Karen Hoyos

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S: Hello and welcome to The Optimized Geek. I’m your host, Stephan Spencer. Today, we have Karen Hoyos with us. Karen moved to the United States from Colombia with her suitcase full of dreams and her belly filled with her twin babies. A victim of domestic violence, she overcame incredible adversity. The turning point for her was attending a Tony Robbins’ seminar. Now, Karen is a celebrity coach and speaker with over 25,000 graduates from her seminars and clients including Harvard University, the United Nations, New York Times and other Fortune 500 companies. Karen has been on NBC, Telemundo, Univision, E! Entertainment Television and CNN. Karen, it’s great to have you on the show.

K: Thank you so much. I’m so happy to be here with you. Thank you for the invitation. I’m really excited and happy. I say hello to everyone from the Big Apple. I’m in New York right now. A little bit cold but warm in the heart.

S: Let’s start with ego. What is ego to you? What is the definition and is it a good thing or a bad thing?

K: I don’t think ego is bad, I think it’s just our false self. It’s what we think we are. It’s that inner voice in our heads that is always saying things that separate us from our present moment. Usually, people think that ego is when people feel arrogant, more than. But also the ego can be feeling less than. Anything that is not who you are, any label, any description of who do you think you are is ego. Because who we really are, Stephan, is really our soul or spirit, God, universe, whatever you want to call it. That’s who we really are. It’s simple. In essence, we are all the same. In essence, we are one. Anything else besides that is ego. We can use that ego for good things or we can use that ego to damage our life. It’s really how we use our ego and how we relate to it that will make a difference in the quality of results that we have.

S: I remember we did an exercise when you were teaching at The Next Level Experience, where we met. You had us name our ego. It’s a different name, my name is Stephan but I forget what my ego’s name was. It was Marcus.

K: Nice.

S: I’m looking at my notes here from your talk. Why have a different name for your ego?

K: Excellent. The thing is that people identify so much with who they think they are. Sometimes we’ll say, “I’m just like this. When I get mad, I do this. This is my way.” People think that their ego is who they are. Identifying the ego first with a name and then getting to know the personality of your ego, allows yourself to disassociate from it and observe yourself when you are connected with it. It allows you to be the observer versus being the victim of it. See, most people are in automatic mode. They’re just thinking and they’re talking from what they’re thinking, they’re judging, they’re separating so much in their head that the quality of connection that they have with people is not usually in place. Most people are not connecting. They’re not essence to essence. They’re more into thinking mode. Nothing’s wrong with thinking. Thinking is great. It’s just when thinking controls your life versus using your mind from your heart, that’s when really things get challenged. People get stressed, they get upset. They take things personally because they’re lost in their head. Once you know what the name of your ego is, what the personality is, for example my ego’s name is Carmen, her personality is very controlling, just always right, it’s always her way, as soon as I hear myself with any kind of content in my communication that is a reflection of that, I pause and I know at that moment that Carmen is talking. I allow me to identify her and then take action. Do something about it.

S: That’s amazing. I recently learned in Kabbalah class about the proactive formula and the first step in that process is to pause. That resonates with me. After you pause, what do you do to kind of get out of your head, out of automatic mode and reactive mode and come from the heart even if somebody hurt your feelings?

K: Two things here Stephan, this is a great question. First, we have to recognize that nobody does anything to us. There is no one doing anything. We are the responsible being. We are the only people who are responsible for whatever it is that we are attracting in our life. If someone comes to us and says something that we didn’t like or we they throw something to us, we are responsible for attracting that, we are responsible for generating the space for that to happen. That’s the most important thing of all because most people believe that they have their right to be upset because somebody did something to them like, “He hurt me.” “She did this.” “She didn’t honor her word.” Some people even use spiritual principles like integrity, being on time. She has the right to be upset. “Well, I’m upset with her because she was late when she said she was going to be on time.” The ego uses all of those tools that will seem like it’s something that it will be positive to become victim with the right to be upset, to judge other people. Releasing the right to judge others as the cause of our feelings is the first thing that we have to do and recognize that we are 100% responsible with everything that happens around us. Once we know that, once we understand that and we create something in our space, we pause and say, “Wow. I attracted this. I did this. I get it.” At that moment, we say to a little voice either in our mind or if we are alone, we can say that out loud whatever works best and we say, “Thank you for sharing,” to the ego, to the leader voice. We say, “Thank you for sharing.” Why thank you for sharing? Because we are acknowledging that the voice is there but we’re not fighting the voice. We’re not like, “Why are you there? Why are you talking to me?” We’re not fighting with the ego because if you fight with the ego, it gets stronger. If you try to avoid the ego, it gets stronger. But if you say, “Thank you for sharing. I get it. You are there.” And then you say, “Thank you for reminding me.” You’ll say the opposite of what they’re saying. For example, if the ego says, “Look what he did. You have to do everything yourself. You cannot trust anyone.” You’ll say to the ego, “Thank you for sharing. Thank you for reminding me that I can trust. I can win the right people that I can trust, that I can manifest the right people that I can work with.” Something like that is an example.

S: Yes. That’s very powerful and it reminds me of Byron Katie’s work that four question process and then you do the turnaround to take a disempowering or unhelpful thought and find the opposite of that and see that’s actually more true than the thought that you were having. I actually had Katie on the show and it was an incredible episode. We went through the work. She actually used the four questions and the turnaround on me and viscerally profound. Do you go through the four questions or do you have your own process? The four questions, is it true? Do you know with absolute certainty that it’s true? How does this thought make you feel? What would life be like if this thought didn’t exist? And then the turnaround is we find an opposite or multiple opposites of your thought which sounds like your process to look at the opposite and take that on board and say, “Actually, that’s more true.”

