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Emmy Award-Winning Journalist Gaby Natale on Becoming the First Latina to Be Published by HarperCollins Leadership

When three time Emmy Award-winning Latina journalist Gaby Natale graduated from undergrad, she spent almost two years unemployed. One day she was watching television, feeling pretty low and discouraged, when she saw a host on a daytime show who inspired her. “This host, she was larger than life. She was so confident, and she had a quality that only fantastic TV people or people in entertainment have which is, while you’re watching them, you forget about all your drama, you forget about what’s going on in your life, you forget about everything,” Gaby says. She told her now-husband about how she imagined working on TV, having her job, doing what the host was doing in her next life. Then, her husband asked her a question that changed everything: “If this is something that’s important to you, if it makes you happy, if it makes you feel excited, why are you going to wait until your next life to do it?”

For the past 16 years, Gaby has made her name interviewing top performers, successful underdogs, and superachievers in sports, arts and culture. One day, she started wondering what her interviewees have in common that sets them apart, and if it was possible to synthesize these traits in a way that anyone could replicate. She came up with the Virtuous Circle, a cycle made of seven archetypes that live inside all of us, and decided to write a book about it. 


The Virtuous Circle

If you Google “books about success” or “books about self-help,” you get over 476 million hits. Tons of books about how to achieve success already exist, but The Virtuous Circle is different from all the rest. This is a tool for identifying what your strengths and weaknesses are. For example, Gaby knows that she’s a strong warrior, but when things don’t work out her way, she disconnects from her inner dreamer. Plus, the Virtuous Circle isn’t a one and done cycle. With your next idea, opportunity or project, you start at the beginning of the seven archetypes and move through each archetype again and again. 

The seven archetypes of the Virtuous Circle are:

  1. The Dreamer. The Dreamer allows us to visualize the world. Gaby believes everyone comes to the world with gifts, but everyone’s gift is different. It’s your job to figure out what you enjoy, what your gifts are and how to polish them. 
  2. The Architect. The Architect is the planner. This is the phase that allows us to plan things like meals and budgets. We use our inner architect every day.
  3. The Maker. In this phase, you execute whatever you’ve dreamt up and planned. When you start executing, you make mistakes and you do things right. If you learn from your mistakes and successes, you move onto the next phase.
  4. The Apprentice. The apprentice is the one in you that allows you to perfect your craft. Every single person who has been a superachiever at what they do, has nurtured their inner apprentice. “When you become really good at what you do, you need to be really strong because sometimes people don’t see your talent the first time you show it,” Gaby says, so you move onto the next phase.
  5. The Warrior. The warrior allows you to persevere in your journey, overcome your rejection, and avoid abandoning your dreams prematurely.
  6. The Champion. When the traits of the Apprentice and the Warrior combine, you achieve the Champion stage, or success. Gaby says, “The question that I ask every champion is, what are you using this achievement for now that you have it? If you’re using this achievement for something bigger than yourself, you’re using this achievement to help others, to make this a better world, you for sure are going to inspire.”
  7. The Leader. Here, you continue inspiring, working toward a better world, and helping others.

For Gaby, it was important to write a book about success that could be meaningful to everyone and didn’t define success just in terms of financial freedom. While she doesn’t underestimate the power of financial freedom, Gaby finds that wealth isn’t the one thing that makes everyone happy. “I truly believe that [success] has to be something that is fulfilling for you,” she says. Plus, many of the existing books about self-help or success start and end with individual success, meaning you make it, and it doesn’t matter if the rest of the world succeeds or not. Gaby wanted to create a narrative that aims not only for individual success, but collective wellbeing. Through The Virtuous Circle, she hopes that people will find individual success, but also use the tools they’ve earned and the skills they’ve learned along the way to pass the baton to the next generation or the people coming after them.


Breaking barriers

By publishing The Virtuous Circle, Gaby not only sets up a model for everyone to use, but she also takes an important step in Latina representation: adding a Latina voice to the self-help and success space. “Latinos, we are 60 million strong in the United States and we hardly see ourselves in media, in politics, in the boardroom of corporations,” she says. “In those rooms where decisions are made, we hardly see ourselves, we’re rarely represented.” Before becoming an entrepreneur, Gaby worked in media where she faced pressure to become a caricature of what a Latina woman is, erasing parts of her personality that she loved the most. Now, through her content, she works to represent Latinas with dignity and respect, telling stories of people who break barriers and attempting to break barriers herself. For example, Gaby will narrate the audiobook recording of The Virtuous Circle. “So many times I heard that if you were a foreign-born author, you would not get to narrate your own book. They would hire a professional voiceover artist or something, because your accent would get in the way. I refused to think that I would not be able to tell my own story, to narrate my own life, and to narrate my own learning and the things that I put in the book that are so personal,” Gaby says. 

After the difficult year that was 2020, The Virtuous Circle comes with messages about breaking barriers, believing in your dreams, pioneering, knowing that there’s no roadmap so you have to create your own dreams, and recognizing that other people’s expectations of you aren’t a predictor of your future. Gaby hopes that this book resonates with graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 who are growing into a world that looks much different than what they expected it to. 


Moving forward

Ultimately, the best advice Gaby can give to everyone going through a tough time right now is, “Don’t jump to permanent conclusions based on temporary circumstances.” Although the past year may have been tough and the world may not look how we expected it to, you don’t want to discard dreams and goals that are within reach just because of the current circumstances. While the world keeps changing, it’s what you do with that change that matters. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone, be more flexible, change your expectations, alter your projects, and keep choosing to see the world from a place of possibility. “Good things, wonderful things, can still happen in difficult times…” she says. “Keep showing up and keep seeing the world from a place of possibility even when it’s hard.” And, remember that your uniqueness is your gift to this world. So, don’t be ashamed of it. 

Find The Virtuous Circle at your preferred retailer and get in touch with Gaby via Instagram.

Camille is pursuing a Ph.D. in Communication at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. She has bylines in the Nonahood News, Her Campus, Screen Queens, and Shifter Mag. In addition, she has worked with "The Cypress Dome," and "The Florida Review." She is enthusiastic about Latina/o/x issues, fitness, writing, and reading. She is on Instagram and Twitter: @camilleeejoan
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