Meet: Bonita Inza
Who inspired you as a child?
My Mom. She was a young single mother raising 3 kids. To make ends meet, she worked as a secretary by day and a cocktail waitress by night. And, she sold Avon door to door so she could have a few nice things for herself. I thought she was beautiful strong and resourceful. I wanted to grow up and be just like her. She taught me that nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself.
What did you dream of doing?
Back then, it was crystal clear. I wanted to grow up and be the “head cocktail waitress!” I don’t know what’s funnier. That my aspiration was to be a “cocktail waitress” or “head cocktail waitress.” Not that there is anything wrong with the profession. I waited tables for years and gained a lot of great skills that I still call on today, like understanding customer needs and prioritizing tasks. It’s just funny that it was my ultimate goal. Of course, I was about 6.
I’ve been blessed to have accomplished many of the things I set out to do in my life. A couple of things I’d still like to do are live in a foreign country and be fluent in Spanish. Maybe one day I’ll start a lifestyle brand.
What’s the best advice you’ve received, and who was it from?
I believe in finding mentors and role models to learn from. When I didn’t know anyone personally, I would read or listen to recordings of seminars about what’s worked for other people. One of my favorite lessons came from listening to Jack Canfield. He taught, “The Universe Rewards Action.” In other words, yes, you should set goals and know your desired outcome, but most importantly, take an action even a small one toward achieving each one of them. You may not always be rewarded exactly the way you planned it, but when you take action toward your goals, things will start to happen.
When did you realize you had power?
When I stopped listening to other people and their self-limiting beliefs about what was possible and started taking steps to go after my own dreams. I remember planning a move from a small town I lived in to San Francisco where I had enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I was barely 18. Many “wise” adults warned me about all of the things that could go wrong and all of the dangers and limitations I was going to face and why it probably wouldn’t work out. It was and still is a very expensive city to live in. Listening to them talk, it suddenly it hit me. Their reality didn’t have to be mine and I didn’t have to live within their boundaries. The things they saw as roadblocks sounded kind of exciting to me. It was going to be challenging, but in a good way that I would learn from. I moved to San Francisco and it all worked out just fine. Since then, I’ve never let another persons beliefs stop me from going after my goals. I took my power back.
Curiosity, love of Adventure, and optimism; I’m always learning. I like to discover new ideas and places and things. I like meeting new people. I’m not attached to the status quo. I truly believe that the only failure is the failure to learn. And, I’ve given up on trying to please everyone and make them like me. I know what’s in my heart. I try to stay true to my values and be honest about my motivations. That’s what counts.
What characteristics should young women possess?
I believe that a key to success, especially for young women is to discover their strengths, their personal power. One way to discover them is to make a list with two columns. On one side, write down all the things you can think of that “give you energy” on the other column write down things that “zap your energy.” Write down everything. People, places, things, activities, foods, attitudes, behaviors, what ever comes to mind. Be honest and trust your instincts as you make your list. Things that give us energy strengthen us. Things that take our energy weaken us. The characteristic we want to develop is the ability to move toward more of the things in life that strengthen us and away from the things that don’t. Play to your strengths. Be in your power.
If you could tell young women one piece of advice they’d always remember, what would it be?
Don’t let your fears or anyone else’s fears define you. Trust your inner voice.
How do you achieve peace with such a busy schedule?
By practicing yoga. It’s my exercise, my peace of mind, my path to my inner voice, and my meditation.
How do you live out loud?
Life is a a wondrous adventure. Its supposed to be a little messy. That’s where the best memories are made. I do my best to live it fully and without regret.