*Are you happy at the moment?
I’m very happy, like jumping around with a smile. This is both a result and an initiative, as I’ve committed to enjoy my life, in spite of the circumstance, weather, and even my own emotions.
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
You’ll later realize that your uniqueness is your most valuable asset, so stop trying to be like everybody else.
I know you feel like a strange in your own culture, but once you’ll have the chance to experience other cultures, you’ll see how interesting the world could be for people like you.
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
2015 was my visibility year, and the first thing I learned was that when you commit to improve an area of your business or life, you end up getting results, even if at first it could feel so awkward.
At the beginning of the year, I realized I was hiding behind my brand and my online programs, and decided to look for opportunities to get myself out there, which used to be very uncomfortable for me.
After all these months, I look back and realize I’ve been on radio, TV, and printed media, in more than one country, and recently quoted as an expert at BBC.com. I know I could have created more opportunities for visibility, but I forgive myself for the missed points, and celebrate the wins.
Another goal was to organize live events when I travel, and I’m very happy I’ve learned to do that in a small scale, overcoming all kinds of difficulties, but with good results, as I’ve gotten new clients in all of the cities where I’ve presented.
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I’m looking forward to expand my network in the English speaking world, as it gives me the opportunity to work with people from different cultures around the world, and keep learning about the cultural aspect of money, which is the passion behind the Money and Business coaching programs I provide.
I’m also trying to find out a good way to simplify my Social Media and Online Marketing strategies, so that I keep reaching the Hispanic community while connecting with English speaking audiences around the world, hopefully using only one account for each platform.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
Choosing the joy of the Lord. I’ve fought so much with God in the past, trying to prove myself right, getting myself into trouble so that I could rescue myself and prove I was powerful, that being at peace with him brings such peace and joy to my life.
11 years ago, I became a single mother while being a foreign student in Japan, facing prejudice, shame, and a pre-existent health condition that threatened my baby. The hardest part of it was that I never dreamed on becoming a mom, and I had zero experience holding babies.
However, this adversity turned out for good, when I learned I wasn’t dependent on my emotions or my skills, but that I could intentionally commit to love, learn and enjoy being a mom.
Happiness has became increasingly easier from the day I decided to stop trying to find my own way to happiness (I never got good at it), but rather to rely on the joy of being loved by God.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Definitely prayer. I can’t get my day started without it, and what initially was something I did when I needed an answer, ended up becoming a passion for a meaningful connection.
Reading the Bible is the perfect complement for prayer, as it keeps them anchored to what is valuable for me.
Finally, it’s very important to find ways to bring the spiritual things to the earth, looking for opportunities to apply what I learn in my prayer and Bible study time. So I keep a journal with notes about spiritual perspectives about real life issues, that are usually concluded with concrete actionable steps.
You would be amazed on the things that I end up studying, and one example is the English learning program for my son, which finally found its place when I journaled about it.
*What’s your biggest regret?
I regret that I never took marriage seriously, and just realized I’d like to get married when I was already 36! Then I found out that it would’ve been easier if I had come up with the idea some years earlier.
However, I actually find it makes sense, because even if these last years I’ve improved so much as a person, I’m still a very difficult one. So this delay have probably saved someone from at least a couple of headaches.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
Focus daily on improving your relationship with God, your relationships with people, and your relationship with money…and go play all day long!
I really believe that our kids are pressured with so many expectations, that the most important things in life have been forgotten, so instead of demanding my son to improve his reading or his Math, I focus on encouraging him to daily improve in what I consider will have an impact every day of his life, in whatever he decides to do.
It seems to be working, as he has a lot of initiative to pursue his own homeschooling projects, and is committed to his passion for the flute, that he plays since he was 4.
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
Impatience (!!), if that counts as a habit. I like things to happen now, and I could get other people stressed out when trying to make them work according to my schedule.
I’ve made huge progresses thanks to past experiences, but I still would like things to happen today instead of tomorrow. The thing with patience is that it takes time to acquire it, and I want to get it overnight!
One of the reasons I love so much to pray is because it usually shortens the waiting time and, ultimately, reminds me that God’s schedule is more effective than mine.
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I’ve realized I have the gift of being comfortable in environments where I’m different or foreigner, or as I say: “I belong where I don’t belong”.
I appreciate this ability that has opened doors for working with people from around the world, learning about cultures, and made language learning a fun experience for me.
On an internal level, realizing that I’ll always be the “different one”, has allowed me to forgive myself from my past mistakes and openly talk about them, free from the pressure of trying to fit other people’s expectations.
At the end of the day, I end up being more accepted because of my uniqueness, than I was before when I tried to belong to the crowd.
*When were you happiest?
Now! I don’t long for any old times, because even if I’ve had great experiences traveling, meeting people and adventuring around, I really feel the older I get, the best I become at enjoying my life, in the big and small experiences.
*What ten words best describe you?
Smile, joyful, committed, unique, optimistic, playful, faithful, curious, decisive, bold
As a Money Relationship Expert, Hispanic outreach specialist and cross-cultural business owner, Monica Salazar uses Results-Oriented Money and Business Coaching to help consultants and business owners to have crystal clear money talks with their partners, clients and suppliers from any cultural backgrounds, so they can accelerate their profits in an increasingly global market.