In our experience, most folks, including ourselves don’t have enough of an understanding of risk and the role it plays in our lives and careers and so we have made a concerted effort as a team to have conversations about risk with our interviewees. We’ve shared some highlights below.

D Marcell | Self-Taught Artist & Mortgage Analyst

There’s this quote, “Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” by Helen Keller that has begun to speak loudly to me and I think it perfectly defines risk in my life. I grew up on the Eastside of Denver and Montbello where you don’t see many artists growing up. I mean, people did art but there weren’t any “artists” per se, let alone ones that looked like myself. So, the idea of wanting or even becoming an artist never entered my mind, honestly. My whole goal when I was younger was to graduate high school and get my mom a Volvo. I can’t tell you why a Volvo and not a BMW or Mercedes….or even a house – it just had to be a Volvo. Of course, the only way to make that happen was to get out and get a real job so, that’s what I did. Over time, as a creative, there was no way to avoid your calling. One can only be so creative with excel spreadsheets. At some point, you just have to bet on yourself to see what you’re worth. To me, that’s what risk is all about. Read more>>

Kimberly Benfield | Photographer

It is always a risk to follow your dreams as it is impossible to know where that path will take us. In the same way, I take a risk every time I go on a photoshoot. I bring my equipment and skills, but I don’t bring a set plan. My process is to listen and collaborate with whoever or whatever my subject is. I’m looking for a certain essence, and inner beauty that exists in every person and in every thing. But I have no idea how this is going to show up. Maybe its a serene stillness, or maybe its outrageous laughter. Whatever it is, I have to be ready, and flexible or I’ll miss it. I’ve had my business for over 7 years now, but I still feel into this risk every time I pick up a camera. I know my clients are feeling it to, especially in the beginning of a shoot. You probably relate. How comfortable are you getting your photo taken? Slowly, as the photoshoot progresses, My client and I start feeling into our collaboration, both of us contributing to the artistic expression. Read more>>

Jonathan Schultz | CEO

When thinking about risk, I probably look at it a little differently when it comes to the business world. I definitely take risk…you must if you are going to start a business and raise money, and try to grow on a national scale. I just don’t see it like many people see risk. To me, starting a business wasn’t risky. Staying with a large corporation seemed a little risky. In a large corporation, you have no control over what is really happening. The CEO or the Board of Directors decides if the company is going to be sold, or if they are going to change direction as a company. Therefore, the risk becomes whether your position will be eliminated, or the company makes a bad decision and gets terrible PR, or maybe the company gets purchased by another company. All of those things are out of the control of most employees, and to me that is risky. By starting and running a company, I mitigate that risk because I am able to make the decisions with my team that will ultimately lead to positive outcomes (hopefully). That seems like much less risk to me. Read more>>

Kathryn Gould | Writer, Actor & Filmmaker

Being a risk-taker has always been a huge part of my guiding philosophy in life. When I gave the valedictorian speech at my high school graduation (out of a class of 20, not really bragging here), I talked about the concept of courage, and how courage was not the absence of fear, but the overcoming of fear. At the time, I was thinking of my decision to go 3000 miles away to college at Stanford rather than stay with my friends at the state school just a few hours from home. But the concept of taking risks would continue to be a theme in my life. At Stanford I studied child psychology, and then went on to get a Master’s degree in Family and Child Studies, and I learned about the concept of a fixed vs. a growth mindset, and how very intelligent and gifted people are often held back by their fear of failure. At the same time, those with a growth mindset have the courage to seek out risk and new experiences, because they know that they can always grow and get better. This attitude would serve me well both as an artist and as a parent. When I decided to pursue a career as a writer and actor, I knew that I would be facing a lifetime of difficulty and rejection, but I also knew that with time, patience, persistence and an appetite for knowledge, I could make headway. Read more>>

Jonathan Roberts | Co-Founder

Life is subjective and objective. Subjective experiences are the ones that bring value to our lives that metrics can’t quite do justice. Think of the European lifestyle of community, experiences, travel, etc. Objective is basically what we can measure- typically related to money. If you drew a line with point A as subjective and point B as objective, everyone finds their own value somewhere along this spectrum. To keep it simple, artists would be closer to point A, tax auditors closer to point B. Most people think of risk as the potential to lose something that they have in the present. They have these items in the present because of their hard work in the past. That leaves out one huge thing- the future. When I think of risk, I don’t only think of what I may lose in the present, I think of what the future me could have. The issue with this philosophy is that there is no finish line so you must be in control of your own happiness. Some people may ask “if I’m in control of my own happiness, why would I want a great house instead of a good house?” 2 reasons. Read more>>

