One of the most important lessons we learned is that our lives and our businesses will teach us along the way. We don’t need to know everything on day one because the challenges we face on day will likely be ones we are already equipped to handle. As we overcome challenges we get better and better and as the challenges increase in difficulty so too does our ability to tackle them.

We asked members of the community that we admire to share important lessons their business or career has taught them and have shared some of those responses below.

Jake Trevino | Label A&R & Artist Creative

The most important lesson my career path has taught me is to be so in love with my natural talents and abilities. Of course, it’s important for us all to leave room for constant, progressive growth, but the moment I realized that my skills are heavily creative and community focused I gained a new level of confidence in who I am. Read more>>

Ryan Singer | Stand-Up Comedian, Actor, Writer, Podcast Host & Co-Founder of CrystalEyes

The most important lesson my career has taught me throughout the years is that there truly are no rules or fixed standards for how, why, when or what we must create or when we are successful. We all rely on old stories that have been told and become the bedrock for our understanding of what “being an artist” means and none of it truly matters or needs to be followed for one to call one’s self an artist or creative – in fact, even deciding to call ourselves an artist or creative is limiting in many aspects. We look out into the world and we see others do what we wish to someday do or even at times wish we had already done, but the question is why do we feel that way? We feel that way because we’ve bought into the idea that we must have certain things, awards, accolades or accomplishments to feel validated as what we’ve chosen to call ourselves. Often times in the past I’ve said, “I know I’ve made it when…” I have stopped doing that because I know I already made it. Read more>>

Ryan Perrings | Entertainment Consultation, The Brightside Agency

In a word, I would say perseverance. There will always be ups and downs in life. How you handle the low points and navigate out of them will define you. The idea of never giving up is extremely powerful. Falling down 9 times and getting up 10 if you will. The past year in particular has been extremely challenging for most. To absorb the lessons, adapt, implement, and grow has been one of the most exciting things for me personally. Over the last year the live entertainment space has faced the most difficult period of anytime in recent memory. For my business the focus was opening new consultation verticals and staying in touch with previous clients. The focus now is strategizing around the next year with the hope that there is a return to events and some semblance of normalcy. Read more>>

GoldieLove | Singer, Songwriter, Recording Artist

The most important lesson I have learned from being an artist is that there are so many more avenues to take in the music industry as a songwriter. I was very close-minded when I began writing music, thinking I needed to keep all the songs I wrote for myself. Thinking that since it was “my story”, I needed to be the one to communicate it to others. Another avenue I have found that I love is creating music for Sync purposes. Many publishing companies are looking for songs, that they own the licensing for, to be reimagined or repackaged for television or film purposes. In other words, don’t box yourself in to an original vision you had for yourself. Widen the scope and view all the possibilities. Read more>>

Jessica Rodriguez | Pediatric Physical Therapist, Aquatic Specialist

It is completely necessary to take a leap of faith, learn as you go, stumble along the way, and shed a few tears on your way to success. Read more>>

Veronica Kipp | Animator and Costume Fabricator

If anything my career has taught me to listen to myself. As a student I was super eager to take advice and listen to everything my instructors said. While I’m sure they had the best intentions, not all advice is going to work for everyone. Take critique and get your fundamentals down of course, but I feel like we live in a society that reinforces people pleasing, and leads us to create things to satisfy others. If you are truly passionate about something, speak out for it. Otherwise you’ll be creating artwork that someone else came up with and you’ll feel burnt out. I highly recommend at least creating something for yourself once a week, even listening to music and just scribbling 20 minutes can be very relaxing and bring you back into your element. Make manageable goals for your own work, but be kind and flexible with yourself as life can be unpredictable. Set your boundaries, listen to yourself and be the voice that speaks up for you. Read more>>

