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?
Logan | The Little Mermaid Enthusiast
Who says that my dreams have to just stay my dreams?” – Ariel This is the most important life lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far! Never give up on your dreams. Set goals and keep fighting because you can achieve them. People will always be there to bring you down and at times you may want to give up… but DON’T! Surround yourself with the people who love and support you for who you are because those are the most important. We only have one life, so let’s make sure we’re following our dreams and making the best of it!
Jordan Michael | Model & personal assistant
I would say the most important lesson I’ve learn on this journey in LA is. I can’t try to be anyone else’s great, when I have my own light that needs to shine.
Sandra Sallin | Artist | Blogger
I live my life with an open hand rather than a closed fist. I try to seize and accept what ever new experiences come my way. I say Yes!
Malena Lloyd | Co-owner of Social Light LLC & Screenwriter
The most important lesson I’ve learned is to take time to know yourself. I’m a true believer that it’s difficult to help others if you haven’t helped yourself. I took 3 years to understand myself, and through my process I learned how to own my feelings, not to be discouraged by mistakes, that it’s okay to say ‘no,’ and what loving myself looks like. I feel like I’m able to move through the world with less anxiety and confusion, which in turn allows me to be a better friend, daughter, sister, etc.
Polina Gourin | vintage stylist | model and photographer
Manifesting is a real thing but nothing is going to happen if you’re just sitting on your ass. Everything is possible if you try.
SWISS WOODWORKING INC. | CREATIVE SOLUTIONS & MASTER CRAFTSMANSHIP
We strongly believe that it’s our attention to the little things that makes Swiss Woodworking Inc. A vital part of the big picture.
Wendolin Zenteno | Head Fashion Designer | Mother and CEO of Wendolin Designs
I have learned that a business is like racing a baby you start from day one and raise it with so much love and sacrifices, you see him grow with joy and you have to grow with him as well, every day is different with a new challenge and a new goal. I have also learn to stay focused on my message to my customers, I want every single one of them to know that they are special and beautiful in their on way, that self love and self care are essential in everyone’s life.
ABC = always be cool
LaMeisha Davis | Dancer and Cosmetologist
The most important lesson I’ve learned thus far pursuing my interests is to wholeheartedly believe in what you are doing. Whether it be a talent you want the world to see or something you want the world to buy. Because if you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect others to believe in you?
Kristen D’Amato | Intimacy Coach for Women & Couples
My fears are the golden keys for unlocking what I most desire; I only need to have the courage to keep saying yes to the next step in front of me.
Shawn Mandoli | Skateboarder & Pastor
I’ve learned that more than anything what I do is ALL ABOUT PEOPLE. Any entrepreneurial venture, creative plan, or vision at the end of the day is all about the people you are serving. It’s not about the product or the “bottom line”. If you serve people well, you will do well in any endeavor. As a matter of fact, this photo captures a moment in one of our baptism services, with a coach from a local school, baptizing a fellow educator. We as a local church in Boyle Heights are only truly fulfilling our purpose when people in our community are affected by us in a positive way.
Anastasiia Love | CEO and Founder Queen Hair Studio Inc
Every person has his magic power, everyone can create miracles. This power is the power of your positive energy that you need and can develop in yourself. Belief in yourself, patience to learn is the key to your happy life.
Jim Vernon | CEO of RockHer
As a 40 year Veteran of the Diamond and Jewelry Industry, the most important thing I have learned is to always be fair. Nowadays people take the easy route to make a quick buck but I’ve learned that being fair, which requires a lot of patience, pays off in the long run. It will help establish your reputation value and build a form of trust between you and your clients. In the end, if you treat people fair, they will treat you fairly as well.
Ashley Gomes | Owner of Gotta Glow
The most important lesson I have learned in this journey so far starting a mobile spray tan business is always having trust that everything will work out how it should, and never doubting yourself.
Omer Avarkan | Designer & Director
Adaptation and breaking routines.
Those would be the most important habits I acquired through my journey so far. Rapid changes are in the nature of both my professional career and life in general. Having to adapt became quite crucial in order to ease in and flow through changes. The key for me, was to become a constant learner, a forever student in other words. Challenges become adventures once I’ve accepted and filtered through that notion.
Breaking routines is just as important. Through my small daily habits to all areas of my creative journey as a designer. Magic happened when I’ve learned to mix in different choices with my usual’s. I’ve become less rigid in my thinking process thus become a better problem solver. Stepping out of my comfort zones have helped me expand my creative boundaries and done wonders for me as an individual so far. I’d highly recommend it!
Ali Stone | Music Producer | Songwriter | Artist
To never take anything for granted.
Sada Collective | Creative Community
Support one another! It takes a village to make things happen and it makes the process that much more fun.
Katie Pelkey | Transformational Coach and Tantric Meditation Teacher
The most important lesson I have learned, and one that I continue to expand into is… All I believe I need to become I already am. As within so without.
