Africa Muñoz

Talent Acquisition. LinkedIn

Hi Africa, how are you?

You know you are super lucky, don´t you? You were born in Madrid, a beautiful and full of opportunities city, you love it so much you´ll never leave it for a period longer than 6 months. You were born into a family where you are loved by an amazing father, an amazing mother and an amazing brother. Also you have a big extensive family where love reigns and you have never lacked for anything. You can’t ask for more, and you know it, you value it.

In the next few years your parents will go through a difficult time financially speaking you will not be even aware of it, they will make sure you have everything you need and will even continue to pay for your school where you will study until you turn 18 years old. Also, you don’t need much to dream because a music cassette and materials that you can turn into a costume are enough for you.

You are a very restless girl

and you want to know everything, try everything, you are not afraid of anything, I wish you had not lost that ability (your 35-year-old self is much more fearful!).

At the moment you don’t have many friends and in some years from now you are about to suffer at school what nowadays is known as “bullying”. But do not worry, this experience will make you stronger and above all, little by little and over the following years, you will learn that there are people you want to be surrounded by and other people you just simply need to run away from. You´ll learn as well that your worth does not depend on those who are outside but on what you think about yourself and those who love you and care for you. Your imagination will be your salvation, please, do not lose that either. And the humor! You are not the one who spits the jokes, but you are certainly the one who laughs the loudest. You still are.

You are quite demanding and perfectionist

for being so small, and that´s part of who you are and you will always be. You begin to realize that in some aspects you stand out but your small inner voice is relentless and self-demanding and that, in addition to what some people will say to you, will make you doubt yourself. It is actually not so bad that you doubt you, because this will make you spend the next few years working and working harder to be a better version of yourself every day, and that will take you far. Although, thankfully there will come a time when you will start to speak a little better to yourself (I’m still working on that) and you will achieve a better balance between being self-demanding but at the same time valuing your successes. This change will happen gradually, so you might still suffer a little bit in between.

Your family right now is your number one priority, it is what you care about the most in the world, and that´s a big thing you will hold on to. Summers in Cobisa (Small town in Toledo) in a house of 100m where you live together with 20 people, with a single bathroom, they will make you see that it does not take much to be happy. Than a bocadillo made of pepper and Spanish omelette, a red sunset or going out with the bicycle when it is still cold in Toledo (cold would be 20 degrees in summer) or simply being with your family in a car while listening to The Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Edith Piaf, Lluis Llac or Luis Eduardo Aute, that´s all that matters. In fact, the thing you enjoy the most is to be in your car, looking through the car window and see the different landscapes of Europe, while knowing that everything you want and need is in that same car.

You are traveling around Europe with your parents and your brother

and even though you don’t know it, they are giving you the best life lesson that can be given, your home is where your loved ones are. On each trip, you listen to the music of the place (Fados in Lisbon, Bagpipes in Galicia), eat the typical food, learn the history of each country by visiting places and museums, and learn about local customs. It is not only respect that your parents are teaching you, it is appreciation, it is the idea that diversity is richness. When you grow up to be interested in Diversity and Inclusion matters, you will come to realize that not everyone has had these experiences and you will be passionate about making others see through your lens and enjoy the colours of the world.

By the way, this very same year you are about to discover your biggest hobby, flamenco dancing

Dancing will give you wings, dancing will allow you to explore your feelings, and connect you with your ancestors. Listen! It will help you on a professional level as well! You will be used to having to listen to others because when you improvise, you need to do it according to the guitar and the singer, without dialogue there is no duende, active listening is called. It will also be good for you on your public speaking skills because you´ll get to expose yourself Friday after Friday to the spotlights and the 100 eyes that look at you, and when you get older you will actually enjoy that feeling before/during/after you´ve done a presentation. Through the performances, you will also learn that sometimes you fall, but that you also get up, that sometimes you are wrong, but you can rectify, and above all, and very importantly, that preparation is part of the improvisation. How good is all that you´ve learned from this

Just next year you will have one of the hardest blows life can give you

your brother will have a car accident. Do not worry, everything will be fine, and you know what, all the letters you wrote (one for each day) will be read in the hospital by your brother and when he wakes up your relationship will be stronger than ever. Although this incident will also be what will make you more fearful…

The years of studying your degree will be incredible, you will enjoy it incredibly and you will realize that you have chosen the best career you could have chosen. You will debate, co-create, think, investigate, you´ll meet very important people that will be part of your tribu in the years to come. It will definitely be one of the best periods of your life. Although you will not dedicate yourself to clinical psychology as you initially thought, having studied psychology will change your way of thinking, a lot of knowledge will remain there forever and without knowing it will make you a better professional.

