Do you want to be successful? What does success look like to you? How badly do you want success?
In This Podcast
In this podcast episode, Veronica shares her story into understanding success and how she had to lean into her fear.
My journey to understanding success
Growing up I always wanted more, I just never knew what exactly more was. I knew something was missing and I felt a hole but I just didn’t know how I could get it. I grew up in a household where my dad was struggling with addiction and my mother did everything in her power to mask it. That meant sending us to pageants and more.
I remember being so excited to attend UCSD for the summers. I was in a program that allowed underprivileged youth to attend college. I knew this was one of my ways out, but how?
I didn’t want anyone else to take it away from me and I wanted it so badly.
I received this exact same feeling when I was accepted into grad school. Then again, when I received my first internship at Loma Linda BMC. Graduating was something that blew my mind!
Then I moved on to working in the field and establishing my own practice. There were so many people coming in and out of my life and I started to pay attention to how they impacted me.
Although I was moving forward, there was one thing that continued to follow me! FEAR.
I had a distorted thought that I needed someone else to guide me and help me move forward because I can’t do this myself. I didn’t think I was worth it. Then I started leaning into my fear and guess what? I started to move forward because I started to believe.
What was my mindset when I did succeed? It was that I didn’t want anyone else to take it away from me and I wanted it so badly.
How to lean into fear to gear up for success
Step 1: Learn from others
Take only the lessons you know will suit you and flush everything else.
Step 2: Get super clear on what you want and what makes you happy
Ask yourself the questions that lean into what will allow you to live your best life.
Step 3: What’s standing in your way?
I had to let go of the fear and let go of what I was taught as a kid. That meant leaning into fear and embracing it.
Step 4: Why are the emotions overwhelming?
Because you’re not used to feeling them, you usually brush them under the rug and pretend they are not there. Write down all of these emotions you feel when you go through an emotion list.
Step 5: How bad do you want it?
Lean into it. Is it okay if the person next to you takes it from you? You better fight for it because no one is going to give it to you.
What is your intent for today? Write it down. Until next time, keep pushing forward.
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Meet Veronica Cisneros
I’m a licensed therapist and women walk into my office every day stressed and disconnected. As a mom of three daughters, I want my girls to know who they are and feel confident about their future. I can’t think of a better way to help other women than by demonstrating an empowered and unapologetic life.
So I started Empowered and Unapologetic to be a safe space for women to be vulnerable and change their lives for the better before she ever needs to see a therapist.
Thanks for listening!
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Empowered and Unapologetic is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Beta Male Revolution, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
[VERONICA]: Empowered and Unapologetic is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network, a family of podcasts that change the world. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Imperfect Thriving, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
I get it. Being a mom is hard, especially when you are feeling stressed and disconnected. We exhaust ourselves trying to create the perfect life for our family. You deserve to enjoy your family without the stress perfectionism brings. On this podcast, I teach you how to identify who you are outside of all of the roles you play. If you are ready to be challenged, then girl, pull up a chair, grab a pen and paper because it’s about to go down.
Hey, I’m Veronica Cisneros, a licensed marriage and family therapist on a mission to create a community of bad ass women who want to learn how to become empowered and unapologetic. Welcome to our girl games.
Growing up, I always wanted more. I just never knew exactly where more was. Like where would I find it? And I knew it wasn’t something that I could, you know, totally pick up from the grocery store or target. Like I knew that much. However, I knew something was missing in my life and I wanted it so badly. Everybody else had it. Why couldn’t I? And I just felt this hole, and it might be because, you know, growing up, my dad was struggling with addiction, like really hardcore addiction. It was pretty severe. And my mom did everything she could to mask it. Everything. She put us in baton, she put us in modeling and pageants and acting. I mean, so much so we would be up in LA. I grew up in Oceanside and we’d be in LA at least two or three times a week on auditions and we would drive over there.
And it was a long drive. Sometimes it took us four hours to get to an audition. I mean, it was just crazy. And my mom did that for us and it was at one of the auditions that I realized, “Okay, well maybe this can be your way out. Maybe it was through acting, maybe it was through landing on commercial.” I mean, what did I know? I was only like eight or nine years old, probably older, maybe 10 but I just remember being so confused and at the same time I was also trying to piece things together. And so there we were at this audition and we were auditioning for a minivan commercial and you know, they put us in this room and you’re with people that you’re competing against. My sister was with me. And they give you your lines, you rehearse them while you’re waiting.
