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Turning 40 and Finding Purpose Through Ego Death
Episode 636th September 2023 • Forty Drinks: The Podcast About Turning 40 • Stephanie McLaughlin
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Episode Introduction

AdaPia d'Errico experienced three major awakenings between her early thirties and early forties. The first was “who am I?” The second was “what the hell am I doing?” And the third was an awakening in her physical body. She discusses the concept of identity in addition to her struggles with cultural differences, societal pressures, burnout, and health issues. AdaPia emphasizes the importance of self-reflection, trusting the universe, and focusing on how she wants to feel. This episode offers valuable insights into personal growth, finding purpose, and embracing vulnerability.

Guest Bio

AdaPia d'Errico, is an entrepreneur, investor, advisor, and co-founder of Womxn of Wealth, an organization dedicated to empowering women to take wealth creation firmly into their own hands through brass-tacks financial advice, mentorship, community, and practical guidance on creating abundance at every level. WOW is more than a mastermind; it is a movement! AdaPia is a Principal at Alpha Investing, a real estate private equity firm where she oversees investor growth, communications, and marketing. She is also the General Partner of Bitcoin Mining Womxn, a pioneering digital asset syndication platform. AdaPia is a force for positive change in the world of finance and is passionate about empowering women to become stewards of personal and global wealth.

Turning 40 and Finding Purpose Through Ego Death 

In this episode of the Forty Drinks Podcast, Stephanie talks to AdaPia d'Errico, a FinTech entrepreneur and co-founder of Women of Wealth. AdaPia shares her journey of three major awakenings that occurred between her early thirties and early forties. 

In her twenties, AdaPia moved to Europe and got married, but struggled with cultural differences and societal pressures. At 32, she experienced her first awakening, realizing she didn't know who she truly was. This led her to leave her marriage and return home to Canada. 

At 38, AdaPia hit burnout in her career and experienced an ego death, questioning her identity and purpose. She explored spirituality and self-reflection during this time. 

Her third awakening occurred at 41 when she experienced a relapse of Crohn's disease. Despite the physical challenges, she felt a deep sense of gratitude and love, and learned to trust her body and the universe. 

AdaPia found integration and purpose through co-founding Women of Wealth, a group that empowers women in finance. She realized that her true purpose was to help women understand and take control of their financial futures. 

Throughout her journey, AdaPia learned the importance of self-reflection, trusting the Universe, and focusing on how she wants to feel. She embraces the power of choice and shows up in the world with love and kindness.

This episode is a powerful reminder to listen to our intuition, embrace vulnerability, and find purpose in unexpected places. 

If you enjoyed this episode, please rate, follow, and review the Forty Drinks Podcast or - even better! - share this episode with someone you know who would enjoy it.

Sponsor

The Forty Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications

Guest Resources

Join the Women of Wealth Community

AdaPia D’Errico’s website

Do you have the Ick? 

Download Stephanie’s guide to the Ick to diagnose whether you or someone you love is suffering from the Ick. www.fortydrinks.com/ick  

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Transcripts

Stephanie: Hi AdaPia, thanks for joining me today.

AdaPia: Hi, Stephanie. It's so good to be here.

Stephanie: It's great to have you, you and I chatted a little bit a couple of weeks ago to sort of get some sense of your story and the outlines, which we'll dig into more today. But I'm very excited because you were able to really enunciate and give language to the fact that you have had three major awakenings between your early thirties and your early forties. So I'm excited to jump in and hear about those. So before we get there, why don't we back up just a couple of steps and tell us a little bit about who you were as a young adult.

AdaPia: Sure. Oh wow. So yeah, cuz that all really does lead to the first awakening. In my twenties I moved to Europe, I really wanted to travel, I wanna live life, I wanna do lots of different things, and so in my twenties I moved to Europe on a university exchange and I really loved it there. I ended up meeting a man that I would marry and then I moved to Italy. I moved to Italy in my early twenties and I was married at 23, so very young. When I look at pictures of myself from that time, like what was I 15? Like, I just looked so young,

Stephanie: Although it does have the whiff of massive glamor.

AdaPia: Right, exactly. It does. It really does. And so what what was really formative for me was the culture shock. Now, to back up even further, I am Italian. My parents are Italian, they immigrated to Canada where I was born. Italian's my first language, my dad's like, in this house, you are in Italy, outside, you're in Canada. So I like grew up like this, sohere I'm thinking I'm Italian. And I'm not, when I moved to Italy, like I am not like I can speak it, I'm great with it, but I am not, I'm North American in my mentality and how I've grown up. So it was a real challenge for me on so many levels because the culture difference was so great, and what I do is I fight everything. So I tried to fight it. I just couldn't reconcile how different it was, and so I really struggled because one of the big things was I always knew from a very young age, I didn't wanna have kids. I did not. And everybody knows that about me. He did, everybody did. But no, it was, when are you gonna have kids? When are you gonna have kids? It was just constantly, constantly, constantly. The other thing was that I'm very career oriented. I had two degrees by the time I moved there, two business degrees. I'd worked in a bank from the age of 19 and so I couldn't get a job, a proper job to save my life. I could get a secretary job. I have a lot of respect for executive assistants and secretaries, but out there that's not a good thing. So I really struggled with something that was so important to me. That was what I tried to fight for myself. And also fighting a relationship that really was not good for me, so I tried to exert control by becoming body dysmorphic, and anorexic. The only thing I could control in my life at that point was my body. Because I couldn't, for the life of me, imagine saying I'm not happy, this is not working for me. And, you try to make it work, but social pressure, family pressure, those formative years were like a pressure cooker.

