We asked some of the most interesting folks in the community to open up about how they think about taking chances and the role risk has played in their lives and careers. Risk is by far the topic folks talk to us most about and we hope the responses below will help shed light on many different perspectives.

Farah-Jane Jean Pierre | Owner & Chef of Fritay Haitian Cuisine LLC

There’s a saying in French that says ” Qui ne risque rien n’a rien” that I grew up hearing back in Haiti. Starting my business it’s a risk that I have taken and that I am proud I did because I am turning my passion into profit and also providing something that is missing in the state of Colorado which is Authentic Haitian Food. It has not been easy but I am grateful for the unconditional support of my family and close friends. I think having them by my side during this journey of starting my food truck made me strong and more confident. Read more>>

Gregory Beckham | Real Estate Broker

Risk has played such a HUGE role in my life. I believe that if I never took certain types of risk throughout my life, I know I would never be happy with myself. Back story is that I never wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I enjoyed the basics, I enjoyed my paycheck, and I enjoyed the same experience daily. I had nothing to worry about. I was just there… But then it hit me. I asked myself, is this what I want to do my whole life ? Do I really believe that I am only good enough for the simple things? No… Im not! I’ve hit my lowest point in life and I was tired of doing everything the same. Read more>>

Deb Adams | Liberated free spirit

I found taking risks in life opens up fresh opportunities. Stepping out of your comfort zone and into the unknown encourages one to embrace change and dwell in the possibilities of what could be when you take the risk to start over. Being open to change moved me from New Jersey to California when I was 26. A new environment presented opportunities which gave me the motivation to operate my own photography business in Santa Barbara for over 25 years…and then shift happened again and my husband and I took a risk to move from California (where I thought I would live forever) to Colorado—from a known state to an unknown state. Once again, a whole new world of possibilities opened up and many unexpected adventures awaited us. Read more>>

Ira Sweetwine | Talent Agency Owner | Agent

Without taking risks I would certainly not be where I am today. When I started my company, many trusted advisors and mentors suggested I would need at least one year’s worth of salary saved to live on while I build the company or I wouldn’t make it. Well, I did not have 2 month’s worth of salary saved let alone a whole year and all the money I raised to begin the company went right into the needs of the company, not my pockets. Nonetheless, I pushed forward, launched my company and took a huge risk! I know in life there are many risks, especially with starting your own company. I viewed my company launch as “jumping off a cliff” but then falling into a net that then bounced me back up. When you have trust and belief in yourself, nothing can stand in your way! Risks are worth taking. Read more>>

Nick Prince | Owner, Pitmaster of Post Oak BBQ in Denver

I believe risk always exists. The only thing you can do is attempt to control it and use it to your benefit. The way I think about it is that there are two sides to taking risk – what is the risk of taking on something and what is the risk of NOT taking on that something. I have found more often than not, that life rewards those that take calculated risks. I’m not advocating being reckless with decisions, but instead thinking about all aspects of taking on additional risk helps mitigate some of the scariness of embarking on a new journey. I’ve always found it very helpful to ask the question, “what happens if I DON’T take the risk that I’m considering” and gauge my gut feeling after thoroughly examining that side of the equation as well. Read more>>

Gary Black | Director

Most of us are more afraid of success than we of failed, especially young men. “If I take this risk, it may work, and then what? I have to manage it, own it, and steward it, and I don’t like that much responsibility!” Marriage, missions, starting that company, taking the promotion, asking that person out… it usually more subconscious than conscious thought. We must learn to live from our hearts and get out of 0ur heads; when we learn to trust our hearts, confess that we are full of fear, shame, and rejection, and then risk trusting what my heart is telling me, I will live a life of risk and making everyone around me successful! Read more>>

Todd Brogowski | Freelance Writer & Photographer

Really, while I am analytical and measured when it comes to decision-making, risk has had an enormous impact on my life and career. Twenty years ago, I was a trial lawyer working in the suburbs of NYC earning a substantial income. My life felt relatively empty, however. After 9/11, I realized that there was a part of me that felt this hunger to serve and to do something more meaningful than divorce litigation. I ended up getting into the military intelligence community, eventually working as an interrogator and crisis negotiator with a special operations unit. Here, I felt my skills were put to a meaningful purpose: reducing bloodshed due to terrorism and resolving potentially violent situations in a peaceful manner. I could have very easily died overseas doing my job, however, and definitely paid for my decision to do counter-terrorism work by having to undergo reconstructive surgery and by developing PTSD. In other words, this rewarding feeling came with great risk. Read more>>

Teodoro Juan Butler | Multi-Media Visual Artist

Living with fear stops us from risk taking but in life you often have to go out on a limb as this is where opportunity lies. Looking back on my life I’ve taken many tangible and consequence filled risks: Adventuring to the summits of snowcapped mountains, rock climbing immense treacherous cliffs, kayaking through crashing ocean waves, living in the wild for half a year, and as of recent putting my art out to the world. It’s ironic to me that it wasn’t adventure which felt the most risky but rather the fear of failing as an artist. I neglected my creative abilities and pursuits for years because I felt I couldn’t “make it” and rarely did I share my art with anyone. Read more>>

