My journey began on the beautiful island of Cuba, where my parents were born. After the communist regime took over, my family faced the stark reality that their beloved island could no longer provide the safety and opportunities they sought for their families. 

Because of this, they made the courageous decision to embark on a new journey to the United States, hoping to reunite with La Isla soon. 

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Years later, I was born on a bright and sunny afternoon in the bustling township of North Bergen, New Jersey. 

As the first in my family to pursue higher education, I slowly embarked on a journey fueled by ambition and the promise of a brighter future. 

With each step, I forged ahead, navigating the complexities of academia to obtain a Master of Social Work degree and ultimately become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Once I finally made it, I thought, “Now what?” 

Despite achieving milestones that once seemed unattainable, I grappled with a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment. Like many first-generation Latinas, pursuing happiness seemed elusive, especially while managing imposter syndrome. 

Eventually, I embarked on a new journey of self-discovery and realized I had to do a lot of inner work. 

I decided to take a leap of faith and learn to believe in myself

This led me to start a business called The First Gen Madrina while I worked my traditional 9-to-5 job. My business’s mission is to empower and educate the first-generation community, especially the Latina community, to leave those limiting beliefs behind and start living the life of their dreams. 

Ultimately, I realized that the 9-to-5 world was holding me back from all that I was truly capable of. So, last year, I left my comfort zone, bid farewell to my home state, and ditched the 9-to-5 grind to chase my passion. 

Below are the five tips I share with my clients on how to start believing in yourself to live the life of your dreams!

Tune out the external noise

This might be easier said than done, but it will truly be life-changing. I started believing in myself when I tuned out others’ opinions. In Latino culture, it is normal to hear sayings such as “¿Qué va a decir la gente?” 

Once I stopped paying attention to external opinions, I looked within myself for the answers. That is when I started to believe and trust in myself.

Celebrate the wins

We are constantly focusing on the negatives and never on the positives. We need to start celebrating the wins, even the ones that may feel very small! 

Get creative, and don’t feel like you have to spend money to do this. Visit a close family member or friend, give yourself extra breaks, or even indulge in your favorite treat. This will eventually become a motivator to keep going.

Embrace change

You cannot grow in comfort. That is my new motto. 

For the longest time, this was my biggest challenge. I didn’t like change and was comfortable with my routine. It wasn’t until I was no longer comfortable that I began implementing changes. Take baby steps and try to do something new that will take you out of your comfort zone.

Love yourself

This may seem self-explanatory, but it is difficult for most of us to do. 

Society and the media constantly send us negative messages that can contribute to a lack of self-love. Start your day with affirmations and positive self-talk. 

Notice when imposter syndrome creeps up and shut it down. Be kind to yourself, as it can be highly detrimental to your mental health. Believing in yourself starts with learning how to love yourself.

Put in the work

Work on those limiting beliefs and know where they come from. Most of the time, someone else has put them in place. 

Maybe therapy is not for you, and that is totally okay. There are many ways to self-reflect and make the necessary changes for growth. These could be meditation, being in nature, or hanging out with supportive family and friends who will push you to believe in yourself. 

Keep in mind that entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It is hard work 

This is not meant to persuade you to become an entrepreneur but rather to help you redefine what happiness means on your terms. It is about finally learning to believe in yourself and trust that you have the answers. 

These five tips can help you take different leaps, such as pursuing a different job/career, learning to set boundaries with friends and family, or even chasing the dreams you have put aside. The Latine community has so much innate resilience that we must learn how to tap into it. 

I will leave you with this: I was able to accomplish so much once I began to chase happiness and believe in myself

I am now flexible in time and location. I moved to Florida from New Jersey to be closer to my Abuelita, and I have the flexibility to come back home every three to four months.

I can now show up for family on my own terms. I attend doctor’s appointments with my grandma without having to take PTO. Lastly, I can choose how much I charge for my services rather than having someone else dictate the salary I deserve. 

There is so much more to this, but I hope it provides the stepping stone to realize that you can live the limitless life of your dreams. 

Remember that you will always have a Madrina in your corner!