Jaclyn Silverman | Artist & Graphic Designer

The most important lesson, for me, is that it’s vital to create work that is genuine to my intrinsic interests and not solely based on what I think other people want me to create. I was focused on the latter for the first year or so of my business and it was very limiting. I felt trapped to make art that wasn’t a true expression of my soul- that I needed to make art that was propaganda. It was the solitude of the pandemic that led me to deeply reflect on my art and what I want it to be to realize it was time for a shift. An artist’s creative shift/evolution is never complete, but I definitely know now that it’s extremely important to listen to your own voice above others when crafting works. Read more>>

Diana Wade | Violist & Composer

As a performer, collaborator, and colleague I have come to embrace the idea that people do not always remember what you do, but they do remember how you make them feel. This concept permeates how I operate from my commitment to showing up early and prepared for gigs so people see that I am taking the work seriously to letting my enthusiasm show for the projects I am involved with. When I have artistic control over my projects the question of how I want my audience to feel is often at the top of my concerns. Of course, I cannot control people’s emotions but I can consider: how do I make everyone feel welcome? how to I give permission to everyone to feel their deep emotions? how can I facilitate myself and others tapping into their childlike wonder? I don’t always come up with the solutions to these questions, but they are always at the front of my mind. The performances I’ve felt most proud of resulted in audience members telling me “I needed that.” What an incredible response! I see my job as an artist as that of a facilitator. Read more>>

Dazzy Shah | Production Designer

I think of myself as “Type A” leaning personality. I like being productive, making lists, checking things off of said list to give me that boost of serotonin, making schedules, etc. Being in a field that is not only creative but also highly collaborative —Production Design — has taught me that while on one hand, it is these “disciplined” habits that ensure that a task is done as efficiently as possible, it is the same habits that can lead you to spiral out of control into an abyss of never ending anxiety if said tasks do not get performed on time.. It is a fact of life that no matter how much planning you put into a task, things have a way of working on their own. Your art director may fall ill two days before the shoot, you may run out of this limited addition shade of pink that your director was set on, or your laser cutter may break a part two days before your model is due. Schedules are great, however they may not always work. Read more>>

Seth Lawrence | Stay-at-Home Dad & Standup Comedian

My career in standup has taught me that I need to be honest about who I am and what I believe. I was pursuing standup for about 6 months and wasn’t really making any headway. I would go to open mics almost every single night of the week, and people would not remember me. I would perform and leave the stage feeling that I had been holding myself back. At around my 6-month mark, I decided that I needed to talk about my religious background and current religious beliefs. I wrote a short set about these more personal aspects, and I felt that performance was one that changed my standup career. As I have developed this material and expanded on it, people remember me for my material. Standup is no different from any other career. It’s all about networking, developing connections. You cannot create a network if no one remembers you. My irreverent, pro-religious material has made me unique. Read more>>

Nishia Shubert | Interior Designer

Being an interior designer means that I work with my clients for an extended period of time and we get to know each other well throughout the process. I always want to have open and honest communication between me and my clients. It creates the best results for both of us. For instance, there is almost always an unexpected issue that arises in a project. And as the designer, I make sure to learn what I can about the issue, research possible solutions, and communicate all of this to my clients. Having a clear and honest conversation with them will always be less stressful and less work than trying to keep it from them. Read more>>

Chandra “Cece” Heath | Founder of a Non Profit & CEO Of a Record Label

I would have to say that I thought it was always important to bring family and friends along my journey. What I learned is that everyone isn’t supposed to go along that journey. That having friends and or family work for you is not a good idea. In some cases, if you do decide to have a friend and or family work for you that there’s a clear understanding that it’s strictly business and nothing personal. To also get persons that fit your brand and believe in you/your brand. Read more>>

Sannia Shahid | Sales Director

The most important lesson that my business / career has taught me is that if you work hard, the hard work will pay off. It is not about knowing it all, it is about learning new things everyday. Working on not only making your business better but making yourself a better person with it. If all of these things align you will get the outcome you are looking for. Also, it is not about perfection, it is about passion. Read more>>

