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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?

Melinda Hudlin | Private Sports Coach (Track & Field) | Fitness Trainer, and Navy’s Public-Private Ventures Program Manager

Knowing my why, compete with myself, and consistency. These keep me focused on taking my passion and being able to share it with others.

Greg Gorsuch | Vice President of Chamberlain Property Management and Officer/Broker for CPM Realty

During my journey in the Real Estate industry I’ve been fortunate to be able to practice in Sales as well as Leasing, so there is a lot of interaction and relationship building.  For me it’s all about the relationships and helping people with their Real Estate needs.  Everyone needs a place to live, and they are going to either Buy it or Rent it, so being able to assist on both sides, it comes down to what is best for them at the end of the day.  It’s about assisting them in their decision process and being a trusted confidant during that process.  Relationships, relating to others, along with being Honest and having Integrity I believe it the key to success.

Izamar Velazquez | Pastry Chef & Legal Assistant

Patience is the most important lesson I’ve learned so far in my baking journey. I have come to learn that not everything I bake will turn out the way it should, even if I follow every step of my recipe. Baking is a science in itself! If the temperature outside is really hot or cold or if  you add an extra ounce of flour, sugar or even baking soda, this can totally change the way your product will taste, look and feel. The second most important lesson that I have learned on this journey is that confidence is key to success! In a world where we have so many creative artists and so many places for people to purchase sweet goods, it can be easy for one to get discouraged and distracted.  Having faith in myself and in my product has been key to building my cupcake empire! I take a lot of pride in everything that I make from  gathering ideas, mixing ingredients, decorating a delicate rose cupcake, dipping my cake pops in chocolate (which by the way is not easy), hand picking the perfect rose for my naked cakes, all the way down to the packaging. My favorite part of the baking process, is seeing my ideas come to life! What’s helped me stay motivated during this entire process is that even though every client will have their own ideas (some ideas that I have never seen or done before), they have allowed me to add my own twist on things. Seeing how happy my clients are with the final product pushes me to continue learning. Whether it’s a new decorating skill or even a new recipe, I am always up for the challenge! I am glad that I am able to add my touch of creativeness to everything I have done because that is what pushes me to do more. I know that if I continue to pursue my passion for baking and remain patient and confident during the process, that I soon will be able to make my dreams of owning my very own storefront bakery come true, with the secret ingredient always being love!


Rebekkah Hower | Dunsmore/Professional Hairtylist

When things are out of control and crazy around me I’ve learned to stay calm stay natural and keep to stay smiling, staying grounded no matter what!… And to Never understimate  the power of making someone feel Beautiful and Important!


Chuck Gregory & Rob Busolo | Hosts of the ShutDown Podcast

The most important lesson learned thus far is consistently delivering compelling content to our listeners. The past year of collaboration and experimentation in format, topics, and contributors has been aimed at finding the right balance of information, analysis, and entertainment. While our podcast heart will naturally gravitate towards San Diego sports (e.g. Padres, Aztecs, Loyal), ShutDown also debates the topics of conversation dominating the national landscape. As the platform enters our second year, our listeners have an expectation of what we bring to the table: a congenial dialogue between two friends that have passion for San Diego sports.


 Joshua Beneventi | Local Business Owner

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned so far in my journey as a small business owner is to be proactive. Don’t save for tomorrow what you can do today!

Brittany Crossman | purchasing manager & business development

There are stereotypes of working in the family business & the judgment from my peers of “not having a real job” used to bother me.

Working for the family business actually comes with a lot more pressure because there is an intense feeling of responsibility.

Being in business with my family means they have my best interest at heart at all times – because my best interests are also my family’s best interests.

PJ Dolan | Escape Room Entrepreneur

Tom Aguilar

A pocket full of gold will not buy you a pocket full of time.  Taking action towards the things I want to experience and accomplish in life keeps life fresh and exciting.  Be grateful for and collaborate with the talented people around you.

