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When you have that permission to be who you are,
it opens your creativity box...

Article by Louise MERCADO

What happens when you give a sweet potato pie to Les Brown, one of themost renowned motivational speakers in the United States and tell stories to a 3-year-old child? Those were the questions I proposed to Tonya Kristina, a Lawyer, Motivational Speaker, Story Teller, Wife, soon to be parent, and Author of the book TWELVE SECRETS TO LIVING A LIFE YOU LOVE.


Ms. Tonya Kristina came to my home for a personal interview. She was warm and inviting. I knew the moment she entered my home that I had made the right decision. She entered with such ease. She is soft spoken, friendly and paradoxically, strong and confident. Tonya Kristina is a spiritual person and has a strong belief in god. Yet, she has the innate ability to motivate people with out preaching religion, even though she will reference her belief in God. Seldom do you meet an individual who is successful, yet humble, and unassuming.

This discussion is one of my favorites. Ms. Tonya Kristina brought her warmth and humor with her. She stopped practicing law because she found herself unhappy and discontented with the way her life was headed. She asked god to show her what her purpose in this life was. She prayed to the lord that he would help her place her life on track and let her sore. She listened and met Les Brown who became her mentor, but it was not only through this introduction, prayer and the realization of her purpose that helped her take that first step, but it was her 3 year old niece who gave her permission to be herself. It was while telling a story to her niece that she realized that she could really be who she is. Asha's affirmation through laughter and joy, “Auntie, you can really tell a story," made Tonya Kristina realize that something magical had happened at that moment. Children are not tainted. They are so open and receptive to everything. “When you have that permission to be who you are, it opens your creativity box,” says, Tonya Kristina.

Tonya Kristina says that god is such a part of her life that she cannot do a lecture without mentioning god or mentioning some type of scripture. She says that she is not “preachy, preachy”. She does not impose her religious beliefs on people, however it is the theme of her message. God is a huge part of her life. Where she does not intrude her beliefs on others, she does reference god and speak of her blessings she knows came from god. When she was miserable on her legal job, she made an affirmation.

I kept saying it over and over. Please, God, show me my purpose, put me on my path and let me sore. What came back to me were words. So, I asked God, what words in the library, what words in the bible, exactly. Where do you want me to look? And, I sat with it a minute. Many times we want it all, now, but that is not the way it works. You get it in snippets. You get life revelations in snippets. A revelation comes to you. Oh! That’s why that happened. Oh! That’s why I needed to meet this person. Oh! That’s why. It just came back to me. It’s words. It finally came to me that I am here on this planet to use words, to empower people. I always had a love for words. Ever since I was in second grade, I always was in oratorical contest and reading in front of the room. So, now I understand that, as part of the larger vision for my life, to write books and do speaking engagements and to empower people is my purpose, even if I only motivate one person to live a better life. It feels good when people call me and say, you really inspired me. I really appreciate what you did. That is important to me.

Although I titled the book 12 Secrets to Living a Life You Love, their really not secrets. Their common sense principles but not common practice because most people, even though they know the stuff, don’t put it into practice. That’s why I think we find so many people who don’t enjoy their jobs. They go to work day after day unhappy and miserable and maybe perhaps collecting a big paycheck, but really unhappy. I know that kind of existence because I was there.

- Leaving ones job and making the decision to change ones life is a very hard decision to make.  You make some poignant comments in your book. I just want to read a paragraph from your book and you respond. Pursuing my passion meant being committed to doing only that which brought me joy. The things that gave me joy were not in the courtroom. I was in love with telling stories and making people laugh. Sometimes funny things did happen within the halls of justice, but believe me funny lawyers were not in high demand. My big issue was that law paid better and had more status. I had a lawyer’s ego, so the last thing I was thinking about was something that brought me joy without getting a fat paycheck. I had bills to pay, nonetheless, when money speaks louder to joy, it gives you the chance to stay miserable long enough for your motivation to kick in.

- I stayed miserable. Sometimes you can be in a circumstance and you will eventually say enough is enough. Perhaps a lot of people are not in the place yet. Then there are those group of people who will stay and never complain. They hate the job, they hate the boss, they hate everything about it, but they will not leave. You ask them why don’t you just quit, why don’t you do your boss a favor and fire yourself. They won’t do that. Do your boss a favor and fire yourself!

