1. The more you know, the less you know
This really became true as I began to interview winemakers. I remember my first video with Jasmine Black (formerly of Van Westen Vineyards) - bless her - I was SO nervous I drank almost an entire bottle of wine before we could even begin filming.
After meeting all these amazing people - I realized how incredibly ignorant I had been in my approach to wine. I didn't know a fucking thing. The world of wine is vast and anyone who masquerades as all knowing is full of shit. If anything, it expanded and ignited an insatiable thirst to learn more while simultaneously humbling me.
2. It's your decision how people perceive you
I have spent years wondering how people achieved success in a variety of vocations - writers, educators, winemakers - why did they achieve success but I didn't? There was a reason staring me right in the face that I was blind to - you decide how people see you, not the other way around.
Once I began consistently and tenaciously putting myself out there to the world as a wine lover and "expert" (see number 1), I noticed how many people began approaching me for wine related advice. Opportunities seemingly began to fall in my lap.
I decided that I wanted the world to know I loved wine, was passionate and educated about it, and could turn it into a freelance career. So I did.
3. The wine industry is incredibly dishonest
If you decide to open a door and walk through it, you have to accept the fact that you'll never see things the same way again. Once I embarked down this path I was shocked at the level of dishonesty a lot of wineries operate under.
I was momentarily heartbroken and a bit perturbed, but instead of allowing it to burst my bubble of naiveté, I used it as an opportunity to learn. I sought out and found the real MVPs of the wine industry - the trailblazers who lived and breathed their craft. I began encountering the "crazy" winemakers who didn't just want to make wine - they were the ones who needed to make wine. This is where I found the magic.
4. Build your own network of support
The wine industry - or any industry - is full of "cool kids". We never really stop operating under the guise of high school popularity hierarchies. I desperately wanted to be a part of certain cliques, foolishly thinking it would propel my career forward in the right direction. This desperation magnified my insecurity.
If you're not surrounded by the right people, you'll never get where you're meant to be. I began listening to my intuition - finally - and cut loose a lot of people who were very bad for me.
5. Stop doing what everyone else is doing
We tend to follow the flock because it feels safe. But, it'll never really set us apart or get us anywhere significant. While it can be lonely taking risks, the choice to do so can often pay off in droves.
I had always wanted to do certain things - write about certain topics, experiment with different mediums, play my hand at design - so I did. While I can't deny that a lot of these risks have come with moments of debilitating fear, anxiety, and failure - but ultimately they've all been worth it because they've made me stronger and led me to where I am today.