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?
Allan Solano | Lifestyle Blogger
The most important lesson I’ve learned so far is to always look at the positives in life and be grateful for everything I’ve been blessed with. Sometimes life gets crazy and we get so lost in the moment. No blessing is ever too small and tomorrow is never promised.
Disha Vora | Artist and Creator at Color Escapades
One lesson I have learnt is that good things don’t come easy.
This belief has made me what I am today and is a driving force for me to get where I eventually want to.
We’re often our biggest hurdle. Putting ourselves down or internalizing other people’s fear’s about our goals. All my successes as well as setbacks have helped me grow.
I have in the process realized to not be attached to one idea that was not working as after all there may be a better one around the corner. All I have to do is persevere and keep being creative.
This journey of mine has been possible only because of the love and support of my family. I am and will be forever grateful to them.
Frio To Go | Louisiana Style, Texas
The path we’ve taken at Frio, during the past five years, has been to follow the requests our customers have made. We have continued to improve our drinks adding more natural flavors, and better alcohols, and even the specialty cups we serve them in are unique. We have found the right people, that create and are fully vested into creating the right environment for celebrating, relaxing and enjoying any moment more. We strive to make your day better in every way! Drinks your way.
Tiffany Pennie | Houston Elite Realtor & Fitness Enthusiast
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to remain Consistent! When I see these popular quotes such as “Consistency is Key”,it’s easy to say the quote is cliché but the truth is, you must remain consistent for anything to work in your favor! Rather if it’s your personal or business growth. At one time of my life, I found myself easily giving up on things when it didn’t go my way or if I didn’t get the results I wanted. I can’t even tell you how many times I given up on working out after not seeing any results in a week. I even took my consistency a step farther by going to the gym but not actually working out. At that moment, something clicked. I thought to myself, why am I remaining consistent at consistently giving up. From that moment on, I decided to redirect my energy to CONSISTENTLY GOING HARD and NOT GIVING UP! With those main objectives in mind, I decided to:
#1. Change My Mindset
#2. Remain Consistent
With these objectives, I have now been able to achieve my personal and business goals by starting my own fitness company and beginning a Real Estate career.
One of the first goals I achieved under my new mindset was getting in shape. While remaining consistent with my daily workouts and eating choices, my body started to change and everyone took notice. What everyone didn’t see was me getting up at 4:30am to workout for an hour, shower, get dressed, go to work, come home to cook, and spend time with my family. There was a lot of sacrifice to get me to the finish line but ultimately if I hadn’t change my mindset and remain consistent, I would have given up long before achieving my goals. It’s so much easier to give up or say something not wronging when you’ve only being doing it for a couple of weeks or months. You must devote time, energy, and sometime money to get the things that you want.
When it comes to fitness and trying to stay on the right track, remember to surround yourself with support or get involve with local fitness support groups. It’s so easy to get backtrack with what the naysayers are talking about and because our minds are so powerful, we can also become our own naysayer. That’s why it’s extremely important to change your mindset first. When I changed my mindset years ago, I told myself that I was going to be dedicated and discipline enough to not let anything distract or keep me from being consistent with reaching my goals. These principles doesn’t just apply to fitness but also in the Real Estate and other industries. I honestly apply these to my everyday life! There will always be naysayers but with a Powerful Mindset and Remaining Consistent you will always Beat Any Odds.
Crystal-Mae Rudolph | Houston Realtor
The value stems from the mind being set on reaching client-specific goals and a relentless attitude towards overcoming roadblocks along the way. I’ve learned that my own strength as a realtor stems from an attitude of, “I will do whatever it takes to best serve my clients, period.” This mindset helps me become a better realtor by gaining deeper experiences, personal connections, and unique insights. With anything, from helping buyers determine what area is the best fit for their family, to helping sellers determine that their home is worth more than they thought, I take pride in the high expectations I have for my clients. My desire to pay close attention to my clients’ needs, and the important details that are involved in each transaction, has been essential to all of their outstanding successes.
Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. (UniPro Texas)
The most important lesson I’ve learned is that as our Filipino American community grows, it’s all of us together that will push us towards a brighter future. There is so much potential that our youth leadership has and there is so much wisdom that our older generation organizations have to share. We all have something important that we bring to the table. It’s a culmination and united front of organizations, businesses, and community leaders of all ages that will help us create sustainable change and build our community.”” – Mark Sampelo, Co-President
“One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is how important safe spaces are for tough conversation to take place. I believe the ability to be vulnerable and transparent about you and your own story humanizes you as a leader. The safe and brave spaces are opportunities for these student leaders to tap into their reservoir of knowledge and experience to recognize the power of their own cultural wealth. The space allows for reimagination alongside their peers to collaborate and transform the communities they serve.” – Rea Sampilo, Co-President
Edward Hernandez | Photographer
In the beginning, my photography business did not come without it’s difficulties due to my inexperience. I just didn’t know where or how to begin. However, I soon learned that taking risks is the first step of journey to chase your dreams because opportunities don’t always come and present itself to you. You have to go out there and search for them, or make them if you really have to. It was tough as I was trying to build something for myself, but in that process, I learned to stay optimistic in my work and everything I do, and that optimism and confidence is now reflected through the photographs I take now.
