Taking Risk is essential, but how much, when and why? Taking risks effectively is as much of an art as it is a science and we’ve asked some of the brightest folks in the community to tell us about how they think about risk taking.

Morgan Kulas | Yoga and Dance Teacher and Interdisciplinary Artist

Like many creatives, I have learned over time the value of taking risks. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron teaches her students to “leap” so the net can appear. There have been many moments throughout my life where I have lept without knowing where (or if) I might land on stable ground. Reflecting back, I can see that any and all of the success I’ve experienced, has been a result of this faith and risk, as well as sincere commitment to my craft. Read more>>

Emily Grangaard | Hairstylist – Dimensional Color & Curly Hair Specialist

You have to take risks. You have to leave your comfort zone to grow, to further yourself in any aspect of your life. In the past I haven’t necessarily gone out chasing risks, but if an opportunity shows up in my life, I jump on. I’m a big believer in what is meant for you will happen for you, if you put the work in. I recently saw a quote that really spoke to me – “I don’t chase, I attract. What is meant for me will find me.” I recently started teaching, something I NEVER thought I’d do. Mostly because I’ve always been terrified of speaking in public. But an opportunity came my way and I knew I had to take the risk. Now my goal is to build an entire education program, and I am starting to teach more and more. And I’m LOVING it! Read more>>

Ashley Kruse | Founder & Creative Director

“If nothing changes, nothing changes”. That quote has always been one of my favorites, but it’s felt even more relevant and powerful to me lately. Taking risks has been a driving force in my life and my career, and I wouldn’t be where I am today if I restricted myself to my comfort zone. Studying art and design was a risk for me. What most would classify as a ‘hobby’, I was intent on turning into my career. As a freshman in college, I was never one of those ‘artsy’ kids and I didn’t really fit into that community, I hadn’t taken any formal design classes previously, and I ended up failing my first college design assignment. I didn’t know what the creative industry might hold for me, and I think a lot of people around me wondered the same. But I did know that I could take a blank page and turn it into something magic. So I stuck with it. Read more>>

Georgia Tournai | Hair Artist & Consultant

Ahh, risk. Such a good question. Growing up for me was tricky, and I think whether I realized it or not, I was always doing a risk assessment in my head for any circumstance. We moved over 12 times and I always had to make new friends, and I think that taught me to be super independent. I would analyse my risks with anything, even at a younger age – would I risk eating pickles and chocolate in one sitting? Would I risk trying out for a part in the theatre troupe? Would I risk telling off that mean girl? I always weighed what my next step would look like before I took it. Moving into adulthood, I put myself through hair school while working two jobs and continued to weigh my options. At 23 I was met by a super eccentric seeming person who said she owned a barber shop and she was looking to retire and sell. I took the risk, met her later that day, and purchased my first barber shop by the end of the week. Read more>>

Camille Fenn | Designer

I believe to be a risk taker is to believe whole-heartedly in yourself. If you truly believe, with ever fiber of your being, in your own capabilities, how is it a risk at all? If you identify with the belief that you are capable, there is no other path available to you other than this one. From an outsider’s perspective, I could see how the career path that I have chosen may seem like a sort of risk. To me it has just been so obviously the path I was supposed to follow. What would my other options be? There has never been another path I have considered dedicating my life to. I find the most fulfillment in being my own boss and consistently creating every single day. That’s what brings me life. It was even worth it in the beginning when I was barely making it by each month because I loved it and it felt authentic. Read more>>

Loni Peterson, MLS | Wedding Planner + Professor

As a professor at CU and DU teaching event planning. risk management is a topic we cover every semester. It is important to understand all the potential risks when it comes to an event, and running your business. If you are able to have a list of potential things that could go wrong, it is easier to plan in contingencies to mitigate low-level risks before they even happen. On the other hand, you can’t grow without taking risks! I think leaving a corporate job and starting a business is a huge risk, but when there is passion and dedication behind the steps being taken, you naturally have a higher probability of success. When starting a new adventure, or applying for a job, I have always had the mentality of, “what’s the worst that could happen – they tell me ‘no’?” Going into situations with appropriate expectations also helps the risk to be more manageable. Read more>>

Makisha Boothe | Business Coach & Consultant

Sure, as an entrepreneur, risk-taking comes with the territory – but business ventures have never been the scariest risks for me because once I decide to go after something, I design a game plan, and I really believe in my heart that nothing’s going to stop me. So I bet on myself and I think everybody I approach should too. But there are two types of risks that I have found very scary. The first is when I’m confronted with whether I’m going to be authentically me in a world that is not designed to accept me – as a Black woman. Risks have looked like me speaking up with an unpopular truth, me holding an institution or person accountable to the values they say they live by, me being the lone, dissenting voice in a room. The second type of risk involves me challenging my own limiting beliefs, learning to let go of controlling every aspect of a process and learning to trust others even after being hurt or betrayed. Read more>>