Stephanie: Oh my goodness. So the marriage didn't last.

AdaPia: No, well it was nine years

Stephanie: Wow.

AdaPia: Actually. Yeah, nine years. But, a lot of health problems for me in those nine years because it, I like that was, I internalized it so much. And so that was kind of the first of the awakenings was I literally just imploded one day and I kind of realized like, well, how did I even get here? I'm 32, I'm like, I actually don't know who I am. It was like I came back into my body after being gone. I can use these words now because I understand them now, but back then, it was just a total explosion and I didn't understand, but within three weeks of that realization, I was gone.

Stephanie: Oh my goodness. Those are the quintessential words that I use as the example of this transition. And for you, it starts a little earlier than maybe for others, but this idea of following the pre-prescribed path that somebody else has told you is what's gonna make you happy and successful? And you'll get a house and have the kids and whatever, and you wake up one day and that's the quintessential question: how did I get here? Whose life is this?

AdaPia: Yes.

Stephanie: So three weeks later you're what, headed home?

AdaPia: Yeah, I went home to my parents, and that was one of the hardest things, was telling them, and especially telling my dad because, he's like typical Italian man. I really thought that it would be really bad. And instead this is like, when you don't realize that you don't know a person, because when I finally told him, he said, just come home. Just come home. I just want you to be happy. You're not happy there. Just AdaPia come home.

Stephanie: Oh

AdaPia: And that was like, hold on, I don't know who I'm talking to right now. Like, who are you? But it's the relationship between a father and daughter and you don't know how much they love you. We don't know how much our parents love us, especially the stern one in the family, like a father, we don't really know. So I went home and I'm so independent and I never want anyone's help, but my mom was so excited. She wasn't excited I was going through bad things, but she was so excited to be able to take care of me.

Stephanie: Mm-hmm.

AdaPia: It was just the joy of just being able to take care of me, you know?

Stephanie: Yeah.

AdaPia: So I was there for six weeks then I kind of like moved out and moved on, but it was so healing to be home. And as I moved on, that was the, I don't know who I am because I've been living for other people this whole time and the cognitive dissonance of that is that here I am thinking I'm so independent, but I'm actually not because a lot of those decisions caused me to be living a life that was not truly the life that I wanted. And, the consequences of trying to extricate myself from that, I couldn't fathom those so I stayed in it. I stayed in it to keep the peace.

Stephanie: Yep.

AdaPia: So that was the first one of waking up to, oh, I'm 32 years old and I really don't know who I am. I always knew I wanted career, so that was an easy one, but everything else was, you know, the decisions that I had made and then I had to make different decisions, that's when I started maybe fully, fully beginning to tap into my inner self. I got into yoga, which was a really important piece of my journey which I started for the physical practice cuz I was so high strung about exercise and calorie burn and all that kind of stuff. So I went into it for the physical practice and as yoga does, it knocks you down and you realize it's not about the physical practice. But, it was really a life changer for me.

Stephanie: So you're home, you're 32,

AdaPia: Mm-hmm.

Stephanie: and you get a job, you sort of start rebuilding a life closer to

AdaPia: Well I was already an entrepreneur at that point, I had a business with my sister that I did my stuff in Italy for her, she lived in Vancouver, it was a global business, an art licensing business based on her art. So I moved to the city, to Vancouver and started to rebuild that a little bit more, getting into it, exploring other avenues cuz I was also doing consulting. So at that point I was an entrepreneur so I was able to do that piece and that first year I just had so much freedom. It was extraordinary freedom to find myself. And I cried a ton. I cried so much. Like every night I would just like cry for myself of finding myself, like just these deep cleansing tears of finding myself and healing myself. Then eventually after a year I moved to Los Angeles. It is a little hard to go from Italy and Europe, I traveled a lot in Europe, to Vancouver, from a mindset perspective of the way that city is versus the cosmopolitan nature of all of Europe. So I moved to LA and the interesting thing is that I met my current husband well I met him as soon as I moved here. And I wasn't looking for, I mean, I moved here for work and then he and I started dating and basically we've been together since I moved to LA so I never had to date in LA, which I think I dodged some bullets there.

Stephanie: You sure did. Okay, so now you're building your career.