Diana Cubillos Thompson | Broker owner

I consider myself a risk taker, moving from Colombia to United States of America in 1999 at the age of 24 is one of those instances that took a tremendous leap of faith. At the same time, I was overly excited to create new opportunities for myself, growing up with entrepreneurs as parents I had it clear that is up to us to create opportunities and not just wait for them. I had obtained a bachelor’s degree in economics, so I decided to knock at company’s doors and introduce myself as a bilingual economist, I worked with an accountant who had some Hispanic companies as clients, then briefly worked as manager for a Hispanic newspaper in Denver. There I discovered the world of real estate by talking to agents who advertised in the newspaper, they invited me to an interview and that is how I obtained my license. That was another risk as I was going from salary to commission at the age of 25. Later on during the financial crises of 2008 my sells went down so I decided to do the loan and the real estate part to stay afloat, in 2011 I started a masters in business administration. Read more>>

Megan Elsworth | Musician & Podcast Host

Risk to me the is a verb, to follow your fears. Rather than living in suspense, in the shadow of your fears, figure out what it is that is fueling the fear fire and go in that direction. Run into the fire if you will. That is what I have been doing, or at least I have been trying. I am working on jumping into the fire. I think that is when you really ignite your life (pun intended). When you realize “I am afraid of playing in front of millions of people” that means you CARE. That tells me that goal needs to be added to the bucket list, I need to see it every day and most importantly I need to write it down. Adding friction to words gives them more power than they hold just in your mind alone. So in this new year of 2021 I hope to follow my fears, to see where they lead me, in hopes of finding the ignition to my goals and deepest desires. Read more>>

Abby Gardner | Owner

Taking risks means different things to different people, but in my experience, taking risks has generally served me well. When I think about some of the bolder choices I’ve made, I realize that risk was in play with all of them. In most cases, the decision to take the risk was impulsive, without much thought or energy put into the “what ifs.” I rely on and trust my gut feelings. Read more>>

Erica Lindsey | Fashion, Beauty & Portrait Photographer

I think some of the best things come from taking a chance or a risk. That’s how you push yourself and see what you’re capable of. I joined the military when I was 19, which took me all over the country, and gave me a new perspective on life. When I was a bit older, I had the opportunity to move to England and decided to go for it. During the 3 years I lived there, I got to travel a lot and experience things that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Those things changed my photography style and my life in general. With my photography, I like to take risks with how creative I can get. I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with many other artists in the area including fashion designers, makeup artists, hair stylists, and models. I love being able to combine our ideas and see what we come up with together. We have fun, but also push each other to be better. Read more>>

Kristina Bergsten | Animal Rights Lawyer

Risk makes up part of my DNA. The willingness to risk everything on the unknown was how I started my business. I went to law school at The Ohio State University. I graduated in 2012, when the economy had still not fully recovered from the Great Recession of 2008. I was married at the time and my then-husband wanted to move to Philadelphia for his job. Most law students go to law school in the state where they wanted to practice law because law is not an easily transferable career across state lines. But my ex wasn’t exactly a supportive human being, so we moved for his career and I had to take the bar in a completely different state than what I prepared for. But I took the risk and successfully passed the PA and NJ bar exams. After living and working for a few years in the Philadelphia area, my ex wanted to move to California for his job, again. All during this time he became increasingly abusive. I agreed to move with him on the condition that we would work on our relationship. Read more>>

Laura Padgett | Author, Dancer & Speaker

I think one of the most important stories, and I’m sorry I don’t know the source is one about doing something a person has always wanted to do but being afraid of doing it. In the story a man goes to a violin teacher and asks how long it will take to learn to play violin. The master says that it will probably take about five years before the man will be playing light classics for his enjoyment. The potential student groans and says, “Five years. By then I will be over 50 years old.” To this the master asked him, “How old will you be if you do not learn to play violin?” Time will march on and taking the risk to do something in business or life or not taking the risk is not a factor as far as Father Time is concerned. Read more>>