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?
Parker King with Edward Jones Investments
The most important lesson I have learned so far is a smile goes a long way. I interact with lots of people everyday at my job, and putting a smile on my face can make someone’s day. A small act of kindness as little as a smile goes a long way. Even when you are feeling down, it makes a person feel better to see that frown upside down!
Alexandra Weissner | co-founder of bRUNch Running and founder of Lexa PR
The most important lesson that I’ve learned in my journey so far is just to keep going. The path is not straight but full of lots of twists and turns but if you continue to work hard, the hard work will pay off. The end result might not be what you had expected, so keep going and leave some room for the magic to happen.
James Bohling | Fine Art Landscape Painter
As a primarily self taught artist I’ve had to overcome some self doubt about my abilities due to a lack of formal art education Consequently, I would say the most important thing I’ve learned on my journey is that trusting my instincts and believing in my talent is paramount to any success that I’ve had. In each of my pieces my emotions range from “this is going to be great” to “this is terrible” and finally to “this is pretty awesome”. I’ve learned I need to push through from “this is terrible” and truly believe I’m going to finally hit “this is awesome”.
Anne Collins | REALTOR
Do not be afraid of change. This last year has been an incredible year of change for me as I left my 25 year career in corporate America and decided to tackle residential real estate. The timing was all wrong, my oldest daughter was heading to college with my younger daughter not far behind, and here I was leaving a job that paid me very well to start out on my own with nothing. I was afraid…afraid of failing and letting down my daughters, afraid of not being able to provide for them financially, afraid of not knowing if I’d be successful in my new career, but I was excited. All of that fear of change and the unknown drove me to work harder than I ever have in my life, learn new things every day, and push myself completely out of my comfort zone. The result? A quickly growing real estate business (exceeded year 1 goals!) and a career happiness that I didn’t know was possible. I have received so much joy from helping my clients through the largest financial decision of their lives, as well as helping many of them navigate some highly personal and difficult situations. Now I embrace change…every client, every situation, every home, every transaction is different…I never know what each day will bring but I’m ready for it. You CAN do it, you just have to be brave enough to take the first step.
Libby Alexander | Owner
Treating your employees well and putting their well being first will be one of the best things for growing your business and building community.
Jules Gillen | Healing & Expressive Arts Therapist
When you create space the universe fills it.
Chelsea Hawkins | customer service and International relations
The most important lesson I’ve learned is that starting a business can be frustrating and overwhelming at times but you can only fail when you stop trying to make something work. Really nothing should stand in your way if you’re determined to never giving up.
Lindsay Mitchell | Writer & Marketing Consultant
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far: As an entrepreneur and creative professional, I’ve been through many ups and downs—and I know that will continue throughout my life and career. In times of struggle or disappointment it can be tough to remain confident and optimistic, but believing in yourself is really the only option if you want to succeed. So I’d say the most important lesson I’ve learned is to not let anything or anyone make me doubt myself. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, why would anyone else? Always remember to trust your capabilities and remain true to who you are and all that you bring to the table—you know more than you think you do, and no one else can do what you do the way you do it. So no matter what, stay confident – “fake it til you make it” if need be – and nothing will stop you from achieving your goals! 🙂
Andrea Albert | Event Producer | Colorado Explorer & Adventurer
I’ve learned to appreciate time, and those small moments when you can catch your breath. Life moves quickly around you, and it’s important to accept every moment with gratitude, and love the journey you are on. But take those moments to catch your breath, and believe that the journey you are on now is where you are supposed to be.
Barrett House | An Organic Mid Century Masterpiece
The most important lesson we’ve learned along our journey in resorting Barrett House is to be a story teller for the past. Celebrating and bringing the past into the present keeps it alive; preserving, restoring and appreciating mid century homes is vital for the future. Honor the past, regard it and share it’s stories. Every home has a story and we are honored to be sharing Barrett House’s story.
Indie Salons Luxury Studios
Our mission is to support beauty entrepreneurs and help them achieve their dreams. What we’ve learned is that this goes beyond providing beautiful space and a positive community, it includes creating an entire culture and eco-system for entrepreneurs at Indie. We celebrate wins and help each other, we offer ways for beauty professionals to increase their profitability with personal budget/business advice and access to our wholesale beauty supply program for many top brands, we provide rent credits for purchases through our wholesale program, and we host a lot of education events to help Indies succeed (ranging from blonding classes to tax planning to social media), including bringing in some of the top names in the industry.
There’s an open, vibrant, positive, uplifting culture across Indie that sets the stage for people to be truly successful, and to have others cheering for them along the way. We celebrate all kinds of things in our community including Indie weddings, first house, engagements and recently we celebrated two Indies who just expanded into a second Indie studio. Originally their salon closed down, they were concerned whether they could make it together sharing a studio, but they decided to make a leap of faith. Now their income has increased beyond their dreams in their first few months, allowing them to expand with a second studio. Stories like this are why we do what we do!
Amy Ocen | Finance Professional
Always keep exploring and never be afraid to take on new challenges.
