Chapter ten: Living the Dream...
Chapter one: A childhood of fun and creativity...
Thirty five years ago, there were two baby girls born half a year apart and at opposites ends of the world. Their names were Julia and Karina.
These adorable little creatures spent most of their childhood frolicking and experimenting playing...laughing...dreaming - as all children do. They devoured life as though it was a fragile ice cream cone melting between their fingers -- a cone that had to be inhaled immediately if they were to get a taste before it disappeared. But little did they know that as they played, they were also simultaneously paving a unified path that would one day bring them together both as friends and colleagues.
Julia was born on a cold Russian day as white crispy snowflakes and the hustle and bustle of city life covered the streets of St. Petersburg.
A bit of an explorer during those early years (and possibly still now ;-), Julia stuck her nose in anything and everything she could. This little munchkin somersaulted on trampolines, jumped off diving boards, climbed beams, and wrote on all surfaces.
But a wild daredevil was not all that she was.
This spirited young adventurer was also beginning to display signs of compassion and empathy toward her fellow man (and animal ;-).
One of her favorite pastimes when she wasn't jumping off trampolines, was to watch her idealized cartoon veterinarian, Dr. Eibalit, heal the animal kingdom.
For hours, Julia would lie mesmerized as she watched her favorite doctor perform his humanitarian deeds "One day I'm going to make people all better," she would say. "I don't want anyone to be sick or sad...I'm will make them feel happy instead."
Many thought that Julia's utopian ideals were inspired by watching her father work with his patients. And they were partially right. Her father was definitely her hero, but then again, so was Dr. Eibalit. ;-)
As Julia dreamed about saving the world, on the opposite end of that same world, also on a cold and bright winter day, another baby girl was being born in a small province of Tucuman located in the northwest part of Argentina -- her name was Karina.
At the age of one, Karina would move to Buenos Aires with her family where she would spend most of her young adult life.
Contrary to Julia's spunky personality, Karina's demeanor was much more reserved. Her daily routine consisted of going to school, coming home, and doing her homework until her mom announced dinner.
The only two interruptions in her daily schedule were her two siblings -- Bettina and Jose. Bettina needed a pinch of discipline now and then but it was her brother Jose who occupied most of Karina's attention. He was an absolute "little devil!"
Jose was Karina's responsibility. It was her job to watch him and asure that he wasnt falling off of trees, eating slugs, or drinking water from city streets. It was a chore that she wasn't too fond of, to say the least. ;-)
For Karina, the holidays were the best part of the year simply because that was her time to play, dream, and wonder.
The three summer months from December to March (in Argentina), and fifteen days in July, were Karina's heavenly days that she got to spend in her childhood city of Tucuman, running around with her cousins and seeing old friends.
It was those days that she spent pretending to be a pediatrician a vocation that she thought would be her calling in the years to come.
Chapter two: The adventurous & liberating teenage years
As most of their peers, Karina and Julia experienced the common trials and tribulations of the teenage years. They had their share of crushes and disappointments, laughs and tears, as well late nights and early rises.
However, there was one thing these two had in common that not all youngsters do, and that is a passionate devotion to the art they loved.
Karina spent her adolescent years perfecting her skill of dance; becoming an accomplished ballerina and performing at some of the most distinguished venues in Buenos Aires.
She was a ballerina for the Crazy feet Ballet; an opportunity that allowed her to share her love for contemporary dance with the world. Her dream was to experience the boundless possibility of creation and thats exactly what she did.
While Karina was performing in concert halls, Julia too was busy sharing her artistic vision with the world.
There was only one difference, however. Unlike Karinas artistry, which took form on the dance floors of theatres, Julia's performances took place on frozen surfaces of ice rinks.
Julias skating career began shortly after her arrival in the United States at age seven and continued to flourish for the next two decades.
She became a gold medalist in figures and freestyle, competed against the elite of the U.S. figure skating world, and performed in numerous international exhibitions. These athletic accomplishments would be something that she would carry with her for the rest of her life, however not for the same reasons as most would think.
