La Vida Más Chévere: Through the Childfree Latina Lens

Grief Rides Shotgun: A Unique Journey through Loneliness with Monica Rivera (Part 1) - Ep 54

January 23, 2024 Paulette Erato Episode 54
La Vida Más Chévere: Through the Childfree Latina Lens
Grief Rides Shotgun: A Unique Journey through Loneliness with Monica Rivera (Part 1) - Ep 54
La Vida Más Chévere
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Monica Rivera had to learn to become her own best friend. But how do you do that when you’ve lost everyone you’ve ever loved?

In this two-part episode, business coach and TEDx speaker Monica shares how losing her entire biological family in a short period of time afflicted her not only with a deep grief, but also a unique kind of loneliness. And how she finally learned to cope—by discovering herself through curiosity and exploration.

Curiosity + Exploration = Becoming your own BFF

Hear Monica speak on how she designed a thriving life in spite of her grief, the impact of origin stories, and having the audacity to chase your dreams even when the deck feels stacked against you.

"Live before you die."

About Monica:
Monica Rivera (she/her) is a speaker, a reformed self-doubter, and a business coach with a passion for building empowering communities.
With over two decades worth of marketing experience, Monica has climbed the corporate ladder working in various Fortune 500 companies.

Drawing on her own challenging experiences, Monica founded YOU WANNA DO WHAT?!, a coaching practice dedicated to helping women of color build personal brands and businesses around their passions. Monica is a TEDx speaker and has been featured in Business Insider, O Magazine, NPR, Ladies Get Paid, The Huffington Post, and more.

If her words or story resonate with you, Monica invites you to book a free 45-minute clarity call to see if coaching is a fit at https://calendly.com/youwannadowhat/consult

To get the full show notes, and an episode transcript, go to PauletteErato.com/shownotes. This is episode 54.

Support the show

Like what you hear? Reach out to send your thoughts, and don't forget to grab a limited edition LVMC baseball t-shirt. Check it out at pauletteerato.com/shop.

How to reach me:

[00:00] Paulette: Buen día, mi gente, and welcome to La Vida Más Chévere, the only Spanglish podcast for child free Latinas y Latines trying to dismantle the toxic cultural bullshit we all grew up in so that we can live our best lives instead. I'm your resident child free Latina and host, Paulette Erato. Today, I'm doing something I've never done before.

[00:23] It's 2024. We're trying something new this year. I'm splitting this interview into two parts. The main reason for that is because today's guest has a monumental story and I want to give you the time and space to digest it. She's also so full of amazing wisdom that she dropped gems all across the episode.

[00:43] Plus, we're getting ready to move again, and I need a little bit more time and space myself to navigate the chaos. By the time the second half of this episode drops in early February, it'll be my third temporary studio of the year, so still figuring out audio and video, and it's a lot. Before we get into today's episode, I want to give a shout out to the commenters on Instagram for playing along with the LVMC trivia game.

[01:08] The question this time was to identify what was not a reason I gave in the episode for celebrating wins. The choices were to one, make your enemies jealous, two, for the dopamine hit, and three, to create confidence in yourself. If you're an avid listener, you know I did not list that first one. The happiness hit was the name of the episode.

[01:30] And confidence are far more stronger reasons, even if they're just for you. Which is what this show is about, designing your best life. If you want to play along next time, please follow me on Instagram, the link is always in the show notes. Also, jump on Substack, since the only reason that episode was released was because the subscribers voted for it late last year.

[01:53] If you haven't already joined the LVMC Substack, then you're not really getting the full La Vida Más Chévere experience. Substack is free to join, you get a discount code for the OG LVMC Baseball tee. You get to vote on future content for the podcast, Substack, and social media. And you'll join other like minded people who also want to dismantle the toxic cultural bullshit we all grew up with.

[02:17] This year, the premium subscribers who only pay $5 a month are also getting access to my expanded word of the year workshop and all future workshops this year. So come join us. Now let's talk about Monica Rivera. I admire her so much and I'm really thrilled for you to meet her. It's always gratifying to connect with other child free Latinas, but to also find out that we're on twin missions to help people improve their lives is yet another example of finding your community and like minded people to bond with.