From the tantric perspective, the invitation is to change our limited worldly view for one that is blissed out, whole an true. This starts with the awareness that our true inner nature is one of pure potentiality and perfection. There is nothing to fix, nothing is wrong with you or lacking, you are beyond limitation. There is nothing we can not be, do or have, for all we seek … is seeking to be found from within. It’s only then that what you wish to experience in your day to day will be… at your command, free of any limitations.
Imagine a world where you already know all you need to know to thrive as an entrepreneur, or in all parts of your life for that matter. One without problems, only inquires, as solutions come easy. One where any need or desire you have now or in the future, when you ask it is given. A world free of doubt, fear confusion, worry or having to be anything other than who you really are.
How would you feel if this was so? Visualize and breath into the freedom of this? Feel that part of you that knows even if just for a second, there is truth in this.
This is an embrace of tantra, no need to become anything more, you are all you need to be. The more you embrace and love, the perfection of you, the more that is revealed. The more you attend to your inner needs, the more our outer ones are met. The more you trust in your inner voice, the more others trust in you. The more you focus on your unique strengths, talents, quirks, and visions, the more life and others support you in all ways as they are in need of what you have to offer. And they all come to you, as no one has the same perfection as you and what you have will always be needed.
My Experience of this…
Upon starting my initial entrepreneurial ventures…I went into it with some borrowed perceptions, as I thought I didn’t know how to do it, so others must know best…what I gathered was it would be hard, that I would need to hustle and work really hard, that only a few make it in this, that I can’t really make a living, so I need a back up… that I need to follow this course, this mentor, and on it went.
I believed and acted from these thoughts for some time, thinking I had to prove myself, stemming from the illusion that I was not already worthy, or that I had to become something more. So I found myself in a continual state of “”problem-solving.”” It’s fun for a bit until the inevitable happens. The problems continue and the resources run out.
Exhaustion, burn out, lack of money, drive, will. It was exhausting yet served its purpose of showing me another way into sustaining freedom, success, purpose and unlimited abundance that is available to all.
Only you, the inner, real you, innately knows what is needed for you to thrive, and all you desire will be provided for… The invitation is to become this true version of yourself. To drop the limitations or views of others and discover your truth.
What this looks like on a day to day basis is, through self-observation, observing your thoughts, meditation, getting lost in something that blisses you out and self-love, we discover we are so much more than our what we previously thought, underneath the stories we tell ourselves of who we are, we start to know our truth, we are perfect and always have been,
This is the way of bliss, of discovering that I and you have nothing to prove, to gain or wait on. I was and am, as are you, already perfect.
An Experience to try:
Imagine if you knew everything you desired, who you wanted to become, to be seen as, the business, family, love life, money all parts of your life were available right now. No need to hustle, worry or try.
All that is required, is for you to become aware of this truth and believe it to be true by supporting it in every thought.
This could be a mantra practice, so when doubt comes in, reaffirming “” I am perfect, I am all I need to be, I am whole now””
To know it more, feel it, think of a time where all felt as it should, recall that feeling and trust this is your truth. With time and consistent practice, the truth sets you free. Your new consciousness becomes one of pure potentiality, perfection. As a result of the change of consciousness you feel within, and must be shown without.
Believe you are perfect, confident, and provided for by the universe, and this must be so. Trust in your message, your values, your offerings, and that others will resonate with what you share and so it will be.
Most importantly trust your perfection is unique, it’s not a matter of right or wrong, your perfection is what feels right, true and pleasurable for you.
Awareness is the deciding factor of our life experience, become aware of your innate and unique perfection, let this awareness spread into your thoughts, feelings, and actions and life must reflect it back to you.
Brianna Hollins | Momprenuer | Model | Owner of InnerGlowBeauty + Permanent Makeup Artist | Brand Ambassador
It is my belief balance is an art and necessity in our life journey. Balance allows freedom to have faith and to release control. It eliminates the idea of False Evidence Appearing Real, more commonly known as FEAR. It has been my experience when i acknowledge my past and be mindful I am in the future, the present,I am then able to release my burdens to my creator. It’s then I can be still and seek balance knowing God has prepared me with all I need to succeed. We all possess a InnerGlow, It is up to me to remain curious of self, seek the knowledge, apply it and do the work. Accepting that faith without work is dead. There are times I have to remind myself of this, its okay. That’s balance, being able to check yourself back on track. Get out there and win y’all.
Tristan De La Villier & Hailey Petsinger | Founders of Mii Mantra
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that simple does not equate to easy. Starting and managing a business, getting into shape, or pursuing your dreams are all simple things. With the advent of technology, there are an ample amount of tools and resources anyone can use to know how to successfully do all of the aforementioned examples, but that doesn’t mean any one of the are easy. Its the consistent application that makes things challenging. I’ve found that in order to be successful in anything, one must be consistent and resilient in the implementation. There will always be excuses and obstacles, but the path to greatness is only forged in the relentless pursuit.
