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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?

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

Kim Kelley | free lance artist

Credit: my daughter #kimkelley30

Draw EVERY day.  Create what makes you happy.  For me it is animals. And if advice feels wrong, trust yourself with your own art. Live your truth.

Judah Jernigan | Music Blogger

Working hard is easier when you are doing something you care about. If you put yourself out there and get out of your comfort zone, it can be very rewarding.

Colleen Smith | Artist & Teacher

If there’s something specific you’d like to have happen in your life be sure to write it down, then plan it! List what actions need to be done, then do them. I know that sounds really simplified because, of course, life gets in the way. Yet, I’ve accomplished stuff even if I wrote them down years ago! Sometimes plans take longer but the important things will happen.

Julian Twin (pictured) & Andy Mullins | Founders & Fabricators, Bierdrop Trailers

Patience is a virtue. We’re a fast-paced duo that’s always striving for the highest quality possible. Anytime we’ve pushed too hard or made a decision on-the-fly, it’s resulted in us having to recreate some piece of the trailer. By taking our time and planning out each coming step, we’ve produced something that we are really proud of.

Shawn and Nicole Porter | Denbear is a design shop creating quality goods from Colorado

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, you never know what’ll happen unless you try.

Jon Liu | former

Try and stay focused on doing what you love for the right reasons. I always made things for my own personal enjoyment, and former is an outlet for me to share these creations with other people. I’m not trying to be someone else or fit into some kind of category.

If it ever becomes something that causes me to stress or worry then I’ll probably shut it down and move on to something else. There’s not enough time to waste it on being unhappy.

Colorado Pie Company | a boutique bakery for every day

The most important lesson We’ve learned is to be flexible and adjust with the clients. We are constantly adding speciality items to our menu based on requests we receive: gluten free, keto, etc. We’re stoked to be able to create delicious treats for everyone!

Serena Shaw | Licensed Acupuncturist | Chinese Herbalist, & Licensed Massage Therapist

I think that the most important lesson or lessons I have learned in my personal journey has been to have patients, to have faith in myself and the world around me, to ask for what I need, be that from other people or the universe and learning to listen better today then I did yesterday. Starting and running a business is hard. Having a family is hard. Sharing the world other people is hard. Learning to navigate all the parts of my life that I am not willing to give up has been really tricky especially this past year and so trying to grow in each of these areas, patients, faith and boundaries has helped me get through some rough patches and will hopefully help when the next thing comes up.

Amanda Akoto | Personal Stylist & Owner of LolahJoy

I have learned so many lessons. Most importantly, to be true to yourself. It is very easy to get lost in the ways of the world around you. You have to learn to stand your ground and remind yourself of the image and goals you are after, and stick to them no matter what.  Also, do not be afraid to ask for help. Independence is important, but you cannot learn everything on your own. Use your resources and ask questions to those who have the knowledge and understanding that you are after.


Sneaky Nieky Designs | Denver based original company bringing you fresh designs for any occasion

It’s cool if they all don’t understand you, just be yourself, you know what you’re here to do.


Amy Louise | Psychic-Medium and Spirit Artist

Trust your Intuition.

I often wondered “why me” at various points along my life journey. I had to learn that disappointments and what I thought were “failures” were Divine redirections.

I never envisioned myself becoming a communicator with those in spirit. Once I learned how to trust my intuition and allow myself to be redirected on my journey the road ahead became more clear to me. (launch February 2020)

Courtney Boland | Founder creativeSOCIAL360 | Social Media & Marketing Coaching

GET COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE!  This has to be the most important lesson I have learned on my journey so far.  Being open to putting myself out there, to meeting new people, taking on unfamiliar experiences and embracing change (even if I didn’t want to) has opened doors, ones that I did not know even existed!  Stepping out of my comfort zone and breaking my own mold by not playing it safe has allowed for new connections, possibilities and growth BOTH professionally and personally. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy, but well worth the challenge! 

Brian Rossi | Adelitas Cocina y Cantina Littleton

It’s very easy to get comfortable and complacent with where you are in life, but I’ve learned that it’s important to get out of your comfort zone from time to time and take risks. The outcome might not always be what you were aiming for, but you have to accept these moments as opportunity for learning and growing so you’re better prepared for taking future risks.


Yaritza and Erik | Owners of Areyto Food Truck

In a business you learn something new very single day and being adaptable is your most important asset.

Michelle Odenbach |  Personal Menswear Stylist

The most important lesson I have learned in my journey in starting my own personal styling business is that you have to stop selling and start problem solving. When I look for a new client or I am being referred to a new client I always want to know what his biggest problems/challenges/issues are with shopping for clothes that fit! If I understand where my clients problems are I can alter how my service fits into their lifestyle. Some men like to be hands on with their choices, some don’t have the time to think about it and some are in between. But the best part is I solve their problem. I provide them a solution that helps with lack of time and, quite frankly, understanding of how to shop and how to shop for clothes that FIT! J.Hilburn is a true custom lifestyle brand that allows my clients to have a personal stylist that will work around their schedule, respect their time and make their wardrobe work for them without the hassle of ever leaving their office/home/airplane, etc… Total convenience!

Beau Osland | Musician & Software Project Manager

That’s a tough one, especially to narrow it down to the single most important lesson. Regardless, I think the most important for me is always to choose kindness, even when it may be difficult. I try to be kind to everyone I meet, no matter what. My mom taught me that. When I put out kindness in the world, I am more likely to get it in return. I think that is key to better the world around me, and it makes me happier!

