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Donna Giffen Podcast – Transcript

 

Fitness Soul Podcast #7- Donna Giffen
Zumba Education Specialist – Donna Giffen

You can watch Fitness Soul Podcast with Donna Giffen here.

Leszek: It’s amazing to have you today.

Donna: Thank you.

Leszek: Thank you for getting here and making your way here. If you don’t know, my guest today is Donna Giffen. Is it right?

Donna: Yes.

Leszek: Yeah, so I know Donna by Joanna and my wife, probably seven or eight years now. But well, I know you I just saw you there jumping like crazy on the stage. We’ve never spoken, maybe a few times. And I always knew you as a person who is on the stage and making amazing, amazing show. And then, just recently we met and we had the chat and I thought, “Wow, there’s much more to you than just dancing.”

Donna: Thanks.

Leszek: Yeah. Thanks.

Donna: Wow, it’s a good life check. But also I think when we first meet somebody we meet them through whatever that means is but we don’t get an idea of what else is behind them.

Leszek: Yes.

Donna: And also how easily or not so easily people can connect so it’s good to have the conversations outside of the work environment because then that’s…

Leszek: Definitely.

Donna: You realize what people have in common and other interests that people have that match yours.

Leszek: But many times it’s if someone is out there and you’re looking at this person as someone who is like you aspire to be to some extent and everyone’s looking at you people kind of got… I do the same. When I’m teaching I can see sometimes people are a little bit like afraid to come to speak to me because I’m the person who teach them so they’re like, “Oh no.” It’s kind of weird feeling because you really want to open to everyone.

Donna: Yeah.

Leszek: You really want to speak to everyone and I think this happens as well.

Donna: But I think what makes a successful instructor or coach in any way is that you have to have an authority in a space and the minute you’re an authority it changes the relationship. I think people forget that you’re not just that, you’re also a person.

Leszek: Yes.

Donna: But I think what people invest in isn’t so much the authority, it’s the person behind that. It’s the normal person so I think it’s good to have an element of normality but you still have to be the whip cracker if you’re there.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: But I think it’s getting a fine balance between the two.

Leszek: So this makes you that successful, yeah?

Donna: I think that’s why because you have to be a person, you have to be very normal, you have to be approachable because I think if you’re not approachable then I don’t know, people get a little bit scared. You have to provide a safe and comfortable environment where everybody’s welcome but also enough that you can crack the whip a little bit.

Leszek: Because you’re a completely different person on the stage, you know that?

Donna: I guess so. I don’t know. It’s hard because we don’t see ourselves.

Leszek: Okay, from my point, my view. It’s the same Joanna and any Zumba instructor I saw. It’s like they’re so nice but the moment they get in there it’s like… The power on.

Donna: I think you have to adjust your energy whereas if we were to do what we do on stage here we couldn’t talk because it would be too much but if you were to take a lower energy on to the stage you wouldn’t motivate, you wouldn’t uplift people. So I think you have to change your energy and your connection to people depending on what your environment is, I think.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: Because I think we have definite personality types depending on what we do. Even though we’re the same person we can’t be the same. I do Ricky [SP] and if I was to take that Zumba thing for Ricky it’s too much for people but if I was to take that lower thing and I take it somewhere else I wouldn’t be energizing people in the same way.

Leszek: Okay, I know this is probably is a very boring topic for you.

Donna: No.

Leszek: No, no the question I’m going to ask now because everyone knows you from Zumba but I just really want to find out what’s behind. Like when you started, before you started… When you started all this?

Donna: Two thousand and eight.

Leszek: Two thousand and eight. So how it’s happened? You just decided? You saw the video or?

Donna: You know, I didn’t choose it.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: It was interesting and I think sometimes that the best things that happen in life aren’t necessarily where you thought you were going to go. When I was a teenager, I was pushed towards fitness and I wanted to do theater. That was my thing, musical theater. But when the adults and grownups push you in one direction, certain personalities, you rebel slightly so I did. I didn’t want to do it and I had great opportunities to be able do it but chose not so I went to do theater. So I moved to London when I was 18.

