There is a wealth of academic research that suggests that differences in risk appetite are at the heart of differences in career and business trajectories. We wanted to go beyond the theory and ask real people from the community about their perspectives and experiences with risk and risk taking.

Matt Esparza | Contemporary Artist & Entrepreneur

I think the greatest rewards in life are on the other side of risks. Playing it safe or doing what’s normal is not for me and I think it makes life that much more of an adventure. “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice but conformity” – Dr. Rollo May It takes a lot of courage to be an artist/ entrepreneur full time so I think if you want to live free you have to embrace a lifestyle of risks and the uncertainty that accompanies it. Read more>>

Brittany Addison-Prescott | Yoga, Meditation and Spirit Guide

Risk taking is my ULTIMATE LIFE THRILL. I believe my ability to take risks, sometimes calculated and many many times impulsive, has always been fueled by my curiosity to experience the beauty in this world. I have learned the important skill of taking leaps of faith where knowledge infused with experience invites the greatest wisdom. I feel in the depths of my heart, part of my soul’s mission is to guide the journey to bridge your mind with your heart through movement. This is when we have the greatest opportunity to trust the intuitive messages your body reports as you align with the Divine Energy of your understanding. My career path has been fueled by the art of TRUST- which I now see as a graduation of risk. The sheer thrill to be an intuitive intellectual is to put action behind my dreams with the love in my heart. Read more>>

John Mata | Designer & Illustrator

I have tried my best to live by the motto- Chase opportunities, not money. When I was younger and the thought of going to college came up – I thought for sure I would try something business related. I knew making art my major might limit my career choices, but I took a risk because I was passionate about it.  I was fortunate to have teachers who encouraged me to keep drawing, even when I would get in trouble for sketching too much.  I remember my High School art teacher asking me if I considered making Art my college major.   To be honest, at the time I had no clue what I wanted to do in college.  I’m thankful for her and all my teachers along the way-I became an Art major and never looked back. Read more>>

Joseph Neville | Singer Songwriter

When I think “risk,” I think “failure.” A friend of mine recently said to me, “I look forward to failing… it means I’m at least doing something.” That has stuck with me and it’s the attitude I try to have concerning any scenario where risk is involved. The ability to take a chance or a risk is the “buy in” to doing anything unconventional. When I was considering leaving my job and my home I was making a consistent and comfortable income, had great relationships with my students and their families, and was excelling at the charter school I worked for. I knew that to explore some of the deeper desires and dreams I had in my heart and head I was going to have to risk all of that or, rather, risk the possibility that I was making a big mistake and losing something truly incredible for something completely uncertain. Read more>>

Brad Springs | Live Music Venue Owner

Opening a live music venue is a pretty big gamble, especially a live music venue that features only original music. Will the fans show up to see the bands in large enough numbers to keep the doors open is a pretty big risk. Some days are winners some days not so much. Without the risk the reward just isn’t nearly as sweet on those days that wind up winning days. 2020 and Covid has made it even more so between the shut downs, the fear of going out and actually catching a live music performance. Been a rough year but when you are all in there’s nothing you can do but move forward. Read more>>

Jovana Morrison | Artist & Jewelry Designer

Risk. Well, getting up in the morning is a risk. But some risks are more intimidating than others. Risk is uncomfortable but necessary. It has been my experience that most of the risks I have taken in my life have turned out pretty well. Also there is the risk of not taking chances. It’s a foregone conclusion that most new businesses fail. So why bother? I just can’t help myself, I want to make jewelry. I am doing the work. I am studying the market. And I am looking for a path to success. Success being defined as making a living doing what I love. Who could ask for more than that. Read more>>

Steven Terry | Restaurant & Small Business Owner

We looked at “risk” as an opportunity. It pushes you to be that much better at the small things, the fine print. Obviously, as the old saying goes, “no risk, no reward”. The restaurant industry is nothing but risk for the “mom and pop” establishments. We’re self funded, self built, self designed and self ran. We have to minimize the mistakes and adjust quickly to keep costs under control. The “umbrella or protection” isn’t there for local owned businesses, so every decision really counts. Yes, the risks are stressful but the excitement and joy of getting it right seem to outweigh the stress when you’re doing something you love. So a positive mind set and a good work ethic go a long way. Read more>>

Mary Oliver | Drum Circle Facilitator & Instrument Maker

I believe that there are times in your life when the only way to accomplish something you want involves taking a risk. From my experience, if you are listening to the calling of your soul deep within and that is the voice you are following, even if you don’t know exactly where it’s leading, things will usually work out even better than you’d expected or even hoped for. When you stay true to yourself and follow your heart, the universe has a way of lining up the right people and opportunities along the path to assist in bringing about what you desire. I lived in Southeast Kentucky my entire life and in 2016, at the age of 57, I retired from my teaching position of 34 years, packed what would fit in my car, and my son and I headed to Texas. Read more>>

Kendrick Carroll | Web Designer & Illustrator

Risk-taking has been a game-changer in my life. It has been mainly within the last 7 years of my life that I have become very comfortable with this concept. I either win, or I learn a valuable lesson that couldn’t have learned any other way. Taking risks has really shown me what I’m really capable of, and I’ve met some fantastic people by doing so. I have taken a lot of risks from simple things like dancing in front of strangers, door-knocking in sales, all the way to making calculated risks in business investments. I think it’s important for any goal-oriented person to become comfortable with risk-taking. Read more>>

Kenny Bowers | Restauranteur

I think risk taking is important in life, if you don’t take risks you can not accomplish much. “Growth begins at the end of your comfort zone” However, risk must be calculated and managed. “no good oil man ever takes 100% of the deal” You never want to put all your poker chips in the middle of the table because you never know what can happen. If risk is managed, even if you strike out its not a death sentence, you get up, lick your wounds and move on to the next deal. But if you risk everything and whatever it is does not work, it makes it very difficult to recover. Read more>>