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.

Nina Hoffert | Watercolor Artist

Some might say I’m good at risk taking. But I know that I am generally cautious with fleeting moments of desire to know what’s possible. Then, sometimes, I shake my head and wonder whatever got into me that brought me to this moment. The only way to know what’s possible is to step to the edge of the proverbial comfort zone. And sometimes even venture outside. But only after I’ve done massive amounts of research and can predict what discomfort I might have to endure. Read more>>

Hilal Bahcetepe | Freelance Reporter & Writer”

Putting your name and self out there is a huge risk in general. As a journalist I try my best to use what little platform I have to spread progressive values and highlight people in my community who are making a positive impact. Sometimes I don’t always do that, though. There’s no excuse for problematic coverage, which I’ve contributed to in the past, either due to plain ignorance or not asking tough enough questions, not doing enough research. Read more>>

Jennifer Oursler | Esthetician

I don’t think anything “great” has been achieved without risk. The people we study, the people we idolize- they were all risk-takers. And even though the scale of the risk seems to change as technology and the understanding of things advances, every time anyone does anything out of their comfort zone they’re taking a risk. In the matters of risk and my life, I would say they have been hand in hand for quite some time. I don’t necessarily know when it happened- maybe when so many things start happening for people- in the teenage years. I was pushing boundaries, and dare we say “attention-seeking”. The day I had to take my “Most Outgoing” picture for the yearbook, I climbed on top of the school’s roof to retrieve a frisbee. (A teacher yelled at me from her window overlooking the courtyard.) Read more>>

Kevin Austin | Solo Acoustic Musician

When I think about this question it takes me back to what feel like was a very defining moment in my music career/journey. For context, my folks were actively touring in a band on the road when I was born. I’ve been in and out of music all my life, never really in this capacity, but piano lessons didn’t stick (wish they had). I played Sax growing up, and received my first guitar as a Christmas present from my dad in high school. I picked it up and put it down many times over the years, always had a desire to play drums, so I did that in my late twenties. Into my 30’s, I played drums in several churches and on worship teams. About 9yrs ago I went through a divorce, the drum gigs sort of dispersed, and with some spare time on my hands, I picked up the guitar again. Read more>>

Shahrina Ankhi-Krol | Attorney and Counselor at Law

Sometimes, risk is more necessary than safety. I believe there are two types of risk in the world – uncalculated and calculated. Both types of risk are similar with respect to failure being a palpable possibility. A person can take an uncalculated risk by ignoring the possible factors and outcomes of a situation. Whereas, a person can take a calculated risk by carefully evaluating the factors and outcomes of a situation. Read more>>

Sky Gibson | Tattoo Artist and Shop Owner

Risk taking to me has been just hoping for the best, when Sabrina and I got the idea to open Elder Gibson Tattoo, we knew it was a huge risk – but with great reward. Getting away from toxic, dysfunctional tattoo shops was our goal. And in opening our own studio, we risked losing the security of being in street shops – but we had to do it in order to grow. Read more>>

Manny Newman | Lighting Designer

I think it is super important to take risks in your life and your career. When I was 21 I was working in Manhattan as a pro audio sales professional at B&H. It was a great job, with a great salary, and great benefits. But after being there for four years there was a moment where are my lighting career was conflicting with my current job so I was at a crossroads. I can either keep my 9 to 5 or pursue my dream to be a lighting designer. This risk could change the whole trajectory of my life and all my coworkers around me were like take the risk. I put in my three week notice, pursued my lighting career, and luckily everything worked out. Read more>>

Emma Perez Steuer | Executive Director, Union Hall

Risk-taking has played a major role throughout my life, and my career in particular. I suppose most risks tend to feel more like necessary changes in the moment, and in hindsight the picture becomes clearer of how they led you to where you are today. Throughout my early twenties I went from being a waitress to an investment bank admin to a development associate at an international human rights non-profit. In 2016, I took a giant leap on a personal and professional level, packed up all my things and left New York City. I traveled around Southeast Asia for several months by myself and when I returned a few months later, I moved cross-country to Colorado, also shifting my professional focus to the arts. Read more>>

Christie Sheffer | Midwife and Birth Trauma Specialist

I have a delicate relationship with risk. In my practice as a midwife, I do my best to never take risks. The lives that I hold in my hands are way too important for that! Safety is a non-negotiable and vital part of my patient care. As much as I value the dreams and desires of my clients, I value their lives that much more. But birth work comes with so much unknown that it can feel quite risky. Keeping clients safe can mean fast decision making and action. Read more>>

