BY Eileen Z. Fuentes (@TheSpeachGal)
So this past weekend, I flew south for the winter from our neck of the woods to the hot and sunny Miami Beach, Florida. The temperature ranged from the upper 70’s to the low 80’s the entire trip. I could not believe that people were on the beach tanning, while New York City looked like the North Pole! The reason for my trip was to attend a conference for holistic health coaches organized by The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) for students and graduates of their program. There were leaders in the fields of holistic nutrition, fitness classes, business coaching, a financial planning workshop and even a show-stopping performance by a Lady Gaga impersonator. The first night ended with an intimate rooftop party where I was able to be up close and personal with the IIN staff, including the Founder and Director of the school, Joshua Rosenthal. I was quite surprised when I got to the hotel, opened up my laptop and saw an invitation from Mr. Rosenthal himself asking me to stand before the more than 2000 students from all over the world including countries like South Africa, Mexico, Jamaica, Korea, Japan, Turkey, Portugal, Belgium, Finland, Iceland and EGYPT and tell my story of where I was a little over 2 years ago and where I am today? The jitters were in full effect and the voices in my head were saying, “Is he for real…me?”
I seriously questioned how this girl born and raised in Washington Heights, mother of three, and now young cancer survivor could stand out amongst this diverse and intelligent group of amazing individuals. His e-mail to me was short and to the point, it said, “inspire, ok”. “Umm ok, Mr. Rosenthal” I thought to myself! So the next day at my designated time slot, I was handed a microphone, told to walk onto the stage of the Miami Convention Center with gigantic screens behind me, and one of the most inspirational educators I’ve ever met beside me, and talk. I looked around and tried to take in the magnitude of what was occurring. As my voice initially cracked, I talked a little about me, my transition from healthcare professional to patient, the benefits my family and friends have received as a result of my diagnosis but most importantly about the my newfound passion and living a life of purpose. I spoke about the beautiful women I serve in our community, the positive transformation they have received as result of what I have taught them, the love and support that Columbia University Medical Center’s, Department of Surgery has shown me, and the work that I am able to share with my hometown and beyond through my contributions to the Uptown Collective. As I looked around the room I saw the expressions on the sea of faces, and heard one person shout “Go Eileen!” I stared to believe that I accomplished the task at hand. I was in awe that Joshua Rosenthal introduced me as one of his favorite people and as I tried to exit the convention center to run to the airport, women and men of all ages and demographics, many of whom were in tears offered to help me accomplish my goals, asked me to help their loved ones and simply came by to share a hug. Even on the plane ride home, a fellow passenger asked me for my contact information and upon arriving to home base, a woman looked at me and whispered the word “powerful” as ran I to the car to avoid the bitter cold again. My head is still spinning from the entire experience!
So I ask you this…how do YOU give back to YOUR community? We all have challenges, but what can YOU do to turn it around? What can YOU teach others by the mistakes you’ve made and the lessons learned? Do you think in this lifetime, you can perhaps INSPIRE others? Stop being a perfectionist and get moving TODAY. It was the single-most important take home message I learned because you never know how you could change the world!
For more information on any of the programs mentioned, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
To see more of Eileen’s work click: Here
Christina Panuccio MartinezFebruary 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Girl you are really an inspiration to all! Your journey has just begun.As you once said. “The cocoon is finally coming to an end and the butterfly is making her grand entrance” you are ready to fly and bring happiness to all the world now! XOXO Christina
Katherine HaroldFebruary 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm
That is a very inspiring message! And of course you! You are walking in your passion, your calling in brilliance of light. Most importantly, you said yes ! thats the first step to Martin Luther King Jr’s quote above because to fly, run, walk, crawl or even keep it moving you have to say yes! Peace and Love
M.Tony PeraltaFebruary 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm
Elieen, that was an amazing post. I don’t have a words to describe how I felt reading this post. I truly admire you and your strength and i’m honored that I can call you a friend of mine. Like the song goes “Keep rising to the top…” BTW, I think this is the first time I’m leaving a post on the UC site.