Chris and Michele Burke | event organizers | Fresh Markets: FRESH FOOD + FRESH GOODS
The most important lesson we’ve learned in our journey so far (to quote classical-hip hop duo Black Violin) is to “Take the Stairs.” Our career has had it’s ups and downs but we keep climbing and always take the high road. Taking the stairs makes you stronger and you can accomplish anything when you reach for the top.
Jessica Fey | wildlife/Landscape Photographer
The most important lessons I have learned in my journey so far, has been how to prepare and anticipate the unexpected. To know what I want to get, and aim high to surpass my goals. Knowing that there is always something new to achieve, or work towards, has been the drive to my success.
Margaret Clough | Chiropractic and small business owner
The most important lesson I’ve learned on the journey so far coming up on my one-year anniversary of MAC Chiropractic, is the ability to adapt. Starting a business from scratch in a new city brought on many challenges. I learned to accept things don’t go as planned hardly ever and to adapt accordingly. My hard work is starting to pay off and I’m excited for the future.
Ev Vinyls | “Hiphop/Pop Artist”
The most important lesson I’ve learned thus far is that no matter how much progression is made on your journey, always remain hungry and humble.
Mauricio Fleitas | Professional Paragliding Pilot & Instructor
The art of patience… Being able to judge when to fly or when to not fly, by patiently embrace the natural elements.
James Fly | Kickbox Trainer & Real-Estate Business Owner
There are no mistakes, only experiences to gain and lessons to learn.
If you learn from everything that happens to you, you will discover that there is no such thing as mistakes, only lessons to be learned and if you don’t, chances are that your life will look at 40 the same way it did when you were 20.
Tess Kula | Owner & Crafter
Don’t be afraid to be a small fish! When I first started my business I was completely intimidated by the bigger companies out there that were already well established. I started to doubt myself and what I was creating with questions like who am I, why would anyone want my product? But I still chose to put myself out there and overcome my fears of failure. I signed up for as many trade shows as I could. I put my products on display and started talking to people about their struggles as well as sharing mine. I was quickly reminded why I started in the first place. It’s simple, I genuinely want to offer relief and help to other people. The testimonies that I have received about how MY products are helping is exactly why I created Bare Remedies. I am thankful I get to be a small fish making a big difference!
Chelsea Treinen | Sweetwater Boutique owner
As a new business owner, I’ve had to learn a lot… quickly! For me, it’s all about building relationships with our local and visiting customers. I enjoy creating a fun and personal shopping experience for everyone that stops into our store. We have a wide variety of prices and I love finding something that fits everyone’s style and budget. When people leave our store feeling satisfied, I know they will come back or a tell a friend about us.
Jennifer O’Connell | Managing Partner of Queener Law Denver
I am not afraid to admit that I have tried to quit on this journey a few times. There is a true ebb and flow to owning your own business. And in those ebb times, it is harder than I could have ever known to see a future with success. My inner circle pushed me to keep going, but it was still extremely difficult some days. Then come the great times, and it is easy to forget the hard days, just as easy as it is to forget the good days when the hard days come again. You just have to bear down and stay the course. Your day will come.
Lauren Amble | Jewelry Designer
I stumbled upon this business less than a year ago, so am just in awe that I am doing it. As a classically trained flutist, I understand the value of patience, practice and work ethic. This is something I always try and remain aware of when working on growing as a jewelry designer. Really, the biggest lesson I have learned in my brief journey is to just relax and enjoy the ride. I feel very fortunate to be doing something I am so passionate about. I know I have an enormous amount to learn and will experience ups and downs, but am just so delighted and grateful to have found something I love to do everyday.
Fed Rios | Industrial and Product Design Consultant
The most important lesson I’ve learned so far as a product designer, was to find a company working in a field I was truly passionate about — one that was innovating more than it’s competitors– and rigorously re-make my portfolio until I was able to work for them and get my formative career years and learning there.
For me this company was SRAM, and as an avid cyclist and competitor in many disciplines, I was able to design and test cutting edge suspension and braking components with the best cyclists in the world in mind.
I was then able to use this highly specialized experience I acquired over the years to start my own design studio earlier this year, and I now help founders, startups, and established companies with concept generation and refinement during their early stages of product development.
Casey Krutz | Social Media Community Manager & Singer-Songwriter
Traveling, like life, doesn’t always go as planned, but each adventure has an important lesson to teach us. We learn and grow from each new experience and the people we encounter along the way. We have a lot to be grateful for!
Once upon a time, InnEdCO (formerly TIE) was an ed-tech conference. We’ve learned that we really are so much more. As a non-profit, we exist to inspire and sustain communities of innovative learners. We strive to tell the story of education innovation, risk-taking, and problem-solving across Colorado.
Damaged Bards | Musicians | Story Tellers
Art is about being honest. Whether you’re writing music, a movie, a book, a play — anything really — you need to strive to be genuine. Don’t worry about how or when the piece will end; enjoy the journey and learn new things about yourself by being honest.