6 LIFE LESSONS I'VE LEARNED ON A VACATION IN ITALY - positano
LIFE LESSON LEARNED #1- life is unpredictable so live it wisely
Visiting Pompeii was such a profound and self reflecting experience. Pompeii was a rich ancient Roman city where people used to practice what we today refer as "hedonism" as a daily habit, mingle with sailors from around the globe for trading as they were a port city, building and running successful businesses, eating fresh baked bread from more than 30 local bakeries, enjoying delicious hours long dinners with wine, dance and acrobatic performances, watching hours long musical and theatre shows... The city was founded sometime around 6th or 7th century BC (over 2500 years ago!!) and it had one way and two way streets, bakeries, laundry washing shops, public bathrooms with sauna and floor central heating system!!! They used to pray at the Jupiter's temple, meet around the fountains and on the public square to shop, talk, and discuss politics... Such an imposing, rich, profit generating, advanced, culturally awakened... city has been literally swallowed by a Vesuvius volcano in 79 A.D. within 24 hours! Entire city was covered by 4-6 meters of volcanic ash and wiped out along with all the people who used to live in it!
It really made me think how life is unpredictable and how we may take it for granted at times. We postpone our dreams and goals for "someday". We fantasise about the future instead of creating a beautiful present and enjoying the now. We hold anger and grudges for what someone has done to us in the past. We live life like on autopilot instead of living our every day infused with joy and fulfilment...
We have this one precious life which may end - tomorrow. Holding onto past or postponing our dreams for the future is ungrateful and it is a waste of precious time (which by the way we don't know how much we have left). Let's remind ourselves daily that every day is a blessing! Let's do everything in our power to live this one precious life and our remaining time on the planet Earth in the way that is the most fulfilling, joyful and authentic to us!
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LIFE LESSON LEARNED #2- CREATIVITY SELLS STUFF!
I have to say that I truly admire how Italian people know the art of selling! And all of us could learn from them as we are all selling something to someone every single day, be it ideas, proposals, agreements, products or services, knowledge... Italian people are VERY creative when it comes to packaging the products, PR, curating the marketing message... When you step your foot in Positano the first thing you will notice is the lemon scent... and something made of lemon anywhere you turn around. They have very delicious and aromatic lemons and they used them to create the entire industry and tourist offerings of many kinds: lemon perfume, lemon air refresher, lemon cosmetic products: from creams to massage oils, lemon candies, lemon desserts, limoncello (liquor made of lemon), lemon ice cream, lemon sorbet, even pots painted with lemon motives and candles with lemon scent which are inviting into the shop all the tourists walking by. It is kind of unwritten rule that you cannot visit Amalfi without trying their lemon ice cream and limoncello.
They used their local product to create something unique and made it their touristic signature offer. Yes, they know the way to sell the tourists from around the globe ton of lemons and they are doing it soooo well! Similarly, anyway you turn around you can find uniquely targeted marketing slogan, sales message... which is creative, funny, inviting, interesting, uniquely crafted... They just know how to get your money out of your pocket! Even dried red chillies are sold with the slogan: "Viagra naturale" :)))
I have seen once again two important thing when it comes to selling anything:
1)- It is important to tap into our core genius, our uniqueness, one unique special gift, skill or talent which we can use to position ourselves as unique, special, and different than our competitors (like they did it for example with their aromatic lemons). We can learn and apply this by identifying our own core zone of genius and selling and marketing that one thing which is our unique gift! If we learn to tap into that and present it in the way that is interesting, one of a kind, and giving value to others - we cannot have a competition no matter we do and yes we can sell even - tons of lemons!
2)-It takes creativity to be successful! Like Marie Forleo would wisely say: "It's not about what you sell: it's how you position and package it!".
