Ep. 165: Monica Rivera – Bet on Yourself and Reach Your Goals

What does it take to truly chase your dreams? For many people, living up to everyone else’s expectations squelches the fearlessness that it takes to go after dreams. Today’s show is all about not losing the youthful exuberance and drive that sets us on the path to our dreams.

Monica Rivera is a NYC-based podcast producer, consultant, and speaker who is living a life full of experience by shaking up routines and challenging conventional thinking. She’s the host of YOU WANNA DO WHAT?!–a weekly podcast heard in over 70 countries. YOU WANNA DO WHAT?! Is a podcast about exploring interests, allowing ourselves to change, choose, and try, whether it’s a lifestyle, hobby, fitness transformation, career change, or a bucket list item.

Young dreams

Does Mom really know best? Monica’s mom didn’t think she could earn a good living or have a stable career doing something creative, so she pushed her into economics. Monica quickly realized it wasn’t her “thing,” but it put her on the corporate ladder. The younger Monica originally wanted to be a singer, and then the first Latina Supreme Court justice, and then a writer. Even though Monica won contests in school with her writing, her mom stepped in to turn her dreams into a different direction.

TWEET: If you want to do something, take the first action step and the rest will follow. @youwannadowhat #chasingdreams

Spotlighting diversity

Are there more dream chasers than you would expect? Monica says that everyone has a dream, but we don’t always have the freedom to chase it. She was in a corporate job and felt all her lights dimming. She was unhappy and felt that she wasn’t getting the opportunities she wanted. She knew she had to dig herself out of the hole she was in, and she asked herself, “What happened to the person I used to be?”

TWEET: I love connecting the stories of human experience with an audience. @youwannadowhat #chasingdreams

It’s NEVER too late!

Are you waiting to chase your dream? Even though it’s never too late, Monica hears many people say they are waiting for retirement or some other life event. We are conditioned to think we have all the time in the world—and this is the biggest problem in chasing dreams. Don’t wait for retirement! Monica’s advice is to start small by thinking about the things you really loved as a kid, and see if you can connect to those things now. Don’t think you have to give up all fun just because you’re an adult. Most people are way too tied to a timeline. 

TWEET: Ultimately, I want to tell stories and amplify voices. @youwannadowhat #chasingdreams

Guest Recommendation: ONE action for a dream chaser to take–”What’s the one thing you would wish you had done more of if next Friday were your last day? That’s your dream, so go chase it.”


  • [:13] How Monica was introduced to me
  • [1:01]Young Monica’s dreams
  • [4:05] Why Monica wants to tell stories and learn people’s “why’s”
  • [4:44] Enhancing the creative side with photography
  • [7:02] Sharing stories through the podcast
  • [8:10] The determination of Cyrus Harper
  • [10:07] Spotlighting diversity
  • [13:15] Holding to our fearlessness
  • [14:30] How Monica has grown
  • [14:55] Monica’s dream podcast guest—Oprah
  • [19:22] How millennials and Gen Z’ers are chasing dreams
  • [21:40] It’s never too late
  • [26:27] Being comfortable can become uncomfortable
  • [28:36] The difficulty in embracing “different” 
  • [32:27] A picture in a ball pit
  • [34:00] ONE action for a dream chaser 


Monica on Facebook

Monica on Twitter 

Monica on Instagram 

Monica’s Website

Gregg Clunis episode 

Cyrus Harper episode


TWEET: At the end of the day, you have to be happy with the life you live. @youwannadowhat #chasingdreams

TWEET: Most people think confrontation is a bad word—but I don’t. @youwannadowhat #chasingdreams

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