K: This is great because I believe that each tools are using different moments for different people. My experience in working with coaches and leaders which is the 99% of the people that I coach are other coaches that they either want to build their business or high profile leaders that have already influence in large groups and different areas. They are already leading the way. Because of that, these people are very busy, they’re having millions of thoughts at the same time and their ego is very strong. With a strong leadership comes a strong ego. Not because they’re bad, it’s just because also that part of their ego helps them to be where they are. For me, how can I do this in the most effective way instead of negotiating with my mind, trying to convince her. I don’t entertain my ego. I don’t go there because I know it’s nonsense. I just go and acknowledge it. I acknowledge the experience and the existence of the ego because that’s what the ego wants. The ego wants the attention and the ego feeds from attention. The more you entertain it, the more strong it gets. I say to her all the time, or to him or to them because some people have multiple different people talking. You say, “Thank you. I get it. I hear you. Thank you for sharing.” And then you say the opposite, “Thank you for reminding me.” And then you hear the essence because when I say thank you for reminding me, it’s not only saying the opposite of what the ego is saying, it’s really hearing what God within you or a spirit within you is saying. Most people cannot hear God’s voice or essence voice because they’re busy listening to their minds. Instead of putting too much time in their head, I bring them down immediately and say, “Listen to your essence. What is God really saying? Okay, your ego is saying you’re stupid but what is your essence saying? What is God saying at this moment?” The person says, “Thank you for sharing.” And then listen, “Wow, thank you for reminding me that God says I’m amazing.” God, release the universe, whatever the belief of the person is. Energy is saying that I’m amazing, that I am here to serve. I connect them with their soul so they can get used to listening to them instead of listening to their mind.

S: Coming from a place of your essence instead of your ego to solve problems, to relieve conflict and share and make a difference in people’s lives.

K: Yes, definitely.

S: Essence is something that you’re in all the time, you personally, or is it something that you have to catch yourself and remind yourself to get back into essence? You talked a little bit about being in automatic mode which I think most people are in pretty much all of the time. How is it for you?

K: It is also the same. The automatic mode is always there. I believe the practice. It allows me to be more time outside of the automatic mode more than in. Before my automatic mode, it was my natural way of mean, that’s why I used to suffer so much. I used to compare myself with other people. I used to be insecure, jealous. Because my ego will say so many thing about others comparing. It was exhausting. I was always in my head and no matter what I did, it was either to pretend that I wasn’t what my ego was telling me or to prove what I wanted to be to other people. I was never myself. I was never who I really am. When I found these tools, when I started channelling God’s voice, when I started being connected and really living my purpose which is what’s changed my life. Purpose changed my life. It gave me the opportunity to really be present to who I am and then, it became part of my daily practice to observe myself and really ask a question, “Is this congruent with my essence?” If the answer is no, then I will immediately change it. Is this congruent with my purpose? Is this congruent with my values? Is this congruent with the change I want to see in the world? Is this congruent with my mission? For me, congruency became my number one value. It allows me to identify every time I’m not in essence. Not judging me, not making myself wrong like, “Oh, you’re supposed to be an essence. You are the coach. You are always talking about ego.” Instead of judging me because I’m in my ego at that moment, I find compassion and then I see that moment as a gift. I use it to then share it with participants. I use my own experiences of being in the ego as a way of growing. Actually, being in the ego is a blessing for me because I learn. Instead of trying to kill it, to get rid of my ego which a lot of people are trying to do and of course it doesn’t work because the more you try to kill, it gets stronger.

S: In fact, people who think that they’ve overcome their ego and they’re all spiritual now, that’s actually their ego talking, right?

K: Yes. They’re called spiritual ego. We have a spiritual ego too. Once the person has a certain level of knowledge and training in personal development, the ego will use the tools of personal development to manipulate and to justify. I was actually having a coaching session with someone where they say, “I like to help people. That is my calling. That is my mission. I always want to help people.” That’s great, that’s beautiful. From essence, that allows a person to fulfill her purpose. From ego, she will push the help even if the person is not ready. That is not good. I call it a rock. A rock is something that appears to be a positive thing, like a benefit. From essence, it’s a benefit, from essence I serve. But if I use that rock from my ego, it’s an attachment. I get attached to people so they have to change, they have to transform their life. No. people don’t have to do nothing. If they’re not ready, we must respect their evolution and let them be. But the spiritual ego is attached of people changing, they must change because I have to help them. That is still ego with the mask of help or service.

S: If somebody is in this spiritual ego, how do they first of all, notice that they’re in that? That they think they’re all spiritual and they evolved past this point of being reactive. But then in reality, they are just living out this ego driven life but from a different perspective, one where they feel more enlightened. What do you tell them to do to make that shift, to make that realization first of all, that they’re in that place and then to shift out of it?

K: First of all, the best way to know if we are in spiritual ego is to see how people around us perceive us. How are they feeling around us? Are they feeling judged? I remember when I started this journey, I was very judgmental with their writing tension. I wanted to help people but I wasn’t helping them, I was judging them. Why are you doing this? Why are you being a victim? You shouldn’t be a victim. Take responsibility. Don’t drain, be vegan. Everything, it was about judging them. People didn’t receive my contribution. They feel that I was attacking them. They feel judged because I was judging them. Once I started noticing that, I connect from essence and before I talk to people, before I share something, I would say, “God, you speak through me. You act through me. You think through me. It’s not me bringing this message. It’s you acting through me.” Anytime that I see someone is resisting what I’m sharing, I know easily, I’m in my ego. That usually happens with my kids. As a mother, my ego has rights to discipline my kids. When I see my kids resisting or they’re not really receiving in their hearts what I’m contributing, I know I am in my ego with them. A great way to measure that is the reflection or contribution in the people around us. That is the best way to know if we are really coming from essence or coming from ego. For people that for example, they are coaches and they are speaking, depending on how is the audience is really connected with you or this is all about you, you’re on stage and people are not really connected, they’re not really present. You can feel the vibration. You can see how people receive you and that is a way to know we are in the spiritual ego and we’re not aware or we’re really in essence. That’s one thing. Once we notice that people either have a wall or we’re not really connecting with them, they’re not perceiving us as love and compassion but more judgmental and controlling, at that moment we pause. We say to the ego, “Thank you for sharing.” And then, I use this phrase, “God, you speak through me. You talk through me. You act through me.” At that moment, I let go of control and I let God do his work or universe. You can replace the word God for whatever works for the person. That’s what I do and I notice immediately how the energy changed because it’s no longer about me, it’s about the message.