AdaPia: Yeah. So I'll put it this way, I started working in a bank when I was 18. I had this like sense of, I really wanted to work in the financial industry and the whole thing about being in Italy, eventually I finally found what I wanted to do, I worked in a hedge fund in Switzerland cause I worked in the north, so I was driving to Switzerland. But then I left all of that, like a total 180, to work with my sister and build her brand. And that was at the time when I could tell something was going on with the marriage and I'm like, I gotta figure something out. So I had this business with my sister, we were doing a lot with licensing, crowdfunding, but like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, so I moved to LA because I was doing some work with brands and intellectual property development and I'm on the forefront of all things marketing and technology and so I stumbled into crowdfunding on the equity side. So what I understood, because my background was this type of crowdfunding would allow me to turn fans into shareholders.

Stephanie: Mm-hmm.

lly get fully legalized until:

Stephanie: Mm-hmm.

AdaPia: which is that startup life and and then that's when I burnt out. So, yeah. So

Stephanie: right. So that leads us to the second awakening, which was you hit burnout at 38.

AdaPia: Uhhuh.

Stephanie: Tell me what burnout feels like for you,

AdaPia: It was a mix of things because I was just trying to chase the thing that I thought was my identity. And being successful, like the next level of being that entrepreneur. I jumped into being the COO of a FinTech platforms. So I went from the CMO in one firm to the COO, of this other firm in San Francisco and I was flying back and forth, again, might sound like really glamorous. It's not. And so it felt like the only thing that I was always so sure about, which was my ability to succeed, wasn't working. And it felt like the floor fell out from under me, because I always knew I could count on myself to succeed, to get things right, to do things well. And so what it felt like was now I really don't know who I am. Before it was like, I don't know who I am, like in relation, you know, this was like, oh my God,

Stephanie: Right.

AdaPia: I'm no one because if I can't work, I'm like useless. What am I gonna do? That's what it felt like. It felt like I jumped out of that into, maybe I wanna be like a speaker. It was the weirdest thing for me to jump from the pinnacle of my career, but something about that was my intuition knew that that wasn't gonna work. Like I knew it and but I took it because I wanted the title, I wanted to prove myself, but inside it was like, mm-hmm. That's not a good idea. And in fact, it wasn't. So I jumped out of that, but because I don't stop ever, I was like, oh, I'm gonna be a speaker, I'm gonna be like a leadership speaker. Me Too was happening so I thought, cuz I've always jumped from one thing into another very very successfully, I am unstoppable. I'm gonna be a speaker, I'm gonna be a leadership facilitator. I'm gonna do all these things. And so I was so unsuccessful at that, I was like, okay, well you suck. and you have a house under construction and you're broke. You're broke, you're have a house under construction. and so we weren't making enough money to cover and I lost it. lost it. I was just, I don't know what to do. This is not possible. And it's more of the, I don't know what to do, because if I can't do it, then I don't understand how this life works if I can't take care of myself.

Stephanie: Yeah.

AdaPia: So that's what burnout felt like to me. And none of those answers were in the business realm. All of those answers were in the so-called spiritual realm. They were all there.

Stephanie: Yeah. I wonder if this resonates with you. I know one of my girlfriends and I, we talk about this, like when things are stressful or things are crazy we cope with capability. We cope by just getting it done and checking stuff off the list and being so capable and managing it all. And

AdaPia: Yeah,

Stephanie: and so I suppose that if you got to a point where you were like, well, God damn it, I'm not even capable. I can't do anything, yeah, that's gonna be a heart stopper.

AdaPia: Yeah, that was definitely. And it was so much more profound than justthe job piece of it. Because something about it, and this is probably the most kind of spiritual of the experiences that I've had because it's something in me open to where I had to look inside so deeply on such a different level, and it was like an excavation. You've heard these terms like shadow work, like my god, what was in there that I had to go and dig myself out. And I call it digging myself out from under my ego because there was so much of the ego, not like the egotistical, but like the ego, the identity, and partly how I coped with my first awakening was by really heavily relying on my ego identity to prop up the heartbreak and like everything that I was going through on that side, and soI propped myself up with capability

Stephanie: Because I imagine you've got like, well, that didn't work, but at least I've got this, at least I'm successful and professional and I'm moving up in the world and I'm doing great things in my career, and I at least I've got this.

AdaPia: Yes.

Stephanie: So ya thought,

AdaPia: Until that rug was pulled right out from under me, and then all I had was myself.

Stephanie: Yeah.

