Monthly Archives: September 2013

Hispanic Heritage Appreciating The Best of Both

Q Movements

My Hispanic Heritage Story: How parents with opposite traits inspired me

If you look up “opposites” in the dictionary, you may see a picture of my parents, Rudy and Lucille. They’re genuinely good people who raised me to respect others, value family and love God. However, when it comes to everything else, they’re night and day.

My Daily Inspiration

My mother is a very talented, caring and strong woman, but perhaps her greatest strength is her level of acceptance. She accepts people for who they are and doesn’t try to change anyone. She shares her opinions but never forces them on others.

My mother has always been supportive, even in the face of some of the bad decisions I’ve occasionally made. While other parents may turn their backs on, stop communicating with or even disown their children when they don’t agree with their decisions or lifestyles, my mother has continuously remained supportive of her children. This acceptance of people, circumstances and life in general is an inspiration to me on a daily basis, and it has given me the confidence and freedom to pursue my desires, knowing that—no matter the outcome—my mother will always have my back.

Honest Conversations

My father is a wise, reserved and dedicated family man, and he’s a true man of his word. If he says he’ s going to do something, consider it done. I regularly seek his advice because I know I’m going to get straight talk and nothing else.

This is one of the traits I most admire in him. He’s not afraid to be honest even if he knows it may cause hurt feelings. He values being honest much more than being popular, although he’s respectful when he speaks. As a result, I’m ready for the truth and nothing but the truth when I come to him for advice. Although there have been times when I haven’t agreed with or liked what he’s said, I always knew he had my best interests in mind.

All It Takes Is Two

As different as my parents are, this combination somehow worked to create three incredible children who contribute to their country, society and community.

My brother is a college graduate and registered nurse currently serving in the U.S. Army. He’s married with three children of his own. My sister is a college graduate with a degree in early childhood education. She’s the mother of two boys and is active in her church community. I graduated with a master’s degree in public health and just recently started a successful business. I also teach religious education to 8th graders in my church.

The love, acceptance and guidance I received from my parents helped shape me into the woman I am today. Some say it takes a village to raise a child, but in my family’s case, it took just Rudy and Lucille. And it may be because of their differences—their acceptance and straight talk—that they are truly inspirational to me.

 

Is Entrepreneurship For You?

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Posted by Susie Quintana

Entrepreneurship- review these two steps for insights on what it takes to be an entrepreneur

Just add water. Can entrepreneurship really be that easy? Can the seeds of entrepreneurship grow for us if we just add water? Yes, I believe they can flourish beyond our imagination! The question now is: “How do I get my hands on these magical seeds, and how much?” Well, I can guarantee you won’t find them on Amazon.com or at your local nursery. These seeds can be found only by digging deep in the depths of Self. However, unlike belly buttons, not everyone has them. Ultimately, entrepreneurship doesn’t sprout for everyone, nor do those seed always take root. In just two simple steps, you’ll know if you have the coveted green thumb.

Step 1: Digging DeepDo I have what it takes to start my own business?

This can be the moment of truth for most. Questions and concerns like “Do I have what it takes to start my own business?” or “What if the business fails and I lose everything?” quickly become real conversations. This is the digging deep required internally that will eventually reveal your answer. Recently, I reached for my shovel and began my own excavation! I always believed I would eventually branch out of employee and elevate to employer status, but I never envisioned the transition process. I began to dig. Remember: Entrepreneurship is not like belly buttons. So I dug deeper.

Finally, I put the shovel down and surveyed the land. “What’s this? Are these the seeds I’ve been seeking?” Perhaps. Let’s examine more closely. I’m a well-educated Latina with reputable credentials, but I didn’t have money in the bank saved for a rainy day, nor did I have a clue about the first step in starting my own business. How could I be sure the seeds were real and not an illusion?

It came down to one word for me: value. What did I value most at this point in my life? I valued myself. The transition was in motion. I began to value my skills, talents and passion more than I believed any employer could ever match or surpass. Around the same time frame, I was presented with a career opportunity to earn a higher salary with the possibility for advancement in the department. I wrestled with the decision for a few days, but my strong Mexican roots kicked in and reminded me of the importance of staying true to one’s self. Therefore, I respectfully declined the position and set my focus on entrepreneurship. Determining value is an absolute necessity in business. If you don’t determine the value of your goods and services, then how can you expect to be compensated accordingly? I felt my seeds taking root. So now you know you have the seeds; what’s next?

Step 2: Nourishment- Isn’t water the foundation for growth and an essential element for life?

Nourishment can include just about anything from sound business plans to thorough market analysis to branding and social media. Where to begin, and does it ever end? Our entrepreneurial seeds simply need water. After all, isn’t water the foundation for growth and an essential element for life? It’s readily available and relatively inexpensive. Our seeds will only rely on the water we supply to ensure they are firmly planted. Too much or too little water could cause an imbalance in the soil. Therefore, we must take the time to determine how to cultivate our own seeds.

World-renowned entrepreneurs like Oprah Winfrey and Walt Disney discovered their own water sources through perseverance, trusting relationships and belief in Self.  Be advised: This step can be tricky, so proceed with caution.

One afternoon while attending a class sponsored by a local small-business mentoring association, I engaged in conversation with one of the highly esteemed mentors. In less than five minutes, the so-called respected mentor managed to inform me my business plan was a bad idea and how he would have directed me to another path. Really? He just met me. How could he possible know which business path was right for me?

I’ve frequently encountered similar scenarios in business. I acknowledge there are individuals who have brilliant business insight and financial success. However, no one will know your vision or business better than yourself. Your seeds are delicate and can be destroyed before they ever break soil, if you’re not attentive to external conditions. So I smiled and kindly ejected myself from the conversation almost like a pilot before the jet spins out of control.

