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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?

Christine Webster | Designer & Beekeeper

Befriend the process. Creating, learning, changing, growing, healing are all processes necessary to the human experience. Resisting process is exhausting and impossible. And while surrendering to process is uncomfortable, magic happens and truth rewards us when we do.


Valeria Serrano Vélez | Gallery Manager

I think one of our most important lessons we’ve learned in our journey so far is to not let our excitement get the best of us. We were so eager to open up Union Hall and have it get going that we started with tons of exhibitions and programming right off the bat, but didn’t realize we could potentially be overwhelming our audience by oversaturating them with content. We realized a few months ago that we were really doing too much and started full-speed too quickly, so now we are making some changes in our 2020 calendar that are much more balanced and in-line with the level of participation our audience is seeking. Ultimately, we were so excited for what we were doing and were so eager to share it with our audience, that we realized we really needed to take a step back and build our audience first before we presented such a plethora of programs and exhibitions to them. These new changes will allow us to meet our audience at a much more equal level than we were maybe doing before, and we’re happy to have learned this important lesson early on as we continue forward!

Cherish Flieder | Licensed Artist | Watercolor Illustrator + Product Designer

The most important lesson I have learned is also the lesson I need to remember daily. So, I wove it into my art company tagline – “Something to Cherish®, because life is a gift.”

Every moment is a gift. No one is promised tomorrow and yet most of us waste too many minutes of today worrying about it. This can lead to anxiety. We can’t change the past, but we spend too much time regretting it. This can lead to depression. We want things to be just perfect, so we embrace fear and delay it. This is the overwhelming reality of procrastination.

Instead, this is what we should do. First, smile. Take 3 deep breaths and be grateful for everything in your life at this moment. This includes the good, bad, and ugly, as they are the teachers life uses to make us who we are meant to become if we will only let them. Keep looking up, have faith, and reach for joy in every circumstance. Be quick to forgive, mend what you can, and let go of what you can’t change or fix. Never lose your ability to laugh at yourself at the end of the day. Spend more time with the beauty of nature and the mysteries of your Creator. Connect face-to-face and heart-to-heart with your people more than your technology. Listen closely and be kind to others as well as to yourself. Don’t wait to sing your song, dance your dance, give your gift, or paint your dream. Be the authentic, original and best version of you. Start right now. There’s no time in life for do-overs. The way you do it will be just right for right now, as long as you are willing to adjust along the way.

Right now we hold time in our hands. Right now we can use our hearts, minds, and hands to make a difference. Right now, this present moment, is where eternity past and eternity future intersect. This moment is completely yours. What will you choose to do with it?

Tiffany Tushar | Founder of Wag On Project & Stage 5 Clinger to Dogs

There are SO MANY! But I think the most important so far has been staying true to myself by remembering WHY I started this journey in the first place. So many people will offer their support and it can be overwhelming. The cause and WHO we give back to has been a constant in my decision making. Keeping this in mind, I’ve been able to weigh each suggestion and/or critique and decide ultimately if it benefits the cause and the brand.

Maz Mukayess | Wheelchair Expert  | Donut Slinger

As Humans we spend a lot of time passing judgement on others, fighting those that disagree with us and sometimes being hateful. The older I get the more I come to understand while that can be our Human nature, It is also Human to learn from and control those feelings. If we replace Judgement, impatience, and hatefulness with kindness and simply Love we will find that we all want the same thing each year on this trip around the sun. Being Human can mean all of these things (good and bad). It is how we teach ourselves to react as Humans that creates a more loving world. Go hug a stranger today and I promise it will make you both feel incredible! And Obviously EAT A DONUT!


Emily Fout | Gemologist & Jewelry Builder

Photo Credits: Emily Fout Model: Anna Brooks

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey is “you will always be more successful if you except help from the people around you.”


Corinne Cullinan | Blogger & Content Creator

The most important lesson I’ve learned on my journey thus far is to trust the timing of my life. To not compare my progress to anyone elses and ditch old expectations of where I thought I’d be by now in life. To put my complete focus on doing things I love, that make me feel in alignment, and in doing that create a life I love.

Kurt Rushin | Creator, AgentZero, Inc.

“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.” -Neil Gaiman

There is always inherent risk in anything worth doing, and starting my own business that allows people to use innovative technology to search for a home was the riskiest thing I have ever done. It’s also been the most rewarding. This has been the most important lesson in my journey so far. The idea that every single person you meet can be a potential life changer is a close second. (we are currently rebranding/redesigning – the new site will go live in March)

Liz Beson | Canvas + Denim Painter | Flower Crown Maker

At least on my artistic journey, I’ve learned to keep making and to make art for myself. Art really is some kind of therapy for me and allows me to express my feelings and emotions in a way that fully releases them. I had started a full fledged art business and was so focused on making art specifically to sell and for other people, that I stopped making anything for myself. As of this year, it’s been life changing to be back to making art for fun and because it’s what I want to make. Last year I experienced a sudden loss and grief in multiple areas of my life, and painting allowed me to share my experiences and relate to others in a way that words can’t always portray. When something tragic happens to you, it’s easy to feel so alone because you can’t even grasped what has happened. Sharing my art with others has allowed for the most random, bittersweet connections to form and I’ve really learned we’re never alone, ever.

