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Living on Purpose – Interview

Interview Transcript: “Living on Purpose” with host Lynn Thompson, guest Monica Magnetti.

November 2007 near Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Website – Rabble Podcast

MM: This is Monica Magnetti from I’m a life, business and wellness coach and you’re listening to “Living on Purpose” with Lynn Thompson.

LoP: This is Lynn Thompson on “Living on Purpose”, and I have Monica Magnetti right here in my beautiful livingroom in the comfy chair in the bay window. I’d like to welcome you Monica, and thank you for coming all the way over from Vancouver for this opportunity.

MM: Thank you so much Lynn, I have been having the best time on the ferry, and it’s sunny here, in West Vancouver it was raining, and this chair is very comfy, thank you!

LoP: It’s important for us to set the stage a bit more about how we connected which was one of those serendipitous moments that really is not to be overlooked. I was over for a rare moment in Vancouver a few weeks ago, met up with my dad’s cousin, we had a brief coffee, went over to her printer’s office for a few scant moments and I caught sight of your book on her desk. She put us in touch with each other. Tell us about your books.

MM: My book, the one that caught your eyes is called “Being in the Present, How to Create the Blueprint of Your Life” and it really truly is my dream come true, and I love the book. It was published in the beginning of 2007. Joyce from Bond Reproductions [in Vancouver] I’ve known for 15-20 years and she does all my printing for that long. She designed the book, so she’s a big fan of the book, and we really made sure that in the printing all the details came out. “Being in the Present, How to Create the Blueprint of Your Life” it’s a book, it’s a journal, it’s a workbook, and it has beautiful photographs I’m most proud of, because I took all of them. It’s 12 metaphorical concepts. The photographs mostly are of nature, and the 12 metaphorical concepts that are the 12 chapters relate to the photographs so the book is about connecting all senses, it’s about reading, it’s about looking, it’s about touching.

LoP: Yes, you have these 12 different chapters with the metaphors, and mythology, that’s what really caught my imagination yesterday, and the way that you lead us through it. I love it that it’s a workbook, that it’s not just a read it and put it on the shelf kind of book. You can make this book your own. Sometimes with workbooks you feel like you have to follow the questions and then write in your own journal, but this one I felt like making it my own, I wanted to move into this workbook. So I wanted to thank you for that. And you leave lots of room. And you create lots of images to really loosen up the mind, and encourage one that everything is right, everything is perfect, now let’s just see where you are. (Laughter)

MM: Yes, yes, thank you for getting all that!! I’m so excited, I want to kiss you! Yes! (laughter) That’s part of the breakthrough concepts about my books, are this: first of all, I don’t give advice, I don’t tell people what to do because really no one listens to advice first of all, and we’re all different. So the way I write my books is for people to do their inner journey to what is important to them. It’s not about me telling you, it’s not about anyone telling you, it’s about yourself figuring out what is important to you, what are your goals, what are your values. And the other breakthrough concept about my books is that you can do the workbook multiple times and you will always have a different answer, because you will always be in a different present. And every time you ask yourself even the same question, you will always go deeper and deeper into the knowing of yourself.

LoP: Thank you for mentioning that aspect, because what is exciting about setting it up in that way and opening up that suggestion, is that quite often we write in journals, we might ask ourselves similar questions, or come to similar places and have different answers, and it’s sort of like having an e-mail that groups them all together, rather than having them all separate and YOU have to group them together. This way you’ve got it all there on the page, you can see what you answered, and where you were at before, and then you can have a new answer, and feel like you’re building on your foundation, right there in front of your eyes. It’s a really nice concept.

MM: Yes, thank you. I called it “The Blueprint” ~ “How to Create the Blueprint of Your Life” because the idea is that quite often people focus on the goals and the goals become a narrow focus. And so if you bring yourself back with the perspective of the observer, and you design the blueprint of your life where you are in the moment, and where you want to go, and what road you want to take there, it brings the big picture of WHO YOU ARE into view. So that’s why I tell people to really spend the time to define your blueprint. Mostly start from where you are in the present, because I noticed working with my clients, I’m a life and business coach, is that a lot of people believe that they are someone else. They in fact have their opinion of themselves based on very old concepts. I joke with people, I say “Everyone updates their computers, we update our cell phones, we update everything in our lives, except ourselves!” (laughs) And it’s about creating a blueprint: where am I right now and when you look at the goal, you know where you are, and you know where you want to be. And I give the example: “Who would drive from Los Angeles to Chicago without a map? Or without googling directions?” And when you google directions, you put in the starting point and the destination! And then you can choose which route to take there! Do you want to take the scenic route that is longer, that’s your choice, or do you want to take the faster route? So that’s why I’m so excited about working with people about understanding the value of knowing where you are in the present.

