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Rick Ornelas of I Spark Change: “Everything takes more time than you think”

Everything takes more time than you think. Marketing, writing copy, even shipping. You think you can just knock it out in a few minutes but take the time to do it right the first time and you’ll be glad you did. The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times […]

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Everything takes more time than you think. Marketing, writing copy, even shipping. You think you can just knock it out in a few minutes but take the time to do it right the first time and you’ll be glad you did.


The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rick Ornelas

Rick Ornelas is the author of 12 Hours of Heaven: Lessons for a Better World. He coaches businesses and individuals to ultimate success through his unique understanding of growth, communication, wellness, fitness, mental toughness, and spiritual awareness. His newest endeavor, I Spark Change, is bringing together those who seek to make the world a better place. Learn more at www.isparkchange.comhttps://content.thriveglobal.com/media/12142be207549b81e653b043d1a96736


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Let’s just say I grew up as a typical middle-class kid in the 70’s and 80’s in a very disciplined and loving family. It was a lot like you see on TV…only better! You see, I was the youngest of five which might sound bad at first except for the fact that I had four older sisters who loved me to death. They always made sure I was up to date on the latest trends and introduced me to all of their female friends. Plus, my wife might say they “broke me in” for her. I was further broken in by my father who taught me all sorts of lessons on the importance of hard work and family. Throw that all in with various sports and activities and I was a pretty involved kid with a great childhood.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” Unfortunately for me, I had to learn this the hard way, through plenty of failures and missed opportunities. Early on I always got by through intelligence, grit, and determination. If things didn’t go well I was able to “just wing it”. It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I realized if I just planned things out a little better it would lead to phenomenal results. Still, this is something I work on every day as old habits die hard. Fortunately, I have three daughters that have heard this too many times thinking it was for their benefit. If they only knew…

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The work of Darren Hardy. Mainly his course, Jumpstart and his book The Compound Effect. These were quite impactful not only due to the content but also the timing. It was during the writing of my book that I began the Jumpstart course which helped me to focus on the task of writing and my greater goals. The things I learned I still practice in most of what I do for business and life.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

Most of my career was been spent in the medical sector. Initially with large Fortune 500 companies in marketing, training, and corporate development. Later, with smaller companies focusing on growth and improvement. Just before the start of the Pandemic I was working in two different capacities. One, as a business coach in the medical sector, working with doctors of all types on the growth of their practices. Two, as the COO for a small healthcare company. I had a lot on my plate and was usually involved in too much.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

I decided to start writing a book that had been in my head for almost twenty years. In my writing journey, I realized I could have a much greater impact reaching far beyond my immediate surroundings with the creation of I Spark Change.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

I had written a blog article at the start of quarantine entitled How to have a successful COVID-19 quarantine. In the article I discussed using the time as an opportunity to learn, grow, be grateful, and help others among other things. This motivated me to take my advice and begin writing my book.

How are things going with this new initiative?

Double-A! Amazing and Arduous. Amazing in the positivity and support that I have received from family, friends, and people all over the world. Arduous because change is difficult and people are comfortable with the status quo even if it is not where they want to be. It’s all worth it though, It will just not be immediate.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

A source for much of my inspiration was and is my 18yr old nephew, Zachary Grant. It was right in the middle of my writing at the beginning of July that his actions motivated me in a totally unexpected way. This young teenager decided to start a non-profit, The July 8th Project to memorialize the suicide of his mother and my sister, Linda Ornelas. His organization is helping to deliver food to the homeless, improve a children’s home, and assist the elderly to name just a few things. It is truly amazing and a big reason for the idea for I Spark Change.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

The ironic thing is that the most interesting story didn’t happen since I started but rather was the reason for me getting started in the first place. As I begin writing 12 Hours of Heaven I set a modest goal of writing 500–750 words per day. This lasted until early July to where I was about halfway complete. At that time I entered a period of spirituality, focus, and clarity that I felt was divine intervention. I began having visions and dreams of everything that I was destined to create and a plan for the future. It lasted for about a month and it was during this time that I had the idea to create I Spark Change and completed my book. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced in my life and something I am very grateful for.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

Video Link- https://youtu.be/WNM6FXXiYaQ

Starting a new endeavor is challenging no matter who you are. One of the best things you can do is reflect on how to improve. This is different from wishing you had done things differently or having regrets. Still, sometimes it would be nice to know them in advance. Here are the five that resonated with me.

  1. Everything takes more time than you think. Marketing, writing copy, even shipping. You think you can just knock it out in a few minutes but take the time to do it right the first time and you’ll be glad you did.
  2. Learn from those who have done it before. There are plenty of resources available from books, courses, videos and a lot of it is free. I have been soaking in as much as possible in my weaker areas and it is helping us grow. Spend the aforementioned time to learn as much as you can and you’ll reap the benefits.
  3. Have a good story to tell and don’t be afraid to share it. When I initially had the idea for I Spark Change I kept it private thinking It needed to be completely “ready” before it was worthwhile. Once I realized the time was right, I made a short video and shared it with the world. The response was incredibly positive and supportive. Boy, I could have used this support a lot sooner had I been open.
  4. Rely on your inner circle for support…but only so much. People want to help and they usually will but only on the simpler things and not to the level you think. It’s your dream and no one else’s. Don’t expect them to be as driven and passionate as you are. You are the only one who will chase your dream.
  5. It will be difficult and there’s always more work to do. Trust me, it’s an uphill climb every day. You can ease the burden by setting some milestones and goals along the way. Once you accomplish them, celebrate these small wins, but only briefly. Set new goals and keep working on your mission.

The bottom line is if you follow your heart and pursue your dream, you won’t go wrong.

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

The biggest strategy I use is something I learned from Darren Hardy. I keep my “glass” filled with only pure clean water. Meaning, I don’t need to add the negativity, anxiety, and hatred, aka “dirty water” that is a part of most news to my world so I simply don’t follow it. I have also minimized my social media usage and viewing to only include what is important in my immediate world.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

The movement I am currently working on, I Spark Change. This movement is devoted to positively changing the world one bit, one person at a time. We are building a community of those who want to spread positive change in the world. This is setting the foundation for the world’s first social media platform 100% geared towards connecting all those interested in positive change throughout the world.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Tristan Harris- the president and a co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology and creator of The Social Dilemma.

He is the type of person that can help see my dream of creating the world’s first social media platform 100% geared towards positive change become a reality much sooner than I will be able to accomplish on my own. I have been trying to connect with individuals like him since 2009 when I began working on the platform.

How can our readers follow you online?

Sign up to join I Spark Change at www.isparkchange.com You won’t be spammed, I promised. You will be notified about the growth of our community, new blog articles, events, and future books.

Follow us on Instagram @i_spark_change for immediate spirituality, inspiration, and motivation. You’ll be glad you did.

Amazon- to order a copy of 12 Hours of Heaven: Lessons for a Better World https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KP8NDT4

YouTube for greater insight into the driving forces behind I Spark Change. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVxszC0wtIG4XxUOiFrHUqQ

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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