Leszek: You were born in Edinburgh.

Donna: Born in Falkirk.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: So I moved to London. Did the long hard route of doing all of the theater, musical theater circus, some TV because my background is a gymnast when I was kid. So I got into that.

Leszek: So like school or something?

Donna: I moved internationally to obtain a musical theater school but then got tempted by auditions, which wasn’t the easiest route to go because it means I didn’t get an agent, I didn’t get a casting director so I had to do the longer harder option. Just randomly turning up at open auditions with hundreds of people. But also, it’s your height, it’s your look, it’s eye color, it’s your shoe size.

Leszek: Really?

Donna: It’s so, so specific. On your CV you have to have specifics and if you don’t match you don’t even get considered because you have to fit that role completely.

Leszek: For the role?

Donna: Yes, yes.

Leszek: So what was your first role? Do you remember the first role?

Donna: I did lots of little pieces but the first main one that was really classes of a professional gig I did Barnum, the circus musical and that was in London so we toured with the UK tour. And what’s interesting, because my background was gymnastics a lot of the UK… Not very many people did everything all together because when I did it, we’re talking… How long ago was that? Nineteen seven.

Leszek: Nineteen seven?

Donna: Nineteen seven, nineteen eight I think when I moved.

Leszek: It’s almost 20 years now.

Donna: Thank you for that question.

Leszek: I’m sorry. I’m not good in math so it might be less.

Donna: But I think then there weren’t lots and lots of people doing it and it’s grown hugely. It was an odd thing to do to go and to move to London to go do musical theater in anyway. So when you were… I lost track. I forget what I was actually saying in the first place. But yes, you tend to be maybe… You had a specialty and then there were people who were all-rounders in the all-rounders gymnastics or circus wasn’t that particularly strong thing to have. Normally it was a dance background, which I didn’t have. It was all circus and power and gymnastics. So it was good because it helped me because at the time there were a lot of circus musicals happening, a lot of physical theaters. That was the big thing at the time.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: So I was fortunate. I didn’t work lots and lots but I got enough to make me enjoy it and to keep invested in it.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: Yes, so I was there for lots of years then I moved to The States. I was very lucky to get visa sponsorship with a talent manager over there.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: An incredible series of events that just…

Leszek: Just one after another.

Donna: I make it sound easy. It wasn’t easy. It was a struggle but I was very fortunate. You know when you put all your energy out there and you…

Leszek: Was it something you’ve been planning or it just happens? I know it’s hard to say but when you started when you were 18 and you were thinking, “I’m going to big London and I’m…” Where you saw yourself, where you saw yourself where you are now?

Donna: No.

Leszek: Or you’ve been thinking about movie or theater?

Donna: I loved theater. That was my main thing. But then in London, the theater in general took a big, big dip. In early 2000s everything went very quiet. It was very difficult to get work if you didn’t have an agent and you weren’t connected with an agent, which I wasn’t really because I did the…

Leszek: The auditions, yeah.

Donna: “I’m just going to go and I’m just going to do it.” It was a little bit harder so I remember we went to see Lord of the Rings, it was the final one. I remember sitting in the cinema. I was almost with a jealousy, with a gut seething and I didn’t understand what it was. I was like, “I need to be doing this. I have to…” I felt a little bit claustrophobic, I felt a little bit trapped and a little bit stuck and because there weren’t a lot of opportunities I thought, “I need to try something else. I want to be somewhere else in another country.” I don’t like being stuck somewhere for too long. I feel a little bit trapped. You know you have to kind of branch out a little. So I just looked into doing different things in The States and there was an intensive. You have like five-day actors’ intensive where you got to meet agents and casting directors. I actually couldn’t afford it but I was like, “I’m going to afford this,” and I put it out there and I worked and again different help came from different situations.

