Nancy Kalina Gomez: Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life
Other people will have you believe that you’re looking for something easy to occupy your time. It is hard work.
This is a monumental undertaking and it requires a lot of dedication. There are a million pieces to the puzzle and that is the natural process of bringing an idea to its fruition
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50's.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Kalina Gomez.
Nancy is a Bilingual professional with over 25 years of experience as a Clinician. She has created several webinars on various topics for PsychCentral and World of Psychology.
She earned a Master’s Degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Prior to that, she specialized in Clinical Psychology with Adults/Adolescents at The George Washington University where she completed the required academic coursework towards a Psy.D.
Nancy has worked with abused children and the severely mentally ill.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was born into a multicultural family that consisted of Eastern European Ashkenazi maternal ancestors who immigrated to Duluth, Minnesota from Lithuania and Salamanca, Spain Sephardic paternal ancestors (they were “Conversos” because they were to convert to Catholicism) who fled Spain and landed in Ecuador via Colombia.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
There are several pearls of wisdom that my parents have handed down to me. I’m choosing this one: “If this is what you know, imagine what you don’t.”
When I was a teenager, I was telling my mother about a guy. Maybe she saw red flags in my description of him, I don’t know. When I finished talking, she looked up at me and said: “Well, remember, if this is what you know, imagine what you don’t.
This has served as a reminder to wait before drawing any conclusions about a person or situation. In my profession while working with families — waiting to hear the other side of the story, not just relying on the version from the identified patient. In relationships — prompting me to pause and evaluate with a cool head.
As a result, I learned to have patience to see how things unfolded before continuing on.
How would your best friend describe you?
What I love most is how you balance between being my cheerleader and holding me accountable for my actions. THAT is foundation for a healthy relationship. And THAT is why I know we are life-long friends.
You allow me to be authentic with you … no masking, no hiding who I am. You provide an emotional environment where I am safe to be me with no rash, negative value assessments.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much?
I have never allowed “No” to be an option. I relentlessly pursue my goals. I develop a laser-like focus to achieve and never let go. I remember talking with a friend about something I was working towards. Summing up how my dedication to reaching it, I replied, “I want this so bad, I can taste it.”
Before Google was so knowledgeable, I called people who were experts about whatever project I was tackling. Once I gathered enough information, I planned the next steps.
My learning style is visual. In general I am a visual person.
Before “manifesting” was even a thought, I learned — from my mother — to “see it already done in your mind’s eye”. Since then, I naturally picture myself in the situation surrounding my goals. Everything from actually reaching my goal to living my life with my goal, I visualized. This wasn’t a purposeful exercise, I just started to live as if I had already achieved it.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
During my career, I have worked with nonprofit organizations, hospitals and clinics in the following capacities: Child Protective Services Investigator, Staff Therapist, Clinical Supervisor, Director of Clinical Services and Director of Program Services. I have conducted psychological assessments in both English and Spanish.
Some of the communities and mental illnesses: Latino population, Foster Care system, Gang members, Prison population and Psychiatric population (the severely mentally ill). She has also treated issues surrounding Abandonment, Anxiety/Panic, Bipolar disorder, Co-dependency, Depression (Clinical and Situational), Dual Diagnosis, Family conflicts, LGBTQ, Life transitions, Self-Esteem, Perfectionism, Personality Disorders (Borderline, Psychosis, etc.), Schizophrenia, Sociopaths, Severe Trauma, Triply-Diagnosed: (HIV+, Substance Abuse and mental illness), including those with less distress from emotional issues that have sabotaged their life.
Within the populations Nancy has worked with, clients have come from all over the world and varied professions including Business, Medicine, High-profile clients and the like.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I had a series of seven surgeries and procedures between 2016–2019. Nothing life threatening, but exhausting nonetheless. During this period, I had to rest and recuperate which gave me time to think. I looked at what I liked about my profession and if I had the chance, what would I spend more time doing.
The idea of working online appealed to me. I did my research and learned everything about websites, therapeutic considerations, designing a program, business. I took advantage of handouts, articles, webinars and so on. Then, I put it together with what I had in terms of academics and experience. It just seemed to come together.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
When I thought about the next job I would apply for when I returned to the States, the feeling that came up was like moving heavy boxes. I was tired anyway but it just felt like I had “done that” already. That’s when the idea of working online came to mind and I haven’t thought of anything else since.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
In practical terms, I had to learn about:
The implications of therapy online
Legal requirements for a website
…And much more!
Plus, all of the thousands of details that each of these topics contained. For this reason, I made sure I honed my research skills and became adept at being creative with words for my searches
The other skills were personal. I didn’t know anything about this type of work and no one was there to teach me. I did find valuable guidance on the internet and in Facebook groups. I also had to remember what it meant to be a novice and that never feels comfortable!
How are things going with this new initiative?
I just launched this effort on January 27th of this year so it is very new, but I am very happy with what I have accomplished thus far. I have had to make some changes and there are still steps to take to move the business forward and it’s exciting!
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My cousins, who work independently online, have been my cheerleaders. They have motivated me, reminded me what I have already accomplished and what I have to offer.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
I think my business is too new to have any interesting stories yet! What is noteworthy though is that I haven’t told anyone about this venture except one friends and my two cousins. As exciting and satisfying as it’s been, I’ve uncharacteristically kept quiet about it. This has kept me “in the zone” and calmly focused on my path.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
Going out on my own instead of working within an established organization is scary. It has certainly triggered feelings of insecurity, doubt and fear.
To help combat that, I started to look for motivational quotes. I have found some that have resonated with me on Facebook pages like Mateusz M, Billionaire Quotes, Millionaire Women.
One in particular reads: “There are people less qualified than you, doing the things you want to do, simply because they decided to believe in themselves. Period.”
Now that is powerful!
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
I relied on things like my ability to thoroughly research a subject as my “support system”. There were Facebook groups and webinars that were helpful to fill in the blanks. When I felt like I had a good understanding of the subject, I would put that piece in place and move on to the next one.
In addition, I printed out the motivational quotes that I liked in a folder. When feelings of doubt start creeping up, I look at a few of them and am reminded that I have what it takes.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
This quote has kept me on track:
“Make your vision so clear that your fears become irrelevant.” ~Unknown
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1.) It will seem like the idea is undoable, but that’s a lie.
There have been times when I thought, “WHAT am I doing?” “Are you serious, Nancy??” I used inspiring quotes and Facebook groups to help keep in mind that it is doable.
2.) Other people will have you believe that you’re looking for something easy to occupy your time. It is hard work.
This is a monumental undertaking and it requires a lot of dedication. There are a million pieces to the puzzle and that is the natural process of bringing an idea to its fruition.
3.) You can do this without spending a fortune. You don’t necessarily need to hire professionals.
Many who were eager to sell their services warned that, to be successful, I needed them. It just made me research even more to find the least costly way to get things up and running.
4.) You have something to offer.
In my research, I saw so many examples of service websites and would think, “Why should I add to the mix?” “What do I have to offer that’s new?” Again, I found quotes and advice that reminded me, again and again, that my experience, life lessons and creativity would give services a unique edge to it. The story has been told, but not by me.
5.) Just do it!
My cousin said this to me. I would get into conversations with him about this project and start down the “overthinking” path. He would finally stop me by saying, “Nancy, just DO IT!”
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
To finally understanding mental illness/distress take away the stigma. People who have diabetes are not stigmatized because of the illness, why are people who have mental health challenges disparaged?
What do you want to be remembered for the most?
For providing tools that create a path towards peace of mind for those who suffer from mental distress.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!