To Julia, skating symbolized a best friend, not merely medals hanging on the wall.
If asked, she would be the first to admit that being considered an Olympic hopeful and being named as such by The New York Times was not hurtful to her ego. But she would also say that it wasn't that attention that kept her going all these years. It was actually skatings persistent invitation to express her emotions and visionary ideals that married her for life to this exquisite art-form.
Skating allowed Julia to tell her story without a single sound -- a priceless gift for a shy girl who wanted, and most importantly needed, to be heard.
Chapter three: Education with a twist
No one could argue that dance and skating were Karinas and Julias first loves.
However, deep within their hearts, these two knew that there was still an undiscovered destiny awaiting them both
and so without looking back, they individually set out to discover that future.
Little did they know that it would be this very decision that would one day unite their paths and merge their journeys. And so the next stage of their life began the college years.
Julias and Karinas choice of educational pursuit was another interesting similarity between the two. The only difference being that Julias true vocation would take a bit longer to crystallize.
In her youthful search for greatness and social accomplishment, Karina decided to pursue industrial engineering as her choice of profession.
She naively believed that it was the top of the corporate ladder that would enable her to make meaningful changes in the workplace and to make people a priority in all decision-making processes.
Industrial engineering would be her ticket to a CEO position, or so she thought. Plus she enjoyed the challenge -- a woman succeeding in a man's career (at least it was in Argentina during that time period)...what could be better than that?!.
The years within the corporate structure were interesting to say the least. They gave Karina a solid business foundation and taught her a great deal about her goals in life.
Unfortunately, however, the engineering world failed to make a perfect fit and so Karina decided to take a break. She would take a one year sabbatical from her professional endeavors and go to the US.
There she would work in a manufacturing company, study English, and try to find her real mission in life.
After spending a year in the States, Karina came back to Buenos Aires and decided to give her engineering studies another try.
But only after a few months, and a class full of theorems and numbers where she felt completely lost, she went directly to the social sciences school to search for other career options.
Luckily for Karina, the answer didnt take long to arrive. As she came home the next afternoon, she found her mother listening to a tango called El dia que me quieras.
There was something about that moment that made Karina turn to her and announce that she would study labor relations.
Yes, just like that. How is it that I didnt think of this before? she thought to herself. It was a serendipitous moment that she still can't forget to this day.
Karina was concerned about peoples wellbeing as it related to their professional lives; having watched her own family struggle with the ills of corporate indifference.
She felt a strong drive to be part of the transformation that could take place if only more people took a stand. And she wanted to be part of that revolution.
Karinas heart told her that this was the path that she must follow and so that's the road she decided to take.
For Julia, the decision wasn't as instantaneous as it was for Karina. It would take years of soul-searching and a gift from a friend to point Julia in a direction that would change her vocational destiny.
Julia was an eclectic young woman whose interests included; psychology, sociology, nutrition, medicine, fashion design, and and film.
No one could understand how one person could be pulled in so many different directions all at once.
But in Julias mind, it all made sense.
She has been an observer all her life; reading peoples instincts, motives and thoughts (psychology/sociology).
She spent years perfecting and strengthening her athletic body; working with physical trainers and holistic healers (nutrition/medicine).
She designed her own costumes and was well known for her fashion sense (fashion design).
And she loved the escapist nature and inspirational power of film; reminding her of the two things she valued most in skating (film production/direction).
Julia found all of these paths toxically alluring.
How was she going to choose one when each represented an important part of who she was?
One day, during one of those life-altering conversations with a childhood friend, the answer came.
"You're going to be a pharmacist!" her friend yelled out.
"A what? Why?" said Julia. "Well, because it'll allow you do what you've always dreamed of -- heal physically with medicine and spiritually with words."
"What about all my other interests?" Julia said.
"They can be hobbies," replied her friend. "Plus, I did your chart. Take a look...you'll see it makes perfect sense."
That was the day that Julia decided to become a pharmacist. And unknown to her at the time, it was also the day that she was introduced to something that in the future would become one of her greatest passions.
Chapter four: Work, Love and search for meaning...
With life comes reality and with reality comes the crystallization of true hopes, wishes, and needs.
Time came for Karina and Julia to learn the harsh difference between innocent ideals and grown-up practicalities.
Karinas professional journey brought her to a giant of the corporate world Coca Cola Femsa de Buenos Aires (KOFBA); one of the largest Coca Cola bottling companies in the world.
Her position would be that of a human resources specialist -- a buffer between corporate policy and human need.
She envisioned a great future with this company. Karina was confident that her desire and will to create an environment where people could flourish would not go unnoticed.
She had no doubt that she would make the difference she knew she could.
During her time with KOFBA, Karinas mission was partially achieved.
Her boss at the time, also an engineer-turned-labor-relations-specialist who understood Karinas motivations, gave her the freedom to infuse a bit of her humanitarian ideals into her daily tasks and interactions support for which she is grateful till this day.
However, not taking into account the efforts of individual people, corporate power was, and always will be, corporate power.
Little by little, Karina began to understand that her idealistic visions would not see light within the corporate structure and began to plant seeds within her mind about another future destination.
But as with most things in life, there was an upside to the disappointment. In addition to the priceless wisdom gained, invaluable dose of reality received, and the close friendships created, Coca Cola Femsa ended up granting this "dream girl" a huge wish.
Karina met Federico at Coca Cola Femsa -- her prince charming...her eternal love.
He would be the priceless gem that would not only change her romantic life, but also her entire destiny as well.
Concurrently, at the opposite end of the world, Julia was also embarking on a new voyage -- a new career as a pharmacist and healer. She was eager to share her compassion and empathy for the human condition with those who needed her most...her patients. She was ready to listen, understand, and mend.
This was to be her future, her way of contributing to mankind.
Unfortunately, Julia's enthusiasm would too soon crumble, as had Karina's, under the harsh realities of working life.
Her attempts at listening would soon be drowned by her bosss eardrum-busting yelps about spending too much time on chit chat...her attempts at understanding would be trampled by her customers verbal attacks and unrealistic demands...and her attempts at mending would eventually give way to the bureaucracy and inefficiency of the healthcare system.
Of course, as on every journey, she did meet kind and inspiring souls, people that would be in her life for many years to come. But their warmth was not enough to sustain her disappointment.
She began to feel that her chosen path was not what she had expected, both on a personal and professional level. This was not the life she envisioned for herself and it is a life that she would work to change.
While continuing to fulfill her obligations as a pharmacist, Julia set out on a journey of discovery. Over the next few years, she would feverishly read about astrology and stay up nights studying the innate potential of her own chart.
She attended classes that covered completely unrelated topics; everything from finding your true vocation...to understanding death and dying...to the secrets of relational bliss.
She interviewed people, listened to lectures, and visited grad schools.
Julia learned more about herself in those few years than she did in her entire lifetime. Finally, she was ready to make a third attempt at fulfilling her destiny...and that is exactly what she did.
Chapter five: The MBA decision. Hello Fordham!
One morning, as they were having breakfast, Federico turned to Karina and told her that he wanted to go to the States to get an MBA. The two were inseparable for a couple of years now, so of course he wanted her to come along. He was a bit surprised, however, when Karina, without giving it even a days worth of thought, agreed to the idea.
But she was ready to take the next step. This move felt right. It was time for her to leave the corporate giant before it ate her alive. Plus, she still had her dream and maybe this would be her way to fulfill it. The year was 2002. Hello MBA at Fordham!
After her few years of soul-searching, Julia also decided that an MBA would be her ticket out of an unsatisfying predicament.
Out of all the graduate programs that she had considered, the MBA carried a promise of choice and freedom -- a promise that was as precious to Julia as the oxygen she breathed.
