Let's talk about the struggle between sticking with what we know and taking risks. Have you ever felt torn between playing it safe and stepping out of your comfort zone? Our guest: mom and entrepreneur, Tami Garcia says growth is on the other side of change. To be fair, she’s probably taken more risks in a few years than most of take in a lifetime. However, reinventing yourself doesn’t have to be that drastic. If you have the desire to step out and do something different (big or small) at virtually any age or stage in life, this episode is for you.
Tami is the founder and CEO of Mully Lingua. Her company helps people connect with their cultural heritage. Tami shares her incredible story of leaving a secure corporate job, starting the new company, adopting a daughter from Ethiopia and moving to another country -- all within a few years’ time! She radiates with the transformative power of the courageous choices she had to make to fulfill her vision. However, she says she could not have done it without her faith, believing that if God has gives her a vision, He will help her achieve it.
We'll hear how our guest has also used past adversity for fuel in her ambitions to change things for herself, her daughter and her community. From childhood struggles to health issues (including a near-death experience!), she’s not only been able to overcome many tough circumstances, but also use them as a growth experience for herself and to share her wisdom with others. There are just so many uplifting aspects to her story, the kind that can help you feel ready for your next challenge!
So, what do you want to be when you “grow up”? Re-inventing yourself is something you can do at any point in your life. Whether you have a whole new vision for yourself or just want to make a few adjustments, click play for the inspiration to take the next step!
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Mully Lingua on Instagram
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Sandy Kovach [00:00:00]:
You what is reinventing yourself? Do you have to become a whole new person or can you just make little changes? It means whatever you want it to mean and it can happen at any time in life where you feel like you need a change. It can be something small or something huge like you'll hear about with our latest guest. Not only do we think you'll enjoy her incredible story, but we also hope that by listening to this episode, you'll get some ideas and encouragement. If you've been thinking of doing your own little reinvention, welcome to Imagine Yourself podcast, where we help you imagine your next chapter of life with grace, gratitude, courage, and faith.
Lanee Blaise [00:00:39]:
Hello, everyone. I'm Lanee, here with Sandy, and today is Red Lipstick Day. I am usually a neutral color girl, and even though you all can't see me, please know that I have a popping red lip color on today to signify boldness, because we have a Wonder Woman guest for the podcast today, don't we, Sandy?
Sandy Kovach [00:01:01]:
Yes, we do. And I love your lipstick. I have never seen you wear that color before.
Lanee Blaise [00:01:05]:
I never do it, but I'm like in honor of this whole bold and beautiful lady that we're about to talk to, I said, let me do it. So I got to explain a little bit better. Imagine yourself as a single lady in the big city of DC who decides that she's going to be bold in every area of her life. This guest was ready to leave a cushy corporate job and start her own business to adopt a beautiful daughter from Ethiopia, knowing that she was going to have to raise her all by herself. And the big juicy one is that she decided to sell her house and every nonessential thing in order to move herself, her daughter, and her mother three generations of folks to a whole new country. And that is exactly what our guest, Tami Garcia did. Tami Garcia is a former education consultant turned world schooling and cultural heritage enthusiast. She's the founder and CEO of Mully Lingua and the Cultural Heritage Company, and she is fantastic with a capital F. We want to welcome you to the show, Tami Garcia. Thanks for coming to Imagine Yourself podcast with Sandy and I.
Tami Garcia [00:02:23]:
Oh, thank you so much. I love the intro. I'm thinking, oh, she sounds great.
Sandy Kovach [00:02:30]:
Yeah, I mean, I think you've even beat Lanee's lipstick there, Tami, because there's so many things and I can't imagine doing one major thing like that. I can't imagine doing one 10th of a major thing like that. And I would say that most people would probably be on the less. How do I want to put this adventure aside? How do you get the courage or how did you get the courage on top of the courage on top of the courage to do all this?
Tami Garcia [00:02:59]:
Wow. I don't know. I think sometimes those are things you're born with. I knew that I wanted to do big and bold and brave things. I wanted to make a difference, and I wanted to raise a daughter that was bold and also could make a difference. And I just found that I was not able to do that in my current situation.
Sandy Kovach [00:03:28]:
Do you think about one thing at a time, or did you have this big vision?
