What Can You Learn From an Iguana? (Trust Me, More Than You Would Think)

What Good Leaders Know
February 1, 2018

I love what I do because as a small business coach, I get an insider’s view of so many distinct businesses from manufacturing to media and everything in between. Not only do I learn about the workings of these companies, but even more exciting is the workers… specifically, the CEOs, founders and dreamers who have a vision and see it through… often times painstakingly.

This month, I’d like to feature one of those dreamers that I am proud to call my client: Tania Gilinski. As winner of the Miami Herald Business Challenge last month, she realized a dream that had been on hold for a long while. Over a decade ago, Tania created Juana la Iguana, a lovable TV character in Venezuela. However, doing business in Venezuela and growing the company became difficult for her and her team. Her partners went their separate ways and Tania moved to the US and had a family.

How did Tania re-connect with her “inner entrepreneur” again? “For me it took clarity, confidence and of course accountability… it was really a process.” What doesn’t seem possible if you really know what you want, you have the self-confidence to try, and you’ve got someone who really cares supporting you?

Clarity: Clarity is the “Why” behind what we do. Like so many entrepreneurs I know, Tania wanted to do something meaningful. Juana La Iguana not only makes learning in Spanish for toddlers fun, it promotes positive values such as empathy, respect and kindness. Undoubtedly, downloading the app teaches these fundamentally important social norms to kids. But developing the app and embracing a digital world she was unfamiliar with can serve to teach all of us the value of “grit” even in the face of fear.

Confidence: Confidence is the “Who” we are when we are doing what we do. Often times, we feel as if confidence is something we merit only after we’ve proven successful. In practice though, confidence is precisely what we need in order to be successful. It’s not the fruits of our labor, but rather the fertilizer. Without exception, we all have that self-critic that tells us we can’t. Equally without exception, we all have real data to quiet the critic.

Accountability: Accountability is the “How” we accomplish things we think we can’t. Most of us do better when someone is watching. Whatever the motivator…fear, a sense of responsibility, or not wanting to disappoint…being supported in a way that resonates for each of us individually is powerful. As Tania’s business coach, I am privileged to offer her the support she needs to set, reach and exceed her goals. Find an objective listener who will both cheer and challenge you, whether its a spouse, a sister, a friend or a coach.

Process: This is the critical success factor that is too often forgotten or even dismissed. In our Western worldview, we are taught to focus on the outcome, the results, and the bottom line. Those are all important and also likely unsustainable if we can’t learn to enjoy the journey. The road to success is almost always bumpy and uncertain. We might as well as well enjoy the changing scenery along the way.

Usually that changing scenery is our own personal transformation.

Download Juana la Iguana on iTunes by clicking here: