In this episode, Mariana talks about her journey as she came to the United States.
3:37 - An unexpected twist, when a bigger company bought out the company she was working for.
5:00 - When ego took over and how she handled it.
7:34 - How she got to the United States not knowing English, no job, and not a lot of money.
9:00 - Taking on one of the biggest challenges of her life - her big move.
11:18 - How she learned the English language.
"It was not easy. And of course, when you don't speak the language, you know people make fun and all that type of stuff."
17:31 - How she became a successful personal wellness trainer and certified in yoga and Pilates.
20:00 - Her move back to Georgia landed her a challenging job that led her program to be the number one in the country.
"...Adding value to people and I was doing it not only as a passion, but I believe it's a calling."
24:41 - On becoming the Regional Director of the program. How Mariana prepared herself for the next opportunity, even if she didn't know what it was.
27:32 - Her decision to listen to her calling to be on her own, she resigned from her job of 12 years.
30:11 - On starting her very own podcast.
"Adding value to people is the core of who I am. It doesn't matter what people say, it doesn't matter what people think of me. Because why they think of me, is who they are. It's not who I am."
This is the last of the 3-part introductory episodes that are all about Mariana's journey. Stay tuned for a new topic on Episode 4! Don't forget to subscribe!
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Hey guys, welcome back to Mindfully Recharged With Mariana Thomas. Yep, that's me. I am super excited about this episode, Episode Three. For the last two episodes, my friend Steve, has been introducing me to you, the audience, those of you who have taken the time to listen. I know you have because I know the downloads and the visits to the podcast. I am so grateful to you. And to all the future listeners to the show.
I have so much gratitude in my heart that I think I need a bigger heart to fill it up with all the gratitude that I had up to this point. And that I know I'm going to have later. I am super excited for this episode, it’s our last interview. And after this, ah, we go on with more topics. with more amazing people. And yes, don't be surprised if my friend Steve returns! I have enjoyed my time with him. And so stay tuned for that. Just to let you know also, the episodes are going to be coming on Thursday. So I had decided to drop the episodes every Thursday. So stay tuned for that. And without further ado, let's go to Episode Three.
Intro Speaker 1:54
Welcome to mindfully recharged with Mariana Thomas. In this podcast. Mariana brings you mindful conversations and people that will develop and recharge you from the inside out so that you can increase productivity in your personal and professional life. This is mindfully recharged.
Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us on the Mindfully Recharged podcast with Marianna Thomas. I'm your host, Steve Simpson for this third installment of the podcast. And I'm joined by the lovely Mariana Thomas and Mariana welcome to your third episode. We're on number three already.
I know my friend. We are here again, Episode Number three, I am super excited to be here with you guys and my very good friend, Steve. And let's do this!
With that, we'll just dive right in. And last time, when we were talking, we left off where you had been at this financial services company for about four years or so. And you'd implemented these three programs with fitness celebrations, and then just kind of a fun day for the families of the employees to get together once a week playing soccer and those type of things. So tell us a little bit - you've left a great legacy, obviously, that company because those things are still in place. But tell us a little bit about your transition from there, and then you're going to tell us a little bit today about how you came to the United States and what that move was like for you and how it came to be.
Yes, I am excited to share this part of my story. Because it says another defining moment in my life, right? As it was when I lost my mother, you guys know in episode one. So the reason why I transitioned from that company and came to the United States, a company was bought by a different financial company, a bigger one.
That often happens in the financial services world.
It does, it does and it was a much bigger company than ours. So it means they have all the roles already filled, right. And my role was already in that company. Someone had that role. So my boss came to me and say we are not going to let you go. But you are going to work under this person. And so I don't know if you know, but when you're young, your ego is pretty high.
So but my ego was on the top of the ceiling.
Especially after being in charge for four years, right?
I was hanging out with presidents of companies, our vice presidents, I was invited to different events every single week, I was literally in the “top of my game”, as someone in the corporate world will say. So when my boss called me into his office and say, “Hey, we are going to sell the company, and you are going to work under this person. So your role would be a lower role.” That just struck me. I was, you know, young, and my ego was high. And I was like, “Oh, no, I can't do that.” I mean, it was something that I didn’t even imagine in my young mind that was possible to do for me. Because of my ego.
