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What’s the Most Important Lesson You’ve Learned Along Your Journey?

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?

Critsamar Felix | Makeup Artist | Blogger | Makeup event planner

I learned that you never have to give up, don’t leave your dreams in the long term, that you can start where you are with what you have and can., That there isn’t a but in that dream that makes you have a big smile.



Danielle | Luxury Spray Tan

The most important lesson I’ve learned as of late, is to pay attention to changes in business marketing. In my case, I needed to keep up with new social media platforms. I pulled on a social media strategist and designer, one of my clients, on Instagram. She happened to be working in the field and was already familiar with my brand. Since bringing on her expertise, we have seen a huge upswing in interactions and new clients. Knowing where your own strengths and weaknesses are, and creating partnerships when needed, is key to new growth. It always helps to reach out to your own clientele as resources, as they are already passionate about your product or craft.

MarQuita Edwards | Artist | Writer, & Performance Writing Coach

MarQuita Edwards

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is that sometimes it takes a little longer than expected to achieve the success you desire.  It is also very important to see this as the assurance of even greater success and not as an absolute failure.


Heather Crabtree | Business Coach for Service-Based Female Entrepreneurs

I have been an entrepreneur for over 15 years. I started in law, jumped into event planning for 11 years and finally found my calling as a business consultant and coach 8 years ago. During this time-frame, I have also had two kids and one is currently being treated for cancer at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. As an entrepreneur, mom and wife, I have learned to accept change and be willing to pivot when life throws you curve balls, always keep an open mind, keep showing up even when times get hard, stay positive and never believe that you don’t have more to learn…we are always learning and growing if you are open to it.

Stephanie S. & Kyle J. | Small business owners

We only started this journey last year but we have learned a lot and the best part is we have done it together the best lesson and often the hardest is that sometimes trial and error is the best way to find our way.   Every project, every process is an adventure.- Stephanie S.

We could not have done it without each other as Stephanie has the creative eye and I have the patience  for the multiple steps in each part of the process.-Kyle J.


Laney Iron Hawk | Esthetician

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey is to stay motivated, and to remind yourself that change is inevitable but to always grow and prosper no matter what the circumstances are, and to not focus on the failures but focus on the success that comes from the failures. Be good and do good!


Nadeem Al-Hasan | Co-Founder

Over the past ten years of being in the cannabis industry beginning in cultivation to manufacturing edibles the biggest lesson learned is that you are only as strong as the people you surround yourself with. In other words, your TEAM! Leaders do not create followers they create other leaders and this has been so important for my business partner and me. By providing a clear vision or WHY we do what we do t has enables us to set our egos aside and let our team show what they are truly capable of.


Braiden and Shawna from the Desert Charm Living Team | Northwest Valley Real Estate Agents

The most important thing we’ve learned in our journey so far is to trust the process. Success doesn’t happen overnight but takes time and consistency. We’re learning to trust that our hard work and being intentional with relationships will create the business we desire over time.

Gabriel Sanchez | Apparel Decorator | Graphic Designer | Creative Consultant and Marketing Coordinator…..and all the other hats of a small business owner

Gabriel Sanchez G Seven Three

There have been a lot of lessons learned so far. One of the ones that stick out the most may sound familiar to a lot of people, “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” This is sooo true, just when I was getting content with my work process/work flow, I changed it up and added a 64” large format eco-solvent printer and 64” cutter/plotter to my list of equipment. I was not familiar nor was I ready for the trials and errors that came my way, financially, mentally and at times emotionally, but I told myself as long as I keep moving in a forward direction I can get over these obstacles in front of me! It helps to have a good circle around you, I get tons support from my wife and daughter, as well as help from family and friends.

Jamie Berdiner | Founder of The Celiac Consultant | 💯 Gluten Free Mama

One lesson I have learned throughout this crazy journey is to EMBRACE what life has given you & EMPOWER others with your story. I never thought being so violently ill and being diagnosed with Celiac disease would somehow ignite such passion, purpose and now entrepreneurship into my life. I had to learn to be grateful for the experiences, even the ones I didn’t understand at the time.

Ruben Mendoza | Founder Hemp CBD

Work hard every day, vigorously, and harder when others aren’t. Never stop learning, trust the process, & value your time.

Keith & Melissa | Photographers Wedding | Event + Portrait Photography

Don’t walk into situations with a preconceived notion, you need to be ready and flexible for anything. This works equally well in photography as well as life.



Christine and Scott | owners of Xtension Envy The Hair Extension Salon, Hair extension and color specialists

Business is always tough especially when you create a new category in a market. So in the beginning it was just educating the customer and showing them the benefits of our model/membership plan.



Thomas Poole | Magician

I am going to give you two things I’ve learned through this thing called life.

1) Pursue what you love and never give up.    We have all know the cliche saying “life is too short so do what you love.” But how many of us actually do it?  Not many.  Why?  Because it feels risky. Because.. what if you fail?  Well, I have news for you.  You can spend your whole life failing at something you don’t like doing.  You might as well spend your time failing at something you love.  Life is much more fun that way.