Kira Alexi | Singer | Songwriter & Guitarist
I’ve learned the importance of resilience and self-care. It’s impossible to be the person you hope to be 100% of the time, but it’s important to remember that when things are not going the way you planned it doesn’t mean you start from square one and it’s the end, it just means you have to take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep trying. It’s okay to have doubts, it’s okay to pause and observe yourself and your situation. It’s so important to learn to take care of yourself, to do things that really make yourself feel the best. No one knows that better than you do. For me, learning how to take care of myself through simple routines whenever everything feels chaotic has been so healing. Having the confidence in knowing I can rely on myself is the most powerful and liberating thing I have learned in my journey so far.
Callie Anderson | Artists
The most important lesson I’ve learned so far is to embrace the creative process, mistakes and all. If your only goal is perfection you’ll never finish anything, and often the ideas that change the most between conception and execution end up being your favorites.
Caleb Synan | Comedian
The most important lesson I’ve learned is to be nice. My mom would always say she’d rather hear that I was nice than that I was smart. Not sure why she said that so much, but it’s a good lesson. I try to be as nice as humanly possible to everyone. It ends up bringing your stress level down because most of your day is spent around people who were just pleasantly surprised by your politeness. And once your stress level is down you can drink water, exercise, sleep, meditate, read, and eat kale. But without being nice it’s all in vain.
Eric and Rashi Wiese | Founders & Co-Owners of Happy Puppy L.A., Inc. and the WRARE foundation
It can feel like an uphill battle when trying to disrupt an industry. Through our journey, we’ve learned to be fearless. Fear will bog down creativity and ultimately hinder your goals. Instead, we now face our fears and embrace challenges and mistakes. The same lessons will continue to appear until you learn from your mistakes. Only then will you see growth. Adopting this mindset has allowed us to take risks and in turn, innovate our industry.
Mark Hamblin | regional manager – West for Industrious
The most important lesson that I have learned in my journey thus far is that I have to take care of my personal well being first. In order to be good for other people, I have to start with myself. Relationships are important in everything we do. These relationships are healthier and thrive when we come to them in personally in good place.
Shahid Osuna | flutist | music educator| arranger
The most important thing I’ve learned in my journey so far is to allow yourself to be proud of your work and successes. I think as artists we are often taught to remain humble and avoid being snobby, without ever realizing we can stay in between and do both! Find the positive among all the negatives you give yourself and feel happy about that. It will keep pushing you to the next challenge and allow you to not sell yourself short to others which is so important. Love yourself!
Taylor Lee | Niche Ceramics Artist
The lesson I learned so far is to keep creating and not giving up even when I feel discouraged. As an artist, there is not one definite path so I realized that keeping hard work and consistency as my priority helps me navigate through an undefined journey.
Old Queens | queer run | senior dog rescue
The most important lesson we have learned is to meet people where they are at. We are not just a rescue we are also a community resource. Our goal is to provide support to both people and animals who are struggling. This journey has taught us that compassion is an action word and must be practiced in all ways, always.
Hummingbird Athletic – Women’s specific cycling apparel | Laura Buono | Founder and Creator
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey is ‘Never compare your work or what you’ve created to others, and allow yourself to be inspired by your surroundings. Never lose sight of why you started your business and to let that always be the driving force.
Tracy Igwe | Certified Personal Trainer & Marketing Professional
The most important lesson that I’ve learned throughout my journey so far is to “Put in the work and effort that is required to get to where I want to be”. I couldn’t expect to see results in my body by training 1-2 times per week or eating healthy 4 times a week. I had to work hard every single day and develop habits that yielded a consistent routine. It wasn’t until I decided to customize my own workout and meal plan when I really started to see progress. I dropped 4% body fat in 2 months and my body composition really started changing for the better. All of the hard work I put in really contributed to my success in seeing tangible results. I counted every single macro, weighed my food portions religiously, trained twice a day, researched different eating styles and spent countless days conducting trial and error experiments on my body. Every free moment that I had, I spent thinking and strategizing ways that I could become better at my craft. I envisioned what I wanted to look like and imagined how it would feel once I reached my goals. What some may define as being “Obsessed” is what I defined as being “Dedicated and Working Hard for a purpose”. I believe it’s not enough to just think about who you want to become. Action is what will make your thoughts real. Working hard and putting in the necessary effort to reach your goals is a full proof way of actually obtaining them. You may not reach them at a specific time that you desire but you will reach your goals eventually. With hard work and dedication, anything is possible.
Arielle Auston RN, BSN | Aesthetic and Cardiac Registered Nurse
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is to trust my intuition, always have faith, reach for the outlandish goals, and lean into pain. Those four key factors have enabled me to become addicted to bettering myself, while also remembering that it’s progress I’m striving for, not perfection!