Jun 8 | Written By Danella Yaptinchay
In 2021, I was offered a great work opportunity and I took it. Although it was the experience of a lifetime, it pulled me away from The Secret Sauce. Since I was building it from scratch on my own, this meant that no one was working on the business.

My calling has been clear to me for some time: To empower people to be the best version of themselves so they can contribute to making the world a better place. To be even more specific, I knew that I would do this through communications. That said, building a business is very much like solving a puzzle: you know what parts you need and sometimes they're all in front of you, but assembling it can be the main challenge.

I had uncovered this calling by going through the exercises in Simon Sinek's book Find Your Why with a friend. I remember very clearly that lightbulb moment when I was able to verbalize my Why. Tears sprung to my eyes. All of a sudden, my life made so much sense: what I took up in college, what activities I enjoyed and energized me, and even the things I struggled with. I wish that everyone could have that same feeling of realization and deep knowing. This felt like the frame of my puzzle had formed.

Around the same time, I read an essay by Elle Luna (which later became a beautiful book) called The Crossroads of Should and Must. In it, she writes:

         "Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It's our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us. Must is what happens when we stop conforming to other people's ideals and start connecting to our own. Because when we choose Must, we are no longer looking for inspiration out there. Instead, we are listening to our calling from within, from some luminous, mysterious place."

After a lot of reflection, I realized that working on the other project only prolonged the time it took to work on my Why, my Must. So in January of this year, after my amazing 2021, I made a promise to myself to recommit to The Secret Sauce. Then magic started to happen, especially in the areas of growth and support. The insides of the puzzle started falling into place and I would like to acknowledge these key pieces.

I had a serendipitous conversation with a surfing buddy in a car ride on the way to look for waves. It turned out that Jay and I have a shared interest in the area of communication, learning, and teaching and he is now coming onboard as a partner. Jay is exactly what we needed for The Secret Sauce: a learning and development professional who can take the programs I've been working on to the next level.

My working relationship with Cielo, founder of JustAsk! and my operations partner, got stronger. We are totally in sync in how we work and our services are complementary so we are growing together. She has been my rock and my guide.

We have a beautiful new brand image created by the very talented and insightful Clara that we are about to reveal. It represents a new and exciting update for the business, and what this team can now offer.

I am also proud to celebrate over a year of working with one of my high school best friends, Margarita Bamba. She has been my accountability buddy and together we have produced content and developed programs.

One of my other pillars is Dani, who's been working with me for two years now, and I am always able to turn to her for help with design and content.

Gillian, my assistant, has been a reliable and comforting presence everyday as I inch forward. Together, we've been able to lay the groundwork for a functioning small business.

I've also been able to supercharge my life with coaches:

Personal/professional - if you're looking for one, look up Chely - she's a friend who listens well, offers great perspective, and, well, is just one of my favorite people on this planet.

Financial - Mariel of Simply Finance has been an enlightening and assuring person to reach out to when I need clarity.

Strengths - working with strengths is such an integral tenet to how I function and what I want to do with The Secret Sauce, so I decided to also enlist the help of a CliftonStrengths coach.

All of these people are helping me realize my purpose and for that I am eternally grateful. I am determined to fulfill it.

At the beginning of this piece, I highlighted an event that turned out to be a lesson that served as a reminder of how I should really spend my time and energy. So this May, I am honoring my Must, my why, my purpose, my calling.

During one of my sessions with Chely, it came up that maybe I've been playing small. I get that. I've had failures in the past that included closing businesses and losing friends. But with all that I've been given in recent months, there's no need to be scared anymore. Here's to playing small no longer, and completing the puzzle.

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