Tami Garcia [00:03:32]:
I think to understand how I came about everything, there's a little story behind that. Okay. I always wanted to be a mom. As I was approaching my mid thirty s, I still was single, childless, and the doctors told me it's now or never. So I had endometriosis fibroids and ovarian cysts. Wow. So I asked a few of my friends if they wanted to go half on a baby, and I couldn't get any tigers. And I ended up having several cycles of IUI and IVF. On my final IVF, I was really sick and a lot of pain, and the doctors kept telling me it was all in my head. Then one morning I woke up and that pain was magnified. And I ended up in a scene of Gray's Anatomy iv real life. Right? And so if you will imagine your insides being pulled out one by one by one, that's how it felt. So I was hospitalized for two weeks. I had two major surgery, blood transfusions, and I was in a coma. And this final day, the doctor said there was nothing more that they could do. So they called my pastor. Pastor came in and that was it. And we just waited. I slept all day and I was very sick. It was the worst day. And at midnight on the dot, I sat straight up in my bed and I said, Hi, Mommy. She said, Are you okay? I said, I'm perfect. And I said, I'm going home today. So I went home that day. Wow. And they said, you're a miracle. And I said, Nah, fuck God. I went home and I was at 35, somebody who so desperately wanted to have children. All the dreams that I had, it was taken away from me. I left the hospital with a complete hysterectomy. And so I just went through this huge depression. And I had a conversation with my aunt. And I said to my aunt, how will I know if I'll be able to love my adopted children? I don't think I can love my adopted children the way that I would love my biological children. And my aunt, who has both, she said, you'll never have biological children. The only thing you will do is love your child because there is no difference. And when she said that to me, I was like, oh yeah, you're right. So I went through and I adopted a child. And now I am the mom to a beautiful little girl from Ethiopia, and she is the love of my life. I am so grateful for plans not working out the way I thought they were supposed to, instead of I got what God had planned for me. So with adopting came a huge responsibility, right? Not only that, of course I want to be the best mom I could, but I wanted her to remain connected to her culture because I was raised disconnected from my culture and I knew how that felt. So I wanted to do everything I could to make sure that she had this wonderful life full of culture and adventure and her time with me. Because our parents, they do the best that they can do, but I wanted to be different. So with that, having been in corporate America and I was taken away from her a large part of the day. And so not only were the things that I was doing in corporate weren't aligned with my values, I wasn't able to spend the time with my daughter. And then trying to keep her connected to her Ethiopian heritage proved to be difficult. Even living in Washington, DC, which is the largest Ethiopian community outside of Ethiopia, I still had a horrible time trying to figure it out. So I was just like, wow, it really shouldn't be that difficult. So I decided that I would do something about it. So that's kind of like the whole story on how I got the courage to leave my job, to start my own company and even to move, if.
Lanee Blaise [00:08:00]:
You will, that makes me wonder if you were near death. And it's like that Bible quote in Isaiah, see, I am doing a new thing now. It springs up. Do you not see it? I'm making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. And I feel like that is like the definition of what you are telling us today, Tammy.
Tami Garcia [00:08:21]:
There you go.
Lanee Blaise [00:08:22]:
That's that courage. Because were you afraid to do these next things even? Because we're going to move into you moving to a different country with your mom and daughter as well. But were you afraid or not afraid? Did all that fear just shake off when you realized I couldn't even have been here on this earth anymore?
Tami Garcia [00:08:42]:
I don't think the fear goes away. The fear is there. Even I'm in another country and I still have a little bit of angst, if you will. But it was either do that or stay in that current situation. And I was miserable in that current situation. I knew that I had to make change because again, I kept thinking about my daughter. I don't want her to be fearful. I want her to be brave and bold and to do things that people tell her she can't do or she should not be able to do. So in order for me to raise a daughter like that, I had to be authentic and I also had to live that way and I had to.
Sandy Kovach [00:09:27]:
Live, encourage, feel the fear and do it anyway.
Tami Garcia [00:09:30]:
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Sandy Kovach [00:09:32]:
Okay, so let's go from linnae's red lipstick on the one end to upending your family's life, going through a near death experience, all of this on the other end. We're here in the middle. Why do we stay in our little whether it's a job or it's a relationship that we know we shouldn't be in, what makes us, do you think, stay in those situations?
Tami Garcia [00:10:00]:
I think it's comfortable. We know, right? Sometimes it's saying, people want to stay with the devil that they know, and you don't know what's on the other side. So I'd rather stay with what I know than take a risk and do something else. But staying with what you know is also not in alignment to who we're supposed to be. Right. You have to have faith. When I think about all of the things that I've done and all the crazy mistakes that I've made, I'm like, wow, god kept me through all of that, right. And my visions and my dreams are still there. So if I'm going to bet on someone and take a chance on someone, I'm going to take that chance on me, not on this person or this bad situation. Because we only have one life to live. We only have one body, right? We only have one shot at this. People are always like tomorrow. Tomorrow, or I might do it. I might do it, and they never do it. Then they end up dying, and everybody wishes, like, on their deathbed, they're saying, oh, I wish I had done this. I wish I had done this. And when I was in my 20s, because, shocker, I'm not in my 20s now.
