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?
Gerardo Davila | Actor
Here’s a brief summary of my acting journey. I started acting as an adult at the age of 29. Before that as a teenager i was in the Garland High School Mighty Owl marching band and part of a rap duo called Latin Royalty. Having experienced this early on in my life was vital for my creativity and a strong work ethic. When i signed with my first agent, he told me to do 3 things to be successful in this business. 1. Always Be Training 2. Always attend every audition possible and 3. Always update your headshots every 2 years. So i immediately joined an acting class where i’ve been training every week for the last 15 years. This year i was accepted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London where i enrolled and trained in the Fall. I plan to return to London in March and August of 2020. My acting instructor also said if i wanted to be one of the greats it would take 10-15 years of hard work aka paying dues. I believe there is no such thing as an overnight success. There’s a saying that goes “the more you learn the more you earn”. I will say that i have been rewarded for my hard work. I think i became an actor by accident or maybe it was my destiny, but i also believe that if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. So the most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is that patience is necessary, persistence is crucial and belief in myself is key in order to survive and achieve success in the entertainment business.
Britta Ward | Luxury Travel Advisor
Networking truly makes the difference between you and someone else, but what truly makes you shine is going the extra mile for people. Giving people that WOW factor weather it is getting someone a bottle of champagne when they check into their hotel that you booked or inviting someone to your family thanksgiving because they can’t get home for the holidays. I live by making people feel included and special to the best of my abilities.
Jerikah Scurlark | Mua & Aspiring Model
The most important lesson I’ve learned so far on my journey is to be yourself. Follow your heart and work hard for your respect and perfecting your craft. A good thing comes to those who wait, but a greater thing comes to those who go after it.
Irene Kun | Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is that it takes a lot of courage to take the first step towards your goals but every step after gets easier. Stay true to yourself and never be afraid to march to the beat of your own drum.
Michael Austin | Spiritual advisor and Life coach
The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far in all of my years is that if you want to succeed you need to really put your time in something and have patience with it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a relationship, a job, or building a house!! Do something right the first time and then you don’t have to do it again!
Connie Chantilis | Two Sisters Catering President and Founder and Connie Chantilis Design Organic Sculpture and Art
Self care is part of my work. Resting and recharging used to seem lazy to me. With two jobs and many obligations, I’ve realized it’s important and essential.
Victoria Tran | Videographer | Photographer
The most important lesson I’ve learned is that it doesn’t hurt to ask, whether it be for opportunities or advice. The worst that can happen is someone saying no. Interested in shooting a concert in the area? Just ask. I actually got my first concert gig by just asking the artist on Snapchat lol!
Melanie Till | Full Time Realtor
As much as I love my iPhone, I also resent it. It has created a world in which everyone demands an immediate response to emails, text messages and phone calls. I have learned that in many situations it is better to let someone wait for a response versus replying instantly. In a negotiation setting, sometimes silence is the best play for my clients. In times of stress it allows you – and the other parties involved – to breath, assess the entire situation and formulate a plan. When we try and multitask, a quick response can read a completely different way than intended. When I look back on my journey, my career and my life, the times when I have taken a breath versus reacted quickly have lead to much better outcomes for not only myself but my clients and family – like the time when my toddler smashed my iWatch to smithereens, a blessing and a curse!
Andres Almazan | Photographer
Throughout my journey in photography the most important lesson I learned is to be inspired because being inspired by other photographers work motivates me to improve my photography skills and to expand my knowledge on photography.
We have learned that when starting a business self-support is mandatory and is definitely needed. Never give up on your personal dreams and the goals that you have made for your business.
