What is your American Dream? And what does that mean to you? Are you living it?
If you were like most young Latinas, you dreamed about what your life would be like when you grew up. And like many American girls, you may have imagined marrying your Prince Charming, living in a beautiful home, having children and perhaps even a career of your own. Some of you may even have dreamed about traveling to exotic places, being independent and breaking traditional female gender roles.
Childhood dreams never truly die: they lie within you seeking to someday be fully realized!
For most Americans today, the American Dream means living in a home of their own, having a successful career or perhaps their own business. For others the American Dream means achieving fame, amassing wealth, or accumulating an abundance of material possessions.
For me, the American Dream means having the freedom to control my own destiny. Living the Dream means I have discovered my purpose in life and am free to pursue my vision of happiness, wherever that road may lead me. Although the American Dream may possibly mean different things to different people, one thing is certain:
For Latinas in America, achieving the American Dream is meaningless if they lose their Latin Soul in the process!
The soul is that part of you that seeks meaning and purpose and a connection with something greater than yourself. After all, isn’t it your connection to your faith, family and culture that nurtures your Latin soul and gives meaning to your life?
Who are you, as a Latina, without your familia, native culture and religious traditions?
And for us, family doesn’t mean just the traditional nuclear family consisted of a man, a woman and 2.3 children. No, for Latinos family means the extended family of abuelos, tíos, tías and of course primos with whom you grew up and created mischief when you were young. For Latinos, without these relationships life feels empty, void of the bonds that give meaning to our lives.
This is the challenge for Latinos in America today . . . We live in two worlds!
On the one hand, we grow up in a world where faith, family and “frijoles” are values we hold dear. On the other, we live in a society where independence, notoriety and achievement are esteemed above all else.
In the Latino world, we give a warm abrazo or beso when we say hello or goodbye, even to someone we just met. In the other world, a firm handshake or even cold shoulder is considered an appropriate salutation even when you have known someone for years.
As a Latina business professional, you face a dilemma because in our world it is considered bad manners to brag about your accomplishments, flaunt your wealth or attract attention to yourself, and yet to succeed in America today, you must often stand out from the crowd.
Yes, Latinos live in two worlds!
One reason is because our core values, the soul of Hispanic culture, revolve around our extended family. Our family is part of our identity and is included in our hopes and dreams. Success in business and life in general is meaningless for Latinos without family with whom to share our good fortune. Our family is our foundation, inspiration and a source of strength.
So what is the secret to achieving the American Dream without losing your Latin soul?
The key is to bridge the gap between your two worlds. As a Latina living in America you are influenced by the values of two distinct cultures. In fact, it is virtually impossible to succeed in school or in the workplace without incorporating into your life at least some traditional American cultural values.
The way to bridge the gap between worlds is to orient your life around your core values. Core values are the essence of who you are at the deepest level of your being. Core values are things that give your life meaning and purpose. Core values are what you find meaningful, like beauty, justice and family, when all your needs are met.
Have you defined your core values?
In my coaching practice, I always make sure my clients clearly define their core values before they set any business or career goals. The reason being too many business professionals, Latinas included, chase after success with the erroneous assumption that success will make them happy. It does not!
You may be able to achieve success without living your core values, but you may also find that the ladder of success you worked so hard to climb was leaning against the wrong wall. True and sustainable success, in business and life, is a consequence of living according to your core values and sharing your natural gifts and talents with the world. By bridging the gap between your two worlds you can achieve the American Dream without losing your Latin soul!
YOUR VALUES are the behaviors and activities to which you are naturally drawn. Values are who you really are and they include: Creating, Contributing, Adventure, Beauty, Teaching and Spirituality.
Don Daniel offers a free 40-minute coaching session to those who would like to start working on his Tru Values™ Program: this program helps you to understand values, discern your top 4 values and puts you on a path to honoring them. Sign up now! Only 3 free sessions offered!
Daniel Ortiz (Don Daniel) is an award-winning author and host of the popular TV show “American Dream – Latin Souls,” which shares the inspiring story of Hispanic business success. To learn more or purchase his book visit www.LatinoSuccess.com.