Rising Through Resilience: Pepz Javier of ‘Pep Talk with Pepz’ On The Five Things You Can Do To Become More Resilient
An Interview With Savio P. Clemente
Surround yourself with the right support system (a positive circle of influence should include mentors, friends/family, and colleagues) who value growth, honesty, and accountability.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Pepz.
Andres “Pepz” Javier, a Dominican-born multi-faceted performing artist and success coach is on a mission to change the world. As an entertainer, Pepz has worked with globally recognized brands and artists, while establishing and running a successful coaching practice that has seen clients find a greater sense of happiness, improved self-confidence, and exponentially multiplying their income, by learning practical strategies and transformational concepts to yield incredible and tangible results. Pepz inspires others to pursue their dreams, through his professional and personal accomplishments that are rooted in the belief that anything is possible.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
Thank you so much for having me! I was born Andres E. Javier in the Dominican Republic and am the youngest of four. My family and I moved to the US, when I was around five years of age. Originally, we did not speak English, know the culture nor know very many people. As a kid, I kept pretty much to myself and at the age of four, according to my mom, I began saying that I wanted to be an actor. Knowing what I wanted to do and to an extent how I wanted to live by the age four, has made me tremendously grateful for the life that I currently lead. I am thankful for my childhood because I experienced various lessons. During my childhood, I learned how to be solution-oriented, be self-efficient and productive, and most importantly, pushed myself to learn how to make money since I did not grow up with much of it.
Now, I am blessed to do what I love for a living. I recognize that how I live and what I do, is not very common for people that look like me and come from similar cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
What immediately came to mind is negotiating a contract with my current agency, Movement Talent Agency (MTA), during our first meeting. Obtaining representation in the entertainment industry is a huge milestone in almost any artist’s career. However, what I have experienced and learned from others is that it’s uncommon for the talent (i.e. myself) to negotiate and advocate more for themselves. Before signing with Movement Talent Agency (MTA), I had a variety of meetings with different agencies and the entire process was daunting. I had to learn how to pitch myself, learn how to create a media kit, and build trust within the agency that I was worthy of representation. Before meeting with MTA, I had spoken with a variety of agents where I would often leave feeling like, “I should’ve spoken up more.” Therefore, once I landed the meeting with Lyndsay from MTA, I decided to step into the meeting with the following:
1. A clear and pre-meditated intention before the meeting (i.e. obtain full representation in dance, modeling, and commercial acting)
2. Unshakeable confidence
3. Be prepared to negotiate what I wanted
In short, the meeting with Lyndsay went well, until I received the contract only for modeling coupled with the dates for their dance audition. Because my initial goal was to sign off on a contract that covered various aspects of my artistic career, I politely declined the original offer. I then reaffirmed that I wanted full representation. After holding my ground, Lyndsay with very little hesitation, quickly provided me with a revised contract and the rest was history.
Entering that meeting with Lyndsay, having reminded myself of the investments I made, energetically and financially, into my artistry allowed me to tap into an honest and unwavering confidence. My confidence and burning desire made the act of negotiation natural and smooth. The biggest take-away from the story, that I hope inspires any entrepreneur, artist, or even employee is to have a crystal-clear vision of what you want and to advocate for yourself as clearly and as passionately as possible, while remaining professional.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
At the core of everything I do, especially with my coaching practice, Pep Talk with Pepz, I operate from a service perspective. I believe a lot of my success stems from the framework of “how can I best support or help my client(s)?” When I operate from that standpoint, I minimize my ego and I can really be present to the needs of my client.
Furthermore, my coaching style is both informative and practical. Over the years, I have gone through my own personal education (ranging from private coaching, seminars, and literary and audio courses) where oftentimes transformational concepts are taught and illustrated typically using anecdotes but lack practical and simple action strategies to ensure the possibility and longevity of a breakthrough. Whereas, I take these complex transformational concepts and simplify them, while also providing my clients with simple action strategies to yield powerful results.
For example, a previous client of mine obtained her dream job in less than two weeks of us working together. We uncovered her self-sabotaging beliefs about her abilities that were hindering her progress. Through my program, she was able to transform her self-sabotaging beliefs into a positive belief system while also gaining a deeper understanding of effective goal setting. Through my strategic coaching techniques and the implementation of daily actionable steps, her dream job became easily accessible.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Yes! I would like to publicly acknowledge my first mentor and dear friend, Anne-Marie Duchene. Anne-Marie is a Mind-Body Alignment Expert (www.artofalignmentacademy.com), who I first began working with around 2014. She is incredibly astute, kind, and a tour-de-force. Anne-Marie was the first person that encouraged me to pursue entrepreneurism and to trust my speaking abilities.