Lanee Blaise [00:11:20]:
Shocker, we aren't either.
Tami Garcia [00:11:25]:
My grandmother died, and my grandmother, she was pinnacle of health. She worked out every day, and she was super vibrant, and she always said, when I retire, I'm going to travel the world. When I retire, I'm going to redo my house. I'm going to buy that fancy sports car that I want. She had the money. She just kept saying, I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it. And then she died, not by any fault of her own, just situation. And so for my decided that I was not going to live like that. I'm going to live today and try to live the absolute best life that I can.
Lanee Blaise [00:12:06]:
So I have something to confess, because you just caught me right there. Tami Everyone listening. Tami is my cousin. I know this is, like, seeming unprofessional, but I had to say, especially when she said our Grandma Lenore passed back when we were she was teens. I was 20s also. I think we're both 20s, but you.
Tami Garcia [00:12:26]:
Were you are not that much younger than I am.
Lanee Blaise [00:12:28]:
I'm I'm so much younger. No.
Tami Garcia [00:12:32]:
I'm right there with you. We're just a couple of years apart.
Lanee Blaise [00:12:34]:
But either way, I wanted to confess because this is the thing. So we wanted to bring my cousin Tammy on the show. We've been together through many things in life. However, I was still jaw drop shocked when she left DC because I knew you'd always love DC. And when you moved to Mexico, I should have known because Tammy has always had a bit of that good rebel running through her veins. She was always kind of like ready to challenge things. Even we were teenagers, she would always figure things out, but in a way that was like, outside of the norm, outside the box. She never really did anything the traditional way. Now, I think you'll agree, Tammy, I've always been the poster child for doing things the traditional way, and I will only go rogue if life forces me to. And so, Tammy, I wonder, what advice would you give to people like me or to those of us who are listening, who don't like change and who feel we don't have enough courage to do those new things? What advice do you give for us?
Tami Garcia [00:13:39]:
Growth is on the other side of change. In order to grow, you have to change. It's only scary. Just for a little while, something fabulous is going to be sitting on the other side. It might not and probably won't be what you think it is supposed to be, but it is exactly what you need. I have such a strong faith in my God, what he can do and what he has done. Like, I have stories, all kind of stories, right? And what he has done. I just believe that if he has given you that vision, he will bring you through it. You don't have to do something huge, shake up your life like I did. So just start small.
Lanee Blaise [00:14:31]:
I want to move to an aspect that talks about culture and business. So, Tammy, as you were on your journey and you kind of alluded to it earlier, embracing parts of your own Dominican culture that you had not been fully exposed to as a child, did that end up kind of pushing you to create multilingual so that you could help other families and other people establish true community and embrace their culture and get to learn about other cultures. Tell us about the development of your company, Malingua, please.
Tami Garcia [00:15:11]:
The primary reason I started Mully Lingua was for my daughter. So we talked about that. Right. But it was also because I understood what that felt like. My family is Dominican and Jamaican, but we were very removed from that. And so we never talked about traditions or the language wasn't spoken stories, nothing. Every now and then a story comes up and I'm like, Where did that come from? And I just hated that. And not only did I personally hate it, it was very difficult growing up in the Midwest, in Cleveland, where there weren't I never saw any other families that were like mine. So here I am. This little Black girl with a Spanish last name who looks black, kind of, but you could sit on your hair so you look different. So the kids gave you a really hard time. And kind of sometimes the foods that you ate were a little different. So when the kids came to my house, they would talk about what we were eating and raised with strict West Indian family, so it was different. It was really hard. And I didn't understand why we were different, but I didn't see anyone to understand why. And that was because we were removed from all of that. I wanted to know more. I wanted to know who was I, what was our fan, where were we from, all these things. And nobody could help me. And it was just heartbreaking for me. It was traumatic. It was cultural trauma. Cultural trauma exists when we remove children and families from their countries, their language, their culture, things that they're used to, the smells, the sound. That is traumatic, and people discard that. But regardless if you left a year ago or you weren't even born there, but you have connections to it, it is still trauma. And so I had that. And it wasn't until I started getting older with college, I went to Howard University and I started finding people that had the same background as myself. And I graduated from Howard. When I'm like okay, I get it. I get part of it. Now I want more. Okay, well, where are you going to find more? You either move to the Caribbean or you move to New York. I'm going to go to New York. And once I moved to New York and I was immersed in the culture, I was like, wow, this is it. The music, the sounds, the food, that is who I am at the core and where I felt comfortable, and I finally got it. So because of that, I didn't want others to feel the way that I felt, because you can see it, it's all around, and it's really evident with companies like Ancestry.com, 23 ANDME people are trying to find out who they are. So these are adults doing this. So just think how the children feel. So I wanted to help children. I want to help adults connect to who they are in a community of people.
