Alisa Bowens-Mercado is no stranger to being the first to pave the way for others. As one of the leaders of her family-owned construction company, Alisa was one of the few women in the field in a position of power. After dominating the construction world, Alisa knew it was time for a change. When she decided to take a leap of faith and pursue passion by opening up her own salsa studio, she had to pave her own way--construction was what she knew, but salsa was what she loved. So, pursuing passion over paycheck, she found a way to both support herself and bring the joy of salsa to New Haven, Connecticut. As if that wasn't enough, Alisa most recently decided that her love for beer deserved a business of its own. So, in 2018 Alisa founded Rhythm Brewing Co., the only black-owned beer brewery in the state of Connecticut. Here's a few inspiring lessons we learned from this self-made entrepreneur:
You’re stronger than you think. Alyssa calls that power lying beneath the surface the “confidence kick-in”. The confidence kick-in is that confidence that activates when you need to show up and command space even when you didn’t know you had the ability to do so. It’s that nudge by God saying “I got you,” during times of apprehension or doubt.
Confidence is something that has to be nurtured. We aren’t born with confidence, it’s a seed that’s planted in us and has to be watered in order to grow. Because of this, our environment and our inner circles are key to building ourselves up.
You can learn from everything, even self doubt. All of our experiences are opportunities to grow if we get curious about them. Alisa’s learned her fair share of lessons along the way, and she says that the moment she begins to feel doubt about something is when she knows that she’s probably on to something big. After all, taking small steps is frightening, but the big leaps in life certainly have the potential to make us feel a bit nervous and unsure. In these moments the key is to understand what’s at the root of the fear, whether or not it’s valid, and how to push through it.
If you’re thinking about it, you have to go for it. Your ideas have the power to change the world. It doesn’t take a special kind of person to make a dream come true, it takes an ordinary person with a dream and passion in their hearts. Each and every human being has the ability to change the world. Will you act on your ability?
Everything you’re doing is interconnected. Everything happens for a reason and has the ability to help us grow. Sometimes the jobs we’re doing seem like they are irrelevant to our ultimate goals or purpose in life. Wrong. Even the small lessons and tasks you do help you build the skills you don’t even know that you need. Thus, it is so important to appreciate and find the lesson in each experience.
Your passion will lead you to abundance. It’s one thing to try to survive, but life is about more than making money--a life fulfilled is one where you are able to bridge the gap between your passion and your paycheck. So how do you do this? Focus on passion. When you focus on what you love to do and what fuels you, you’ll find that the money follows because you’re doing something that allows you to be creative, which includes being creative about how you’ll fund your dream and your life. When you talk to any creative entrepreneur they’ll tell you that they followed their heart and the rest just kind of fell in line.
Allow yourself to be free and flow with the moment. When we’re caught up in our day-to-day responsibilities it can be easy to become rigid and overwhelmed. Sometimes you just have to do a little dance and get silly. When you stop taking yourself so seriously you’re able to have a good time and enjoy life.
It’s time to be the first and pave the way for others. Take up space, be heard, and put in the work to pave a way for yourself and others. When you can see it, you believe you can be it. Why not be the inspiration for someone else to know that it’s possible for their dreams to come to pass?