AdaPia: And that was extraordinarily painful to go through and see myself. And it's years of it, right? It's a lifetime of it, but those first few years where I was really cracked open and it was almost like I could see myself for the first time and I could no longer identify with, let's say the business world in some ways, because I also couldn't language what was going on. I sounded like a crazy person to myself and so I wouldn't dare speak to anybody in my business circle, people that knew me professionally, because I was ashamed. I was like, I'm not okay, they're gonna think I'm not okay. I can't talk to them. So I went and did all this spiritual exploration. I really got into my yoga, but on a deeper level. I really started meditating. I took a lot of workshops and one of the graces of what happened is I had a certain amount of time to myself and I was still somehow supported. I mean, yes, I was definitely like broke for a while, but there was still something there where I was able to kind of survive for a little while and really find and work and work and work on myself. Then through that work and also through a moment of just such anger to like the universe, I'm like shaking my fist at the universe and I blurt out: I don't want to be a solopreneur. I really want to work with people who are a good team that appreciate me for who I am. It was like, just very honest. And like three days later I got a phone call from some people who asked me to come and be a partner in their private equity firm. And I knew them, it's not like they found me in like a phone book, but I was like, wait. No. I'm like totally unemployable. I spend my days doing yoga, I don't even like look at my email before noon. I was like, you gotta be kidding me. This is crazy, God. Like, I don't understand. But there's something about a genuine breaking open and asking for help in like a different way. So I joined this firm and I've been with this firm ever since, so about five years. And it just gave me some stability while I still continued to do a lot of that inner work on myself. But the second one was by far the deepest and the longest, because identity is the thing, it's the human thing, to have an identity, and when that goes away,

Stephanie: Right.

AdaPia: that's a big one.

Stephanie: Yeah. So you've said some words here that I just wanna dig into because one of the things I try to do in these conversations is try to make things practical for somebody who's listening, who might think they're not into woo things or spiritual things, so you said you got cracked open. Tell me what that really felt like, what that really looked like. How did you know you were cracked open?

AdaPia: Because I could feel it.

Stephanie: In what way? Where did you feel it?

AdaPia: My heart actually. Yeah. This is the thing about who we are when we don't believe the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves. The who we are is a felt sense. I wrote a book called Productive Intuition because I wrote about everything I learned about waking up and how we access these other parts of ourselves that aren't woo. There's a lot of science that backs every single thing about the electromagnetic frequency of our heart, the gut brain, just subtle sensations, the right brain and our cerebral brain. There's so much science that tells us we are so much more than our thoughts. And what feeling cracked open felt like, felt like such vulnerability. I felt so exposed and undefended,

Stephanie: Mm.

AdaPia: it's not like other people were after me, but I felt this amount of vulnerability where suddenly, like if I have my hands in front of me and I'm like in a cocoon, and like somebody opens those doors, you know, they like throw open the French doors. Like that's how it felt to me to be cracked open, because the identity that was the shell

Stephanie: Mm-hmm.

AdaPia: was gone. So cracked open is like, I can't identify myself anymore. And so I don't know who I am, so I'm very open and I'm very vulnerable and that's really scary.

Stephanie: Yeah, that is super scary. So when you get to the place of, I don't know who I am, tell me what daily life looks like. How do you go about finding out who you are while you still have to, you know, get three meals a day and sleep some, andgo to the grocery store, all the practical things, but, how do you go about finding out who am I?

AdaPia: Yeah, that's a really good question. My yoga practice was the cornerstone for me because that was 75 minutes every day and I would go every day religiously because it was my anchor. And the movement, the connection through the body, what yoga does on a psychosomatic level is astonishing in terms of aligning our energies with our mind and obviously through the body. And the body's really important to me, but I wasn't doing yoga at that point for the fitness. It was just, I needed it, it was the only thing. So that one, and then starting to read about things that I would've previously just been like, I don't read that kind of stuff. That nonsense is not for me. The woowoo nonsense is not for me. But then all of a sudden through the yoga practice and listening and maybe somebody suggested a couple books and in reading them they were actually okay. I was right cuz my big old, you know, like intellectual brain is like, no, I'm not reading that. But it made sense. Suddenly, words that if I had read them 10 years ago, I would've said, no, this makes no sense, would actually make sense because my intuition or my deeper self resonated with those words. And so then the biggest practice, to answer your question the most directly, is self-reflection. It's just witnessing myself, thinking about myself, thinking about my behaviors, thinking about my life, thinking about my stories, the self-reflecting with always a question around who am I really? Because the self that I thought I was clearly was not that, I'm not that,

Stephanie: Right.

AdaPia: but I eventually landed on, that's just what I do, which is far more empowering than my identity as a successful business person. Rather it's, I can be successful doing this if I want to. Right. So what I do is very distinct from who I am and that's only possible by doing the self-reflection.

Stephanie: Say that again, cuz that's the important The what I do is separate from who I am and I think so many of us allow, Allow, is that the right word? So many of us just sort of sleepwalk into our identity, being connected to something in our lives, whether it's the job or, motherhood or fatherhood or, a hobby or, whatever it is, even a passion. And if you think I am that, then well that might be an area of concern.

AdaPia: Right. Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. And we can only make that distinction by spending so much time with ourselves. With the self-reflection and with healing practices, Yoga, and meditation, those are the practices because it allows us to clear the thoughts that we would otherwise hold onto as identity, but they're just thoughts. Like Identity is truly felt, we feel who we are and we're just so trained and conditioned not to listen to the body, to the subtle signals or the emotion. God forbid we listen to emotions or even say that word, right? But they are a form of truth.