LIFE LESSON LEARNED #3 - why women are crazy about italian guys
There are of course various reasons (as every woman has something unique that she finds attractive in man), but here are my take aways on what is so irresistible about the Italian guys. First of all - Italian guys are very presentable. They know how to dress and they have THE style. They look classy even in jeans and T-shirt. As The Rock would say it: "Cause every girl's crazy over a sharp dressed man!". Not to mention the grooming and hair style! Style is an instant impression - message that we project about ourselves and when it comes to style - well... it doesn't surprise that Milano is considered to be a "fashion" hub. Italians know how to "dress the part".
The other thing I've observed was that Italian guys are in general expressive when it comes to giving compliments and speaking about their emotions, which is kind of rare trait to experience in many other countries where man are more reserved or not "that romantic". Many women grow up reading romantic novels, watching romantic comedies... and hoping to meet a Prince Charming... The reality may not be that romantic though as to most of the men showering women with compliments, expressing emotions, writing romantic letters... feels like Sizif's task. Reading the letters that famous Italian lover Casanova used to write to women he was in love with in 18th century every single time leaves me in awe as they are so romantic, passionate, and deeply emotional. Not to mention those which start with words "To my Goddess..." :)))
The third thing is that Italian guys are in general very CONFIDENT when it comes to approaching women and starting the conversation. True sex appeal is not as much about good looks as much it it is about the confidence. They will take a chance. They will give it a try. They will start the conversation. They will give a compliment (or like 10 of them :)). If we add to this confidence the classy appearance, romantic words... and the thing that many Italian guys as I have heard know to cook... well, no need to elaborate further. :))
LIFE LESSON LEARNED #4 -outside of the comfort zone and plans is where the adventures are hidden
Adventures are experienced when we push ourselves outside of the comfort zone. My friend surprised me with stop over in Abruzzo on our way to Amalfi coast (I'm so grateful o have her in my life!) to show me that part of Italy as well. I could not even imagine that such a place could exist - mountain with mid age fortresses with a view on the sea, joint flora and fauna of both the wonders of nature… We visited Paestum with Greek temples without prior plan as we were planning vacation in Positano and it was the most memorable experience for our soul on this journey. When I, the girl who has been obsessed by Greek mythology since childhood stepped my foot on the ground of what was once the sacred ground of goddess Hera temple and goddess Athens temple... There were no words strong enough to describe how I felt.
Same way we dared to try Japanese food in local Japanese restaurant in Salerno even while in Italy and the fact that we adore Italian food, to have some other kind of veg stuff and that was the best meal we've had on Amalfi coast and the best vegetarian sushi I've ever had. We also visited Pompeii and had a very profound experience. We tried lemon desserts, we took boat rides, we drove to Calabria region, explored everything that we could and had time to explore and what was of our interest, experienced so many different things from the crazy driving style in Southern Italy (welcome to Naples! :)) to local "fat" pizza with mozzarella di buffalo and multiple endless search for a restaurant that actually has a vegetarian salad (without addition of tuna, shrimps, or bacon :)). This trip was definitely a BIG push of our comfort zone, but it was so worth it as that is what made it so special and interesting! There were things we planned to experience and visit, but many things happened without prior plan and beyond our wildest imagination, even for my friend who was living more than a decade in North Italy!
Traveling is food for the soul, exploration ground for the mind, expansion for the heart, shower for the boredom, ticket for adventures.
The thing which I often discuss with my 1 on 1 coaching clients is that one of our basic six human needs is variety. Yes, we need certainty in life otherwise we would live in constant anxiety and stress, but we also need variety in our life. If we are certain about everything, everything in our life is same and predictable, we are experiencing same or similar things over a long period of time we start feeling - boredom! Life starts feeling dull, boring, uninteresting, without a spark... like something is missing and we cannot discover what. Traveling is a great way to experience variety as it provides us with so many new and different experiences, but only if we behave "like Romans in Rome". If we go to similar place each year, where similar food is eaten, or we tend to eat similar food and do things we would do at home or which we always do... that is not much of verity. It's more like extended weekend out of home (country). Daring to go somewhere else, try something new, do things which were not planned, and do something bold... that will push us outside of our comfort zone... that's where the adventure and source of verity is hidden.
