We asked rising stars from the community one of our favorite questions: other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?

Mackenzie Fuhrmann | Digital Content Creator and Blogger

Authenticity. I knew when I started Evolution of a Party Girl, that what would be the most rewarding, was being myself and staying honest and true to that. My mother likes to joke that I am the same person I was at 2, at 15, and now at 35. I am proud of that. Working in the social media space, there comes a lot of pressure to always be “On.” Have the best photos, be extremely put together, that is not me. As a mom of a toddler, I am lucky if I even get to wash my face before noon. I wanted my influence to be a positive one, to make people laugh and just be me. I believe y0u should come as you are, stay as you are, and that will always be enough. Read more>>

Bree ‘Mei-Li’ Preuitt | Actress & Co-Founder of The Polaris Group

It’s my everyday decision to be curious about my fears instead of being afraid of them. I found that my fears have been the biggest motivator for living the life I live now. The decision to not be debilitated led me into places like improv and acting. Whenever I feel that anxious pit in my stomach I tell myself, “Oh! I need to do this because I am going to feel so empowered afterward”’. Fear has led me to start a career in the performing arts and now transition into the world of business as a business owner for The Polaris Group, a digital media holding company. Every day I experience waves of Imposter Syndrome but my true success lies in affirming that ‘if my desire is there, I am always qualified’. The whole point of life is to experience and learn from it. Read more>>

Leila Muhaizen | Founder and CEO of Baklava

I developed a mindset of absolute and unwavering commitment to this new adventure. I often make the analogy that having a startup is like a entering marriage. Your colleagues are your partners for better or worse. You will argue about financial spending but always take unanimous decisions. You will invest in marketing tactics and proudly watch the company grow. Other times, you will be overwhelmed, overjoyed, disappointed, and humbled by the ups and down of this journey, and it only makes you wiser and more resilient. If your startup is similar to a marriage, then your members (app users) are you children! Your members deserve unparalleled attention and selfless nurturing. You must study their interests and listen to their feedback for them to grow. Read more>>