My Journey: From feeling stuck to complete transformation, abundance and freedom.05 Sep 2019
I was 35 years old, on my second home with my handsome loving husband and two small, beautiful kids. I had a pretty active social life and close, loving friends. I had worked my way up as a marketing director and head of education for a well-known company in the beauty space. This all sounds amazing, so, what is the problem? I had old built-up insecurities, low self-esteem and a feeling of being unsuccessful despite my prestigious role with my then current company.
I was in a place in my life where, while everything seemed ok, they actually weren’t. I was living in a world of routine and wishes; wake up, drop kids at school, work, pick kids up, home, cook, homework, clean, showers, send more emails, bed; wishing for more financial freedom, wishing for more time with my family and wishing for a deeper sense of fulfillment. It was then that I started digging for more and started the journey that forever changed our lives. The journey included digging deep into my emotional past, changing my mindset, and jumping into the world of emotional intelligence. This journey completely changed the trajectory of my life and I am forever grateful. My hope, through my story, is to inspire you to transform yours.
Step 1: Awareness.
After many toxic years of my life, I finally had enough and was ready for transformation. That transformation included quitting my job, moving my two small children (Matteo, 5 & Giovana, 7) across the country, beginning work on my own startup company and completely shifting my mindset. I never really understood or knew how toxic my life had become – I had a wonderful marriage and two beautiful children; I had a solid career in the beauty space, but I never truly understood how toxic things had become until I attended a two-day seminar.
The seminar was about becoming a better speaker (or so I thought) – which intrigued me. I remember when I signed up for the seminar, I noticed the date – it was over a weekend (UMM, NO) and at 9 AM the morning, and immediately following a vacation (YEAH NO WAY). Normally, I would have chosen to pass up on the seminar and attend it the next time around. But something in me, a burning desire, took over and I registered anyway. For some reason, I HAD to go to this seminar and my intuition was not letting me pass it up.
On the morning of the seminar, Bonnie Bonadeo led the class. She gave an amazing introduction that was very, very personal and incredibly inspiring. By the end of it, I wanted to get up, exchange numbers with her, and give her a big hug. This was not a class about posture or eye contact during a speaking event – this was a class about completely unzipping yourself and standing there, vulnerable, and fully naked in front of an audience. The point of Bonnie’s intro was to showcase that when we are vulnerable and open, we develop deep connections with other people and audiences. I always thought I had been an open and honest person. But one particular exercise transformed everything I thought I had known.
Bonnie asked the group to think of three life-defining moments in our lives before the age of 14. These took me some time. As I thought about these moments my stomach hurt and I wasn’t even sure why. All of it was very uncomfortable for me. After hours of uncomfortably digging deep into my past, I wrote down my three life-defining moments.
1. I was abandoned.
My parents were 17-year-old high school kids who had to fend for themselves. While my mother went to school and worked my grandmother stepped in to help raise me. My father was around for a few years, although I don’t remember much of him – and then one day he stopped coming around altogether and I have no idea why.
I was very surprised that this was a life-defining moment for me. I never really thought about it. I was living in the present and didn’t really focus on my childhood and despite my dad never coming back I felt like I had a great childhood. But this exercise took me back to that little girl who felt insecure about her living situation. I lived with my mom, grandmother and two aunts. My friends had moms and dads and siblings, so school activities were particularly rough. My grandmother, who struggled financially to take care of all of us also didn’t speak English. Making me feel even more like an “outcast.”
2. I was annoying.
In addition to living with my mom, grandmother, and two aunts, my Great Aunt lived upstairs from me with her two daughters – my second cousins. We were all two years apart in age. I was the youngest and also the “annoying” one. I remember them running away or cleaning everything up before I could join. During a time when I was so badly looking for acceptance and comradery, I felt like even more of an outcast. I started to realize that I had been carrying around this belief throughout my life. I found that in my adult years, I wouldn’t call my friends enough or ask for help for fear of being annoying.
3. I wasn’t good enough.
Probably stemming from the reasons above. As a child, I never felt good enough. This old belief led me to become an adult that had to overachieve in every way; Placing unrealistic expectations on myself to be the best and focus on the one minor detail that didn’t go perfectly. This hit me like a wall. Even when I am at my best my old belief of not being good enough would creep into my mind and I would feel less than.
Buried deep down all of these things were living in my subconscious, holding me back from truly being confident and in alignment with my true self. I realized that in my adulthood I had developed a harshness and built emotional walls – all stemming from these early experiences. So why did Bonnie make me rehash these terrible feelings? She later had us turn these experiences into benefits which lead to even more transformation.
Things that clicked for me at this time:
A. Always follow your gut.
Your gut is your intuition/inner & higher self is talking to you – are you listening? I started listening as soon as I realized attending this class sent me down a spiral of events that changed my life forever.
B. Uncovering and facing your old beliefs will set you free.
I didn’t realize how much my childhood played a part in my belief systems, behaviors and internal thoughts as an adult until this exercise. Suddenly I became this observer of myself – identifying behaviors that were stemming from old beliefs and old experiences. And, instead of taking those feelings at face value, I was breaking them down to the core of why they existed and choosing to see things differently – which is when the magic REALLY kicked in.
Exercise: Come along this journey with me and feel the transformation.
What are your 3 life-defining moments before the age of 14?
Check out my next post here – My Journey: Transforming your old beliefs into benefits.
Jen Martinelli, Co-Founder Canvas Recruit
More about Bonnie
Bonnie Bonadeo, Speaker-Coach-Author-Audio Influencer.
Bonnie speaks authentically on her struggles and successes as a person, leader, speaker and entrepreneur to foster growth and awareness in others. She is the essence of being the beauty agent and of her brand which is all about Connecting You to You!