Laura Miller

Risk and I had a very dodgy relationship most of my life. Until the last five years, I was paralyzed by perfection. This robbed me of the chance to even take a risk because I couldn’t handle the reality or even the possibility of failing. This evidenced itself in multiple ways throughout my musical pursuits. In 8th grade, I stopped playing the piano because I made a mistake on a recital piece. In high school and college as I studied vocal jazz, the possibility of hitting a wrong note in vocal improvisation kept me from growing in the skill. The reality that someone would always be better than me in music, kept me from ever pursuing it. Read more>>

Alexander Richard Wilson | Fine Artist, Painter

In the experiences I’ve had while making art, I think making work professionally as a fine artist comes with an outward awareness of the need to take risks while defining ones practice. I try to attempt at least 3 new concepts a year, both to check in and see if I can still learn, and to established an application for the process. I think in that too, it’s good to know one’s emotional limits in taking risks. You shouldn’t be naked in the cold too long for a project or in contemplating an idea, but it’s sometimes the time in thinking is an important factor in informing what you’re working on. Since making the decision to study fine art and architecture I think I’ve made a risk, and in responding to the contexts that initial risk made available, I made another risk, and then so on to now, wherein I paint climate change as abstracted landscapes. Which is a risk, but very satisfying. Read more>>

Jason Herr | Tattooer

Risk has played a HUGE part in literally every step of my career as a tattooer. I got into tattooing at 32 years old…a lot later in life than when most start out. I had ‘decent’ but unfulfilling jobs prior. My daughter was young at the time. My personal life was in various states of chaos. When given the opportunity to tattoo, I knew I’d have to give up comforts like a steady pay-check, health insurance, a ‘normal’ schedule, etc…and jump head-first into the unknown. I took a job at a small shop in a small town in West Virginia (I’m from Maryland originally) where if I made a few hundred a week I considered myself lucky. After a few years learning the basics of my trade there I worked at a couple different shops in the area and then chose to move to Florida for a change of pace. Read more>>

Justin LeVett | Photographer

Starting a business is a huge risk, you’re kind of going against the flow of the normal everyday world. Starting to be your own boss, and doing your passion for a career has more risk than you know. If you’re not taking a risk in business you’ll never accomplish your goals. Everyday is a risk, sometimes small, other times more exciting. When you take that step outside of your comfort zone you are pushing yourself to become better than you were the day before. Creating order from the chaos of everyday life to capture moments in time with my camera is what I live for. Read more>>

Chris & Suzannah Hinton | Travel Vlogger/Blogger

Risk is the opportunity to make a change. Risk isn’t something to be afraid of. It’s a chance to get away from the “norm” and choose your own path. We both spent 20+ years in the military in a very stable environment with a steady paycheck, healthcare, housing, etc. We couldn’t take a lot of risks because of our obligations and the possibility of being deployed, although as leaders we learned risk management. We learned that there are pros and cons that need to be weighed when making those risky decisions. When it was time for us to transition from the military to civilian lifestyle, the timing was right for us to make that leap. We didn’t have a house to sell or too many things that would hold us back. We decided that we could live where we wanted, how we wanted, and help other people do the same. Choosing to live life as full-time travelers was a huge risk. We left family and friends and we sold almost everything we owned. We chose risk and opportunity over stability. Read more>>

Jason Sirotin | Entrepreneur

I believe that the biggest risk you can take in business and in life is not taking a risk. There is a false sense of security shared by many people that having a “normal” job and a steady paycheck is safe, but in reality it can be stripped away in a moment without any notice or knowledge. Your boss comes in and says., “Sorry we are out of money.” Now, let’s say you took the “risk” and opened your own business, when you are running out of money you know it’s coming. You can prepare and react. Now which is more risky? When you can recognize this fact then your mind will open up. You will realize that it is more risky to do the safe thing in most cases. In my life I have risked everything. I put my house up, sold all my securities and ventured into markets with tons of volatility. It has all paid off. Even the risks that failed lead me to learnings that would change my life forever. Read more>>

Luis Roman | Travel Vlogger, Content Creator & Human Resources Professional

Taking risks is one of the most important things one has to do in order to move the needle and get closer to achieving your dreams. In my own life, I have experienced times in which I did not take that leap of faith and times in which I did. Most of the time the reason why people choose not to take risks is self-doubt, fear of failing and the unknown. To overcome this, it is paramount that people surround themselves with a support system, people that will provide encouragement and support. Many times it just takes one person that says “do it” to cross that bridge. In my own life, I had so many opportunities that I did not take and with time the regrets build up. I think that everyone goes through their own journey but at some point you realize that it is time to say yes, yes to you, yes to your dreams. I am grateful to count with the support from my wife Edith. I know that I can count with her to celebrate successes but also to be my support and motivator when things don’t go as planned. Take risks, just do it and if you fail, do it again! Read more>>