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.

Jackson “Jax” Ridd | Magician

“A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” This is a tough lesson that I’m still learning, honestly. There is so much perfection that I do achieve, yet at the same time there have been moments where seeking perfection has held me back from progress. Having a successful career is finding the proper balance between progress and perfection. Knowing just the right amount of finesse is an artform in itself. Read more>>

Samantha Becker | Founder, Speechwriter, Creative Director | Epigraph

Kindness is an endurance sport. So often in my career, I felt I came in second — whether in a role or a negotiation, or a deal — because I value kindness as much as intellect or talent. The most supportive thing anyone ever said to me was in the midst of working on a commencement speech: “You’re as kind as you are smart.” And something about it was just immediately valuable to me. Everything landed. I felt like I needed to bottle the sentiment and take it with me whenever I had self doubt, but I also thought it was a good metric to lead by in whatever business I was going to create going forward. And I think over the years, the way I’ve treated people is something that has been returned to me. Perhaps not in the moment, because there is always going to be a faction of people who believe kindness is weakness. So in the moment, you might not feel its importance. Read more>>

Sammy Ruiz | Artist and Musician From North East Los Angeles

The most important thing I’ve learned in my Artistic and Musical journey is being persistent despite the hardships life sends us. Life is so short. I can live with failing at something I gave all of my effort but I cannot live with the regret of not trying. Read more>>

Marissa Fonte | Director – Supervisor – Animator

Not to self-doubt. When I was green, I was very guilty of seeking validation from others. I struggled with the confidence to expand on the notes I was given, even if I knew of ways of making the animation better. Finally, I got the chutzpah to communicate with my supervisors of ideas and jokes I had in mind. And they loved it! Once I stopped doubting myself I was able to produce the quality of work that the production really liked and that I was really proud of. From there I was able to harness my craft and gain experience as a Lead Animator, Supervisor, and Director. Read more>>

Christopher Arlen | Facilitator, Minister, Politician, Optimist

My career has taught me to love people without condition. As a community health outreach worker promoting risk reducing behaviors, as a minister working with bereaved families, as facilitator and mediator, even in the political space, people respond well to being loved. When people trust that they are loved, in my experience, they respond in kind. In this context, love is demonstrated rather than exclaimed. There are limitless ways that love can be expressed…. in attentive listening, through compassionate inquiry, or even managing divergent perspectives with grace and humility. Love, in this context, is an ever-present intention that creates a context mutuality and respect. Read more>>

Steven Morrow | Private Detective

Learning to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. My line of work is filled with fraught situations and learning how to adapt and adjust to those changes has been essential and critical to having success. Often a client will present you just a piece of the picture and sometimes after you have gone all the way into it you realize that the full picture is nothing like the piece that you started off with. Read more>>

Miri Elle | Songwriter, Producer and Vocalist

Hard work and staying true to yourself are the most important components of success in any field. I believe authenticity and dedication are what make great music, and I wouldn’t have the ability to create freely if I weren’t confident in who I am. Read more>>

Chris Bigpapa Blevins | Actor

Its critical to understand what and who energizes you. My career has taught me to surround myself with energizing people who feed my head, support me, hold me accountable and generally help me to be my best on the job and off. Many people spend a lot of time creating to-do lists and watching the clock. But I’ve learned that it’s the energy I expend – not the time I spend – that’s most worth monitoring. When I focus on the people, the projects and the causes that most motivate and inspire me, I’m far less protective of my time because the progress I make has a multiplying effect. To whatever degree possible, avoid the things and people that suck the life out of you. Your energy is too precious a commodity. Read more>>

Susan Scafati | Multidisciplinary Artist

Lessons are always revealing themselves, but at this moment I’ll say to stay attuned to the rhythms of the tides… aka *Pay Attention!* When the pandemic first began, it reminded me of living in New York City during September 11. Not just the trauma of seeing the world as I knew it change forever, but the ways in which it crystallized the frailty and biases of our organizations of meaning. One trauma brings up all traumas. However as Rumi says, “the wound is the place where the light gets in.” In photography the term “sensitize” refers to making a material sensitive to light. I like translating this idea to myself – the practice of keeping senses awake, through meditation and other rituals, to receive the stimulus of the world and reflect it back. I really admire people whose work intuits in real time the essence of our living, like artist Meriem Bennani and writer Lawrence Wright whose pandemic insights this year have been gifts above the noise. Read more>>

April Lovett | Prenatal Yoga Teacher & Birth Doula and Educator

My business and career has taught me a lot over the last 10 years, but more than anything it has shown me how resilient I am. When the pandemic hit, I pivoted my brick and mortar business to the internet essentially on day one. I was able to keep everything running pretty smoothly and now I am building an entirely new online business. Read more>>

Joel (Darshan) Ingwaldson | Gemstone Specialist | World Traveler | Darjeeling Tea Enthusiast & Dog Lover

The most important lesson my business has taught me is to TRUST myself. LISTEN to my inner voice, ALLOW truth, the light, to guide me along the way. Read more>>

Laura Dahl | Entrepreneur

Be true to you and pinpoint your purpose. This is a lesson that reaches well beyond business and serves every part of life, but since most entrepreneurs have trouble distinguishing between their business and their life – indeed, because they struggle to differentiate the two – the power of synching it up seamlessly is priceless. When you are crystal clear on your purpose, you find yourself in an effortless flow. Every decision, no matter how large, becomes obvious. You begin noticing the signals all around you. Inspiration fills your soul and opportunities present themselves from even the most unexpected places. Purpose is rooted in authenticity and those we reach can literally feel it. As humans, we’re wired with survival instincts that serve to protect us from bad choices, and, whether or not we succumb to the flat, overly produced and outwardly marketed product, we can see right through it. Do right by yourself and your buyer, be true to your pinpointed purpose, and you’ll tap into a world of wealth. Read more>>

