standing in front of mural painting at Ritz Carlton

Real Influencers: My Favorite Podcasts, People, and Prose

standing on balcony looking at garden
“Law 29: Plan All the Way to the End” – Robert Greene

With the advent of social media, there has also come a wave of new careers and jobs in this ever-evolving sector. Content creators, influencers, brand ambassadors, and bloggers are just a few of the ways that people all over the globe are making inroads in this exciting area of marketing.

As a marketer, business woman, artist, and avid learner, I am always looking for ways to improve my skills, my health, my spirit, and my outlook on life. And being an entrepreneur, I’m often left to my own devices when it comes to training, inspiration, and leveling up to keep current in the dynamic world of digital media. For this post as part of my entrepreneurship series, I’m sharing a few of the things that influence me to keep going, even on those tough days. Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration of your own on this list!

“Religion as an open-source platform” – MindValley podcast


Mindvalley with Vishen Lakhiani

Where to even begin with the breadth of topics covered by Mindvalley, whose tagline is “The school for human transformation”. This podcast is for those of us who want to orchestrate and create our best life, and push through those personal and societal boundaries that keep us held back. A few of my favorite episodes are “Hustle and Hard Work vs. Entering Flow”, “How to Get 1% Better a Day Through Habit Hacking”, and “How to Manage Your Finances”.

I’m not even sure how I discovered the MindValley podcast, but soon after listening to a few episodes of this podcast, I also read Vishen’s book, The Code of The Extraordinary Mind. In a nutshell, Vishen challenges the “brules”, a term he coined to encapsulate the bullshit rules that we all blindly follow. Most of my life has been a process of breaking free from the influence of “brules”, so Vishen’s book and supplemental podcast help me feel normal about not allowing others to impose their limits on me. If you want a non-conventional dream life, success on your terms, and meaningful happiness, then MindValley is for you.

“In order to receive your desires, you must first expand your capacity to hold them in your body.” – Nikka Karli

The (Re)Wilding Experience with Nikka Karli

This podcast is not for the faint of heart. Just the name should give you a clue that things might get a little wild – in a good way. But not at all like you would expect. The first episode of Nikki’s podcast that I ever listened to was titled “Resistance vs. Creative Capacity”, and it was around the time that I had just finished my annual fast. One of the residual effects of my fast was my body’s rejection of alcohol. I could no longer drink it without becoming violently ill and so I just decided to stop drinking altogether. In this particular episode, Nikki spoke about all of the physical blocks that keep us from our creative capacity: poor diet, lack of physical endurance, mental stamina, alcohol abuse. Hearing this episode made me feel empowered about my decision to stop drinking, knowing that it was inhibiting me from living up to my creative potential.

And that’s exactly what Nikki’s podcast is all about – filling our pores with this creative essence. Nikki will challenge you to your core, quite literally. Under her evocative influence, her podcast will push you to merge mind, body, and soul to live your magical masterpiece. If you are a creative entrepreneur, and value the multilayered dimensions of being one with everything you do, The (Re)Wilding Experience is what you need to push your body and soul to its creative climax. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

light show at Pink Floyd concert
“Whatever is good for your soul, do that.” – Alysha del Valle


Alysha del Valle

Influencers come a dime a dozen and in this new arena of social media, sometimes it is hard to sift through all of the mess to find a few gems. Whether or not she considers herself an “influencer”, one of the gems I follow on Instagram is our local Los Angeles newscaster Alysha del Valle. Alysha’s Instagram is full of sparkling positivity. What I love about her feed is that she’s always showing us the community service she is doing around Los Angeles. As someone who values giving back and making a social impact, I am inspired by Alysha’s philanthropic spirit.

The real power of Instagram influencers comes when they inspire people to make a positive change in their circles, no matter the follower count. Just last year, I had two of my followers say that they participated in an ocean cleanup after seeing my Instagram feed, while another told me he had volunteered at Project Angel Food. In the same way Alysha inspires me with her community work, I influence others to take action. This is the positive side of social media!

School supplies donation to a low-income school in Brazil
“I have a rigid self-accountability. You have to work hard.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Tonya Gonzalez

Tonya leads her awe-inspiring and eponymous Instagram account, Tonya R. Gonzalez. If you want your daily dose of healthy feminine energy, then follow her for constant reminders of the powerful goddess that lies within. The emphasis is on a healthy manifestation of what it means to be a woman, an artist, and a contributor to our world – all things I aspire to be. Tonya’s feed will challenge you to be the best version of a woman, and how to heal so that we can show up for ourselves and our communities in the best way possible.

As I mentioned earlier, when I stopped drinking alcohol it was a dramatic shift in my social life. Under Tonya’s blessed guidance, I learned that not only does it hurt me physically, but alcohol lowered my vibration and attracted low vibration people and experiences to me. What an epiphany! As I’ve stopped the drinking, I’ve stopped those negative influences from coming into my sphere. If you want to be a healthy, happy, and healed woman, then follow her now!

Photo shoot for SLS Beverly Hills
“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Tonya Gonzalez


Paulo Coelho

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. My first toy was a dictionary. So it’s no surprise that some of my biggest inspiration comes from reading the words of great writers. One of the writers that continually influences my life, and always at the perfect time, is Paulo Coelho. I entered the world of Coelho through what I’ll call his “gateway book”, The Alchemist, at the recommendation from a mentor. Since then I’ve been hooked.

His books effortlessly enchant me with endless adventures, but before I know it, his stories have touched the corners of my soul with their meaningful messages and I find myself in tears. And I’ve also found myself. Coelho’s words, whether describing his own life as in Hippie, or another’s as in Brida, point to some part of myself that I needed to examine.

sitting in front of sculpture at LACMA
“I have been practicing archery for a long time; a bow and arrow helps me to unwind”. – Paulo Coelho

Robert Greene

Talk about a timeless book! Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power draws on both ancient and modern examples of power dynamics, and it is the book that I wish I had at the outset of my career years ago. But as always, I have to trust in divine timing and the messages that are relevant to me at this point in my career! With my growing social media presence, a few of Greene’s Laws jumped out to me. Here’s my reflection on one:

“Law 3: Conceal Your Intentions” was a timely reminder that I don’t need to share every aspect of my life on social media. Initially, I was prone to talking about all of my marketing projects, writing endeavors, and artistic ventures in my Instagram stories, but something felt odd, and off. It was Greene’s law that made me feel secure in withdrawing some of my entrepreneurial plans from social media. No matter what industry you’re in or what stage you’re at in your career, Greene’s Laws will impart some influence and wisdom where you need it.

community service in Rio de Janeiro
Regram! Community Service at the Paulo Coelho Library in Rio de Janeiro

Elizabeth Gilbert

Gilbert’s prose reminds of what it means to be a versatile writer. Like most women around the world, I discovered this woman’s talent through her best-seller, Eat, Pray, Love. Shortly after her worldwide success with this autobiographical adventure, Gilbert did the rounds at bookstores and I was lucky enough to attend a book signing here in Los Angeles. The one gem of wisdom that I remember her imparting on the audience, “I didn’t want to be the victim of my own life.” Talk about a memorable mic-drop!

Fifteen years later, I’ve since taken that powerful attitude into my personal and professional life, where setbacks and obstacles are as constant as change itself. Gilbert’s stories of persevering women, including herself, who have traversed life’s endless trials and survived countless tales of loss, remind me that I can still be an optimist and not let life get me down. That I can still come out smiling in my soul!

sitting on edge of pool at Getty Villa
“Law 32: Play to People’s Fantasies” – Robert Greene

What influencers do you follow? What authors inspire you? Share your thoughts with me here and comment below!

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