Leading with My Heart by Victoria Lara
— TEDxMtHood is honored to introduce Victoria Lara as one of our 2016 speakers. —
We all have a purpose. Every action we take, every dream we have – even those we aren’t even aware of are prompted by something inside of us that makes us go and reach the summit, whatever the summit might mean to us. There is something inside of us, something that gives us what we need in our daily journey, something that nourishes us and fuels us, something that helps us get up to face each morning, regardless of what life throws at us. We all have within ourselves an endless source of motivation, inspiration, and wisdom that will not only make our lives better and prosperous, but more delightful.
How we can discover that source, use it and share it with others? I believe there are three basic principles: falling in love with yourself (knowing yourself); living intensely (letting go of fear); and getting in community mode (finding pleasure in being uncomfortable). My life has been a wonderful and difficult experience. I was the first in my family to immigrate to USA; my three brothers followed me. I discovered my dreams were bigger than my fears.
To help my family back home, I wanted to learn; learn not only the language, but everything about this new “world.” I wanted to understand what people were saying to me but I couldn’t. So I tried to listen, not only with my ears, but with my eyes and my heart. I came to understand not only the meaning of the words, but to see the intentions behind those words by paying close attention to gestures and expressions. That way I was able to receive the whole message. These experiences taught me the value of communication.
With my dreams and my desire to get to my summit, I started this beautiful, difficult, sometimes painful, but always amazing, journey called the American Dream. I got to discover new dreams through the challenges I experienced. I knew my life had a purpose, I believed in myself, and I knew others depended of me. I wasn’t afraid of working harder or getting into uncomfortable experiences and conversations. I realize now that is the only way to learn.
On this journey I got to see how my experiences impacted and helped others. People started asking for my help and even if I didn’t have a clue how to help them, I couldn’t say no. I knew helping them was a part of my purpose.
I founded Lara Media in 1999, dedicated to the pursuit of growth and cultural engagement for the Latino community. Through my experiences as a business owner I have learned the hardships of being a Latina and an immigrant. I have to keep proving myself over and over again, but nothing will stop me. I have a purpose and I am passionate about empowering others by connecting communities, people, and resources which will continue to build a better society for all.
I got married and had a wonderful son, Israel (now 10 years old). Two years later I had a daughter, Victoria, who was born with Down’s syndrome and congenital heart defects. She was a warrior and fought hard, but after a year, she passed away. She brought so much to my life. Afterwards, I miscarried twice; and that, combined with the grief of losing our daughter, caused our marriage to end.
These tough times and uncomfortable and painful experiences, enabled me to grow and discover my personal path. They helped me know myself better. I can boldly say, “I am perfectly imperfect!” Success comes when we discover our purpose, tap into our inner force and connect with others in a meaningful way. I know there is a better way to our summit – an easier, more delightful and prosperous way. It can be done. And should be done. For the summit is ever before us.