Sahar Bhojani | Clinical Research Coordinator at Children’s Health for Oncology/ Hematology | MPH student at UNTHSC and aspiring Physician Assistant (PA)
Life is full of valuable lessons, each second of every day; however, one of the most important lessons that I’ve come to learn to be the most important, is to live life. Two words that are easy to comprehend and advise to yourself, but difficult to put into action. In today’s high paced society, we’re constantly thinking of our daily “to-do’s”, once we make a schedule of how to accomplish them, we move forward to the following day, and so on and so forth. From personal experience, trying to juggle work, school, CrossFit training, family, friends, health, and being present in my life, I always feel that I’m constantly on the go, trying to survive each day. This can become overwhelming at times, but when I started to prioritize my daily tasks it became easier to be present in the moment. Slowly, instead of everything being a priority that day, or trying to make everyone around me content, my priorities were better spaced out, giving me more time to live life. Unfortunately, we live in an all-or-nothing society, which can pressure us to want to take care of everything all at once, or throw in the towel. That shouldn’t be the case. We don’t have enough hours in a day that we need for us to accomplish everything in one day, yet alone a week, but that’s also the beauty of life. We get another chance the next day. This gift of life can’t be confused with becoming lazy and pushing everything off until the next day, thinking that we have more time. It also can’t be confused with being selfish and only navigating your own life without thinking of your loved ones or helping others. That is not how it works, and that is not the point of our journey in life. Our goal in this life should be to be able to take charge of our daily “to-do’s”, by prioritizing what’s important, including the time we need to ourselves to enjoy life. Working in oncology, I have seen firsthand how short this life can be and how easily it can be taken away. We do not need to let the storms of life overwhelm us and throw us off. The storms will come and go- that is life. We need to be the captain of our journey and learn to breathe through the storms, knowing that the sun will shine tomorrow, and to just be present in the moment and live life.
Forsythia Hopkins | Modern Plantswoman & Cacti, Succulent and House Plant Curator
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey with Cacti.On.White is that just like plants growth is organic. If you have a passion for something let that be your driving force on the road to success…. allow it to happen organically and you will never get tired of the ride.
Kevin Giles| Student & Military
The most important lesson I’ve learn is that life does not always go as planned. However, it’s more than one route to get to your destination. Also, consult God in everything you do and do not go against his will. The more you go for what you instead of what his plan and will for you the struggle will get harder and harder. So be obedient!
Mike “taco” pason | professional barber and photographer
Never stop learning and always be open to teaching that was alway my fuel to be better.
Kylene Law | Certified Pilates Instructor and Certified Rossiter System Coach
Working through my own issues with chronic pain, weight gain, unknown causes for autoimmune disorders. I felt 80 years old. Having to figure out the puzzle pieces on my own after the medical community failed me for many years took a toll. A chinese medicine doctor helped me on my journey, I had Breast Implant Illness. I have since explanted with Dr Paul Pin in Dallas, Texas. It seriously made me become a better instructor. It pains me to admit, I use to be “that instructor” that would secretly judged someone if they were overweight. It never occured to me that other issues could be a factor. Getting BII was such a humbling blessing. I now will champion for my clients and will be your biggest supporter. Funny how life works out like that. I am qualified to get you out of pain because I lived with pain for years. I qualified to help you in a body you feel trapped in, I was a prisoner in mine for years. I’m qualified to help you with body issues, I’ve overcome mine and I know your pain. I see you and I don’t judge you.
Kevitta “”KJ”” Jackson | Serial Entrepreneur| Professional Makeup Artist & Real Estate Investor
Growing up I was influenced by my father(a truck driver), who was a man of great discipline, structure and strong organizational skills. My beautiful mother also influenced me as an entrepreneur. She owned a salon in Mississippi called “”Bold and Beautiful Hair Salon””, where I would often watch her meticulously craft the perfect look, all while igniting my passion for the beauty industry. This is where the journey began for me and I would use my little sister (and those around me)as my muse for years to come.
In 2007, my mother passed due to Multiple Sclerosis, my father soon would follow in 2009 in a fatal motorcycle accident. Although I felt stricken, these events would serve as the nucleus of my total growth and transformation. Fueled by the burning desire to continue to bring honor to my parents, (by faith) in 2015 I started my first company in Dallas, Little Dot Solutions. The focus of this company is to offer simple logistics and creative real estate investment solutions to clients in the DFW area. As a serial entrepreneur, you never settle for just one idea, so I was compelled to fulfill my desire. This evolution has led me back to my passion for the beauty industry. There is no greater feeling for me, I love making people beautiful. So, after becoming a certified artist in Dallas, I launched FaceCrown Beauty in 2019 offering professional makeup services and classes throughout DFW.
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is that we all have the power to re-invent ourselves. Peace is the new wealth!
Stephen Davis | Husband, Father, Friend, Engineer, Photographer, Videographer, Tinkerer, and All Around Good Guy
The best ROI is investing in yourself; always remain true to yourself; be observant.
Jaidyn Nicole | Multi-Method Extension Artist
The most important lesson I have learned as an extension artist is that there is no one single technique that is right for every client. We all have different hair needs and wants, with that being said, your service can be focused on just density and/or length. There are a wide range of colors and styles to choose from. The customization is solely dependent on the artist’s recommendation and the clients preference.
Nikki Koenig | Vegan Foodie | Traveler | Consultant
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my 6-year ethical vegan journey is to always question how things are produced.
