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.

Alexis Shoop | Associate Broker and Team Lead

I think risk is extremely valuable in building a business. The whole concept starts from a brilliant idea, but you need to be able to sit in the uncomfortable for quite a bit of time before success happens. Risk is not for the faint of heart. For me, I am always searching for the next risk. The next best thing I can learn and grow from. In order to be the best, you need to be constantly growing and surrounding yourself with those around you who take risks as well. I would not be where I am today without taking the leap of faith. Read more>>

Chris Cannon | Somatic Psychotherapist and Certified Addiction Specialist

Throwing out my first shingle, and committing to working for myself was a huge risk. Mostly, I was able to take it because I started dating a woman who grew up in a household where people had a healthy relationship to money. Not that they had a lot of it, but rather that they pursued business interests first and foremost that aligned with their personal interests, and money was a secondary concern. Being around her enabled me to see clearly how worked up my nervous system became in the face of money issues because her nerves did not. When we are threatened, certain parts of nervous system mobilize huge amounts of arousal to face that threat. This works well in the jungle when we need to run from a tiger, but not in our office when making business choices. Unfortunately for me, I grew up in a house where money was seen as a transient commodity. We had it, but there was a lot of fear of losing it. This trained my nervous system to perceive all issues around money–especially risk–as dangerous. Read more>>

Dani Haims | Elopement Photographer

I have always been a big believer in pushing boundaries and questioning the norm. Taking risks has allowed me to overcome my fears, and pursue my true passions in life, regardless of what others think. I studied Health Sciences in college, but never felt extremely passionate about pursuing a career in the health field. I knew what I really wanted was to pursue a creative career, but was constantly reminded how big a risk that would be, and that I would not be financially “successful” in an artistic career. However, I knew my passion for creativity would overshadow any doubts. To me, pursuing a career in photography was well worth the risk. I decided to move from Connecticut to Colorado in the beginning of 2020 to pursue elopement and adventure photography. This was a huge risk, as I threw myself into a new niche in a completely new market. Little did I know COVID would effect the entire wedding industry, just a few weeks after I moved! Now, more couples are choosing to elope instead of have a huge wedding. At the time, moving halfway across the country to pursue my passion for elopements seemed crazy to many people. Read more>>

Jorge Muñoz | Artist and Art Teacher

In my opinion, consciously taking a risk is a purposeful action that forces you to step out of your comfort zone and stepping out of that bubble can be transformative. In the summer of 2014, I was in my mid-20’s and I was living in Austin, Texas hardly making a living as an artist while also trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel for my dead-end, part-time teaching job. I felt comfortable not needing to ‘grow up’ but at the same time I also knew that my current lifestyle wouldn’t be sustainable in the long term. In a way, I felt like the invisible, first-person protagonist of Richard Linklater’s film, Slacker, where the protagonist spends the entirety of the film meandering through the city of Austin encountering uniquely, off-beat characters of all types and ages that intentionally never seem to have any life goals but are perfectly content with their life choices nonetheless. Like in the film, I was just another off-beat character and this was my safe place. I was in my comfort zone because it was where I had gone to school and where I had spent most of my life. Read more>>

Bex Burton | Love & Embodiment Coach

Risk taking has played a huge part in my life and my career. From moving to big cities and cross country, to starting two unique businesses, I certainly wouldn’t have the lifestyle I enjoy today were it not for the risks I’ve taken in life. There’s very little that we create or accomplish in our lives without taking calculated risk. Without risk we end up settling for a life that doesn’t measure up to the desires we hold in our heart. The very nature of my work supports fiercely independent women through the many risks of attracting and growing lasting love. The risk to pay attention to our heart’s desire. The risk to experience rejection. The risk to open themselves vulnerably. The risk to say NO to something that seems logical but doesn’t feel aligned. The risk to believe we can have / do / be something greater than we are today. Risk taking is key in creating the life you love. Read more>>

Lauren Neal | Portrait Photographer

Ironically, risk has been a common thread throughout both my personal and professional life. I say ‘ironically’ because I am innately a very fearful person. Ever since I was little, I’ve always looked at my glass as half empty. Could I overcome this challenge? Could I embrace this hard season? Would I be equipped to handle all of life’s curveballs? Was I strong enough, talented enough, capable enough? My own limiting beliefs often hold me back from pursuing the very things I know to be true about myself. And yet, the thought of settling has always scared me more than the risk itself. I have spent nearly half of my life traveling to and from Haiti, and I spent four years there full-time. From transferring colleges, to changing majors, to moving to a foreign country, one risk has always led to the next. It’s both utterly terrifying and beautifully rewarding simultaneously. When I found myself back in the States at the beginning of 2018, working a 9-5 in corporate America, I felt suffocated by the stagnancy of an office job. My life in Haiti had been filled with so much purpose – so much risk – and suddenly I was drowning in the mundane. Read more>>

Katie Prendergast | Strength + Nutrition Coach

I’m very much a “look before you leap” kind of person. I like to do my research and compare options before making a decision. But I also quit a stable job, moved halfway across the country, and entered the fitness industry with almost no experience. I then left the gym I trained at to start an independent strength coaching service. For me, “risk” is something you try to manage and mitigate. The risk in those situations was pretty high, but I was confident I could learn what I needed to learn. And I believed starting my own business would enable me to provide a better standard of service than I was able to in a box gym environment, so the risk was worth it. I’m also an avid outdoors enthusiast. All the sports I enjoy – snowboarding, climbing, hiking, etc – involve some level of risk. You do your best to educate yourself and put yourself in a position to stay safe, but every outdoor sport comes with consequences if things go wrong. The risk that comes with those sports is just something you have to accept and prepare for by becoming as physically and mentally fit as you can be before you go outside. Read more>>

Samantha Simmons | Actor & Martial Artist

To be an artist is taking a risk. In a society that doesn’t value the artist as high as the money-making businessperson or the financially stable doctor or engineer, we artists find a comradery in the fight to create and uphold all things magic in this world. Our intangible discoveries as artists are just as important for the spirit and the soul as, say, the scientific ones, to make life worth living for everyone. Yet here we are, scraping by on the fringes of society creating and uplifting the very thing that big corporations try to monetize. Embracing the life of an artist is the call to adventure. You must risk to take the right path for yourself—else you might regret a boring life. Read more>>

Lauren Dufault | Comedian, Producer & Cat Mom

Risk is always necessary and built into becoming a comedian; and it also changes as you deal with your fear on and off stage. At first it is even the idea of attempting it is a big risk. But as time goes on, they change into tiny adjustments that can either make or break a joke. Heck, one big risk I had was actually telling my parents I was serious about comedy. I think there has to be a balance. Not enough risk- you go nowhere. Too much? And you lose the ability to organize your thoughts and find steady ground in your life. One thing I know for sure is that it has always helped me continue an adventurous life and learn a lot about myself. Read more>>

Margie McCarthy | Mover, Shaker & Message Maker | Founder, McCarthy Messaging

I’m a moderate-to-high risk taker. Not as gutsy as, say, a serial entrepreneur. But braver than the average person, based on the number of times I’ve been told: “I’d never have the guts to do that.” In my case, I think risk tolerance comes from being naturally optimistic and enthusiastic. I believe in possibilities! I do my homework but trust that, with the help of a great team, things will fall into place. We’re going on our 12th year in business, so I guess I’ve made enough good bets, and have gotten better at identifying red flags. That wasn’t always the case. I took a foolish risk years ago when starting a clothing line for little girls. It wasn’t the choice itself that was foolish, but my lack of patience and failure to pull others into the dream. So, the clothing line was a one-and-done venture. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about taking smart risks from small business guru Chuck Blakeman. He calls these “trapeze moments.” It’s not a blind jump off a cliff, but that semi-scary decision to take a calculated risk. You let go of total security and reach for the next stage of growth, knowing the odds are good that it will propel your business forward. Read more>>