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?
Angel Johnson | Model | Influencer, & Youtuber
Never lose sight of yourself. If you feel tempted to do what everyone else is doing for the sake of feeling included, take a break and remind yourself of your goals and objectives. Remember with influence; just because something is common, it doesn’t make it right. Connect with people, and think of creative ways to inspire them, that’s what influence is meant for; embody who you would want to look up to!
Selene Limas | Baker | Teacher and Blogger
My journey with baking delicious tasting cupcakes has been extensive and challenging. One of the most import things I’ve had to learn while troubleshooting cupcakes is that when I fail it doesn’t mean I’m not good enough. It’s a reminder to work harder next time. Most of my cupcake recipes took several attempts before they were good enough to promote and sell. When you achieve something by learning from the mistakes that arose during the challenge, it makes you appreciate the success so much more.
Lolade | Vocalist and Songwriter
The most important lesson that I’ve learned on my musical journey is never to be afraid of taking a detour. It’s wonderful to have a plan, but sometimes you have to think beyond the plan and outside the box…to get to a place better than you ever imagined!
Milan Mathew | UI/UX Designer and Model
I think the most important lesson I’ve learned in my life so far is that “life does not give you lemons, but rather you have to find the seed, plant it, water it, nurture it and then get your own damn lemons.” Life is not going to be handed to anyone. Everyone has their own struggles and it’s important to not focus too much on the negative aspects of life. I quickly realized that there’s really no one to help me with my dreams and achievements because no one is ever going to want it as much as I did. There was literally no one I knew that I could even talk to about pursuing a career in graphic design when I initially chose the major. No one was there to hold my hand and tell me the 1-2-3 of design or getting into a program or even what happens after graduation. Nevertheless I did it and now I’m a UI/UX designer at a company I love and people I look up to. In a similar way, I never even intended to be a model or have any sort of a following on Instagram but overtime it just happened. It started with a friend asking me to model for his portfolio and after I posted those pictures, more photographers wanted to work together. As I worked with more photographers, I started becoming better and more natural at it and somehow it turned to a personal business that I love managing. On my Instagram and YouTube, I try my best to promote, self love and gaining confidence with an ongoing series I created: “Road To Self Love”. I also love sharing my life: fitness, modeling, designing, traveling or really anything l I feel will benefit someone seeing the post that day. So yea, lemons…they weren’t handed to me by life; I made my own.
Kenzelle | Online clothing brand for women and men in all sizes
The most important lesson I have learned so far in my entrepreneurial journey, has been consistency. I get so caught up in everyday life that I sometimes may not post on my social media pages, or pass out a business card. There are times when I won’t even mention that I am a business owner. I know that consistency leads to more exposure and ultimately generates more revenue. Staying consistent is the key to success as an entrepreneur.
Donnetta Shelby | Beauty Blogger & Wellness Advocate
The most important thing that I’ve learned so far while on my journey is that self doubt is my only barrier to success. I have accomplished so much in my 23 years on this earth, yet I sometimes still feel like I do not have what it takes to be greater. Everyday, I am learning to reaffirm my faith in myself through practicing positive affirmations, gratitude, and self compassion.
Ignacio Torras and Luis Roger | Co-Owners of MAD
It’s vary hard to choose one single lesson learned in this journey, specially since this is a very unique ride, very much outside of our comfort zone and on it we learn a ton of different things; from the finances of a restaurant, to Houstonian’s high expectations on the food arena, as well as the enormous social life attached to the restaurant business or all the moving parts to make a dish, a drink or the whole concept successful. But if I need to choose one lesson, is that to be successful on the restaurant business you required the identical same skills that you need on the big corporate world; trust and respect of your partner abilities, passion and enthusiasm as your day to day best fuels, a clear and share vision of the final objectives and an positive attitude towards never giving up until excellence is achieved in every detail. With this lesson, which is the same we have applied in all our other ventures, success is guaranteed.