[02:50] That's what we're about. And Monica reached out to me on Instagram asking to be on the show. If you're interested in being a guest too, fill out the form on my website at pauletteerato. com slash guest. There's always a link for this in the show notes. And don't be shy about it. I love interviewing people and I will try to make it as comfortable for you too.

[03:12] Today's show is less about dismantling a specific toxic cultural norm and more about designing a thriving life after grief, the impact of origin stories, and having the audacity to chase your dreams, even when the deck feels stacked against you. So let me tell you a little bit more about our guest.

[03:32] Monica Rivera, she, her is a speaker, a reformed self doubter and a business coach with a passion for building, empowering communities. With over two decades of marketing experience, Monica has climbed the corporate ladder working in various Fortune 500 companies. Drawing on her own challenging experiences, Monica founded You Wanna Do What?

[03:53] A coaching practice dedicated to helping women of color build personal brands and businesses around their passions. Monica is a TEDx speaker and has been featured in Business Insider, O Magazine, NPR, Ladies Get Paid, The Huffington Post. And more, she's 100 percent badass. If her words or story resonate with you, she's inviting listeners to book a free 45 minute clarity call to see if coaching with her is a fit for you.

[04:25] And I think you'll find her fun to work with. If you're watching this on YouTube, you'll notice that for the most part, Monica has a smile on her face the whole time. Even when she's talking about some of the most painful moments in her life. This goes to show her genuine warmth and openness that make it easy to connect with and trust her.

[04:48] She's also an incredible orator in the same league as the great Greeks we're forced to study in high school. Don't believe me? Check out her TED Talk, which I'll leave linked in the show notes, of course. Please note that Monica's origin story has some very dark points, including the violent loss of friends at the tender age of 16.

[05:07] The story she tells might sound polished, and that's because Monica has told it many times. Plus, she's a professional. But imagine how many times you have to repeat a story for it to get to that point, how often it has to be practiced, how often she has had to relive it, and yet she still continues on as a model in resiliency.

[05:29] I'm not sure if she's made of tougher stuff than the rest of us, or she's just so disciplined and zealously committed to her goals, but wow. So, let's go talk to Monica.

[05:40] Today I have Monica Rivera, who is a coach for women. Monica, thank you so much for being here. How are you doing?

[05:48] Monica: I'm doing really well.

[05:49] Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to have this conversation today.

[05:52] Paulette: We have some parallels in our lives, mostly about not wanting kids.

[05:56] Monica: The great thing about your podcast is that it really touches on something that's unique, that's not talked about enough. And you create this space where it's nonjudgmental to have these conversations that people don't often have.

[06:08] And I had actually recorded a podcast years ago about this very topic as well. So I just felt like I need to reach out so we can have this talk.

[06:15] Paulette: And thank you so much for doing that because I feel like we're spiritually connected in this space because you're not out there waving your child free flag, which is fine.

[06:25] I don't think that everybody has to be a child free advocate, but I really appreciate that you're here to talk about it and just be an example of an option for people to live. What's really amazing about your story. So let's, let's get into what, what brought you to where you are now. is that you lost your entire family in a seven year period as a young adult.

[06:50] And your TEDx talk is around that, is around being lonely and the flip side of it and how you've made margaritas from those lemonades.

[06:59] Monica: Thank you for sharing that. Thank you for watching the talk as well. So at the end of 2019, I delivered this TEDx talk and the TEDx talk had been something that was on the vision board for a really long time as a paid speaker.

[07:10] It's one of those things I wanted to do. And I always knew that I wanted to share my story about losing my family in this space. I didn't know how it was going to happen. I didn't know if it would fit the theme. I just knew that I would somehow be able to share this because I didn't really talk much about it.

[07:27] And there were people that had known me for a really long time. There were acquaintances that didn't know anything about my story. And I think it was because I was still healing from that and still really wanting to think about how can I share this in a way that feels more empowering, that feels useful to people, and that doesn't feel as if I'm looking for pity, and that I don't pity myself anymore, because for a while, to be honest, I really did.

