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  1. Blog
  2. Career Development
  3. December 11, 2020

50 Risk-Taking Quotes to Inspire Growth & Confidence

Dare to dare

Woman jumping near mountains
Photo courtesy of Peter Conlan

Risk-taking is the act of exposing yourself to danger, harm, or loss. And while that might not sound like a great idea (who wants to lose everything?), the adage, “No risk, no reward” rings true regardless of how you feel about potential flops. You have to put yourself out there in order to get what you want.

Throughout your career, good risks equal self-advocacy and self-confidence. You take positive risks when you:

Is there potential for failure? Sure. But often, failure is rejection or a chance for innovation—and knowing how to harness both can push you forward both personally and professionally. 

Let these words of wisdom inspire you to take more risks and reap the rewards. Here are 50 quips from gutsy women willing to chase their dreams.

Read more: 36 Quotes About Failure That Will Lift You Up

50 risk-taking quotes to inspire growth and confidence

1. “I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity, is daring to dare.”

—Maya Angelou

2. “I mean happiness comes from facing challenges and going out on a limb and taking risks. If you’re not willing to take a risk for something you really care about, you might as well be dead.”

—Diane Frolov

3. “Accept that all of us can be hurt, that all of us can--and surely will at times–fail. I think we should follow a simple rule: if we can take the worst, take the risk.”

—Joyce Brothers

5. “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”

—Marissa Mayer

6. “If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.”

—Nora Roberts

7. “That's the risk you take if you change: that people you've been involved with won't like the new you. But other people who do will come along.”

—Lisa Alther

8. “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.”

—Oprah Winfrey

9. “If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.”

—Geena Davis 

10. “The reward is in the risk.”

—Rachel Cohn

12. “You only do good work when you’re taking risks and pushing yourself.”

—Sally Hawkins

13. “When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.”

―Ellen DeGeneres

14. “To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world—an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control—that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame.

That says something very important about the condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel—something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility.”

—Martha Nussbaum

15. “Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

—Helen Keller

17. “Just try new things. Don't be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar.”

—Michelle Obama

18. “It is funny that so many people are conditioned to believe having a job is the risk free way to live. But employees have less control over what happens to their income than entrepreneurs. Simon Cowell said he started businesses because he didn’t want to live in fear. I see working for yourself as a way to have more freedom and control.”

—Gail Gardner

19. “Living with fear stops us from taking risks, and if you don’t go out on the branch, you’re never going to get the best fruit.”

—Sarah Parish

21. “The ground beneath you is shifting, and either you get sucked in by holding on to old ways, or you take a giant step forward by taking some risks and seeing what happens.”

—Bonnie Hammer

22. “I needed the push. Now, more than ever, young women need more seasoned women to provide that encouragement, to take a risk, to go for it. Once a glass ceiling is broken, it stays broken.”

—Jennifer Grahnolm

23. “To live, to TRULY live, we must be willing to RISK. To be nothing in order to find everything. To leap before we look.”

—Mandy Hale

24. “We tend to be held back from our goals by the simplicity of our comfort zones… but just how comfortable are we? Wouldn’t we be more content living in our dreams?”

—Michelle Ustaszeski

25. “You can’t be successful in business without taking risks. It’s really that simple.”

—Adena Friedman

27. “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”

—Audre Lorde

28. “Risk: no full life occurs without it.”

—Gina Greenlee

29. “When you play it too safe, you’re taking the biggest risk of your life. Time is the only wealth we’re given.”

—Barbara Sher

30. “Only those who play win. Only those who risk win. History favors risk-takers. Forgets the timid. Everything else is commentary.”

—Iveta Cherneva

31. “But we also believe in taking risks, because that’s how you move things along.”

—Melinda Gates

33. “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

—Eleanor Roosevelt

34. “When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth.  So what the hell, leap.”

—Cynthia Heimel

35. “A life lesson for me is, how do you muster the courage to take on a new risk? Whether it’s starting up a business or taking on a new project or expedition. I think the risks that we take are all relative to the risk-taker.”

—Ann Bancroft

36. “Trust the still, small voice that says, ‘this might work and I’ll try it.’”

—Diane Mariechild

37. “There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask 'What if I fall?' Oh but my darling, what if you fly?"

—Erin Hanson

39. “That's the risk you take if you change: that people you've been involved with won't like the new you. But other people who do will come along.”

—Lisa Alther

40. “If you don't risk anything, you risk even more.”

—Erica Jong

41. “A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for.”

Grace Hopper

42. “If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business because we’d be too cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”

—Annie Dillard

43. “Devote today to something so daring even you can't believe you're doing it.”

—Oprah Winfrey

44. “Being safe doesn’t mean you won’t be sorry.”

—Katerina Stoykova Klemer

46. “If you want to stand out, don’t be different. Be outstanding.”

—Meredith West

47. “It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”

—Erma Bombeck

48. “Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.”

—Gertrude Stein

49. You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don't win, at least you can be satisfied that you've tried. If you don't accept failure as a possibility, you don't set high goals, and you don't branch out, you don't try—you don't take the risk.”

—Rosalynn Carter

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Photo of Beth Castle

Beth Castle

Managing Editor, InHerSight

Beth Castle is on staff at InHerSight, where she writes about workplace rights, diversity and inclusion, allyship, and feminism. Her bylines include Fast Company, Charlotte magazine, The Charlotte Observer, SouthPark magazine, Southbound magazine, and Atlanta magazine. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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