Sage Coughlin | Certified herbalist, regenerative gardener, and creative

Risk is something we are all faced with at times in life; a moment when we stand at the edge of a decision, opportunity, or new experience. From the strong-willed teenager I was to the entrepreneurial person I am today, risk has played a prevalent role in my life and work. As a creative person running their own business, I perceive my work as the application of my unique set of gifts and skills; my purpose. From my perspective, taking a risk in favor of my career feels like an act of devotion to my life’s calling. Read more>>

Emily Stites | Mama, Mentor & Beauty Entrepreneur

Risk is something I acknowledge, respect and wholeheartedly understand. However I do not fear it. I look at it head on and trust myself. I know the life that I want, and the career I need to feel fulfilled. So I take that risk and steer through my choices with that, but I don’t let IT guide ME.
If I am feeling weak, unsure, run down, THATS when the fear of taking these monetary risks/risks of embarrassing myself creep in. Read more>>

Eli Blackshear | Lead Singer/Guitarist

Risk is probably the biggest factor in how the Barefoot Family Caravan came together in the first place. When Micah, Skip and myself started this project we were all looking for people that would be willing to take the serious risks. As the old idiom goes “No risk no reward.” and that statement has some real merit, but the truth is it’s a risk because it can go bad! It can end up ugly! Over the years, we’ve had to prepare ourselves for what can happen if something falls apart. It’s had to be calculated. I think the biggest thing in making the push for success is not being afraid to fail, and that’s the place where you can find the real gold nuggets. Planning for what happens next, and how to overcome and keep going is exactly what has gotten us anywhere at all. Read more>>

Tony Gazzana | Business Owner, Father, Teacher

I believe risk is a part of life. We are born with the “Flight or Fight” response imbedded so deep most people don’t even know it exists. Looking at risks from all sides (if I have time) determines the level of risk I take. If I can live with the best outcome and the worst, it is a risk I will take every time! That being said, some of the risks I have taken have backfired, but many have produced results greater than I could have imagined. Marriage, children, and starting my business over from scratch have all paid off in more than monetary gains. Read more>>

Leah Grandstaff | Circus Artist

Ultimately, I think of risk as a gauge. In evaluating any particular risk/s & my propensity to face it/them, I can get a strong sense of how valuable the end goal is for me. Assessing risk informs me of how committed I am to take on any given challenge. In my line of work, as a circus artist & coach, I am continually assessing & mitigating risks. However, in coming in to this as a career, I had to take on risks head on in a different sense. The biggest risk I had to take in making that leap, was trusting that I would continue to believe in myself & my tenacity to persevere in the face of what I knew would be some failures or rather, not initial successes. Read more>>

Fia Pitre | Fine Artist

As an artist, risk-taking is essential to expanding and evolving my practice. Creating new work often feels like a balancing act of combing new experimentation with processes I’ve already developed. Though this often feels uncomfortable, I find that allowing myself to take risks as I create my landscape paintings makes space for unintentional and beautiful interactions to occur across the canvas. Like in nature, I find that much of the beauty in landscape painting happens in those subtle moments of interactions between light, color, and atmosphere, like sunlight refracting through a thick fog layer, dispersing the light in blended misty shades across the rolling landscape. Read more>>

Luis (Weecho) Alaniz | Musician, artists, singer, songwriter

Like the saying goes, “without risk there’s no reward” and what is more rewarding than being able to create something that is so timeless. We find ourselves chasing these big dreams that we get so carried away and lose track of time but almost in a way where we have to manage it wisely. aSo why not do the most of what we can with the time we have? Music lives forever. That’s what’s so great about it. It’s a way for us artists to express ourselves. I’m sure many can relate when I say music understands me. Read more>>

Connor Koch | Brand Director and Cofounder, Coyote

Our roots are in the mountains, and risk is everything in the mountains. Jonny Morsicato (one of my cofounders) and I climbed all the Colorado 14ers together, and have stood on countless summits only made possible through our partnership. We met Colin Rex and Christian Van Os Keuls through our sponsor, Arc’teryx, and the bond was immediate. We wanted to take big risks together, with the reward being a fruitful and meaningful career. Read more>>

Kalysa Leuck | Hairstylist, Yoga Instructor, Creative Designer

I love to take risks. I think they are the only reason I live my dream life everyday. People perceive risks as too scary and see failure as an end. I see risks as the potential to trust the universe for your most optimum life experience. I started my first business on $400. I started my second business while I was pregnant and my husband was experiencing turbulence in his career. I moved my family 18 hours away on a leap of faith that it was in true alignment for us. These are just three examples from my life. I usually take at least one risk on a year, if not more. Risk is so important to move you from where you are to where you want to go. Read more>>