Joy Williams | Creator and CEO of Joie de Vie Naturel
The most important lesson I’ve learned so far is every you need- inspiration, motivation, the power to change your life lies in your hands. Once you realize that you are empowered to succeed because there is literally nothing holding you back but your fears.
Isabella Correa | Balloon Artist
Working with balloons has been a wonderful experience because I can deliver smiles and emotions. My balloons have the capacity to transport us to moments of happiness and celebration that bring delight and joy to my clients and myself.
In recent years I have learned to adapt in a very short time to new people, customs and places, even to a new profession. At the moment I’m trying to be flexible and go with the flow. I live the moment to the fullest and enjoy every thing that I do with love and passion.
Bianca Keene | owner of 5 Loft Interiors
The most important lesson I have learned on this journey so far is to stay consistent and to maintain an unwavering belief in myself and my abilities, because the journey of starting and growing a business can be long and hard, I understand that nothing will work unless I do. Therefore, each day I wake up with a positive outlook and aim for my best at everything that life throws my way.
Janelle Rendon | Lifestyle and Motherhood Blogger
The most important lesson I’ve learned so far in my blogging journey is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes it feels like growth and success are happening slowly, but if you keep at it with a positive attitude, exciting opportunities will come your way!
Sherry Burks | CEO Owner of London Kouture Virgin Hair
I have learned that your reputation is everything and no one cares as much about your business and than you do. We focus on impeccable service and taking care of our clients. As CEO of the company I know that hard work pays off. Believe me when I say it’s always a need to hustle hard, adapt and grow.
Ebony Alegria | Mua & Lash Tech
The most important lesson I have learned in my journey so far is to STOP telling everyone my vision. My vision is only for me to understand. Once I put the vision in MY head to motion , I’ve seen myself doing things I thought I could never do . This is literally my passion my everything and I just can’t wait to see what my future holds!
Hadley McClellan | Founder, EvConFITNESS.com | Yoga Teacher and Conference Organizer
As an entrepreneur, I’m learning everyday. Every day I have to make a commitment to myself that I am either going to work on my business or I commit that I am not. When I go through life without making a choice, then I’ve learned I’m not actually experiencing life. Being an entrepreneur while also managing one of the largest conferences in the world prove to be both challenging and exhilarating. I can choose to be successful at both, some days more at one than the other, but that’s my choice. And most importantly, I choose to surround myself with people who support my vision, who are smarter than I am and encourage my success with imparting their knowledge. And I choose to never stop loving what I do and doing what I love. I get to do that every day, because I made a choice to live in joy and love 7 years ago when I got certified to teach yoga. That certification catapulted me into living my biggest life possible and understanding, with intimacy, that I am going to fall and I will fail, and I will get up and I will succeed, because each day, I rise up.
Jessica Lake | The Fashionable Foodie
Content can be fleeting but if you are passionate about what you put out there, people will notice and want to join your journey!
Joe Than | Event and Portrait Photographer
The most important lesson that I have learned in my journey is that you must find what your passion is and pursue it. Life is too short to be doing something you don’t love. After going through the corporate life, I found myself asking questions like: Why am I here? What direction do I want to take in my life? Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life? These questions ultimately allowed me to pick up a camera and chase my dreams in photography! Photography has always been a passion of mine and I love working with clients to capture the moments they will cherish for a lifetime.
Sonia Ballantyne | Owner and Curator of Sonia’s Vokalized Kreations
The most important lesson I have learned on my journey thus far is to TRUST YOUR INTUITION! We are all meant to “change the game” in our own way. Along my journey I sought advice from others and most of the time it was met with doubt and uncertainty. I soon realized that they couldn’t see my vision or my epic war story that was being drafted. Because, only YOU know how many sacrifices it will take to make your dreams come true.Only YOU can feel that fire that lives within you that reminds you to keep pushing. It will burn until you decide to trust in you and your purpose!
Alishah Velani | Model & Entrepreneur
Frankly, I believe that my “journey” has yet to begin. I’ve been modeling for a very long time, although it’s been very spasmodic. In that time I feel like I’ve learned so much, and yet I’ve learned nothing. At only eighteen years old, I don’t know whether I can say I’ve ever had a journey at all. I’m still so young, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that all lessons learned hold significance. Also, that you should always have the drive & commitment to constantly expand your knowledge. You can never fully know anything no matter how much you may think you do.
“For I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing,” Socrates once wisely said.
