Where does a story begin and a story end? It’s really tough to say when it comes to my life because each story has led to the next, to the next and on I go. I keep evolving, changing and getting more clear on what I would like my life’s work to be.
But I suppose this is as good a start to my story as any:
I was a curious, outgoing, fun-loving, experimental and strong willed kid. I always want to know why that was, or why things were done in certain ways. I still to this day ask my husband these questions and it drives him bonkers. I guess I am looking for the root of it, or the reason behind it, so I can better understand. I also love to ROCK efficiency – well, my ego does anyway.
In school I had a hard time focusing. But I loved drama class and anything to do with performing. My all time favourite thing was when there was an air band or a talent show. I would gather up anyone I could to perform with me and we’d make up some creative dance or performance number. Oh, how I love to be creative in this way. I have a whole history here with dress up and dancing (but that’s another story).
I started working part time at age 16 at the same place my father, my brothers, my aunt and my cousin all worked: Safeway. It was once joked that I was conceived there because that’s where my parents met. I grew up in the store, helping my manager dad do the rounds with staff and eating cookies out of the bulk section when no one was looking. I was going to be a good Safeway employee and keep the Angelucci name going… until I got fired. Disgraced.
Cole’s Notes: I made a sandwich for my boyfriend when he forgot his lunch. He worked in produce and I worked in deli. He didn’t pay for it. So I was stealing essentially, but I had been doing it for so long as a kid that I didn’t really think twice about it. But my Dad wasn’t a manager at that particular Safeway - so I was hooped.
Fast forward: I think—and I am not exaggerating here—between the ages of 16 to 26 I had at least 60 jobs. One year I had 11! I was on the move, just trying things out. Learning the thing, getting bored of the thing and moving on from the thing. Oh, did I mention I had A.D.D (or so I was told)? I decided to rebrand it: Adventure. Determined. Desire. See, I was meant to be an innovator. Right? Right??
At age 26 my 3rd firing-induced breakdown hit. I am really embarrassed to say this but I got fired again from what I thought was my dream job. (However, if you think about it, having 60 jobs and being fired from 5 or so isn’t really such a bad stat, is it??)
I was working as a promotions coordinator for the biggest radio station in Vancouver and I was abruptly kicked out of the circle. (Another story for another time.)
However, months before I had seen a new movie called PS I Love You, starring Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank. I FELL IN LOVE with Gerard’s character. He was a stud! Irish accent, perfect body – oh, I just had to get me one of these. I had been single for about a year and I was ready for hunky Gerard. So what did I do…? I packed up my things, got a working visa, took my $900 cash and got on a plane to Ireland to meet my love.
When I got there, I discovered four things:
1. Turns out Irish guys like wearing track suits.
2. A lot of them don’t have very good dental hygiene.
3. They sure like to drink (way more than me).
4. Gerard wasn’t from Ireland, he was from Scotland. I had the wrong country.
I stuck Ireland out for 9 unromantic months, and then headed back to good old Vancouver. I had no home to call my own, no money, but a newfound purpose and poise in my step. I had found something while I was there. It wasn’t the love I was searching for, but it was the love that I needed. It was my own.
I nailed another dream job upon my return: running across the country for the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay. I had never really run a day in my life before, so that was, as you can imagine, interesting. But fun. So much fun.
After that experience of a lifetime I landed another dream job working as producer and host of a travel tv show. Man, this is when things really started to get on path. That led to the Dream of all Dreams: my very on tv show, GoToGal.
Things really couldn’t be better. I was flying high, creating my life my way, and doing what I absolutely loved. And then it happened.
I met my dream man, Ryan.
My Gerard Butler was my age, my nationality, my height (I’m over it now) and my kind of guy, inside and out. Ryan was who I was always searching for, and when I stopped looking he appeared.
And so we have been creating our dream life together ever since. It’s been five and a half years (where does the freaking time go?) and every day we are tweaking what we are doing, what we are offering and where our time goes. Yes, this drives Ryan a little crazy at times, as he can never get too comfortable. I’m always moving, shaking, stirring or questioning… it must get exhausting and I am working on chilling out. I just don’t want to live a day that I don’t love. So we work hard at always keeping that top of mind: how we can both live a day ADERA loves! I kid. I mean WE—which is a word I love to say when it suits me. (I joke.)
So I suppose I got us to the present and the present is this:
There isn't one way to get to your heart’s call. You have to keep inquiring and not be afraid to try something new. EXPERIMENT. It’s the best way to build your confidence because you will run into: NO, FAIL and/or FIRED. And that’s all OK. Then, you get to pick yourself back up and do it differently in order to get closer to where you want to go.