Stephanie: Yeah.

AdaPia: They're a form of truth. There's a practice to say like what is a yes and what is a no is, you can feel it in your body when something's a yes. And when something's a no. And so training to know ourselves well enough to know what a no is and to know what a yes is, holy cow, does that make life simple. I don't have to think about it. I just know it

Stephanie: Right, right. Or even if you don't know it, even just asking.

AdaPia: asking.

Stephanie: And listening, because your inner voice will tell you usually in no uncertain terms. And I have conversations with her quite a bit. I said recently, one of the things I'm trying to do as I hone my intuition is listening to myself while I eat because I have this sort of tension back and forth between the Clean Plate Club and the listening to the body. And so, even though I serve myself my own servings and try to remember to keep them portion reasonable, a lot of times I'll get, stop, you're done. And I'll look down and I'll say, but it's just three more bites. So that is my current thing that I'm working on is listening. Because the other thing, it's funny that one of my younger brothers will tell you, and my husband will tell you, like, nobody can put away into the refrigerator, leftovers in the tiniest container like I can. I will put three bites of something away and they're always like, what is the point of that? And I'm like, well, I might want three bites later. And so now I have to reconcile with, like, Stephanie, you have always been the girl who puts away the tiniest containers of leftovers. So why can't you just put those three bites away? Even for an hour from now or two hours from now, you know? So I'm really trying to tune in and listen. And when she says, stop, you're done. I usually try to talk her into letting me have the three bites.

AdaPia: Yeah.

Stephanie: Oh. But she knows.

AdaPia: She does. It's such an important practice. It reminds me last year, about a year ago, I did a seven day juice cleanse, and food is probably the biggest crutch we have. We don't need nearly as much as we eat. I'm an emotional eater. I eat when I think, which is like, can't just eat when you're trying to brainstorm, that's just not gonna work. And the juice fast, the cleanse, was so eye-opening. It was really a spiritual experience because you, I wasn't even allowed to have coffee, nothing that could possibly create any form of attachment. And it was hard in some ways, but it was also beautiful in others because when my body was so clean

Stephanie: Yeah.

AdaPia: and I put something in it, like let's say afterward, like I ate a pistachio and it was like not a good thing cuz it's so salty and it's roasted and so the body knows so much. But the body, just like our mind, is filled with junk all the time and we override its natural wisdom all the time.

Stephanie: Yeah, yeah, yeah. One of the big things that I talk about, and that comes up on almost every one of these conversations is, the first thing is awareness.

AdaPia: Mm-hmm.

Stephanie: The first thing is becoming aware that something's not right in your life or your body's trying to tell you something, or there are voices inside your head that you're actively ignoring. And becoming aware is, um, is, is the first thing because the rest of it, sorry folks, the rest of it is a lifelong path,

AdaPia: exactly. Exactly.

Stephanie: and that's okay because when you start doing some of this work, when you said when you're cracked open, you're starting to reflect, you do something and you get to a place and you think, ah, things are better and your life improves and you have more ease in your world. And that lasts for a while and for me, then something else will bubble up and it's like, oh, I need to work on this, or a workshop will bubble up, or a book will bubble up. And when you're drawn to those things, it's like, huh, just do 'em, you know? without attaching to like, oh, I'm the kind of person that goes to these crazy workshops.

AdaPia: Yeah, cuz we just, like, our mind wants to make uh, well, our mind or our ego really wants to make an identity out of everything.

Stephanie: Yeah.

AdaPia: I like I did that for sure. I did it so much that when I was doing the spiritual seeking portion of my life, if you will, I made the business side of me or that masculine side of me, I made it a bad thing. That was not the right thing to do either. So I just created fragmentation in myself and separation in myself. And when I had that blurting out moment of I actually wanna go back to business, I don't wanna do this like I wanna be a spiritual leader thing, which really was my ego trying to assert the same pattern of behavior.

Stephanie: Right.

AdaPia: And I realize I really like finance and business and there's something more there for me, which I finally figured out last year what it was, but there's something more for me to do here. And then I was integrating the pieces of me that I went to kind of recover during the spiritual seeking with the practical, I live in this world, you can't get away from it unless I'm in a monastery or something, but that's not my path, I know it. But I noticed how my ego gets its hooks into everything and like, I have to be this person and it means this about me and it means this about me. It tries to create meaning but the real meaning like meaningful things don't come from the mind, they come from our heart. They come from this intelligence in here that knows every time. I talk to my heart if I really have a question. I don't know if it's in the Vedas, but it's in one of the branches of the eastern philosophies, they say the soul is actually located like right here, just like about an inch above the heart chakra. That's like the seat of the soul. And I know that when I do any heart-based meditation and there's a couple of institutes that do it, like I Am Heart, it's all about the science and the strength of heart and heart-based meditation. This is where I get my answers the fastest.