Kirsten Miller | Colorado License Barber/Stylist & Personal Stylist

Every choice we make either enhances our spirit or hinders it, so in other words, staying TRUE to myself, TRUST that “gutt-instinct’ and don’t hesitate to act! Managing my energy & staying present, presence is power. Also, be grateful!


Carrie & Catherine | Cofounders of The Balanced Exchange

Through this journey, we are learning what it looks like to prioritize progress over perfection in everything from environmental goals to business development. Driving system change takes looking at the big picture and encouraging approachable small steps.

Monique Esparza | aerial instructor | dental hygienist | wife and cat mom

The most important lessons I’ve learning in my journey so far, is to be vulnerable, patient, trust more and love what you do.


Pete Pfankuch & Wendy Wagner | Innkeepers

Photo Credit: @everydaymountaingirl

Don’t sweat the small stuff.  You absolutely can not please everyone, so do your very best and know it’s them, not you.  This is such a rewarding career.  Smile everyday and have fun!

Natalia Sullivan | Owner of WyldeDreams and professional multi-tasker

The most important lesson I have learned so far is to carry patience and discipline in everything.  Starting a small business while balancing a full time job and having a life is really tricky. I have to juggle time and commitments and, sometimes that means making sacrifices. But, I can do it all if I keep working at it and stay kind with myself.  Making art can bring up a lot of self-doubt.  It is so easy to compare myself to other people. That is the nature of the world we live in today. When it comes down to it, though, I am so happy and grateful to get to share this passion with people. I have come to learn tp be patient with myself because the doubt is part of the process that pushes me to be more creative and playful in what I make. Watching people try on pieces that make them feel good about themselves brings me more joy than I can express.  I am right where I want to be!

A cappella Poet & Mindset Coach

Be as honest as you can, as soon as you can. It is important that your truth can be received, however, it is the most important that you express it.


Adriane Laws | jewelry designer | entrepreneur, and spiritual warrior

No matter what career path you are on, and especially if you are an entrepreneur, one of the most important things to remember is to be ALL IN. There will be setbacks, disappointments, and days when you just don’t feel like doing what needs to be done. But when you are committed to doing what it takes to move forward every day, you don’t let those bumps in the road change your trajectory. And just to clarify… it doesn’t mean you have to work ALL THE TIME. After all, one of the reasons we become entrepreneurs is so we can have some time freedom. Sometimes, the thing you need to do in the moment to keep going in your business is to take some time for yourself. Go to the gym, watch movies all day, get a pedicure, meet a friend for coffee, or sit by a babbling brook. Well-placed me time is actually an integral part of running a successful business. So, by all means, take breaks when you start feeling bogged down. The thing is though, when you’re all in, you know what you are doing is taking a break, not bowing out, because you have committed to keep going through the difficulties.

Mindy Jarrard | owner of Kady’s Kollars

To always believe in yourself and never give up!


Ashley Tauch | Marketing Director, STEADY CBD

I previously worked in the cannabis industry for some of the biggest brands in the country, and throughout my experience I have learned to embrace the “quality over quantity” mindset. I am very happy to work for a company that truly believes in the product they are putting out into the world, only using the highest-quality, premium ingredients and doing all the appropriate testing of our products. I can truly say I am proud of the products I am promoting on a daily basis.

Sanaz Ashrafian | dental hygienist

Don’t wait until tomorrow to chase after your dreams. I have always wanted to open an office where patients feel good about taking care of their oral health and I’m so happy I’m chasing my dreams.

 Noah Ungar, BSN, RN- Surgical Nurse and Real Estate Professional

Growth blooms from uncomfortable positions in unfamiliar situations”
As people we need to challenge ourselves. I have found through personal experience as an Operating Room Nurse, that we must insert ourselves in situations we are not accustomed to in order to blossom. Don’t be afraid to adjust your lifestyle to change, for it is necessary to become the best version of yourself. Always urge yourself to learn and explore as new adventures are lying ahead!

Instagram: NoahUngar_RE



Carly Wilde | Owner, Milk Glass Productions and Betsy Phillips | Owner, Wildish Production

There is no elevator to success, you must take the stairs as they say. It truly takes 3-5 years of a lot of hard work, passion and dedication to make a business/vision/dream come true or even get close to where you want to be!  There are so many times you will doubt a decision or look back with regrets but realize they are all lessons to bring you to where you ultimately are supposed to be. As we enter year 3, we feel really fortunate to have made it to this point but are proud of ourselves.  We feel as if you work really hard, you can’t go backwards only forwards and eventually it will pay off!  Even if it simply is just the lessons you learned along the way.

