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.

Dawn Sands | Owner of NRG Nutrition Ready to Go

Yes, Big Risk, Big Rewards! This is true but it really depends on how one views reward. Almost three years ago, I walked away from a six figure paycheck and fully paid medical insurance. I was always big on saving so I had what I deemed as enough cushion to so to speak to last me a year. I gave myself two options, take the big leap to open the business I’ve been planning for three years prior to the Decision to resign or find another similar job. I realized only a few weeks after I resigned that I was jot going back to work for another firm right away but rather I would take the risk and invest my savings into a business. I gave my self peace in knowing that I the option to return to a job would always be there. Immediately, I went all-in. It was the most scariest feeling ever. Never ever had I felt this vulnerable and out or control. My livelihood now depended on whether or not people liked my product. Read more>>

Keritan Shelby | Credit Expert & Real Estate Investor

Taking risks has played an integral part in my life so far. I believe that if you aren’t taking risks in your life, you are being stagnant and not using that pressure as an opportunity to grow in whatever it is that you want to do in life. For me, I took a risk moving from Mississippi to Texas without knowing anyone, I didn’t care honestly and I liked it haha, and then investing $30k+ into myself and various businesses to get to the level of success that I strive for. Pressure makes diamonds and being a risk-taker plays a huge part in someone achieving their goals. There is no way around it. Read more>>

Kristin Delgado | Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Dallas DFW

Growing up, my father encouraged me to live life to the fullest. He was always on the hunt for an adventure, never happy to simply settle for a mediocre life. He took risks in his professional life and his personal life. When I was 11, he got accepted to a Fullbright Teacher Exchange Program, and our family moved to Zimbabwe for a year. Life at remote Dadaya High School outside of Zvishavane was like nothing we had ever experienced before- it was uncomfortable. It was unknown. It was truly taking a risk in life with no guarantee of the outcome. When I am fearful or anxious about a new situation, I remember my father’s spirit of adventure. I want to live a full life and that means not passing on exciting new opportunities. Rather than focusing on the outcome, I focus on enjoying the experience and being open to new adventures. Read more>>

Simona Knapp | Director of Operations & KPIs Consultant

I’ve always considered myself to be more risk-adverse, seeker of stability, and longing for a consistent and predictable routine. However, my story, both in my personal and entrepreneurial journey, would say otherwise. If you would’ve asked me this question 3 years ago, I would’ve said that risk should really be evaluated and thought through before jumping all in to something. While that’s still true to a certain extent today, I would have laughed at the thought of me, an accountant and financial analyst who works a 9-5 at a cushy corporate office job, venturing off on her own and starting her own business. Too risky. I was safe where I was. However, that’s exactly what ended up happening. Now when I encounter risk, I still do evaluate it and try to mitigate it, however, more importantly, I think about what’s waiting on the other side of this risk, what opportunities could come from it, and what God may have in store for me that I couldn’t have even imagined. I think when I realized how unfulfilled I was, my pursuit of my dream far outweighed the risk and challenges it took to get there. Read more>>

Arrington Chadwick | Founder of Royal Fifty Two & Entrepreneur

Although I am a young adult, my life has taken me down many paths that have left me forced to make difficult decisions. Starting my clothing brand at the early age of 14 was a much larger risk to take on than I could have imagined when it was only a dream in my head. Funding a startup in my early teenage years would be an enduring task as I spent months on end working for $6 an hour to scrape up the change to pour $400 into creating my first ever garment to put out to the public. Although $400 may seem small to some, taking every opportunity not spent in a classroom to yet again risk every penny for a dream that could have left me empty felt like spending a fortune to an 8th grade student who had faced many financial hardships growing up. With the possibility to lose it all, this situation opened my eyes to not only the chances offered in the business world but everyday life. Since that day my outlook has changed and allowed me to envision what could become of the chances that we take. Read more>>

Frankie Garcia III | Artist | Curator | Advisor

Staring my own business was a HUGE risk. As a creative thinker and artist, I take risks… its part of the process. When I approach a new canvas, I start with an idea… but all along the way, I’m taking risks. I’m trying new appications I’ve yet to refine, I’m using new color palettes I’ve not used before, I’m confidently moving through these risks and it eventually becomes second nature. I apply this same approach to running my business. There is not a “plan B”. I develop new templates, strategies, concepts for each client and/or opportunity and these do not always work. So, I evolve and pivot until I find a resolution. Our current reality has proven to be my most difficult challenge as a business owner. The pandemic has literally forced me to take more risks than I’ve ever had to face before and I’ve had to adapt to survive. Living my life as a professional artist for the last 24 years has definately helped me navigate my way through these most difficult times. Art is my life and living life as an artist is the only way I know how to live. We take risks, it’s what we do. Read more>>

