Chingona Revolution is hosted by Erika Cruz, a rebel who left a 6-figure tech job to pursue her own unconventional path to success by following her passion that led to her purpose. Every week, Erika will bring out of you that BADASS LATINA through her experiences to overcome self-doubt and family expectations and lead with COURAGE.
When was the last time you stopped for a moment and thought about how far you’ve come? That moment came for our host, Erika Cruz, while she was traveling to Houston, Texas to meet up with a few of her private clients. The last time Erika was in Houston, she was working for her previous tech company.
Traveling was one of the best parts about working at this tech company and she was afraid to leave tech because she wanted to keep traveling. If she left her company, all her traveling would come to an end. But here she is years later, in better accommodations than she had all those years ago, with more freedom and more flexibility than she ever would’ve had in tech.
In this week’s episode, Erika shares her thoughts on letting go of fear and starting out on her own.
How to work with Erika:
Post-production for this episode was provided by CCST, a podcast production company.
Erika: Hello, hello, and welcome back to this week’s podcast episode. I am all about sharing my mistakes, my failures because I feel like it is such an important part of running a business or just being human, right? Or just living your life. And I think people look to my brand and they’re like, “Oh, you know, Erika’s already got it all figured out.
Like she doesn’t ever mess up or, you know, nothing ever really happens. Everything that she wants, she already has.” And while yes, it’s true. I do have. Most of what I already want, that doesn’t mean that things don’t mess up, that things don’t happen and I don’t get stressed out and I don’t feel self-doubt and all of the different things.
So as I a trip after the enrollment of Courage Driven Latina, which just ended last week, I had also just come back from a weekend in LA. So I’ve just been [00:02:00] on the go. I’ve been very, very busy. And what I was going to mention, sorry, I got a message and it totally threw me off. So as I’m getting ready to come on this trip, I realized that I had not recorded today’s podcast episode and my team needs it at least a week in advance and it was already over, I was already, it was already late, right?
It was already less than a week away. So here I am recording the podcast in the most last-minute way possible from my Airbnb. And, uh, you know, as much as I’m really sorry, Sarah, that we’re, that we’re doing this late, I’m sorry, but it actually worked out pretty well because the moment that I arrived on this trip, I had such a full circle moment.
And I want to tell you a little bit about this story and experience and just like the realization in the full circle moment that I had. So when I was working in the tech industry, I was recruited into tech. I’ve never went into technology thinking, Oh
[00:03:00] yeah, I want to get into the tech industry. I honestly, friends didn’t, I mean, besides like Facebook and Instagram, I didn’t really know what tech was.
And I ended up getting hired by Oracle, which is one of the largest tech companies. They’re kind of an older tech company. They were really all about like, Like databases, like before it was up in the clouds. Don’t worry. That doesn’t really matter right now. You don’t have to know any of that. So I was working at Oracle and then I ended up working at a couple of different startups after.
And I’ve shared this before, but being one of the few women in the company and one of the few, or the only Latina, it felt very, um, people looked at me and they’re like, Oh, she gets to work in tech and she gets to travel, but what I don’t think they realize is that behind the scenes, there was so much.
imposter syndrome, so much doubt. And I was, I don’t want to say I was ashamed of who I was because I wasn’t. I wasn’t ashamed of being Latina, but I did feel like I could not show up as my full self at work because it wouldn’t be
[00:04:00] accepted. Is that true? I mean, in some circumstances, yeah, I did have some racial comments made to me and some microaggressions made to me, not by everybody, by some people in the tech companies that I worked at.
So it’s partially true. But I think a lot of it was pretty much me. A lot of it was me just believing that I couldn’t show up as my full authentic self because nobody else looked like me, so I had to hide these parts of myself. And it wasn’t until I really started to lean into my differences of You know what?
Nobody else here speaks Spanish. Nobody else here has the social skills that I do. And when I really started to lean into these things that made me different, like, that’s when things really started to work out. And I began to get opportunities to do the demonstrations of our products. And then once they saw how I did the demos, then they asked me to keep doing them.
And then I had to create storylines.
