Rise & Shine Interview: Celenia Serrano

I'm excited that a good friend of mine Celenia Serrano is sharing with us about perseverance.  I met her about four years ago in Victoria, B. C.  and she always makes me smile. 

Celenia Serrano works for a private consulting firm based in Toronto, ON. Her true passion lies in promoting gender equality in lesser developed countries and understanding the economical and social barriers to development. It is her mission to challenge the antiquated gender roles in her own culture and promote an equal partnership between males and females. When not at work, Celenia participates regularly in yoga, in playing music and in staying active with the many dogs and horses on the farm. Thanks Celenia for sharing with us!!!! Check out my interview with her below.

(c) Celenia Serrano
(c) Celenia Serrano

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Who did you receive it from?

"Don't be afraid of your talent and don't allow yourself to believe that you're not any good." - My high school band teacher, Mr. Taylor, told this to me once when I refused to tape myself for an audition with MusicFest Canada. He believed that I had the potential to not only become a part of the MusicFest Canada orchestra that year, but he also believed that I would make it far if I chose music as a career. I must admit that I still hold myself back when it comes to music for the fear of actually knowing my true potential, but I remind myself of his words consistently.

How important is mentorship in terms of your success?

Incredibly important! I believe that having mentors in our lives (whether they be friends, certain family members, professors, etc.) provide us with the guidance that we need to achieve our goals and ultimately achieve our personal success.

What has been the best moment in your life so far?

Coming to the realization that I chose on which path I take my life, not my family nor my friends. I should be the one to decide what I do with my life, where I take it, what decisions I make - after all, it should be me writing my own story, not somebody else. Ever since that moment, I've been living my life the way I feel I should live it.

What tips would you have for living a healthy life?

It's all about balance - being too busy, but knowing when to relax; trying to solve our own problems, but knowing when to ask for help; enjoying some time on the couch, but then being active. For me, balance is my key to a healthy life.

How do you motivate yourself to persist despite setbacks?

I don't allow my setbacks to bother me nor do I focus my energy on it. Instead, I acknowledge that it's there and keeping moving forward.

What has been your biggest setback? How did you deal with it? What did you learn from it?

My biggest setback was trying to live my life according to how others defined success. I always felt that having an established career with an amazing income would make me a respectable person and would make me successful. It wasn't until I realized that I was trying to live someone else's dream that I noticed that I wasn't happy. I had to come to the conclusion that happiness depended on me and how I defined and viewed myself.

Ever since then, I've focused my time on making myself happy by doing the things I love most and pursuing a career that is rewarding in my terms. What did I learn from that? Stop allowing others to take control of your life.

How do you deal with critics?

Honestly, I ignore them. Constructive criticism is one thing, and I always take it in the most positive way I can. However, criticizing for the mere sake of criticizing doesn't deserve my attention, and therefore I ignore it.

How important is social support in overcoming obstacles?

Greatly! I believe that individually we can only get so far with motivating ourselves and therefore social support is needed to remind us that we can and will overcome obstacles.

Celenia and I. Image (c) Arianna's Random Thoughts
Celenia and I. Image (c) Arianna's Random Thoughts

What advice would you give others about goal setting?

Be realistic. Sometimes, we get caught up in making such elaborate goals that we end up not succeeding and bringing ourselves down for it. Start of small and work your way up. Each small goal that is achieved not only boasts your own confidence, but it'll make your next goal that much easier to accomplish.

What life lesson have you learned that you would like to pass along to others?

Always persevere!! I've had the opportunity to meet and be close with people that have gone from impoverishment to wealth, from being emotionally alone to being surrounded by loved ones, from having no meaning in their lives to fulfilling their dreams and all of them have had one thing in common - perseverance. They didn't allow obstacles to stop them and they didn't allow negative criticism to bring them down; rather, they persevered and are now living the lives that they envisioned.

Thank you Celenia for sharing you story with us and inspiring others! Keep persevering!

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!