Kurt and Emily Collins | Owners of Javastop

Risk taking has always been something we have been comfortable doing together. From impulsively moving cross country, to joining the van life movement in 2015, to taking in abandoned animals as our own, we have never shied away from it. When we heard Javastop was closing permanently, there was very little hesitation on our part. Our past quick decisions have always worked out in the end, we have gotten pretty good at working hard and following through once we decide to take that first big step. Read more>>

Craig Broek | Non-Profit Director and Dreamer

I think most of life involves taking risks, whether we consider the possible outcomes or not. Sometimes when we go down the path of taking risks, we look back and say, “If I had known I would be where I am today, I would not have taken that risk.” And sometimes when we look back we say, “Wow, I didn’t ever expect to end up here but without taking that risk I would have never discovered this new place.” I have more often had the experience of discovering new territory than that of regret, even when things didn’t (or don’t) turn out the way I had initially hoped. Over time, with the help of a trusted community, I have become more able to calculate the cost and take steps with more awareness but I think I have a greater tolerance for perceived risk than the average person. Read more>>

Elaine Skylar Neal | Photographer, Writer, Co-founder of Travels and Curiosities

I’ve come to see risk as an ally in both personal and professional growth. Sometimes I feel like if I’m not taking risks, I’m not really living. I’m not really expanding on who I am and what I already know I can do. With that said, there are all sorts of risks, and some risks, such as financial risks, have greater consequences if they go wrong. I’m constantly weighing these decisions. And let’s face it, to take business and creative risks, there are going to be some financial ones in there too. So it’s all well and fine to be brave, maybe even resign from a 9-5 career or dead-end job you hate for the potential of exploring your passion, something you’re good at, something that has the potential to bring forth real happiness and growth. But I also sort of feel like you better have that nest egg ready to crack open should you fail. Read more>>

Lindsay and Christopher Lyons | Restaurateurs

Risk is the key ingredient to achieving anything in life. If we do not take real risks, like the kind that kick our asses beyond what we ever thought we knew or could handle, then we stay where it is safe and comfortable, and all we can do is speculate about “what ifs” and “someday” without ever having to actually commit, go all in, and start taking steps to making those speculations a reality. Risk is the most necessary action a person can take in starting the journey towards their dreams, goals, and future. Risk taking has not just played a role in our career, but has been the dominant theme in making it all happen. We had been dreaming and talking about our “what ifs” and “someday” for so long that we finally had that moment where we looked at each other and thought, “If not now, when?”. Read more>>

Madeleine Pollak | Producer, Writer, Director, Video Consultant, & Executive Coach

I see risk taking as saying yes. Another way to put is is this: I like to jump off the side of the cliff and figure it all out on the journey down. This isn’t for everyone, but it’s my version of risk taking and it’s what I thrive off of. Read more>>

Ami Dayan | Actor, Director, Entrepreneur (founder of The Interview Game)

Before The Interview Game took over my life, my career has been in the theatre. On my first of acting school, a great teacher said: “If you can do anything else (other than theatre)… do it!” It drove home the unreasonable risk of pursuing a life in the arts, but also provided a way to make peace with such a path. If one genuinely feels they must do something, the risks associated are worth taking. As I see it Risk = Chance (for enhanced reward) , and vise versa. If you don’t risk rejection by asking a love interest one out, you are likely not to go out with them… Of course if you do ask them out — you might have to endure the pain of rejection. So it goes back to — What is important to you? The more important someone or something is, the more risk I’d be willing to consider in order to achieve it. When the concept of The Interview Game came to me — to Deepen Connections, and Capture Memories for Life! Read more>>

Winter Clark | SoulCall Life Coach

Taking risks has played a huge role in both my life and career. I like to call it taking a chance on myself because it’s really about investing and believing in who you are and what it is you’re providing to the world. The first chance I took on myself was showing the world who I was completely, not just a role I felt comfortable playing. This involved me embracing my gifts and abilities to write and publish a book about my experiences as well as creating a business that supports others in their own growth process. Over time I began to trust in taking chances on myself because it felt good even though not everyone understood what I was doing at the time. That’s the thing; when you feel something in your heart and soul you gotta go for it!! Read more>>

Paul Tappon | Co-Founder, UNO Shave Co.

