We, women, have so much wisdom to share with each other. I hope you enjoy this interview with a uniquely gifted and generous woman, Mariela Quintero of Atomica Team. As Mariela shares
At some point, you understand that you cannot be led by anything or anyone outside of you, that leadership needs to come from within, and that you have to be gutsy enough to go and find it. If you don’t find it, create it.Mariela Quintero
Zette H.: 00:03 So, Mariela.
Mariela Q.: 00:05 Hi!
Zette H.: 00:05 How are you?
Mariela Q.: 00:06 I’m great, Zette. Thanks for having me here. I love talking to you all the time.
Zette H.: 00:12 You too, you too. You have such great energy, and I just feel you have such wisdom too. I’ve seen it coming through in a lot of the things that you share and write, so I’m really excited that you’re willing to share that wisdom today.
Mariela Q.: 00:25 Thank you so much. Well, I’m honored. It’s always a great opportunity when you get to share your background and the things that you have had to deal with, even though being for such a long time in business doesn’t mean that I started off that way.
Zette H.: 00:46 Yeah. Tell us a little bit about your beginnings. What was that like for you?
Mariela Q.: 00:50 I go way back, in terms of advertising and marketing and communication, a long way. But that’s going to be boring to tell you all about it. I just can tell you that for the last 20 years, I’ve dedicated myself in my career to being an entrepreneur. It wasn’t that easy. Well, it started out easy, because I came from an advertising context, working with big agencies. So what I did, and I thought it was easy, was just bringing all that thing, all that big agency stuff, applied to a small agency. And guess what? It didn’t work. It didn’t work because … It’s a whole different story when you work on your own.
Mariela Q.: 01:47 You need to really get clear on what you want to do, not just bring in an old template. So it’s been an adventure, growing with my business, and actually reinventing myself, what I want to do, what I’m good at, what I enjoy most, who I want to work with. So that’s what I’ve been figuring out and chipping away … you know, like I got this big rock, and I’ve been trying to chip away whatever doesn’t suit me. I wouldn’t say resonates with me, because that’s such an overused word. It’s not just a feeling. It’s just what your skills are.
Mariela Q.: 02:42 So along with raising two kids over those two decades, I have been on a quest of knowing who I am and why I want the stuff that I want.
Zette H.: 02:59 Oh, that’s really powerful.
Mariela Q.: 03:00 Yes, yes. At some point, you understand that you cannot be led by anything or anyone outside of you, that leadership needs to come from within, and that you have to be gutsy enough to go and find it. If you don’t find it, create it.
Zette H.: 03:25 Great.
Carrots Or Sticks
Mariela Q.: 03:26 I have this metaphor about myself, and you know how there’s the popular belief that people just get going if you put a carrot or a stick? What happens if you cannot find your carrot? What happens if you can’t find who gets the stick for you? Where do you find your motivation?
Mariela Q.: 03:58 So I realized that I am the one that either gets the stick or puts the carrot in front of myself. So I decided that’s just the carrot, not the stick. But being able to motivate yourself and find the reason within to get going and to do the stuff that you do … If you have a whole set of skills, it’s okay. But if you don’t know how to point them in the right direction and why … There’s this big gap.
Mariela Q.: 04:39 So I can say I’ve been lucky enough to create the carrot on my own for myself.
Zette H.: 04:48 Yeah. Well, that’s really great to hear, because that actually … The first six steps of the program that I offer is all about finding out what you bring to the table. Your skills, your talents, your experience, your education. Really catalog this so that you see it right in front of you. It’s like emptying a treasure chest that you had locked away and you know it’s there. You say, oh, I know what’s in there. But you really have to lay it out so you can see it, see all of its beauty and all the power of all this life experience you’ve had. Then really knowing, how is your body going to carry you through this? How are you going to care for your body so that you can feel energized and vital while you’re doing this great work?
