I feel like I need to start this year’s grateful showcase with a Gabby Bernstein affirmation courtesy of her SpiritJunkie App (Source).
“I trust in the energy of the Universe and I surrender my plans.” – Gabrielle Bernstein
The funny thing about the guests in this year’s showcase is they are all individuals who came into my life when I still was forcing my plans. I was in year two of being an entrepreneur and my ego started to get louder. While my first year was spent in denial that I could actually pull this shindig off, my second year provided me with enough of a confidence boost to say, “heck yeah I’m a business owner.” As I embraced this entrepreneurial spirit, I found myself even more convinced that my agenda of how everything should play out was the right one – you know, almost like… my way or the highway. Although I had found this new level of confidence, looking back it is crystal clear that it was not a strong new level of confidence. This new found confidence was fed by ego rather than passion and purpose and as a result I found myself drifting more away rather than to my authentic self. A bit disheartening, considering that I had worked oh so hard the first year to find me.
When I met Tony at a Regional Conference, my first question was “Who is he?” I instantly wanted to know credentials and almost a justification of why he was more deserving of a better slot on the Conference Agenda than me. After doing this interview, I am so incredibly thankful that despite this inner dialogue Tony was clueless about it. This instant competitive reflex is foreign to my natural nature. I have come to understand now that it’s one of my greatest signals that my boundaries are being violated. At this time in particular, it was me violating my own boundaries on several levels. It was in this sort of disarray that Tony and I first connected.
It is also because of Tony that this initial connect was not our last. There is no other way to say it, Tony is a beautiful soul, inside and out. He has become a professional colleague and close friend. Our relationship I value so immensely, for one reason, as Dr. Brené Brown would say, he shows up in the arena. Not only does he show up in his arena, he shows up in yours. He is along side you for the ride and when you fall down, because you will, he helps you get up. Thank you Tony!
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
A lancoriqueño born and raised in Southeast Lancaster City, Tony is a facilitator and educator who inspires people to claim their distinct narrative so they brave connecting with themselves and with others and value the contributions they make in community. As the Founder of Reflective Wisdom, Tony creates a space that engages adult learners in personal and interpersonal development through coaching and small group interactions. Aside from his professional work, Tony is committed to equity and social justice advocacy. He’s been actively learning about and practicing board governance for the last six years serving on numerous local and regional boards. On a personal note, Tony has been adjusting to the shift in life by integrating balance through meditation, journaling and incorporating well-being theory so happiness and well-being flourish in personal and professional life.