I firmly believe I put it out there. If you have a goal and you have an aim the minute you put it out there it puts into your self-conscious like a map. It’s on there. The brain can’t determine whether you’re actually doing it or you’re just imagining doing it just with the way the brain works. So I put it there and just the series of events that happened that checked into place. I managed to go out there. I got a visa sponsorship with a talent manager. I came back, I worked for a whole year and managed to afford the visa and you have to convince them that you’re unique enough to do something that an American can’t do in your place for it to come in as a Brit. So you end up pimping yourself. It’s terrible, it’s terrible but you do it. You need to find, “Okay, what are my strengths, what are my qualities, what can I offer that isn’t already available out there.” I’m Scottish. I’m British.

Leszek: It’s already good thing, yeah?

Donna: Scottish was a good thing and that was odd at the time. There weren’t really many Brits out there, never mind Scotts. So I was very fortunate, spent a couple years out there.

Leszek: So it was playing in the theaters or playing… Any movies?

Donna: Yeah, lot’s of theater. I did small parts of… A few theater, which was really my background.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: But I didn’t move out there for that.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: I don’t what I moved out there for just something different, just the experience.

Leszek: Was it in New York?

Donna: I was in L.A..

Leszek: L.A.?

Donna: Yes, I was in L.A. for two and half years on and off. Incredible experience. Loved it. Hated it. Loved it.

Leszek: L.A., I can see the connection now. I know how it’s happened now.

Donna: It’s a wonderful, wonderful place. It’s just very interesting because you’re there for a purpose so a lot of the conversations are dictated around casting directors and agents and who… I don’t know. I thought it was just one thing I did. I didn’t live and breathe it because I like normality. I like normal conversations. So it was interesting, weird at the time. I wasn’t young, young but maybe 26, 27 years. You’re still finding yourself. You’re still deciding who you are. You change every year don’t you? So. Now, I have a far different perspective of it and I think I would enjoy it more now if I was to go back.

Leszek: Okay,

Donna: It’s a very cool place.

Leszek: You really like it, yeah?

Donna: I did like it.

Leszek: I always thought it was this crazy, crazy place like being there.

Donna: But I didn’t like it because I can tell you why I didn’t like it, just because I felt like it consumes you a little bit. It takes over because everything is about being seen, being heard. Are you suitable? You have to be placed into…

Leszek: It’s so…

Donna: Even think about it. You’re pigeon holed and that’s all you were at that time. But again, the industry’s changes so much. That was 10, 11 years ago. It’s actually a long time and it’s changed so much since then and more and more people are going and it’s easier to get that visa sponsorship now. It was hard at the time.

Leszek: So it’s easier even though there are more people there.

Donna: I don’t know. I don’t think the industry is easier but I think it’s easier to go there. You can now buy a visa.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: There are ways to get your visa. At the time it wasn’t really an option and not many people had done it but now it’s like… When not many people do something you think, “It’s difficult,” but the more people do it, it almost gives permission and it makes something accessible for other people to do it.

Leszek: I need to come back to the gymnastics background as well.

Donna: Yes.

Leszek: How long have you been doing that for?

Donna: I started when I was four.

Leszek: You’ve been four and over? Okay.

Donna: I got sent because I was wild climbing on things and jumping off things.

Leszek: Just go and jump.

Donna: So I think my parents thought, “Okay, we need to do something with this.”

Leszek: It’s quite good idea actually.

Donna: Yeah, it’s very good. So it was good because it let’s you tune, maybe fine-tune the wildness that a kid has. It’s a very, very good discipline.

Leszek: Yeah.

Donna: Very good discipline and it’s power as well. It’s power. It’s strength. It’s personality.

Leszek: So what was favorite thing?

Donna: I liked floor.

Leszek: You liked floor?

Donna: Yeah, I liked the floor. As you get a little bit older the head starts to get in and I trained with the Scotland squad and when you get to the age of 10, 11, 12 when you’re friends are doing different things and maybe they start to be conscious of you’re getting a little bit older and also forget particularly the body changes.

