On February 29, 2020 I had the opportunity to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with a team of 29 men. I had never climbed a mountain before Kilimanjaro. The experience was priceless and unforgettable. I learned so much from the experience; therefore, I decided to write about it.
The Kilimanjaro adventure is an unforgettable experience that will forever remain in my heart and memory. As a team, we made it to the roof of Africa and we wouldn’t have been able to achieve such an accomplishment without each other. I thank my dear friends Dennis Byrd, Harold Pine, Lemuel Aigbivbalu, Travis Billingsley for trusting and believing in me to be a part of KILI 6 TEAM and the 25 hard working men who helped us get to the summit without leaving anyone behind.
Why did I do it??? I’ve always had an active lifestyle since I was a little girl. I love physical challenges and choose to embrace things that help me grow mentally and physically. The moment I decided to say “YES” to this Kilimanjaro adventure, I realized that this would be a different kind of commitment. I knew that I was about to risk my life – my friends never hesitated to remind me of that, even up until the day before I left.
For a moment, I debated about whether or not I should do it. I also thought to myself, “Why is that? What is different this time than any other time?” The answer was simple. I was stepping into unknown territory. Honestly, I was afraid to fail and I was uncertain about everything that was coming. The only thing that I had was FAITH, so I chose to believe that I would be okay no matter what. From that point on, I decided to turn this adventure into the best experience of my life.
Was it hard??? Hell yeah. We successfully reached the top of the mountain and it felt so good. I won’t lie and will admit that the last night of the last 6 hour climb was the most difficult. The walk felt forever and endless but when we reached the top, the tiredness immediately went away. It was breathtaking and absolutely worth all the hard work.
This trip wasn’t just about going to Africa or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It was much more than that. Opportunities come only a few times in our lives, but truly special ones only come once. It is our responsibility to understand how to differentiate these opportunities and use them either for personal or professional growth, regardless of the million excuses or circumstances. Life is full of surprises and I believe that everything happens for a reason.
THE LESSON THAT I LEARNED:Even if the path looks endless and you feel like you’re running out of energy, as long as you keep putting one foot in front of another, you will ALWAYS get to the top. You will ALWAYS have enough left to make just one more little step. Never give up!
In their eyes, you are just another subject to talk about. It makes them feel good to put you down. They think they know everything about you. It’s funny, but true.
Busy people are busy minding their own business. They don’t bother with someone else’s life because they are focusing on themselves.
I used to feel like giving up every time I had to deal with negative people or with unsatisfied clients, but what I didn’t know at that time is that you can’t please everyone. You can always try, but at the end of the day not everyone is going to be happy with your product or service simply because it doesn’t meet their needs or taste.
I consistently had to remind myself who I am and why I do what I do.
The major question here is: is it wort giving up on my dreams and the job that I am very good at, just because someone said something and hurt my feelings? I guess that is why they say, “no personal feelings in business.” Would a couple of opinions make me quit? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Think about it. Every time we hear a compliment, we feel good about ourselves because something positive was said and we, as humans, thrive to hear good things about ourselves. As soon as someone says something negative, we cry or are disappointed because we didn’t like what we heard.
With that said, we base our feelings off of someone else’s opinion. In most cases, as soon as you let someone’s opinion step into your mind, you automatically let someone manage your life.
When you are trying hard to fit in with the crowd, very often being rejected, you have three options to choose from:
Create your own opportunities
Which one fits you the most is totally up to you. You make the choice.
Sometimes we are afraid to make a choice, so we listen to others. In turn, we end up making choices in life that we don’t necessarily want to make, but due to our insecurities we let others decide for us. Should you live your live that way? Absolutely not.
My biggest dream in life was to move to United States of America, specifically to Los Angeles, California. As a professional dancer, I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else but in Los Angeles. The entire dance industry is either there, New York, or Atlanta. Somehow, life always finds ways to challenge and surprise us.
No matter how much I tried to make my way to California something would stop me. New opportunities would appear and keep me from achieving my dream of LA. Blessings I couldn’t ignore.
I always listen to my intuition. Most of the time I do what I feel that is right thing to do. On top of being able to learn and take, I was gifted to create and give. Every time I tried to ignore these intuitions and blessings and follow my LA dream, I felt like I was making a mistake and I just couldn’t understand what was happening.
