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30 Lessons Learned

As I stroll into a new decade of life, here are my favorite tips to success and happiness.

Love yourself. Be unapologetic about who you are. You are unforgettable and the only one that will ever be, simply you. Own and respect it. Share your strengths with this world, as we need you every day.

Don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be someone further along in life than you, more accomplished perhaps. They don’t have it all figured out. No one does! Everyone has a different path that was meant for them and your path is meant for you.

Assume nothing. Some of my biggest mistakes, failures and miscommunications were from making assumptions. It’s simply a lack of communication. Sometimes you have to speak up to ask questions and get answers but in my experience it’s well worth it. Over communicate.

You're stronger than you think. I didn’t think I could pass organic chemistry, get the grades I needed to apply for dietetic school, get accepted to an internship, pass my RD exam, land my dream job and open 6 new lines of business including my own. I didn’t think I could leave my family, travel Europe alone or move across country. Never thought I end toxic relationships or heal internally. Emotional wellbeing and happiness are worth the fight. Rise above and do you!

Trust the journey. It's all about perspective. Sometimes it’s not evident immediately, but sooner or later you’ll understand the why. Never would I have imagined being 30 and single (whoops!) I didn’t think I’d be working with professional athletes or traveling for work as much as I do. Living far away from my family wasn’t in my plan either. I believe it all gets sorted out with a purpose. Every event or life changing decision is another path or direction you choose. Follow your gut and enjoy the ride.

Give it time. It’s what heals, allows us to grow, learn, and develop. We always want “it” now, but time offers insight on the reality that we have to work for it. There is no end destination. The journey is what’s important.

Sleep. I honestly think it’s more important then good nutrition or daily exercise. Without recharging your body nightly, your whole system can’t recover properly, leaving your body completely out of whack. Studies show a 20-30 minute nap can help you recharge, something I couldn’t go a day without when waking up for 4am crew, with class all day, work and studying at night. Give yourself a break and get some rest.

Prioritize health. I’ve crafted my career to surround my love of food, the joy I have for cooking and my deep devotion to striving for health and wellbeing. Daily decisions about food, exercise, habits and so much more can leave you with a lifetime of happiness inside and out. At the end of the day it will forever be most important. Be healthy and live well.

Become unstoppable. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t. If you set your mind and heart on anything, work hard towards it, overcome barriers you can accomplish you wildest dreams.

Forgive. It’s honestly harder to stay upset or angry with someone. Who wants that negative energy anyways? Take the high road and move in a positive direction.

Stress less. I can’t put it words how much I have worried in my 20s. Over the years I’ve only created a worry wrinkle as I’ve come to call it. No problems have been solved or disasters postponed, just time wasted. Instead focus on the present and what you can control.

Reward yourself. Every time I went to the bookstore during my dietetic internship in college, I wanted something with my school’s name on it, just because. I set personal grade goals in specific classes I was struggling with and rewarded myself with a treat if I reached them. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a food-based reward, especially when its food choices or strides you’re rewarding yourself for. Let's be real, you deserve the world! {Below, capturing a Sunday sunset}

Breathe. During the most stressful moments, a simple breath is the only way I reach a peaceful, productive place. At a greater level, swimming during my youth and practicing yoga for the last 15 years has helped me learn how to focus on my breath. It’s the one constant you can always return to.

Be proactive not reactive. Think ahead, plan, and speak up if you have to say something. Be mindful, rather than fearful about the potential future.

Work hard. Success and opportunity for most isn’t given to us. More often it takes struggle, failure, hustle, risk. You have to get through the hard parts to find the peace and passion in what you do. Determine your why and run with it.

Network. Reach out to trusted industry leaders, family and friends for advice, guidance and support. Meet people whenever possible and always maintain positive relationships. Likewise, even the people who possibly have disappointed you or put you in bad situations, you never know when they will reappear in your life. {Below with Chef Art Smith, trusted chef colleagues and my dearest mentor}

Influence. Sometimes when you are not the decision maker you can help guide others to make what you may believe is the right choice for you, for them, for the company or group of people, whatever it may be. Show your reason and support its strengths and benefits.

Build your reputation. It’s not a given that you’re the cool kid on the block. Everything you do, say, wear, post… it all reflects on you so be prepared to own it. It’s not just when you’re at work or school, but 24/7. So think wisely before you act. Better yet, be proud of everything you do!

Think through decisions. When incredibly overwhelmed know with a little time, the right answer will come to you, and just go with it. Ask your family, friends, and mentors for advice. Dig deep. Write it down. Breathe. Do whatever works best for you to find truth and reason in the actions you take.

Love oh so hard. One of the best feelings is to love unconditionally. The heart is so full! Every relationship is different, has great value and meaning. Be grateful for each one don’t be afraid to give your everything.

Take risks. When I got the call to interview with the Twins, I flew down instead of interviewing on the phone. I didn’t have answers to interview questions, but rather I came prepared with a PowerPoint presentation and portfolio to review my skills, experience and promote my capabilities of being the best candidate. It was an investment and risk I’m so glad I took!

CHERISH your friends and family. Make time for them. Show your love and support. Lean on them and let them lean on you. Nothing is worth letting them go. Cherish when they are close. {Below with my brother at a family outing}

Be grateful. You are so freaking lucky. Even some days when you feel like you have nothing, let me remind you, you have life. Water and food, shelter, love are just a few basics. Family, an education and job are so rewarding. Support and encouragement are simply outstanding.

Give more than you take. Remember what you have may be far less than someone else. Don’t be greedy, instead share the wealth. We are all capable to give in some way.

Step out of your comfort zone. You may find that a challenge or obstacle can put you in a really positive situation.

Save money. It’s a lifetime lesson you want to start sooner than later. There was a time I worked 3 jobs while in my last year of school. The day after I graduated I traveled to Europe alone for 6 weeks. I don’t regret working hard to save and spending it on the adventure. {Below, breakfast in Costa Rica}

Prioritize travel, not things. Over the last decade, my favorite memories are wandering the world alone, with family or friends. Sure a roof over our head and a nice dress to wear is prioritized to some extent, but the memories we create in new places are priceless. The world is a gorgeous exploration of people, food, culture and really yourself. Discover it.

Appreciate the now. Forget the past and don't fret about the future. Similarly, capturing the moment sometimes takes away from it. Remember to keep your head up internally and externally; simply experience the now. You won’t regret it.

Have fun! It's not all work work work. Enjoy the moments that make your heart beat. Make time for those people, places, things. If it makes you happy, go with it!

#dreamBIG. Sometimes I look back after an accomplishment and I honestly wonder how I made a dream become reality. If you believe, you can do anything you want in life. Set goals larger than the unimaginable and align yourself to get there. Each day, project or job, date or relationship, adventure, it’s all another step in the right direction.

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