S: Yes, that’s beautiful. Do you ask the people that you’re in communication with how they’re receiving you or do you just try and pick up on that? I remember having been given an exercise at one of the Kabbalah classes, maybe a year and a half ago, my mother was still alive then and the exercise was to call a loved one. I called my mom and asked for honest feedback on how do you receive me? What’s something I need to change and to stay out of judgement while you’re receiving that criticism. For so many people, it’s so hard. It was hard for me to receive it but first of all, my mother was really surprised that I was asking that question, that I was open to hearing that because apparently, it’s not something I ask for very often. “What’s one thing that I could really change about myself that’s a big weakness or a big problem for you?” What‘s your process beyond simply just kind of gauging how they’re receiving you through just observation?

K: Beautiful. There are two parts for that. First, to really understand when someone gives us an honest feedback from their heart, it’s not because there is something wrong with us, it’s a contribution to add more value to the value that we already have. People resist contribution when they think it’s something wrong with them. “He’s saying that I’m wrong so I need to fix myself that’s why he’s telling me this.” I think the first thing is to change that relationship with feedback as something that will add value to your life even though the ego never likes that, the ego never likes the feedback, never. But the essence is always ready to receive it because he wants to grow. The essence of a human being always wants to grow and learn. As soon as we feel uncomfortable with someone giving us feedback, at that moment we are in the ego. We are filtering as its something’s wrong with us. Once we understand that, of course I always ask people, “What is your love language? How would you like me to communicate with you? What do you prefer?” Because some people communicate, they prefer the worst. They prefer actions. It’s different. I always make agreements with people and I share with them the way that I usually communicate with. This is one of the thing for example, with the friends that I spend some great time with, if I am with you four, five, six hours, I’m great and I give you all my attention, the quality of that time. And then if I don’t see you for three, four months I’m good and then we find again like, “Wow! We reconnect.” That’s it. I’m great with that. Some people, they need that daily texting, a call once a week to feel the relationship is real. I think, to understand what is it that is important to the other person, it is part of those agreements. When I’m going to give somebody else a contribution, if I see that somebody else is doing something that I may contribute always, this is for all the coaches, that’s one of the main things that some of the coaches spiritual ego that they miss is ask permission. You have to ask permission for the person before you give contribution or feedback. “Can I give you a contribution? Can I share with you something that I see?” If the person says, “Yes,” that means they’re ready but we cannot just give coaching to anyone just because we think they have to listen to that because they will feel that we’re judging them, that we’re making them wrong because that’s the automatic way of being or the ego. If we have that as an agreement, we asked for permission, they will receive it. If we ask also for coaching and will receive as a contribution versus as a judgement, it becomes very healthy and very helpful in communication.

S: It’s like you need to build relatability so asking permission builds that relatedness and then you can either provide the feedback or ask for the feedback but the relatedness is an essential component that has to happen first to climb that wall of context, get over on their side of reality and how they see the world and how they’re experiencing you and everybody else around them and then go from there.

K: Exactly. Just allow them to be ready because most people, they’re not ready to go that deep. Sometimes the coaches, they’re just ready to go deep and they feel that if they go deep, it’s great. That’s the way I am. Wait a minute, do you really want to support the other person? Do you really want to make a difference? It’s not about your way. It’s about what is the best way at that moment so it can serve the intention of giving that contribution. It comes from compassion. It comes from respect. It comes from not attachment to them, getting what you want to say to them. It comes from a really clean place instead of the mind that wants to have their way or no other way.

S: Let’s talk more about how to get into your purpose because if you work on your ego and you see it as a gift that helps you to work on your reactivity, work on becoming your best self and not as who you really are, your ego, it’s there to assist you on your spiritual journey, then part of your spiritual journey of course, is to live your life’s purpose and yet most people don’t. I think you had said something to affect 1% of people living their purpose.

K: That’s correct.

S: Let’s talk about that.

K: Studies show that only 1% of people in this planet are living their life purpose. When I say life purpose, what I mean by this is people really doing what they love to do, using it to serve people, using that gift they love to do to serve others and creating abundance with it. Some people are called to create financial abundance like for profit and non for profit, other people only non for profit. In my case, I attract the leaders that want to do both. They want to do what they love and they want to create financial abundance for profit and non for profit, the two. First of all, why only 1% and why is this happening? It’s because most people don’t even think that they can have it all, they can have both. Most people grow up to think that they first have to get a job or a business that will make money and then once that they make money, one day they can do what they love. One day, once I get here and then I will be able to do what I love. Because of that, they have it so much in their subconscious mind. Even when I started my journey Stephan, in the first four years, I made no money as a coach. Because for me, all I wanted to do, helping people, that was my priority. Today it’s still my priority but at that moment I wasn’t even thinking of like how am I going to make money with this because it was separate. For me, I was thinking purpose, spirituality has nothing to do with business and money. They were two things. And then, I met my mentor, a dear friend. Someone who’s not a coach but he is a very successful entrepreneur and deeply spiritual. He taught me the spiritual relationship with money. That if I didn’t see God in everything, I didn’t see it at all. That’s when I was awakened and I was like, “Wow!” Not only I can create financial abundance with my purpose, it is my responsibility to do so because that abundance is a reflection of my purpose and the more I have, the more I can help. That’s when I made my first million dollars in coaching and seminars. It continued growing and then the coaches came to me and say, “How do you do it?” That’s the main thing. It’s to understand that we have right and responsibility to live our purpose because when we are living our purpose, it’s easier to recognize when we are in our ego. It’s easier to take care of our health. It’s easier to be compassionate. Once people are living their purpose, there is no competition because people understand that everyone has their own gift. There is no one like you. Everyone, even if we’re talking about similar things, each and every one of us has our own way or own style or own way to share it. When you are in the context of living your purpose, the quality of life that you experience is so much different and then what you share with others is the same, it’s beautiful. It’s passionate. It’s energetic. Of course, it’s the way to go.

