Marcia is a remarkable woman who had several twists in her life. The turns made her the woman and person she is today. Let’s find out more about her.
1. Marcia: What are some of the defining moments that made you the person that you are today?
The first one has to be my recovery from a serious car accident. Before the accident, I was the typical young person who grew up in a dysfunctional family. I did not know my place in the world and felt victimized by my circumstances. My accident was a wake-up call for me and my first lesson in self-agency. I learned that in order to recover and overcome the challenges I was faced with, I had to have an unwavering belief in myself and to choose my own destiny. Prior to that, I was going around in circles and did not realize I had a choice. I had to see myself as victorious if I were to win the battle I was faced with. And that is what I did. I experienced one day at a time, always striving for small wins and to restore my body to the best of my abilities.
Making the decision to leave my home country Brazil was another defining moment. I first decided to move to Israel when I was 30 years old. It all started after I went on a date with a young and handsome diplomat. Despite having traveled and knowing a little bit of Hebrew and enough English to translate scientific articles, I could not hold a conversation in either language. I realized I had a ton of untapped potential and I was not living my best life. When I arrived in Israel, I settled really well and accepted an administrative job at the Brazilian Embassy. Later, I changed jobs and worked as an exercise specialist in fitness and cardiac rehabilitation. Twenty months after arriving in Israel, I moved to Australia with my then-husband, pregnant with my first child. It took me longer to adjust to Australia with a new baby and no family around. But two years later I was running my own business and felt at home in Australia.
Another defining moment was my marriage break up which led me to review my values, developing my spirituality and expanding my consciousness. I adopted a regular meditation practice and applied diligently strategies that I learned in my NLP training and from other mentors and started to make changes to my life. Being a single mother with two young children, I had to land on my two feet financially as I had always been the primary career and not the main breadwinner in my marriage. Over the years after my breakup, I have grown exponentially and embarked on a journey to develop my skills and my relationship with myself and heal emotionally from the trauma I experienced in my childhood. This process led me to write my book Road to Recovery.
Can you share the journey of your recovery from your accident?
I am one of the lucky few people wired to respond to stress in a resourceful way. Right after the accident, it was grit, spirituality in the form of hope and gratitude, and a belief in myself. I wanted to continue being the active person that I was before the accident. Intuitively, I applied the principles of goal setting and incremental progress and committed to a regimen of daily physiotherapy. I found purpose in my recovery and I wanted to recover and live the best life I could. But it was also driven by my need to function without needing to depend on others.
Because of the usual family chaos around me, my adaptive behavior was to be strong and proud. I would do whatever it took to avoid reaching out for help or talking about my feelings. Whilst it worked from a physical perspective, it became my default way of being, which limited my ability to experience joy and connection in life. It wasn’t until I wrote the book that I realized that my childhood wounds were re-enacted due to my accident and I realized that a missing part of my recovery was learning to be vulnerable, to honor my struggle and to reach out to others. That led me to understand why many people are stuck and unable to achieve their goals merely with a mindset and goal setting work.
3. What does being a coach mean to you?
A lot of people find themselves stuck and unable to move past self-imposed challenges to create a life of growth, connection, and joy. They are people who are avoiding experiences, pain, and uncertainty but are equally uncomfortable with where they are.
I realized that my desire to overcome challenges and understand myself gives me a birds-eye view of other people’s experiences. I am very empathetic and strategic. I also like to think of the individual in relation to the systems they are connected to. I like to empower people with insight as well as strategies. But of course, it is up to the individual to want to evolve and embrace the joy of developing a stronger sense of self and let go of the attachments to suffering and to their childhood wounds.
That is why I am writing a new, more comprehensive book. To turn any situation around, we have to be willing to cultivate a strong relationship with ourselves from which no challenge is too big, and to know how to be vigilant to avoid going back to that place where we keep ourselves small and in pain. Overcoming adversity and evolving as grownups both require that we take ourselves by the hand so we can reach the next level of our relationships and personal or professional development.
I think we all need to heal something to move forward in one area or another in our life if we want to realize our full potential. An insightful coach who has done this kind of work is better able to hold space for others and provide the right amount of tough love and safety. I don’t believe in working on mindset only.