Fernanda Garner | Healthcare Interior Designer and Watercolor artist

The most important lesson that I have learned in my journey is the fact of not taking anybody or anything for granted. Every person you meet or experience you encounter is just another piece of your own never ending beautiful puzzle “Called YOUR life, YOUR Story”. I love to express in my watercolors the fact that imperfection is what makes us beautiful and unique; instead of being ashamed of it, we should embrace it no matter what it is or what has been because those are the things that have shaped us into who we are.


Annie & Matt Afon | digital nomad couple

The most important lesson we’ve learned on this journey so far is the power of knowing your WHY. Knowing your WHY is way more important than knowing your how. If you have a dream, chase it. Don’t let it slip away because you’re unsure of how you’re going to pull it off. If you want something bad enough, you’ll figure out a way to make it happen. Only you have the power over your dreams. No one is going to dream them for you.


Michelle Taylor | Broker Associate at LIV Sotheby’s International Realty and Outdoor Enthusiast

Be authentic. A good real estate agent will take time getting to authentically know their client’s lifestyles by hearing about their goals, hobbies and jobs. Listening to clients talk about their life and their goals is key to helping them find a home best suitable to live the life they love. By learning this lesson, I’ve been given the gift of authentic friendship from nearly all my clients and I couldn’t be more grateful.


Dark Rose Club | not your usual barbershop

The most important lesson that I’ve learned in my journey so far, is to treat every client like they’re your first and last. Be thankful for their business. If it wasn’t for them you wouldn’t have a business. A lot of people in this industry forget that and focus more on being “rockstars” and impressing others in the industry. Clients always come first.

Alexis Drennan | Owner at Tulaire

There. are. so. many. But the major lesson that comes back time and time again is to RELAX. My journey with Tulaire has proved to be scary, exciting and stressful and has prompted more than one existential crisis, but you can’t live in panic or fear or anxiety. It doesn’t produce anything helpful. Relaxing and taking it one step at a time means you get done what you can in the amount of time you have.

Rev. Stephanie Price | Pastor at The Land

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is to let go; of my expectations, my fears, and my picture-perfect plans. I’ve learned that when I hold on too tight to how I think things should go, I miss all the amazing things that are actually happening.

Helena Hollis | Founder of CocoRidge Coconut Water

In 2018, while traveling in Bali, I was hospitalized for an unknown illness and spent three days in a coma—I awoke with a completely new perspective on life. After much reflection on the past six years of being in business, I realized I was allowing myself to let the stress and challenges of owning a business overwhelm me instead of facing them head on. I also learned that my business can only succeed as far as I am able to succeed with my own mindset. My business is a direct reflection of who I am as a person. If I’m unorganized, my business becomes chaotic; if I’m lazy or tired, my business will run inefficiently and therefore not be able to grow—eventually falling apart.

My suggestion for entrepreneurs: it all comes down to what you can handle. That is why I have since invested in my health and mental wellbeing, and it’s already paid off significantly. Success has nothing to do with making a ton of money or making it big right away but has everything to do with how you can be the best version of yourself. How is that done? By reading a business book each month, listening to a podcast during your travels, attending relevant networking events, expos, and retreats to continue to grow as a person. Growth is continuous and once you stop growing, your business can become stagnant and irrelevant.

Jwlç Mendoza | Artist & Muralist

Photo Credit: Berenice Aguirre @Veryberynice

The most important lesson I have learned during my journey as an artist is that if you don’t truly believe in yourself and don’t take risks in this life nothing will ever happen. Dreams will stay as only dreams and they will never come true. We got to learn that failing is not always bad, but most important we got to learn how to enjoy and trust the process.



Sara Rose Foreman, RDN | Athlete | Coach | Sports & Performance Dietitian

Recently I came across this quote, “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.” I feel this captures one of the greatest lessons I have learned in this journey, in that when you feel like throwing in the towel, don’t.

Taking that leap into a small business owner and a private-practitioner has been one of my most significant accomplishments; it is rewarding yet, challenging, and exhausting at the same time.

Lessons I have learned so far on my journey are:

Don’t get lost in the things that are easy or that you tend to enjoy doing. Push your comfort zone and do the things you are most scared of or are avoiding.

Limit the outside noise and focus your time, attention, and effort on what you know is the best for you and your vision. If it’s not aligned with your goals, it is ok to say ‘no.’

Don’t give up. When you feel like giving up, don’t. Have faith in your abilities, the process, and know hard work, determination, passion will take you where you want to be.

Brent Jones | Artist and ABOC Optician

The most important lesson I’ve learned is it’s better to live life guided by a compass than a clock.


Noah Ungar, BSN, RN | Surgical Nurse and Real Estate Professional

“Growth blooms from uncomfortable positions in unfamiliar situations.”

As people we need to challenge ourselves. I have found through personal experience as an Operating Room Nurse, that we must insert ourselves in situations we are not accustomed to in order to blossom. Don’t be afraid to adjust your lifestyle to change, for it is necessary to become the best version of yourself. Always urge yourself to learn and explore as new adventures are lying ahead! agent/colorado/greenwoodvillage/52555-noah-ungar/Welcome

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