S: You’re basically living in the vortex and not kicking up a lot of resistance in your path. That’s from Abraham Hicks. I remember something else that you had said from your talk and that was that you have an inner purpose and an outer purpose. Let’s talk about that.

K: I believe our inner purpose is to evolve and our outer purpose is to contribute. The first time I’ve heard something similar was from Eckhart Tolle in the The Power of Now and A New Earth. He mentioned something that is similar to that from that, it was like a reflection for me and really bring it up to life. That means that we’re all here evolving. Everything that happens, it’s part of the evolution process. There is no mistake in anything that is happening. We are here evolving and we’re living that inner purpose no matter what we do in the outside, that’s number one. The other purpose is contribution. That is also one thing that we are all doing. We’re contributing to the unconsciousness or the consciousness of our planet. When we are upset, when we are in our ego, we are contributing to the unconsciousness of the world. That’s why when I coach other coaches and speakers, I say to them, “Do you want to transform?” They say, “Yes.” “What do you want?” “I want world peace.” “Okay. Are you adding to that world peace or are you adding to the work?” They’ll say, “No, to the peace.” I’ll say, “Okay. Did you know that every time that you’re in your ego, that you’re judging, that you’re making people wrong, yourself wrong, you are bringing violence to the world. You are adding to the darkness to the world.” They’re like, “No, I’m not aware of that.” First, let’s be aware that we’re contributing to whatever it is the state of being that we are. We are either contributing to the consciousness to awaken the world or to keep it asleep. We are doing that all the time. That is our outer purpose to contribute. When we go one step further, and then we can say, “I’m ready to contribute to the world consciously, that means I’m going to be aware of my ego. I’m going to choose essence. I’m going to be my best version every day. What is my gift to share? What is it that I have in my heart that it’s there to share?” I ask people the following questions. If you had all the money in the world and all the time to enjoy it, what would you do with your time, not with your money, what would you do with your time to serve the world? What is there, once you take out the challenges of money, paying bills or whatever, what is there is just your passion. For some people it’s writing, coaching, speaking, singing. Continue doing for some people doing what they’re already doing but in a bigger scale. What is left there is what you must do no matter what if you want to be fulfilled and if you want to grow. Other than that, you won’t be happy. Even if you have the perfect husband, the perfect wife, if you live in a mansion, even if you have money, if you’re not living your purpose and sharing your gift, you won’t feel fulfilled. Because there is no other way to live in a truly happy state than to fulfill what you’re called to do on this planet.

S: I agree. I imagine some listeners are going to have some resistance to that. They’re going, “That’s fine for you to take four years off of making money. I can’t survive more than six weeks without making money. I can’t just quit my job and take some leap of faith that the universe is going to provide for me. I need to provide for my family and this is the job I have. It’s not a fulfilling job and it’s not my purpose and I know that. I am making sacrifices for the sake of my family. I try to live my purpose in all powers. Get home from work and I try to take care of the family, make the dinner and be a good wife or husband.” What do you tell somebody like that?