The cultivation process continued. I attended more business classes, identified vital financial resources, engaged trusted advisers and conducted extensive market research. They all served as essential sources of nourishment for my seeds. Then I discovered my own personal water well. I can access it anytime, it’s absolutely free and the water is always so fresh and invigorating. This 24-hour, all-access water well for me is meditation. Stress release, enhanced creativity and increased focus are just a few of the profound effects I experience through this daily practice as a budding entrepreneur. My water well is constantly flowing and ready to give, as long as I continue to “go to the well.

The Big Question

So back to the initial question: “Can the seeds of entrepreneurship grow for us if we just add water?” You be the judge. Meditation helped enlighten my awareness of the self-confidence and value I would require for entrepreneurship. I’ve never seen my thumbs so green in my life!

One last gardening tip I’d like to share. Just like in nature, seasons change and can impact the growth of your seeds. You’ll see your seeds flourish with financial growth in optimal conditions or suffer economic drought under harsh conditions. Regardless of the season, remember your seeds still need water to keep them alive and ready to thrive again in due time.

Still thinking of starting the next virtual dog walking business? Well, before you stock up on doggie treats, you may want to grab for the nearest shovel and start digging!

 

When Business Opportunity Knocks At Your Door

Posted by Susie Quintana

Identifying business opportunities takes awareness and perspective

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, then build a door”

—Milton Berle

There are many famous quotes and sayings regarding opportunity. I’m sure you can rattle off a couple of your favorites at any moment’s notice. In business, opportunities are sought after much like the golden ticket in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Every chocolate bar is purchased and opened with the anticipation of catching a glimpse of gold glimmer peeking through the wrapper and revealing the “opportunity” of a lifetime! Isn’t it funny that a trip to a chocolate factory can still be considered an opportunity of a lifetime for some even today? Well, I discovered my golden ticket of opportunity, and it wasn’t wrapped around a chocolate bar. It was hatched right outside my door.

Notice Your Opportunities

Not long ago, I noticed the makings of a crudely constructed bird’s nest carefully engineered to sit within the wreath hanging on the front door of my home. At the time, I really didn’t feel I made a major discovery, to be quite honest. A bird nesting is a pretty common fact of life, so I moved on with the rest of my day and didn’t think much about it.

How many times has this happened to you in business? Take a moment to reflect on how you react when you encounter something new in technology, social media or leadership. Do you take the time to stop and explore how it could help you or your business improve? Or do you simply hit your mental delete button and send to trash? Most successful entrepreneurs are instinctively highly self-motivated and open-minded to new and fresh opportunities. However, with the increasing amounts of information, connections and communication streaming through us daily, we can still lose sight of opportunities that could potentially advance our business and, ultimately, transform our lives.

Expect the Unexpected

A few days after the initial bird’s nest sighting, I have to admit, I was a little curious, so I decided to take a peek in the nest. I wasn’t expecting to see much other than more bits of twigs and leaves. But before I could swing the door completely open, I was abruptly squawked away by the nesting mother bird. She was posed for attack and staring right in my direction. I quickly shut the door and proceeded out the house through the garage for the next three weeks, so as not to instigate any more confrontations. Mother bird reminded me of a valuable lesson I learned early in life: Expect the unexpected.

This is so true in business. If you’re not careful, you could squawk away good customers or trusted vendors by not being prepared for anything that may come your way. Little did I know my golden ticket of opportunity had just peeped its way into my life!

Awareness and Perspective

From that day forward, I was both excited and interested to see what was transpiring within the nest. As a new Latina entrepreneur, I’m learning the importance of awareness and perspective in my business development and relationships. While formulating my entrepreneurial path, I researched trending businesses, economic forecasts and even spoke with a few influential business leaders. I considered numerous types of business to explore over a period of time, only to conclude I overlooked the obvious.

My passion and experience is in public health and health promotion. I’m a Hispanic woman living in South Texas, which is known for high obesity rates. This was my golden ticket of opportunity to use my knowledge, skills and passion to help my community increase wellness through health and fitness.

Seasoned entrepreneur or not, the need for awareness and perspective is critical to ensure you’re not missing the obvious. I blatantly took the messy bird’s nest for granted, instead of stopping and taking a moment to reflect and respect the new life that was naturally evolving right outside my door.

The eggs hatched, but only one of the four baby birds survived and eventually flew the nest. What a clear-cut illustration of survival of the fittest demonstrated within the confines of a small bird’s nest. The same competitive principle exists in the global world of business today. As entrepreneurs, the value of your awareness of every single opportunity becomes vital to the growth and success of your business. Consequently, just like the three baby birds that never took flight, not every opportunity will have your business soar to new heights.

Perspective is key to discerning which opportunities could best benefit your business. Take time to pause and use your keen vision to explore outside yourself as often as possible. It’s worth it! When armed with awareness and perspective, you begin to develop confidence, knowing you don’t have to jump on every opportunity that crosses your path. You start to recognize which opportunity is best for you and your business, and worthy of pursuing further. There is no sense in starting a beekeeping business, if you’re allergic to bees!

Fortunately, I spotted my golden ticket of opportunity through the inspiration I received from simply noticing the bird’s nest. It sparked me to take a breather and appreciate what is real and natural. Sometimes we disregard what feels natural and right, and move toward what appears to be more popular or profitable. The bird’s nest reminded me to not overlook the obvious in life and go with what felt natural and right for my business venture.

As a personal trainer and wellness consultant, I now take advantage of my opportunities daily to empower other Hispanics in my community to live healthier and happier lives. You don’t always have to build doors to find your opportunities, like Milton Berle suggested. Sometimes you just have to take the time to look on the other side.