Thank you to Thrive Global for publishing my article, “Gaby Natale Shares her Steps to Success.”
Lisa Niver (LN): This is Lisa Niver from We Said Go Travel. I am so honored to be here with three-time Emmy Award winner and new book author, Gaby Natale.
Gaby Natale (GN): Hello, Lisa. Welcome to my living room.
VIDEO of our dialogue: Gaby Natale and Lisa Niver
LN: It’s pretty exciting in your living room with three Emmys. Congratulations!
GN: Thank you. I put them—I was very intentional to put them in the middle of the living room and not in an office or in my studio because I wanted it to be a daily reminder that wonderful unexpected things can happen. Starting small does not mean that you’re thinking small. Because to get those Emmys, it was so unlikely. We went against the CNN’s and NBC Telemundo’s and the Univision’s and companies that are gigantic, and it’s a testimony to the power of dreams, truly.
LN: I have the chills. That is so beautiful. I really like that. “Starting small doesn’t mean thinking small.”
GN: Absolutely! Because first of all, I am an immigrant and I came to this country with only two suitcases and that’s it. My family was in Argentina. I didn’t have connections. I didn’t have somebody who would really make my life easier in that transition. And then when I was able to be an entrepreneur and to start creating my own content, which was in the year 2007—before that I was an employee at a network. I was a reporter and an anchor, but I was covering stories somebody else had to approve. And the lesson for me when I quit that job—that everybody told me you’re crazy, because nobody quits jobs like that, you know what I mean, yes?
Is that you have to follow your heart first, and then that’s when you open yourself up to the world, the world opens itself up to you, and you cannot imagine in which ways it’s going to happen. But for me, starting creating content as I did in a Carpet Warehouse in West Texas, to eventually have a syndicated show, to winning three national Emmys, was something unthinkable. Unthinkable. But that’s why I always say, starting small does not mean that you’re thinking small.
LN: I really like that. And just so everybody who’s watching knows, I know you started in 2007 in Texas and your show is called “Super Latina.” And can you tell everybody what were you—when you first started, what were you sharing?
GN: When I first started, my motivation was—I felt that women, and in particular Latinas, in front of the camera, we were portrayed in a very stereotypical way. I am a multi-dimensional woman. So is my family, my mother, my uncles, everybody that I know is like that. But when I saw women, and particular Latinas, portrayed, they were portrayed in a very stereotypical way. And so what I did is I started creating content with the dignity and the respect that I believed Latinas deserved. And it opened so many doors to me, because when I was working in front of a camera, I realized, Lisa, that in order to grow in the industry, if I follow the rules, I will have to embrace a stereotype that I was not happy with.
So it was either the stereotype of the sexy Latina, you know, the one that is doing the weather with that tight little dress. And she is expected to be sexy 24/7, like, “The wiiiiind is blowing from the souuuuuuuth.” (laughter)
Or the other one, which is more like the news anchor who is unfairly expected to sacrifice spontaneity for credibility. And I thought that the part of my personality, of my life and the parts of me that made me, would have to be erased for me to comply with those stereotypes. And I knew that if I did that—I had the clarity to know that if I did that I would be very unhappy. And that’s why I quit my job and I started creating content that made sense for me.
LN: I think that it doesn’t just make sense to you, it makes sense to a lot of people, because on YouTube you have 45 million views. Congratulations! You’re so multi-platform. You have Emmys on television. You have a tremendous YouTube following. And talk to us about your brand new book.
GN: The book, The Virtuous Circle, I love it. This book was what I thought after—what I asked myself after decades of interviewing the best of the best. Of interviewing super achievers, pioneers, successful underdogs from all walks of life.
And what I ask myself is, Lisa, “What do all these incredible people have in common?” They come from different professions, nationalities, backgrounds that—what did they have that set them apart from the rest to rise to the top of their profession, whatever that was.
And that’s what I call “the virtuous circle,” and—to make it short, you know—it’s seven archetypes that—they really live inside all of us. It’s “The Dreamer,” which is the one that allows us to visualize this dream. It’s “The Architect,” which is the one that allows us to plan. “The Maker,” which is when we execute that dream, and many people, they fall in that phase. They dream, they plan, but they never execute. And then it’s all those steps. The next one is “The Apprentice.” You have to perfect your craft, then what you have to do is to be perseverant, you have to be a Warrior, and then, when whatever you learned from The Apprentice and the perseverance you have from your inner Warrior, you meet an opportunity.