K: I love it. I have them all the time. There are two things that are important. Yes, I get it. I get the importance of taking care of family. I’m a single mom of twin boys. There was a time in my life where I have no money to pay my rent. It was chaotic for me. What am I going to do? I have to support my family. I didn’t actually think about it. It happened to me. It happened that I went broke 100% and it was, “Okay God.” I pause for a moment, “What do you want me to do? I’m ready to surrender. Tell me, guide me.” Immediately, a couple from Venezuela, their name is Mrs. Alfonso and Rucio, they appear in my life and they say, “Karen, you changed our life. Because of you, we went from being broke to being financially free. We’re fulfilled, we’re living our purpose. We know your situation. I want you to come and move with us, with your kids, with your mother.” Because my mom is the one who was helping me with the kids. “With your cats, your dogs, and come and live with us. Until you’re ready to go back into feeding, continue doing what you’re doing because we don’t want you to stop doing seminars. We don’t want to stop you doing coaching. We want you to do what you did to us.” I do believe that when you surrender, when you jump that leap of faith, God will provide the angels because money doesn’t just come from a job. It doesn’t just come from having a salary. There’s so many ways. The universe really will conspire but what happens is that most of the people don’t have the faith. They talk about faith, but then they say, “Oh, I have faith.” But then, “Just in case, I have this.” No, there is no just in case in faith. It’s either you release the control and surrender and do it. That’s why only 1% of the people have got it in the world because most of the people have the fear of what if this happens? Once I went with them, nine months later, I made my first million dollars but it was because I first released the control and the fear of not having money. I opened up my space for the mentors to appear, the people to appear because before my space was occupied with all the negativity and fears that I had. When people are not ready, I always share with them, I say, “Okay, give yourself a time.” If you really want to fulfill your calling, because that’s the first thing, some people just don’t want to live their purpose, and that is fine, that’s fine too. I don’t believe this is for everyone. It is an opportunity that everyone has but not everyone will choose it. First, I will clarify with the person. Are you really ready to fulfill your purpose? Do you really choose that? If they say “Yes Karen, but I don’t know how, I don’t have the strength right now to let go of everything. Help me.” I’ll say, “Okay, give yourself time.” One year, six months, one year, I always share it’s usually best not to give more than one year because then it’s the ego procrastinating and all of that. But give yourself time. No matter what, you have a plan, one year and then you do your savings. You do what you have to do to feel that you’re ready. But let me tell you, even after the year, even after you have the savings your ego will never be ready. It will always, “Oh no, I need to make a little bit more.” You have to give yourself a year, six months, or whatever, time. Then no matter what happens at that moment, you surrender and then you say, “I let go and I trust.” If you really feel in your heart that this is your calling, you must trust in faith, in action that it will be fulfilled. Otherwise, you’re not really trusting and it’s not faith and it’s okay. You can stay like you are but is that the quality of life that you want? I don’t believe in sacrifices. Only the ego believes in sacrifices. The ego thinks, “I have to sacrifice one thing to have the other.” The ego comes from a place of scarcity. If I have a good relationship with my husband or my wife, I cannot have my purpose. If I am with my purpose making money, my relationships are affected. No, who said that? That is an idea of the mind that says we cannot have it all. In essence, we have not only the capacity, the tools but the abundance around us to really have it all. People ask me, “Karen, how do you do it with two teenage boys? They’re going to be 14 in March. Is it hard?” I say, “It’s not hard, it’s great. I have a great relationship with them.” People say teenagers never talk. Well, mine talk to me because I created that. I created that I can have it all, that I can go in trouble and then I’d be with them and instead of me working and putting them around my calendar, they are in my calendar first and then I create my work. That is my intention and that’s how it happens. Put a timeline. Trust, surrender and no matter what, honor your word and the universe will conspire in your favor.

S: That’s beautiful and that reminds me of another learning I just got from Kabbalah that when you connect with the light, with the creator, God, universe whatever you call it and instead of chasing after a particular aspect of the light, because you think of the light as shines through a prism and then you see all the colors, the whole spectrum.  The spectrum of the colors can include things like your relationship, your career, your children, and so forth and so on, all of the different aspects of life. Some people chase after one of them and then other things fall apart. They’re not taking care of their body because they’re spending so much time in their job or they spend too much time trying to create the perfect relationship for themselves and they’re neglecting their career. They never get the fulfilment because they’re not going after the source, the actual light. I thought that was quite profound, sounds very similar. You can have it all. The place you come from is from essence and you serve instead of trying to get things for yourself alone. Also, I love the distinction you made about the ego comes from scarcity and if you can come from a place of abundance and surrender, God will provide the angels for you.

K: Yes, always. We go into stories of people and I get goosebumps. I have talked about this for over a decade, my dear. We have 26,000 graduates from our seminars. I always talk about this and I get goosebumps every time. I always find reference of miracles that people have experienced when they let go and let God, always. We have reference. Some people are listening and they say, “But that never happens to me.” Well not yet, it’s coming. At least watch other people that have done it. Learn from their stories. Make your mind comfortable with at least having the idea that miracles can happen and if they can happen to others, it will happen to you. You are God in essence. You are the chosen one. If you are listening to this, it’s because you have a purpose that’s within you that is ready to grow and ready to be received by so many people. Who are you to question God? That was the question that changed my life. When I started doing this, I questioned myself, I doubted. People aren’t going to understand my accent. People are not going to believe me because I look too young, I look too boobalicious because I’m Latina. They’re not going to take me seriously. All of this nonsense of my ego. Until I realized, thanks to a native Indian leader who was visiting New York and I shared with him all my doubts and he said, “Who are you to question God? He chose you. He gave you that calling. Who are you to say you’re not worthy or you’re not ready? If you have it within your heart, it’s because you are the perfect one to deliver it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have it. ”

S: I agree. I am totally on board with that. The reason why I have this podcast which has nothing to do with my traditional business of Search Engine Optimization and figuring out how Google works and helping companies with higher rankings and all of that is because I feel compelled to follow a higher purpose. My purpose is to make a difference in people’s lives, not in their Google rankings. It’s part of the equation. It’s part of the gift that I have, that expertise and that skill. But I want to make a huge difference in people’s lives. Part of that is this podcast. Part of it is I’m working on two self-help books right now. I intend to change millions of people’s lives.

K: The beauty of what you’re doing and I really acknowledge you for that, is that you’re using your gifts now to fulfill your purpose. See, many people ask me, “Well Karen, I study to be an engineer but now I want to be a coach. Did I waste my time?” No, because now you have the knowledge of something that may not be related directly to coaching but now you can coach engineers that are very mental driven, very intellectual that maybe the coach that is more spiritual kind of, they won’t connect with them. But now you can create coaching programs used for engineers, just for them. And they’re like, “Oh my God! Oh yes! I thought I wasted my time.” No, it was all part of a perfect plan. Your service helped other people to get their message out. You can use it for your own message. It’s a perfect combination. You do it in a transformational way. It’s not what we do, it’s how we do it. And then we use all of these talents that we have and all the tools that we have to fulfill our purpose versus going from this talent and then that talent and most people are distracted between so many businesses trying to make money in so many ways trying to survive. More even when the person is very talented because it’s very easy to get distracted and somebody else comes with a new business and they say they go from that and then somebody else wins a new opportunity. No, stay focused, follow your purpose and then use your talent and your gifts to fulfill that particular purpose. Anything else that doesn’t add you value to your purpose or it doesn’t move you forward faster towards your purpose is a distraction. For me, it’s easy to say no because I know when I say, “Yes.” A yes is in alliances, it’s an investments that will move me towards my purpose forward. If it delays that process, even if it brings a lot of money, even if it looks great, I’m sorry it’s a distraction and the answer is, “No, thank you.” That’s it.