And I remember they said, “Okay, action.” And so, it was my chance and I literally went completely silent. And it was like just for a brief second that I was quiet, because right away I immediately thought to myself, “Okay, well if this is your way out, well the kid behind me is not going to take it. The kid behind me is not taking my golden ticket. So, I’m going to perform.” And I was supposed to pretend like I was this pirate. And so here I am ready to go and the first thing that comes out of my mouth is Aah, and I like tried so hard not to burst into laughter and I just said it to myself like, “Keep it cool, keep it cool. Read your damn lines.” Remember I’m just saying, not read them because I had already memorized them, but I was like, “Just go, just go.”
And I remember just pushing it and like the words were coming out of my mouth and I just like all of those feelings of doubt and insecurity, like all of those I had to let go of because in this moment I was going to get my golden ticket like no matter what. No was not an option. Fear was not an option. And so totally nailed it, so did my sister. We ended up getting a call back and then we received a call from our agent saying, “You guys got the job.” And this feeling of success, this feeling of accomplishment, like all of this was just amazing. And I remember just screaming and it was just so exciting. And then shortly after we were kind of brought into reality because you know when I say we were poor, I mean we were poor.
We had this mason jar and it was up on top of our cabinets and, our kitchen cabinets and there was a mason jar full of Pinto beans and there was all kinds of knickknacks. My mom had decorated the house, like this country-ish stylish, Indian fusion kind of sort of mixed deal. And so, I remember there was one point where we were staring at those beans because then we had to eat them, there was nothing else to eat. And that was my reality. That was my reality. We were poor and not a lot of opportunities were given to us. And although my mom did everything, she could to make those opportunities happen, and so did my dad. You know, my dad busted his butt. My dad was a barber and he busted his butt every single day to go ahead and provide us with money. And I remember, okay, so I got a little glimpse of just the success in this way out.
However, I’m also sitting here eating Pinto beans and it’s not a lot. And so, it’s like, “Okay, this is my reality.” So, we ended up filming this commercial and we ended up filming it in Malibu, California. And it’s absolutely beautiful there. And I remember just being surrounded by what I thought was success, what I thought was living and we were given this trailer and it was full of snacks. Everything a kid it could want. It was full of snacks and food and back home we didn’t have that. And so, I didn’t want to leave. And I remember being in this neighborhood where there was just so much beauty and we didn’t live in this broken-down home. However, we were renting the house, you know, and we moved often and it was like, I’m looking at this neighborhood thinking “Wow, maybe one day this could be me.”
Well, in high school I got a second opportunity. I ended up being asked to go ahead and participate in this Upper Bound Program. For those of you that don’t know what Upper Bound is, it’s this program for underprivileged youth and it gives us the college experience. And I remember living there during the summers. We got to go ahead and live in the dorms and it was absolutely amazing. And you know, we had, we got to walk the college campus, you know, we were attending classes, the whole thing. We were eating, sleeping there, you name it. And I wanted more of it. I wanted more of that. And so, with that UCSD program, I realized, okay, well this is another stepping stool to get me to where I want to be. And I totally immersed myself in it.
Same thing with high school. You know, I knew that my only way out was going to be through education. And so just continued walking that path. And when I met my husband, I was 19 years old and I remember driving and we were driving in this affluent neighborhood and I told him, “This will be us.” And I believe we were engaged at the time. And he just looked at me and I said, “No, I’m serious. There’s something more, there’s something so much more. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what the path, I don’t even know how to get on the path. However, it’s something I’ve always felt in my heart that there would be something more.” And we just laughed about it and ended up attending college, getting my bachelor’s degree, which I then pursued later on.
There was a big break. We’re a military family, so we moved, but there was quite a big break. I later on pursued my masters. So, I went to grad school and it was during that interview, during that application process, it was in that interview that once again, I had that same feeling, nobody’s going to take this away. I need this, I want this. And so, I ended up nailing the interview and cried. And did that clap [clapping] did that clap. You know, that clap? I don’t know if you guys watched the movie Pursuit of Happiness, but, with Will Smith. I just, that feeling he got when he walked out of the office learning that he was just given this job. And so that was a feeling that ran through all of my body. And it was like, okay, I’m on the path. And then it was time for internships and you have to interview with a whole bunch of people.