[07:52] And so, just to touch on very briefly, when I turned 16, and mostly you're thinking about celebrations and what that means. The day after I turned 16, I actually lost two childhood friends, and they were both shot and killed together at an incident that had happened in the Bronx, which is where I grew up.

[08:10] And it was so painful because I hadn't experienced loss like that, and it was so close to home, and we were all around the same age. And little did I know that that was actually going to create a domino effect of what was to come. And shortly after that, my grandmother passed away, uh, later on in that year and she was my favorite person.

[08:31] I just loved my grandmother so much and that was devastating. It was devastating to lose her. She had just retired six months before and really had all these, like, goals and dreams of everything she wanted to do that we talk about we're gonna do after we retire. And it was all snatched away from her.

[08:49] And then six months after that, I lost my mom. And then it was just this domino effect of this tremendous loss over the course of the next seven years. That was so devastating. And there's something about that age. Your brain hasn't fully formed yet when you're that young. So all of the connections that I was making were these really distorted connections of what adulthood meant and growing up meant and survival and all of these things that were so mixed up in this adolescent brain, it's hard enough to just be a teenage girl, let alone to experience all these things.

[09:26] And so I needed a lot of time to really process what healing meant for me, what my life was going to look like, and when I finally felt secure enough to tell that story. And so I finally did in 2019.

[09:40] Paulette: And so the story is titled The Flipside of Loneliness, which is not something you really think about. I love all the things that you said, and we'll have a link to it in the show notes and in the description.

[09:53] But like all the platitudes people will tell you, go make new friends. Here's a good quote. And you got a great laugh at that because You're a really good speaker. Obviously you're very good at what you do, but you're like, well, I have to be my own best friend now.

[10:08] Monica: Yeah. And it was hard to share that because I thought it was so simplistic.

[10:13] People are dealing with grief and it feels like this isn't the answer. Like when you're dealing with grief, you want this answer, even loneliness, that it almost feels as if there has to be a bigger answer to the problem. But really for me, I share about these three parts. It was like exploring and being curious and becoming your own best friend.

[10:32] And it took me a while to get there, but I needed to think about who was I going to be as a person. And in those years, I really had to be what everyone else needed me to be. Because they were sick, where I started living on my own when I was 16, so I had to figure out how I was going to pay bills and still go to school and work and all of these things that were happening simultaneously.

[10:56] And so I didn't really get a chance to figure out who I was, what did I like to do, what did I like to eat, what were my interests. I was almost always adopting what somebody else really liked to do. Because their situation was more important than mine. So if my dad likes sports, then I would watch sports.

[11:13] It turns out I actually really do love sports, but for a while I didn't know how much of it was because he loved it versus because I loved it. And so I had sort of taken on this chameleon like persona to make other people feel comfortable. And then in this time, like really being by myself and sure, I had friends and people that I knew.

[11:34] But not having biological family just feels so different. It's a loneliness that doesn't end because no one's coming back. It's not as if somebody moved away. I call it loneliness because it's not just about the grief, because loneliness is heavy for a whole bunch of different things. But for me, the catalyst for that was the grief and really discovering where I wanted to travel in the world, what I wanted my life to look like, where did I want to live.

[12:02] I really did become my own best friend, and that was partially because I needed to. But also because I had friends that quite honestly would tell me that I'd known my entire life, you're too sad to be around. And the thing is, I get it, I look at it, and it feels so harsh, right? Like in my big age, it feels like such a harsh thing to say, but when someone's 17, 18, 19 years old, it's like a very real thing, like people don't know how to handle all that grief.

[12:29] I didn't know how to handle all that grief. So, I could only imagine, even though I wasn't trying to be this sad person all the time, but that's just what was happening. That was my energy, that was what was coming off of me. And I realize now that there's probably a lot of responsibility that my friends felt to sort of buoy me, but at the time it was really painful to hear that.

[12:49] So becoming my own best friend kind of became the thing.

[12:53] Paulette: So what did that look like in practice?