S: That’s amazing. I love that and I believe in that too. I studied for a PhD in Biochemistry and I dropped out of that to start an internet company. I, for a while, thought like I was giving up on my purpose. I felt like I had this mission to cure cancer or something and I felt this regret for dropping out of the sciences but now I see it’s all part of a perfect plan that it was meant to be. Even though I don’t use my masters in Biochemistry, I stuck it out a little bit to get a masters. I haven’t used it for anything but just the life experience, it made me part of who I am and how I show up in the world is partially because I went to graduate school. Opportunity opened to me because I was in that program. I’ve started building websites because I had an opportunity. This was in 1994, when people were still using the Mosaic browser and I hadn’t even heard of Netscape yet. I built a website for my department and put biological virus animations on a website for people to watch and see what the common cold virus looks like. I got recognition for that and I realized, “Hey, I should be doing this a lot more.” I dropped out of school and started a business building websites. You’ll never know how. The timing is divine, it could be that you spent all this time creating something that ended up not coming to fruition but you’re who you are because of that experience.

K: The moment you’re ready to use your gifts, your experiences to fulfill your purpose, they will be there. It’s never a waste of time. The challenge is when people use that, the spiritual ego will use that. One, everything is part of the process as an excuse to not fulfill their purpose. Because that’s what the spiritual ego does. It’s all part of the plan so you choose to. As soon as you know now that right now you’re not living 100% of your purpose, then it’s up to you not to do it or do it. If you say, “Okay. Got it. I’ll do it. I have my time. I choose now.” You can use all those gifts. In your case, biochemistry, this is amazing. You can use that in your personal development books that you are doing. You can use the tools that you learned in that career. Because science with spirituality is a perfect combination, you can use that to have a unique content. Part of what I coach my coaches in our certification program is what makes you unique. What makes a coach unique, it’s not someone who’s just repeating what other people are saying. I’m great with studying. I invest over $250 million in my education. I’m great with studying. I’m growing. If you’re going to be a coach, a speaker, make sure that you channel your own content, that you bring what is unique instead of being one more as everyone else. What makes you unique? Your essence, your values, your experiences, your knowledge and how you use it. This is now the perfect combination for someone who never heard of biochemistry or never heard about this and then now sees life from a different perspective, from a scientist point of view, whatever will be. You speak in a language that many people may not understand if it wasn’t for you. They are ready to understand your language, the way you present it, the way you look is all part of the perfect combination. Once you make the choice, you have all of that in you favor. We just have to be responsible and say, “Okay, this is it. I’m going to do it and choose it.” Otherwise, it becomes an excuse not to live our purpose.

S: Right. Just rethinking about that past of studying biochemistry, it actually made me a better internet marketer because I’m much more scientific in my approach. I come up with hypothesis and I test those hypotheses. I don’t just take what somebody else says as the truth. I test the stuff. Also in the personal development stuff that I’m creating, the podcast, the books, I’m also going to do seminars, I’m bringing a unique aspect that’s very scientific, pragmatic and also geeky. I also incorporated into this podcast a lot of biochemical type of content because I have biohackers like Dave Asprey on the show and Dr. Daniel Kraft who heads the medical side of Singularity University. I’ve had nanotechnology expert Christine Peterson, who is co-founder of Foresight Institute on the show. A lot of people wouldn’t have gotten exposed to biological and nanotechnological experts like that if I hadn’t had that background in biochemistry and the interest in it. It makes a lot of sense now what you’re saying, embrace that past, don’t consider it a waste of time, it actually enhanced who you are today even if it’s completely different from what you’re doing now. I love it.

K: Exactly, even the darkness of your past, the challenges of your past. I have a story that I am a survivor of domestic violence. I almost died. I had a gun in my head. I am blessed to have that in my past. Some people will see, “Oh my God, that’s terrible to happen.” For me, no it’s great that it happened because thanks to that, I can inspire people. I can be an example that no matter what we went through, we can recreate and change our life. I am grateful that I have a past where I was insecure, jealous, when I didn’t love myself, when I didn’t have any value because I know what it is to be in darkness. I know what it is to be there. For me, today, even though I don’t have a formal education like you, Stephan, now I can coach people that have so much degrees. I went to speak at Harvard twice and the participants in one of those seminars, they were professors at Harvard. The first thing you see, they were like crossing their arms like, “What is this girl going to teach us? We know it.” You can see how they open their arms, they hold hands, the tears in their eyes because in my case, it’s not my formal education. It’s the experience that I had and the challenge that I do with God essence message that allow me to connect with high profile people. I coach athletes, celebrities in Hollywood and all of these people that usually they are not easy to coach or you will think that they will be coached by someone who is in higher education or whatever. People will say that that was my disadvantage and for me that became a blessing because now people can see, “Wow, this person that doesn’t have a formal education in university but she speaks at Harvard, she speaks at United Nation. She coach Presidents. How does she do it?” This is what I teach to other coaches. It’s not what you know, your country is great, it’s part of the package, it’s what makes you unique. It’s how you deliver that, how you connect with people, how you really open their hearts and really go beyond motivation, go to transformation. Anyone can speak in public, anyone can do a seminar, anyone can do a nice interview. It’s easy, but can you really touch people’s lives permanently? Can you bring something that they will never forget? Can you really transform someone’s life? That has everything to do with who you have been more than what you know in your head and what you say in your words.