Brandon Davis & Mike Dunham | Owners D&D mobile detailing service
The most important lesson I’ve learned Is that if you put your mind to it and hard work behind it you can achieve whatever you want. It’s really that easy You can do it also go for it I quit my job to pursue this dream I left guarantees (70k) for my dreams to come true. It’s called sacrificing. Stop procrastinating and DO IT.
Corey Ford | Celebrity Hair Stylist and Reality TV Star
I think one of the most important things that I’ve learned on my journey is to always take time to execute and deliver my best in everything I do. Often times we get so caught up in the hustle of things that we don’t trust the actual process and put in the time that is needed to be our best. In order to be successful we must follow all steps, there is no shortcuts to greatness.
Avalon | Model Photographer, & Poet
The most important lesson I’ve learned so far in my journey is to trust in the process. Everything happens for a reason, and as long as I am putting my all into what I love I can go to sleep knowing that I am doing all that I can. Patience and understanding are key!
Callie Elizabeth | Bridal and session hair stylist
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey is to not question my worth! I’ve struggled with comparing myself to others in my industry and I’ve quickly realized there’s plenty of room for EVERYONE! Each person has their own vibe and talent and its so much more satisfying cheering people on than comparing myself to them.
Breeze | Hiphop Artist, Entrepreneur, Father, & Licensed Life Coach
Always Love Yourself!
SouthAstro Creatives with( Michael Nolan Harper )
Not to take simple things moments for granted*, especially family time. And to follow your ideas passions dreams regardless of any and all obstacles standing in your way! Inspire, push forward, and strive for your very very best! Be some one for the world to positively see and trust in God, faith! Because we all have dreams to joy!
Darcie Teasley | professional makeup artist | face painter and special effects artist
The most important lesson I have learned on the journey is to take chances…diversify as an artist. Challenge yourself and don’t ever give up. This market can be tough for artists, especially if the work they do isn’t through a salon or retail. People will know you for your tenacity, “can-do” attitude and dedication to your craft. It keeps you busy and every work opportunity is a learning experience.
Sava Sipe | Wedding Planner & Designer
No matter the journey or the chapter of that journey you happen to be in your 2 essential ingredients are grit and grace. Grit is required to seize opportunities and pull through when those opportunities stop being glamorous. Grace is required to love and be kind to yourself and others when you fall short, which you will.
Andrea Afra | Plant Coach at Sucs for You | author of ‘The Succulent Manual: A guide to care and repair for all climates
I think different plants teach us different things about life. Succulents are slow growers and their lesson is patience with them, ourselves, and other people. For instance, I’d had a stressful day and I went out on my porch to check on my succulents, one by one, observing them for pests, new growth, and just marveling at their individual shapes and textures. Before I knew it, an hour had passed, and I laughed at myself for being able to lose myself in just looking at them for so long. I never understood what it meant to ‘be present in the moment’ until that day, but I get it now. ‘Plant therapy’ is very real.
Plants are also a great topic to connect with others over! The succulent community is worldwide and I’ve met so many kind people online and in person over the years, I can truly say I finally feel like I’ve found my tribe. When someone lets me know I helped them save a special plant, or that I’m to blame for their passion for succulents, it really makes me feel content that I’m right where I need to be on this journey.
Carolina Ortega | professional model | studying to get my three certifications as nutrition, personal trainer and transformation specialist
I have learned, to enjoy life more and take advantage of all the opportunities that come my way. They may be bad or good, but I can say with certainty that I will always reach my goal.
DLH | Brand Consulting and Visual Arts
Don’t focus your energy so much on your potential, you end up missing out on your purpose.
Heidi Miller | Kitchen Garden Revival
I would have to say to allow yourself to dream. Dream, big. Then dream, even bigger. When your idea makes others raise there eyebrows, questioning your sanity, you are heading in the right direction. Without the dream, the really big dream, you are just a part of a crowd. Then believe in your dream, focus, and work towards your goal consistently everyday. If you don’t show up for your dream regularly, no one else will.