Gracen Lewis | Character Performer & Owner of Reign Princess Parties

Starting a business at sixteen was a huge risk, balancing school life and friends on top of trying to run a company has been a bit stressful at times. Starting a business at the start of COVID can be even more of a risk. I started my company in January of 2020 and officially opened for business a week after my seventeenth birthday. I invested all of my birthday money and savings into jump starting Reign Princess Parties, I purchased costumes, wigs, and all party materials needed and dived head first into things. I was terrified, what if this was a flop? What if no one booked? What if I failed? These thoughts were ones I had daily. My parents were very supportive. They told me this was my decision and my responsibility, and while that meant I was in charge and on my own, they would support me nonetheless. My dad helped me research all of the business logistics while my mom helped me with vocal training, costumes, wig styling and hiring employees. By February of 2021 we had already participated in a local parade, held a fundraiser and toy drive for The Salvation Army, and booked multiple parties. Read more>>

Jeanetta Thomas | CEO and Founder iEsteem

I’ve always been cautious when it comes to taking risks. My personality is more on the conservative play-it-safe side. For the most part, any risk I’ve taken has been with a backup plan. However, I understand that true growth can’t occur without some level of risk. There are three ingredients that I must have before I consider taking a risk. Passion plays a huge part in the amount of risk that I’m willing to take. The greater passion I have, the larger risk I’m willing to take. When I was younger I took a risk and left everything to move from Jersey to Texas with nothing to fall back on. It was the best decision I’ve ever made! My passion for wanting a fresh start was greater than the weight of the risk. Belief in myself and faith in God are the other two ingredients that drive me to take risks. No matter how great the opportunity I’m presented with, there’s always a voice inside of me that says, “I can do this.” Whenever a risk appears to be too great especially when it comes to my career it’s normally because I don’t want it bad enough. Read more>>

Ashley Cook | Copywriter, Copy Coach, & Retail Storyteller

Likely without knowing it, both of my parents raised me to be a risk-taker. After my parents divorced when I was four-years-old, my brother and I lived with my mom in a worn-out 1950s home in a rundown part of town. She raised us with the belief of “you always have options.” When I was 10, my dad moved overseas to Thailand, and by the time I was 12, I made my first trip abroad. Before long, my brother, grandmother, and I were hopping the ocean every summer. We rose elephants, crawled on ancient temples, and sailed down floating markets. The juxtaposition was like a fairy tale. It was because of them that I had the courage to leave my small hometown and go get my undergrad degree in business at UT Austin. Stepping into other cultures empowered me to accept an internship in China when I couldn’t speak a lick of Mandarin. Knowing I had love and support fueled me to leave my corporate job during The Great Recession to pursue my Masters in Intercultural Studies. Read more>>

Melanie Rodriguez | Student at University of Houston

Taking risks is how we grow. Without risks, there is no change, no growth, and no opportunity to learn. Rather you stay in the position, unmoving and without progress. One of the biggest risks I took in my life was opting to attend junior college in a different city. At first, the transition was hard, and just as soon as I arrived, I found myself put on academic probation. Nonetheless, it was in college, that for the first time in my academic career, I was finally able to establish a study plan that suited me best. It was where I learned to grow up, take responsibility for my actions, and take the necessary steps to ensure my success. Read more>>

Midora Smith | Creative Director

Sapphire Chic Modeling Group started as a risk- Realizing I should keep – Going, Creating, learning and building. Many avenues for a RISK, all risks are not bad, some are growth building and worth the effort. Knowing the market, analyzing data, trends, clients and having a product or skill that someone wants is golden. I have always been a Creative, working on projects, seeking out fun things to do. I have been with a large Bellydance troupe for over 20 years, A licensed Interior Designer for over 25 years and that has been confidence building from designing spaces and preforming live, working with fabrics, costuming, and designing my own outfits. Coming from an Air Force family, we have been blessed with our parents drive and we don’t quit!! Risk – Realizing I Should Keep Sapphire Chic going because I am passionate about small business and the amazing rewards that come from creating. Doing something outside the industry standards, having a say in how you want your business ran and giving back by mentoring aspiring models. Read more>>

Jae Graham-Anciso | Cannabis Advocate & CEO of MARYJAE®

Risk has always been a necessary element of everything I do. Beginning with the risk of introducing my dad to cannabis when he was sick, to the risks we take daily with MaryJae, risk runs like a thread through all of my experiences, and it has created this beautiful life I never could have imagined. Risk was the guide that walked me through selling our house and everything in it so we could create MaryJae. It’s the third partner in our business as we make decisions every day that affect the delicate balance we have between our company, cannabis, and our community. Risk warns us of all the outcomes that could result from our decisions and gives us the insight to make the best choices. It also brings us gratitude when we know we made the right decisions for ourselves and our customers. If it wasn’t for risk, we wouldn’t have achieved this level of success in building our dream, finding our community, or creating a safe space for all people. Read more>>

Justin Botelho | Photgrapher & Videographer

To live the life you envision will always require immense risk. Nothing is achieved in a comfort zone. As a full-time creative building, a living off your craft is no easy task it’s a daily battle to achieve what I set out to create. I feel as though all creators tend to be their biggest critics and tend to make things harder on themselves in the process, but within that is what builds character. Ultimately everything we do in life or as a career choice poses its risks and rewards! My outlook is tackle it head-on. Read more>>

