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!

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

Podcasts

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.

wellness-hotels-in-rio-de-janeiro
“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

People

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 the awe-inspiring Instagram account, Brown Girls Who Bruja.  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 at Brown Girls Who Bruja.

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

Prose

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!

white flower that looks like a georgia o'keeffe painting

New Year, New Decade: Live Your Life with Value!

IMG_3212.jpgThis New Year’s, I didn’t want my resolutions to be made from a place of lack, or what I was “deficient” in, but from a mindset of motivation. Oftentimes, resolutions seem to highlight areas of our life where we feel we are “inadequate”, or have some behavioral issues that are preventing us from living our best life.

Instead, I wanted my resolutions to come from my own inner well of inspiration and insight. So I revisited an exercise that I had completed in the spring of 2019 from the Allbright Academy titled “Define Your Values.” This exercise was a segment in the first lesson from the Entrepreneurs course called Project You, an honest and reflective program that I needed to refresh myself, my brand, and my business.IMG_2330The exercise asked you to go through a list of over 100 words and narrow them down to the three, yes only three, that held the most power for you. Whoa! Narrowing this list down was going to be tough. To give you some perspective, just the words starting with “T” were going to be hard to get rid of!

Tact

Talent

Teamwork

Tolerance

Tradition

Transparency

Trust

Truth

After culling the list for the first round, I grouped the words into categories and noticed some trends. I admit it was hard to eliminate some of the 120+ words, so after realizing what was important to me, I made some statements about my values with the dozen words that made it through to the final cut. Here are two of the four statements I created:

“Vitality and health allow me to have the energy to be positive and live a full, fun, and happy life.”

“Abundance and wealth allow me to be generous and create opportunities for others while having choices in my own life.” 

IMG_5827I figured if my plan to improve my life in 2020 came from things that I valued, I would have a better chance at achieving my resolutions. Reflecting on that first statement, I looked at some of the words that contributed to that sentence: presence, health, image, spirituality. Having already partially committed to that statement in 2019, I thought about how I could magnify my health and vitality in 2020. 

In the spring of 2019, I stopped drinking alcohol. I found it was limiting my productivity, making me sick, and restraining my physical potential. How could I improve on this for 2020? What small change can I make in 2020 that will improve my vitality and health, allowing me to live by my values? A self-proclaimed donut addict, I will be reducing my processed sugar intake from my daily sweet in the morning to once a week. I’m going to start small! This is a new year’s resolution I can handle. 

This small commitment made me think of the book Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg, PhD. I remember something that he said that really stuck with me in terms of resolutions, behavior change, and all that good stuff that helps us get on track with our best life. “You can do this habit,” he recommends when choosing a behavior to change. Choosing something that I literally can do will set me up for early success with my resolutions, and inspire me to eventually make supportive and complementary behavior change later in the year, and in my life. IMG_3705

Gratitude

Learning

Education

Potential

Financial Freedom

These are some of the words that led me to create my second statement: Abundance and wealth allow me to be generous and create opportunities for others while having choices in my own life. One opportunity that I’d like to create is a writing scholarship. While that may seem like a daunting task for someone who still has student loans and credit card debt, at least I know that my core values are leading me in the right direction. 

So how can I turn this into a new year’s resolution? While I may not be handing out a scholarship in 2020, I am putting some tiny behaviors in place today that will lead me to financial freedom. Just last night, I looked through my spending habits and debit card activity, and found ways to reduce frivolous purchases. Tiny habit – go to CVS once a month instead of twice a week!IMG_3198After completing this values exercise early in 2019, I looked at how I was being compensated for my work. When some collaborative partners didn’t want to pay me for my creative work, I turned down those projects. As hard as that was at the time, I knew those projects were not in alignment with my values, nor were they going to enable me to become financially free and leave a legacy of scholarships. My content is quality, insightful, provocative, global – I wasn’t going to give it away for free. As I build on that statement for a 2020 resolution, I am charting out the ideal client. I want collaborative partners who share some of my other values: sustainability, adventure, intimacy, healing. 

However you formulate your 2020 resolution list, do what matters to you. Start with what you value and reflect on what matters to you. While it will probably look different from those around you, that’s ok! Encourage your support network to do the same and revel in the wide range of what keeps us all going. I’ll leave you with a quote from motivational speaker Rasheed Ogunlaru, “There’s no beauty without difference and diversity.”IMG_3234