I wasn’t afraid, but something was stopping me. Moving somewhere alone to pursue my dream was not the issue. I am someone who can pack a backpack and explore the world.
Well, this situation was new and different for me. I felt like I was stuck in Galveston, Texas.
So, what exactly was holding me back? I went through some difficult times. To be honest, those difficult times helped me find myself and my purpose. I was able to answer my big “WHY?” I had a clear vision where I was heading.
Before I finish my story, I would like to tell that it’s okay not to have it all figured out. It’s okay to take a step back, reflect, and sometimes even change directions. It is not okay to be stuck and not do anything about it. If you need to, take some time off to figure out which way you want to go. If you create a map for yourself where you design your destination and the road that you would like to take to get there, then you are moving in the right direction. Don’t follow someone else’s path, don’t listen to individuals who are trying to bring you down or hold you back. I am speaking from experience. I hit speedbumps and forks in the road, and even doubted myself at times. People who tried to discourage me and tell me that my dreams are not possible because of their limited beliefs. Knowing who I was and where I was heading helped me pass though those minor hiccups and find my own way to success.
January 2017, I was packing my bags and selling my business with the intention of moving to LA and completing my mission. For something that I had dreamed about for so long, it felt wrong. I was heartbroken to leave. I had spent so much time and money building something so unique in Galveston community, and moving away forever was tearing my heart.
At that moment I felt like I lost what I had. The moment I changed my mind to stay, I appreciated everything so much more.
We appreciate everything more when we lose something in our lives, especially when we take things for granted, thinking that they will stay with us forever. When I changed my direction, something greater came into my life. A crystal clear vision. I immediately started to map out all my plans, visions, and ideas. It was like a storm of blessings.
I discovered that all this time I was just trying to follow the crowd. I changed my mindset. I became an opportunity maker for myself, with others, and for others. I upgraded my business to a new location, bigger, better, and more professional. Dancers were able to take not only Hip-Hop dance classes, but also Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Tap AND Musical Theater. I invested all my time in giving and growing the dance community on Galveston Island.
Coming from a country where my opportunities were limited, I wanted to help turn local dancers into trained professionals and help them believe in themselves and their dreams. It worked.
Seeing my students stepping on big stages and signing contracts with Los Angeles dance agencies showed me that hard work pays off and solidified every decision that I made and confirmed that everything happens for a reason.
I choose my own path. I create my own opportunities. It is totally up to me how I am going to spend the next five years of my life. I also learned that it’s not where you live, but it’s what you do. Location won’t change your habits. You must begin the changes within yourself then everything else will change around you.
Your competition is you. Your competition is procrastination, your ego, the unhealthy food you are consuming, knowledge you neglect, the negative behavior you’re developing and lack of creativity. That is what true competition looks like. When you compete against that then nothing else can stand your way. Compete against yourself, against your own insecurities and flaws.
What many people don’t understand is that there is enough space for each star in the sky just like there is enough success for everyone.
Each one of us has a unique path to live in this beautiful life. We just have to be supportive and happy for each other instead trying to bring each other down.
With so many clothing brands, sport teams, actors, singers, entrepreneurs, and leaders, we can still find uniqueness in each one of them. There is no one else like me and there is no one else like you. We are created to be different. There is one thing in life that is guaranteed not to be taken away from you: your identity. No one can speak like you, walk like you, think like you.
Find the courage to stay true to yourself and don’t let the daily hustle take you away from yourself. Don’t hate your competitors, respect them and learn from them. Think about it: having competitors is a good thing. They force you to get better, they force you to get stronger and they prevent you from being lazy. For instance, I like to follow and watch not only professional athletes that I probably won’t meet in my lifetime, but local athletes who I can interact with and learn from.
That makes me want to do more and, in some way, reminds me that if someone can do it, then I can do it too. I prefer to surround myself with individuals who are better at something than me or who achieved more than I did because I consistently learn from them.
“We might look in the same direction but see two different things.” – Tatiana Verega
On May 9, 2019, I attempted to break the world record for planking for 3 hours and 45 minutes.
Primarily, my goal was to test my capabilities and see how far I can go. I succeeded. I was beyond proud of myself. I had the greatest support from my family and friends. It was a mental battle that I’ve never experienced before, but I loved it.