Jon Atwood | Award Winning Custom Builder
When clients are interviewing me as a possible contractor for their most passionate possession I’d like to stress to them to Find Someone they like, someone proven to be honest and trustworthy not just a YES man, and then tell them along the way that your either happy or concerned about the process, Its a relationalship experience and not just a quick business sale.
Kinome McGrane | hair magician and color specialist
The biggest lesson I have learned in my journey as a stylist is that honest and direct communication is the most important. And the first step of communication is really listening!
Sylvia Flanagan | Wife | Mother of five | Minister and Entrepreneur
In the midst of chaos (life), find your place of peace!
Sung Won, MD | Regenerative & Longevity Doctor
I have learned that health is a choice. After long research on longevity and regenerative medicine, I believe humans have he ability to live healthy ’til 120 years old, but we damage our body long before it needs to be repaired. Nutrition and lifestyle modification has tremendous power to prevent disease and heal our body. Also, we must live our life in harmony with our planet and all beings. By going whole food plant based vegan, you will be compassionate to your body as well as our planet and all the animals.
Matt Swinney | Founder, Fashion By Texas
Collaborate. Entrepreneurs tend to live in a bubble, but my greatest creativity and ideas are usually inspired by others. By being open to collaboration, really smart people come into your life on a daily basis and really special things can happen. The fashion industry is cutthroat but in our little slice of it, we do everything we can to work with as many people as we can.
Maddy Frankow | Hairstylist at Charlie + Co Fort Worth
The path to being a great stylist is not a linear one. There are so many different skills you need to posess. It is a constant learning and growing experience!
Amarachi Clement | Professional Makeup Artist
If I were to say that I’ve learned 1 lesson throughout my journey as a Makeup Artist and Business Woman, I would be making that up! Lol I’ve learned so many lessons.. Some from others and some, just from life experiences. The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is to not be a slave to fear and to see myself through my eyes and not others! I can not tell you how many times I’ve let opportunities, ideas and dreams pass by because of fearing that I was not good enough or I wouldn’t perform to a certain degree or just being rejected. I’ve had to speak things over myself that others didn’t. I’ve had to learn and understand what it truly means to have faith over fear and stop regretting missed opportunities. Keeping God first in everything has played a very vital role to my growth. What he has uniquely gifted me with, no one else can do and no one can take that. I can’t let fear or the validation of people hold me back from being the person God has purposed me to be. To be great! To be extraordinary! To be consistent! So, I trust him and I just do it!
Bethany Sharpe | Cosmetic & General Dentist
Wow, there are so many lessons I have learned along the way. I believe the most important lesson is never stop wanting to learn whether it be to improve at your craft or to be a better person.
Ronnika Williams | Attorney | Makeup Artist | Entrepreneur
That I am where I am supposed to be. At times I’ve worked towards a goal(s) and things aren’t moving as fast as I’d like, or maybe a didn’t get an opportunity or recognition that I wanted in a certain area.
I have learned (sometimes still learning) that God’s timing is perfect. I look back sometimes at things that I rushed and got frustrated about. I understand now that things needed to happen the way they did so that I could learn and grow. I’m trying not to rush the process. I’m enjoying where I am personally and professionally right now. Also— I’ve stopped comparing myself to others. Comparison is the thief of Joy.
Anthony Gomez | Photographer
The most important lesson I’ve come to familiarize myself within my journey into photography begins with my persistence. Starting from absolutely no prior knowledge on how cameras function I challenged myself to build experience. During my journey into photography, I discovered that thanks to persistence I allowed myself to become determined and overall improve my photography experience. Most importantly, I’ve come to understand that within the vast variety of photography techniques I learn to discover myself only through pure experience. Therefore, Discovering where I pertain became far more rewarding than letting others label me within the community of talented photographers in Dallas. As a result, I’ve learned that an optimistic mindset better prepares me for the inevitable challenges when working in the field of photography.
Antonio Avilés | Photographer & Videographer
When you’re grateful for what you have instead of being upset on what you think you deserve, you find a sense of contentment.
– Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.
– Stay true to yourself and live by a set of rules that you’ve made, so that there can be some stability in your life.
– Always know your worth, and don’t let anyone bring you down to benefit their needs or egos; You are just as important as anybody else.
Aston LaFon | Director Sales & Marketing and Co-Founder at 18.21 Man Made
Stay genuine. Avoid gimmick. Work smarter not harder. Express gratitude. Stay humble.