You’re not alone

man despairToday is #WorldMentalHealthDay

Many people may see me as an overly happy, smiley and positive person. My sisters would get so annoyed with me as a kid because I would laugh and sing incessantly. I have family members that still call me “Sunshine,” “Isadora Duncan”(the ballerina), and the list goes on. Most of my life, I’ve been generally pretty happy, smiley and emotionally stable.

But as soon as I became an entrepreneur, things changed dramatically. Without the constant of a paycheck every 2 weeks, my already sensitive nature turned into hot mess emotional. I’ve never had a panic attack or cried uncontrollably until I became an entrepreneur. Some days I still cry multiple times a day.

At first I was really scared because I thought something was wrong with me. I’ve gone to therapy and done other holistic treatments like hypnosis and emotional freedom techniques (EFT/tapping).

“So how do you stay so happy and smiley?”, I get asked all the time.

Over the years I’ve been able to take advantage of these emotions and use them as invaluable feedback.

One thing I do is write, journal, jot down my thoughts and feelings–and if I start crying, get angry or pout, I go with it. I don’t try to hide them, suppress them, judge them, get angry or shame myself.

99% of the time, I feel instantly better after going through this process.

But I am not happy and smiley all the time. It is because I go through this exercise of allowing myself to feel my feelings and emotions and cry that I am able to release those, move on and feel more at peace and joyful.

And if you ever feel this way, know you’re not alone. I’m here for you if you ever want to talk or share your thoughts and feelings.

What do you do to manage your stress and emotions?

Love, peace, joy and occasional tears to you!

About Alexandra Figueredo:

Alexandra’s mission is to inspire, empower and support you to #BeTheMission! She is Founder & CEO of Latina Founders and Mission Based Branding Institute communications agency and training platform for impact businesses and entrepreneurs. This reformed banker turned “Missionpreneur” is also a speaker, author, writer, arts and culture lover, traveler (5 continents and counting!) and citizen of the world! Follow her musings at @OnAMissionAlex.

How to Find Inspiration & Why I Went On Sabbatical to Spain!

Recently, several people have asked me where I find my inspiration. I’ve written so many books, you have so many ideas, where do you find it?

Inspiration to me is tapping into your intuition, your divine inspiration is like God tapping on your shoulder and you can either listen or ignore it.

Here are a few steps you can follow to tap into this inspiration:

  1. Meditate – “Listen to be present to Listen”That means that you you can use your sense of hearing to become present to your surroundings and your body. Then once you are more present (not in your mind), you can begin to listen to answers from your intuition, God/Universe.
  2. Get Away – Take some time to yourself or go on sabbatical like I did
  3. Try Passions – Do something you’re passionate about that taps into your creative juices
  4. Ask – You’ve heard of Ask & You Shall Receive–ask God for inspiration

I dive deeper into all these areas in the short Facebook Live video. Take a listen now for the full lesson:

 

How do you find your inspiration? Share with us in the comments below.

Wait Til Next Year To Change?

Photo Credit: Alexandra Figueredo, Montserrat, Spain
Photo Credit: Alexandra Figueredo, Pano shot at Montserrat, Spain

Time and Space are illusions.

When you understand this concept of time and space, you realize that almost nothing is impossible. It might not appear possible in this moment in time, but with a decision and inspired action, the wheels of motion can be set that will bring it into reality. If it is real to you, it is real.

About 6 months ago, I was on one path in my life, my Plan A, as I call it–a path that was heavily inspired and guided by my own intuition and crafting. I was getting new clients, creating new brands and programs, and gaining more success in both my personal and professional life.

Then suddenly, in a moment, I received an intuitive hit in just one meditation: “I need to move to Spain.” I didn’t know why or for how long. The timing was most definitely not perfect; in fact I’d call it bad timing because I’d have to leave everything I had spent that year working on. I was excited yet skeptical. As a Missionpreneur, I knew I needed to follow this inspiration, so I answered the call. I was entering the Gap of Faith.

Perhaps as a form of self protection, I verbalized all the practical excuses that I was uprooting suddenly to Spain: to dance in Sevilla, write my book, and work on a travel-related project. Still, some of my family members called me crazy, impulsive and irresponsible. Staying firm to my decision, and checking in with God along the way, before I knew it I rented out my condo, packed my personal belongings, moved out and begin this new journey.

Not surprisingly I fell in love with Southern Spain and more importantly fell in love with myself! I believed I needed to stay at least 6 more months and I was excited thinking about new opportunities and possibilities for my life.

A couple of months later, while I was meditating on why I came to Spain and my course in life, I received a series of messages: “I am a blank slate. I can create whatever I want for my life. It’s time to step up and focus on making a greater impact in the world.” I was inspired to dream and act bigger. Nearly overnight, the original “practical” reasons I went to Spain no longer mattered to me. At that moment, it was no longer in my best interest to stay in Spain. Damn it! I was fearful that once again my family wouldn’t understand and would think I was being irresponsible or flaky. Yet once again, I listened.

When I returned to Miami, the following morning I went to church with my mom. The priest’s homily was about a Florida bishop who had already started his career in finance when he got the call to become a priest and enter seminary. Even though he had started on one lucrative path, he got the spiritual call and answered the call, even when it seemed out of place, inconvenient and hard to believe. I thought to myself “Wow, what a timely blessing this is, and it parallels my life! Now my mom will understand what I’m going through.” But I came to find out, that sermon was really more for me. It was confirmation that I was exactly where I needed to be and that God’s loving call is far more important than any fears or insecurities or worries from my family, friends, society or even my own.