The event took place at the 12th Annual Women’s Conference in Galveston, Texas. I had the honor of planking in front of hundreds of women who attended the conference to be inspired and learn something new about themselves. Seeing the wonder and excitement on everyone’s face was priceless. Do you ever think to yourself that you wish you could turn back time so you can go back to a specific moment in your life? Well, this was the moment I wish I could go back to. Seeing so many women from different backgrounds – stay-at-home moms and fitness athletes, powerful entrepreneurs and businesswomen – all cheering for me and believing that I would not fail. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I am excited to share my plank story with you, to inspire you and remind myself what I am capable of. Hopefully it will inspire the world.
I planked for about four years, with breaks in between of course (LOL), when I traveled with my dance career. It wasn’t easy. I am a person who likes to multitask and accomplish as many things as possible in my life at a time. Wish I could invent human teleportation so I can switch my destination in a snap but then I realize that nothing will be the same anymore, the world will be transformed into a Marvel Movie. I began planking for fun, then later on I discovered that I can plank not only for one minute, but for three. In that specific moment I asked myself “what is going to happen with my body and brain if I can hold a 5- or 10-minute abdominal plank?” I thought to myself “I am going to transform into a plank-holding beast.” At the time, I didn’t even know that there was someone who held the world record for 3 hours and 31 minutes.
So, I came up with a 30-day plank challenge. I challenged all my fitness clients and my friends to do it with me. The rule was simple: every day add one minute. For example on day one, plank for one minute, day two, planks for two minutes, and so on and so forth until day 30. By day 30, I should be able to plank for 30 minutes. That was an insane proposal, but surprisingly there were a few individuals who said “yes” to the challenge. Day one passes, then day two, day three and by day four, people started dropping like flies. They said that it was impossible to increase your plank time in such a short period.
If you personally know me, I am a very stubborn and very competitive individual. I told myself that I was not allowed to quit from my own challenge. It is not who I am, and I was not letting a “plank” beat me. But to make it more significant, I decided to plank in front of everyone, every day, on Facebook Live so that I wouldn’t give up. It wasn’t fun, but it did make me take it seriously and complete my mission. When I got to minute 11, I asked myself, “what if I can jump straight up to fifteen minutes?”
This is when I turned everything into my own competition. I didn’t know anybody yet who was planking for that long and wonder wouldn’t leave my side. I was curious and excited like a child. I couldn’t sleep at night because I was impatiently waiting for the next day so I could plank again. It was a game and a mental battle.
I knew, physically, I was capable of so much more, but I needed my mind to be okay with all that. The excitement was growing and let me tell you something: when you are excited and determined, everything works so much easier. The adrenaline that flows through your veins and your heart is pumping more and more energy through your body to get you through.
This is not something that magically comes to you. You have to want it and create it yourself. You have to feed your brain with early morning and late night affirmations, creating a purpose.
With this kind of attitude, I was able to jump from 10 to 15 minute planks, from 15 to 20, and then 20 to 40 minute planks. The craziest thing is that even after planking for the world record, 40 minutes still feels terrifying. Every time I plank feels like my first time. Every day is different in our lives and just because something worked yesterday, doesn’t mean that is going to work tomorrow unless you have a plan and a system to follow. You must train and condition your mind and body just like professional athletes do. Daily discipline and daily repetitions helped me achieve things that once felt impossible. I had to be uncomfortable every day until it became comfortable.
One day, I decided to do some research and find out who held the longest plank in the world. Not because I wanted to compete with that person, but because I wondered what the human body was capable of. If someone else could hold a plank for 3 hours 31minutes that meant I must be able to do the same thing and, who knows, probably more if I invest my time and energy in it. I will never forget the day when I went online and registered as a Guinness Book World Record participant. Six months later, I was accepted.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
I promise, if you can abide by this life moral you will succeed. You will overcome anything that once felt impossible.
I discovered that the more I believed in myself, the more I accomplished. My mind opened and saw opportunities; the opportunities have always been there for me, but I didn’t always see them. When you doubt yourself, you allow fear to take over. The door of your mind is closed and opportunities pass by because there are so many people waiting for those opportunities. People are standing by, ready to take them, sometimes even fight for every opportunity. If you are not ready, someone else will take it.
I once promised myself that I will not miss an opportunity that comes my way. If I miss it, it is only because I decided to pass it up. I am the master of my life and I am the creator of my future. If you can commit to this type of mindset then you are automatically allowing yourself to see more than you saw before, do more than you did before, and become more than you were. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
Back to the story.