Jacob and Kylie Cross | Filming at SeaWorld San Diego

The most important lesson we have learned running our own business has been to not fear rejection. As soon as we changed our mindset to stop fearing rejection, we gained the confidence we needed to reach out to people we thought we had no chance of working with. Because of this, we have had the opportunity to work with many incredible companies and people.

Juan Gonzalez | Barber/Artist

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey as I excel in the barber industry is that I have full control in understanding to not be afraid to explore outside my comfort zone .

It also allows me to create an environment where I can build relationships with my clients to fulfill their needs, which I believe is key to being a successful barber. I ensure to have thorough consultations with every client to recreate the look they are trying to achieve, which in turn provides me with great feedback and referrals. The value for my clients boost my confidence which exudes through my skillset.

Full control allows me to use every source available to maximize the quality of my work, freedom to be creative, maintaining an experience that is unmatched, and providing great mannerism as I continue to stay in the drivers seat. Being a barber gives me the ability to make people look and feel their best and that gives me the drive to excel.

Therefore taking full control to broaden my horizons and stepping out of my comfort zone is the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in my journey while in the barber industry.


Photographer Zac Self

Zachary Michael Photography

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is that life is one big adventure. Don’t take a moment for granted and never be afraid to say yes to new opportunities.


Joseph Durant and Mario Salazar

The most important lesson we’ve learned on this journey as a mariachi band in San Diego is to make great music and have fun. That will organically lead us to future events and clients recommending us.

Laura Justice | Founder of Lola Jane

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is to let go of perfection and trust my ability to make progress. I’m often asked how I started my business and my response is simple- I just started. The need to be perfect can be paralyzing so get rid of it and just start with what you have. What I have now, 5 years after I “just started”, is in a constant state of progression and I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve accomplished.

Kisma | The Prosperity Code Mentor

During my journey as an entrepreneur (which has had different iterations since the time I was 13 years old) the most important lesson I’ve learned is that we all have access to all the this and there is no depletion of supply. Do the internal work and follow the Universal Laws and prosperity will rapidly appear.


Maru Oderzhakhivska | Brand Marketing Champion | Event wizard, and fashion lover

Dmytro Oskilko @d.musics

Trust the Universe, she always cares and loves You!

Love what you do, and do it with all your heart and you will find everything you need.

Sometimes when you think that everything is stopped and you are no one and nowhere it is just before the next big step to your dream. Use this time to fulfill your energy, share your love and care for the world. And be ready to celebrate and live the extraordinary life you Deserved.


Jiane Ricafrente | Concert goer and traveler

The most important lesson I’ve learned in my journey so far is that it’s good to have a plan. It’s also good if that plan doesn’t work out. I whole heartedly believe that everything happens when it’s my time. When I was younger, I had my life planned out, married by 25, having kids at 27,  and be in the career that I love by the time I’m 30. I’m here to tell you that none of that has happened and I’m already 26. But I honestly wouldn’t change a thing that has happened to me so far. Not having my plans work out has helped me grow as a person. I love that having a plan allows me to work towards goals and make me strive for something greater, but I also love the adventure my life has taken me to.


Kayla Roberts | Make-up Artist and Esthetician Student

It sucked being broke to follow my dreams but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Now I’m not stuck somewhere doing something I hate. The opportunities are endless.


Jodi Watson | eCommerce & Marketing Professional

Jodi Watson

In the past two years since leaving corporate America, the most important lesson I’ve learned is:

To trust my instincts and not let fear of the unknown (or worry what others will think of my choices) keep me from moving towards achieving my dreams and goals.

Jennifer Crosby | Realtor / Real Estate Sales

The most important lesson that I have learned in my journey is to be true to myself. Working on a Top La Jolla Team, I have learned that the way others have become successful in my business might not work for me, and I am Okay with that. I believe that a client doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. At the end of the day; one customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.