The people who are serious about leaving a situation that is toxic, those are the people that I can motivate. Those are the people I seek to inspire. It doesn’t come easy; it is about taking conscious steps to make it happen on a daily basis. Success is not in one big thing. It is in a series, in a hundred little things that begin to line up in your favor and plant you in your destiny seed and you begin to sit and say, WOW! This feels quite successful.

- Success. What is success? And who is to value success?

- Success is when you wake up in a space where you are at peace with who you are and what you are doing. A lot of people identify success with six figures, stocks or houses. Those are material things. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating poverty at all, but there’s more to it than that. How many times do you see millionaires who are unhappy, commit suicide and terrible things that happen. When you can live in a space where it is beyond the material, that there is peace with who you really are, and what you are contributing to the world, that’s success to me.

- I believe in self-fulfilling prophecies. I believe that success is the journey you take and money is the reward. How does one motivate oneself into being successful?

- My pasture talks about life as not so much a destination, but a journey. It is the person you become in the process. People can be very negative and don’t watch the words they speak. Your words really do create your world and what’s going on in your environment, down to the little things. You become the prophet and limit yourself in a box because you convince yourself of what you are saying. You create all the time what you say. I say, “I don’t have money at the moment. I’m watching my funds grow.• Say something that does not limit your circumstances. One of the things I tell people is, “watch your words. Be very careful what you utter because every day we’re creating in helping god in this journey.”  Work on this. The more you begin to attract resources and people in your space, you have to be even more careful of what you say because it manifest, just like that! It gets deeper as you go. It gets more interesting.

- What does fear do to you and how can one overcome the obstacle?

- Zig Zigler said that fear was false evidence appearing real. It is the antithesis of faith because it will keep you paralyzed and the voices will tell you what you cannot do. Moves pass the fear. Something’s are legitimate fear. However, fear can keep you stuck. Babies only know 2 fears, fear of falling and fear of a loud sound. All the other stuff is made up. Perhaps things come to tell us and cause you to be fearful, from outside influences. Sometimes we make stuff up in our head that has no basis in reality. It grows bigger and bigger until you live in the pit of fear. Live life with no regrets. When you start living with that larger picture, then maybe you can start moving past some of the fears.

Tonya Kristina says that the cynical people will always remain cynical. She feels that those people who want to remain cynical can do so and those people who seek to be blessed will find the blessing. It is hard work, but your mind can convince you of anything. It is important to think positive and believe that things will slowly turn around.

- How do we get there? What is the process? I have an idea. I want to do something and I probably ran across 10 people who said, “no!” but there’s something inside, like a little bird that keeps tweaking in my ear. How do I listen to that inner voice and not the nay Sayers?

One of the things that I do is that I have an army of allies. I can go to them and they’ll say, “yea”, I think you can do it. For the most part, they’re my cheerleaders. You have to surround yourself around people who really believe in you, tell you the truth no matter what, but who believe in your cause. So, the first thing I would say is to surround you with an army of allies. Surround yourself with people who are committed to you and your dream and your process. A lot of people don’t realize that you cannot afford to surround yourself by negative people. It will drain your spirit. It will drain your ideas and it will sap you of all your creative energy. Watch who you hang around with. Don’t share your ideas with everyone. They will kill it for you even if unconsciously. Watch who you share your dreams and ideas with. That’s another critical piece of the hundred steps of success that you can take. Persistence is the main thing. Have the follow through. Be persistent. The difference between a person who completes something and one, who does not- the one, who completed, stayed the course. Get rid of toxic friends and stay the course.

- Leave us with inspirational ideas.

- When you wake up every single day, I want you to breath and give thanks that regardless of what your circumstances look like, give thanks that you are alive and available to create something new. It is up to you to co-create what you want with god. Whatever you need, it's available to you. The way you do it is by deciding that you are going to do it. Tomorrow is the day, when you get out of bed you are going to decide that this is the day that something good is going to happen to me, "Sit and sort through some things mentally, without beating yourself up and without beating the other person up you grow through your experiences, you must grow through this. Receive a lesson from all relationships. Take the best of both the positive and negative as a lesson as oppose to a hindrance.

This has been a joy for me. Tonya Kristina is an inspiration. She is optimistic. Her energy is catchy. Anyone who would like to get in touch with her can e-mail her at tonyaKristina@yahoo.com.

_ . _

* Tonya Kristina, Esq.
Motivational Speaker

E-mail to Louise Mercado: louise@lightmillennium.org

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