Because sooner or later in life, we have an opportunity. That’s your moment of achievement and you become The Champion. But here’s the thing, the last archetype, the seventh one, is The Leader. And to go from The Champion to The Leader, I asked people a very simple question: “Champion, what are you using your achievements for?”
If you’re using your achievements for something bigger than yourself, to make this a better world, then you’re going to inspire and you’re going to become The Leader.
Because Lisa, not everybody who is a super achiever is somebody who is looking for the collective well-being. Some people, they are just collecting individual achievements, but they are not thinking about the neighbor, the other person, the collective well-being. That’s why, in my definition in the book, to be a leader, to qualify as a leader, you need to be somebody who is using your achievements for something bigger than yourself. And we need those people.
LN: We really do need those people, and it’s so good to hear you talking about leaders the week before the inauguration. I know, having come to America from Argentina, that you have a great perspective on this crazy time we’re in. A global pandemic, an insurrection. It’s almost the inauguration. What have you been saying to yourself during this time of COVID? I know in your book you say, “We must not jump to permanent conclusions based on temporary circumstances.” So what have you been telling yourself in this very unprecedented time?
GN: Well, setting aside the lives that were lost, because the lives that were lost are not temporary; that is permanent. Putting that aside. I have been very intentional in reminding people that they—as I said, they shouldn’t jump to permanent conclusions about their future, about their talent, about your dreams, about whatever is possible for them, based on temporary circumstances.
And I am very intentional in saying that out loud right now, because I’ve been through 20 percent unemployment in Argentina, and I’ve been through having an incredibly unstable political environment where we have five presidents in ten days. And so, of course, we never thought that the things that we’ve seen at the Capitol would happen in the United States.
Those of us coming from Latin American countries—I mean, it shocked the Americans. It was a familiar scene for everybody from Latin America, to see this kind of uncertainty, but we didn’t know it was going to happen here as well – to a lesser degree, of course. But going back to people and they’re planning for their future,
I believe that many times, when we come in our lives to situations like this, whether that is economic downturn, whether that is that you lost your job, whether that is that you had a small business and you’re struggling, or your small business disappeared and you have—you find yourself starting over.
So many people are starting over right now. I remind them that they have to still see the world from a place of possibilities, which is something really hard sometimes to do when you look around and reality overwhelms you.
But if you stop doing it, and if you stop seeing the world from a place of possibilities, it can happen that you abandon your dreams prematurely. That you abandon dreams that were within your reach, but you convinced yourself that they were not possible anymore, just because of temporary circumstances.
And I was guilty of doing that when I was unemployed in Argentina, and I believed—I almost convinced myself that I was never going to be able to work in media. Imagine, you know, everything that happened afterwards. But when you are going through an employment, when you are going through a tough time, it’s hard to imagine—and you don’t get the callbacks, you don’t get the interest from your industry—it’s hard to imagine that wonderful things can happen to you in the future. That’s why I’m very intentional in reminding people not to give up on their dreams prematurely, because this recession and this COVID crisis is not going to last forever. But those dreams that they have in their heart, if they are meaningful, they are worth it.
LN: That’s so beautiful. And I want to also ask you about something else international, Argentina obviously went through some very challenging times, and I know that you lived in London—In the book you talk about three different Japanese philosophies, so I was wondering, did you live in Japan, or how do you know about all of these?
GN: Well, I’m curious and I’ve been fascinated—I mean I mentioned many things, like Japanese calligraphy, the symbol of the virtuous circle, which is this enso like an open circle. And I find they have so much wisdom.
I mentioned the kaizen, which is constant Improvement. I mentioned the ikigai, which is how to recognize what is your calling in a way, in life. So yeah, it’s true. There’s many things that I have included about Japanese philosophy.
LN: And you also mentioned the Japanese philosophy, my favorite one which is the art of loving the scars, how do you say it, kintsugi?