If you don’t, you won’t. It’s that simple.
If you stop yourself from experimenting then you cut yourself off from what you truly want. Who you are is determined by the actions you take. If you are action-less you won’t ever get to know yourself. There is a whole world inside of you that is begging for you to listen up and act out. The TRUE LIT-UP FUCKING AWESOME YOU is on the other side of your fear and failure. I know it’s annoying but I am living proof that it’s true. 5 “You’re FIREDs” led to four dreams coming true.
It’s not great math but it’s something.
If you’d like to explore your inner world, join me for my Soul Journey 1 Day Workshop. It’s a person-to-person self-discovery and self-actualization 6 hour workshop. The opportunity is there to know and be yourself – you just have to seize it.
I love you, now go live your dream!
I dare ya to be the difference.
Recently, I was graciously nominated for a Leader of the Year Tammy Moyer Women of Worth Awards.
It made me think: “What does it mean to me to be a leader who creates positive change?” If this is the role I’ve chosen to identify with, how do I understand it?
This is what I think:
1. It takes courage to see things differently to re-shape the norm.
2. It means ensuring all the people you encounter and work with feel a sense of pride and empowerment within their own being.
3. It means choosing to be responsible for filling people up by encouraging and inspiring them.
I have seen people in my own community do extraordinary things: opening dream businesses, getting in front of the camera for the first time, doing their first TedTalks, having their own TV shows, saying YES to something magnificent that they once ignored that ended up changing the course of their lives. I don’t take credit for the leaps these people made, but I’m grateful I was able to show up with excitement and support for their Big Ideas.
That’s what leadership means to me.
Some of us might get stuck on the issue of our own self worth, and ask the question: "Who am I to be a leader? What makes me qualified to lead?”
My answer is this: Your worth or value as a leader comes down to your behaviour around what you deem to be important in this life. Your one and only mission is to know your values and live by them. That’s how you become a leader. That and only that makes you worthy and qualified.
Leadership isn’t destiny, it’s a choice—a choice you need to keep making every day.
I Dare Ya to honour your inner Leader.
Below my beautiful friends and fellow nominee's from left to right Annaliisa Kapp, Nicole Tidridge, Kristal Barrett Stuart, Shirley Weir (Winner) and Tammy Dupuis
Photos by the incredible Stephanie Hamilton
I just came back from a 10-day retreat to Costa Rica feeling totally enlightened, renewed, on purpose, and whole. And then reality smacked me in the face within a few days of being home.
I kept up with my mediation and yoga practice, but I was having a hard time trying to fit it into my life. I easily went back to having a glass a wine at night and slipping into old habits, especially as stress started to resurface.
I was back—back in my world, and it was exactly how I had left it. My retreat made me feel like a changed person but how changed was I if it was that easy to slip back into my old way of being?
Here’s the problem: I had been trying to escape my reality in some respects. We all do this from time to time. We are seeking more joy, fulfillment, and happiness. We find it in the jungle or wherever, distanced from our day-to-day distractions, with people who love us and allow us to explore our inner demons. And then when we get home, we have to face them all over again, without the massive encouragement our retreat facilitated for us. Our family, our friends, our work, our society doesn’t relate to the “retreat us". It relates to the Do-er not the Be-er. It relates to the norm and not the exploratory. It relates to the us it has known and not the us we are creating. And so we slip, slowly, back into the shadow of ourselves.
What are we to do? How are we to ever change in a lasting way?
I am currently sitting with this question. I’ve been encouraged to “keep going after my calling”, which I will. I get feedback like “Keep doing what you’ve been doing”, “Hire more people”, be more this, be more that…But little by little, I find it’s easy to lose my heart’s call.
And so I wade through the chaos again. I ask the questions one more time, and the answers don’t come. On retreat, it’s so pure, raw, and tangible yet the minute I sink back into my familiar life I can’t remember what I felt like I knew then.
But this is what I think…
I think an important question to ask is, “What do you really, really want?” Also, “What do you really, really care about?” These answers can manifest in many ways. And daily I need to make it my mission to assess my life to make it what I want it to be. This is all I can do. This is all you can do too.
Some moments will be challenging but try to tap into your “retreat self” and BE that person throughout these times. Keep reaching for what you truly want and what you truly care about. You have brought your “retreat self” to reality. And this is all you can hope to do, unless you live in “retreat land” fulltime.
