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A conversation with Letitia: "Be yourself and do what makes you happy"

This conversation is with Letitia, a lifelong friend. She's one of the persons who has stood beside me through thick and thin, always there with solid advice and encouragement at every turn. Letitia has this combo of wisdom and passion that I admire. She played a crucial role in my journey, and I'm excited to share some of her magic with you all!


 

Tell us about yourself, where do you come from?

I am a strong believer that a place doesn’t have to define one person. Where I come from is my family, my friends and my experiences. So…


I come from a family of intellectuals that resisted communism. That truly defined my values (freedom at the core), my character (true to myself), my thirst for knowledge and truth, my curiosity and my perseverance. I come from my friends who helped refine my very “serious”, driven persona and showed me the enjoyment part of life, the importance of real connection and the importance of having different facets of love. I come from my experiences, good and bad, that gave me growth and an even stronger sense of self. And I come from the family I created with my husband and daughter, from their constant source of unconditional love, learning and growth.


What would be the word that best describes your life so far?

Growth. Without getting metaphysical, I believe evolution is the driving force of life. And the key to enjoying life, with all its ups and downs.


What are the values that guide you in life?

Freedom is my highest value. It has always been, it is essentially part of who I am since I was a kid. It is not something I just believe in, it is something that is in me. With freedom comes authenticity, courage and power. But I also have a softer side, more in the life-enjoyment/ stimulant space 😊: creativity, curiosity, fun/humour, pleasure.


What was the biggest challenge in your life and how did you cope with it?

Trying to be 3 in 1: successful career woman, best mom, great wife, all at the same time. Not only did I not succeed to be all 3 at the same time, but I lost myself in the process. Luckily, I realised how this is just a myth that many women seem to happily participate to, pretending that everything is great, making everybody else think it is possible to have it all. The fact is that no person can be in more places at the same time and be great at everything at the same time. So, when you are in a meeting, you’re not with your kid. And when you are with your kid, you’re not on a romantic dinner with your husband. And when you are on a romantic dinner with your husband, you are not at that great business networking event. And at none at these points are you in your own presence, doing things for yourself. Do I believe women can have it all? Yes. But not at the same time (as author Betty Friedan famously said). With this newfound wisdom, I was able to make different choices that led me to a more balanced place, more success in all directions and a stronger connection to myself.


What was your biggest success in life and how did you enjoy it?

I’ve had all sorts of career success stories and also a few personal ones. But my biggest success was connected to my biggest challenge. The success part was having the strength and courage to take tough decisions, to act in a direction that came with immediate discontent, for a more distanced bigger life purpose and fulfilment. I decided to be in the driver seat and took a bumpier road to move into my life and career direction instead of being a passenger on a smooth luxury ride that took me to a life and career that another driver decided. My self-confidence was challenged a bit on several occasions, but it stood the test of hardship, as I always had that feeling deep inside that whatever will happen, I will find my way forward. And I did. I didn’t enjoy it much on the spot, it was hard. But right. And I enjoy it now retrospectively, as I know how important it was in my growth.


Do you think you've found balance in life? If so, what helped you? If not, what blocked you?

For me, balance is not something to find and keep. It is something I choose everyday or decide consciously to come back to every time I distance myself from it. What helps me is self-awareness and clarity regarding my definition of happiness.


What would be something that you thought was very important in life and turned out not to be?

Trying to have it all at the same time. Not only that it is not important, but it is exhausting and self-manipulative.


Based on your life experience, what is a lesson you would pass on to others?

Be yourself and do what makes you happy. We each get one life to live, one chance to be our own individual, so better live your own life instead of whatever others/society project you should live or be.


What is the intention you set for your next part of your life?

To continue to be myself and do what makes gives me joy and satisfaction. I intend to express my creative side more, through passion projects that would add more purpose to the business world. One such project is creating/ helping create brands that truly answer to women’s needs in meaningful ways, with smart features and marketing strategies/ content.


 

Do you have in your life a person that would be brave enough to share her/his story? Or maybe you would like to share yours? Remember that there are infinite ways in which we can learn from each other, by sharing our experiences, good or bad, as in each one of them there’s something to learn and a growth opportunity. Please reach out to me at arina.filippi@gmail.com and I would be happy to join you (or your friend) in a conversation that could be shared on my blog and spread a positive impact with so many others.


I'm with you,

Arina

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