2) Failing is not failing.  It’s just gaining knowledge (learning).  I can remember being young and struggling with some task.  My mom could see that I was stressed.  She told me this story about Thomas Edison.  Did you know when inventing the light build Thomas Edison tried over 10,000 times before we was able to make it work?  The local newspaper interviewed him and they asked “What did it feel like to fail 10,000 times?”  He looked the report straight in the eyes and said “I didn’t fail 10,000 times.  I just found 10,000 ways a light build doesn’t work.”  He couldn’t have have the success without the “failure” aka “knowledge. 

Karla Stevens | Esthetician & Lash Artist

My most important lesson that I’ve learned in my journey is that in this industry it’s always changing. You will failed at things. Things will go wrong but you have to keep going. As long as you love what you’re doing there is no sets backs.


Karen L. May | Wizard of light bulb moments

Dana Gibbons Photography

I had my world rocked 3 years ago and have learned that I am the one who can make everything or anything happen. That anything can be achieved through hard work and dedication. I believe in creating my own path. I believe my life is an incredible gift. I have learned always always always trust your gut, it is the best guide and wisest advisor. I have learned everyone is weird in their own way. And that our flag is more than a cloth. I learned the hard way that which has not killed me has made me stronger. People may not agree with me, and that is fine. But I have a right to my own opinion and feelings. And I have a right to express them when and where I want to.I used to think it was important to conform to what other people thought about me. The day I realized it wasn’t was the day I became free. Learning this was hard but above all, when you are discouraged, when you are down, always remember to have faith that your efforts will be rewarded.


Gem Mittenberg LMT,LE

Some of the lessons I have learned in my journey so far are, everybody has a opinion on how to be successful, but you have to walk your own path not theirs. Mistakes are going to happen, it’s okay learn from them and keep moving forward. Be open to saying yes, it might not work out but you will have an experience to learn from. Most importantly take a breath and enjoy the dream you have not only dreamed, but brought to life.“Never let the fear of what if, keep you from dreaming big.”


Zorana Radjen | bilingual life coach | business coach and pilates instructor

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey is to never doubt my current situation, but really to pause and understand why its happening instead. Years later I am realizing all the doubts I’ve had make sense today and those situations are the reason why I am where I am today. I’ve learned that loving yourself is the most important, and listening to the inner you won’t steer you wrong. You may fail at first but eventually you’ll wake up and it will all come together and makes sense, and you’ll recognize you are exactly where you need to be. So don’t give up, follow your instincts and trust yourself!


Amanda Thurman | visual storyteller

We never know what life has in store for us. This is the most important lesson my photography journey has taught me. I’m currently a full-time teacher with dreams of becoming a full-time wedding photographer, something that just a few years ago I could’ve never imagined. Passion can pop up in unexpected ways and take you places that you could’ve only dreamed of beforehand. That is why it is so important to surround yourself with those who will stand by you no matter where the road leads.

Mary Foley | Education Administrator

The most important lesson I have learned in my journey so far is to be the type of person you want to attract. I read this recently and it changed my outlook entirely in regards to all of my relationships, whether it’s between my friends or colleagues. If you want a friend who will listen to you when you need someone to talk to, be that friend in return. If you want a colleague who is willing to help you, be that colleague in return. I know that it’s not always that simple, but I’ve realized that keeping this in mind truly helps build healthier relationships. Also an important lesson – wear SPF every day!


Kelly and Matt Megyese | Co-Founders of Illuminate You Fitness

The greatest lesson on our journey has been to grow authentically with change. Mixing it up creates opportunities, keeps things fresh, and encourages a different perspective – change is at our core.

Karla Grimes, B.S. | Professional Body Piercer & Tooth Gem Technician

Body piercing is all about continuing to learn. Patience, willingness to learn and ask questions, professionalism, friendliness, passion to keep working at the highest standards, and honesty are critical to growing and maintaining a career in the piercing industry. I strive to continue to learn from others and advocate for the safety and happiness of my clients.


Ashley Nation | Photographer & student

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is to enjoy what you have while you can, live in the moment and look up from your phone and experience what’s in front of you.


Tyler Clayville | Personal Trainer

One of the most important lessons that I have learned in life is to “face your fears.” Fears can hold us back from experiencing everything that life has to offer. When we give into fear we limit ourselves. For that reason I will never let my fears stop me.


Jacqulyn Currey | Licensed Aesthetician | Certified Laser Tech

On my journey thus far, I’ve learned not to be intimidated by the competition but to be inspired by the race. Most people are striving for success in their careers, and I find it comes more fluidly to those who are kind, encouraging to one another, positive and continually educating themselves.

Nick Dudzinski | Fitness Model or Fitness Coach

The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far in my journey is to learn to be comfortable outside of your comfort zone.  I truly believe that when we struggle, we grow.  After all, it takes pressure to make a diamond.


Chris Reed | Personal Trainer in Scottsdale, AZ

The biggest lesson I have learned on my journey is to be good to people and do your best to help them in any way you can. I work with the general population and everyone has their own reasons for seeking out fitness as a solution to different stress in their lives. The best way to make an impact is to truly want them to succeed, and do everything in your power to understand where they started, where they are now, and where they want to go.

Eric Pasia | Creative Director | Founder

I believe passion and ideas comes are what come easy and that execution is 10x harder.  You have to be ready to push yourself and be uncomfortable, make the most of any resource that can help you, and most importantly, being a learner and not a knower.  I’ve found that mindset and being authentic has made all the difference. 

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