Stephanie: interesting, interesting. You told me that you really started putting things together when you're like 41, 42. You were able to really integrate that business side of you with the spiritual side of you. And you also started finding purpose through a group you had organized.

AdaPia: Yeah. So that was where when I said there was something more for me, but I didn't quite know what it was. At that point, at the beginning, I was just happy to have some kind of financial stability again and that was a good place for me to start. It's funny because when I jumped from that pinnacle of my career into I'm gonna be like maybe a leadership coach for women I really wanna empower women. I'm an empowered woman. Like super important to me. And so I was also disappointed cuz I thought, well, isn't this supposed to work? I'm following my heart, I'm doing the right thing. Why is this not working? So, you know, I spend a few years doing the private equity and the real estate again, and really putting myself, those two pieces back together. And created this group called Women of Wealth with a co-founder, Jennifer Burnham Grubbs. And she and I first connected personally cuz she would come to my home. I was doing thesenew moon circles for women and I had all my spiritual friends and I loved it because I had a community of my own for the first time in my life. Like from, you know, 20 18, 20 19, et cetera. But we never really talked about work stuff. We would meditate together, it was not where you would talk about work. But we both knew that we were in the financialindustry to some degree, but we didn't really know how. But one day we were like, what is it you do? And something about that connection and coming together, we realized that when the two of us would get together and talk about work stuff like finance stuff, things that both of us know are really important to the practicality of life and that we know men have these conversations cuz we work in these industries that are male dominated. And look who runs the financial system. So we thought, well there might be other women interested in having these kinds of conversations because they're really important conversations. And so we decided to start Women of Wealth. And in the process of starting this mastermind I understood as we were doing it, we signed up 12 people in the first two weeks. We had a four month goal of 12 people to this mastermind and they were there in in two weeks and we thought, wow, this is something. And then we started doing our meetings and we started telling people and everybody we would tell, they would lean in. They would lean in because I didn't tell any of my spiritual friends that I was in private equity again, cuz I wasn't sure how they would take that. That was me telling myself that, but when I did, they all leaned in. They said, wow, that's what you do? That's what you know? We would like to know more about that because we don't always wanna trade time for money.

Stephanie: Mm-hmm.

AdaPia: And at some point during the process of rolling this out, having conversations, talking about it, the more I talked about it, I realized like, AdaPia, this is your Dharma. This is why you started a career in finance when you were 18 at a bank. This is why you went back into private equity. This is why you weren't supposed to do leadership, the speaking tour that you thought. The irony is that I'm so much more successful in purpose doing this than I ever was or could have been doing the author/ book/ speaker thing that I thought is what I had to do when I jumped from my career. And this is giving me in a way all of the things that I imagined would come with purpose, that would come with really being in service. Because I'm in service to every woman and also every man who's around a woman that they need to understand that not only do women control household wealth, statistically, they're also gonna control trillions, tens of trillions of dollars in the next 10 years. And most women have no idea how to do that because it's not something that is taught to us in the least. And so I wanna empower as many women as possible to fully understand that they're capable because most women think they're not, because it's what we've been told.

Stephanie: So you said to me when we first spoke, you said you found all the things you thought you had wanted,

AdaPia: Mm-hmm.

Stephanie: but they don't look like you thought they would,

AdaPia: Mm-hmm.

Stephanie: which I love because that always brings me back to the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. I don't know. Have you seen that one? Oh God. You're the second person I've talked to today who hasn't seen that movie. Good God, ladies. Under the Tuscan Sun. So this woman getting a divorce, uh, actually, I should go back and watch it. Forget me telling everybody else to watch it. I should go back and watch it with the filter of the podcast and these transitions that I'm talking about because this woman, bad divorce, goes on a trip to Italy and impetuously buys a crumbling chateau somewhere in Tuscany, and you know, the story of her like bringing the house back to life. And in the middle of the movie, she sort of has this tantrum when she thinks like her life isn't going the way she wants it to, she's like, I want a wedding in this house, I want a baby in this house, I want family in this house, I want love in this house. It's truly a tantrum and at the end of the movie, the character that she had the tantrum to comes to her and says, look, you got everything you wanted. And the camera pans around the scene and you see this and you see that, and you see that and you see that. And it's like, oh, she got everything she wanted, but it doesn't look anything like she thought it would.

AdaPia: Yeah.

Stephanie: And, I think that's just such a great metaphor for holding on to the dreams that we think are so important to us. And now I'm reminded of another thing I talk a little bit about, speaking of like the woo out there stuff. One of the people that I follow is Mike Dooley, who people may have encountered if they watched Secret, that movie that came out in, I think in the early two thousands, he was a part of that. But he's got his whole movement now around thoughts becoming things and manifestation. And he says, when you're trying to manifest something, the more conditions you give it, the harder the universe has to work to make it successful. So if you want the red sports car vintage from this year in this condition, if it has to check all those boxes, you are less likely to be happy than if you just said, I wanna go fast and feel the air in my hair, blowing my hair back. And what if that showed up in a powerboat that made your heart sing? You know, the more open you can be, almost the more vague you can be about these major desires that we have, the more room you give the universe to come up with a creative solution.