IzzyFebruary 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm
Excellent article! Thanks for inspiring us all… Can’t wait to see where your next destination…
De La CruzinFebruary 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm
Go EILEEN!! I am very proud of you and your accomplishments. What was first known as a tragic occurrence in your life turned into a great gift that many people can benefit from. Your determination alone is admirable. You have been given many gifts and deserved each and everyone plus more. Keep shining and giving back. I will be your number one cheerleader behind the huge crowd of supporters that follow you.
RaineySkatesFebruary 7, 2011 at 2:32 pm
Amazing, amazing story about the POWER of inspiration. Especially coming from a place and background (Wash Hts/Dominican) that statistically gets written off so much of the time! It goes to show–obstacles are NOTHING, intentions are EVERYTHING. Bravo Eileen. Bravo!!!
Ramona De La CruzFebruary 7, 2011 at 2:59 pm
As you have gone through many challenges, we kept asking why you were chosen to go through what you’ve gone through. Obviously experiences such as this one do happen to allow you to help others in need who may not be as strong as you (yes, you are strong). If having submerged in an abyss of chaos and despair is the price to pay to emerge as that person who has managed to touch and change so many lives with your perseverance, dedication, faith and willingness to educate others, then I’ve got my answer.
As you progress in this journey, I know that 2000 guests will turn into 2000+ and 2000++ who will be following your foot-steps to a long and healthy life. Much success my dear daughter! MOM
Abisola GallagherFebruary 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm
Eileen you are one of the most powerful and humble women I know. I truly appreciate your willingness to give of yourself. You are an inspiration to many people….including me. Thank you for continuing to share your story.
Unity carrieFebruary 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm
You ROCK. I am incredibly blessed to know you. We are going to do great things together. There is no greater gift than the calling to service. When you settle back down let’s meet about what we discussed before you left. I know I am meant to connect funding to your vision. XOXO
Debra W EllisFebruary 7, 2011 at 6:51 pm
Eileen, you really have something going here girl. It is so obvious that you have tapped into that which is true to your soul and spirit. You have found your special calling and have discovered your spiritual gift and using them for God’s glory. Keep up the good work, I truly am so proud of you.
AlyssaFebruary 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm
I just want to say that that was an awesome message and I was really inspired with it. You are awesome xs 1,000
luv u, Alyssa in the hiz house
P.S You are an great,great,great,great,great,great,great,great,great,greatgodmother
Ana ConcepcionFebruary 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm
I know you have been through alot in the time of your life when you received that news of your diagnosis. I was also going through my situation in my life crisis. But through it all you kept us in the loop of how you were coping with it all and kept my faith up that all was going to be okay. I would think about all of this and say “God why her?” and then I learned never question God. Here you are today inspiring woman and people of all ages,nationalities and from different points in the world. Everything happens for a reason and you were chosen to live it and now teach and have others learn from it.
God Bless you my friend. I really wanted to see you, so I hope that you come down to sunny Florida again.
Love you my dear friend…you are truly an inspiration in my life for sure.
StephanieFebruary 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm
Wow Eileen. What a story! Congratulations. Never doubt the power of what you have to share. They were lucky to hear from you.
Csilla BischoffFebruary 8, 2011 at 12:14 am
You are a true inspiration. I am so glad you said yes and came on stage at the conference to share your story. Thank you and keep shining!
EileenFebruary 8, 2011 at 6:36 pm
I am in a puddle of tears! This is so touching. I and humbled by these comments and can’t tell you how much gratitude I feel. I wouldn’t change any of my life experiences to get to where I am right now!
LuisMarch 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm
You have definitely found your calling. Not only are you an extraordinary human being but also a power motivational speaker. I wish you only the best in your coaching practice. Thank you for inspiring me today and everyone else that you bless wifh your presence, humility and love for mankind.
Peace and love