Every twist in our story, challenge we face, and obstacle we overcome is an important part of our story. These difficulties make us stronger and wiser and prepare us for what’s ahead. As we grow and succeed we may imagine that soon the challenges will fade away, but in our conversations with business owners, artists, creatives, academics, and others we have learned that the most common experience is that challenges never go away – instead they get more complex as we grow and succeed. Our ability to to thrive therefore depends heavily on our ability to learn from our experiences and so we are asking some of the city’s best and brightest: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Cynthea Thomas | Entrepreneur & Jewelry Designer
A lesson I have learned is to never compare myself to others. By doing this I don’t progress to where I want to be and it’s not a great place to be in. I am unique in my own way and I want to spread joy and love through what I create during my journey.
RJ Monae | Fitness Coach
The most important lesson I’ve learned so far is, “”You have to change to grow and to grow you have to change”. I think we all expect change throughout our lives. The mistake many make is that we don’t change personally. We hope to be the same in every area of our lives and not realizing that a different version of “”YOU”” is required. The key to change is “”YOU””. I learned that about seven years ago and begin to put pieces of my life back together.
I had to learn things don’t always happen the way we want them to. We tend to give up then accept things as they are. The action of not accepting leads to depression, weight gain, health issues, and stress levels. Don’t be hard on yourself; embrace every mistake, failure, disappointment, and heartache. I have been in health and fitness for about seven years. I officially started fitness coaching about four years ago to coach people through the process of change and becoming the best version of themselves. Many already know what to do; they need someone to guide and educate them to make the best choices for their lifestyle needs.
I have been a mentor and coach for 14 years. I have dedicated my life to help others become the person they’ve always wanted to be. My health, fitness, and lifestyle have taught me no matter what area or stage you are in your life, change is required. In the past seven years, I have worked to claim my independence back. Now, I want to help others to reclaim theirs through health and fitness because it’s never too late. “Don’t be afraid to change, be afraid to STAY the same”.
Christina Curas | Digital Marketing for snack startup and healthy recipe creator
Be true to yourself, your beliefs and your passions. If others don’t agree with you that’s okay, you can’t please everyone. I’ve learned if you share authentic content that you are truly passionate about you will reach others with the same passion. That’s what community building is all about. I prefer to do that in all aspects of my life. As humans, we are all influencers in some capacity and it’s our duty to share authentically, not solely based on compensation.
Tiffany Hayes | REALTOR & Author
I’ve learned to change the way I measure success. Someone once said, “Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become.” I must become the solution to someone’s problem, then and only then will I truly be successful.
Landis Dorsey | Artist and Family man
In my journey so far I’ve learned that patience is vital to the growth process no matter what your situation may be. A saying that my pastor uses has helped me “Life’s a cinch inch by inch.”
Olivia Delancey | Certified Nurse Practitioner & Aesthetic Injector
Throughout this journey, I’ve learned how important it is to listen to my clients. Each person is different and understanding their individual concerns is priority. I build relationships with my patients, helping them feel comfortable discussing their wants, needs, and even their insecurities. I like to have a clear understanding of what my clients are seeing in the mirror. This way, I can create a customized treatment plan for each client, boosting their confidence while keeping their results natural and undetectable.
Vanessa Blanco | Salon General Manager by day & Aspiring Cake Artist by night
Never give up. I used to stress myself so much with trying to work full time, be a mom full time, and baking/decorating cakes. Thinking that I didn’t have enough time to do it all. So much so that I had even considered giving it up. But With patience and practice you learn how to balance. I now know the tricks to breaking up different parts of the cake making process up in to multiple days so I don’t stress like I used to. Now its enjoyable like when I first took my very first cake decorating class!
Sebastian Yancy | MMA Fitness Trainer & Co-founder of Non-Profit Sweat 4 Service
I’ve learned that in life you must do what you love. Too often do people drain their souls away doing what they dislike daily & gel as though they don’t have time to do what they are love. But if you can figure a way(& there always is a way) to make what you love benefit you, your soul will be energized to do & create more happiness & success. & to give a way to share that with others, is a gift spawned of love that everyone can receive.
Rocio Zapata | Home Baker & Cake Decorator
The most important thing I’ve learned is to have a clean working area and be kind and respectful with clients. One more thing would be to always give good quality, presentation, and lastly good flavor for the product. In this business of pastries we never stop learning, we will always learn new things to improve.
Kristen Vollinger | Believer in the strength of a new day and its noms
First things first, I must state anyone who says, “I forgot to eat today”, absolutely makes zero sense to me. Not sure if I am envious of their free thinking and lack of time spent planning their next meal or if these are just deeply sad souls. ha. joke. Okay. So What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your journey so far? I believe it is key to stay true to your WHY (why are you doing this?) and asking yourself this question often. To help reach your why and stay focused, I try to surround myself with what I want to see more of in the world, especially on social media. When posting my own content, I want to be excited about it and not have it based in a belief of what is expected of me as a food blogger. I believe the message in return is more genuine and interesting. If I start posting what I believe others want to see, then I’m not being true to myself and my passion. I will not be favored by all, yet I wont have lost sight of the reason why I started this journey. We will never live this exact day again, so let’s celebrate it with some delightful tastes.