[12:55] Monica: Yeah, so it looked like really getting up and traveling to all of the places I wanted to go to. So, an example of that is, I had seen it was either a television show or a commercial for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

[13:09] And so, it was summer, and I had some cash at this point, and so I booked myself a hotel, and I drove to Cleveland the next day. And it was three days in Cleveland to spend time at the museum, I think I saw Phantom of the Opera. On their version of Broadway, spent some time hanging out at the lake and then drove home.

[13:28] So it was really listening to those things. I had a friend's wedding and then the next day I flew out to go to Arizona to spend time with the Grand Canyon. I drove along the coast of the Pacific Coast Highway in California. I just started to really explore what life looked like beyond New York City and New Jersey and Connecticut, I guess, or Tri State, and really just said, what am I like in these other places?

[13:53] Am I meeting friends? What does it look like to just experience these different things like hiking or yoga or just different modalities? Like I just tried everything to see what it was that I like to do. And what I found is I really like spending time with myself. Like I really have a good time on my own.

[14:13] And that was a great thing as a child. I'm an only child. And so I used to think, Oh, I want a brother. I want a sister. But really it served me so well at the stage of my life. Just being someone who is imaginative and creative and independent really allowed me to do these things. I feel like my life kind of prepared me for that.

[14:32] And so I didn't really feel lonely. I felt really empowered and thought it was pretty cool to be able to try these things. My only thing is there are times where, of course, I wish I could have reported back to family and things like that. But I also realize, and it's hard, and I hope people give me space when I say this, is that if there is a silver lining to something that's so tragic, it was being able to have these experiences that I don't know if I would have had otherwise.

[15:03] I think I would have felt so indebted and maybe even codependent to my family and making sure that they were okay, that I don't know if I would have given myself the opportunity to live my life the way that I do now.

[15:16] Paulette: That makes perfect sense. Nobody gets to tell you how to grieve. I think that that's one of the key takeaways we have to put out there that grief looks so different for every individual. Even, uh, a couple or a parent and a child. You're at different stages in your life and in your experience. And the way you managed your grief might not look like somebody else managing their grief, but I, I wouldn't want anybody watching this to tell you, no, you did it wrong.

[15:47] Obviously you came out the other side in the most positive way for you and you're still moving through life. Yeah. The way you want

[15:55] to, right?

[15:56] Monica: Absolutely. I mean, but everyone will always have an opinion on everything you do, so that's why I did want to preface it by saying that. But you're right, grief looks entirely different and when people have asked my thoughts on it in the past of, you know, how to get over it or does time heal all? I'm really honest, it's a very individual process as to what that looks like.

[16:16] There is no one day you arrive and you feel like, oh, the grief is gone. It will pop up and it will reappear at different times and instances in your life. And sometimes it's really kind of riding next to you, shotgun with you, because those people are still there. They're still part of your life. They're just not physically here, but it does soften and the edges aren't quite as sharp.

[16:39] And the memories that are good really start to reveal themselves in a way that it usurps the grief. And that's a really special part of it.

[16:48] Paulette: That is really, that's a key statement right there. The good memories usurp the grief with enough time. Wow. That's really pretty. I'm going to, that's going to be a quote for this episode.

[17:01] Moving forward, you were an only child, lost a parent at 16, on your own, and then it sounds like you took care of some remaining family members. What happened to college and all of those things that would naturally come after high school?

[17:18] Monica: Yeah, so I did go to college and graduated on time but even college was a really rough road because I had all these dreams of going to a private college or university. And so I applied to all of these schools and I'd gotten into all these choices But then a funny thing happens you start to see how much it's going to cost. And you realize, you look around and say, Oh, this is all on me.

[17:40] There isn't a parent that can help or a parent loan that they can take out. And so I really needed to think economically, like, what am I going to do? Am I going to go to the school of my dream? Or am I going to go to a school that makes more sense financially? And so I had to make the tough decision, but I still, it still stays with me after all this time.

