I have always been fascinated by the art of storytelling. I remember first watching Jonathan Fields speak at the last GLP Summer Camp in fascination. I was a volunteer and witnessed how magic is put together with love and appreciation for others. For the life of me, I could not understand why Jonathan always made me cry. It is as if he already knew what my heart needed to hear. He knew how to connect with me on a personal level, and he knew how to do that to all of us present at the same time. How did he do it? How can he collect stories that resonate with such a large group of humans collectively? I may need to interview him myself one day!
When the pandemic started, I felt a lack of control that stopped me from writing for a while. I had no desire to come to the keyboard because I was here all day working (remember I work in Tech). There was no separation between my work and my creative life anymore. I felt tired, uninspired, and defeated. Some of the magic from attending GLP Camp was connecting with other beings who shared my love for growth and self-actualization. One of such souls is my friend Ula, and over the years, she has become a trusted confidant and soul bestie (I just made up a word, people!).
During a conversation with Ula, she recommended we enroll in the Story Skills Workshop, currently provided by Seth Godin’s Akimbo platform. I have heard of this workshop but never took the time to research or find out additional information on it. I also had just finished reading The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer, and thus, I automatically knew that this was a sign, and I had to say yes. You see, for the past five years, I’ve been exploring the notion of “allowing” the universe to guide me, and in my practice, I’ve learned to say yes quite more often than ever before. I don’t mean to say yes to anything that comes my way; what I mean is “listen, stay calm, don’t react, and if safe, say yes.”
After only a few days in the workshop, I felt my creativity come back and was back to writing and journaling daily. I saw myself growing with a community of creators who also said yes to taking on a new adventure before the end of this challenging year. I have dealt with impostor syndrome enough times to know that I needed to take action if I wanted a change, and this was just the challenge I needed.
When I created this blog, I promised only to give you the real me, and if that promise takes me away for a month because my mental health requires it, then let it be. I trust that you are here because “something” connects us, and my message resonates with you. Deeper understanding and human connection are a few reasons I created this space in the first place!
I have a few weeks left in the workshop, but I want to be brave enough to share with you a draft of an unfinished story I am working on. By sharing my imperfect draft, I hope I give you permission to be unafraid to show yours too. This is precisely what humans like Seth Godin, Glennon Doyle, and Jonathan Fields have done for me. They permit me each day to continue to give you the imperfect version of my most authentic self. I hope one day I can do the same for you!
From Public Speaking Terror to Discovering my Passion
My palms were sweaty, and I was pacing back and forth while I awaited my turn. I could hear the others speak, and I knew I had only a few minutes until my turn would come. I felt nauseous and could feel my heart rate increasing. I am in high school, and this is my History class. The professor asked me to stand up and share my understanding of a passage we all just finished reading, and I froze. I could feel the tears running down my face. My eyes were wide open, and I would not even blink while I stared back at the professor. I tried, but words would not come out. They never did, and I went home feeling embarrassed and defeated.
My Dad passed away, and it became tough for my mother to care for her three children independently. We moved from what seemed to be a mansion to a smaller home. Sometime later, we had to move again to a small apartment until my mom decided to leave our country and move to the US, hoping for a better future for all of us. Leaving my family and friends behind was hard for me, but we did not have a choice, and my mom was concerned about our education.
My new life in NY came with many challenges. I had to learn a new language, a new culture, and a new way of being. My new teachers and my new friends pronounced my name in a way I’ve never heard before. I felt that many parts of my identity were being taken away from me. As a Latina, I faced many challenges and setbacks that included a lack of acceptance from those around me. My heavy accent and my shyness were getting in the way and harming my opportunity to thrive. All of this contributed to my fear of speaking in front of large groups for fear of being rejected.
Slowly and with time, I started to be comfortable in my own skin slowly, including everything EXCEPT for public speaking. I was still terrified of it. Being a woman who works in Tech is not easy, but I was fortunate to obtain a big promotion at work into a management position, but guess what? It required me to speak in front of large audiences, and they often included the senior executive team. That is when I decided to end the torture and join a speaking group called Toastmasters, and this decision literally changed my life. I went from someone who couldn’t breathe appropriately in between sentences to later becoming a TEDx speaker.
After knowing that my experiences as a woman in Tech were not isolated, I embarked on a personal mission to help others and share all the wisdom I’ve accumulated as a Senior Leader in Tech. My fear of public speaking was holding me back from sharing my authentic self with the world. Overcoming that obstacle led me to found 5xminority, a company and social media brand whose mission is to demonstrate how businesses can be powerful platforms for social change. I firmly believe that all companies must create workplaces that reflect the communities they are serving, and the voices of each employee need to be supported and celebrated daily. Diversity and Inclusion are at the center of it all. I did not have a voice growing up and was too scared to use it in front of others. Today, my voice is my superpower, and I will continue to speak up and celebrate the uniqueness that makes us all imperfectly perfect human beings.