When I see someone having fun everyday I consider that person successful already. If there is one thing admirable about Kristine, it would be that she treats everyone equally, and she’ll take you on her fun ride any day.
I decided to interview Kristine because, not only is she a great friend, my dentist, and my wife’s close friend, but she is one of the most optimistic and positive persons I know.
Kristine Serrano Ramos, DMD
What is your definition of success?
Success is when I have achieved the Four Freedoms (i.e., Time, Money, Relationship & Purpose) to be who I am and do what I really want in life .
How do you measure success?
I measure success based on these four categories:
Time – when I can spend my time doing what I really enjoy.
Money – when I can make big life decisions without being stressed about my finances.
Relationship – when I’m with people who I appreciate and vice versa.
Purpose – when I pursue something that is difficult, that makes the world a better place and serves the people that are important to me.
What did important people tell you about success?
Success is an iceberg. There is what people see on the surface: confidence, wealth, beauty, relationships, and seniority. Then there is what people don’t see hiding below the surface: persistence, failure, sacrifice, disappointment, good habits, hard work and dedication.
Where were you born and raised?
What was your upbringing like?
We are a family of six (6) that consists of me, my parents and three brothers. I am the eldest (and only daughter) among the siblings. We were raised by both my mom (dentist) and dad (engineer) with some help from my aunt. I had a traditional “Strict Catholic Filipino” upbringing.
My parents wanted the best for their four children. So instead of providing us with the best toys, clothes, and food, we lived a simple life. Instead, they taught us the foundations that we can build upon to do well in life. Some of the things I remember growing up were:
- Being taught the value of responsibility in which we were required to do weekly/monthly chores even though we had helpers.
- Having intentionally limited allowances. Our parents never bought us unnecessary things, but gave us money instead (e.g., gift for birthdays, incentives for getting good grades and working, etc.) so we can either spend it with what we want or save it for something better.
- Being constantly reminded that education is important. They were never strict about getting good grades, but instead to do our best and make it through school.
- Being shown the value of giving and sharing your blessings to others.
My parents—most importantly—made sure that we follow the values and traditions that we learned growing up even after migrating to the United States.
As far back as you can remember, what was your very first experience of feeling successful?
It took me a long time to feel successful. But when I finally finished six long years of dental school in the Philippines at the age of 24, I felt very successful.
What is your most defining personality or trait? (i.e., introvert, extrovert, easygoing, organized, natural leader, etc.)
I have an ESFJ-A personality (based on the Myer-Brigg Type Indicator [MBTI]). As such, I am an extrovert, Independent, energetic, outgoing, well-organized, good at connecting with others, street-smart, and versatile among other things.
What qualities do you believe contributed to your success?
I believe patience, optimism, drive, discipline and willingness to learn were qualities that contributed to my success.
What is your occupation/career?
What made you choose that occupation/career?
I came from a family of dentists.
In one sentence, what do you do for work?
I practice and manage a family run dental office devoted to restoring and enhancing the natural beauty of a person’s smile.
Where did you attend college/training?
St. Theresa College, Quezon City – High School; University of the East College of Dentistry, Manila for DMD; Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, New Jersey – Internationally Trained DMD Program
Who are your inspirations growing up?
Favorite success quote.
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary” – Jim Rohn
“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” – Jerry Rice
What is your advice for others who want to succeed in life?
Find the perfect balance. The goal is not just to be successful in life but also to have fun along the way. Continue to educate yourself through reading, listening, traveling, talking to other people and, lastly, putting into practice what you have learned.