LoP: And you’re reminding us of the systems that are right in front of us that we’re applying in other directions ~ that’s a really good point. Okay, then describe for us a little bit more then, what that’s like, to update ourselves.

MM: Yes, in the book, “Being in the Present, How to Create the Blueprint of your Life” I actually give very practical tools. In every chapter, and there are 12 chapters, you will get really practical tools. For example: how to update your system. In chapter 4 I talk about taking on the perspective of the observer by metaphorically becoming a lighthouse, solidly planted on the ground, and a lighthouse has a 360-degree view of the past, the present and the future. So that is a view that I go into great detail describing that’s very valid, because if you imagine yourself on top of a lighthouse, you’re not caught in the drama. You’re above, and you can be the observer with a grand angle view of the big picture. I also have a chapter, and I have to say that it’s one of my favorites, that is called “Traveling Light”, and Traveling Light is really about that, it goes into details about updating your system and about letting go of what doesn’t serve you anymore. Asking: “Who am I?” and “What do I want to do with this information?” “Am I willing to complete with this person, with this situation?” And move on, turn the page, and it’s about creating space for bigness to come in. When your life is cluttered, and it’s busy, and there is no openness for new things to come in, people get stagnant ~ if you’re holding onto things that are not even you ~ we hold on to perceptions of ourselves that are not even accurate anymore, and that hold us back from fully experiencing who we are, for allowing other people to experience us, and for new things, new people, new opportunities to come into our lives. So “Traveling Light” is about letting go, metaphorically letting go of unwanted baggage.

LoP: Yeah, so part of that is listening to yourself a little more closely, and I think as a life and business coach that’s part of your role with your clients is to listen and mirror back to them how they are talking about themselves and their situations, and there are certain words that you wish didn’t even exist (MM begins to laugh in background) ~ do you want to talk a little bit about that?

MM: My goodness, yes! Thank you! That’s my other favorite chapter! Yes, there are words that if it was up to me ~ I’m really tough with the editors. I really wish that the word “but” B-U-T would not exist in the dictionary. That is the most limiting word, because it negates everything you have said, and it really makes you very limited. I’m going to give you an example. People often say, “I wanted to run the marathon, BUT it was raining.” There are words that create an excuse. They also say “Oh I’m so brilliant but I’m lazy.” You can be both!

LoP: Then you get off the “other but”, right?

MM: Yeah exactly! Get off your butt and let go of the BUT! I always say that the use of the word “and” makes so much more sense in our lives, because as human beings we are multi-faceted. We have beautiful qualities. They don’t have to compete with each other because we can be sad and happy, arrogant and humble, simple and complicated. As human beings we have the capacity to be all of that. So I suggest to people to really be all that they can be AND string all their qualities with AND.

LoP: It’s a brilliant suggestion AND something that I attempt to do myself. And as far as the contradictions in humans, it really caught my attention a couple of years ago when an astrologer friend did a chart reading for me. I was trying to figure out, well how can I have these different influences? How can I be a homebody and sink into the security of home, but also be adventuresome and want to be out on the road every other year? How can all that be me? That’s what you’re speaking to, that is the nature of life ~ it’s not this OR that, it’s this AND that. If you say, “This is true, BUT this holds me back” then you’re not in a good place to be moving forward into anything you really want to do.

MM: Yeah, I think that you said it just perfectly, thank you! (laughs) Thank you, my co-coach! Yes, forget about black OR white, it’s black AND white, it’s light AND dark, we can be everything, we have it all. We are our own universe, and we have it all. Just surrender and accept that we are made up of multi-faceted personalities, and we can be all that we want to be, all that we CAN be.

LoP: You are listening to Living on Purpose, my name is Lynn Thompson, and I’m in conversation with Monica Magnetti, your website is and you are a life and business coach. I really benefited from launching into the workbook this week after you sent it to me, I want to thank you again. There is a chapter in there called “The Growlers”, those tornado like voices that won’t stop whipping your head around inside while you’re just trying to stay focused on the goal. I really appreciated how you handled that presentation. I’d like you to tell us a bit more about that, and how you met your first Growler.

MM: (laughs) My first Growler ~ I laugh because our growlers are now Growlers, which is a word I created. Let me first give a definition of a, or multiple Growlers. Growlers are voices that speak to us and their goal is to hold us back. So they’re almost archetypal voices, we can call them, that would say something like “You’re not good enough” “You should do this, you should do that” “You’re never going to make enough money” “You’re never going to be paid for what you love doing” ~ They are these big voices whose goal really is to hold us back. In the book I suggest different ways to deal with the Growlers and I also suggest that to a certain extent the Growlers want to protect us from living a full life, and they want to protect us from failing. Ultimately they might have some truth in their voice. And for us it’s important to listen to their voice, and ask ourselves “What is true about that?” “How am I afraid to be out in the world?” “How am I afraid to be happy?” And then be willing to thank them for their contribution, that they’ve given us to ask the hard questions, and really let them go. Then consistently work in knowing that we are really ready, and if we still hear some Growlers, go back there and again, look at the gift they have to give you, and then move on.