I was accepted to break the official world record plank time. This gave me a lot of motivation. It gave me another reason to wake up in the morning excited for the day. I had something to work for and I wasn’t wasting my time. Time is precious and I couldn’t waste a minute. In the meantime, I was working in the community, building relationships and creating a team that I can trust, and most importantly a team that believes in me.
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs.
I earned my trust and respect. I had the most amazing people from around the world believing in me and I am forever grateful for that.
While I was training, I had so many ups and downs. Very often, I felt like giving up because it was getting harder and more painful. Overtime, I learned that I had to fall in love with the pain that I was going through. This was my only way to finish what I started. The process became boring and painful, but I told myself “you will only succeed if you can do things not only when they are fresh and exciting, but when you step into the BORING and PAINFUL time and beyond that.”
Everyone can be motivated when things are new. Everyone is a superhero before the struggle creeps into that comfort zone. I couldn’t let that be a reason to quit. A couple of months before I planked for the world record, I found out that there was another woman planking and competing for the Guinness World Record. Her plank day would be ten days right after my plank day. I still felt pretty confident because she was not my prime competition. As I mentioned earlier, I planked not to compete with someone else, but to challenge my own willpower.
Unfortunately, people and media turned it into a competition, so everyone was asking me if I knew about the other lady and what I was going to do about it. Knowing myself and my purpose, I didn’t bother with creating a rivalry. In fact, knowing how much work it takes to achieve such thing, I was only happy for her and, in some way, proud of her. It made me excited that there was someone else as crazy as I was, doing an act that not everyone was willing to do.
Everyone is unique in their own way and each one of us has a unique path in life. Being happy for each other and supporting each other is what makes this world better. On May 9, 2019, I planked for 3 hours and 45 minutes. I broke the world record!
I ended up inspiring thousands of people that day, and also became a sponsored athlete by Del Papa Distributing Company. Del Papa is one of the best companies in the world that supports athleticism and acknowledges the hard work that is put in daily to become an extraordinary athlete.
I achieved one of the biggest goals I had since I was a little girl and at that point, I didn’t have time or space in my heart to be worried that someone else would break my record. I knew that if I had to come back and break it again, I would. But not because someone expected me to do so, but because I desired to do so.
While there are no shortcuts to meaningful change, these selected mantras can help remind you how to overcome adversity and pursue your dreams. To unlock all 30 of my shortcuts, pre-order “The Hustler Mindset” online!
I truly believe that your mindset is everything. As a dreamer and achiever, it is easy for me to stay positive, but I have my ups and downs too. I have good and bad days, but it always takes a little extra push to jump back into that positive mindset. Dreams, goals, accomplishments, growth and completion of small creative tasks keeps away bad vibes and excites the positive neurons.
What are the most common excuses that people find?
I wanted to quit so badly. I was losing my motivation. Someone tried to talk me out of things that I wanted to do. I was disappointed when things didn’t go my way.
Negative thoughts made me want to quit things that I dreamed about for so long, things that mattered to me the most.
Not quitting was the best thing that I have done in my life. There is no bigger accomplishment in my journey than not quitting on everything that I love and that matters to me the most.
I get it. We all go through rough times. We all have times in our lives when we feel like everything or everyone is against us. You are not the only one who experiences that.
Do you want to know what kept me going during the worst times in my life? It was the love I have for this life and the hunger that no one could take away from me. The moment I think about how blessed I am to wake up in the morning, to be able to walk, to be able to hear, see and smell, motivates me more. I start counting my blessings when I think of all opportunities this life has granted me.
If you are going through a rough time in your life right now, think about this: how great would you feel when you accomplish all your life dreams and goals and not quit along the way? Will quitting make your life better? Will quitting set you up for success? Will quitting benefit you in any way? NO!
Put together all the things that you are grateful for in life. Recall every good thing that happened to you and focus on this. Don’t focus on bad things.
What helps me to keep going is the picture I create in my head. I am a big dreamer. I have this perfect picture in my head of what my life will be or look like when I accomplish everything that I have planned. I carry that picture in my head 24/7, no matter what.
Make yourself proud and keep going, even when you have doubts and you feel down. Remember that quitting will not speed up the process of achieving those dreams.
I believe that I’ve become the hero of my own dreams and story.