[17:59] I really wonder what that private going away to someplace out of state would have felt like. But I had to make a decision that for me was going to be the best thing, which was to go to a state school. I studied economics. And that first year, ironically. And I don't talk about this a lot, probably because no one ever really asks, but that first year I think is when I started to process the grief of losing my mother and grandmother.

[18:23] So I'd gone through senior year, so this all happened in junior year of high school, but senior year is almost, you just have to get to the finish line. I needed to make sure I got into school, I needed to graduate, all of those things. And I think almost I was delaying the grief. So I remember still feeling really sad and really disconnected, but there was something about the isolation of college and being someplace outside of New York City, which I had never experienced before for an extended period of time.

[18:51] And I was on my own. And at this, at this point, my father was still alive and I was feeling so lonely, like in a completely different way. And I stopped going to class. And that first year was a mess. My cumulative GPA after my first year was, I think, a one, a one.

[19:11] Paulette: Straight Ds.

[19:12] Monica: Yeah. And I was someone who graduated with honors.

[19:16] If I had gotten a B, it was a full conversation of, why would you get a B? I don't understand. What's happening? And some conversations were nicer than others, because it was a very strict household that I had grown up in. So the fact that I had a one, I understand what's happening, but also like simultaneously, like this can't be me, it was like this very weird out of body experience.

[19:38] And I remember I was home for break. I checked the mailbox and there's this letter, basically telling me that I am on probation, and if I do not get my grades up, I will be kicked out of the school. And I remember thinking, I have worked so hard my entire life for my education, and extracurricular, and student body president, all of these things.

[20:00] You are not going to get kicked out. And I remember I balled up the letter. I threw it on the ground and every semester after that, I was on the Dean's list.

[20:08] Paulette: Wow.

[20:08] Monica: But it was exactly the wake up call I needed of where I just said that this has to stop and need to figure out how to get through this.

[20:17] Because what's happening now is going to completely change the trajectory of my life and I cannot let that happen. This is the one thing I can control, which are my grades, which is what I'm going to do for myself financially, the job that I'm going to get, and that completely sent me back in the other direction of where I became laser focused.

[20:35] Paulette: It sounds like your grief was almost like your power center.

[20:39] Monica: Yeah.

[20:41] Paulette: Which is also a scary thing to, to even talk about from the outside. Taking all of that pain. And using it in spite of itself. Is that what you did?

[20:54] Monica: Honestly, I think it's almost as if every voice of every family member that had passed away said almost collectively, what the F are you doing?

[21:04] Right. And I really, it was just this one moment. I didn't think about it. I didn't have to make a plan for it. It was just a light switch. It was like, the day is the day that it stops. And then it stopped, and I went to class, and I performed, and I got a job, and I sort of plugged into the college experience after that.

[21:23] And despite the 1. 0 GPA after the first year, I still graduated on time. I mean, I did everything I needed to do. I took 16 credits in 4 weeks during the summer. I was in class for 12 and a half hours a day for 4 weeks. Because I was so determined, I'm not going to pay additional tuition for another year.

[21:45] And this is my plan. My plan was always to graduate college. It was never a question, and it's not going to be a question now.

[21:53] Paulette: That is a sort of resiliency that is rare. Very rare. And twelve hours a day for four weeks straight, that is Yeah. That's like the hardest of the hard mode. Plus you're still dealing with grief.

[22:06] Monica: Yes. Yes. I was sleeping on a cot with a lamp in what was going to be my apartment, but my roommate hadn't lived there yet. So it was just me for those first four weeks on a cot with a lamp, but that was it.

[22:18] Paulette: Wow. Maybe we'll get deeper into that in another episode, but now I want us to move forward in time because that, that, that was a very powerful story.

[22:28] Thank you for sharing all of that. Wow. I'm shook, but let's talk about how you've evolved into the business coach that you are now.

[22:39] Monica: Yeah. So I've been in marketing my entire career. So in some form of fashion, so whether working with consumer side or the business to business side. And I love marketing. I realized that there was a point where I didn't love doing it for big companies as much anymore.

[22:57] And I missed having the creativity. So I've always worked for fortune 500 companies, which is a blessing, but also can be very limiting because a big company has lots of money to have little roles for every single thing that's done. And it's very hard to stretch your arms across a role. Because you were hired to do this.