Zette H.: 05:34 Then, creating mental resilience. We must be able to weather those ups and downs, those rejections, and also really manage the success in a way that’s going to help us to continue to move forward, because sometimes when we get a little too successful, we actually scare ourselves and we’re likely to maybe slide back a little bit.
Zette H.: 05:53 Then really to what you talked about, getting intimate with core values. So many of us could say, oh, I know what I value. But if you were as intimate with your core values as you are with maybe an intimate partner, that you know them inside and out and you have a conversation with them, that’s when you know exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing. That’s what makes you unstoppable. And then the direction, you mentioned how important it is to know where you’re going because it’s got to mean something to you. Otherwise, why would you get out of bed every day?
Zette H.: 06:26 Then the sixth step for my program is taking a look at the road ahead and saying, what’s going to get in my way? What do I know is my usual way of stumbling, or the kinds of things that might block me, and what’s my strategy? Creating a strategy for dealing with those. So it’s really exciting to hear that that was your natural way of moving through your journey, was really connecting to those really important places.
Mariela Q.: 06:54 Yeah. The thing is I didn’t know is actually how I came up to this point. I’d say it’s just patience, perseverance, and I’m pretty sure it was that, the determination and where I wanted to be at. There’s so much more room in the path ahead of me.
It’s Never Too Late
Mariela Q.: 07:17 I just wished I’d done it sooner. I would’ve loved that I came across the right person, that I actually was … I don’t know. I would say I wasn’t humble, but I would say I wished I didn’t … I knew that I needed help, because sometimes when you have like… For example, I’m 49, and when I started off my own business, I was 30. I had, what was it, I had six to seven years … When you’re in your 20s and you start up a career and you do well and you’re employed in big shop places, you think you’re the queen of the hill. You have had such a great performance, and then you become a mom.
Mariela Q.: 08:16 Okay. So you don’t want to lose your career. You get on with something. Well, you think you have it all, you have everything figured out. For me, when I turned 40, I realized that I was carrying a lot of baggage, and so that, of course, that interfered with my career, my business.
Mariela Q.: 08:39 So I wished I had matured sooner in other places, and get feedback from other people. The skills, when it comes to the hard skills you use for your career, are there. But sometimes you cannot use them properly or to the highest level when you’re held up, and the hard thing is not knowing that you’re being held up by your own belief and your own, I’d say, baggage. But it’s great. And it’s never too late, right?
Zette H.: 09:24 Right. No, it’s definitely never too late. I think as much as I share your desire to have known all this when I was 18, yeah. But the reality is too, I’m 56 and I definitely … especially moving into the 50s, I began to realize just how valuable and necessary all those years were, that I had lived them the way I had lived them. Living that time in any other way wouldn’t have brought me to where I am right now. So it’s a time of life, especially for women, that I don’t think we have enough understanding and awareness and maybe enough role models about how rich this time of life is. It’s because we’ve had all those years where we used the stick to motivate ourselves. The occasional carrot, but probably mostly sticks. Or we found ourselves stopped. Maybe it looked like it was something outside of us, but ultimately, now we look back and realize, it was always something inside of us.
Welcoming Your Stories Home
Zette H.: 10:29 For me, as a traditional storyteller also, it’s about stories we’ve collected about who we are throughout this time. As you were really alluding to, some of those stories really help you move forward. But a lot of those stories keep you stuck and small and scared and limited and get in your way.
Mariela Q.: 10:47 Those kinds of questions you ask yourself sometimes when you’re all alone. It’s like, who am I kidding, or who am I to do this, who am I to wish for this?
Zette H.: 10:58 Yes. And when we hear those questions, what I have learned is that they’re coming from a place of love, actually. They really actually want to keep us safe and protected, and they would like to see us not get hurt. What we’ve developed is this language system with them where you’re getting a little too big for your britches.
Mariela Q.: 11:22 You know, thank you so much for what you just said, because I have never entertained the idea that they were coming from a loving place.
