Have you ever wondered what exactly makes someone take the massive leap of launching a business? What does it take to leave the security of a job and a salary to relentlessly pursue their dream? I was curious too, especially when I met this fabulous lady, a jetsetting gypsy living the gypset life and building her business.
I met Vienda Maria through the community of online entrepreneurs that is Marie Forleo’s Bschool. She had just launched her new website viendamaria.com and as you know, I’m obsessed with websites and branding so I dug in and explored her site and her brand. I had to reach out to her to find out more so I got in touch. Since she is a coach, I took the opportunity to ask her for some advice and she gave me these four priceless words: “get off the fence.”
After working in music festivals all around Europe and managing high profile events, Vienda left it behind to be a coach for creatives and entrepreneurs. I’m honoured to feature Vienda as a Lifester Expert. She dives deep and answers soul bearing questions about her career as a coach, following her intuition and building a business.
Lifester Expert Series – Interview with Vienda Maria
What made you realize that you wanted to pursue more than your career in festivals and events? Was there a turning point in your life? Did something happen to shake you into this?
I always knew that I would do more with my life than work at festivals. The turning point was the final few months of 2007, when I landed in Barcelona at the apartment I was renting, washed up, exhausted, money-less, and lost after another 6 month festival run. Half of my friends were nursing addictions of some kind, the other half were heading back to to their “normal” life. And I was like, ok that was fun, but enough. And WTF now!?
So I moved to London, to clean up my life and body, got a job organising events for a dance company, and threw myself into soul-searching. I knew that I wanted more from my life than “normal”. I wanted extraordinary. And I wanted it all, on my terms. This meant that I wanted freedom to travel, to have time and space for myself, and to bring my highest self into peoples lives – thereby transforming them for the better.
What did you do to follow that nudge?
You know, everything in life is a culmination of everything we do and experience, so sometimes something that looks like a big leap on the surface, is usually something that came about from years of focus. My search continued for a few years. I read books, reread all my psychology texts, meditated, journaled, travelled around India for 6 months, worked in the Middle East for 3 months, and kept uncovering what life meant to me.
I asked myself all those big questions: What is life? What’s the point? What’s my purpose? What really matters? What’s my passion? How do I want to give to others? What impact does my life have on the world?
How did you first start to help others?
Ever since I was a teenager, I was always the one people came to about their problems. It was always part of my nature; to help others. This is partially what drove me to study Psychology, the other part being that I just love people. I wanted to understand us better.
Throughout my festival days, this continued. People came to when they had disagreements, when they and problems of the heart, when they wanted to change their lives but didn’t know how. People said they felt calm when they spent time with me. They felt at ease. They felt that things became clearer and started to make sense.
When I went through my personal phase of soul-searching, I rediscovered this instinct and talent I had. I realised that with all the life experience I had conjured in my short years, with all the depth and self-knowing I had uncovered, I could really take this further and help people. I no longer wanted to be a psychologist. Those structures no longer aligned with my beliefs. So life coaching was the perfect solution.
Who was your very first client and what was that experience like? Was it scary? What did the experience tell you about yourself and the new path you were on?
In both my psychology degree and my coaching studies, I sat in on coaching sessions as well as led my own, but my very first paid client, I remember very clearly! She was a young girl who was in madly in love with her boyfriend, but kept self-sabotaging because she didn’t believe she was worthy of having a beautiful life. You see, she had had an affair with a married man some years ago, and she was guilt-stricken and mortified by this, even though it wasn’t her fault. And of course she completely blamed herself. We worked through this is just a few short sessions, and very quickly she learnt to love herself and started creating a life that was filled with all she had ever wanted.
I love working with people in this context. It is so gratifying and fulfilling to be able to help people see their own light, they power and to step into, and embody it.
So, no, it wasn’t scary. A little intimidating as I learnt to structure and formulate my coaching sessions, but not scary.
How did you get your business to where it is today?
My business is actually still very young – not even two years old, so to get it to where it is now, I would say, one word: COMMITMENT. I just knew that I had to give it my all. I had to show the world that I was ready to be a big girl and show up, do my work and shine. And another C word: CONNECTIONS. The relationships you build in life and business, will determine how far and where you go. Thankfully nowadays with the internet and social media, connecting with people all over the world is much, much easier.
How did you battle your fears?
Fear is a funny word. It’s simply that feeling of discomfort when you are doing something completely new – when you are expanding your horizons and stepping out of your comfort zone. Even some of the most successful women in the world feel fear. The difference is that they know how to negate it.
How did you stay on it even when you got scared?
When I feel scared, I know I’m onto something. That it’s time to fully stand behind my word and support myself as I work through this. Fear is simply expansion. And it is actually the same energy as excitement. So it’s all about how you choose to view it.
Did you have moments where you wanted to quit? How did you get over that?
I’ve definitely had moments of self doubt and those moments are when I look to the Divine the most. Everything I do is in co-creation with spirit. I am guided, and act on that guidance. So when I feel overwhelmed and doubt my path; I simply ask for help. And I always get an answer. The universe is always here for us, supporting us, having our backs.
What have you got planned in the near future?
For the past 2 years I have offered personalised 3 and 6 month coaching programs, and over that time, my mailbox has been flooded with emails from women who repeatedly asked the same questions. How do I get out of my head and connect with my soul? How do I listen to, trust and use my intuition? How do I figure out what my purpose is? How can I create a job that supports me? How can I have more money in my life? I want to travel and be free too! How do I do it? So I created Gypset Mindset Class. Fun, easy affordable live mentoring classes that are small enough to give you individual time with me as we work through this beliefs and change your mindset so you can have what you dream of too. The introductory run of classes begin this October and you can find out more on my site.