Shoot your shot? Take a chance? Society bombards us with messages, phrases, examples and stories of how taking risk is the key to success, but is anything ever that simple? We asked some of the brightest folks we know to tell us about how they think about risk. We’ve shared their responses below.

Lauren Lane | Wedding & Elopement Photographer

Facing the fear of uncertainty to achieve something takes huge amounts of courage! I think everything we do in life involves some sort of risk, whether we see it or not. Whenever I’m faced with if I should take a risk not I have to asses if it aligns with my ultimate goal for where I want to be in life. Although, if you ask my husband he will likely tell you I tend to throw myself at risks without much thought. Sometimes it turns out the opposite way I intended it to and other times it exceeds my expectations. Both situations are learning experiences, and I always find a way to walk out better than I went in. Read more>>

Nick Sparks | Photographer

When I got into photography 9 years ago, I had almost nothing to lose. At the time, the only possession I had of value was a ten year old 1999 4runner. I quite my job and went all in on photography business after I made about half of what I actually needed to survive over the course of a year. I took a part time position doing family photography for a local company and spent every waking moment working on my own business. The next year I 2X’d by profit from photography. It’s best to take risks when you are young and don’t have many obligations yet. What the worst that can happen? Having less material things? Judgement of friends and family? My advice: Your possessions are not you and anyone who judges you taking the risk of starting a business probably does not work a job that would interest you. Read more>>

Casey Van Horn | Owner and Photographer of Two One Photography

For me, risk-taking is a must. The best things in my life have come because I pushed through my fears and took that risk. I believe the key to growth is going through adversity and working as hard as I can to take that risk and make myself better. I am a strong believer in following my heart and if it feels right jump in. I didn’t have a lot of experience in photography when I began my company 11 years ago. I just knew it was something I should be doing. I learned as much as I could, took my camera everywhere, and took any shoot I could, most were at no charge. At that point, I had a full-time job so I knew that if photography didn’t work out I could stay there or find another path. I started booking more and my company took off. I took the jump to make photography full time and had faith that if I put myself out there and tried as hard as I could it would work out. Read more>>

Courtney Wolfe | Owner & Stylist at Wolfe and Mane Salon

Risk taking is truly how you grow! I could talk about taking risks for days and how it has grown my business and how I have grown as a person. When I started my career in the Merchandising/buying industry working for a few years, I realized that I wanted to go to cosmetology school and do hair for a living! As a 23 year old making a great salary it was a HUGE risk quitting my full time job and going back to school. Then after being licensed I worked in a salon for about 3+ years and realized that is was not the place for me but I had NO IDEA what was next. I left on a Saturday afternoon and called my Dad and told him I don’t have a job. I’m sure you can imagine what he said… However I decided that I had to have a job, I had to figure out how to make income. This is how Wolfe and Mane Salon started. Read more>>

David Rupert | Writer, Speaker, Director of Writers on the Rock

Mercy toward others: The ultimate risk There are plenty of risks that people take. America is the best place to take a risk because this is the home of the failure. Think about all the great innovations of this land and they have all been borne out of wild, bodacious, even reckless risk taking. These risks often bomb out. Out of the great failures come great successes. We have the permission to take a risk and to fail. Interestingly enough, there’s one risk we rarely take and that’s on each other. We will risk fortune, fame and security on inventions, businesses, and jobs, but we won’t take a risk on our fellow human. I believe in taking a risk for mercy. Mercy is a biblical term, a word that implies favor that isn’t earned. Mercy at the hands of others is unexpected and undeserved. I have a friend who lost a great career with a promising future because he couldn’t resist the lure of stealing $200. Read more>>

Janna Marmon | Independent Designer

I truly believe that by taking risks, you are allowing yourself to grow. If you are forever in your comfort zone, how will you ever learn something new? I will admit that I am much more willing to take risks when I know that the outcome will mainly impact me, rather than others. As a sole proprietor, I take risks often. However, when I was an employee, I was a bit more apprehensive. The thought of failing and letting myself down is less intimidating than failing and letting a boss or an entire team down. Read more>>