Marcus Yates | Artist/Producer & Recording Engineer

I’ve learned that a consistent work ethic beats anything but on top of that learning the details of dreams. I ask other creators do they have the fire not just when they’re woke but when they’re sleep or daydreaming. I want to make my career the “performance” to the script of dreams that I’ve been gathering details of all these years. I’ve been fortunate to be around family and friends who encourage me to keep on going. It started off really ugly and trash in the beginning but that consistency and paying close attention to detail has got me to a place where it’s enjoyable. As long as I’m remaining a student, I’m always growing. And even when teaching or giving game, you learn twice. So in conclusion, the most important lesson was making what you love an hourly/daily lesson. Schooling yourself whilst letting go of pride really clears a lot up for you. Read more>>

David Schoenfeld | Founder – RING BEAR (@theringbear)

Treat people well. It sounds incredibly simple but, at its core, business is the composition of countless interpersonal interactions. I’ve now spent time in B2B, B2C, and the Deal business which amplified the fact that customers, investors, vendors, accountants, etc. are all people at the end of the day. Treat people well and people will want to work with you, invest in you, partner with you. Even in this era of DMs and automation there is nothing better than inbound business or a warm intro. Of course there are counter examples, but the reality is that most of us will work for 50+ years and your reputation will heavily impact the direction your career takes. I’m fortunate to have learned this philosophy at a young age in particular from my grandfathers. Both of whom epitomize the American Dream and worked into their 80s all while showing gratitude and respect to everyone around them. To be uber current, look at the way the English Monarchy allegedly treated Meghan and Harry. Read more>>

Yuanchen Jiang | Desiger

Apply yourself to everything you choose to do. Read more>>

Luca Cioci | Cinematographer & Animator

You just have to do it. Find a way to do it. Read more>>

Marlha Sanchez | Founder of Unidos Homeschool Cooperative

One of the biggest take aways that I always hold close to my heart is “Everyone has something to teach, everyone has something to. learn and everyone has something to share.” The value of our lived experiences and the power of our stories makes each one of us a powered keg of wisdom. This idea helps me to remember that it’s “not me, we.” I’m not doing this alone or for myself the work we do came from a need we felt and saw but we weren’t the only family that was in need of more choice in education and we certainly weren’t the first or the last to have the idea to build our solutions to the lack we saw. We come at this work from the knowledge that this is a community effort. That even our youngest student has something to teach all of us and that every parent or community member or volunteer has areas of expertise that are valuable when shared with our students. Read more>>

Kay Litwin | Senior Fundraising Coordinator & Dog Mom

The adage, “Never Give Up”, cannot be undermined. I personally did not start my undergraduate degree until I was 22 years old – after which it took me two years and endless applications to finally land my dream job. You may find yourself in a situation, professionally or even romantically that is not fulfilling – but whatever your goals are they are not only attainable, they are attainable right now. I wake up everyday and try to be the best version of myself. We only have this one life, that can end at any moment, so make the most of it! But most importantly, while I absolutely love my job – it could not be more tailored to my interests and needs, I have realized that true fulfillment and happiness is within you at all times. Rather than chasing fleeting and ephemeral moments of perceived happiness – which will leave you wanting, I cannot stress enough to find happiness within yourself at any given moment. With the right mindset, and a “never give up” attitude, the rest truly will fall into place. Read more>>

Fiona Lincke | Filmmaker

The most important lesson owning my own production company has taught me is that it is a very small world. Actually, I have always known this, but you really experience it when you venture out on your own with your business endeavor(s). Someone you work with will know someone else you have worked with. You’ll be across the world and meet someone on the London tube who has worked with you. You’ll be at the Hollywood Bowl and someone will shout out your name and everyone will look to see who is yelling out your name… and then when you acknowledge your name being called (because they won’t stop screaming it out until you do); all will look to see who acknowledges the name being called. (Turns out the kid was in my classroom ten years ago and just wanted to say “Hi” to me and wouldn’t stop until he knew that I knew who he was! Too funny, but this and many more incidences have happened to me like this. Very serious advice… be kind, be professional and be honest. There’s too many people out there that aren’t. Don’t be one of them!. Read more>>

Cory Andersen | Founder of PRYSM Music Management

The most important lesson I’ve learned is Closed Mouths Don’t Get Fed. In the beginning of my career I was so terrified of being told no. No you don’t deserve this raise. No, you don’t deserve this playlist. No you don’t deserve this deal. No, You’re not good enough for this. As I grew older, I realized I wasn’t getting opportunities because I wasn’t asking for them. Never be afraid to ask for what you want or feel you deserve. Ask for that raise, Ask that mentor for advice. Ask your friend to help with that project. Closed mouths don’t get fed!. Read more>>

Liz Svatek | Speaker, Podcast Coach and Host of The Top Rated Conversations With With Warrior Women Podcast

That women are not born Warriors… we become them. Through our resilient journeys we remember that we can do hard things. Every woman I have interviewed on the Conversations with Warrior Women Podcast has told me that they have failed, lost hope, almost given up until they chose WARRIOR. They chose to put themselves back on the list and be the woman they were supposed to be! I started this podcast at 50 years old and I am just beginning this new season of my life. It’s never to late to start something new, follow your passions, and make yourself happy!. Read more>>