AdaPia: Yeah. So you know what's not vague about any of that though? And the real secret to all of it is telling the universe how you want to feel.

Stephanie: Yes,

AdaPia: It's the feeling that we want. It's the general sense of things that we want, and then what it looks like. I don't know, because my mantra is: this, that I can imagine, or something better. I can't imagine a better version that the universe can imagine for me, I desire, I ask for this outcome or better. I'll leave that up to you. But I don't know. I have no idea how things happen, nobody knows. So why would I try to control it when I, and this has a been a big lesson throughout all these years, so many different things, if I stay open and trusting, then I will always be surprised to the upside. I will always be surprised in the best possible way. And then being grateful for what I already have. And that gratitude is the real piece where I don't do the practice of like being grateful for something I don't yet have. That does not work for me, some people can do that, I can't, cause my brain's like, you don't have that. What are you talking about? Um, but I know what I do have.

Stephanie: Yeah.

AdaPia: So if I can do that, that's easy. I'm like, gosh, I'm, I'm really grateful for everything I already have. I feel abundant cuz I am abundant, then I will be open to the best possible things that you wanna give me.

Stephanie: Yeah, you remind me, and I think I said this as I was wrapping up an episode recently, I went to a Mike Dooley seminar once, maybe 15 years ago. And in the seminar there came a juncture where he said, you know, open up your workbook and I want you to write down what you want. I'm gonna give you 60 seconds. I'm gonna write down what you want. And, you know, so everybody's like, oh my god, they're scratching and they're writing furiously in paragraphs and as much as they could get down in 60 seconds. And I was convinced I was doing the exercise wrong cause I had written three words and I was not in an awesome place in my life at that point, which is exactly the right time to be there. But I wrote to be happy. And then he is like, okay, time, who wants to share what they wrote? And, people shooting their hands up and they're, they're reading their paragraphs and again, I'm shrinking into my chair like, please God, don't call on me because I did this wrong. And it turns out that he went on to explain, not that I was smart or had any previous knowledge, but he went on to explain this whole concept of the more parameters you have to give, the more boxes it's gotta check, the harder it's going to be to manifest that. But you're right. And he actually used an example very much like this. I don't remember what his was, but it was like, the universe knows me and it knows what would make me happy. So it now has an entire array of things it could put in front of me that would make me happy. So instead of just getting the one car that checked all the boxes, now over time, you're getting this thing made me happy, and then this thing made me happy. And then that thing made me ha, and so it was a real lesson of manifestation and the things to focus on.

AdaPia: I love that so much because when you said that, I thought I would write happiness ultimately, and then with the ticking of the boxes too. The other thing when you were speaking is that when we don't get exactly the full paragraph description, guess what we do emotionally, we get upset

Stephanie: Mm-hmm.

AdaPia: and we're really ungrateful

Stephanie: Yeah.

AdaPia: and

Stephanie: Disappointed.

AdaPia: disappointed. That's the word. We're disappointed. So then what the universe is like, well,

Stephanie: Yeah. That wasn't good enough.

AdaPia: So we end up living in this perpetual state of disappointment and like ambient irritability and it's like, you know that like, that's not it. And I have control over that. Like, that's not, that's not it, that's not it. And so, it shows upas long as I'm very clear in how I wanna feel and visualization is also really good, but usually when I visualize like there, it's super vague cuz I'm not a visual person, but I know how it feels and I know that the sense of it, like, I can set the mood and then everything else is like, I also I like adventure. I like things to happen, there has to be some form of surprise. And the biggest lesson for me in everything that I've been through and learned is trust.

Stephanie: Mm-hmm.

AdaPia: If I can trust that I'm taken care of, and if I outline it all very linearly, I've always been okay. Even when I thought I wasn't, or other people thought I wasn't, I've always been okay. And that is abundance. And then there's the my willpower piece and knowing how to exert it in the right way and not trying to over control, which is really hard for me. But not being overly controlling, over everything. Everything. Like, I can't control everything. I'm not in charge. I'm not God. So, you know, take a load off your shoulders.

Stephanie: Right. Right. I love that. I'm not in charge. Yeah, it's true.

AdaPia: Yeah. I'm not,

Stephanie: Yeah. So coming into that 41, 42, you're starting to put everything together. You're finding some purpose, you're feeling really good about the balance of your professional life and your spiritual life, and you're melding them in that groupyou co-founded,

AdaPia: Mm-hmm.

Stephanie: but you also had one more awakening to go through,

AdaPia: Mm-hmm.

Stephanie: So the first one, you had a heart awakening at 32, then you had an ego death at 38 and then at 41. Tell me about that one.

body. So that one was during:

Stephanie: Mm-hmm.