Ego has probably led many people astray in their 20s, I'm sure. I know it did me a few times.
You know, it's sad. But things always happen for a reason. So I told myself, there is no way that you are going to do that. So let's have another plan. Let's create a plan. So I had a visa for the United States, because all the stakeholders in the company had a visa, including myself. And I have not used it. And I have one friend here in the United States. And I called her, she actually worked with me in this company. But she had already moved and was living here. And I said this is what's going on. And I didn't know where she said “Why didn't you just come and visit? Come and visit, see if you'd like it here?” And so I said, “Are you serious?” It was never in my intention, you know, to leave Colombia to just go somewhere, out, you know, travel but not, like, let's go visit the United States. I wish I knew in my heart deep down that visit, could it be like I'm gonna say there?
Have you been to the states at that point? Or was this your first time?
That was my first time and I didn't speak English. I didn't know any English. So my friends say “come and visit us they feel like it, if not you just go home, you just go back”. Because you know, the legal part and all that stuff, you can just say anyways. So I said perfect, I will do that. So I sold all my belongings, my place and my clothes and all this stuff that I have because it was just too much to bring. So my car, you know, sold everything. And I came here and live with her for a while. And I decided that
Where the US was this was here in Atlanta?
Georgia, believe it or not, it was here in Georgia, and I stay here and me being the person who likes challenges, right? I took on the challenge of coming here with no English. And, of course, that was the highest shot that I ever took. And the money was not the same translation. You know, that was in Colombia than it was coming here. Obviously, the dollar was more than whatever money I had in my pocket. So now I here I am with no English, not a lot of money, and living with my friend. After been in this amazing role with a secretary and the people that were working with me, they do things for me. I even have my own designer in Colombia, making my clothes. And here I was with no job, no language, no money. And so that was the biggest challenge in my life. But it was the best challenge because it was to start over again and to apply all those things that I have learned to be successful. So I knew that I was not going to stay right where I was. I was like, “I’m made for more than this”.
Yeah. So what did you do during the day? Like, like the first month or two that you were here? Were you just trying to learn your way around or learn some English? What kind of things did you do?
So the first thing I wanted to know the place I wanted to know the area. So I just kind of went around with my friend and she taught me how to take the bus and how to take the train, all that type of stuff. Then I realized that communication was the key to my success. Being able to communicate, was going to be the first step to success to where I wanted to go. So I enrolled myself in a school to learn English. But I also took it on my own. You know, Steve, I know you have those big headphones right now. Well, I had bigger ones. I had those huge headphones with me. Remember the cassette?
I had my cassettes, my headphones. And I had English for breakfast, English for lunch, English for dinner. And what I mean by that is that I did not take those headphones off. All-day, I was walking around with my headphones, learning English. Well, I was not either working or going to school.
So I found myself a job obviously because I need to do something. So I was just doing something to earn money. And, I started that way. That's how I learned English. One of the things that I used was, I listened to a lot of kids' shows like, Disney shows. Pretty early, I learned that the kids' show was very clear.
Because they were for kids. And I thought, Oh, this is how I need to listen. Because the other things were a little too fast. And they have contractions that I can’t hear.
And the language is less complicated, in the children's shows, they were simplified.
Yeah, they were way clear and just smooth. I don't know, it was just better for me. So that's what I did. I started listening to children's shows and started to listen to music. Literally, I made my life to learn English,
Right? That was your job at that point.
That was my job, I had nothing else to do. And, I knew that I needed to put in the time, that I needed to commit, and be responsible with that. Because otherwise, let me tell you something, I have nothing against people that cleans our home. I have so much gratitude for people who does that type of job. But that's not what I wanted to do.
I know. And I knew that I was made for more than I could do more. But in order to do that, I needed to challenge myself to learn English. I’m still learning English you guys, you can tell. So you have to put out with me. No one has died, I have not killed anyone by speaking the way I speak.