Michael Cory Davis | Actor/Filmmaker/Human

My business/career has taught me to learn how to understand that every thing in life boils down to perspective. Perspective allows you to set a benchmark for success that is based on YOU rather than other people’s ideas and beliefs. This is super important because success for each person is very different. As an actor and filmmaker you can spend a lifetime in depression if you choose to believe that success is having box office hits and being a film critic darling. As an actor you can be doomed to a lifetime of insecurity and placed on a perpetual emotional roller-coaster if success is based on the quantity of bookings for roles or the adoration of fans. Perspective allows me to create healthier ideals and ideas for success. Am I successful if set a goal and work to achieve. I am successful if I don’t give up regardless of the obstacle and keep plowing along as long as it is healthy for me to do so. Does success have to equal material things? For some yes, but I look at that as enslavement to those things unless you have your head on straight. Read more>>

Leticia Reed | Licensed Clinical Social Worker/ Mental Health Therapist/Wellness Coach

One of the most important things I’ve learned when starting my own business and throughout my career was the importance of reframing my “failures” and viewing them as nuggets of wisdom. Reframing my missteps and mistakes, transformed my thought processes and helped me to understand, appreciate and value my stumbling blocks. The journey and process towards my goals taught me so much about myself and continue to do so. Most readily acquire wisdom, but quickly condemn the mistakes. I believe one can’t acquire true wisdom without making mistakes during the journey. Mistakes are inevitable and doesn’t disqualify us. In fact, I believe our mistakes cause us to become more qualified as mentors and coaches, paving a smoother road for those coming after us. Read more>>

Raphael Wright | Social Entrepreneur

The most important lesson my career has taught me is that money is cool, but change/impact is much better. My business has a triple bottom-line – people, planet, and then profit. Making my community a better place has always generated a financial profit for me which is reinvested in the community to make more profit. Today’s entrepreneurs, especially from the inner city, are being forced to chase impact over profit, and thats definitely a good thing. Read more>>

Lizzie Cugnini | Actor and Filmmaker

That every path looks different. I used to think that I had to have a clear career path; Starting right when I graduated college I had to be working in the field I want, doing an entry level job in exactly what I wanted, and any deviation from that path was a failure. Then I started talking to professionals and how they got to where they are. I realized that the path to what I want to do isn’t set in stone, and that failure isn’t an end but an opening to a new pathway that you didn’t think of. I read a great book by Jack Halberstam titled “The Queer Art of Failure.” It was all about how there are different paths to success that deviate from the norm and that’s ok because they lead to success in a different way that may actually be more beneficial. Deciding to pursue a career in the creative field has really taught me that success looks different on everyone and it’s more important to gauge how I feel, rather than comparing myself to others. My career in the arts has really taught me to be open and flexible to change because I never know where it’s going to take me… and that’s why I love it. I can explore what excites me and ignites my passion. Read more>>

Charlie Malcolm | Composer & Lyricist

I think the most important lesson that I learned so far is that people simply do not believe in you. And while that may sound cynical, I really find it freeing once I accept it. If people don’t believe in you, there’s no one you’re letting down! Hollywood has a bad habit of making you prove them wrong; work twice as hard just to catch its eye. And it can be disheartening and exhausting constantly juggling your day job, your dream job, and your side projects. But you must speak up for yourself, assert your value, and proclaim your worth; because even if you have a mentor, the person that’s going to get you the farthest is you. (cheesy, but true). Read more>>

Yasir Hashim | Co-Founder & CEO of Lumen

Success will find you when you’re patient, persistent, humble to your shortcomings and never stop believing in yourself. Start by believing in yourself. No two humans on this earth walk the same path, so don’t live your life in the guard rails of the perceptions of risk, happiness or success of others. On my journey, I’ve found the more I understand about myself, what makes me happy, what drives me to pour my heart and my soul into my work, and the clarity I have on where I’m going, the faster I continue to grow. The key is I. Be patient. Instant success is rare. I know from experience that it is difficult to wait. We live in a world of instant gratification, where we want things to happen now. Let that go, grow to trust the process and love the journey. Persistence and humility to your shortcomings go hand in hand. If you wholeheartedly believe in yourself then don’t walk away. During the toughest times of my career, I would ask myself, and my team, 1 simple question. Read more>>