I try to put pieces together. The last few times I’d seen Maria was just before the summer holidays. She was wandering the streets of our little town. I’d invite her over for breakfast, for lunch… for a chat by the pool … she refused gently. I insisted. She declined. In the busyness of my day, I admit I didn’t notice the signs.
SURRENDER TO YOUR
Life kept showing me the way…
Not the usual response one gets to a text message. Living in Madrid, I’m wondering if I’d texted the wrong person and someone was trying to be funny with whatever English they know. I sit in my car, watching the curtains of rain hit my windshield while I wait for the light to turn green, wondering how I can figure out if it’s true.
I pull over just beyond the intersection and frantically look her up on Facebook. Though I can’t speak Swedish, I understand the nature of 100s of messages on her wall.
My friend Maria has died.
I don’t have her husband’s phone number and am forced to wait for an answer I’m not sure I’ll ever get. I look to the back of the car where my 3 kids sit in their new school uniforms, puzzled as my eyes swell up. I begin to cry uncontrollably.
Maria, also, has 3 kids, the same age as mine. They’re not in school, either. Has something happened to all of them? What would my kids be going through if it were me?
For a month, I search for an answer. No one knows of them at school, nor at the church where we’d met 2 years earlier. As foreigners, we normally went back to our home country over summer. They never came back.
Following my gut works out. I am a chef with a growing Catering company and a budding culinary-techniques and wine-tasting school. I sideline for a company that hires me to be face of 24 American food brands in Spain, in an effort to make American cuisine be seen as gourmet. I’m also preparing to tape my very own TV Show… eventually this was to become the highest rated Cooking show the Spanish cooking channel had ever aired. At home, I am mom to an 8-year-old, a 5-year-old and a newborn. To say that my life is busy would be an understatement.
I eventually get the phone call I’d hoped for. Her husband explains how she’d been diagnosed with cancer while pregnant with her 3rd child. She’d opted for the life of the baby instead of her own. I wondered if I’d make the same decision. I realise the strength, courage and personal integrity she had to have with her value system to make that call.
In Spain, I am one of the fastest growing food stars on and off the stage. The night I got the call, I am teaching a fully booked cooking class to prepaid guests. On my way, I consider how much knowledge I have about the preparation, pairing, and presentation of food… I know nothing of its value. What if I’m creating the conditions for disease and early death in my own household? Stuck in traffic, I consider going back to school to become a Nutritionist.
Only 2 people show up for my class that night. Both of them are Nutritionists. I tell them my idea. We sit until 2am talking about making it possible.
7 Months later I graduate top of my class after completing a 2 year course in record time. This course changes my life. I realise how much of the beautiful and delicious food I prepared as a Chef is harmful to our bodies. Fully aware, now, of the impact of nutrition, I watch the choices people make around me and I cringe and weep for them. They desperately attempt to validate the healthiness of their diets. I know otherwise, but realise that having the information isn’t enough to change people’s habits. And the journey of mastering human behaviour begins.
I get certified in various modalities of coaching, mindset, language, intuition, healing, performance and business.. 1 year later I get invited to join the Tony Robbins Coaching team. Only 12 of us make it in out of the original 350 who were given invitations. I coach heads of business around the world and help them to personal and professional success that changes their lives and the lives of their families and the people who work for them. I understand the immense power of the knowledge I’ve gained, the experience I’ve had and the intuition I’ve developed. I learn to live in a state of calm and intentional observance with unconditional love and without judgement.
Last year, I sat in a coffee shop with a mom from my daughter’s school. “Why do you do what you do?” She asked. “I realized that our human comfort does more harm than good. I discovered my success couldn’t be found in the comfort of following their expectation, their formula nor their rules for success. I had to surrender to the discomfort of following the whisper I heard inside. Trusting the signs life gave me to follow my heart gave me so much more than things to show off and digits in a bank account. It gave me experiences to grow from, memories to cherish, and a deep sense of fulfilment and appreciation that supports me even in the tougher moments of life. So now, I support every entrepreneur I work with live a life that feels as successful to them on the inside as it looks to the world on the outside. When they align their inner world to their outer world, their potential for greatness expands exponentially and the ripple effect of everyone doing that good can lead to greater things for humanity.”
One minute later, a ding on the my phone gives me a sign that confirms my path: an empty message notification only has the sender’s name: “Maria”
Not Your Typical
Gaia Ferreira Creates Titans – Leaders who Live, Love, and Lead from the Heart through Clarity, Alignment and the Influence to Inspire . She succeeds this through her work as an author, speaker and coach on personal fulfilment and heart-driven leadership.
Previously working under her birth name, Carla M Jones, her resume is not the typical roadmap.
Born and Raised in Montreal, Canada
Her first love was Music. Until the age of 18, most of her time was spent on stage performing
At 18, she left home to backpack across Asia, Australia and NZ, working her way around the world.
Returning home for University, and driven by a desire to understand why people do what they do, and think what they think, (and how this changes so much around the world), she Majored in Psychology and Minored in Languages.
With the IT industry exploding, she shifted her studies towards the field of Applied Information Technology, where her creativity became evident in her programming, design and problem solving skills. Later, she would apply her ability to make the complex simple by joining the Marketing and department. By the age of 32, and living in France, she became the Director of EMEA Marketing & Communications for the number one software developer in RFID technology, managing teams around the world, the translations and the effective communication of a complex new technology to the public.
The sudden death of a friend had her re-evaluate her life choices. Fuelled as a mom of 3 beautiful girls to give them the very best in life, Gaia decided to return back to school once more, to understand how to fuel our bodies, re-design our mind and thoughts, and work with spirit and energy to get the very best out of life. This launched a purpose-driven career in Coaching that strengthens the mind-body-heart-gut connection with the behaviour of her clients, allowing them to completely reset their current existence into one of extraordinary fulfilment and joy by understanding the effects of their nutrition, their lifestyle, their thoughts and their beliefs on their success. And implementing the changes that make them Titans of success
Live, Love and Lead from the Heart
Currently living in Dublin, Ireland, Gaia has worked with hundreds of visionary executives and entrepreneurs to connect their purpose and vision to the way they work and play every day by tapping into their Total Intelligence (Mind, Body, Heart, Soul, Language and Behaviour). She believes in the importance of living your legacy on purpose so that the world may become a better place that is lead from the heart (not from a spreadsheet). Through deep inner work, she addresses the values and belief systems that create the fear and courage from which they operate so that they may align mind, heart and soul to the way they show up to lead themselves and their team to do good things and be great people.
Gaia works in 4 languages and has over 4500 hours of experience in coaching, training and speaking around the world.