AdaPia: I couldn't move. And long story short, for a full 40 days, I was so ill, and even my gastroenterologist, when I finally found one again, cause I'm like, I walk around saying I got cured myself. Um, you know, she's like, she basically said, I don't know how you're alive and we need to cut your whole intestine out.

Stephanie: Oh,

AdaPia: Mm-hmm. The whole thing because it was a disaster. It was a disaster. I dropped weight so fast from being so sick that I was like 108 pounds. Like I'm five seven, I should 1 25. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep because I couldn't regulate temperature so I would sweat through like five towels a night. I would wake up cold and clammy in this like, cold mountain house. My husband would have to lift me out of bed because I couldn't lift myself up out of bed. And through that whole time, so I couldn't do anything, talk about capability, I couldn't even like lift a bottle of like, I could definitely not lift that nothing. And I thought to myself, I remember thinking I'm literally like just useless. What value, what worth if I can't do the most basic things. And yet throughout the whole time, I felt the most amazing sense of gratitude and love. And I'm pretty sure that I was partially like out of my body in a sense, cuz I was in so much pain. Like, I would just pass out from pain. I would call them my pain naps because there was just so, there's too much, too much pain. You just leave. But I was always so grateful and because I had very little energy and very little life force, I also got super clear on what mattered, which was my husband,

Stephanie: Hmm

AdaPia: my family. Like I don't have kids, right? I always said I never wanted kids, but my family, and my partners at work who didn't, you know, they didn't just like toss me to the curb because I was sick, which in the back of my mind was this like weird little fear of like, well, if I'm not working,

Stephanie: Producing, yeah.

AdaPia: Yeah, if I'm not producing. So any kind of weird ideas that I had about being an author about like doing this and I'm gonna do that and I'm gonna do all these different things, like, it just got very peaceful in my head, very peaceful and very grateful. And so much love, so much love. And one would think that's the last thing you're gonna feel

Stephanie: Right.

AdaPia: when you're incapacitated. And it was the only thing I felt.

Stephanie: Hmm

AdaPia: And that was the third awakening in the sense that I also really realized I'm not my body. I have a body, but I am not my body. I am not, and all the nasty, mean, horrible things that I would say to myself those are gone because my body was so resilient and so beautiful and so strong, and I have a responsibility to take care of it, is what I learned.

Stephanie: Yeah.

AdaPia: And the day after I came back from that colonoscopy where the doctor said, we're gonna cut this out, I woke up the next day and I had this moment where I thought, I'm gonna undo the bed cuz we need to wash the sheets. But I hadn't been able to do anything for, you know, a month and a half. And I got up and I thought we should do this. And I heard a voice and it said, you can't do that. You're too sick and you're too weak. Don't do that. And it was such a clear voice and I thought, you know what? No, no I'm not. I refuse. I probably said the F word and I took my crow hands cuz they were so arthritic and took me 10 minutes but I stripped the bed of the sheets and I walked them down to the washer and I started the washer and I go into the kitchen and I said to my husband, I said, I'm kind of hungry. And that day before I was put on any prednisone, like all the medication that I had to go on before I took any kind of medication I started to heal and I still have my whole intestine cuz they never had to take it out. Mm-hmm. No,

Stephanie: Oh my goodness.

AdaPia: Cause I made a decision. I decided. Some people would say I called in the medicine Buddha, but there's been two or three moments in my life and it was a similar lightning strike moment to when I woke up in my body in Italy when I was like, this is not my life. And this one was, F this, I'm not weak and I am not gonna let you tell me I can't do something. And from that moment forward, I got really clear. And that's how WOW became really clear to me because that made so much more sense. That was the third one, that was the awakening in my body. I'm not, I'm not my body, and what a lesson.

Stephanie: Wow. Wow. So after all of that, who are you?

AdaPia: Hmm. Um, I would say, I don't know, but I also do know I'm how I show up in the world. You know, I'm a very loving, I'm very kind. I'm fiercely independent. I'm like easily irritated, but but like, ultimately I am learning about myself every day. Like Every time I run up into a situation where I am asking myself, is that me or is that just an old story? I am this series of experiences that are learning over time and I'm seeking peace ultimately. Like I'm seeking peace and love, I guess like, it sounds really corny, but like that is my natural steady state is peace and love. And I think that's really who I am. And what activates me is this passion that I have for everyone to be as free and as empowered as they can be. And that comes through self-knowledge and accountability. Self-accountability, responsibility, interconnectedness and community. And, now I get to choose how I show up. I get to choose how I'm going to be. And that is the most power that we have, is the power of choice in ourselves and choosing how to show up, choosing how to respond versus react. And so I'm a work in progress.

Stephanie: I love that. I think that's a great place to wrap up for today. Thank you so much for being with me today and for being so generous with your story. You've shared so much today.

AdaPia: Aw. Thank you so much. This has been just wonderful. I love to have these kinds of conversations. I forgot this was a podcast, it's just been like, such a fabulous conversation. It fills my heart, and thank you so much for creating this space for me to be able to tell my story.

Stephanie: It's my pleasure.

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