[23:17] And it's hard to get people to understand why you want to do something else other than what you were hired to do. And so that was really, it felt like I was wearing a coat that didn't fit anymore. Of I need to do something else. I feel so creatively depleted. I am losing confidence in my own capabilities because I keep raising my hand to do these other things, but I'm not getting them and I'm kind of told to stay in my lane.

[23:41] And I hate staying in my lane. And so I decided, okay, well, what can I do with this information that I have available? And so I say I've been coaching my entire life. I just started to get paid for it two years ago in this business because I really decided I wanted to help other women, specifically women of color.

[24:01] One, make more money because we have all these businesses that we're starting and I'm sitting on all of this information for marketing and I want to help other people get there. I want them to be clear on their ideas, clear on who their audience is, and clear on the path that they're going to work to get that money.

[24:19] And it really becomes from my why, it goes back to my family. And I shared with you prior to this, my grandmother passed away and I talked about six months into her retirement. And she had all these dreams of what it is that she wanted to do. And her biggest dream was Spain. And I talk about this in the TEDx talk and she never got to go to Spain.

[24:40] And now we're subscribed to these flight alerts. We can go to Spain for 300 bucks, 400 bucks. And this thing that she wanted to do, she worked her entire life. But because my grandfather controlled the money, it was well, this or that, this or that. And so she was always choosing what was better for the family.

[24:58] And I've just seen witnessing people pass away. The things that they're talking about is all the things they wish they would have done. But I noticed as women of color, we're always so caught up in the money, not having enough money, needing to have more money, saving more money, because we feel like to take that money that we have to use it on something like a vacation feels superfluous, like it's not something we need to do. And I just feel like if I can help women take their businesses, take their skills, take their talents and make some more money, then they can actually take the trip. So it's the money is the thing, but I really want it to be so that you can do the thing you want to do and live before you die.

[25:39] Paulette: Live before you die. It's the freedom that money offers, not just the, the hoarding of it, right?

[25:48] Monica: Exactly, yes. It's to have those experiences. There's so many experiences that we want and I'm not here to judge whatever experience somebody wants to have. But when they say the money is the thing stopping them, I want to say then let's fix that because I really want you to have that experience.

[26:06] Paulette: I love that, going back to your TEDx talk because it's so good. Please go watch it. The equation for your life is exploration plus curiosity equals becoming your own best friend. So we've talked about how you became your own best friend.

[26:22] We talked about how the curiosity allowed for you to explore Cleveland, for example. In our life, and part of the reason my husband and I are trying to be more mobile in terms of where we live, is because we want a life of adventure. So when you talk about exploration and curiosity, I feel like those are two very good synonyms for adventure.

[26:41] Monica: Yeah.

[26:41] Paulette: So talking about Spain, you, you did get to go to Spain.

[26:44] Monica: I did.

[26:45] Paulette: What parts did you go to?

[26:47] Monica: I visited Madrid, Sevilla, and Pamplona.

[26:50] Paulette: Okay. I didn't get to go to Pamplona, but we did, uh, Madrid, Seville, and then we went to Marbella, and then we went to Barcelona. There were a lot of highs and lows for us on this trip.

[27:02] And every time we hit a low, like something else was canceled on us, which became the theme. One of us would have to say we are on an adventure and it would turn that annoyance, that aggravation around so that we had a new perspective. And I feel like your perspective on grief, the flip side of it, the new enhanced perspective on it was I'm now able to rely on myself to have this adventure.

[27:33] Monica: Absolutely. Absolutely. I love that you said that. It's such a good way to reframe it. And I think without even knowing it, that's what I was doing for myself. I was reframing grief or my perspective on it because I needed to feel more empowered. Like I knew I was doing the things like I getting the jobs and I was getting the promotions and those things, but that doesn't make a life.

[27:56] Right, especially when I don't have necessarily a biological family, I have a chosen family of wonderful people that I have. But there's something different. There was, for a long time, the holidays were something that I used to love as a kid. I wanted to forget as an adult, I just couldn't wait till the next day arrived.