[00:05:00] So I pretty much did the job of a lot of different people when I was in tech. Because I was at a startup, but while, while I was in this job, I felt like I was doing a horrible job because I wasn’t being promoted, but the reason I wasn’t being promoted now, I can, now I look back and now I know, but the reason I wasn’t being promoted is because
the companies weren’t growing that quickly. There was nowhere to promote me to, there was nobody for me to manage because we weren’t hiring more people, you know, and everybody else was way older, had way more experience than I did. Of course, like I wasn’t going to go manage them. They were literally the ones mentoring me, but I made it mean all these different things about myself.
So here I am, people are looking at me from the outside looking and damn, Erica’s in tech. She has her life set. My parents are like, she’s living the American dream that we immigrated for. She’s making a six figure salary. And then again, once I started to really lean into these things that made me different, that’s when I started doing demonstrations.
I started, they realized that I had good social skills. So I started running the relationships with some of our top clients. Um, I ended up [00:06:00] traveling literally everywhere. So I ended up going to. Um, New York, a handful of times. I went to Ireland, I went to the UK, I went to Australia. This is, um, the last two companies that I worked at, they, they, I mean, I’m just collecting all the locations.
So obviously I went to one location for one company and then a few other locations for. I went to some locations for one job and then other locations for the other, but for the sake of simplicity, I’m just going to tell you the places I went. I ended up going to Denmark, Copenhagen. Um, I ended up going to, let’s see, Mexico a handful of times.
Um, never ended up going to Canada. I was about to go to Canada and then the pandemic came. Or I was about to go to Germany and then Canada. Yeah, and then the pandemic hit. And then the one place that I probably went to the most, more than any other place, was Houston, Texas. And I had never been to Texas before, but I came at least five or six times because the company that I worked for was a [00:07:00] messaging app.
Kind of think like, um, like a similar to Slack or similar to kind of like WhatsApp. It was kind of like that. And when the Super Bowl happened in Houston, let me quickly look at what year that was. Houston Super Bowl.
So when the Super Bowl happened in Houston in 2017, I started to come because they ended up using the public safety department. So the people who are in charge of ensuring that things are going well during the Super Bowl and ensure ensuring that the public is being safe. Okay, let me let me take a step back because it does require a little bit of explaining.
This is This is all over the place. You know, when you go to a concert or a festival and everybody’s on their phone and then you can’t make a phone call or can’t send a message, well, imagine being the police department or being public safety, trying to keep safety at this event, and you’re trying to communicate with other officers.
And maybe like, you know, walkie-talkies aren’t the most ideal way of communicating and you need a more stable way of communicating. So that’s what they were using our technology for. And it was not on like the AT&T network or on the Sprint network. It was on a private network. So even if the network of
[00:08:00] AT& T, Sprint, T Mobile, all of those were completely at full capacity and it was taking a long time for the messages to go through, the public safety was on a different…
satellite, and they were using our technology. So all you have to know is Erika was in Houston over and over and over to train the public safety team for the Super Bowl so that there could be safety at the Super Bowl. So because this is such a big event, I ended up flying over here a bunch of different times.
I ended up meeting like a group of people out here, and then that’s when I learned that my curly hair really actually likes the humidity in Houston. And you know, people kept seeing me come over here and they would just comment like, Oh, that’s so cool on my Instagram. They would comment, Oh, that’s so cool, Erica, that you get to travel for your job.
Can you get me a job? And people kept asking me, can you get me a job? Can you get me a job? And while it was cool that I was traveling, what I don’t think people realized is… I mean, I’m working right? Like I, I land and I’m jet lagged and I’m working and then I go to meetings all day and I’m
[00:09:00] up late and then I’m communicating, taking meetings back to headquarters, which at the time was in Cupertino, which is in Silicon Valley.
So here I am. Communicating back with the engineers being kind of the middle person being the front facing person for clients and it was exhausting. I mean, like, it’s not like I was in Houston, like parting my butt off, right? I was in Houston working my butt off and yes, I did get to use this company card, which is awesome because it meant that I ended up staying at like nice hotels.
And, uh, you know. At that time, how old was I? I was 27 years old. So 27 year old, 27 year old Erika never really had the opportunity to like stay at nice hotels. She never had the money for this. So it was really cool. It got me in a lot of different rooms. It gave me a lot of confidence. The fact that I was being sent out so many times, don’t get me wrong.
I was scared every time I was sent out, like, Oh, this is the time they’re going to find out Erica doesn’t know what she’s doing. But in the end I was like, wait, I did that. You know, like I actually did.
