The world’s toughest test couldn’t stop Master Sommelier, entrepreneur and restaurateur Alpana Singh. She shares her best advice for pursuing a non-traditional career and what inspires her everyday.

I realized I could turn my love for wine into a career when…

 I discovered the Master Sommelier program.

My advice for pursuing a non-traditional career path…

Find and develop your sense of intuition. In moments of doubt or conflict, it is important to maintain a sense of clarity and follow the advice of your inner voice. Your heart-song will never do you wrong.

I was inspired to start my first restaurant, The Boarding House, when…

I knew there was something better out there for me, and when the opportunity presented itself to open my first restaurant, I had to do it. The time had simply come and I felt it was kismet.

Business challenges that I faced early on…

Managing the stress of owning your own business. I was unprepared for how all-encompassing it is. Your life is turned upside down and I was caught without my seatbelt on. It took a long time to find my balance. The stress never goes away but you learn to prioritize, deal and cope.

How I overcame these challenges…

You have to be very precise about what you say “yes” to. Women may often feel pressured to have and to be able to do it all. It’s okay and very important to learn how to say “no”. Maybe you won’t make that recital, spin class, cook dinner from scratch or pursue the perfect relationship – it’s okay. Trust in your resiliency and understand that you really are doing the best you can.

3 ways I celebrate my team’s accomplishments…

  1. Acknowledging achievements publicly
  2. Praising with rewards
  3. Saying thank you – sometimes it’s as simple as that

My 3 signature strengths…

  1. Empathy
  2. Humor
  3. Resilience

Daily must-read websites…

D-Listed – celebrity gossip, a total guilty pleasure of mine. It is a fun way to decompress, not think about work — and a reminder to not take things so seriously!

Eater – a restaurant news website.

The aspect of my work that I love most is…

Inspiring, developing and watching my staff prosper and grow into their full potential.

What I hope to accomplish next…

Keep opening restaurants….