Linzi Pehler | Owner and Head Designer at The Runaway Florist Flower Truck

The most important lesson I have learned in my journey so far is to say “Yes!” I have learned to get out of my comfort zone and accept opportunities even if I feel nervous or not exactly ready. Because of this, so many doors have opened. I have learned so much, met amazing people who continue to teach me more, and I’m having a blast!


Ana-Alisia White, B.S. | Photographer

The most important lesson I have learned in my journey is to always have a passion to learn further and grow your talent. Your capability will astound you!


Rubina Cohen | Marketing Strategist & Multipreneur

The best advice I ever received was actually from RUMI! The quote “Stop acting so small, you are the Universe in ecstatic motion.” was a game changer for me!

FCGPS |  promoting quality education and training in group psychotherapy amongst mental health practitioners

As 2019 comes to a close, FCGPS has had a year full of transitions, closures, and new beginnings. As a young organization, we are still learning how to inspire community engagement, foster agency partnerships, and promote our offerings. Our biggest takeaway so far is that an organization is the sum of its parts. How the parts relate to one another, informs the function of the whole. Essentially, for our organization to thrive, our board, our members, and the broader four corners region need to work together to achieve our vision. This collaboration takes patience, compassion, and grit.

This is our Early Bird Club sandwich | Roasted chicken, chicken apple sausage, bacon, arugula, tomatoes, over medium eggs, garlic mayo, sourdough toast

Love what you eat, eat what you love. Less is more in a menu, embrace change and don’t look back.


Calvin Baines | Architectural & Interior Design Photographer

Property belongs to: Omnifique Company

My fascination with photography began at a young age while growing up in Durban, South Africa. I was the youngest in the family and I remember seeing my older cousin’s black and white film photography of squatter camps in the area ridden by extreme poverty. Those images from the local villages have always stuck with me.

I immigrated to Northern California at a young age, where I was given my first camera. Over the next few years, I began to build a great interest and appreciation for photography. I started paying attention to lighting, framing shots and reading about famous photographers like the Northern Californian native, Ansel Adams.

After living in London and traveling Europe into my early 20’s I decided to head back to California and ended up in Los Angeles. I continued pursuing my career in photography by furthering my studies, interning for celebrity fashion photographers, shooting headshots for aspiring actor’s and models who I met mostly in the service industry while bartending. These were some very challenging but memorable years in Los Angeles.

Once I had established a life in LA and was shooting regularly I started to become intrigued by both the classic and modern architecture in the city. I decided to get my Real Estate License and began to work as a Realtor in Hollywood Hills. I only later realized that I wanted to take photos of Real Estate, not sell it. This is around the time I began taking photo’s nationwide for my close friend and celebrity interior designer, Kari Whitman who I met years ago through her nonprofit dog rescue, Ace of Hearts.

My client base kept growing and I realized I found what I love to do, showcase design and architectural projects through my photography. Since then I have had the opportunity to photograph both commercial and residential projects nationwide, which have included some amazing 5-star hotels, award-winning restaurants and multi-million dollar estates.

Living in Los Angeles, I definitely had plenty of challenges while starting out. I was bartending full time which paid the expensive city bills but took time away from marketing my photography and furthering my career. However, I did meet a lot of clients while working in the service industry in LA and it definitely made some great memories and storytelling for the future. All of these challenges helped me find my niche in Architectural and Interior Design Photography. I wouldn’t change a thing.

After moving away from the city life in California to the mountain life in Colorado, I had to build my client base once again. I must say this was less challenging after building my portfolio up in Los Angeles but did take some time and effort.  I would have to say one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in this business is never underestimate the power of networking. Something as simple as attending a design or photography meet up group or art gallery event can lead to your next big photoshoot with a big client that could boost your career in the right direction.


Sandra Ford Walston | The Courage Expert, Global Speaker, Certified Coach, International Author

With over 25 years of original courage research that yielded three books, I learned how important it is to never swallow my voice. I achieve this by utilizing “the language of courage.” Curious to learn how?

Aimee Heckel | editor and writer

Approach everything through curiosity: the challenges, the joy, the people you meet, every experience you have. Wonder wildly. Then, nothing is personal and everything is magical.

Will Day | Contemporary Fine Artist | Tedx Speaker

The most important lesson I have learned so far is to always walk your OWN PATH.

As we know People like to judge other people. This peer pressure can make you stray from the path you started to carve for your future. Don’t mind other people’s aspirations, don’t ever let someone else’s goals and dreams influence your vision of life. It’s your path and you decide where it takes you and how long it takes you to see it through. With that said, trust the process and your path with open up to incredible opportunities.

Garrett and Kellie | Owner and Principal Photographer

Photography G.

Empathy. Take the resources you’ve been gifted with, and put them into the service of bringing joy and hope to others. Empathy is the engine of imagination —imagination is the engine of creativity.

Kate Mishara | Co-Principal at Wyatt Academy

The most important lesson that we have learned as a school is the incredible power of community.  Our community has seen many changes in recent years, and has mobilized to become more than just a school.  We are a community hub.  Not only do we cultivate a supportive environment in the classroom that drives student success, we also provide wraparound services, including counseling, clothing, and groceries, so our families are equipped with all the resources they need to thrive.

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