Zette H.: 11:32 Yes. It’s extraordinary, and one of the … Just, I’ll share a little strategy that I’ve been working with, for the last seven years … The first thing we want to do, when something negative happens, our first impulse, which is totally natural, is to go, ‘oh, no, no thanks. Take it away, put it outside.’ You can picture yourself opening the front door, throwing it out on the lawn, and locking the door and saying, never come back again. Well, those bits of ourselves, those are really bits of who we are because those were our experiences.
Zette H.: 12:03 We have abandoned them, and they just stick around. They float around that front yard. When a new problem comes in that looks or feels like that one, because they always do, it shows up at the door with the new problem. They’re both knocking at the door, and they’re like, ‘hey, hey. Let us in.’ The more we shut the door and say get out, the more the crowd is going to grow.
Zette H.: 12:26 I realized if, when I open that door, if I can say, I see you … Let them know that they’re seen. Then embrace them. Say, I embrace you, I’m acknowledging that you do belong to me, that we belong to each other, and I really appreciate what you’ve done for me, and I love you. If it’s really hard to say I love you with feeling, it doesn’t need to be. You can just say those words and begin this process of, really, reconciliation with all those bits that we’ve had to push away from ourselves because we didn’t have the ability or the time or the support to deal with them.
Mariela Q.: 13:00 Yeah. Mostly, I’d say support. We didn’t know who to turn to. The context of either family, society, or colleagues … They’re pretty much facing the same stuff, otherwise, we wouldn’t be in this pack. It gives me a whole new perspective. What are you trying to tell me? If this isn’t the stick, then it should be a loving carrot. How do I reframe it? That’s so much fun, thank you, because you’ve just given me so much with that thought. Thank you.
Zette H.: 13:35 Oh, excellent. I’m glad, and it’s exciting to hear how that has opened up a new direction or a new idea for you. Well done, I’m glad.
Mistakes To Avoid
Zette H.: 13:46 I would love it if you would share with us some of the mistakes or ways that women, when they first go into business, especially after 45 … Let’s say you’re making a major life change, you’re reinventing yourself, and you want to go in business. When it comes to marketing yourself, what mistakes would you encourage them not to make, or what strategies do you find would be most helpful?
Mariela Q.: 14:10 In terms of tech stuff, and that’s so little of it … I hear a lot of women say stuff like, I’m not good at technology, I’m not good at selling stuff, because they’re afraid of failing, they’re afraid of making mistakes, really screwing it up when it comes to technology, and they don’t want to get criticized.
Mariela Q.: 14:37 The funny thing is that we criticize ourselves first. In order for criticism from outside to even get a chance on getting to us, we have to be criticizing ourselves first. So what I tell everyone, and especially women, because those are … Women are the most common from my people that I hear this from. I’m not good at technology, so what do you mean, you’re not good at technology? The fact that you haven’t gotten the skill before doesn’t mean that you cannot get it now. The fact that you don’t know it yet doesn’t mean that you cannot learn it.
Mariela Q.: 15:18 So it’s just, you haven’t had the need to use it. That doesn’t make you a non-technical person. On my website, I have a little thing dedicated to how we consider ourselves to be rebels, and I say, why do I consider myself a rebel? Because I believe that people over 40 can be rock stars at technology. I work with people all within very open ranges of age, and I have people that who are 30 that don’t like, don’t want, not interested, thank you, and I have people over 50 and nearly 60 that are so into technology.
Mariela Q.: 16:02 So speak about technology, and I say technology when it comes to marketing because it’s not going anywhere. It’s going tech-oriented, going internet-oriented, and it’s going to get more exciting every single time. So if you want to be in business, you cannot reject the notion of using technology getting through to marketing.
Zette H.: 16:28 It’s exciting because you … The authenticity with which you say that really comes through, and so I believe you 100%, that there’s no one who can’t become tech-savvy enough to be able to reach their customers through technology. So having an advocate like you is awesome for people who feel like maybe they’re a little afraid or they just don’t know enough.
What’s Your Story?