GN: Yes, kintsugi, yes. And that is, for people who are not familiar, it means that there’s a tradition in Japan that when you have something like a vase, you know that’s very precious, and it breaks, instead of gluing it in a way where you are going to try to make it look like it was never broken, they fix it with with a glue that has little lines—gold lines—so that you create something new out of the old. And you are, in a way, proud of your scars, because those scars are also part of your history. Those parts are things that make you beautiful. And I read that—I didn’t come up with that—I read that and I felt it was very appropriate, you know, for that part of the book. You did your homework, girl. You did your homework! (laughter)
LN: I think that’s really important. And I myself do ceramics, and we talk about some different Japanese ceramics philosophies. There’s one that says it’s okay if things aren’t perfect, it’s wabi-sabi. But I hadn’t heard about the one about the scars, and I love that so much, especially in this time.
GN: Especially in this time. But I feel like, in this time, we are starting to show a little bit more—people are saying, “I don’t have a job. I’m looking for something new,” whatever, “reinventing myself.” And at other times, because losing a job was something that happened more individually, and not like now, that it’s collectively, people would be so much more embarrassed to share it. Or people would feel like it’s only their problem. And right now because it’s happening to so many people, and because so many small business owners are struggling and trying to keep their businesses alive, we are having more honest conversations. I feel like so many masks are falling, and I think it’s very healthy, because how horrible it is that you lost your job and you cannot even talk about it because you feel like it’s embarrassing and it was not even your fault to start with.
LN: Right. I do think that, and I think that really leads into the other thing you talked about in the book, which is, “The only guaranteed impossible as if you don’t try.”
LN: And that people are afraid sometimes to try, but you talked a lot about “small steps lead to big goals.” So are there any suggestions you have to people, in this challenging time—obviously, they should read your book. That’s a good suggestion.
GN: Yeah, they should read The Virtuous Circle because it’s all about emerging stronger. I feel like this year, 2021, I myself internally am calling it “The Year of the Bridge.” It’s like a bridge. January 2020, the world looked a certain way. Generally 2022, the world will look a different way than now. So what I believe is that this year, internally I’m calling it “The Year of the Bridge” because we’re in a bridge. We’re not on the other side yet, but we have to do everything that we need to do to learn, to execute, to make projects, and to do whatever will allow us to come out stronger on the other side of the bridge.
LN: Oh, that’s so beautiful. I really appreciate all of the work you’ve done. Building your own show because you didn’t want to be stereotyped, and sharing so that people can see all of you, and you want other people to be able to share all of themselves. So obviously, they’re going to all go buy your book. (laughter) But if they want more, where do they find you?
GN: Please follow me on social media at Gaby Natale, and also we’re doing—every day at 9 a.m. Central Time—a little live 10-15 minutes to set our intention for the day, recalibrate our energy, and start the day with the right foot. Because I am seeing there’s so much need, Lisa, for connection. We’re all isolated. We’re all in our homes. We’re all missing hugging each other, hugging our families. And that’s why I started doing it every day at 9 a.m. Central Time, to keep pushing ourselves to see the world from a place of possibilities, even in difficult times.
LN: Is the 9 a.m. on Instagram or YouTube? Where do they find it?
GN: It’s a simulcast in all platforms. I’m doing it with a different platform that allows me to do YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitch, Twitter, so it’s everything at the same time.
LN: I want to say the advice that your mom gave you was, “Always bring your A game because you never know when opportunity will knock on your door.” And I think you knock very loudly. (laughter)
GN: Yes. My mother told me that when I was going to go to a—I was unemployed and I was going to volunteer—work for free—at a place where it was an international conference, but I felt like I have a master’s degree and I’m working for free in an unqualified job. Like moving chairs, waving to people, handing out flyers, and that day—that I almost didn’t show up because I felt I was too much of a big shot in my twenties to do that unqualified job, was the day, Lisa, that changed my life. Because that day was the day when I met a delegation of professors from George Washington University who started sending me remote work, and after a while that became an offer to move to Washington DC because they had an opening . So you never know when opportunity will knock on your door. Bring your A-game.
LN: Yes. So bring your A-game, 2021 is the bridge across, and you are offering inspiration every single day.
GN: Absolutely. Absolutely.
LN: It has been so much fun to get to know you a little bit better. Thank you for spending this time with me.
GN: Thank you so much. It was my pleasure to be here with you Lisa. Thank you so much. Hopefully one day we get to travel again, and maybe we’ll meet each other in some exciting place.
LN: I’m going to keep practicing my Spanish and meet you somewhere very exciting.I know your name is Italian, so maybe we’ll meet in Italy.
GN: Maybe in Italy!
LN: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
GN: Thank you very much.