But you know what I think is key in what you just said is that you challenged yourself to do it and so many people today will not challenge themselves to do something that's hard. What you did was hard. You chose a hard thing to do.
Yes, yes. It was not easy. It was not easy. And of course, when you don't speak the language, you know people make fun and all that type of stuff. And we will get into that in a minute. But so once I started to learn the language, you know, and then I started to date. Now I could date I could do You know, understand what people were saying.
Because before you didn't even know if they were asking you out, right.
I was like, I don't know what he's saying. So I'm just gonna say No,
Exactly. Be safe. Right?
I will be safe saying no. So I got married to my first husband. And of course, I became a citizen of this country. Very proud to be a citizen, and I came to this country in a legal way. So let's make that clear. I was never illegal. So that is something that I always like to say, Steve? Because I just want to make clear.
I think that's a good distinction to make because a lot of people get those two things confused. You know, immigration is different than, you know, just coming across the border.
Absolutely. I came the legal way. I did not break any rules. Everything that I did was legal. I was here legally. And when I got married, of course, I became a citizen. So I now have double citizenship.
Now I'm in United States citizen, and I'm a Colombian citizen. Which I haven't been in my country for a long time. Now with the virus, who knows?
How many years has it been since you were in Colombia?
About eight years.
So it has been a while lots changed? Probably eight years.
Wow. So yeah, so Steve. So with that, I continued my education in fitness. So that's what I became - a yoga instructor and personal trainer.
You did have to speak English to go exercise right?
Now that I can speak, I can go meet people and get in places, right? So I got more education. And I thought, I don't want to do human resources again, I want to pursue this passion that I have for wellness and fitness.
You kind of get the HR stuff out of your system already.
I got it out of my system. But I was still in a job of adding value to people and working with them.
So I became a very successful personal trainer. Once I got married, I moved to North Carolina. And I had a great business with my personal training at home, and also people will come to my place. So it was very successful. And then I became certified in yoga. I was already practicing yoga, but then I decided to go ahead and just get certified, the real thing. So I went for a year of certification in Asheville, North Carolina. That was amazing.
That's a beautiful city.
One of my favorite places in the whole world. Asheville.
Sure you went to the Biltmore a few times.
I did. I did. I just loved that area. Beautiful. So the pilates I incorporated all that into my business. And believe it or not, I was making a living with that type of certification and really becoming well-known in that community.
Were you just kind of working at different studios then? Or did you have one spot you worked out? Or did you kind of go around and teach classes all over the city?
I was doing both. I was doing different places and I had my own place in my house. So I created a fitness - I guess you will say room at my house. So people will come to my place and I will go to people's homes in our will work in different locations too right. Yeah.
I think that's a neat part of your story is you came here and you became an entrepreneur right out of the gate almost. Many immigrants do that. So it's not an unusual story, but I think it's a key part of your story. Do what you love.
You have to work to do what you love, right?
Yes, absolutely. Then I moved back to Georgia. I moved back to Georgia and I applied for a job of…
How many years had passed since you left Georgia?
Seven. Ive been in North Carolina for seven years. Yes. So I have to say I got divorced, and I moved back to Georgia. And here I was again, I'm like, Okay, what I want to do? Always challenging myself. And so I sold this place they were building. And they had a huge phone number and said, “apply here”. I was just driving around. And I go, okay. Oh, and apply to be a yoga teacher. So I did some application, and they called me and, and they said, come to it interview. And that was a group interview. So they had a lot of people in the room. And they just went around asking questions, and
Is it your first experience with a group interview?
It was my first experience in a group interview.
Was it a little intimidating for you?
No. My background is in human resources. Remember?
So I was good. I was actually pretty good. I liked it.
Because sometimes it's easier with a group that is one on one.
