Rising Through Resilience: “Why You Need To Let Go Of Perfect”, With Inés Ruiz of Medita Spanish

Letting go of perfect. I had to realize that not everything is perfect. Everything is seasonal. You ebb and flow. There is a cyclical nature to our lives. And I had to give up the idea that things would always be perfect and that sometimes, there would be downtimes. In this interview series, we are […]

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Letting go of perfect. I had to realize that not everything is perfect. Everything is seasonal. You ebb and flow. There is a cyclical nature to our lives. And I had to give up the idea that things would always be perfect and that sometimes, there would be downtimes.

In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of resilience among successful business leaders. Resilience is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market. I had the pleasure of interviewing Inés Ruiz.

Ines Ruiz has two master’s degrees in E-learning and Education and is the founder of Medita Spanish, the world’s 1st language and meditation app. As a former Cambridge University lecturer, she created one of the first online learning environments for the Spanish department. Ines is dedicated to changing and transforming traditional learning environment to be more modern with a focus on mindful learning through meditation techniques. She has been featured on sites like Business Insider, CNBC, and Money Inc. She is also an award-winning entrepreneur and shares her journey on her site, DiaryofanEntrepreneur.com.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I’m a former Cambridge University professor, military spouse, and the founder of several successful businesses, including Conversa Spanish Institute and Diary of an Entrepreneur, a community for women entrepreneurs full of resources and educational tools. I’m also an investor and mentor to women-owned businesses.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

When I was 23, I was about to finish my degree in translation. I was supposed to do an internship to graduate. For a year, I’d been building a relationship with the company where I wanted to intern. Things were going well. But just before I was supposed to start, they sent me last-minute paperwork to complete. The day after I returned it, they canceled my internship. I had forgotten one Spanish accent mark. They said they wouldn’t accept anyone who didn’t pay attention to details like that.

I was devastated. I ended up taking an internship as a Spanish teacher in the United Kingdom instead. The irony is, that missing accent mark led me to become a Spanish teacher at Cambridge University and then immigrate to the US, which is what inspired me to start the business I have now. So I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t made that mistake.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

When I first started my business, there was a lot of bad advice and things in the industry that we didn’t like. So we took everything we hated in our market and turned it around to our advantage. We found a way to disrupt the current system and took all of our competitors faults and pain points and either eliminated them or made them better. Took everything we hated from market and turned it around to our advantage. Disrupted the current system. All the things that are a pain in our market, and we eliminated those things or made them better. Ultimately, we made our institution more approachable and accessible, and we created a community instead of just an information hub.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My husband, Rick, has been my biggest supporter. I am so grateful for him and his patience and his belief in my capabilities. When we moved from England to the US, I felt a bit lost because I was no longer a teacher. I knew I wanted to do something, but I wasn’t sure what. And as I found myself and my purpose, my husband supported me. He made it possible for me to have the strength and freedom to create the 7-figure business that I have now. Even though he didn’t truly understand the online business world, he believed in me. He’s been my rock and my sanity and keeps me calm during stressful times. I wouldn’t be where I am in my life and my business without him.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

I think resilience is moving energy, instead of standing still and never growing. It’s being able to take whatever happens to you and make it part of your path. Resilient people tend to look at things from all angles and find the positive aspect. For me, I had issues with my eyes when I was younger. I didn’t want to be defined by that, but rather, show how it was something that pushed me forward. I wasn’t always positive, but I was always willing to find the lessons in things and use them to my advantage. I think that’s a major characteristic of resilient people. Using their perceived flaws and obstacles and building stepping stones out of them instead of building a way that stands in your way.

When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

Frida Kahlo. She is the definition of resilience. Her life was filled with so many sorrows and tragedies, and yet she became one of the world’s most celebrated artists, political activists, and fashion icons. As a child, she contracted polio. She was also in an accident that scarred her physically and emotionally. Despite all of these hardships, she was resilient. She never gave up. She used her pain and her challenges to create beautiful paintings and refused to conform to society’s beauty standards. Her legacy and art has lived on as a testament to her resilience and her spirit.

Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?

When I left Cambridge and tried to start a business on my own, I think most people thought it would be impossible. In my industry, there is a belief that it’s just not possible to do the things I’ve accomplished. Some people I knew looked at it as me stepping down. No one believed I’d be able to start my own school. I’m sure they thought, who does she think she is? I had a lot of things against me too. I was a woman, an immigrant, and at the time, I didn’t even know anything about marketing online. But through a lot of trial and error, and a growth mindset, I kept pushing forward and now I have several successful businesses and invest in other women trying to create impact.

Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

Not too long ago, we had a major financial setback in my business. When that happened, I had to take out a line of credit and even borrow money from my husband. I felt some shame around it, because I was already so successful, but here I was borrowing money just to pay expenses. See, even though my business reached 7 figures, that didn’t mean all of it was profit. I have a big team, and I always pay them first. I think this is something most people don’t know about having a successful business. Revenue isn’t the same as profit. And though we were doing great, we had some things happen that caused us to have to slow down, which meant not as much money coming in. Eventually, things bounced back and now we’re doing even better than we were. And we learned a lot after all of that.

Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?

When I was 4 years old, I developed a strange allergy that left me almost completely blind. I ended up having to have more than 15 surgeries. Going through and overcoming something like that helped me build resilience in so many ways.

Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.

For me, I had to do a lot to build up my resilience. I think my own experience is built upon several key steps:

Getting out of victim mentality. I had to get out of that victim mindset of “why is this happening to me?” and instead figure out how I could use what was happening to become stronger and better.

Finding the meaning in something. In order to get out of my victim mindset, I had to ask what this was leading to. What could I take away from this? I dove deep into my own heart to find out what it was all teaching me and what lessons I was learning.

Letting go of perfect. I had to realize that not everything is perfect. Everything is seasonal. You ebb and flow. There is a cyclical nature to our lives. And I had to give up the idea that things would always be perfect and that sometimes, there would be downtimes.

Developing a growth mindset. This was a key step for me. And it’s something I teach now in my own business. I learned to never give up and always find a way to do something, even if things change. I looked at everything as an opportunity to grow, and it’s made me much more resilient.

Being okay to fail. This was a big one. Especially when I started my business. I had to learn to do it scared and to recognize that I was failing forward whenever things didn’t go the way I wanted them. This meant learning to trust myself and believe in my instincts and intuition.

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? You never know what your idea can trigger. (smiley)

I would love to create a movement to empower girls and women, especially minorities. Not just business, but a community that creates massive impact. I want to help empower women to know they can have their own real thriving business and become CEOs. We are all capable of impacting and changing the world. And I want to help remove the limits that hold so many women back. I think it’s important that women do more than just survive. I want to help them thrive and give them the tools and resources to get out the scarcity mindset and rise up.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them (smiley)

Sara Blakely. Her story is amazing. She was selling copy machines door-to-door for years before she created Spanx. After she started, she received shipments in her house and then would send them out by hand. She is a serious self-made billionaire and had no help. No investors. No capital. She did everything on her own. She has grit and resilience. I would love to be able to sit down at a table with her and share our stories.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I can be followed on Instagram and Facebook under @diaryofanentrepreneurofficial.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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