And in addition to that, you have to get to those places really quickly because if not, somebody will do it and they only accept a certain handful. And so, I remember contacting Loma Linda and, Loma Linda is a hospital here and I wanted this so badly. So, I ended up getting an interview and found out after the interview, I found out that my school wasn’t contracted with Loma Linda and so therefore this dream wouldn’t happen. And I found this out after everybody else received all of their spots. And there was [inaudible 00:11:12] from there. And so, I thought, “Hell no, this isn’t taken away. This isn’t going to be taken away from me.” And so, I ended up calling their director who had interviewed me and I let her know what was going on and I was asking her to go ahead and get attorneys involved.
And mind you, I’m just an intern and there’s no way this big organization is going to go ahead and involve attorneys to go out and help me. Well, I must have really nailed that interview because sure enough, I did my internship there and I was there for quite some time. I ended up getting hired on too. So, I believe I completed about five years of being at that facility. And so, I knew then that, okay, not only was I on my path, but now I was walking it. Then I ended up pursuing my own private practice. And that was scary because who would want to come and see me to get, you know, life skills from, who would want that from me? And I realized when I was working with my clients and my patients at the hospital, all people really want is to be heard and understood.
They don’t want to be fixed and they also want more. And so, I knew that early on as a kid, why couldn’t I apply that in my private practice? Why couldn’t I apply that in life? And although I was moving forward, there was one thing that continued to follow me. Fear. I had this distorted thought. A distorted thought is a false thought, it’s what we make ourselves believe. It’s this negative mindset that we make ourselves believe that it’s a fact. You know, I made myself believe that I wasn’t worth it. I made myself believe that there was no possible way that this girl can ever own or pursue a private practice. And in addition to that, I made myself believe that someone else has to guide me. Someone else has to teach me, and somebody else has to give me permission to move forward because there’s no way I can do this on my own.
And so, to be honest, I hung onto that position at the hospital, because there was no way I could possibly know what the hell I was doing and if I left the hospital that my business would fall. And so that’s kind of how I pursued life. You know, I believed that I wasn’t enough. I believed that I wasn’t worthy. I believe that I couldn’t do it and somebody was going to be better than me. And if I’m being completely honest, I didn’t think I was worth it. I didn’t think I was worth it. And so, I hid behind everybody. I hid behind everybody because they knew better, because they had better skills, because they had to guide me, they had to teach me. And I didn’t realize that this entire time I was leaning into my fears. I was leaning into them so much that I even leaped without looking.
And just this amazing thing happened. I actually was starting to succeed. I was starting to move forward. I was starting to knock things out of the park because I started to believe and I was getting so many referrals. I had a full caseload. And that was one thing that I was told over and over; is you actually hear me. You can actually understand me and you’re not trying to fix me. That’s what most of us need. And so, moms, you know, I’m sharing this with you because I believe in so many ways, we get stuck and we let fear consume us so much so that that prevents us from accomplishing any of our goals. And it also keeps us stagnant. And so, I realize now that this was all learned behavior. I was just repeating what was modeled for me.
So, although it wasn’t necessarily my fault for being all jacked up in the head, it would be my fault if I didn’t do anything about it. Then it would be my fault. And so, I started reflecting back on, well, what the hell did I do and how did I do this? How did I go ahead and land that commercial? How did I go ahead and land that internship? What was my mindset? Well, for one, I didn’t want anybody to take it away from me because failure wasn’t an option. However, I realized it was through failure that I was able to grow and because I had failed with other ventures, I got to learn from them. And that feeling of wanting to fight for it came from all of that blood, sweat, and tears. You know, when I was in grad school, my husband was deployed. He was in Afghanistan. He didn’t even make it to my graduation.
And I would have crazy days because I’m at an internship, I’m a mother and I’m a single mother at that because my husband’s overseas. And I would stay up, you know, I would tuck in the kids at bed, do the whole mom duties, go to bed at 11 and then I would have to wake up at three o’clock in the morning. So, I only got a few hours of sleep. That was my routine every single day until I graduated because I wanted it so badly and nobody was going to take it away from me. And I’m going to tell you, what I made sure to graduate with nothing less than an A. Here’s how I did it.
Step one, I learned from others. You know, there’s so many people that come into our lives, so many people that come in and out of our lives, and I just started taking in the things that would suit me. And everything else I just flushed away. However, the things that I really needed, you know, the way they conducted themselves, the way they behave, the way they spoke, what they taught, I really just sat back and just listened. And I was this observer and I just paid attention. You know, as a kid, I just watched all of these people come in and out of my lives and my mom, my mom was a hard worker. And so, I knew I wanted her work ethic and so was my dad, and there was this level of resilience that they both had. And so, I took that. And then in addition to that, I was so proud of my uncle.
