My Pushy Angel Story

Seizing the Moment to Lift the Tide.

How I Became a Pushy Angel, And How You Can, Too.

Transform Your Vision to Transform Your Life.

“There comes that mysterious meeting in life when someone acknowledges who we are and what we can be, igniting the circuits of our highest potential.”
– Rusty Berkus, Author

I wasn’t always someone who dreamed dreams and then set about turning them into reality. I couldn’t even see the possibilities there for me. If only I reached out to take them.

First, I had to transform my vision to transform my life. It was the Pushy Angels I met who changed my perspective.

Take a look at the photo above. It’s a pretty good illustration of the world I lived in before my Pushy Angels found me. At the time, I was in the 9th grade, and the paint scrawls on the wall I’m posing beside were the official graffiti tag of the Eighteenth Street gang in Echo Park, L.A., where I grew up. The neighborhood is gentrified and rebuilt now, with high-rises everywhere, but when I was growing up, it was a concrete grid where people lived in poverty for life, and crime was everywhere.

In the heart of these city streets–where drive-by shootings took place regularly–I grew up, cooped-up in a cramped one-bedroom apartment with my four sisters and single, immigrant mom. Both of my parents cycled in and out of the justice system, and my siblings and I had to rely on the neighborhood services for at-risk youth.

I desperately wanted to live a different life–of abundance, change, and growth, even as I wanted to keep the closeness of my family and the pride in my Mexican-American heritage. But I couldn’t see past the horizon of that world–a world of gangs, drugs, and the likelihood of becoming a teen mother.

Then I met my first Pushy Angel.

What’s a Pushy Angel? It’s a mentor who not only links to opportunity, but actively helps their mentee envision the steps they need to take–so they can take a different path. And at each step of the way, they’re there to be a sounding board, and to applaud each achievement.

I was a high-school dropout, working a job for at-risk youth at the L.A. County courthouse, when I was placed to assist a judge who became my first Pushy Angel. Judge Barbara Burke drove me home from work every day and persistently asked what my plans for higher education after graduation were. I’d never even thought that “going to college” might be possible for someone like me; I thought I’d just get a job. But Judge Burke’s questions took root in me–and grew.

I still hadn’t made it far. A few years later, when I went to work as a legal secretary for a well-known workers’ compensation attorney. “You’re in college, aren’t you?” he asked in the interview.

I’m ashamed to say I lied and told him that I was. (My dad had always said, “Fake it till you make it!”) The truth was that I was married and raising three kids–my daughter and two half-brothers– and I didn’t even have a high school diploma!

However, this attorney would not let up. He inquired about my progress in the classes I was taking so often that I knew I had to sign up. If I just registered at the Community College, I thought I could tell him about the classes I enrolled in, whether I attended or not, and he would leave me alone.

But he didn’t. He wanted to know what I was learning. I thought, “Oh my god! Now I have to go to class and pay attention?”

And so I did. Even when I finally received my Associate’s degree, this Pushy Angel asked me what I would do next! As much as I appreciated his interest and advocacy, the fact that he continued to spur me on was kind of annoying.

“I’m done,” I said. “I just want to be a well-rounded person. I’m happy working for you. I can see myself here forever.”

He refused to accept this as an answer. He told me that I would become a professional, so I started to see the possibility myself. Under his encouragement, I went back to school to study psychology to serve bilingual communities. Before long, I earned my Bachelor’s degree and eventually attained my Master’s in educational psychology.

Because of another Pushy Angel, my life was transformed. Through the support of these two Pushy Angels and so many more, I envisioned a new future and took the steps toward building it.

I started to see that I could shape my life by taking action. Read my book to learn how I changed my attitude and circumstances, resulting in the launch of my successful counseling business that has helped 40,000+ people and led to a platform for promoting vocational and spiritual renewal for countless others.

Along the way, I noticed other Pushy Angels in the world helping others. Think of Michelle Obama spreading the gospel of cultivating fresh vegetables in the White House garden and promoting exercise with her Let’s Move initiative. Or Dolly Parton, launching her Imagination Library–providing up to 60 free books for children in need.

You can help people achieve the unthinkable! Having someone who sees the irreplaceable and precious in an individual–and who can provide a vote of confidence in them can make a tangible difference in their self-confidence and motivation.

YOU can be the person who believes in someone who needs your guidance. A Pushy Angel encourages their protégé to shine. They help showcase their unique gifts that are ready to be explored and brought to life.

By launching High Tide Global, I want to unite my efforts as a Pushy Angel with the efforts of many founding donors—to lift the tide of one billion souls by 2032. We will build on the projects I’ve already launched to reach new heights and more communities in need.

Don’t you want to become a Pushy Angel?

Download the first three chapters
of Hazel life-changing journey