On Zarela's Mind

When I was a little girl, I used to complain bitterly to my mother about my name: "Why did you name me Zarela? Why didn't you give me a normal name like Gabriela, Ana or Claudia?” My mother always responded: "Because it will look great in lights, honey."

Where my mother got the idea that her little tomboy would grow up to be a success, I don't know. Keep in mind that we lived on a cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. I used to kill rattlesnakes with a ten-inch whip, break horses and lasso, brand and neuter calves. If I fell, my mother would order me to get back up immediately. Her constant, “You can do it,” stayed with me and put me on the track to eventual success.

How lucky I was to have a parent who believed in me, and pushed me to do everything to the best of my ability. My father always told me that the only sin in life was failing to not develop your talents and use them wisely. All this eventually helped me build self-confidence, which is crucial for success. I grew up "con ganas," a can-do-anything attitude that has stood me well.

Sadly, many Hispanic parents do not help empower their children; it is usually a teacher that will see their potential. Helping them develop this attitude and then get into college through organizations such as The Mexican-American Students’ Alliance (MASA) and The Mexican Educational Foundation of New York is one of my biggest interests.

Over the years I've developed a list of my rules for success. Check them out: I hope that at least one will help you on your way to the top.

Zarela Martinez blogs at Zarela.com. You can also check out her how-to videos on YouTube.