Leszek: Yes.

Donna: And fear starts to creep in a little bit as well because as a kid you’re fearless. But then, I could fall, I could hurt myself.

Leszek: When you were 11 you already had these thoughts?

Donna: Yeah, I remember. I do remember the feeling like I wasn’t but then I don’t know if maybe I lost interest a little bit as well. I loved it.

Leszek: I think in this moment you’re parents need to step in and aid and make you to do it and push you or else you… Yeah.

Donna: We were lucky because we got lots of opportunities and my dad particularly…. I mean both my parents, my dad saying, “I don’t want my kids on the streets drinking, getting in trouble. I want to give them opportunities,” and my parents certainly gave us as many opportunities as possible, activities after school but it has to be something you love, something that makes you tick. And from then, when I did eventually leave there it was injury after injury after injury. And again, I was a 12 year old, I didn’t want to be in a leotard. It was my worst had to do and I said, “Please don’t put me in a leotard.”

Leszek: Please, no. I cannot…

Donna: No, I can’t actually cope because you do change, females particularly when you get to that age. And also, the UK headspace were not the same as all over other countries that are very successful.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: There’s a discipline I think in these cultures that succeed that I don’t think we have. I don’t think we’re strict enough.

Leszek: Well, I think there’s a lot of freedom here so no one is pushing you to do is. In other places, Russians are really good or Chinese and they have no choice. They basically, they’re choosing this is your way. That’s what I really like about this place. You can do many different things and no one is telling you, “You cannot do this,” so you can pick anything and you can try different things and it’s kind of everyone is doing everything. Like you can be 55, obese and you can start doing Chaplin because this is what you like to do. In Poland, for example, there would be no chance. It would be hard for you to go to the club because you have this like, “I’m not good enough.” This is what I like about Scottish and people in UK. They’re kind of so open to things like that. I can see that.

Donna: It’s interesting hearing the different perspectives because you have an opinion of your country because you’re in it but you don’t know what it’s like for an outsider coming it and witnessing it.

Leszek: Yeah, so you’re probably lucky that you’ve never been born in China. You’d probably still jumping.

Donna: But yeah, I think the mentality, the cultural one certainly has a lot to do with it but then I went straight into athletics from there. I went straight into something else. And then from there, physical theater and so there was always something, which I’m glad I had. At the time, you’re a teenager you’re like… Your parents know nothing. You want to do be doing this but I did value, I didn’t want anything in my body. I didn’t want to drink. I didn’t want drugs. I didn’t want to stand on street corners. I genuinely wasn’t interested. I didn’t want to hang out with the [inaudible 00:15:45]. It wasn’t my thing. Even if we were around teenagers’ houses drinking I just wasn’t interested. I didn’t want that stuff in my body. I knew that then so that was a good thing. Strict parents and as much you maybe have a little bit of feeling negatively towards them at the time at least don’t you think, “Gosh I appreciate that. My goodness.” Because the paths that you couldn’t have gone and, yes, a lot of it’s to do with you but the values that you’re given from them…

Leszek: Yes, I was thinking about this last time and I’m thinking about myself how it’s happened that I do what I do and I have to admit it’s like 99% my parents. They pushing you to something and they don’t know whether it’s good or bad at this time and you might thinking that, “No, I don’t like it.” But you are still dependent. You are living with them so they’re just getting you a little bit there and sometimes if they’re just steeping back, “This must be hard.” To step back and then you’ve got this kid and you cannot push him anymore and then you see what will happen.

Donna: Yeah because I think that if you push too far that certain personality will go the opposite direction, which I think is what I did when I was a teenager. And that wasn’t so much my parents. That was the teachers. The sensible grownups who are advising you on the more sensible path because that’s one, “No it’s not. You need to have a sensible job. You need to have a backup.” “No, I’m not doing that. I’m going this route.” I think it’s finding that balance and then they just have to go, “Okay, good luck. Hopefully I did well enough.”