Sandy Kovach [00:18:26]:
So how does your company do that?
Tami Garcia [00:18:28]:
We do that through building community. So we work with one ethnic community at a time where people come in and they start to learn about, at the core, what it means to be Dominican, like the history, the music, the dance, all of these things. And there are other people that are around that are also in this community that have the same goals. And then there are activities available, workshops. We're working with Embassies to get that information and to partner with organizations in the country. So when somebody purchases a membership, we have something that's like a one for one membership. So we're working with NGOs in country and so they will have free membership. So once one is paid, then there's one free. Because we want to create the most authentic experience and learning as possible. And I want people to own who they are. Because until you are comfortable with who you are, until you know who you are, it is impossible to move forward confidently. I want people to have that pride and that confidence to move forward in their life and to have thriving relationships with other people. But until they can't have a thriving relationship with themselves, it's not going to happen. Culture and identity is at the core of that.
Lanee Blaise [00:19:59]:
That is truth and that is beautiful and that is empowering to anyone who's listening and to anyone who wants to reach out. How can anyone reach out and learn more about Moly Lingua, either through website, social media, whatever? Give us all the details, please. Even though I know Sandy is going to hook us up too.
Tami Garcia [00:20:20]:
Tell us. Well, Mully lingua it's a funny little sounding name, but it's Mu L-L-Y lingua. And you can find us at Moly lingua everywhere. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, twitter TikTok and the website Mullylingua.com.
Lanee Blaise [00:20:42]:
So I love everything that you're saying. I'm just curious. I think it's not fair because she's my cousin, but we have takeaway time always. And I just want to add I'm going to throw it over to Sandy. Sandy, what is the biggest thing that you either took away yourself or that you believe that we all need to take away? After hearing all the different components of this episode today, I think I got.
Sandy Kovach [00:21:07]:
To go back to kind of what we were talking about in the beginning, and that is to feel the fear and do it anyway. You don't have to go and change everything about your life unless you feel God's calling you to do that. Or there are like in Tami's case, one of the big motivators was her daughter. But do it afraid. Don't be afraid. What do you want to do? We're probably all not going to be as bold as Tami, but when you hear stories like that, you got to say, well, gosh, she went for it. Why can't I go for it? What is stopping me?
Lanee Blaise [00:21:39]:
That inspiration and that part two that you said about growth is on the other side of change. I have to remember that because I do not like change. So I got to try to rewire that up.
Tami Garcia [00:21:50]:
And may I say, I think that people have to take or do a self audit. They need to look at what is it that they want? Is this the life that I want? Am I the person that I want to be? Am I being who God intended for me to be? Am I serving? Is this my calling? Do an audit of all of those things and where you find discrepancies on what your goals are, who it is you want to be, then work to fill in those gaps. Do things little by little and that will help you get to that change those small things every day, that consistency. Then it's a huge change, right? If you just stop drinking soda every day or pop right.
Lanee Blaise [00:22:44]:
Depending on where you live.
Tami Garcia [00:22:45]:
Yes, where you live. If you stop doing that every day, wow, look at the change. What's going to happen if you just do some crunches every day? Or if you're a blogger or on social media, if you just put out something every day. If you just do one thing every day and be consistent with it, then look at what that changes. So people can make change slowly, but you have to be real with yourself and do that audit and want to do something big or small. You're right. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Sandy Kovach [00:23:23]:
Or the dread. I mean, I'm not afraid of giving up sweets, but I would dread doing it. However, I am probably afraid of giving up coffee.
Tami Garcia [00:23:33]:
I like my coffee too. And be clear, I don't have it all together. I still have lots of things I'm trying to work on and I need to work on and things that I kind of avoid.
Lanee Blaise [00:23:45]:
Tami, we thank you. Thank you for coming to talk to us and share with us. Thank you for being bold. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for helping families and communities. I say too, if everyone's listening, could just please kind of spread the word about our podcast with your own friends or family members or cousins. Check out our social media, check out our website, imagineourselfpodcast.com. Also go there to take a look at we will share all of the details of Tami Garcia and Mully Lingua as well. But even more than that, everyone, please imagine yourself bold and bright as you step out, as you start fresh, as you do even that one new thing that has been blossoming in your heart. Let it come to fruition in real life. We all, tammy, Sandy, myself wish you blessings in every single one of your endeavors. To every single one of you listening.