We are constantly receiving messages from God and it’s our job to listen. Every day, I check in to make sure I’m on the right path. I listen and ask, and I act even when I have no idea why I’m doing it. The Gap of Faith can be terrifying, but also shows one’s resilience and perseverance. Since that intuitive hit back in Spain, I have been inspired to create new projects and start new businesses that have the potential to serve millions.

Your life at any moment is a BLANK SLATE

You have the ability to create anything you want right now. You don’t have to wait until the beginning of the year, or the summer, or next year or “when the time is right” to do what your soul desires. You can even start working toward your “Plan A” today and decide tomorrow to course correct or change that path. The timing is perfect. What’s important is that you listen and be inspired to act at this moment.

Try this. Right now close your eyes and be still.

  1. What is your soul urging you to do right now? What have you been ignoring or putting off?
  2. What is one fear or limiting belief that is holding you back from acting on this dream?
  3. What is one inspired action you can take at this moment to get your dream closer to becoming a reality?

No time like the present, as they say.

Feel free to leave your messages in the comments or ask the community for support! Connect with others on their own journey at Mission Muses group on Facebook.

 

If you feel inspired to follow your Mission and LIVE THE MISSION through your best mission-driven life, I would love to help. Click here or email me at Alexandra@MissionbasedBranding.com

 

Airbnb: Housing For Social Impact

airbnb copy

In the venture capital world, investors typically look for businesses that can scale easily. Scalability is a way to reach more consumers and leverage resources as a company grows. Socially-responsible businesses that are trying to scale, however, sometimes face a problem: how to scale, focus on results and profit, and still make an impact?

According to BusinessDictionary.com, Social Impact is defined as: the effect of an activity on the social fabric of the community and well-being of the individuals and families. Impact could be philanthropic, legacy-building or some other initiative or program internally or externally that aims to make a difference.

One example of a social enterprise that has scaled successfully is Airbnb. Founders Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky began the hospitality company in 2008 out of their apartment in San Francisco when they played superhost and rolled out air mattresses to 3 guests who couldn’t find accommodations at a design convention in town.

Airbnb’s mission is “create a world where people can belong when they travel by being connected to local cultures and having unique travel experiences.”

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky speaks onstage during "Introducing Trips" Reveal at Airbnb Open LA on November 17, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Airbnb) *** Local Caption *** Brian Chesky
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Airbnb

As they expanded beyond the Bay Area, the company targeted political conventions, conferences and other events around the country. They eventually expanded outside of the country as it grew slowly by word-of-mouth until it reached the critical point ripe for venture capital. The multibillion dollar company now operates in over 190 countries.

From the onset, the savvy founders not only wanted to create experiences for hosts to earn extra income while guests gained more affordable and generally better-value accommodations; they also wanted to create experiences. Airbnb guests receive one-on-one contact and maintain a direct relationship with hosts, and because they stay in homes of locals, they tend to assimilate better and feel like locals themselves. Hotel guests don’t typically have such “experiences”, unless they stay at exclusive 5-star accommodations, with 5-star service, and 5-star staff. The company is creating unique travel experiences both for hosts and their guests.

The founders crafted their vision and corporate culture to align with their mission. One of their mottos with employees is in fact, Champion the Mission, which continues to be a priority as the company grows to 3 million listings with over 150 million total guest check-ins (airbnb.com). It’s worth mentioning that the founders truly are altruistic, as evidenced by Chesky, Gebbia and the third co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk and his wife each agreeing to join The Giving Pledge to donate 50% or more of their assets to charity.

On top of that, the company has used its leverage and resources to provide solutions in times of crises. The company’s Disaster Response Program mobilizes locals in disaster areas who volunteer and provide free housing to displaced persons and relief workers deployed to help in the areas. The program was created as a response to Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Caribbean and East Coast of the U.S. in October 2012, leaving thousands of people without homes. One resourceful host in Brooklyn, NY, stepped up to volunteer and house victims, which led to over one thousand Airbnb hosts in New York opening their homes and volunteering to help those who lost their homes or businesses.

Kellie Bentz, Airbnb’s Head of Global Disaster Relief, who started a disaster recovery project called HandsOn New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, said “Throughout my career, I’ve seen the terrible devastation that disasters can inflict, but I’ve also seen the powerful ways that communities come together to respond and recover. At Airbnb we have a real opportunity to use our disaster response program to help these communities in a time of need.”

After the rollout of President Trump’s controversial immigration plan during his first week in office, many U.S. residents, immigrants and refugees were left stranded in airports across the world, prevented from entering the U.S., or deported back to their home countries. Airbnb decided to deploy the concept of the Disaster Response Program and create a special page for affected immigrants in need of housing. Chesky sent out a series of tweets January 28-29, 2017 from his Twitter account @bchesky:

Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected. Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Stayed tuned for more, contact me if urgent need for housing. If you’re able to host refugees in need via Airbnb, you can sign up here:http://abnb.co/VH9hWbChesky, Gebbia and Airbnb encourage those who wish to volunteer their homes to sign up as hosts for said immigrants and refugees who have been displaced all over the world. Much like Facebook’s Safety Check that uses the social network’s reach to allow those in disaster areas to confirm they are safe, Airbnb’s response is a perfect example of how resourcefulness, leverage and social responsibility can make a major impact on individuals and communities around the world. Ancillary benefits to the business include a big boost in PR and social media exposure, not to mention increased goodwill among customers and shareholders that share in the company’s mission.

For companies like Airbnb, making social impact a priority is just good business.

About Alexandra Figueredo:

Alexandra is a Social Entrepreneurship and Impact researcher and strategist, freelance writer and author and founder of Mission Based Branding Institute research and training platform for social impact. This reformed banker turned entrepreneur is also an arts and culture lover, traveler (5 continents and counting!) and citizen of the world! Follow her musings at @OnAMissionAlex