S: That’s profound. I’m sure there must be listeners thinking to themselves, how can you possibly be blessed to have had a gun put to your head? Can you expand a bit on that? Maybe share your story.

K: Sure, thank you. In my life, I had many reference of miracles. The fact that I almost died and I’m here live is a miracle. That itself for me is a blessing, the fact that I had a new opportunity to live and new opportunity to change my life. I grew up learning about personal growth. My grandma and my mother had all these books in their home. When I was five or six and I learned how to read, the first book that I was reading was quantum physics and metaphysics. I was this little girl who was very eager to find this knowledge. Yet, I was very confronted because I saw in my outside a different life than what these personal development books were telling. My grandma, my mom, they both suffered domestic violence. I grew up wanting to change that. I end up attracting the same thing. I remember when I had this gun in my head, I remember praying to God and I said, “God, please give me a new opportunity to live and I promise I will change my life.” I was given that opportunity. This person put his gun down and that’s when I really started my journey of finding my purpose. At that moment, I knew if God allowed me to live, it’s because there must be something bigger that I don’t know yet, that I must fulfill. I am grateful of the moment. Maybe if I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t have asked that question. I wouldn’t have asked what my purpose is. That is the blessing of darkness. That is the blessing of pain. When someone goes through pain, when somebody in their life die or they lose a job or a relationship is broken, at that moment, the ego thinks it’s the end of the world. But if we choose to, if we listen to our heart and our essence, we can really see that it’s a new opportunity. God only takes things away because he wants to provide things that are better for us. He wants us to be able to see what we cannot see when we are in our comfort zone, when everything is fine. It’s not what we really want but at least it’s fine. Sometimes, we need that shift, that shaking in our life to be able to really change it and that was for me. It was the beginning of finding my purpose. That’s why I moved to United States with my bag full of dreams and my stomach filled with my twins. I was pregnant with my twin boys. I started that and I asked to God, “God, what is my purpose? Show me. I’m ready to honor what you have for me. I don’t know what it is but show me the way.” That’s when somebody invited me to my first personal development seminar with Tony Robbins. I never knew who Tony was. I never knew that coaches existed. I knew about the books of personal development but no people that would dedicate their life to do that. When I saw him on stage, I heard God’s voice that says, “Karen, what he’s doing is what you’re going to do for the rest of your life.” Boom! I got it. I look back and I said, “Thank you, thank you.” When I looked back, I said, “Thank you for everything you give me in my past. Now, I can use it to inspire people.” That’s why those times are the biggest blessings of my life.

S: Wow, that’s amazing, so inspiring. I had a huge shift at a Tony Robbins seminar too. 2009 is when I went. I was in a dark place. I was going through divorce. I was depressed and I was in poor health. I wasn’t full of vigor and vitality.  I looked so old and I just let myself go. After the fire walk that first night, walking on the 2,000 degree hot coals, I’m like, “I can change my life. I can do this.” I made a huge shift over the course of that next year, I became literally unrecognizable from the guy I was to who I became. If you see the before and after photos, listeners, do check that out if you haven’t. Go to The Optimized Geek website on the about page, look at me before and after. It’s pretty surprising. Tony Robbins made a big difference in my life too. It’s not that he or anybody else is the guru that you should just be following, it’s that it’s the right message at the right time for you, “Hey, it’s time to wake up. Get out of that robotic consciousness, that automatic mode, live your purpose and do what you’re here on Earth to do.”

K: Exactly. Yes.

S: I remember one thing you said before was that everyday, people are dying because I’m not living my purpose

K: Yes. It stayed with you. Stephan, when is the last time we spoke? I think it was the best seminar, how long has it been?

S: Two years ago.

K: I think a little bit more than two years. That stayed with you and that’s beautiful because if you go for that statement, as a principle of life, you understand that it’s emergency for you to live your purpose. It’s not just a choice, it’s an emergency, it’s a must. When I invite people to reflect on that, every day out there, there are people dying because they don’t have your gift. It’s like “Oh, I just want to do this because I want to fulfill, I want to feel better. I want to be happy.” No. Forget about just being happy. The lives of people are depending on you. If you don’t move your butt and fulfill your dreams, and be happy and rich and healthy, these people are dying with you. You’re not just dying with yourself. You’re dying with all of these people at the same time. How dare you not to care? That’s when people all of a sudden get out of themselves because most people won’t make changes for them only my dear, they only will make changes for others. When they have that passion and they know that what they do will impact the world. Once you have the consciousness, there is nothing that we do that doesn’t impact the world. It’s no longer about us when we feel like it. Sometimes, I don’t feel like coaching, sometimes, even though I love what I do, sometimes, my ego is like, “Oh, you know what? Change that meeting. It’s not that important.” And then, all of a sudden I go into emergency mode and I say, “Wow, what if that person’s life is depending on me, honoring my work?“ That’s when I change it. When I change my relationship with my work as if my life depends on it and other people’s life depends on it, and then miracles are possible.

S: Because if people know that you are a person who does what they say they’re going to do, not only are you reliable but you’re modelling a new world that is one that’s based on accountability and integrity and consciousness. It’s amazing, right?