Yeah, yeah. And I get to know people and you know, get to know some of them that were there. And so at that point Steve, I have studied so much in the fitness industry, and courses and trainings that I had a folder, this big of certifications. And I came with my folder, and I just had it there they didn’t ask me for it. I just had it there. They were asking questions. And I was the only person the interviewer called into his office asked her after the interview, the group interview. He said, “Come with me”. And he said, “What do you have there?” I said, “Oh, this is all my credentials.” And he said, “Let me see.” And he goes, “You know what, you will be great for our yoga and pilates department.” And I just got scared right away. I was like, “What? I just came to apply to be a yoga teacher.” Yeah. And this person, you want to give me that whole department? And I? And I said, “Sure.” What is, you know, what is in the title? You know, like, what are the roles?
Yeah, say what I'll do I have to do?
Yeah. And he's like, go read this. And he just gave me something. And I brought it home. And he said, “read it. And send me an email, and let me know what you think of the interview? And what do you think of the role?” And I came home, and I just couldn't believe what he just asked me to do. And I emailed him back and I said, you know, whatever I said, he did reply and said we want to bring you to a second interview. So I went for the second interview. And then after that, the third interview was actually an audition. And I did that. And then they offered me the job. And I took the job! And I was completely scared because I didn't know what the job was about. I just knew what the role was. But I didn't know how to do it. Once again, I was ready for the challenge. I was ready for the challenge. And I remember calling the corporate office almost every day. So “I’m doing this and what do you guys think? And so should I move with this? Should I move with that?” And I did it for a month or two. And then I just started flying. I just went flying and became the number one program in the country pretty quickly. For the entire for the, I think it was for the first two or three years. I was number one. And I was caught I was of course on top of the world again, right?
Yes. Again, you're being successful at something that you wanted to do and that you love doing.
Yes. And once again, adding value to people and I was doing it was not only a passion but I believe was a calling. You know, it's mindfulness, it’s health, it’s wellness, it’s self-development. And so I was just so excited. And within that company, I continued to grow. I decided - and listen to me What I'm saying this Steve - I decided that I was going to be the Regional Director for the program. And I started acting like I was regional. And I got the job.
I was gonna say How long did it take you to actually become the regional director of the program?
Yes, I think it was about I think it was five, six years. But during that time, the role was not created.
Right. You created the role.
I created the role. So, um, so yeah.
So once again, you were ready for that role.
I was so ready, I was acting like I was regional.
And I think in so many key moments of your story, you've mentioned that you were ready for the opportunity. And I think that's something that we all need to be mindful of, and prepare ourselves for those next opportunities, even if we don't know what they are.
Yes, it's the same way that we prepare our bodies, right. So it's all about, it's about your mind, it's about your heart, it's about your body. And I knew in my heart, that that role was mine already. And I just needed to keep continuing to prepare and go get it. And that's what I did. And so I grabbed it, and run with it, and became one of the best regions in the country. And then they gave me a bigger region. Again, very successful. Then I hit that wall where you say, what's next? What’s next? And self-development, obviously, is always something that I worked on. So became the opportunity to become a coach and speaker and trainer. Like you and I are from the same team. And so I went and grabbed that certification. And I started adding value to my team a little bit with that certification. But then I just had this little calling in my heart that I needed to go on my own, that I needed to just go do my own thing. And that's when I decided to resign from my job.
I'm sure that was something you want to do. It's always a chance you're taking because it's the unknown when you resigned. And the insecurity of this job to the insecurity of everything depending on you.
Yes. And remember, I was in this job for 12 years. Twelve years. And so I had a lot of emotions invested, and people, and attachment, I had to work to let that attachment go and that's a lot of the work that I had done after that. It just worked
How long did it take you to reach that decision? Dealing with those emotions and those things? I'm sure you thought about it for a period of time before you actually did it.
You know, before resigning it took me about seven months, it was seven months after I got certified that I was like - something is not quite right anymore. And I need to get to that next level. So that next thing
This was after you got your certification as a coach?
After I got my certification. It's like it's just something that clicked in my mind, my heart, my entire body was telling me: “Step off.”
Right. So you did
It was not an easy decision. Steve is not easy to leave something where you have been for 12 years and have been successful. And you have worked with so many wonderful people. But you got to go to your next calling, your next purpose.