Every single day I look in the mirror, I see a warrior and a survivor who knows exactly why, when, where and how. I embrace my past, plan my future and identify who I am in this world. I know my purpose.
I made a plan based on this huge vision of mine that I OWN.
I see it and I do it. I don’t care about FEAR, I don’t tolerate EXCUSES, and I don’t believe in “I CAN’T.” This is my approach to life and the kind of attitude that I deserve because I want to be the best version of myself and discover every height that I can possibly reach.
I am not the fastest or the strongest in the world, but I am the fastest and the strongest for myself. I grow and progress in front of the person that I see in the mirror. Period.
I have natural skills, but having those skills is not enough. Sometimes I didn’t naturally have the:
My achievements are the result of developing these qualities and applying them to my everyday HUSTLE!
I believe that everyone has a story to tell. We are all unique in our own way. I decided to share my story because I always wanted to help and inspire people to make life-changing decisions.
Writing a book is, so far, the most challenging thing I’ve done in my career. I always thought that only professional writers could write a book. Currently, I am sitting in my office and thinking about writing my second book.
Never be afraid to try new things, learn and explore – otherwise life will pass you by. “The Hustler Mind” is a book based on life stories that taught me how to survive and succeed through struggle and hustle. I learned valuable lessons that I would like to share with you.
I used to think that life happens to me, not for me. I learned how to take risks and not be afraid of failure.
We become who we believe we are.
My book is about becoming brave enough to understand your weaknesses and fearlessly work on them. You will look into your future and believe that you can achieve anything.
My dreams never matched my beliefs because of the environment that I grew up in but I am still grateful for my life – everything that I went through made me the person that I am today.
There is one very important lesson that I learned. If you do not go after what you want, you will never have it. If you do not ask, the answer will always be “no.” If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place.
After reading my book, you will discover that the impossible is possible and that the only person who can make a difference in your life is you. Writing this book is a way for me to express and explain why my skin is so thick, why I am never afraid, how I got to where I am and my message to the world.
Each one of us has a place for success just like every star in the sky has its own sparkle. I hope to inspire and bless you on your journey towards success, and I hope to meet you soon.
Reading was never my favorite activity, especially when I was a kid. All I wanted to do was play outside and be involved in as many sports as possible. When I was 19, a good friend gifted me a book; but it wasn’t just any book. It was a book about personal development by Dale Carnegie. The most amazing part about that book is that it was actually three books in one. It was very thick and, at first, I wasn’t even sure why my friend decided to gift me a book until I started reading.
That book changed my life. From that point on, reading allowed me to discover new ideas and goals. While I was reading the book, I felt like someone was speaking to me and telling me how I should behave if I want to succeed in life. I loved every word. Reading became not just my hobby, but my lifestyle.
When I had questions or doubts, I didn’t have to question people or talk to those who didn’t really care about my future. I was simply reading and finding my answers in books. Even today, I read every single day – books by my favorite authors and some of the world’s most influential writers like Jim Rohn, Napoleon Hill, Earl Shoaff, Tony Robbins, Rachel Hollis, Dale Carnegie etc…
Reading has helped me speak and write better, especially in English.
When I came to the U.S. in May of 2012, I didn’t know English at all. Later that year, I decided to take a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to visit a good friend for a couple of days. On my way back we had a 12-hour layover in the airport. It was terrible. I bought a book that obviously was in English. I didn’t know a word, but I wanted to challenge myself. I was reading and translating every single word and I actually liked it. I turned it into a game and the more I did it, the more I wanted to find out what was the book saying.
This was the beginning of my “learning English journey.” For the last six years, I have read daily. It totally changed my life. I learn so much about myself and gain skills that I wish I had been taught as a child. Through reading, I found better ways to express myself and improve my communication skills with my clients, family and friends. I no longer get in trouble for saying things that I don’t mean to say, but it accidentally comes out the wrong way LOL.
MY TOP 3 FAVORITE BOOKS:
#1 “THINK AND GROW RICH” BY NAPOLEON HILL
#2 “H3 LEADERSHIP” BY BRAD LOMENICK
#3 “SUCCESS THROUGH A POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE”
BY NAPOLEON HILL & W. CLEMENT STONE
You can find these books on Amazon or in your local library. They are very easy to read and most importantly, you won’t waste your time. I promise!