January 6, 2018

The Balancing Act: The year of determination and defiance

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Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the busy life of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores in the serial “A Mother’s Journey,” as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s a full-fledged entrepreneur and acknowledged leader in the startup community. As Giselle has evolved, so has her story. Welcome to the second installment of “The Balancing Act.”

Giselle Rivera-Flores

In 2018, let the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Big Magic,” ring in the new year: “You are not required to save the world with your creativity.”

Too often, we – creatives, entrepreneurs, writers, innovators, etc. – tend to look at the world and act as the solution for all problems. We look to the market to fill the voids, we look to other entrepreneurs to help us on our journey and, in turn, we loosely lose our passions that started us on this adventure.

We all have a talent and helping others should never be the sole purpose of this talent  – unless helping others is a genuine passion — because, as Gilbert states, “we will feel the weight of your heavy intention, and it will put a strain upon our souls.” Working for the contentment of others is an endless task – one that may never offer closure. So, work with the intention of filling your individual passions. It sounds selfish, but it truly is the opposite.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The right partnerships can get you ahead, or scroll down to explore more of her story.

With the first week of 2018 coming to an end, take a moment to think about your personal hungers. Forget about what the market needs. Forget about the bottom line. Forget about your audience. Let your creativity guide you to your next venture and let the passion of your work inspire others. Let the authenticity of your work spark creativity in a line of people looking for their own voice.

We must broaden our minds this year and be the spark that ignites change but first, we must take ourselves seriously. Let this year be the year that you stop waiting. Stop waiting to finish school. Stop waiting for someone to sign off on your dreams. And most of all, stop waiting for the perfect moment – FYI, it doesn’t exist. Take this year to stand up tall, with both feet planted on the ground with determination and defiance.

Growing up, my mother never showed signs of concern about who I would be in my adult life. She never scolded me when I quit my jobs with a week’s notice and no other job lined up, and she never frowned at me when I walked away from ideas when they no longer filled my passions. From that, I grew to trust myself and my abilities. I am not one to dwell on the thoughts of others or to take into consideration what others may say about me when I am not in the room. Again, maybe that sounds selfish, but it’s not. It’s the opposite.

If I weighed down my life based on the half-assed opinions and assumptions of others, I would have lost my bravery to be me a long time ago. I have always known I wanted to write and lead others. It is something that has been awakened deep down inside me since I was young. I always led class projects, my group of friends, and led my group of employees when it came time to enter the real-world workforce.

Without advanced writing degrees and MBAs, I managed to create a life doing exactly what I love. With every fiber in my body, I knew that I would eventually end up here. I was never sure about the timing, but I was certain about the path.

In the new year, I ask everyone – no matter your lifestyle – to stop asking permission to pursue what motivates you to get out of bed every morning. Gilbert writes: “You do not need anyone’s permission to live a creative life,” and she isn’t wrong. I am proof of that.

More recent entries from Giselle:

While I may not have the bank account of some of my favorite entrepreneurs and writers – who continue to make a difference in the world — I do have a piece of the pie with unlimited potential to expand and that is far more valuable than a few extra commas in the bank. On my last day in the corporate world – almost three years ago – I had no plans. I didn’t know where I was headed but there was a calming feeling that assured me that I would be OK. And I want others to feel that same sense of tranquility – even just for a moment.

Last year was a year of growth, acknowledgment and vision for me. It was the year that allowed me to plant my feet on the ground firmly, but 2018 will be the year of determination and defiance. It will be the year that I cut ties with people and things that hold back my abilities, and I strongly encourage others to do the same.

In 2018, let’s all make a collective agreement to outshine those around us who pull us away from our future and let’s move forward with a full focus on our individual passions. Let’s thrive in the creative life and unintentionally inspire others.

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