The first years working will be great too, you will make many friends and you will have a great time. You will learn why the candidate should be put first, always give feedback and that quality goes over quantity always. You´ll learn as well that to be a recruiter in IT you need to be very resourceful (like, posting jobs everywhere, looking under the stones).

But be careful, all these good experiences will make you vulnerable

because you will trust too much everyone without knowing them, and you may end up trusting your self-esteem and your worth in people who do not deserve it. The following years will be decisive, very hard, you will have some toxic relationships both at the workplace and in the personal side. A great lesson that you still need to learn is that your values ​​must be above everything, and that someone who wants to undermine your Self-esteem is not someone whose criteria is valid.

On a professional level, you will grow very quickly

but that will also take its toll on a physical and emotional level, because you will be putting your work before everything else. With stress, responsibilities and disappointments, little by little you will lose that ability that you had to enjoy everything, and that now at 35 you have had to fight to bring back the 13-year-old girl who enjoyed the little things and come back to the basics. Now, I’m revisiting myself and learning (again) that life is not about what others think of you or how successful you are, that life is about a sunset, a hug, a song, a dance. This will be difficult to resume, but you are almost there, because it is indeed part of your nature. It also helps that COVID has removed the superfluous from our lives, and forced us to look inside. About the COVID, I will tell you in another chapter!

Uhhh, will you be married?

Well, there will come the day you will meet the right person, but no, you will not be married in that beautiful dress you have always imagined yourself wearing on your wedding day, and of course you will have to kiss many toads before you meet your future partner. You will eventually get to understand that love is not only the butterflies in the stomach, and these butterflies don´t ever last, that love is a conscious choice you make every day on who you want to have as a life partner and if that makes you a better / happier person.

You will have two wonderful daughters, clever and stubborn twins

Yeah, twins LOL.

They will take a lot of sleep away from you, but who make your life much more interesting and fun.

But yeah, this is not a happy ever after or the end of story. Being a mum is hard, it basically erases your identity at first, but do not fear, you will be reborn stronger and better.

Your/my kids have taught you more than anyone else in your whole life, because they have put a mirror in front of you and have told you: this is you, who do you want to be as a mother? Who do you want to be for us?

Thanks to them you have realized that if you have an objective in mind, you will work until you make it, you have started to trust your intuition and you have much clearer what you want or not for your life.

You have also developed infinite patience, what a pity you haven’t worked on that before, it would have been very convenient for you as a new mum. If you can start with meditation, the sooner the better: D Your daughters are precious but they will test your strength to the limit.

Because you need to understand them you have also learned

that emotions are neither good nor bad, that they exist for a reason, and that it is important to understand and accept them. On the way to understanding your daughters, you have understood yourself, at your 35 years old, how to manage your emotions and to take care of your mental health, and taking into account the COVID19 issue again, it will come very handy for you. Because let’s be honest, you are a jet of uncontrolled emotions sometimes now.

It is true that when you have kids you may risk putting yourself aside and again, to find the balance, well that’s the key thing here. And I’m working on it, let´s see if my 60 years old will be happy on how I/we will evolve.

Above all, this experience will shape you as professional as well. You now prioritize better, you are more focused and productive, cause basically, you don’t have the time to divagate now haha!

Ah! And by the way, we haven't talked about who you are as a professional right now!

You are neither a veterinarian, nor a missionary, nor a lawyer or anything you thought you would be. You studied psychology and now you work as a Consultant. You work in Human Resources or Talent or People, whatever you want to call it, because you know, you love to talk and engage with people around the globe which is basically what you enjoy the most now that you are 13 years old. You get to know different cultures, ideas and ways of doing things…

And you also get to help the people you meet and bring along your creativity.

Where you are now you have all the freedom to learn new things, and even create your own projects and that’s basically all you need. You are just launching a new project around Diversity and Inclusion for the Spanish speaking community.

And, where? you may ask. You work for LinkedIn, which is basically the biggest social network platform, and what is more important, a company which values you really believe on, and which mission is the one you always aspired on: Create economic opportunity for the global workforce. They care about you, you have the greatest colleagues and the best manager. So, yes, you are very lucky.

Also, from time to time, you get the chance to go on stage…so, remember…show must go on!

Thank you Africa Muñoz writing A Letter To My 13 Year Old Self

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