Because we don't have just one purpose in life. We have many.
No, we do and I think people don't realize the different seasons of your life. Your purpose is different it changes throughout your life. We never have just one. As you just stated, so it's important for people. So we kind of, that was just a few years ago now. Right?
Well, four years ago.
Yeah. So that kind of brings us around to why you started this podcast and what you want to accomplish through that. Tell us a little bit about that.
Yeah, absolutely. So throughout these four years, I have been obviously growing some more in a self-development world. And in a still growing and mindful world. I'm actually just enrolling today into a huge certification that I will tell you guys later, a little bit more throughout the podcast, I'm super excited. This is a two-year journey. I'm on this new training. But I had a ball and I have grown so much, but also had been told: “Your English is still now well, I still not good.”
Always some naysayers out there, right?
Always someone to push you down. There’s always someone who tells you that you can’t do something. And so remember, guys, I am one of those people that love taking on the challenge. You know, I think that challenge is my last or second last name. So I thought to myself, adding value to people is the core of who I am. It doesn't matter what people say, it doesn't matter what people think of me. Because what they think of me, is who they are. It's not who I am.
And so, I want to speak, I want to give, I want to say, I want to bring you a lot of people that can add value to you, and to me. And the best way that I can think of right now is by having this show where millions of people hopefully, hopefully it's in my, it's in my dreams and manifestation!
It will be it's just a matter of time.
People can join and subscribe and listen. Because I'm gonna be raw, I'm gonna be authentic, it's gonna be awesome, it's just going to come from my heart. I'm going to give you everything that I have and, you can learn, or you can say, “Um, you know, it's not doing anything for me”, either way. I'm gonna do it. So this is my next challenge: To add value to you and to challenge myself.
That's fantastic. And I think you are going to add value to a lot of people through this podcast and I’ll make sure to see where it goes and where it takes off and where it leads you from here.
Absolutely. Thank you so much, my friend. I’m ready to bring fitness and health and wellness and self-development, and talk about all those things in the world that sometimes people don't talk about.
That's so true. And one other thing I wanted to point out to you because you are bilingual, you're gonna be doing this podcast in Spanish as well, correct?
Yes. So that podcast is called Mente Corazon Y Cuerpo. In English, it’s Mind, Heart, and Body. And that is the name of the Spanish podcast coming up.
That's gonna be fantastic for the Spanish speaking community as well. You can add value to them. Because that's an important part of who you are as well.
It is a bigger part of who I am.
Unknown Speaker 34:14
That's right. Yeah, so, I think that's gonna be a great value add to that community as well. And we'll do our best to get the word out there. So they can tune in as well.
I appreciate you so much my friend. I am super excited. I feel like I am about to birth two babies!
Well, you kind of are, you know it's a whole new world but you start podcasting in addition to your other things and doing content.
Yeah. You know what guys, it's not gonna be perfect, but is going to be real.
You know, that's what's important. People want genuine especially today because we got so much fake.
Exactly. Exactly my friend
Good to see some realness. Oh, Mariana, that brings us to the end of your third Episode of this podcast and not the end of your story. But everybody can just join you and continue your story from here.
Absolutely, yes, please subscribe.
You got to put some links up, I guess for people to subscribe at the bottom later on. And it's been a pleasure to interview you, and host through this and get your story out there to the masses. And so looking forward, like I said earlier, to see where this takes you.
Thank you so much, Steve, you have been a wonderful friend of mine. I just adore you. And I appreciate this time. I appreciate you taking the time from your busy, busy day. Because I know you are an entrepreneur, you have an amazing business that we will be talking about later on the podcast. And just taking the time to be here with me and the audience. I appreciate you.
It's been my pleasure. Again, thank you for allowing me to do so. Happy to do it.
Thank you, my friend. And to you guys. Thank you for being here today. This is our third podcast where you can you know, just get to know who I am on my journey and why I am creating this show for you guys. So please subscribe and tell your friends, share with your friends. And we'll see you on episode four.
Thanks, everyone for joining us. Have a great day.
Thank you. Bye-bye