Giving yourself permission to dream is not always easy. There is pressure from society, friends and family to take the known road. The safe road. The road traveled before. Set a list of “must haves”. A list of the things you will need to take a leap into lesser charted waters. Be BOLD with your list. Do not short change yourself. Remember, Dream BIG!
When you dare to let yourself dream that really big dream and follow through and begin turning it into reality you will be amazed at where it will lead you. I allowed myself to dream bigger than I ever had before…raising more than a few eyebrows along the way. I couldn’t be happier that I did!
As a Kitchen Garden Coach I have a rewarding opportunity to help my clients grow fresh, wholesome, organic ingredients from their very own raised garden beds. I also help them learn to use what they have grown. Whether they live in an apartment or a house, have a little space or a lot, I give them the ability to successfully grow the freshest food they will ever eat.
Quote: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better it is not.” Dr. Seuss”
Michelle A. Holbert | Mom | Photographer, & Attorney
“”I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”” – Elliott Erwitt, Photographer
This is how I approach my photography because ordinary objects or settings can translate into striking images by merely changing perspective. An empty sidewalk on a rainy day was uninspiring until my daughter stepped in a puddle, and I captured her butterfly rain boots and reflection in the water.
I am learning to keep this mindset in all aspects of my life, to not overlook the little things. The calm, quiet moments can be the most precious. A seemingly small gesture can have a significant impact. Even if we don’t see it right away, there is meaning in the simple things.
Elizabeth Whitehead | founder and owner of Your Butler’s Pantry | wife and mother
I’ve learned that “plan a” is just “plan a”, and it’s not a failure when “plan a” doesn’t work. It’s a good thing to learn from mistakes, reevaluate and pivot. Staying humble, nimble and willing to move on from what’s not working (while celebrating what does) has served me well. I think I’m on “plan q”, and that’s okay!
Dylan Wilkinson (MotoMantooth) | Designer | Photographer | Motovlogger
By far the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my motorcycle journey is patience. Time devoted to improving yourself is never wasted. Stay focused and stay diligent on mastering your craft. One day you will become as good or better than the people who inspired you to start. I’m consistently finding new ways to progress my channel quality while learning to improve my riding. Everyone progresses at different speeds and that’s something I’ve had to remind myself repeatedly. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you won’t learn something over night. You have to put the time in and be patient. There’s no easy way around it, just hard work and repetition.
Eliott Lee & Mandeep Patel | Co-Founders of ElecTrip
The most important lesson that we’ve learned in our journey so far is that persistence is everything. Whether it’s pushing consistently to work out a partnership with a corporation or balancing other things in life such as school, being able to consistently work and have the same output is what has gotten us this far. But on top of all of that, we’ve learned that hard work means nothing without the right people and being able to work with the right people who push you to your limits, in partnership with the hard work itself, has helped us immensely.
Loyda Rodriguez | Zumba Instructor
The most important lesson I have learned in my journey as a Zumba Instructor so far is that having a positive attitude despite any adversity I may be facing in my personal life is necessary to be successful as an instructor. The participants look to me to be a motivator and a negative attitude can cause them to have a bad experience in my class. Therefore, as an instructor it is important that I carry a positive energy into my classroom. I became a Zumba instructor because I wanted to make a positive impact in someone’s life and through the love of dance, music and fitness, I am able to do this. Every week, I look forward to teaching my classes because I know that someone is depending on me to be there and offer support in their fitness journey. Every person that participates in my class is unique but does share the same goal to ultimately be a better version of themselves and I have learned that having a positive attitude is the best way to helped them get there.
Brianna Fly | Professional Makeup Artist
The most important lesson I’ve learned about my journey this far is that there is no deadline to fulfilling your goals and what you want to accomplish in life. Also, to try not to compare my talent to anyone else’s, there is only one me in this world and I need to remember that I can and will bring something different to the table in anything that I want to do.