I remember discussing with her how I had been invited to a home-based business presentation in 2014. At the time, I had never considered any aspect of business, let alone a home-based business as I was entirely uneducated about it. More so, I also did not have a clear vision for my life. During this conversation, we identified that I was operating from a scarcity standpoint. I realized that my biggest objection was, “what if this doesn’t work out and I lose money?” And I will never forget when she asked, “so what if you do [lose money]?” I then realized, that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. In that moment, I learned two things: the first was to seize opportunities and the second was that we can always make more money. This conversation persuaded me to enroll into my first business venture, which completely changed the trajectory of my life. From there, I developed a clear and exciting vision for my life. I trace back who I am now as a coach, entrepreneur, artist, and person to the journey I began with that first venture, which I probably would have declined had it not been for Anne-Marie.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
In my opinion, resilience is commitment in action. Meaning that one can only display and possess resilience in the areas in which they are committed to. According to Oxford, resilience means “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.” I personally believe that if an individual wants to be resilient, they must first have a clear vision of what they want and secondly, they must decide to commit to the realization of that vision. Commitment is what drives people to be successful in business, fitness, relationships, personal growth, and more. In the end, without commitment there is no resilience.
In my introductory course, Get to Your Next Level (a two-week crash course to personal development and goal setting), participants discover their belief system, how to properly set exhilarating goals, and how to develop honest confidence. Furthermore, I walk my clients through a process (The Path of Clarity) that allows them to create an actionable game plan which encompasses defining their dream, the steps they should consider taking, and the potential outcome of realizing their dream.
With that said, you can only be resilient, if you are committed to a conscious and clear intention (clarity of vision). In my opinion, the traits of a resilient person are as follows:
- Clear (Clarity in vision): The resilient person has a defined idea of what they aim to accomplish
- Decisive: Operate with definiteness and intentionality, in support of that vision
- Committed: They are resolute in the pursuit of their desire, regardless of the obstacles that may appear
- Action Oriented: While having a proper mindset is critical in one’s success, one must also do the work in the physical realm. So many use the law of attraction to guide their behavior, which for most is solely focusing on the “attract” portion, not realizing that “action” is just as prevalent a component of this law
- Transformational: Through resilience, said person should eventually receive their goal, which in turn will have seen them grow through the process (of achieving their goal), while re-starting the cycle of working on their next goal
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Not sure, if I would even compare the two. I recall listening to Les Brown say that courage means “of the heart” and because of this definition, I believe courage is the driving force behind commitment and therefore, resilience. In simple terms, we will only display resilience to what we are committed to. And, what we are committed to is based on our decision to pursue what is important to us (courage).
Not only does it take being resilient to go after what you care about, but it also shows up in how a person overcomes obstacles. For example, in one of my friend’s previous relationships, he expressed that it suffered because he dedicated most of his time to his career rather than the relationship. For the relationship to work, he had to overcome the obstacle of giving more of himself to his partner while still honoring his desire to excel in his career. Ultimately, he mentioned that he remained more focused on his career and therefore, the relationship ended. I would assume that he could not display resilience in his relationship to salvage it, because excelling in his career was more important to him. In my opinion, how much we care about something or someone, will be revealed, by the level of commitment and resiliency we have for said matter. I often tell my clients, that we can acquire all the strategies, success hacks, and time management tips in the world, but they will mean nothing unless you apply them. And if you are unwilling to apply it to a specific goal or area, chances are it is not that important to you.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
My mom, Rosa, for many reasons. The main reason is her ability to remain positive despite everything she has gone through. Other reasons include: not knowing how to communicate in English when she moved to the U.S. in her late 30s, watching her retire from her public-school teacher position of over twenty years, recovering from a debilitating car accident, and how nurturing and supportive she was while I was sick with COVID-19 from the other side of the country. My mom is the hardest worker that I know and one of the most giving people. She has exceeded so many of her goals, often without having much to work with. She is resourceful and relentless while remaining caring and loving.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
Yes, there has been an abundance of times. One instance comes from an aunt jokingly asking me, “do you think you can really make a living pursuing your passions?” Other moments also included a fellow vocal student interrupting my singing practice by yelling, “you suck at singing,” and an ex who believed I lacked the traits of becoming a great coach. Today, I am here to say that I have successfully made a living doing what I love. I have generated multiple streams of income from my passions, I have sung alongside The Supremes, and have a roster of great clients who have credited me for helping them transform their lives.
