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.

Makalah Emanuel | Owner and founder of Melaxation Boxes

Risk-taking has been an area I’ve had to grow most in since starting Melaxation Boxes. I’m typically a very calculated person, not wanting to make a decision until I know for sure it won’t end in some kind of catastrophe. I don’t know if it’s at all possible to do such a thing while owning a small business. I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone and take risks on the items I offer, the places I invest my money and time into, and so much more. Read more>>

James Angelicola | Partner & Director of Operations

Risk taking has played a major role in both my life and career. As an entrepreneur in the Lacrosse industry, I am constantly trying to be one step ahead of the game. Growing a company in a niche market from the ground up is a risk in itself, however can be very rewarding. Each and every day we are taking risks on running events in new and emerging markets. We have to take a chance on these markets and design our marketing strategy ourselves. Sometimes we are successful, sometimes we fail, it’s all part of the process. This is a process where all of the energy and hard work that you put into your craft will shine. Read more>>

Cheryl Kujawinski | Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Risk has always been a word that I have associated with a direction or purpose in life. I try to avoid putting a heavy weight to the idea of risk, but rather use it as a barometer for possible outcomes of my choices. Believe it or not, most of the time I feel more risk when I consider NOT doing something new or challenging–my sense of exploration, of wonder, of possibility, of curiosity, of my happiness, are all at risk if I don’t attempt things in the first place. I do not intend to live my life wondering what could have been because I was more scared than taking that step. Read more>>

Brittany Abate | Digital Marketing Business Owner

I believe if you want big things to happen for yourself, you have to be willing to take risks. However, risk taking is not for everybody. You must understand that going all in on something is not always going to work out in your favor. Therefore, it is important to take calculated risks as opposed to just going in blindly on something. It is also crucial to have the mentality of never giving up and picking yourself back up when you fall. You cannot be scared to fail because failure is a part of the journey to success. Read more>>

Emilie Upczak | Independent Filmmaker & Assistant Teaching Professor

I think of risk taking as an essential element to being a filmmaker, with every project I make, I set off on a new course and risk the uncertainty of where I am headed. The concept of practiced improvisation is one I have become more comfortable and familiar with. I generally feel excited stepping into the unknown frame of a new idea, but then I must find the stamina to see my idea through and to withstand the vulnerability of the risk I am taking. Looking back over the course of my artistic practice, I find something redeeming about every film I have made – do I like everything I have made…no, is the honest answer. Read more>>

Kristin Tillack | Outdoor Enthusiast, Blogger & Author

Risk taking has been a key to my agility as a business owner and has fostered more confidence in myself. When I look at every step or milestone in my career, it has been the risk taking moments that provided either opportunity or reward. After graduating with a teaching degree in Southern California, teaching jobs were sparse so I took the risk to move to Washington state for adventure as I had never lived out of state. I figured now was the time before I got locked into a tenured teaching career. Little did I know that this risk would set the tone for a career filled with following opportunities and adventure. Read more>>

Mackenzie Franklin | Game Night Host & Board Game Content Creator

I think risk taking is an essential aspect of life. There are no guarantees in anything. When it comes to SideGame LLC, the entire premise is risky, foraying into a space that does not exist in the Colorado Springs area and reaching out to the community to convince them to indulge in a new experience. It’s a risk when we get a new game into our library: Will it be a great fit for families and gamers alike, or will it fail completely and be a loss for the company? If we took no risks, our library would be bare and many of our biggest hitting games would have never been found. Risk often results in consequences we could never have foreseen, forcing us to adapt, sometimes for the better. SideGame’s online presence is a direct result of needing to adapt to the Pandemic and now it is a cornerstone of the company. We are happy to embrace risk taking and will continue to dive into new challenges! Read more>>

Madeline Shaffer | Director/Choreographer/Playwright

There are so many little mantras like ” You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” and ” Shoot for the moon, land among the stars” , and they may sound corny, but I really like to remind myself of these. On a less poetic note, I have always told myself that the only way that things happen, or move forward is because someone decided to DO something. This fuels me to take the initiative and try to make something happen. Without risk we would have no art, no design, no technology. Risk can be scary, but it is totally necessary for growth. Staying in the same place with my career, or my choices has never been an option for me. Read more>>

Will Hubert | Member of Elektric Animals

I can say that how we think about risk now is directly related to our increase in success. As young people we often believe planning ahead and avoiding hiccups will surely get us to our goal on time. Which yes, those are not bad things to do in themselves, but life doesn’t play like that. Learning and practicing the discipline to take action with risk, while being open to fixing hiccups on the fly will keep your momentum where it needs to be. Read more>>

Malia Pope | Shoe Customizer

Risk taking has made such a huge difference in the life of my business. Previously in my personal life, I was never too good at getting out of my comfort zone. So when I began customizing shoes, I was very hesitant to try new things where I wasn’t 100% certain of the outcome. As I started to grow little by little and get more comfortable, I finally felt ready and confident enough to begin taking risks. I want to share an experience of a risk I took that turned out positively. Read more>>

Kaitlin Smith | Owner of My Viewpoint Creations

“Do not got where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” This might be an overused quote by Emerson, but the moment I saw it in 5th grade it made all the risks I’d ever take in my life make much more sense. As for taking risks in my life and my career, I feel like my entire photography career has been one big risk after another. When I got my first point and shoot camera in high school I asked the head football coach if I could be on the field taking pictures and he agreed. Next thing you know there’s a photo in the local paper that looks just like one I had taken. Risk number 1, check. I can get the same shots making it into the newspapers. Read more>>

Eric Recker | Senior VP of Sales & Operations at Indacloud

Working in the cannabis industry, risk is all around you. Knowing when to take risks in business and when to be more cautious has been a huge part of our journey launching Indacloud and growing the brand. We learned early on that it’s important to not take any risks regarding the quality of our delta-8 distillate or the safety of our products. We don’t let anything interfere with our ability to trace the chain of responsibility of all of the ingredients used in our products or our ability to offer batch-specific COA’s. Read more>>

Jillian Sanders | CEO & Founder, Public Relations, LLC

I moved across the country and started a new business at 39 years old. Both of these are things I always wanted to do, but as time went on, I didn’t know how or when or if they would ever happen. Then. BOOM. Pandemic hits. I move out of New York. I lose my job. I didn’t know anyone out here! I didn’t know how to start a business! But somehow, you figure it out once you put yourself in a position where you have no choice but to make things happen. Read more>>

Kaiah Wessel | Freelance illustrator & designer

I am the oldest girl in a family of eight children and so was always very organized and responsible. Very type A, enneagram 1, just very boring essentially. Now don’t get me wrong, I think people like me are a very crucial part of this world, but we can often be so uptight and never want to steer away from our plans. Plans were my whole life. Everything had to always go according to plan, I always wanted to be in control and whenever things would change, I freaked out. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was so stressed by making any decisions that I knew I had to work on it, that I had to let go and be more free. Read more>>

Sarah Vander Neut | Designer/Founder Vander Jacket

My background helps me when it comes to risk taking: My dad was a Baptist Pastor growing up. My parents never emphasized the importance of making money, instead they encouraged my siblings and I to pursue occupations that utilized the way that we were gifted as individuals. When it was clear that I was gifted creatively, they were happy for me, and a discussion about money never came up. Opportunity risk or cost is a common idea these days: the notion that your time spent on a project is not spent elsewhere. So, being an entrepreneur has both financial and opportunity risk, but my childhood set me up to not think about those risks so much, because life is more than money. Read more>>