What might that look like? You might need to give up the idea of wanting or needing anything. Your basic needs will be met, you will live a rich life, and be seen always for who you truly are. And you won’t be playing the game that the rest of us play. New iPhones, homes, travel, toys. A sacrifice worth making if you choose to lead the spirit led life. Or can you live the spirit led life but have these things also?
This is where I am at in my questioning. I haven’t met anyone yet in business “making it” (big bucks, money, philanthropy, business etc.) who leads a truly spirit led life.
But if you’re out there, I would love to hear from you. I wouldn’t mind knowing how you do it!
What L.I.F.E. has taught me about lost souls—and how to save them
I’m going to be emcee at a charity event for L.I.F.E. Recovery this week. They provide safe, structured housing for women who desire a lifestyle free from drug and alcohol addiction. So I’ve been thinking lately about what it means to be a “lost soul”. And what it means to save one. What has L.I.F.E. Recovery taught me about these things? Mainly, that saving a lost soul is possible, and that it’s done by loving more, giving more, and listening more. The only difference between the women L.I.F.E. Recovery works with and you (if you’re lucky) is they suffered something traumatic at a very young age. A death (like suicide of a parent), sexual abuse, or addicted parents. These are 99% of the cases. That’s what it takes to create a “lost soul”.
If you didn’t have any of those three things happen to you, how could you relate? How could you experience that kind of pain, and learn how to cope with it when you’ve been given no life skills. At the age of 12 or younger—when these girls all suffered their traumas—how much did you know?
What do you do when there is literally NO ONE to support you, guide you, or love you? I’ll tell you what happens: you become a “lost soul”. You look for the other lost souls because that’s who you believe you are. They're usually the kids you’ll see at elementary schools skipping school, trying out cigarettes and alcohol, potentially dabbling with drugs, and hanging out with the other “bad kids”. The one thing these girls all longed for was support and understanding. If we could have given them that, then their lives would have turned out 100% differently.
I am amazed by women like Jenny and Shirley and all the other amazing mamas who love these women back to health. They’re not Bible-thumping normies (that’s what drug users call us and so they should). They lived their own stories of trauma and drug abuse and have come to the other side so they totally relate to what these women have been through.
I am equally amazed at what this program has enabled women in recovery to do. They all have lofty goals. I was awestruck when they talked about becoming addict counselors, or street kid advocates, or mothers to the lost kids.
These women get to go to school, work in the thrift store, enjoy hot delicious meals together, spend time in prayer, and set goals for the future. They have assistance with getting to and from appointments, whether they’re for health, court, or family matters.
These women are working hard to get their lives back. Every single second they struggle to see the light in the darkness. To override the dark memories with new positive ones. To look at the present moment as a triumph and be proud of themselves for not running away, quitting, or going back to the only comfort they’ve ever known.
They are courageous fighters with purpose. They are raw love in the purest form. They are souls just like you and I, but they have a badge of honour for making it through the war of their minds.
These women are not lost after all. But you know what? The biggest thing I’ve learned from L.I.F.E. Recovery is that if I don’t honour and support them in their fight, my own soul is in need of some work.
So let’s get to work saving some souls—starting with your own.
I dare ya to make a difference,
When I was 18, I remember declaring to my grade 12 friends that one day I would have my own tv show. A few of them scoffed, but that only fueled my fire to make my dream a reality. I had no idea how to make it happen. I had no idea what the show would be about, who the audience would be and what and who I needed to know to make it on tv. Never the less, the moment I threw my grad cap in the air, my journey began.
My first step - bright lights, big city! I moved from the seaside town of White Rock to Vancouver, settling into a cute little bachelor apartment in East Van and got myself a job at the Bread Garden.
The next step fell into my lap on my 19th birthday. My mom took me to Granville Island to watch improv, and I was enthralled. Word got out to the performers that it was my birthday, so they pulled me up on stage to perform with them for a skit. I was hooked. I trained with VTSL for 2 years, learning to push my boundaries and abilities and opening me up even further. I dabbled in stand-up comedy and performed a few shows, which led to meeting some people.
Step 3. I received a job in promotions at a radio & tv station and I remember thinking at this point I was so close to realizing my dream… not so fast. I joined a mentorship program that was way out of my budget but was aided by a friend, and because of that, I was able to create my tv pilot that was about “getting out there and going for the gusto!” and took it to the executives at CITY TV and KVOS TV. Dream realized?! Not quite.
