When You Visualize, You’ll Materialize!
By Vanessa Ortiz | Photography by R. Prioleau
As a kid, I was unknowingly taught this simple concept: How do you perceive what’s right in front of you and where do you take it from there?
I was raised in a low-income family in urban Philadelphia, so visualizing a better tomorrow with better results was something I did often. My parent’s dream was to move out from the underprivileged environment we lived in and provide me and my brother with a better education than what Philadelphia’s public schools had to offer. My father consistently worked double shifts and found ways to earn an extra dollar to invest towards the dream.
At first, my parents weren’t making enough to even consider a gorgeous house, much less a top-notch private school, but my father wouldn’t settle on “no” for an answer. Nothing stopped him. He saved for years and enrolled us in a private school after purchasing an abandoned house in a quiet neighborhood. There were gaping holes in the walls and floors, and the stair cases did not exist. We had to use a ladder to get to the second floor. We took cold-water showers in the basement and slept in the only two rooms which were in livable condition. We built a home out of nothing.
Seeing my father’s drive inspired me to live my life exactly how I envisioned it, despite the circumstances. I began applying this concept to accomplish what my heart desired and I wanted nothing more than to live a healthy lifestyle full of adventure.
“No surgery would’ve meant an infection could develop and bigger problems would follow. I fell into depression.”
I had always been the athletic type, but my passion for weight training started just a couple years ago when I had to fight to maintain even a semblance of good health. I was constantly in and out of hospitals with kidney stones and it soon turned into a nightmare. I dreaded knowing that my body couldn’t naturally pass stones; even if it was one millimeter in size I had to undergo surgery to remove it. No surgery would’ve meant an infection could develop and bigger problems would follow. I fell into depression. It was at this lowest moment that I remember thinking to myself “there has got to be a much healthier solution to this.” There was.
I began doing research and found (along with a passion for nutrition) a natural treatment for my condition: a native plant of Puerto Rico called Baquina. With a steady diet and exercise, I conquered my kidney stone problem. I had proven to myself that I had the strength, discipline and determination to live the lifestyle I was meant to live: fit and active.
This is how Dare2Inspire came about. A program whose main objective is to help motivate others to invest in whatever love and talents stir up within, and to find the right amount of courage to go after it. I am a firm believer that you have to love what you do to truly succeed at it. If you don’t love what you do, you won’t fight for it. If you don’t fight for it you won’t see an outcome.
At times we all struggle with an inner “tug of war.” Your body pulls in one direction but your mind pushes in the other. This battle eventually becomes draining, and you find yourself either feeling helpless or (hopefully) challenged. And if you think you’re going to give up, you already did.
“I trained myself to take ownership of my health as well as become the first generation of my family to graduate from college…”
How can we get the mind and body to finally align with one another? The answer is quite simple: train the mind first and the body will follow. The mind is a powerful tool, yet, it’s a fitness component overlooked by many.
We don’t necessarily “think about what we’re thinking about,” and it’s not a muscle that we can train with a few squats a day. The real battle is not how much you can lift or what you feed your body, but what you feed your mind. You have to mentally prepare yourself for the outcome you want—feed yourself a vision and positive thoughts. Once you train the mind in this fashion you can accomplish anything.
Today I can confidently say that I am in the best shape of my life, both mentally and physically. I trained myself to take ownership of my health as well as become the first generation of my family to graduate from college, now working at CardConnect as an underwriter. I am a sponsored athlete by Egg whites International and competing in Bikini with the heart to inspire my community along the way. If I can could do it, you can too. So I dare you to inspire the world with your talents. BIKINI
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