Julia realized that it wasnt her lack of self-knowledge that was holding her back but rather the external circumstances that surrounded her.
She finally understood that her ability to express her utopian ideals and selfless love for her fellow man depended on one pivotal, all-encompassing point her ability to become independent.
However, independence takes skill and know-how
and so Julia too joined Fordham's entering class of 2002. She was ready to do business on her terms!
Chapter six: Two worlds collide...
It was the second year of classes, in an Entrepreneurship class to be exact, that Julias and Karinas worlds collided.
We remember the day as though it was yesterday
the class discussion had turned to the topic of what it really meant to be an entrepreneur and what ones obligation is to the world he serves.
The debate got heated as two clicks formed -- one supporting the monetary obligations to society and the other social contribution and benefit. There were only two members in the social click Julia and Karina.
These two gals stood their ground as two bulldozers about to take down a fort. They knew first hand the consequences of disregarding the human spirit when it came to professional pursuit and were determined to demonstrate to their classmates the pitfalls of purely monetary pursuits.
Believe it or not, this boiling discussion lasted for the entire semester. Till the very last class, Julia and Karina continued to fight for their point of view. They understood corporate power and knew that if future leaders couldn't see the value of doing good in exchange for slightly smaller returns, then there would be little hope of happiness for the working class of the world.
Julia's and Karina's mutual power of persuation would remain to be judged...but what these two already knew was that they found a kindred spirit in each other that would sustain their friendship for years to come.
Who could have guessed that it would take a few mistakes, a couple of hobbies, a shift of countries to make two destined paths collide?
and we cant forget one class and a tiny debate. ;-)
Chapter seven: Now What?
Graduation had come and gone and now it was time to find a job.
The Corporate MBA hunt had begun. One after another, Julias and Karinas classmates were disappearing into the quicksand of Capital Empires
yet there was something that was making the two of them stay behind.
They knew in their deep inside their guts that the normal MBA path was not for them and so slowly continued to search for a more viable solution.
Many options crossed their minds; everything from working for or starting a nonprofit
to opening their own franchise. They were eager to find truly meaningful work, work that would finally release their long suppressed visions and help them make a difference in the world.
Unfortunately, their mutual search would be cut short by Federicos acceptance of a job in Mexico City.
It was an opportunity of a lifetime that he just couldnt pass up. Plus, Karina hadn't yet found a reason to stay.
Once again, Julia and Karina would have to go their separate ways. However, this time, it was different. They were now united in mission and vowed that they would find a way to work together to create the kind of life they had always envisioned.
Julia and Karina said their goodbyes for now...but they both knew that this was only the beginning.
Chapter eight: Halleluiah to SBI! A diamond in disguise
Day after day, Karina and Julia continued to look for their answer. They went to lectures, searched the internet, read books
you name it, they did it.
They were confident that if they were persistent enough that they would find their true path. And believe it or not, they were right.
One morning, while Julia was fulfilling her duties as a pharmacist, a client came in that needed some advice about a medication. As always, Julia dropped what she was doing and proceeded toward the gentlemen to have one of those "forbidden" discussions about his concerns.
It must have been one of those serendipitous moments in life
because the conversation took a 180 degree turn and faced the topic that was burning a hole in both Julias and Karinas hearts what work should they do to fulfill their mutual destiny?
As it turned out, the patient who was standing in front of her coughing up a storm was also a computer and publishing genius. He was an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word and a social entrepreneur at that!
He understood Julias dream almost immediately
and had only one thing to say SBI!
Those three letters and that chance conversation would change Julias and Karinas life forever
and most importantly, can help change yours as well.
Chapter nine: What is SBI? Why it? ...
Our conversation lasted for about half an hour; covering not only my guardian angels professional ventures and adventures, but also my own aspirations and hopes.
When we were about to wrap up, he turned to me and said, I want you to answer three questions for me.