I think about risk as being absolutely critical to personal and professional growth and that has been a trend throughout my personal and professional life. I believe that absent of risk taking, and the inevitable failures/learning opportunities that come with taking risks, we are absent of growth. Throughout my life and career I have always pushed myself to challenge the status quo and take calculated risks and many of my most important learnings and successes have been due to this, in my life and career. There is absolutely comfort and security in risk avoidance and maintaining the status quo but what fun is that and where would we be if everyone took that route? Read more>>

Jennifer Chaparro | Special Event Chalk Artist/Street Painter

I have always been cautious and careful in my life decisions, but I have also come to realize that risk taking is important both for an artist and for everyone, to grow. Artists put themselves “out there” all the time, which is a big risk. We strive to elicit a reaction (good or bad) from the viewer. The worst thing for an artist is to be ignored. Moving into large scale chalk art, street painting and murals was a big risk for me. I had always worked small, in watercolor, pen and ink and paint. I was getting my work shown, but not selling enough to make it worthwhile. In 2004 I tried chalk art at a festival for fun with my daughter and discovered we were good at it and loved it. About this same time at my job as a graphic designer for the Town of Jupiter, I had the opportunity to take on coordinating events for the town. Read more>>

Meredith Siss | CEO and Marketing Mentor

Risk is 100% necessary if you want to grow as a business, or as a person. The more comfortable you are with risk – the stronger leader you will be. Risk is a part of the job description as a modern entrepreneur! I have had to take so many risks running my own company. When I first left my 9-5, I thought that was the biggest risk I would take as a business owner – haha was I wrong! Every day I cozie up with risk and put myself, my work, and my message out there in a big way. How do I manage all the risks I have to take? With Self Confidence. I know no matter what I will land on my feet, I will be ok, I will be happy and I will be successful. When you believe that at your core – risks really just become exciting choices you get to make to grow yourself and your business! Read more>>

Patrick Bodnar | Entrepreneur & Digital Marketing Guru

I think taking risks is the only way to grow, and I try to find new risks (of varying degrees) often. I gave up stability when I started my own business, but I maintained creative control and the privilege to focus on projects that excite me. I often risk injury while rock climbing and find myself climbing past the point of protection on solo ventures, but I leave with a greater understanding of how I handle fear. I enjoy taking on new challenges, whether that means playing drums in a rock band or investing time and money into photography, even though both realms are surely filled with more experienced actors. It’s a constant give-and-take, but if I’m not taking risks, life feels stagnant and potential feels unfulfilled. To sum it all up, I believe that discomfort and friction show us what we’re truly capable of, and that we should all seek out opportunities to try something new, get scared, and test our limits. Read more>>

Rian Kerrane | Sculptor/Professor

The excitement and adventure in my life comes with my pursuit of art. This passion I have to create is driven by my surroundings and the materials and opportunity they suggest. To me, risk taking is inevitable in the arts and making good work involves pushing away from one’s comfort zone. In my world as a sculptor and an academic I constantly encounter choices and the responsibility of decision making. Whether designing an artwork, mentoring a student, seeking promotion, deciding to have a family, or travel for months at a time, each decision implies taking risks. The creative risk is such a fun place to be as an artist. Composing, designing, applying materials, and communicating to others with my personal visual language, are all part of the creative process and occur every time an artwork is made. My world involves a fair amount of travel nationally and internationally in pursuit of exhibitions, lectures, conferences, and residency opportunities. Read more>>

Abby Rosenblum | Founder & Matchmaker

Taking risks is a part of life, and I continue to grow the most when I step outside of my comfort zone. I don’t think this is any kind of revolutionary thought — but it’s a thought that can be hard to act on. To me, life is about being just comfortable enough where you don’t go crazy — but not so comfortable that you don’t try anything new. If you asked me 3 years ago what I would be doing now, I wouldn’t be able to tell you at all! I had no idea I would have taken the risk of starting my own business. I’ve struggled myself with finally taking that leap, but I’ve always done it eventually — from going to college on the other side of the country, moving to a city without ever visiting and making a total career change. All of these experiences (that might seem risky) have made me the person I am today. That’s what I have to always remind myself of when a new idea or big change is on the horizon. Read more>>

Lauren Winton | Owner & Editor Winton Media

Owning your own business is all about risk taking. There were many factors that lead to my transition into freelancing for my own company. First of all, I had to have the confidence to make that jump. I knew I wanted to work for myself, and even through the road was extremely challenging, I had to continue on the road if I wanted to be successful. Secondly, I had an amazing support system, my family, friends and the support of the film community really catapulted me forward to gaining more and more experience and more and more clients. Thirdly, would have to be patience. While you are building up your reputation and clientele, there will be many lulls. You will be waiting on check after check after check. This is where you can gain experience and be proactive in meeting new people in the film community while building bonds that will make you and your company a recognized name. Read more>>