[00:10:00] So all of this to say that Houston is almost like a special place in my memory of, okay, here is where Erica really began to start to build confidence in her career, but I knew that I didn’t want to be in tech forever.
And I just didn’t know what I was going to do. And I remember.
Erika: It was probably like 2018 or so I was listening to a podcast because I was already thinking about wanting to become a yoga instructor and in 2018, I was listening to a podcast and this girl talked about how she was, she was a yoga instructor and she talked about how she was able to travel around to teach yoga and she would host classes in different places.
And I remember thinking, wow, I get to travel, but I get to travel and I do something I could care less about. Imagine being able to travel to teach yoga or being able to travel to meet with other women or to be able to travel to have conferences. Or, you know, my, my brain was just going all of these different places.
And I remember having that thought and I was like, well, if I could travel for this, why can’t I travel for that? And it was the first time I actually started to believe maybe I can, and I still didn’t know what I was doing. Right? Still didn’t know how it was that it was going to happen. And of course, as you know, I got my yoga certification in 2019 and then 2020, all the yoga studios closed, but
[00:12:00] I was already creating content.
So I just started talking about the more mindset stuff that I learned through yoga. I learned about meditation through my yoga teacher training. So I started. To create videos about that and through the pandemic and building my business and now having clients all over the world, here I am, let’s see how many years later, if that was 2017, six years later, six years later, I am recording this podcast episode from Houston, Texas, and I am going to see two of the Courage Driven Latinas who signed up for this round for the new 12-month version of Courage Driven Latina.
I’m seeing them in. 45 minutes for dinner tomorrow. I am seeing Brenda, who is my online business manager and my right-hand woman in my business. And we are meeting in person to plan Q4 of my business. And in the evening we’re hanging out. Brenda and I are hanging out
[00:13:00] with Denise, who was one of my first private clients.
And the following day, I am seeing Yanet, who is my newest private client and has been totally crushing it in the first three weeks of us working together, she sold 18, 000. And then in the first four weeks of us working together, that went up to 20, I think it’s 24, 000 and she’s literally just getting started.
We haven’t even had our VIP day. So I’m here because Yanet and I are doing a VIP day, um, which is something that. a little special I was doing for my private clients where we meet in person and we coach for the whole day and then go have a really nice elegant dinner. And it’s just such a full-circle moment.
And it took me walking into my Airbnb and just taking a nap after my early morning flight. And then there’s a bath inside of the room of my Airbnb. So it’s a very large space. It is, has [00:14:00] panoramic views of downtown Houston. And it is just like, I could cry. I, I have cried already. I’ve already cried because this is such.
A full circle moment that just six years ago, 27-year-old Erika was here in Houston feeling very expansive, but feeling very doubtful at the same time and convincing herself that she should be really happy because she got to travel for work and she got to travel with the company card. But it was not on her time.
She did not have the freedom. She didn’t have time to go explore. She was working for someone else and there’s nothing wrong with working for someone else. But the fact that when I heard that podcast episode and I said, imagine being able to travel doing something that I love. And I used to think it was such a flex that I was traveling on the company card on the tech company’s card, but what a flex.
For me to be here now
[00:15:00] doing something I love because of something that I’ve built to get to see the clients in person who I care so much about, who I love working with, who I get to support and see their growth and, and then to be here on my company card and guess what, to be able to stay in a dope Airbnb, that is so much better than any of the hotels that I stayed in, right?
When I was here for the tech company, there were just so many lessons here. And I think the first one is that our abundance doesn’t come from anyone else. And I think for a long time, I had convinced myself that my success belongs to this tech company and the way that I was going to help my mom retire. And the way that I was going to make a name for myself was going to be working my butt off at this tech company.
So that one, they could pay me good and to give me opportunities that quite [00:16:00] frankly, they had no interest in giving me the only reason I ended up getting all these opportunities is because one, I have people skills and two, I speak two languages, which made it a lot easier when we were doing business in Latin America, not to say these people didn’t care about me at the companies, but these are businesses, right?
They have to do what’s best for the business. And I totally get that now. So that’s the first lesson that you don’t owe your abundance and your success to anybody else. You can put your abundance, your finances, your opportunities in your hands. And more, more times than not, it’s going to end up much better.
And I have full faith that even if this business like went under and suddenly, I don’t know, I like lost everything. I have faith that I could rebuild something on my own again. And that is power to know that your success and worthiness doesn’t belong to anyone else, but yourself. That is empowerment right there.