Being challenged in life is inevitable, but allowing your challenges to become your motivation is the key to success. The one who falls and gets up is so much stronger than the one who never fell. Realize that you are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. Live your life with sincerity and integrity and success will follow! Most importantly, NEVER give up!


Ashley Rose Faure | Realtor & Yoga Teacher

Photographer: Greg Romero @premoepro

The most important lesson I have learned so far is to simply trust. . . to trust that everything plays out exactly as it should in the timing that it is supposed to. We tend to think that we know what is best for ourselves, we don’t. Life is a journey and every step of that journey is a wonderful but sometimes challenging part of us becoming the best and most resilient version of ourselves. All we can do is our absolute best in every single thing we do and to always keep others best interest in mind.

Todd Anderson, AKA Tunip Vegan | Digital Content Creator –  Entrepreneur – Plant-Based Advocate

The most important lesson I have learned is never to forget WHY you started your journey or WHY you have set your goals.  During your journey to success, you are going to be distracted from what fueled your fire by obstacles that you will face — your reason WHY is going to be your drive to reach your goals. I lost sight of my mission at one point, and everything that I was doing felt like a task or duty compared to spreading the love feeling I once felt. Once I remind myself of WHY I am doing what I am doing, the love and passion came back stronger than before.


Vinnie Enriquez | the Team Lead of The Enriquez Group and David Stein of Principal Equity Group

We all fail but its what you learn from the failure that matters.

Irina Qiu | Social Media Specialist & Data Analyst

What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Herein lies the key to your earthly pursuits.


Colleen Ibarra | Photographer

Savannah Ibarra @savannahhibarra

I guess what I have learned is that if you love what you do you will never work a day again.



Gretchen Cannon | Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Content Creator and Blogger, Marketing Expert & Regional Chapter Leader for the San Diego Blogger Babes

I have learned to be my authentic self, to share because I love sharing, and to be vulnerable and open with my audience. I think this make me more relatable and approachable. I am empathetic, a great hype girl, and love supporting other babes out there!



Roberta King | Shawn M King | Creative Video Content Producers

Marcy Browe Photography

A lesson we’ve learned on our journey if that life goes by really quick. Much faster than we think. On our journey we did get caught up in the shuffle of living our daily routines and we forget to have fun, and live a little early on. When we were in our twenties we thought we would be that way forever but before we knew it, we were in our thirties and then it was too late for the things we had planned to do and never did at our younger ages. We say on set to those younger ones that work with us to live their lives to it’s fullest because life is short and we never know what tomorrow brings. Good or bad. The important point is to do things that will bring happiness to your life, because every moment that you spend happy, is a moment that you won’t regret.

Ceci Rau | Jewelry Designer-Ceci Punch Designs

The most important lessons I have learned in my journey are to be a leader not a follower and to be true to yourself.

I learned to stop caring about what people “might” think and to let go and own it.

When you step out of your comfort zone those risky moments may turn into a certain perspective that will inspire others.

Niesha Calhoun | Medical Assistant & Positivity Influencer

Jessica Huttash

The most important lesson I have learned in my journey is that time is valuable and to never take anything for granted. I am a firm believer in encouraging others and promoting a positive mindset. In 2017, I had a decompression brain surgery that changed my life for the better. It gave me the opportunity and courage to use the struggles with my health to encourage and uplift others. Through it all I have become stronger, fully loved myself for who I am, and have inspired others to do the same. 

Megan Ameral Limon | Certified Postpartum Doula

More than anything I have absorbed from my practice that people need people. The culture here in the states is a very independent one which can do a lot of good. But it also can do a lot of bad. Dependence isn’t a weakness. Most cultures see it as their strength. Families living with their family for generations. We need one another, we need family. Postpartum especially when things are new and challenging and change is present. We need people. We need to be dependent in all the good ways. This path has given me every reason to believe we need others to thrive, and they need us.

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