This was the beginning of hearing "no" often, but it made me stronger and examine what I wanted to do on TV and how best to make that work. I had a myriad of experiences which culminated in a position as a producer and host of a TV travel show. I was paid $600 a month and put my blood, sweat and tears into the show. I needed to prove to people, and myself most importantly, that I could make my dream a reality. I gave it my all for a year and made some great connections. I decided to put together another concept and try again, with a lifestyle comedy show with some friends. I gathered up enough guts to meet with CHEK TV executives and pitched them my show. They said yes. I had realized my dream. And that's when reality came crashing down. I had 4 months to produce the show that would be put in a primetime spot at 8:00pm on Thursday, and I didn't have a single dollar to put towards it!
Long story short, we did it. We produced 7 episodes and even through all the ups and downs and learning, I could say, 11 years after declaring my dream, that I had done it.
It was a much longer road than I thought, there is no "right" or easy route, and it takes more work and effort than you could imagine. Like Elizabeth Gilbert from "Eat Pray Love" says, "if you’re not willing to eat that sh*t sandwich again and again, it really means you don’t want it bad enough."
I now have a successful career as an Entrepreneur with my video production company and web/tv show - my second! It’s been an incredibly messy, creative, challenging journey but what’s life if you can’t live out your heart's desire.
It's that time of year where we put our best foot forward and make promises to ourselves for the year to come. I usually start with a new vision board and a "feeling" of what I want to achieve in 2016 and then I take it from there. This new year I have decided not to put too much pressure on myself, and the word I am taking in is simplicity. With our new puppy, it's encouraging me not to be so scattered around work, and have more time to just go for a walk, be outside, and play ball, things I haven't done for a long time. It's going to be a balance between simple work and simple play. I can spend a lot of time rolling through ideas in my head about best business practices and what I can do to streamline my work. It can get to be overwhelming just trying to declutter! In my podcast with Jill Earthy from Frontfundr.com we talk about just this and how to "keep it simple" by using her VALUE GRID. It's a great way to keep an entrepreneur on point and in flow. Listen to her interview here and try it for yourself. Wishing you a very prosperous NEW YEAR full of everything you could imagine and more. I DARE YA to Dream and then take action to live the life you truly desire.
download the value grid here.
listen to jill earthy's interview here.
We talk a lot about the WHY behind everything here at SPIRO Creative! It's the 'heart' of the story to us. I have to remember my WHY daily, especially on challenging days when I feel like giving up. You have to be able to tap into the whole reason you started this thing in the first place. Whatever that thing is. I know sometimes our workload can get overwhelming and the first thing you feel like doing is putting your arms up in defeat, saying "Forget it! I'm not cut out for this sh*t" BUT IN FACT it's in those moments that truly test our WHY to see if it's powerful enough to persevere. On the other side of that challenge/road block is a triumph you just have to have the strength within to "ALLOW." That's right, it's never a fight in my eyes, it's always an opportunity to learn how to surrender to what is or to "ALLOW". I always like to say "STRESS IS THE RESISTANCE TO WHAT IS." A wise woman told me that (Jay Sutton Brown - Passionpreneur) and I say it all the time. What is your WHY - WHY do you do what you do?
FOR ME: I love to see people come alive, and express their true colours with unabashed joy and confidence, living their life's dreams and going for the gusto!" It makes my heart sing to see other's walk their walk and live a life they LOVE. I SO SO SO want that for everyone, and it takes you, YES YOU to show the way!
free gift just for you:)
As we get closer to the new year I always start thinking about what I am going to do differently in my business. Thoughts such as ‘What can I do to be more successful, more aligned and more fulfilled?’ take over and I rarely take the time to appreciate what I have accomplished and how far I have come. Thanks to Facebook’s ‘Year End Review’ I had a chance to reminisce over the personal and professional successes I have had. Successes such as Passionpreneur TV being accepted on TELUS Optik VOD or getting married to the man of my dreams at the exact spot 7 years earlier I had gone to and thought 'boy, I'd really love to marry my dream man here one day'. How we took the most epic honeymoon all across Europe for 3 weeks and we were able to completely afford it. How I had time for deep self exploration and got back into my meditation practice and workout regime which I had lost touch with. How I have never felt better about myself and have gotten lots of clarity around my business and how to help people. How just now, we have had the best sales month of the year this month which means we get to go out of 2015 in style. It's been amazing! I might not have "all the money" in the world, or the wealth I would like to acquire one day but I do have an amazing group of supportive friends, a loving family and an incredible business that I see growing each year. I have the flexibility to work my own schedule and do something I LOVE everyday and that is success to me! What is success to you and what accomplishments can you congratulate yourself on for this year?