And I want each and every single one of you to tell yourselves that
[00:17:00] my success, abundance, and worthiness does not belong to anyone else but myself. Because you know what? If you end up getting laid off from your job, you could go get another job. Okay. If you end up getting, if somebody breaks up with you, you could, there’s so many people in the world, there’s so much opportunity in the world.
You don’t have to stay somewhere just because you feel like that’s your, the only way that you’re going to get to a place you want to get to. Like for me, I knew I wanted to travel and for a long time I didn’t want to leave tech because I thought I was going to have to stop traveling if I left tech. So that’s the first big lesson.
The second big lesson is if you can imagine it, you can create it. And I’ve talked a lot about visualization on my podcast and just in my coaching. I would recommend that you listen to the podcast episode of the power of Visualization, if you haven’t listened to that one and there, I talk all about like the research behind visualization, why it works.
But if you can begin to visualize what it is that you
[00:18:00] want, you’re more likely to create it. I imagined myself traveling, and then I first started traveling through the tech company, but then all it took was that comment. Wow, imagine being able to travel to do something I love. And as soon as I made that comment, I was like, why not?
Why not? Because our, our words are so powerful. Our words are magic. Our words are what create, right? I want you to think about anything in your life or anything that you see around you. Right? So right now I am looking at a microphone for the podcasting for, for podcasting. I’m also looking at a highway in front of me.
I’m looking at a skyscraper. Every single one of these things began in somebody’s imagination. Somebody thought, you know what? There must be a way that we could capture sound from one direction and cancel out all the background noise. And that is how a microphone was created. And then somebody was like, you know what?
We need microphones that are going to plug into
[00:19:00] computers. And that’s how this version of the microphone was created. And then as I’m looking at these skyscrapers, you know, people were probably like, oh man, we’re running out of land here in this city. That’s gotten really tight. Maybe we should build up now.
And then with a highway, okay. A lot of people are trying to go from here to here. Maybe we should create some type of runway where cars can go and there’s no street lights or people or anything like that. So they can move faster and get there more efficiently. All of these began in somebody’s mind. So whatever it is that you want to create in your life, if you can see it in your imagination, you can create it in the physical world.
And I know that this sounds a little woo-woo, but that’s why I give you very tangible examples with the microphone and the skyscraper, the buildings, as well as the highway. There are so many more lessons in this story, but because this is something that I’m pretty much just telling you from. My heart because I wrote nothing down and I was so honest with you about totally forgot to record a podcast episode But
[00:20:00] there’s one last lesson actually that that did stand out to me It’s insane to me that just one generation ago My mom a child in rural Mexico in a village who grew up with no running water no electricity and No shoes for a big part of her childhood That was her reality when she was a kid.
Just one generation later, my company has paid for me to come to Houston, Texas to see five. How many, how many clients am I seeing to see four clients and one of my contractors in real life, hang out with them, treat them to nice meals, treat them to nice experiences all in one generation. So the last lesson here is that things can change so quickly.
If you let them
[00:21:00] a lot of times we block our own blessings I want you to take time to journal whenever if you’re driving don’t do it when you’re driving obviously whenever you sit down to journal Ask yourself in what areas of my life am I blocking my blessings? Where am I not allowing myself to receive?
I want you to ask yourself that that journal prompt the other one that I would have you ask yourself is Who have I been giving my abundance worth? And power to, so like, has it been a job? Has it been a specific employer? Has it been a relationship and how can I reclaim that power? I totally forgot what the second lesson was.
I think that was the second lesson. I don’t remember anymore. Okay. I am going to let you all get back to your day. Thank you so much for hanging out with me for this very unstructured story. I’m just in disbelief. I feel very, very fortunate and I feel a ton of gratitude
[00:22:00] that I am in this beautiful Airbnb.
In houston on my own company card Spending it how I want Tomorrow I am going to take a bath in this bath That’s inside of this bedroom and then the airbnb host left me a bottle of prosecco. I haven’t been drinking much lately, but Since I’m not driving anywhere, I’m going to pop that thing open. Maybe you’ll see some content with Erica in a bubble bath and a little champagne glass in her hand.
I don’t know. We’ll see. Have a great, great rest of your day, friends. And be sure to share this with a friend because sharing is caring. Okay. Talk to you next week.