Every failure is a learning and growing opportunity that ultimately teach you how to succeed.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Belen Baquerizo, founder of A Hint of Life, to interview her about failure. Belen clued us in on the importance of FAILING FORWARD, and how failure is not something to be mourned, but celebrated.

A Hint of Life is a motivational lifestyle blog that aims at helping women live their best life. Whether that’s growing in the corporate world, starting a business, getting in shape, eating healthier or dressing up more, A Hint of Life is the source of motivation and inspiration to keep you accountable and on track to achieve your goals.

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

– Winston Churchill



Joy Energy Time: So, 1st question is: For those who don’t know you, share a little bit about yourself. Where you were born, did you go to school, where do you live now and what do you do for work?

Belen Baquerizo: Hi! My name is Belen, I was born in Ecuador and moved to the USA when I was 11… that was 15 years ago (crazy!) – I did go to school, I got a bachelor’s in Fashion Management and an MBA in entrepreneurship. I’m one of those people that believes in education; although going to school might not be for everyone, I think it teaches you about discipline, time management, structure, and persistence which are super important for whatever you decide to do in life. I live in South Florida in a small town called Weston and although it’s far from the Miami city life everyone loves and craves, I love the easier, slower pace aced that the suburbs offer and I’m still close to Miami where I can go and have fun whenever I want 😊. For work, I’m a founder and blogger at www.ahintoflife.com and I work for ZICO Coconut Water as their regional marketing manager for Florida. I love and give 110% at both my jobs.

Working in a corporate scenario gives me the education and allows me to make mistakes and grow as a professional. Everything I learn from my “Corporate” job I put into practice on my blog which is my baby.

JET: Have you always worked in the same industry? Or have you moved around until you found what you loved?  

BB: I started my career working in fashion. I started an online boutique when I was 20 and then moved on to work for Ann Taylor but found that although I loved fashion it wasn’t my passion. Decided to move to the marketing side of things and here I am! I love marketing and growing businesses strategically.

JET: Aside from work, what is something else that you are passionate about?

BB: My work is my passion – which I’m SO happy about. I work 365 days a year and wouldn’t have it any other way. But, what else am I passionate about? REALLY hard question. I’m passionate about everything I write about on my blog: self-help, beauty, health, fitness, and style (not fashion!)

JET: Tell me about a difficult time in your life – what happened and how did you feel?

BB: I’ve had 2 really difficult times in my life, but I’ll tell you about my 1st one because I’m currently in the middle of my 2nd one.  

Like I said, I started my first business when I was 20. It was an online boutique and I really wanted it to succeed. After 2 years of working at it, I decided it was time to close it and move on. The reason I closed it was an emotional reason. My dad was financing the business and he was put in a terrible situation by his business partner. My dad’s company went out of business, he lost all his savings, we lost A LOT of money and I felt hopeless.

Although they say business is business, what happened with my dad’s business and his business partner broke my heart. I grew up with his business partner and our families were together every week and went on family vacations together, so it was a low point in my life.

I felt betrayed, I felt anger and plain sadness.

JET: What thoughts went through your head?

BB: All of my thoughts were based on anger. I couldn’t comprehend how someone I loved so much could do something like that to my family. I saw my dad go thru his worst moments and I blamed EVERYTHING on this guy (the business partner). I wished him the absolute worst and wished someone would do the same to him. I wanted him to pay for what he had done, what he had done to ME, to my dad, to my family’s future — these thoughts weren’t good ☹

JET: Was your health impacted in any negative ways because of the stress/depression/anger?

BB: I don’t remember getting sick, but I remember being very negative and just having a negative energy all the time. Everything was wrong, everything sucked, I was just living in a negative bubble. My dad though did suffer from all the stress that the situation brought him… he almost had a heart attack. I found out about it months later but when I did, that was another low moment… again, anger!

JET: What steps did you take to climb out of this situation?

BB: This wasn’t easy and to be totally honest, there are times at which I still deal with this but I’d say what put me on the other side of the bridge was to think about what I learned from the situation. Accept that everything happens for a reason – Every challenge you face is an opportunity for growth but only YOU decide if you grow or not. I decided I needed to grow.

Search for answers. For so long I was blaming him for being the reason I had to close my business and yes, money had a lot to do with it. In fact, money had everything to do with it. It sucked that it happened the way it did but, fashion and selling fashion wasn’t my passion. I learned this when I started working at Ann Taylor. I loved clothes and how they made me feel but style is what I love, so searching and finding my truth was a really important step in climbing out of my misery.