LoP: You can be friends with them.

MM: Yes, I have to tell you I do suggest people to be friends with them, because what resists persists. And when you don’t want to acknowledge them, they get nastier and nastier. It’s funny because I have some Growlers, I put them outside of myself, so I actually buy nasty looking figurines, and I say this Growler represents my “Judge”, or this Growler represents my “Critic”, my “Saboteur”, yeah, I put them around AND sometimes the “Judge” has very good words of wisdom ~ I talk to my figurines, oh my gosh I’m confessing that on the radio (laughs) ~

LoP: Rather than saying it’s “my Growler”, it’s “THE Growler”, so that it’s obviously something that you can externalize, and not internalize, like that, then you can have more of a clear dialogue. I like that!

MM: Yes, you can have a dialogue, in fact I identify the Growlers really truly with archetypes as well. And so we all have the archetype of the “Judge” of the “Saboteur”. They have good insight, if you can do that, and not personalize, if you can take their message in the bigness. The “Judge” would be someone who is very honest to the point of default, so you know, I do often ask my “Judge” figurine, “What would you do?” as the ultimate Judge, the archetypal wisdom.

LoP: Wow, and what a way to suck them in to your side, eh? Ask their advice?? That’s the last thing they expect. Now when you were describing the Growlers at first, you were using the word “should” a few times, and that’s another word I think you don’t like, and why would that be?

MM: (laughing) Yes, “should” is about obligation. Even when you say the word “should”, people just collapse. You say (whining voice), “Oh I SHOULD go to the gym…” or “I SHOULD go visit my mother…” She’ll be happy to see you in THAT mood! So I suggest to people to just forget about the word “should”, and to change all the “should”-ing to “want”. “I WANT to go to the gym.” If that’s not true, then the opposite is true. “I don’t want to go to the gym” is very different from “I should go to the gym”. You either want to or you don’t want to, and if you don’t want to go to the gym, be conscious, be aware, be consistent, then you’re not going to live with the guilt of not going. “Need” is another word I’m not particularly fond of, for the same reason. Do you NEED to do it, or do you WANT to do it? Because when you do things out of “need”, out of “should”, out of obligation, out of guilt, people perceive it, and it’s not a pretty picture. You either want to, or you don’t want to.

LoP: Once you acknowledge and you’re honest with yourself and with others, primarily with yourself because then you can be more honest with others, then I think it’s a lot easier to build up that energy to then find out what it is you truly desire to do. Another word I really have trouble with is “difficult”. When people say things are “really difficult” I prefer, when I find myself getting close into range of that word, to say instead “challenging”. “I find this really challenging” because then it implies that there is a way through it.

MM: Yes, I totally agree and I have to tell you that my clients tell me that watching their language is the easiest and the most immediate life-changing experience that they have, letting go of the “but”, the “need”, the “want”, and letting go of saying “life is hard” or “it’s hard to do that”. And I always ask them, “what would it be like if it WAS easy?” We are very powerful beings, and if we say, “life is hard”, it’s going to be hard, we’re going to make it happen. If we say, like you said, “well, I might be experiencing a challenging moment” and you’re willing to dance with that ~ “oh my gosh, I’m a creative, resourceful and whole being, how can I dance with that challenge?” All of a sudden you snap out of that “it’s hard to do this”, because once you say “it’s hard” there’s no way out ~ watch your language!

LoP: Yeah, watch your language, eh?

MM: Yeah!

LoP: I like the lighthouse image of being the observer, being curious, not taking things so personally, so you can step outside and just go ~ “hm! Isn’t that interesting” ~ (laughs) ~ “Who would have guessed?” We have another book of yours that I want to touch on, that’s called “Outsmart Stress”, and we have a CD called “Being in the Present” which is a nice little snapshot from your workbook. Before we touch on those, though, I’d really like to hear about … you, Monica, and where you’ve come from, what brought you to this place. How can you give us a snapshot of your life?

MM: A snapshot of my life. I was born and raised in Italy; I’m not even going to tell you how long ago. I moved to Canada in 1977, so 30 years ago. What I’m going to say about my Italian background is that I had a fabulous childhood growing up in Italy, and I have a diploma from Greek and Latin in Italian Literature, and that was the beginning of my love for mythology. Yeah, so it started for me at a very young age. I just love Greek literature and stories about Mount Olympus ~

LoP: Hercules!!