Holly Hill | Owner & Creator of Spirit of the Herbs CBD Apothecary / Certified 750hr+ herbalist

One of my favorite mantras to work with is “On the other side of fear is where the Magic happens.” My life has been filled with taking risks and has led me to exactly where I am. I don’t regret a single moment of it, especially the tough times. The challenges that come along with the risks are what have pushed me further than I ever imagined in my life, relationships, finances and business. In the beginning, before I really started lifting Spirit of the Herbs off the ground I was scared out of my wits to make it a full time job. The what if’s constantly popped up in my mind causing me to worry and think the worst could happen. But then something special happened. I started taking more uncomfortable risks, some that would keep me up all hours of the night and doing so has changed the way I think as a whole. It has become more comfortable to move through the discomfort because I know on the other side of that is everything that I want. Read more>>

David Kenichi Kodama | Woodworker, Furniture Maker and Designer

As an avid mountain biker, surfer and snowboarder, taking risks has always been a big part of my life. It has definitely resulted in numerous crashes and injuries but also progression and development. The risks taken in my career have undoubtedly been more calculated than the decisions made on the mountain or in the ocean but there’s still been a fair share of challenges. Passion for what I do has been the key to taking the steps towards seizing opportunity and accepting risk. I feel incredibly blessed that many of the risks I have taken have led to incredible endeavors, successes and ultimately, my evolution as a maker. Read more>>

Sarah Del Rio | Actor & Paralegal

Everything is risk. You risk changing or you risk staying the same. My favorite verse of my favorite song is “Say after me, it’s no better to be safe than sorry.” It hits me every time. Risk has been essential to my growth. It was a risk for me to move my family to Denver to pursue my acting career. The safe choice would have been to stay in my small town, where I went to high school, where my parents were close by to help with my kids, where I had an ok job that paid the bills. But the way I saw it, there was risk in choosing the safe route, too. Would I be happy choosing the safe route? Would I have regret for not at least trying? Ultimately, I the risk of change, left my job and moved to Denver. I now hold six “Best Actress” awards and have had the pleasure of being on set with Payton and Eli Manning, among others. I am also a two-time bodybuilding bikini champion. Read more>>

Bryce Ballew | Founder & Construction Entrepreneur

Risk is really about committing to a course of action when the outcome depends on variables. Identifying, quantifying and assessing those variables takes experience. The more you refine your trade, whatever it may be, the more you learn to recognize patterns and trends. You start to say to yourself, “I’ve seen this before, I know how this story ends”. From early on, I’ve seemed to have an innate compass that points me in the opposite direction of where everyone else is going. I decided the risk to be status quo was worse than trying something new or going my own way. This has led to being wrong often. But it’s also led to some incredible adventures, lessons and friends. There comes a point for every entrepreneur where the inaction of not taking a risk is more painful that taking it. Read more>>

Torii Rowe | Co-Founder & COO

Risk taking is an essential part of life and business. In both areas of my life I try to implement risk when it feels appropriate and when the probability for success is likely. After working in a stable government job for several years, although things were progressing in the right direction, I felt this underlying need for “more.” At the time, my best friend (and co-founder of MANSSION) Feras Khouri, decided that we wanted to establish something of our own. As customers in the men’s fashion industry we felt that the accessories available to us were limited. The brands and products did not resonate with who we were. Thus, MANSSION was created. We worked hard to develop our branding, product designs, packaging and the overall business. After about a year into this process, Feras relocated to Denver for a new position with a new employer. Read more>>

Erinn Peet Lukes | Musician, Singer, Songwriter, Dog lover

Risks are something any artist becomes familiar with from an early age. When everyone keeps asking you how you REALLY make money, it starts to sink in that the path an artist takes is, at least financially, risky. You also hear how hard it is to break into whatever industry you are involved in- music, theatre, fine art, etc. You go through life feeling like you’d be lucky to ever make something of yourself. For me, music has always been something necessary, not risky. I never have taken a job for security or benefits. For me, music is my favorite thing to do, the part of life I excel at. What feels “risky” to some feels natural to me. I had to face risk in other ways-moving to cities without knowing anyone, leaving full time jobs in order to play gigs full time. Each time I’ve taken that risk, I’ve been rewarded with career jumps, fans and recognition. Read more>>