Also it’s important to invest time in yourself. Its the best investment you can make. I dedicated my time to things that made me happy. I read books, watched happy movies, researched online. Sometimes being alone and listening to your mind is the best advice. This is how I came up with a hint of life, by investing time in really getting to know myself.

JET: Although as they say you must flip the page and move on… it takes A LOT to do that and it’s not easy. Describe your internal process or how you moved from point A to point B until you felt a little more liberated.

BB: Again, still working on this haha but… my internal process of how to move on is to focus on the next thing. For a long time (maybe 2 years?) I thought it was over. I thought I would never own a business and I even started thinking that starting a business was bad and I should just find a great job with a great paycheck, but I kept finding that I LOVED every job for the first 6 months and then I started looking for what was next. Until one day, my boyfriend told me – “Stop looking for what’s the next great job, you are never going to find it. Your thing is to build your own company, you know that. Stop being afraid and create your own “What’s next”. So, whether your thing is to start a new business or you are trying to move on from a different situation, I encourage you to work on an inspiration board, think about the future and immerse yourself in that.

JET: When bad things happen, it’s hard to truly get over them. Today, what are some things you do throughout your day to day to keep improving? To keep moving forward instead of dwelling in the past?

I keep a badge of a Hint of Life stickers on my desk. I pasted a A Hint of Life sticker on my laptop to remind me of what I’m working for. The past is over. It happened, and I will always remember it, but it has given me the strength to move forward and for that I’m grateful. Things I do? I workout every morning to clear my head, I don’t pay too much attention to Instagram anymore (although my account follows a lot of people, there’s only certain people I look for everyday and it’s mainly for inspiration, not comparison), I surround myself with people that believe in me and keep pushing me forward.

Lastly, be present and conscious of what I’m thinking. If I find myself thinking negative stuff that take me back to 2012-2014, I stop, turn on some music, search for inspiration and keep going.

JET: Once you “turned the page” what happened and were you surprised with the results?

BB: Once I turned the page, YES! I was surprised and proud! A Hint of Life is 100% self-made and that is an incredible feeling. I let myself be free and start from zero which is scary but after 2 years of doing a Hint of Life, the hard work is paying off and although I continue to go back to the past every once in a while, I’m surprised everyday to see that I’m being recognized for my work. I think silence and letting your work speak for yourself is the greatest revenge.

JET: When we are in bad situations, we do things we normally wouldn’t do… what’s one thing you regret during this time period?

BB: I was mad at the world and I took it out a lot on my dad. I was VERY emotional and I blamed him for not paying more attention at his office to figure out what was going on. I thought he could have caught the wrong doings and everything could have been saved. I blamed him for not being 100% into my business because I needed his guidance (I was only 20!) but I was shellfish to think he had time or energy – he was dealing with his business getting ripped apart so that’s one thing I wish I wouldn’t have done. I should have been more supportive but all I saw was the negative.

JET: If there are 3 tips you could give someone going thru a similar situation, what would you tell them? How can they be strong enough to pull themselves together and improve their mental health in order to get out of darkness?

BB: Get a piece of paper and write a letter to the person that hurt you. If it’s not a person, the thing, the situation that’s hurting you. Pour your heart out, cry, scream while you are writing this letter. Read it over and over until you feel it’s ok to destroy it. Feel all the feeling and then let go. Burn it, throw it out, cut it in pieces but get rid of it – this will help you let go of negativity

Write down what you learned from the situation and write down what you want for the future. Be clear about your goals and figure out a way to be reminded of them every day. It can be stickers, it can be post-its, just put them in places where you won’t miss them – this will boost your motivation.

Surround yourself with the right people. Whether it’s friends or family, the people around you play a super important part in your life. They should be a support system and a belief system. Figure out who your real friends are and hold them tight – this will help you with happiness, the happiness that comes from within.

And then… go out and conquer the world!

Check out more from Belen at ahintoflife.com!

By Anna Rodriguez, BSN, RN, CCRN @the.burnout.book

As an introvert, I sometimes find it exhausting to communicate with others (especially strangers, for some reason)! Do you ever have to give yourself a little pep talk before calling to make an appointment with a new doctor’s office? Do you ever stress about going to a party because you know there will be people wanting to do that small-talk chit-chat? And then you spend your weekend in solitude, perhaps reading a good book, trying to recharge your energy that you’ve been using all week to have all those interactions? Or maybe it’s just me?