My uncle, he just retired. He was a police officer and I took that because there was a sense of pride in the work that he did. So, I grabbed that and with my professors, although they were professors, they took time out of their lives to go ahead and sit with me and teach me and educate me and share even some of their life. And that really impacted me. So, I saw all of these people as angels. Isn’t that crazy? I gave them the title of angels and they were angels because of how they impacted my life. They were angels because of how they moved me. And I knew those individuals, I would learn a lot from. And so again, I literally took everything and I just made mental notes. “Okay, you know, this is what success looks like. This is what success can feel like. Learn from their mistakes, learn from their accomplishments.” And so, I took all of those little bits and pieces in.
Second step, I got super clear on what I wanted my life to look like by identifying what makes me happy. And I started to discover that it was connection. Connection meant more to me than anything else. Like really truly connecting with people, everyone. And so that’s what I started doing. And by connecting, well that meant I had to humble myself and I had to put myself in really uncomfortable situations. However, I also wanted it. And so, I just started listing out and just making mental notes of like, “Well, what makes me happy and what is the life I want to live?” And again, you got to get super clear with this. I mean down to what you want your life to look like, and write that down.
Step number three, I had to identify what was standing in my way and it was clear as day. It was me. I was standing in my way and in so many different scenarios, I do stand in my way and if I could just get out of my own way, then I could pursue all of my dreams. I can meet all of my goals. However, I had to let go of the fear. I had to let go of all that I was taught as a kid. As a kid, I was taught, there was no way out. That’s what I learned from my mom. That’s what I learned from my dad, that this is it. And although they would tell me, ”You know, you could do anything, you could do anything.” Why weren’t they doing it? And so, I really had to go ahead and lean in at all costs. And by leaning in, I had to lean into that fear. I had to embrace it. And I’m going to talk a lot about feelings because our feelings and our fear of being vulnerable traps us. You’ll hear me saying this over and over.
Speaking of which step four, why are the emotions overwhelming? Well, because you’re not used to filling them. You usually brush them under the rug and pretend like they’re not there and you isolate and withdraw and you just put your head down and you don’t do anything about them, right? Well, these feelings, like I mentioned, you got to embrace. And so, I encourage you right now to write down all of these emotions. The minute I say success, what emotions come up for you? The minute I say love, what emotions come up for you? The minute I say power, what emotions come up for you? The minute I say wait for it, failure. What emotions come up for you? Be clear. Write this down. What emotions come up for you? Resentment, envy, curiosity. Like what, I want you to list them all down.
And for some of you this might be hard because we weren’t taught how to embrace emotion, right? So, guess what I’m going to ask you to do. Go on Google and ask, all you have to do is type in emotion list and I want you to look at that. I want you to look at that list and I want you to become very, very familiar of all of the emotions listed on there because you’re feeling them. You just haven’t given yourself permission to truly experience them. So that’s what you’re going to do.
Step five, how bad do you want it? How bad do you want that golden ticket? Is it okay if the person behind you steal that from you? Is it okay if that person next to you takes it from you? And if the answer is no, then you better fight for it. You better bite your ass for it because nobody is going to give it to you. No one is going to give it to you, I promise you right now. And if they give it to you, they’ll give it to you just so you can hold it for quick seconds, just so you can see how shiny it is and then they’ll rip it back from you. So, ladies lean in and like I’ve told you before, I’m on this journey with you. We’re going to do it together and I’m going to teach you, I’m going to teach you and I’m not going to lie. There’s times where I’m so scared. I still experience hell with this podcast. Even me doing this right now, I did jumping jobs and pushups because I was so nervous and I’m doing it because I know I needed it and so if I needed it, I know there are several other women who also need this as well. All right ladies, peace out.
What’s up, ladies? Just want to let you guys know that your ratings and reviews for this podcast are greatly appreciated. If you love this podcast, please go to iTunes right now and rate and review. Thank you, guys.
Many women lose their own identity in the shadow of being a mom and a wife. We are a community of women who support each other. We leave perfectionism behind to become empowered and unapologetic. I know you’re ready for the next steps. If you want to become empowered and unapologetic, get my free course on Unapologetic Me over at empoweredandunapologetic.com/course.
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