Uncle Ric My Hispanic Heritage Inspiration

Uncle Ric helped instill in me that our actions are powerful and to never under-estimate helping others


During Hispanic Heritage Month it’s time to reflect on those Hispanics who made a difference. I  have been super blessed with angels in my life – people who have loved me, looked out for me, and who ensured I got what I needed to be the best me. Today I talk about one of those angels, my Tio (uncle) Ric.

Ric was the one who initially introduced me to the sport of water polo at the age of 12. Believe me when I tell you that I fought my participation for a full year before I finally gave in and allowed myself to enjoy the sport. He put up with my attitude (and boy did I give it!) that entire year and stayed patient as I learned to love the game. I played on the boy’s team during my club years and in high school as the only girl.

After high school

After high school I played on a woman’s team in community college. I opted to go to college at a school that was twenty miles away from home at a time when I had no car and often had 6 a.m. morning practices. I chose this college because I felt I had a better opportunity academically. Ric allowed me at that time to move in with him and his family, who were living close to the college I was attending.

For those two years he gave me a place to live rent-free. He fed me. And ultimately what he did was give me the space, energy and resources that allowed me to meet my goal of transferring to a University on a water polo scholarship. There was a lot I didn’t know then about the college-going process. But what I did know was that my mom had raised my brother and I as a single parent and she didn’t have the money to pay my way through. I also knew that playing water polo in college under scholarship was my ticket up.

I knew that was what needed to happen. And because I was willing to sacrifice a lot of time and attendance at birthday parties, and because Ric and his family openly gave me all they had, I was able to accomplish that dream. I ended up being a team captain, MVP and All-American at San Jose State. I travelled to Hawaii for the first time in those years for tournaments (twice!), I played against future Olympians, and I built the fortitude that would allow me to one day apply to and eventually attend graduate school at Harvard.

Challenges of adulthood

Fast forward to my adults years and what I now call my “Big Bang Theory” moment in life. I was just coming on my one year anniversary of having launched my business. In less than a week I lost my pregnancy, I released myself from a very toxic relationship- which also means I left the apartment I was sharing with my partner, and my business was on the brink of complete collapse. It was a devastating time; I felt lost and confused and scared about how I would move forward with only $300 in my bank account.


Liz Garciahttp://www.staylimitless.com/
Liz is a Speaker, Life Coach and Leadership Trainer with Stay Limitless, which she founded in 2011. Liz has been coaching and developing leaders for over 12 years, 10 of those working in the educational non-profit arena. She has guided and overseen the development of over 1,000 leaders. Liz recently served as a Group Facilitator for the Latina Global Executive Leadership Program founded by negotiation expert Dr. Yasmin Davidds and run in partnership with the USC Marshall School of Business. Liz is a former member of the Boards of Directors for the California Latino Caucus Institute’s Madrinas Padrinos Leadership Program and the National Latina Business Women Association – LA Chapter. Liz has a Bachelors in Sociology from San Jose State University and a Masters in Education from Harvard University. You can find more about Liz and sign up for her free newsletter.