Leah Ryan | Western Regional Brand Director, Blogger and Event Director

Risk… there’s risk in everything but you have to focus on what you can gain from taking that risk! When I was approached by the Housewives in the City brand in 2016, I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I was willing to take the risk. Pre-Covid, throwing monthly Ladies Night Out + Networking events was always exciting and I would always be nervous that no one would attend… that all of the work and effort to spotlight and feature these amazing local businesses would be for nothing if no one responded to our social media efforts or didn’t come out for the meet up. That was rarely the case (except for snowy nights, thanks ….Colorado) and we always have had amazing turn outs. I have made so many amazing friends, connections, and memories through the last 4 years of being a blogger and event director! We have partnered with dozens of non-profits and out philanthropic gains have been worth every attempt and risk. Read more>>

Sara Andolsek | Wedding and Event Florist

I think taking a risk in life in general is an everyday adventure. There is so many things that change in the world daily and taking the risk on accepting the challenge, meeting new people and being the best version of you is a risk. I’m a firm believer in taking a risk, trying something new and getting out side of my comfort zone is important in life and my career. I always have to learn something new, change my thought process on ideas and take criticism. You don’t always have to jump off the mountain but if you don’t take the risk you’ll never find out if you will soar. Read more>>

Justin Wilson | Boy Scout Volunteer

I do a lot of volunteer work with kids, so the question of risk taking is always at the forefront of my mind. Any time you’re taking responsibility for another person’s kid, it’s something that needs to be carefully considered. When you’re taking responsibility for over thirty teenage boys over the course of a weekend spent camping and exploring the outdoors, there’s a lot to think about. We can fill our minds with endless scenarios of tragedy. But we can also fill our minds with endless scenarios of opportunity. The moments from my childhood that I recall most fondly are those where there was some element of risk. Camping during a thunderstorm. Exploring the woods with a friend. Sledding in a forest. Learning to canoe. In my role as a volunteer scout leader, those are the experiences that I’m trying to help open up to this next generation of kids. Read more>>

Brad Cooley | Owner & Trainer

It takes a risk to make a gain. If it were easy or a no brainer everyone would do it. Sometimes calculated, sometimes not so much. We knew starting a fitness studio in denver would be a tough one. We have both been trainers for a long time and have the drive to make moves with whatever we have to work with. There’s always something to learn or that could slow us down, but we do our best to keep at it aNd make most of whatever happens. Adapt and overcome has been our motto since the beginning. Read more>>

Lola Montejo | Artist

I was born in England but shortly after my parents returned to their home in Madrid where I spent much of my childhood. My father was a singer and our home was a regular gathering place for musicians and artists whose conversations sparked an appreciation of art in me from a young age. Eventually my parents decided to move to the US. They saw an opportunity in Florida to make some investments and retire early. Unfortunately, those investments were bad and my parents lost everything. They had to decide to either go back to Spain and tell everyone how they failed or start all over again. My father could not find a job, so he went to an employment agency but all they had for him was a job at a catering company. He went to work for the caterer and quickly picked up skills in the kitchen. Read more>>

Jennifer Peters | Founder & Foodie

Everything that I’ve done has been about risk taking – from moving States for a job, moving overseas, jumping into MBA school, backpacking alone around the world and finally…taking the leap to start my own business with no experience! I’m not sure that I’ve thought about each item as a risk itself – it’s all been part of seeking a more fulfilling life and in order to do that, you have to take certain steps that are more like leaps! Read more>>

Torrey Newman | Owner and Founder Fierce45

Risk is inherent in starting your own business; that’s for sure! However measured risk is what I aim for. I think that if you have data + a strong enough feeling that what you are creating is needed, desired, lacking in the market you should take the risk. There is never a perfect time to launch or to take the leap of faith – so you have to be ready to go for it! I’ve taken risks in life starting at a young age. In my youth I was a ballerina and took many leaps of faith whether it was auditioning for the School of American Ballet summer program, trusting my partner to catch me on some crazy move, or going for that extra rotation in a pirouette on point. Before starting my own business I was in sales and every time I cold called a prospect or stood in front of a group of strangers pitching our services I was taking a risk of some sort. You never know what might happen until you show up and do your best! Read more>>