Leszek: So do you feel the same now when you’re teaching Zumba and you’ve got Zumba instructors coming to you. Not Zumba instructors, somebody who wants to be instructor. How do you feel? Because it’s kind of like a mother isn’t it to them? They’re coming to you and you’re kind of giving them everything you’ve got and then you can just hope that they will do… You’ve got some idea about the perfect instructor.

Donna: You know what’s interesting? One of the things I absolutely love about Zumba is that there’s not a template. There’s not one type of person who’s the ideal instructor and also the focus isn’t just the technical. It’s the personality. It’s the character. And this is why I’m very grateful and I know had I gone straight into fitness route, I wouldn’t have developed the character that I think that I need to have to be successful, known, and to be good and to inspire people in the way that people say that you do. Because I think had I gone straight into that fitness I may not have been doing it right now. It wasn’t my interest so that all these skills from many, many years came back and it’s interesting I have no background to doing fitness but it chose me. I didn’t go looking for it. It was in between my performance contracts. So now I’ve come back right into it and I have all this experience — rejection after rejection after rejection in theater. You build your resilience. You build your character. You develop a, “No, I’m going to do it this way.”

Leszek: Everything what you need to be successful at…

Donna: Yeah, I think so and because it was that route I’m very grateful for that and I think the thing that I value most about Zumba and why I love it so much is that you get to be your own personality, your own character and that’s what people are drawn to in your class. The technical is very important, of course, your knowledge, your background, your experience, the package that you are but as a package. It’s not just your knowledge, it’s what do you give to people. You have to be raw. You have to be vulnerable. You have to be bare. If you are completely technical and contained and you put out caution…

Leszek: it’s not going to do it.

Donna: No, you don’t connect with people. I think people are coming for this. It’s for an energetic experience always.

Leszek: When you do the class is it kind of you just giving or you’re getting something from people?

Donna: It feeds. It’s like this…

Leszek:  I wonder, have you ever crafted? How it is that sometimes you do this and it’s so good but sometimes there is something in the air that you just… You know that there’s no energy. You’re giving, giving, giving and you cannot get it from people? Have you noticed? Do you got days like that, or?

Donna: I’m trying to think.

Leszek: Yeah, just because…

Donna: I don’t know. It’s interesting because I do think it’s very much what we put out is most definitely what you get back but you can’t appeal to every single person in that space. So sometimes if that feeling is there it’s maybe sometimes that. That’s why I think that having so many different types of instructors is a good thing because one type is not going to inspire and pair with everybody and that’s nothing to do with me. I could reach 89 people in a room of 100 and those 11 people it doesn’t mean I’m bad. I can’t take that personality. It just means they need something specific.

Leszek: A little bit different than what you’re offering.

Donna: Maybe if the balance is offset, in terms of who’s thankful for the instructor you are, if it’s half and half and you’re like, “Okay,” but that’s okay because somebody else could come along.

Leszek: Will take over.

Donna: Yeah, and they appeal to those people, which I think is… We don’t want sheep. That’s not what it’s about. You don’t want just a whole bunch of people the same of who we’re going to pair and inspire.

Leszek: So that’s why a lot of the time you do like kind of three or four people in the stage isn’t it?

Donna: It’s a good thing and this is why I like having guests, people come over as we are here. I can only teach people so much. It’s nice for men particularly because a lot of our customers are woman. A lot of the students and the participants are female so, yes, they’re going to appreciate what you offer but it’s very important for them to have a male kind of instruction as well because it’s very different just the way they hold themselves or the way they connect. It’s a very different kind of energy and I think it’s important for people to see both.

Leszek: Do you remember? Did I tell you about my story?

Donna: With Zumba?

Leszek: That I almost become your student. Yeah, it was a few years ago and I almost, almost went there.

Donna: You almost came to be one?

Leszek: Yeah, so we could meet there.

Donna: It wasn’t your thing?