4. I know you have transitioned through those turning points and gained much insight and practical wisdom. What are the three takeaways from your life experiences that women can implement in their lives immediately?
Firstly, I will tell you a story about the time I was separated and living off welfare payments. I earned some irregular income from teaching Pilates and from child support payment from my ex, but it was not enough to pay all the monthly bills. Over the first 3 years, I had accumulated $20,000 credit card debt. I was faced with a tough situation because I was happy that I left an unhealthy relationship but it was a juggle to make ends meet and provide to my children the life I wanted them to have. I believed that I could turn the situation around and refused to let my reality get in the way of my vision.
I reframed my debt as credit until I could do better, I used EFT (Tapping) to deal with negative emotions, I explored all the things that I was good at that I could make me extra income, started offering business coaching and marketing coordination, went back to studies to get a Diploma in HR and got to know my souls’ desires really well through meditation, journaling, and mapping out my desires. For example, I wanted a new career that offered me a stable income and substituted my welfare payment by the time my little one was in Primary school. I did not want to start the job until he was settled in school so that the change was gradual for all of us. I invested in my training, but also donated a small amount to charity and started paying my credit card debt as my income from other activities increased.
I heard of a role that would become available in the biggest social reform in Australia since the Medicare system, but the role was not open yet, so I had to wait. I applied for 30 jobs and did not get one call back. I decided the job hunt was useless anyway because I did not really want to work full time yet. I took action in my business to have only ideal clients and regular income and acknowledged to my business partner that I was expecting from her what I knew she could not give me. I took responsibility for the changes and the results in the business that I wanted, and she was supportive. Just when my son had finally settled in school, I saw the role I heard about had finally open, and sure enough I applied and was offered a job that was exactly what I wanted; working in the disability sector, helping people with disability articulate life goals and utilize government funding with paid supports to achieve those goals. I received special training to support lifestyle design, system change, and community engagement and was promoted within 16 months. I thoroughly enjoyed working in that project for 30 months and I left that job as I was offered a job in higher education where I have been working for the last two years. I define myself as a Self-Leadership Mentor for youth and women and a consultant with a passion for process improvement.
I tell you this story to illustrate how I applied my takeaways in my own life. First and foremost, I have learned that the most important relationship I had in my life is the one with myself, which supported me in leaving a relationship that wasn’t nurturing to me and embracing that challenge with confidence. It included acknowledging my own wrong choices and making new ones. Our internal world is the only thing that we can control and the biggest and most important aspect of resilience. No matter what comes our way, if we know ourselves and our strengths, we can adapt and evolve in any new situation. When we do not know our strengths, then we will need to start unveiling all the layers of projection and implanted ideas that are on the way of us seeing the gem that we truly are. I do not say this in a pretentious way. Only if we learn to be kind to ourselves and to be our own biggest cheerleader, can we thrive in life. I had to parent myself anew. What is in the past, had to be honored, processed, and reframed.
I believe that sometimes a feeling of dissatisfaction and even despair could be our soul calling us to experience so much more in life. We may know deep inside that we have so much potential, that life could have so much more spark. We can even feel it in our bones, but not know how to be different. I had to learn to quiet my mind and listen to my soul’s call. I have listed all my desires with specific details, everything that I thought I would have to give up on and have continuously achieved more and more of my list.
Your dreams and desires are important, so please do not give them up. And do not expect them to be fulfilled by others. You can always express them to your loved ones, but it is up to you to be a magnet to your desires. If you do not have what it takes to manifest your desires, think about what you would need to do, be, and have, and then go for it.
Take pride in self-development, celebrate all small achievements, and keep stretching yourself. Do that because you deserve it and not to prove anything to anyone. We are individuals first and then we belong with the people we love. But we cannot forget ourselves or buy into the projections and expectations of others and expect to feel fulfilled.
I have a lot to say about this topic, that is why I am writing my book Turn it around! How to use adversity as a springboard for a thriving life.
Marcia is the Sydney-based author of Road to Recovery: A journey of physical and emotional healing and a coach and consultant. She is the creator of the Turnaround™ Coaching Method and the upcoming book Turn It Around! How to use adversity as a springboard to adversity. Marcia works online with people around the world. You can connect with Marcia on social media and through her website.
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