By: Kate Anderson-Song
1st and 2nd generation Americans face a unique set of challenges and experiences today. Familial expectations, cultural clashes, coping with fitting into certain identities, understanding split histories, and navigating it all within America’s current political and cultural landscape. And individuals within this community often face these things without help for various reasons (lack of knowledge, accessibility, social stigma, etc.).
Enter: Nicole Cruz, a life coach who, as a 2nd generation American herself, focuses on empowering individuals within this community. When asked how she chose to concentrate on this group, she explains that it came down to four core reasons:
“First – I knew I wanted to make a significant impact in the world. I thought about the community I could serve the best with my experiences and background. As a 2nd generation American, I realized that there are unique issues that our community struggles with.
Second – the majority of life coaches are white. I observed a lack of representation for people of color in this industry. What I hear repeatedly from this community is that it makes a huge difference being supported by someone who understands them on a deep level. They don’t feel like they need to justify their issues with me because I’ve experienced those issues also.
Third – Our community has been taught to struggle in silence, to put on a good face, and to solve problems on our own. There is a stigma around therapy, coaching, and other wellness modalities. I want to provide a familiar face to help break that cycle and let the community know that asking for support isn’t weak but is courageous.
Fourth – supporting immigrants and immigrant descendants is my form of activism in the face of the current political climate, racism, hatred, and bigotry. The more I can support people of color to shine bright and own their power, unapologetically, the better the world is.”
With this focus, Cruz began her life coaching business in 2018, just a little less than a year ago. After taking “empowered action” to transform her own life (quitting her corporate job, downsizing to be able to travel full-time, and working to shift her mindset, try new things, ask for help, and dive deeply into her spirituality), she is now on a mission to help others take action and make their own transformations.
Proudly building her business from “a place of service,” Cruz works to continually keep her community at the forefront of every decision she makes. She explains, “Continually connecting to my ‘why’ has helped to keep me motivated, especially when I’ve been scared or doubtful of myself.”
Reaching out to this community is made even more important when considering the earlier mentioned fact that immigrants and immigrant descendants deal with specific cultural stigmas discouraging them from asking for help, admitting “weakness,” or showing vulnerability. Cruz works to break down these barriers, allowing for vulnerability and the sharing of doubts/fears in order to understand and take action around them. Cruz supports many of her clients in the shared issues of “feeling never good enough, difficulty loving and accepting themselves as they are, family tension (caused by expectations, obligations, or a lack of understanding), scarcity mindsets and overcoming self-doubt.”
Specifically with Asian women, Cruz says she sees “a tendency to invalidate our value and our own emotions. When we have a negative emotion, we distract ourselves or tell ourselves that we shouldn’t be feeling bad. When we accomplish something, we don’t celebrate ourselves or feel the full effect of that happiness. By doing so, we block access to our internal wisdom.”
With an understanding of this community and her own experiences to draw on, Cruz works to impart her main value of empowerment. “I think that a lot of us are driven by fear — fear of failing, judgement, being not good enough,” states Cruz. “However, each of us has the power to choose our future, our thoughts, our beliefs about ourselves, and the action we take. We are not our limiting thoughts — those are just thoughts we’re really good at practicing. We have the power to choose thoughts that serve our highest vision.”
Cruz is achieving this through her one-on-one coaching services, her incredible Instagram and Facebook feeds, and, most recently, her first group coaching program (which will expand to serve more people of color in 2020 – join the waitlist here!). “I have been pleasantly surprised by how many people have resonated with my coaching,” says Cruz, in response to what she’s found surprising in building her business. “I’m currently supporting and empowering over 100 Asian womxn to overcome fear and live bravely. I am humbled and beyond grateful for the privilege to support a community that I love so much.”
As for the future, Cruz has set a goal of empowering 1,000 1st and 2nd generation Americans. She’s currently well on her way with a partnership with The Cosmos, where she is supporting 100 Asian women on moving from Surviving to Thriving through the month of November. She also wants to continue to cultivate in-person connections by creating “events and retreats where the community can connect and support each other IRL.”
And, for our Overachiever community, when asked what core message she’d give to our audience of young Asian women, Cruz shared this piece of wisdom:
“I encourage Asian women to give themselves permission to dream big, to put being “realistic” aside for a bit, and indulge in what can be possible. Because it is possible.”
You can connect with Nicole Cruz and learn more about her life coaching at NicoleCruzCoaching.com, on her Instagram, Nicole – LIFE COACH (@nicolecruzcoaching), and on her Facebook page, Nicole Cruz Coaching – Home.
Kate Anderson-Song is on the editorial team at Overachiever Magazine. She is a NYC-based writer, artist, and performer, currently studying cinema studies at New York University. You can find Kate on Instagram @k8andersonsong and @thek8pages, and you can find more of her work (and tons of other great stuff) here at Overachiever Magazine.