[28:16] So December 26th or the day after Thanksgiving. Because people were generous inviting me into their homes, but I always felt like I was borrowing someone else's family and I couldn't shake that feeling or they would be the one family member that was invited that hadn't met me. And you can see the glance of like, that person, right?

[28:38] And you can see them politely just wanting to know who that is. And I always had this story in the back of my head, like, Oh, when they tell them who I am, are they also going to add, but she's the one that doesn't have parents. And so just having that thought in the back of my mind was enough to make the experience sometimes unpleasant for me.

[28:59] And it's really hard to not get heady about those things when you realize the reason you're there is so ever present. And it's also, I was contrasting like my family traditions with wherever I was and their tradition. And so it was always a lot. And so I just needed a way to reframe it for myself.

[29:18] Paulette: How long did that take?

[29:20] Monica: Oh, it took a really long time. I'll be honest. It probably took over a decade to really get to a place where I felt like that. And again, I think it was a combination of because it hadn't stopped. It was like seven years. So it was almost like there was no point prior to that to actually start healing because then something else would happen.

[29:41] And so it wasn't until it really got quiet at that seven year mark where it was like, okay, like this is, this is when I can start. But at that point, I'm in my early twenties. And I'm working in corporate, I'm working these crazy hours, and now I'm kind of sort of dealing, I think, even with this new identity that's emerging of this corporate person and these expectations.

[30:01] And I remember I had a manager who was fantastic. I was very lucky my first manager was Latino, and he would gently tell me, you're a little rough around the edges. Like there's a lot of good stuff there, but we need to just kind of soften your edges a little bit. And it was because, I mean, if you think about it, operating from survival mode, you're not really thinking about diplomacy.

[30:26] The way that you say things is like, well, this is just how I communicate. I don't really know another way to communicate. And he was just very kind and patient and also had a really nice gift to be able to say, I know there's so much potential here. It's there. We just need to make her feel a little safe.

[30:47] And he just knew that. I think it's because he was a dad, he had a daughter himself, and I think he just recognized that I just needed to feel like there was a space where I could be safe. So I could go into his office and say anything I wanted about anybody in the company and he would give me the grace of not dinging me for it later on.

[31:05] Paulette: That makes sense that your interpersonal relationships were shaken up at a crucial point in your life. So, of course, how, you know, where were you going to learn it?

[31:18] Monica: Right, absolutely.

[31:18] Paulette: And, and nobody necessarily goes into corporate just knowing the rules. You kind of learn by observing. But if your landscape has been so clouded by all of these negative experiences for the most part, despite the resiliency, despite the kick ass nature that you clearly displayed.

[31:37] Yeah, that makes sense. How kind of him to recognize that you were a diamond in the rough.

[31:42] Monica: Yeah, I really appreciate that. He and his wife were actually really great and very generous to me during that time.

[31:49] Paulette: So how did it move from Corporate Monica to coach Monica?

[31:53] If you want to hear the answer to that question, plus more about Monica's chosen family, how her experiences have led her to choose being child free, and how she defines legacy, tune in next week.

[32:07] Yep. We're not going to skip a week this time. I'm not going to make you wait two entire weeks to hear the end of this story. It's just too good. But after that, we will have to wait two weeks for a new episode. Okay? Okay. And don't forget, you can connect with Monica to see if her coaching is right for you with a free 45 minute clarity call.

[32:25] The link for that is in the show notes. And I guess that means that this is half a burrito for now. Do you got something to say about this week's episode? DM me on Instagram at Paulette Erato. And if you'd like to be a guest on La Vida Más Chévere, check out the guest form on my website at pauletteerato. com, all of these links are in the show notes.

[32:47] While you're at it, can I ask you a favor? I'd really appreciate your helping spread awareness about the podcast, so could you please share it on your socials or even send it to a friend? New episodes come out every other Tuesday. You can enjoy them with tacos or burritos. Muchísimas gracias for your support, y hasta la próxima vez, cuídate bien.

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