K: Yes, and it’s congruent. It’s congruent with what we want to share. It’s congruent with what we want people to be with us. It becomes congruent. People sometimes ask me, “Karen, how are you so effective when you speak in public? How do you do it? You move the people. Is it Neuro-linguistic programming, NLP? Is it because you talk this way or talk that way?” I say, “My training to be an effective coach on stage, one on one, that has nothing to do with my presentation. My preparation, my training for that happens when nobody’s looking at me, when I’m behind the scenes. That’s when I become an effective coach, when I’m being congruent, when I’m cleaning my poo poo.” I always tell people. It doesn’t matter how much perfume you put on top of poo poo, there’s still poo poo. You have to clean up. You have to clean it up first. I’m cleaning my poo poo not only literally but in my life. If there is something that I see that is not congruent, I take responsibility. Like today, I had a challenge with my Skype. The first thing I say to you, I take responsibility. My ego can say, “Well, it’s only five minutes. He will understand.” No. I told you at 12:00 and it was 12:05. I take responsibility for those five minutes. I train myself to do that. My ego doesn’t become comfortable because people will say, “Oh Karen, you do so much. It’s okay. It doesn’t matter.” No, wait a minute. It does matter. I have to put myself accountable first in order for me, when I go on stage or when I coach other coaches, I am effective because I clean up my space before I go there. People receive it. I may not be the most eloquent when I speak. Sometimes, people don’t understand what I say because of my accent or whatever, but they can feel it. They can feel the vibration. They can receive the energy and that is way more powerful than you saying perfect words if you don’t come from a clean space and powerful place.

S: Amazing. Also, what you do and how you are in the world has this ripple effect that you’ll never know the full impact of. You’re modelling an accountable, conscious behavior pattern and then somebody is in that space receiving that and so, “I want to be more like that.” They affect other people and you’ll never know. You didn’t even get to meet them, they were just in your seminar once or they were in proximity once when you were having a heartfelt, meaningful conversation with somebody.

K: Yes. They were next to you, they may be heard you. When I do business, when someone wants to present to me an opportunity and we go to a meeting and we go to a restaurant, I always look, how do they treat the waiters. He or she can present to me a great business plan and all of this and it looks wonderful but if the waiter comes and they don’t even look at the eyes, they don’t ask for the name, they’re not kind to them, I don’t want to do business with them. I don’t care what you say, it’s your actions. Are you kind to your team? Are you being present with people when they’re the person who cleans the floor in the bathroom? Do you acknowledge them when they are there? When people drive a taxi, do you ask the name? Do you acknowledge the person who is driving? Are you with people or only when you just want something from people, when you want them to listen to you and then you’re kind and you’re nice? That’s very important. I always say to the coaches, be congruent in every aspect of your life even when nobody’s looking. That’s most important because anyone can be nice when you have a camera in front of you. “Ah, yeah! Charismatic, Facebook Life.” Anyone can do that. Anyone can put up a show but who we are being behind the scenes, that is what is important. That is the commitment that for me is number one for anyone who wants to be an influencer, who wants to leave a legacy versus have just a temporary impact on people. That’s why for people that have excellence in selling, they sell the products, they ask me, “How can I be a better salesperson? How can I sell more of my products?” Well, first of all be present when you share. It’s not about the selling, it’s not about just people buying your things and then never coming back or buying it and not using it. It’s not about quantity, it’s the quality of people that you work with. Those people that you really impact, those are the ones that would bring you new clients. They will bring you more referrals because it’s based in transformation and not just motivation. Motivation is superficial. It’s nice but it’s superficial. Transformation comes from essence and it’s permanent.

S: Wow. This was amazing, inspirational and empowering. What an incredible journey you’ve been on. To share with such candor and vulnerability, to have had such frightening experiences in your life and to take that and use that as fuel to grow and to contribute to others. It’s super inspiring. Thank you so much, Karen, for being in the show.

K: My pleasure, Stephan. It has been an honor for me to be here. I really acknowledge you for creating the space for the voice of those that we are sharing our gifts. Because of you today, I can reach the heart of someone that I may never do it in other way. You are generous. I thank you, I honor you and I acknowledge you for saying yes to that calling, for saying yes to your purpose. It takes courage, it takes love, it takes generosity to say yes to that. I really honor you and it is an inspiration for me. Also, I learned and I grew so much today, you blessed my day with this opportunity. Of course, for everyone who’s listening right now, this is you too. You can be the next guest in Stephan’s podcast. You can be the next star sharing your message, sharing your purpose. This is not just some of us. This is for all of us. We all have the responsibility to transform this world. I need you, Stephan needs you, the world needs you, we need you to work this together. You are a piece of the puzzle. Your piece is as important as anyone else. If your piece is not in the puzzle, it won’t be complete. We need you, the world needs you. Please remember that. Take that opportunity to say yes to your purpose. The universe will conspire in your favor. Say yes to it. The masters, the teachers, the coaches, the friends, the reference, the testimonials that will come your way because you have said yes. The universe will bless you with everything you need in order to fulfill your purpose.

S: Yes, beautifully said. If somebody wanted to work with you, if they wanted to take you one of your seminars or go online with your retreats or work with you individually, how will they get in touch? What’s the best way?

K: Thank you, my dear. My website is karenhoyos.com. If you guys send us a message, we can give you complimentary tickets to my upcoming webinar. It will be a 2 hour webinar. You guys can ask me anything that you want just make sure that you register in our website. If there’s any coach or speaker who’s listening to this and maybe want to explore how to build their business, how to be really successful in doing what you love and creating financial abundance without interfering with your values, without sacrificing your values and who you really are, make sure you email me. Email me and we will have a conversation. We will explore how I can serve you. Of course social media, Karen Hoyos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. I’m there. I’m posting daily. I’m here to serve you guys. Please use me as a lemon to make lemonade. Use me. I’m here to support you, to serve you. Everything I have in my heart is for you.

S: Thank you, Karen. Thank you, listeners. I do hope that you’ll take this episode on board and follow your purpose and see your ego as a tool to grow spiritually and not as your nemesis and not as who you really are. Everyone, go to optimizedgeek.com for the show notes for this episode and also the transcript will be available there, as well as a checklist of actions to take from the episode. Thank you so much, listeners. Thank you, Karen. We’ll catch you on the next episode of The Optimized Geek. This is Stephan Spencer signing off.