I suppose you can imagine then, sometimes my work as a nurse can be overwhelming. I’m communicating with co-workers, doctors, managers, patients and their families, just to name a few. Communication can be stressful AF, especially when someone’s life is on the line! The stress response in the body can actually negatively affect your communication abilities- some people clam up and go silent, others get angry and blow up. I want to share a few things that I learned early on that will help you manage your stress so you can communicate effectively.

1. Be clear. Be concise. Stick to the script.

As a nurse, I’ve seen all sorts of communication tools that various employers have recommended.  It’s mostly tools to help staff communicate with patients, like AIDET (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, and Thank), GREAT (Greet, Relate, Explain, Ask, Thank), or SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation). It doesn’t matter what tool you use, what matters is that you gather your information and you communicate with purpose and intention. You can reduce the anxiety you feel by mentally or physically preparing your “script.” If you’re about to call a doctor about an elevated blood pressure, it would be helpful to know what the heart rate is and what medications the patient is taking that effects the blood pressure BEFORE you call, because you don’t want to have a doctor on hold while you look up information they’re likely to ask for. So be prepared and remember that with anything, you get better with practice!

2. Be an Advocate

Don’t let people with, let’s say, “difficult personalities,” stop you from communicating! You are the patient advocate and you are their voice. If you’re every having to diffuse a tense family situation or call a grumpy doctor at night, it’s okay to remind them that we’re all on the same team and return the focus back to the patient. If you’re having difficulty getting your message across or if someone is “taking it out on the messenger,” feel free to work up your chain of command. The charge nurse, the manager, the supervisor- whoever your resources are, don’t hesitate to use them when you need to! I hate confrontation, so having those kind of conversations can be hard and a HUGE source of stress. Never, ever take it personally. While there’s no excuse for incivility, recognize the stress those families and physicians are under and know that their reaction would’ve been directed at anyone in your position and it’s not a reflection of YOU as a person.

3. You Can Never Over-Communicate

In my opinion and experience, there can never be too much communication. It’s why we learn to use closed-loop communication for code blue situations. It’s why we check back with the people we delegate things to and make sure it got completed. It’s why we read back physician orders on the phone to make sure we got it taken down correctly. It’s also why we fill out white boards in the patient’s room so they (and their family) will remember who their medical team is and what the goals of the day are. And it’s why we do a “time-out” prior to performing a procedure to verify that we have the right patient and performing the right procedure to the right body part. Mistakes happen, we’re all human, but the quality of our communication can help reduce those errors.

4. Use Terms that They'll Understand

It also helps to use terms that the person you’re speaking to will understand. I remember one instance when things escalated with a daughter of a patient who had suffered a heart attack. The medical team had been using words like “coronary occlusion” and “myocardial infarction (MI),” and it wasn’t until someone used the words “heart attack” that she fully understood what was happening. Taking time to have the patient or family repeat back what they heard is a useful tool in ensuring that they understand what’s being said.

5. Know When to Zip It

There are moments when the best form of communication is not saying anything at all. Instead of stressing about how to respond, simply LISTEN. I’ve found that you can learn all sorts of stuff about a person by just letting them talk about whatever is on their mind. To be fair, some of the things that come out of a person’s mouth are things you really didn’t want or need to know! Other times it can be extremely helpful. You may think their biggest concern is getting their infection treated, but they might be anxious about their cat at home or how they’ll get the trees pruned if they’re stuck in the hospital. Even if you can’t actually do anything to address their concern, maybe a listening ear and acknowledgment is what they need in that moment.

There will be difficult moments when you won’t know what to say. It’s okay to say nothing and just be with them. Have you ever watched the Empathy TED talk from Dr. Brené Brown? It’s like, 3 minutes, go check it out.  I love the part when the bear says to the fox, “I don’t even know what to say right now, I’m just so glad you told me.” Because, like she says, a response rarely makes something better. A connection on the other hand, now THAT can make a difference.

I hope these tips help you with your communication at work! It’s all about managing your stress and channeling that energy to help you effectively communicate your message. You got this!

BONUS: Take this quiz to see what your style under stress is!

By Anna Rodriguez, BSN, RN, CCRN @the.burnout.book

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