Planning is needed and required but sometimes listening that inner voice which is calling us to do something new, different, and unplanned can be the door opening to something bigger, greater, and more exciting.
LIFE LESSON LEARNED #5 - IT'S NOT WHAT YOU DO - IT'S HOW YOU DO IT!
On our visit to Pompeii we were lucky to get into a group which was lead by an amazing guide. Her name was Marina and she was not just a tourist guide: she was a story teller! She was making the history alive by telling us the stories which she was relating to today's reality and lifestyle. She was using humour, interesting stories, and mental pictures to "recreate" the history, unlike most of the other guides that are just giving the (boring honestly said) historical facts which get forgotten. But unlike years and facts... the stories which she told us about Pompeii people and how people in Pompeii used to live... have stayed with all of us and will be cherished for a life time. She made the Pompeii visit so special and memorable to each and every one of us in the group. She had us "re-live" the history and she taught us a lot by using the humour, interesting stories, and comparing the lives of ancient Romans with our life today. She was amazing in doing her job and she was doing it with so much passion! When the guiding tour ended she was getting (many) tips which were the amount equal to half of the price people paid for the tour! She will be remembered, referred, cherished, and blessed by many people who were lucky to get her as a guide.
In my previous post "You are Worthy: 7 Tips To Increase Self Worth" I was writing about how we may fall into a trap to think how our job or our "role" is small in the world. But, what we do does matter to many people in our community if we do it with passion, and with a desire to make an impact on every single person we encounter, work with, or work for. It is not so much about what we do, but how we do it! Marina was not just a "tourist guide" in Pompeii. She was much more than that. Her passion for her work and her unique way of guiding tourists and story telling the historic facts made such a profound impact on every single one of us. She gave us memories, laughter, experience... that we will cherish till the rest of our life.
We can all think for a moment what is it that we do and how we can do it in a way that it will create strong impact, provide unique experience, memories, a lot of value... to other people. Because every life we touch - no matter for how short time - matters! It's not so much about what we do, but how we do it. It's how much impact we are making to every single person we work with on a daily basis. It's how much value we provide. it's how good we are at what we do. It's how we can do it differently, in a more interesting, unique, memorable, valuable way.
LIFE LESSON LEARNED #6: DREAMS DO COME TRUE
If you are following and reading me for a while you know that Positano was pinned on my 2018 vision board. I have literally had a vacation from my vision board, a.k.a. from my dreams! Once again I have witnessed that dreams do come true! Even big, bold, wildest dreams.
The moment of stepping into our greatness and into living our wildest dreams starts the moment we start believing we are worthy of it and that we CAN!
This time of the year made me self reflect a lot as exactly ten years ago I was depressed and I was feeling so much stuck as my entire life was crumbling down. I was thinking my dreams were impossible to achieve. I knew I wanted to learn new things, travel the world, and help other people to overcome life challenges, I wanted to feel alive and happy. It was a decision that I MUST change something and my willingness to do whatever it takes to make it happen (reaching out for guidance and help, taking a loan to pay for the self improvement program, making radical life changes...) as I did not want to suffer any more. I have transformed my life since and today I am grateful for everything what has happened a decade ago as without that pain and touching the bottom I would not get the strength, willpower, and courage to make such powerful changes that I have done and I probably would not do so much of the inner work that I have which has helped me to leap from depression and life rut to living the life from my vision board!
I am living my dreams today beyond my wildest dreams and it is my life purpose and mission to help other women thrive and transform their life as well. To transfer and teach the spiritual wisdom and self improvement knowledge that I have been learning over the last decade. To help other women who are feeling stuck in life, who want to live better, happier, more fulfilled life, who want to thrive and become the best version of themselves. If you are or you want to become THAT woman... click here to read more about my life coaching program via Skype and book free 30-min discovery call with me.