective hazards like unstable weather, potential for rockfall, and even wildlife encounters (polar bears!). Working outdoors has really helped me to develop my judgment: to read the weather and terrain in order to stay safe. Lessons learned outdoors apply to everyday life, too. You stress less when it comes to work because you realize what true stress looks like when faced with life or death situations. Read more>>

Newt Kintsukuroi | Pet portrait artist and Veterinary Technician

It is strange because I was raised in a family that was very against taking risks. As a kid, I never did. I always followed the rules, went with the flow, tried not to make waves. As an adult, I have learned to listen to my gut and go against the grain. That led me to go to college, to become a Veterinary Technician, and later to become an artist. I have always loved art, but always was afraid it would not be “good” or that people would not like it. Putting my art out there for the world to see was a leap of faith so to speak, because I saw other artists that had more talent, or better technique, or they had thousands of followers. I was someone no one had ever heard of, and I was putting my art out there for the world to see. It was a huge risk, because my art is a bit of my soul, and so it felt very vulnerable. I am so glad I did though! Read more>>

Forty Two Judges | Tattoo Artist

Risks have always been very hard for me to take but I can name a few that have had a major role in shaping my life and career. The main risk I reference back to is when I quit my reliable, respectable job of a teacher to become a tattoo artist. I had planned my life around being an art teacher and had completed a Master’s degree in teaching, but it just didn’t quite scratch that creative itch. I was terrified to quit teaching and delve into tattooing, but I am so glad that I did. I would not be nearly as happy and fulfilled now, had I not taken that major risk. Read more>>

Lori Ruiz | Artist | Motivator

My catch phrase is “Do it afraid”. I’ve used that term (not coined by me) to encourage those around me to pursue their dreams despite their fears. Many assume that, as a full-time artist, I am an enormous risk taker. I like to challenge that perception a bit. What we perceive as “risk” is really fear. And that fear impacts our mindset or belief around a choice. Choosing a creative career can feel risky because often the creative ones are the trail-blazers or the first to try something within their community. Read more>>

Steve Meyer | Urban Mobility Innovator

I became passionate about rock climbing and mountaineering at an early age having grown up in Boulder, Colorado. Managing risk is a huge component of that sport. A frequent meme regarding entrepreneurs is that they are simply “risk takers” Successful entrepreneurs know how to manage risks. If you don’t manage risks, and you succeed, it is simply luck. While I do think of myself as lucky, I’m also analytical. I seldom go “all in” on a bet. I never buy lottery tickets. Read more>>

Krystal Mucha | Real Estate Agent, Team Lead of The Mucha Property Group, and Risk Taker Extraordinaire

Risk taking is the only way to combat one’s personal fears. In life we have very little within our control and by making the choice to take risks, it’s my way of taking control – one way or another. Throughout my entire life I have been known to be the one who jumps without hesitation. Although that may seem true, it isn’t without great thought and trust in myself. As an adult, I found myself moving from state to state as a military spouse being tossed into many unknown situations. I felt terrified, alone, and completely out of place. Instead of choosing to be a wall flower and shy away, I quickly identified and acknowledged my fears. Read more>>

Shanna Eilers | Interior Designer | Owner of Ashby Road Studio

I’m a planner – the type of person who has a to-do list every day, jumping on tasks immediately, thinking ten steps ahead so nothing is forgotten and things can run smoothly. So you can imagine taking a risk with unknown outcomes really upsets my ‘running smoothly’ kind of notion. One of my first biggest risks was studying abroad in college. It really doesn’t sound like that big of a deal; many people do it. But I was in a particularly vulnerable stage of life. My dad had passed of cancer a few years earlier which threw my life into chaos. I hated how it felt so I deliberately spent those next years reeling in the chaos and finding stability. Read more>>

Kim-Vi Tran | Live Event Painter & Data Analyst

Actually, I am quite a risk-averse person!

I think prioritizing safety nets before venturing into the unknown has actually enabled me to try new things more comfortably. I’m sure it comes with its own opportunity costs, but I have yet to regret any life decisions I’ve made so far! My “traditional” studies in Business had led me to my current work as a Data Analyst, which in turn, financially support my hobbies like painting. I am very fortunate to be able to balance my two career paths, and perhaps one day, I may decide to take the risk of pursuing the creative field full-time. But for now, I am happy and will focus on improving myself professionally and personally. Read more>>

Sue Sutton | Cruise Director, Crack O’ Dawn Morning Cruise, 6-9 am-Pirate Radio 93.5 FM

I’ve never really thought of myself as a risk taker or especially brave until I thought back on my life and realized I did do some brave stuff to get where I am! I’ve lived and worked in New York City in my early 20’s, then packed all my worldly possessions into my car and moved to San Diego, CA with only a few hundred dollars to my name. This is where I started my radio career as an overnight disc jockey. I then moved to Colorado “for a guy” (who has been my husband for the last 31 years) I’ve worked up and down the radio dial in northern Colorado since 1988, withstood corporate take overs and technology changes that made on air life easier, Read more>>

Jarell Wall | CEO & Creative Director

I think of risk as a propellant. When I was younger I had a strong aversion to risk and perceived consequences based on my upbringing. I wasn’t a good conversationalist, open to travel or new experiences. In my early adult years, I was unhappy and my circle was small. I eventually pinpointed these emotions to the small and safe goals I achieved. Read more>>

Madison Busi | Printmaker and Artist

My perspective on risk taking is a bit more casual than most people might assume of a professional artist and print maker. In the last many years I have been a student, registered nurse, and a mother who does art. When I began to consider taking my art hobbies to another level, it was with no intention of it being anything beyond my family and friends. Read more>>

Melanie McFall | Licensed Esthetician/Facial Specialist

I believe risk is necessary in life, especially when you want to reflect on your journey, just to see personal growth and development. You got to be a little crazy and not care how you look or sound taking a risk. You have to believe in yourself so much that, you can’t take it personal when people don’t believe in the vision or support your business. I believe that risk backed by faith is necessary when you’re going against traditional views of life and a career to pursue your true passion. I took a huge risk by leaving a cozy and secure career working for the government for 14 years of my adulthood to work for myself. I literally left a 9 to 5 with benefits in the midst of global pandemic, to work 24hrs for myself(LOL). That has to sum up risk taking for me! Read more>>