4 Things I Learned About Being Thankful from Richard Hernandez (aka Bruno Mars)

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As I watched the interview of Bruno Mars (born Richard Hernandez) by Lara Logan of 60 Minutes, it was amazing how many things he shared that I have experienced in my own journey. I’ve personally always been a fan of his. I remember hearing years ago, about the “underdog,” and how he continued believing in what he was passionate about, never giving up on his dreams. The message I pray I bring is if you continue to be thankful for the entire journey, it will serve you well. It’s the path I’ve been on in dentistry for years, and last night as I watched the interview, it hit me. Here’s the correlation of his life, and being thankful, at least as it resonated for me.

First – Be Thankful for the Struggle

He shared how he grew up. His childhood was not easy, there were many struggles after his parents divorced. He spoke of how his family focused not on what they didn’t have, but what they did have.  Also, his siblings and his culture pushed him to do better. In addition, he had struggles he clearly says he understands. For instance, when he did finally get a deal with Motown, he was dropped and openly shared he wasn’t ready yet.

For me, we struggled when I was young, especially after my mother had a stroke at 30. I was the youngest of 7 children who had no idea we were missing anything in life as far as what we “needed” to get by. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized my parents really struggled financially and personally at times. What we had plenty of was love and hugs, and this made up for the “things” that might have been missing. Today, I still credit my siblings, and the culture of “open arms” that I grew up with which allowed me to find success. I’ve had some close encounters in my career to perceived success. Until the last few years, like Bruno Mars, I didn’t understand that I honestly wasn’t ready yet. It takes the right timing, right people, and right purpose or WHY.

Second- Be Thankful You Are Different

The record companies didn’t know who to sell him to. Bruno Mars, they didn’t know who to market his music (content) to, really? His music was so unique. Would they sell him to Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Filipinos…where would he really fit? It seemed as though he was a bit of an enigma, something or someone difficult to explain. His music was just unique enough that they didn’t know where he would “fit.” His content was not easy to position.

It’s been my issue at almost every turn in dentistry. Coming up in this industry first as a dental assistant, administrative positions, supply sales, dental business owner, then 22 of 34 years as a dental spouse, I never really quite fit. I never thought of myself as a coach or consultant even after writing my first book. I still referred to myself as a Professional Speaker and Author. It’s been difficult to market my content because I don’t fit in a specific category. I work with multiple talented coaches and consultants who understand that I still live life in dentistry daily and my joy is at the podium inspiring and creating current content. So much so that they use the material with their own clients. Therefore, just like Bruno Mars, the content has been tricky to position.

Third- Be Thankful for Success – It’s okay to sound a bit like your mentors.

Even after Grammy wins and two Super Bowl halftime shows, he is still thankful and working to improve. However, when asked about those he followed, he spoke of Michael Jackson, Prince and others. A comment was brought to his attention… I hear them in you. He had no problem with this, even sharing something like; well of course you do.

It’s been great to have those who have heard me speak continue to come back. Yet, I still regularly give credit to Linda Miles, Naomi Rhode, Joy Millis and others who have inspired and ENCOURAGED me in my journey to the podium. Oddly enough people still say, “you need to be your own voice and stop talking so much about others.” Well duh…like Bruno Mars I know, I am who I am because of others. If you ever heard any of mine you’d know clearly where I get this abundance from.

Fourth – Be Thankful if the Job You Have is the ONLY one You Have Ever Wanted

Bruno Mars shared with his host that even after success it is easy to be driven to the next great hit. He said, “I was built for this Lara” and it’s easy when you are dedicated to your craft. What resonated most was his comment, “It’s the only job I’ve ever wanted”.

Just this year at the National Speakers Association meeting, I heard another inspirational and amazing human being, Dr. Willie Jolley. I left with his words, sharing regularly to my closest associates, “It’s my time.” Sounds a little like Bruno’s comment to Lara, I know. I have written only a few short pieces on SM this year, but if you go back, you will find me sharing that I strive to be a master at my craft. The best part and I can’t agree more with Bruno Mars, It’s the only job I’ve ever wanted! Slight difference, it doesn’t seem like a job at all. It’s intoxicating when I have the privilege of the platform and can inspire even one mind. It’s not my career, it’s my calling, and I am so blessed to be able to do this.

Thank you Bruno Mars, for reminding me of the simple lessons I can be thankful for on this journey!

See you on the road,

JoAn