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What I've Learned in 2020

Updated: Jan 3, 2021


Sometimes I forget to allow myself to get a little personal on my platforms (website, podcasts, socials, etc.) and understand that people don't just listen to Slick Talk, but they listen to me, my voice, my thoughts, and my hopes. I am taking today to reflect and understand (try to at least) all the things that happened this year. It all feels like a blur, to be honest, but then I remember events and conversations as if they just happened 5 minutes ago. I know I am not the only person feeling this way, so shout out to all of you who are still pushing through it all.

December 27th, 2019 I had my last day as a hotel manager in Seaside, Oregon, and began my full-time entrepreneurship journey as a podcaster and owner of a short-term management company. I was traveling all over the US and even made my first international trip to London. The day I put a notice at my job, I had tears going down my face because I was so happy, excited, and terrified all at once. That journey alone was a bundle of growth and knowledge. I still remember that "ah-ha" moment in September 2019 when I made the mental decision to give myself a deadline to put in my notice. I've failed so many times this year, but I have had so much success and opportunity to better myself and impact the industry I love and meet life & game changers worldwide. Here goes nothing—my top lessons from 2020.


#1 This isn't easy but I don't want it to be:

I just went through my Facebook and (with an overwhelming feeling of joy and pride) found the post that I did on my first day of full-time entrepreneurism. What does this have to do with lessons learned? It has everything to do with lessons because this day is where I can look back and realize how free I felt when I took control of my life and didn't make my decisions based on other opinions or thoughts of how I should live. Being the 7th child in my family (yes, and out of 7. so I am the baby), I have always felt I needed to make everyone happy and couldn't show off my true self or personality as it was. I formed myself to be different around specific people or groups to feel accepted or included. That was a short-term "band-aid" for a lifetime of not having any self-worth and battling depression with suicide.

Finally, at 24 years old, I was happy and felt whole and complete. I found "my thing" and knew it was either sink or swim from this moment forward.

March 11th, 2020, I woke up in my hotel room at the Ruby Hotel in London to hundreds of notifications asking if I would make it home, if I were okay, and so on. The hospitality industry (and the world as a whole) would change from that moment forward, and to be honest, I had no idea what I was going to do, and I had this feeling of "oh shit... I quit my job and barely made it three months and now the world decides to end..." (a bit dramatic but you get the picture)

The months leading to this article posting have been incredibly hard, but I wouldn't want this to be easy.


#2 Be flexible, control what you can & watch what you can't:

April 6th, 2020, I got the call that I would be activated, pulled away from "normal" life, and would assist in running the COVID19 testing sites in Washington State for the foreseeable future.

This woke me up in many ways because as much as I hated (yes, I was furious) to be pulled away from my family, friends, and businesses, I realized that I once was doing the podcast and management business as a side hustle, so I could make it work as a side hustle once more. I lost all sponsors, guests to come on the show, and any/all momentum I had. This was a blessing.

I learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I realized that I needed to do more with the network I had built to provide my audience value. Without the pandemic, I wouldn't have come up with the Destinationaire Awards and Destinationaire concept. Without the Destinationaire Award, I wouldn't have learned my most important lesson of them all.


#3 Focus on others!

People who are wired to create remarkable experiences that are anticipated and shared."

These are the words that have changed my life. Something I could use to help others understand what we do in this thing we call hospitality.

I quickly realized as I sat in my hotel room after a long day of doing COVID19 testing that people were pivoting, innovating, and fighting to keep their business alive, but I think we all needed a little hope. We see industry headlines that have a lot of the same names and faces time and time again, but what about the grinders, the ones who put their face down and focused on the tasks at hand? Even with hard times like these, people are still finding ways to create remarkable experiences. They were our beam of hope! But what do we call them? Superheroes? Firefighters? Game changers? Sure, all of the above but nothing that fits this definition for our industry.

The Destinationaire Award was born from the idea that there are people out there that are crushing it and don't get the spotlight that they deserve or have never been recognized by their peers in a way that shows we are paying attention and inspired by what you do! Could I have come up with some elaborate campaign to showcase myself as a Destinationaire and person who was wired to create? Hell yeah! Would it have had any impact on my industry or network? Hell no!

That's why my biggest lesson from this wild, crazy, emotional, world-changing year is this. It will be recognized without you telling anyone or showing it off for attention if you do great things. If you actually care about what you do and do it well, it will show, and people will see.

Don't be like me when I was growing up and hide your real personality and gifts from the world, but rather embrace it, love it, and it will set you free beyond your comprehension. Be wired to create remarkable experiences that can be shared with others. We all want to be connected, but we have to be willing to be open to doing so. That's the most challenging part, but I promise it's so worth it.


If you liked this article, then I would love to share with you my favorite podcast episodes from this year as well. I am always learning from my guests, and I hope you will get some value from them too!

Also, one of my favorite memories from this year before COVID19, masks, and quarantine! How cool is this!? I didn't realize that Goofy was pointing at my logo until my brother in-law showed me the picture with a huge smile on his face saying "this is probably the coolest picture you'll ever get!"

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