La Fusion | Juice & Street Eats | Local Houston cold-pressed juice delivery & pop up stop
To continue spreading the awareness on how our community should add healthy habits to their lifestyle. The key is accessibility, which is why we choose to offer free juice delivery, so that our Houstonians can get an easier access to natural foods that our bodies need to sustain and maintain. We strive to keep our community knowledgeable of our juices by sharing the health benefits of the fruits and vegetable that we use. As we provide our juices around the city, we have learned that the most important thing is to keep our customers happy and healthy. They are healthy when they drink our juices, and they are happy when they know what they are consuming and that they are taking care of themselves. Our juices are 100% natural and raw. We juice fresh to order and deliver them the same day! We currently deliver only on Sundays.
Salma Foster | Suite Bunny Glam | Mompreneur | Lash Artist
Success comes to those who work and give it their all. Honestly, my business did not start to flourish until after some time of pure struggle. I had an epiphany one day about how I was approaching my business plan. I envisioned what I wanted for my business, and I set goals. I started stepping out of my comfort zone and took risks. I started manifesting and placing all my energy, creativity, and free time into my craft; I did whatever it took. I placed all my ideas into my work even if it seemed unorthodox at the time. The more work I put in the more success I found. Then, in no time I started getting booked continuously. After this lesson, I now know with hard work and pure dedication there is no limit to what I can achieve.
JD Shipley | strength coach and owner of Starting Strength Houston
The most important thing I’ve learned so far is the need to wholly rely on my team’s ability to execute. A business cannot run on the strength of one person alone, so a highly driven and competent team is paramount to success. Making the jump from individual contributor to assembling and leading a highly functioning team has been a key focus throughout this process.
Alicia Crisostomo | Freelance Makeup Artist
Well to start off, I’ve learned a lot of important lessons in my journey of being a freelance makeup artist. But I would say never giving up has been the most important one so far. There are times where I doubt myself but I think back to this quote “If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will.”
Becoming a freelance makeup artist wasn’t the easiest thing to do but with the help of my family I slowly started building my kit. Over the past three years I’ve dealt with people canceling last minute, no-shows and people trying to “low ball” me, which made me question if I could really do this. I think the hardest part about trying to own your own business is starting it. I was afraid of not getting clientele and about what other people had to say about my work.
YouTube was the main source that taught me all I know. I would watch makeup tutorials left and right from big influencers such as Nicole Guerriero and Jaclyn Hill. In that moment I knew that this was the path I wanted to take. I was always ready to learn more tips and tricks. Being my own boss sounded so dope to me and I told myself I really didn’t have anything to lose by just giving it a shot. Fast forward to now, seeing every one of my clients reaction is priceless to me, to be able to make someone else feel beautiful is amazing and makes it all worth while. I love what I do and I pray that God keeps blessing me with incredible people to have as clients.
Lastly, I want to personally thank my clientele. Shout out to all of y’all. Thank you for choosing me to be your MUA, help better myself as a person and for your constant love in everything I do. Without you all I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Thank you for making my dream come into reality. And to anyone out there trying to chase a dream always remember, “don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.”
As an entrepreneur, learning and lessons never ends. I’m embarking on my 12th year of entrepreneurship and each year has been filled with lessons. The most important lesson I have learned as an entrepreneurship is that everything starts with me. Thus, I must continuously develop myself both personally and professionally. Self awareness, as well as self-mastery is my super power. You have to master you, know your strengths, your weaknesses, and the “why” you do it all. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. Risks are part of the journey, but I discovered that my risks must be calculated with who I am in mind.
Often times, we tend to compartmentalize our lives. We have a work personality & our social personality. Eventually, who we are at the core will show up regardless of where we are. As an entrepreneur, you are your brand. Your beliefs and values sets the tone for your business. It’s important to work on yourself, take classes, practice good self-care, have some alone quite time and stay curious.
Also, be true to who you are and honor that even in your work. Be authentic, be transparent, it makes your work better.