MM: Yeah, yeah, that’s part of my academic background, and then I moved to Canada, zoom fast-forward. I’ve always been a life coach, except I never got paid for it, so years ago I decided to get my certification and do it. It really was the career that summed up everything that I’ve done in my life. I’d done a lot of research, a lot of psychology studies, a lot of therapy and I’d done a lot of introspection, so becoming a coach is really what wrapped it up nicely together. I also have a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia in Creative Writing, so that is how the books are tied in. And of course being a coach is all about NOT being you (starts laughing) ~

LoP: How’s that?

MM: It’s all about the clients! It’s really all about metaphorically sitting next to your client and supporting them in reaching to their goals. It’s all about them. Yes, so I love it, actually, it’s about supporting people, understanding their values, living their lives according to their values, and reaching their goals with integrity. It is such a pleasure to watch people consistently and consciously live their life intentionally. It’s really a beautiful place of observing.

LoP: It would be like watching a garden grow, watching the flowers naturally unfold to exude their highest nature. I wonder if you speak Italian still?

MM: Yes! I’m fluent in Italian, yes.

LoP: Okay, I’m going to ask you to say something in Italian shortly, but not yet. “Outsmart Stress”, tell us about this book.

MM: I always call it “the other book” because actually it was written at the same time I was writing the other one, and I really honestly believe that the reason I could survive writing the book was because I was also writing “the other book”.

LoP: Which one is which? You’ve called them both “the other book” now! (laughter)

MM: The big book “Being in the Present” is THE book, and “Outsmart Stress” is always “the other book”. So “Outsmart Stress: Understanding the Dynamic Behind Stress” it was a presentation I was giving about stress ~ I got really fascinated about the concepts, and I started writing more about it because there was stress involved in writing the BIG book and because with the big book, “Being in the Present” I also did all the graphics, all the photographs, when it came to the layout of the book, it was a lot of work, so “Outsmart Stress” really came out of survival. And also very much of being in the concept of “Being in the Present”, “Outsmart Stress” just looked from a different angle and perspective, so what I loved about writing two books at the same time is that you are forced to check that your material is consistent. So I loved writing two books together, because they sort of piggy-back with each other and yet they’re totally different books. Yes, I talk about three of the dynamics that create stress, and how understanding the dynamic will give you the advantage point of knowing when you are creating it, or it’s created in your life, so that you can stop it before you are stressed out. It’s about reclaiming your peace of mind, and again, the book doesn’t give advice. The book suggests you to look into your own life, how does this dynamic happen, whether you know it, or you don’t even know it. It’s a book that suggests for example “live in the present” for when you are in the past or in the future sometimes it’s very stressful. It’s about living according to your values. People don’t understand that if you don’t live according to your values, you could be really stressed out. It’s about observing that in the same situation one person might be stressed out, and another person wouldn’t. Even though we would always want to be the one who isn’t, sometime it doesn’t happen that way, so getting to know yourself, for the fabulous individual that you are, it’s really part of my philosophy, which is why I don’t give advice. I create formulas for people so they get to write their own life manual.

LoP: Well, that’s great. I also want to touch briefly on your CD. Please describe briefly how you assist people in focusing on their two hands to frame the moment, in the present moment!

MM: On the CD, it’s called “what exists between a second ago and a second from now” and it’s a 15 minute exercise, again that you can keep doing and redoing and you’ll always get a deeper understanding, so really both books and the CD are the gifts that keep on giving because you can keep doing them. It’s about thinking about your left hand, which is all the things you’ve done in the past, and your right hand, which is all the things you are going to do in the future. And then being able to find the place that is in between the left and the right, which is the present moment.

LoP: I love the gratitude that is shown to one’s hands because I think we overlook our hands. Now I would love to hear you speak in Italian, in answering this question. You can choose, whether you want to answer in English first and then Italian, or the other way around. What “Living on Purpose” means to you, Monica.

MM: (( Italian response!! ))

What I said was: “Living your life on purpose is a wonderful experience, and you are always in the best company, which is your company when you’re living according to your values.”

LoP: Thank you so much for being my guest, Monica.

MM: Lynn, thank you so much for inviting me, and I’m encouraging people to a free coaching session. Usually it’s better to contact me via e-mail, so under “contact Monica”, or my toll-free line is 1-866-449-5862.

LoP: Monica, thanks again for being my guest on “Living on Purpose”.

MM: Lynn, it’s been a beautiful day, and your radiant personality is a gift to the world! And to me today, you’ve made my day. Thank you.

LoP: And you’ve made mine too, so it’s a match.