Every story on the surface may seem different, but the lesson is always the same. Know what you want, do the work, believe that it is possible for you, and come hell or high water stick to the vision and go after it no matter what.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
From 2017 through 2018, every area of my life seemingly imploded. Some events include being in a very severe car accident, laid off from work, a break-up, and my grandfather, who I was the power of attorney for, passed. Despite everything that happened, I learned to view it as reset. This period of my life forced me to learn about finances, social support, and mental health. I was able to showcase how resilient I could be. Most importantly, rebuilding my life from ground zero involved many days where I battled doubt and lacked sufficient resources. However, I constantly reminded myself to do the best that I could every day.
A specific story from that period that stands out for me, is dealing with the passing of my grandfather. I was his primary care giver and power of attorney since I was about 23 and handled all aspects of his life for six years. More importantly, our relationship transformed to that of best friends. During the time that I took care of him, I loved him with all that I could and did the best that I could for him. We loved each other fiercely, spent most of our time laughing, eating, and singing. Because of him, I learned how to be of service, how to love without judgment, and what it felt like to be loved unconditionally. When he passed, I had no regrets or wishes for him to come back, because I knew we had done everything we were supposed to do together. Those six years with him taught me one of the most important lessons I now teach others: to really maximize our finite amount of time in this world.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
My immediate response to this is being an immigrant in the U.S. Like many immigrants, I belonged to a family who did not have much money, knowledge of the language and culture, and wanted to pursue my lifelong dreams. At an early age, I learned how important it is to work hard to survive, let alone thrive. I will never forget when my parents transferred me out of a two-way bilingual school and into an English-only speaking school, where I felt challenged to relate to my classmates, because of cultural, linguistic, and financial differences.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, in fifth grade I developed resiliency by learning how to do the most seemingly simple tasks, from befriending people I could barely communicate with and completing homework assignments I could barely understand. I remember how my parents and I would spend hours using numerous English-Spanish dictionaries to complete my assignments, since we could barely understand English. Together, we would work hard and aim to find the resources to be successful even in dealing with something as simple as a fifth-grade homework assignment.
Fifth grade was pivotal for me because of how difficult it was to succeed academically and socially due to the aforementioned obstacles I had to overcome. Despite me lacking in skill and in familiarity, thanks to hard work, determination, and lots of help, I became more confident and a better student. Looking back at it now, this demonstrates how resilience will eventually lead to results and success.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
My five steps to becoming more resilient would be directly linked to the 5 traits of the resilient person
- Obtain and maintain clarity of vision and purpose: Know what it is you are doing and why you are doing it
- Make personal development a daily non-negotiable. Continuously enhance and develop a winner’s mindset, build confidence, and learn tactics to reframe mental/emotional perspective
- Surround yourself with the right support system (a positive circle of influence should include mentors, friends/family, and colleagues) who value growth, honesty, and accountability
- Find something to learn from every situation
- Do the work
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? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
For more people to come together proactively and creatively to effect change. For the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday one of my best friends, Vali (female lead vocalist from musical group Emotional Oranges), and I organized a charity drive, “The Blanket Project.” In short, I spoke to Vali one early morning stating that I wanted to do something good or helpful for others, and we decided on helping the homeless community of Skid Row (Downtown Los Angeles, CA). We pooled our resources to donate at least 200 blankets, clothing, shoes, and toiletries to help keep the homeless warm. More importantly, we wanted to ensure that they felt respected and cared for. Beautifully and miraculously, we inspired friends and strangers alike to open their homes, donate, and provide us with discounts to make our vision come to life. On Thanksgiving Day, we created a beautiful event. Our home-base was in Gladys Park, where we had a DJ booth set up, courtesy of our friend Sammy Soto (choreographer/stuntman), a buffet of clothes up for grabs, basketball, and dancing. Then, I drove some of us in a rented U-Haul, going from tent to tent, handing out blankets and other gifts to this community.
Looking back at how everything unfolded, it’s beautiful knowing that this started with just me and Vali in my living room at 6AM and only a few hundred dollars. Our wish is that people would get inspired to know that you do not need much to effect a big change. You just need a dream and initiative.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them :-)
I would love to have lunch with Dani Johnson, Jennifer Lopez, and Eric Thomas. These are three individuals who crafted their success from the ground up, who seem to get hungrier, more ambitious, and greater in every area of their lives as time goes by. If I really had to only pick one, it would be Dani Johnson. Her book First Steps to Wealth, was one of the first books I ever read when I first entered the world of business. In First Steps to Wealth, she really highlights what wealth truly is and the required skills and heart posture one needs to have to acquire it.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Instagram (@PEPZ_JAVIER) is the fastest way to reach me. I would really enjoy and appreciate connecting with your readers. My purpose is to help others realize that their dreams are possible and that I am here to support them as best I can.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Thank you so much for having me!