Christy Zuehl | Owner | Life Coach | Chief Designer @ EDIT Learning & Design, LLC
At EDIT Learning & Design, LLC. I provide life coaching, course design and training facilitation services. This business evolved from my passion for learning design, and mentoring others. It takes time to build a business and create a client base. When you are building a business and planning for how it will be structured, you need to factor in time to get the business off the ground and build your reputation. Hard work, dedication, and flexibility are important factors in getting started. Having a clear brand and product is also important. People have to understand the services you are offering and how you can help them to be more productive and achieve their goals.
Kymberly Smith | Dallas Blogger
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is to be resilient and always be motivated. I have not always been able to bounce back from rejection in reference to wanting to start my own blog. This is something that I’ve wanted to do since I was in the military. It wasn’t until I joined the military that words like resilience, motivation and determination became part of my daily life. Because of that, any time someone said I couldn’t do something, it made me push myself more, it made me work harder because I wanted to succeed.
Clara Warner | twenty-something lifestyle blogger | graphic designer + integrated marketing specialist
The most important lesson I’ve learned so far is to grant yourself some grace. I think we all expect a lot from ourselves these days no matter what profession we are in or how old we are – we all feel such a determination to be perfect and successful in everything we do. But things don’t always go as planned; you don’t always get everything right on the first try. Instead of being so hard on yourself and expecting perfection at every turn, grant yourself some grace – relish every mess up, embrace your “failures”, take time to process your emotions. The most successful people are often the ones who failed a lot during their own journey and they recognize that “success in a day” is (in most cases) unattainable. Every goal takes time to achieve and it won’t always be sunshine and daisies, so celebrate the good days and the bad. And most importantly, never invalidate your feelings of failure, but rather grant yourself the grace to feel that way and then rally. My all-time favorite quote is, “live imperfectly with great delight” and I think that exquisitely encompass this whole idea; take delight in your imperfections and allow yourself the grace to grow in your own way and at your own pace.
Eve ksabi | fashion, fitness and life style blogger
I have learned it all about pursuing your dreams and your ambition. It about your vision, your personal style and the ability inspire other while staying true to yourself. You must Embark on your journey with a clear goal of how to turn your dream to reality. I started my fashion and fitness blog in an attempt to inspire and motivate women to love themselves from the inside out. It was not an easy journey and there were lots of bumps along the way! One thing I’ve learned during my journey is that success can happen if you truly believe in your passion, if you are consistent, and if you are pursuing your passion from your heart. My journey through the blogging world has taught me that inspiring people can cross any barrier of race, religion, or age. People love to be inspired by others and we are all connected.
Vanessa Fields AKA 1/2 of the ATXFoodChronicles team | Communications Coordinator for TTIA
The most important lesson we have learned from starting our Instagram account is to not compare our accounts successes to anyone else. While everyone is hustling and doing their own thing, it is easy to go down a rabbit hole of comparing your photo quality, amount of likes, event invites etc. to theirs but we have quickly learned that this will get you no where. Our motto is, have fun, focus on your own journey but always remember to support one another. Community over competition is key!
Cori Aston | Makeup Artistry (Editorial, Avant-Garde, Fashion, Commercial. Beauty, Private Clients)
In this world of creatives, (Makeup, Hair, Photography, etc.) and with each diverse genre…creating and embracing our community is such a VITAL facet for growth, opportunities, new experiences and challenges. My advice to any artist, no matter the medium, embrace their fellow artist in all fields. Because we are all the individual threads in this intricate weave that is our profession – creating ART. There is only one of you…always stay true to your vision.
Candace Hughes | Co Owner of Dérive Media
Focus on what is important to you. We often spend so much time stressing over the small stuff and forget about the simple blessings that surround us everyday. Everything happens for a reason, truly and sometimes it doesn’t make sense, but trust in God always. Every time that I’ve felt rejected and disappointed, there has always been something better in store! A positive attitude changes your whole mindset in addition to encouraging the people around you! Life is a continuous learning experience and hard work pays off. Have an open mind, live your life to the fullest, pursue your dreams and goals! The job that you are passionate about is not random, it’s your calling! Most importantly fill your days with experiences, not material things.
Dawn Treader | a nonprofit who is raising awareness to defend and protect the rights of widows and orphans through the exploration of local artist, live music, and some dang good coffee
The most important lesson we’ve learned is, the process is more important than the prize. The process itself is the prize. Providing for orphans and widows is our oxygen, its our DNA. We don’t build homes for orphans and widows over night. It takes time. Our dream is to change lives all over the world but that begins with taking advantage of every hour and disciplining ourselves to be competitive for the helpless over time. We live for the PROCESS.
Ria Hartfield and my business is Locs By Ria
The most important lesson I learned so far was to believe in myself because and not sell myself short. I’m a self-taught stylist so I was very insecure about my work. I wasn’t 100% sure if I was even doing it right but my clients would be extremely satisfied with the results. Some of my clients won’t even go to other stylists. It took a long time for me to recognize my worth as a loctician and to realize that I really am talented.
Loviatar’s | Vintage Event Rentals & Interior Curation
A valuable trait we have had to channel is patience. As designers that deal in predominantly vintage goods, we are always on the hunt for unique and eclectic items. Often times it would be easier to pick up a missing piece at a conventional retailer but we know that the end result is that much more rewarding if we put in the extra time to hunt down the perfect piece. We are finding that people truly do appreciate the little details and the story that is attached to each object, making our efforts worthwhile!
Letty Stewart | Lash Artist & Esthetician
In my journey I have experienced so many things. It hasn’t been easy but with the help of my family I have finally found my dream job which is a Lash Artist at Peachy Keen Studio and I am so happy to be where I am at now. My obstacles in life have been tough from dropping out of high school to abusive relationships but I have managed to find the light at the end of the tunnel. My biggest accomplishments have been thanks to my husband. He’s inspired me to be who I am today. I know that my children will be inspired as well to be better and create a world full of joy and love.
Joshua Harris | Professional athlete | Fitness consultant
The harder you work, the less you worry. When your work ethic is at a high level, that eliminates any doubt you may experience because you know how hard you’re working and that gives you an unwavering amount of confidence.
Kiesha Hick | Entrepreneur, Eye Candi Bar
The important lesson I have learned on my journey so far is, self importance, self development and patience, while coming out of my comfort zone, to do what I was called to do, empowering women, and giving them the confidence to look and feel beautiful!
TK Kader | Author of the international best seller “How to Punch the Sunday Jitters in the Face”, Entrepreneur and Angel Investor
You can accomplish anything you want in life and become unstoppable as long as you practice belief x discipline.
Alexandra Goodman | designer
You are going to have some negative experiences. It could be as simple as someone not liking your work or being denied an application to participate in a local art show. You cannot let those experiences define you. Do not let them become setbacks. Keep pushing forward. Focus on the praise you receive from clients and their genuine appreciation for your creations.
Acenette Gonzalez and Justin Ramirez | Owners of Maravilla Cacao Confections
A valuable lesson I’ve learned on my journey is collaboration is a key to success. I say this because collaborating with others brings inspiration from places you never thought to seek it from. It has allowed me to to create with others on different artistic platforms and see different points of views. All while helping that other independent business as well. The great thing about being a small business owner is the support from other small business owners. We all want to see each other succeed and that’s a beautiful thing to me.
Elena Jones | Mom | Wife | Entrepreneur
Moving to a new country has been a great challenge. To start again, especially while tending to young children, was much more difficult than I imagined. Throughout this journey, I have learned that success, in its truest sense, doesn’t come with haste or ease, but to those who exercise the three P’s: passion, persistence, and patience. First, in order to accomplish anything noteworthy, you have to have an unyielding passion for your work with a single, noble goal in mind: an objective that goes beyond your own material success and that truly benefits your clients and the greater community. If you don’t believe in the product or service you’re selling, then you need to be selling something else. Second, I have learned that very little can be accomplished unless you are persistent in chasing your dream; this means waking up in the morning with a plan of micro-goals to accomplish for the day and repeating that routine until you see results. Every day is an obstacle course that must be navigated with focus and tenacity. It also means adapting strategies that are not working, yet keeping your overall mission in mind. Finally, I have learned that nothing meaningful can be achieved without patience and that an enduring success can only be accomplished over time. The old saying, “good things come to those who wait,” may be dismissed nowadays, but it rings true in my life. The setbacks we experience—the lost sale, the incomplete checklist, the long-term client who decided to go elsewhere—are opportunities to better learn our business and grow in virtue. There is no such thing as failure as long as we continue to see the big picture and keep moving in the right direction.
Magnolia Elvis | music producer & recording engineer
You have to always be prepared to work; even on your off days.
Addie Roberts | Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach
The most important lesson I’ve learned is that people don’t thrive under more rules around what NOT to do with food. Instead, I’ve found that lasting change is made and people are able to flourish and achieve their goals when the coaching message is promoted as food freedom without obsession around what they’re eating.
Kelly Harrod | Body Liberation/Self Love Advocate
The most important thing I’ve learned on my journey so far is the importance of flexibility. So many times we plan with good intentions as society tells us that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Some times life does it’s own thing, causing out beautifully crafted plans to fall by the wayside. Learning to be flexible has allowed me to be more forgiving of myself and others when things don’t go as I had hoped.