Monique Muhammad | Author, Coach, Entrepreneur, Speaker & Philanthropist

I believe in the old adage which says “Without Risk there is no Reward” I also have always felt that anything worth having must be worked hard for, no matter what obstacles start out in your way or are thrown in your way through your journey. Everything that I have overcome or accomplished happened because I was willing to take the risk of beating or achieving. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer at the age of 32 after just having my first biological child and had not I been willing to take the risks of taking chemotherapy while also still working as a self employed hairstylist I may not have been able to survive Cancer as well as provide for my family while doing so. I have been solely an entrepreneur for the past 21 years while being a single parent of 3 daughters and being willing to do that is an extreme risk within itself. Knowing that I have and have had 3 young girls who would one day be women watching my every move led me to live a life of an extreme risk taker. Read more>>

Marcus X Russell | President & Founder

In 2019 I had been working for Dallas College for ten years. I didn’t have a degree so my pay was sub par but my work ethic was stellar. That summer I worked under TexPrep at Cedar Valley College. We had one of the largest robotics stem programs in the state of Texas and I was the Program Service Coordinator and at the end of the camp my director told me that I wasn’t going to get paid for my last 40 hours until next summer . I immediately resigned knowing that and went to his supervisor who approved my hours. I was so upset because I needed that last check and paid the fee to file my 501(c)3 for Commissary Is Very Necessary, Inc but I also needed that job I thought. It was a big risk because if this didn’t work out I had nothing to fall back on. Fast forward to summer 2020 the Cedar Valley College s closed due to COVID-19 and all part time employees have been fired and my department has been shut down. Read more>>

Cori Jacoby | Owner/Hair Stylist of Eight One Seven Salon & Gallery

Taking risks has truly played a huge part in the success of my business. I took a risk going to beauty school. I took a risk by promoting my Instagram and building a clientele while in beauty school. I took a risk when I decided I wanted to work for myself directly after graduation and I’ve been taking risks ever since by truly being myself. I wear what I want to wear, I speak how I want to speak, I play the music I want to play in my salon, I promote/support what/who I want and I think being my authentic self instead of a “customer service” version, if that makes sense, has helped me not only build my clientele but also keep them coming back to me time and time again. Read more>>

Brittani Moore | Creator of Reborn Interior Designs

I visualize risk as a bridge to success. Without risk their would be no activation behind someone’s aspirations; in either their personal or career life. Risk provides the opportunity to exercise faith without knowing the outcome. I believe this is where life’s greatest achievements happen. Often times people identify “risk” as a negative word intertwined with the heavy meaning of possible loss or hurt. Instead the word “risk” should be affiliated with the power of opportunity. Through my relationship in Christ, I have learned that God works in His own way at His own pace and He has called us to trust Him in all phases of the process. Faith can be risky business, but you are living a life of loss if you do not activate your opportunity to grow; a product of risk and determination. After working for five years as a special education teacher, I took a risk and left my educational career to open my own business and pursue my brand. Read more>>

Aaron Harris | Non-Profit Executive, TEDx Speaker, Education Consultant

Throughout the course of life, I’ve always viewed risk-taking as “the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.” However, as I’ve matured and after taking a few risk, I’ll change my approach to say “the bigger the risk, the more preparation and courage you need.”Risk-Taking is at it’s basic and most simplest form, one’s ability to bet on and believe in themselves. No one will believe in you, advocate for you, or create more opportunities for you, than you can for yourself. Throughout the course of my life, risk-taking has been a constant. Whether it’s been trying new things or activities, business ventures, career opportunities, meeting new people, traveling new places, or doing things that others feared, risk-taking has always been apart of my life. Risk are full of unknowns, therefore when approaching an unknown, you feel anxious and often uncertain. However, what if we approached risk-taking from the mind frame of “what if this goes right?” We become more confident, we empower ourselves to continuously try new things without the fear of failure or hesitation. Read more>>

Chloe McGlover | LMT Owner of Massage Artz @TheOasis

The second you decide that you want to start a business the risk immediately begins. You start planning your money and getting your ideas together for the vision God has given you. It’s like stepping out on faith. It’s a major risk to decide to be a business owner. When I finally said I’m gonna go for it I scaled back my hours from my fully financially supportive job to free up some time for my own business. People around me were supportive but slightly negative about me taking the leap . So I didn’t tell everyone what I was doing because I didn’t want their negative thoughts to seep into my courage. I’m not gonna lie it was hard for a few months there. Some of the clients that I thought would immediately transfer over didn’t. I had to just keep marketing and know that if you build it they will come! I went a couple of months seriously worried that I wasn’t going to be able to pay all my bills but I had to leave my schedule open enough to see clients of my own. Read more>>

Thomas Petty | Artist & Professional Art Handler

Risk is inherent in any creative field when the work is based on your skill and style. Risk for me feels more like a motivator, to do my research, utilize all the tools at my disposable, and to stay versatile in my approach to being a successful artist. The life of a struggling artist is equivalent to the life of an entrepreneur, and in todays society you must have the mind set of both to be a successful artist. For this reason I try to practice good business with my art, building my brand using good design methods and utilizing the modern technologies and platforms available today. Read more>>