I did, however, learn to love myself in a new light. Since I was a child, I had always struggled with viewing myself in an empowered manner. I was very clearly always an outcast, which led to a lot of internal dilemma. I never felt represented as a tall woman of color. I faked being confident in the hopes that someday I’d truly feel that way about myself. Struggling with mental illness has also made it very difficult to truly be content with my environment and myself. Seeing exceptional diverse models loving every inch of themselves empowered me. Modeling has taught me to love & appreciate every minute detail about myself. Even the things I despised.
Living in Houston, you know how diverse the world and the United States is. Yet, on every platform so many people are underrepresented. Media doesn’t look like real life. Eventually as I began to model again after my hiatus, I took notice of how much more diverse the industry is now. How many people are kicking doors open despite being steadily refused. Young people in cities around the country curating their own scenes and culture. It’s so inspiring. I’ve always believed in making your own opportunities, and fighting for who you are and what you deserve. The most important lesson is to take matters in your own hands. If you want something with all your heart, you will find a way to make mountains move to attain it. Where there is a will, there will always be a way. Carve your own pathways, force doors open. There is really nothing to be afraid of.
Although the industry still has a long way to go, the diversity goes to show that there is no one set standard of beauty. We’re all unique in our own way. It’s beautiful and I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is how it’s supposed to be. We shouldn’t be striving for an analogous society. Embrace your differences. Wear them with pride. Fight for what you believe in, even if it threatens to take your all from you. We’ve only got one life!
Krystal Hackney | Event Planner & Designer
Keenan Watson | fashion designer/ stylist
The most important lesson that I’ve learned in my journey so far is to be consistent and don’t give up. The more you sacrifice yourself to your craft, the more your dreams become a reality.
Ahmad Ibrahim Head Chef and owner
Mike Gueary | Vintage Curator | Owner of Gems and Grails
The most important lesson I’ve learned by far is to trust. Not just to trust in others or trust in myself, but to trust that life has a journey for each and every one of us, trust that I am right where I need to be, and to trust that I have everything I need.
Lorin Lee | DJ & a Model
The most important lesson I have learned in my journey so far is to stay true to myself and to maintain a tunnel vision. I have come across a lot of people along the way who have underestimated me and laughed at what I do. No matter what you do, someone is going to say something, so you might as well do whatever you want. Living off of people’s opinions instead of following your heart will hold you back. Keep your eyes on the prize, be patient, and keep grinding.
Ariel Jai | Fashion Entrepreneur & Lifestyle Blogger
The most important lesson I’ve learned so far is to ensure that God is at the foundation of any and every thing you do and to stay the course. Be confident in your God-given talent and know that your gifts will always make room for you.
Bree Frasier | Model
The most important thing I’ve learned in my journey is to network with the community of people whose goals align with my own goals.
Eric Diaz | photographer
Tomorrow is a new day, keep your head up and keep doing your best.
Karishma | Doctor | dog mom
The most important lesson I’ve learnt in my life is “believe in yourself.” You’ll come across a lot of people in your journey who’ll demotivate you or even try to pull you down, but you should trust yourself and never give up. Miracles do happen.
Brittany St. James | Aspiring Fashion Model
On this journey I have learned three key lessons: always continue moving forward no matter the circumstances, don’t waste time or attention on “outside noise”, never give way to self-doubt.
Aaron Saunders | Exotic Gerbil Farmer
That fear is nothing more than a guiding light on the path of self mastery. Follow your fears into the darkness and drag their wisdom into the light for all to see. Choosing to do so, regardless of the outcome, seems to be the most important decision we’ll ever make and ironically, the most rewarding.
Abisola Nwanze | Physiotherapist | Chef
Is never to allow challenges weigh me down, having realized that most times they are disguised weapons to succeed, and sometimes they just happen, a wise man once said it is normal to be challenged but unscriptural to be defeated, Having Faith in God and trusting in the process day by day is foremost of my business walk.
Entrepreneurship is hard work, and I have learnt to keep learning, funny as it sounds learning and seeking new ideas for improvement, definitely has become a major source of creativity for me in line with my cooking and business in general. I tell my self that I will break even, even as I believe the just shall live by his faith.
Angelica Ramos Chbihi | Habibi Cakes -Cake Artist
The most important lesson I’ve learned is my baking journey is to surround myself with people who truly believe in me and push me to grow even when times get tough.
I’ve learned that failure, even though it hurts to the core, is not the end but the beginning of a new season.
If you’re struggling to find motivation or feel defeated with where you are in your journey, don’t give up. Pursue your dream, work hard, if you fail – don’t stay there – get up and try again until you make it happen.
As for me, I’m loving the current season. I am excited to see what the future holds.
Panebi Shi | High Fashion Model
The most important lesson that I’ve learned in this journey would be to always remain true to your authentic self.