Zette H.: 16:51 What’s great is what you’ve outlined is really just a story that people have about themselves. Their story is, I’m not tech-savvy. You’re saying your story can change like that, because you have everything you need to be able to because tech-savvy, as long as you believe you can.
Mariela Q.: 17:07 And you actually want it, because the other thing that I would suggest is evaluating … what you’re talking, what you’re actually saying, because if you’re always going to be … Oh, I don’t like it. That’s not for me. Oh, I’m not good for that … because everyone else is saying it, especially when it comes to women. I don’t know if you read that I posted something, there’s this book called Girl, Stop Apologizing.
Zette H.: 17:38 Yes, yes.
Mariela Q.: 17:39 I love it because it says you don’t have to be like any other woman. If you decide that you’re goal-oriented, go for your goals. If you decide that you want to get into technology, even if you’re over 40, go for it. If you decide that you want to get a brand new skill like no other woman around you is getting or interested, don’t feel excluded or weird, or if you have it within you, embrace it, love it, and go for it. Get it for whatever you need to get it.
Zette H.: 18:12 So you’re saying don’t wait for someone else to give you permission. Give yourself permission.
Mariela Q.: 18:19 Yeah, yeah. Be the weird one of the pack.
Zette H.: 18:23 Excellent.
Mariela Q.: 18:26 I get it from … I graduated 31 years ago from high school, and all my classmates, they’re lawyers or they’re designers. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it. But when I tell them I work in online marketing, they go, what the hell is that? So you’re the kind of people that know about the internet and this generic thing, the internet, the blogging stuff. They don’t even know how to talk about it.
Mariela Q.: 19:02 So what is it about? Using technology to your advantage. No, that’s too broad. Whatever. I can use my iPhone. That’s as long as I’m going to go when it comes to technology. You’re the weird one. What happened to you along the way? I grew?
Zette H.: 19:22 Yes. You didn’t let any story say you couldn’t. That’s exciting. It’s so clear that you have walked this path and it has been successful for you. You know this works, and I get so much of your passion to really share that and allow, have other women allow themselves, to access what it is you’ve been able to access. So, well done.
Connect With Mariela
Zette H.: 19:44 What is your website? I think that that would be great to have.
Mariela Q.: 19:47 Oh, thank you so much. My website, it’s all in Spanish, atomicateam.com.
Zette H.: 19:54 Atomicateam.com. Actually, I’ve been on your website, and Google will translate, and I would say knowing because you and I are in the same mastery program, so I know where you’re headed with your message … I would say that Google does a fair job, so that anyone who’s listening to this if you go to the website and let Google translate, you’re going to get a pretty good gist. And if you see anything that you think, I don’t quite understand that, well, how would they reach out to you, Mariela?
Mariela Q.: 20:19 Easy. My email is Mariela, M-A-R-I-E-L-A, at atomicateam.com.
Zette H.: 20:27 You’ve given us some amazing quotes and a lot of inspiration, and it’s so clear that you have walked this path successfully, and are completely committed to sharing that with others. I’m really inviting them to follow you into a more successful, over 40, over 50 kind of life experience.
Mariela Q.: 20:47 It’s an amazing feeling to be over 40 and almost 50 and be the kickass mom. My kids say stuff like, oh, when I talk about you in school, when I tell my friends that you are way better than us at technology, they feel so proud of it, and I feel so proud of it. It’s either marketing, or it’s whatever you want to get out there and become the best of the best because that’s you simply have the skill. You need to give that to the world.
Mariela Q.: 21:22 I have a quote that I want to share with you. It’s from a book. I do a lot of reading, so you will understand why I quote stuff all the time. I read this in a book. I don’t remember the book, the title. But it says,
“I commit to dedicating all my purpose and energy to my personal zone of genius, in which I can contribute most to the world.”
So I thought that was so powerful because sometimes, we believe we’re out the door, but we’re just getting started.
Zette H.: 21:58 Thank you for that. That is powerful, and it’s a great way to close our interview. Thank you so much.