You can keep the answers to yourself but I want you to answer each one. If you do that, I give you my word that I will tell you how to get what you want.
Its a deal I said; my heart pounding forcefully against my chest as I silently stood waiting for the three questions.
First What do you want?
Second What do you need?
Third What is your greatest passion?
"Tell me when you have your answers," he said.
Thought after thought feverishly pounced inside my head. "I have the answers!" I wanted to belch as loudly as I could. But instead, quietly told him that I was ready to hear what my next steps would be.
"Wonderful!" he said. "Tomorrow Im going to email you a plan that I want you to follow to a tee. And if you promise me that youll do that, Ill promise you that you will have the life that youve been anxiously searching for."
I gave him my word...and received the following plan in my email box the next morning:
1.Do a quick read through of the
SBI Action Guide
, and make a list of all ideas that come to mind.
2.Once you have your list, try to narrow it down to your top three picks. Remember to choose topics that youre interested in, want to talk about, and are willing to learn more about.
3.Now that you have your top three choices, I want you to think ahead a bit, and envision ways in which you could monetize each of those options. I realize that this is all quite new to you and probably somewhat overwhelming. But dont worry, once youre done with this outline, youll know exactly what youre doing (I dont know how he knew, but I really needed to hear that!).
Here are some online monetization options:
: writing about what you know best.
Selling hard goods
that are related to your site concept and are of the quality that you desire.
as an affiliate (promoting other peoples products) or as a creator (selling your own e-books, e-courses, or e-anything that you feel like developing yourself).
of your own or that of your favorite chiropractor, hair-stylist, or dance instructor. ;-)
e. Promoting offline/ local businesses that you love; ones that could use your assistance and newly developed expertise.
"The possibilities are endless...all you need is an open mind and a willing heart. Both of which I think you already have."
4. While all the ideas are still fresh in your mind, I want you to
take a look at what others have done
with this incredible tool. Your ideas and visions will of course be unique to you, but it never hurts to broaden the horizon.
5. Once youre done with your homework, if you still have questions or unsure of what to do next, you can always call me or
speak directly to another SBI owner.
Remember, the more people you speak with, the more you will learn.
And dont be shy
SBIers are a special bunch of guys and gals
people just like you
people who had a dream and made it happen.
Good luck on your journey, he said
Ill be seeing you on the web!
Of course, the first thing I did was call Karina. I have it! I screamed over the phone. Book a ticket and get your butt to NY. We have lots of work to do.
And the rest, as they say, is history. ;-)
In case youre curious, here are the answers to those three questions he asked:
1. What do I want?
To express who I am while sharing what I know and what I believe in...
2. What do I need?
Freedom to make a comfortable living so that I can support my family while fulfilling my vocational destiny...
3. What is my greatest passion?
People, Love & Astrology. Had to cheat on that one. ;-)
What are yours?
Chapter ten: Living the Dream
thats our story -- the story of hopes and dreams
pains and sorrows
searching and finding
living and loving. A story that wasnt easy to recount or create
yet here it is finding its way to you. Destiny, I suppose. ;-)
The voice that youll hear throughout this site is our voice a unified expression of our individual lives, experiences, and insights.
If youre a bit disappointed that the singular voice youll hear is actually that of two, we apologize. But try to think of it as getting two lifefulls for the price of one! ;-) Were kidding, of course.
We simply thought that a story resonating from one voice would be easier to hear and understand. If we were wrong in our assumption, again we apologize.
However, no matter what your initial gut reaction is to this news, please know, and be assured, that all the words on our pages are real, true, and come from deep within our hearts.
As you might have already guessed, Julia is the astrology buff. But everything else -- the plans... gift-giving ideas
and romantically idealized view of the world -- come from us, the both of us!
This work is our passion and we hope that you can feel that.
The only other thing that we would like to say is welcome. We are extremely pleased to meet you, our new friend.
To life and love!
Julia & Karina
The END...or...simply the beginning! ;-).
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