Leszek: No it wasn’t my thing and I think it’s always good to think what’s your thing and really ask yourself and not going with what people say or what can bring you money or what everyone is doing. Choosing your way is always at the end and the long shot is always worth. Maybe I was a little bit like annoyed to start with because even with Joanna we’ve got this kind of competition going on between us. She’s instructor. I’m instructor. And I was pushing my kettlebells and I had three people and she was going and almost got 50 and I was like, “That’s insane. I’m losing it.” Everyday I was coming she was asking how was the class. I was like, “Yes, it was good,” but yeah.

Donna: It’s hard not compare.

Leszek: Yeah.

Donna: It’s hard not to compare and to take it personally but also I think the thing as well so many people weren’t exercising before Zumba came along. The old school aerobics suits a lot of people. I loved it when I was a teenager. I absolutely loved and I wanted to be there with the leg warmers and the leopard print leggings and the hair. Okay, now we’re showing our age. Maybe you’re a lot younger. I’m showing my age.

Leszek: I know what you mean. My mom was dancing with you. Oops.

Donna: Cut. But yeah, I think a lot of people were doing nothing. There weren’t things to get them out and all these international rhythms, that gave them energy to laugh, to have fun, to get permission just to move and to have no inhibitions when you do it. It was a very, very rare thing and I think the people that went out to fitness class, you genuinely had to have a real interest in it and I think when Zumba came along it gave the speed on to a lot of people and it made it accessible for people.

Leszek: And I think it’s still happening.

Donna: Yeah, very much so. But I think to compare different things would be a wrong thing to do because the market I think Zumba appealed to were a lot of people who weren’t necessarily exercising or had been but were maybe a little bit stuck, a little bit bored, and the formats are so different between the programs you can’t compare.

Leszek: When it came I was like, “Another thing.” It’s like another stupid thing. People dancing and jumping around and they’re not learning anything. But then, suddenly I got like, “Come on, actually a lot of people who have not done anything in their lives they’re coming and enjoying and they’re moving and in this profession, in fitness we should be letting people to move and enjoying themselves.

Donna: Regardless of how they do it.

Leszek: And then anyone who’s saying that bad things about any programs at this moment is like… You cannot do it.

Donna: But you see, a lot of those people that came to Zumba, students, they’re now going out and they’re doing other programs that they actually might not have tried before and I’m sure you have people coming to your kettlebell who maybe started through Zumba so it’s a very, very good thing. And they can eventually complement each other. But I think you have to in parts ignite something in people. What makes you want to leave the house on a Tuesday night, on a Thursday night, and a Sunday morning? It has to be what appeals to you because I’m not somebody that can do something for the sake of it effort. If it doesn’t make me want to move and to do something, like music is my thing. People, the whole reason I do this is people. I enjoy the benefits that people get from it physically. That’s their thing. If that’s what they’re coming for, fine, they get those benefits. But I think for me, the whole reason that it works is it’s the people.

Leszek: The community.

Donna: The community, the people, the exchange. Just moving around the room and watching somebody close their eyes and this little smile coming on their face. I’m like, “Where are you right now? You’re on some tropical island.” Just that place that people go to in their only world, the grins, the smiles, how they bounce that other space afterwards, that’s incredible and you don’t get that and a lot of people don’t have access to something that made that happen for them I think, so.

Leszek: Wow, looking at this perspective it changes a little bit.

Donna: Yeah, because I think it’s not just a fitness format. It’s not just a dance. It’s not just a fitness. It’s the emotional exchange for a lot of people. It’s the community. It’s whatever that changes happens to be for them or what they’re looking for, I think they’ll find it. Whether it’s weight loss. Also weight gain for a lot of people as well.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: People recovering from anorexia or bulimia. People happily gaining confidence and gaining self-worth, just from coming to our class they’re able to make healthy changes within themselves and everything comes from within. It doesn’t matter what’s going on on the outside. People think, “Good luck,” it has to be here. And a switch can be flicked for people to make those changes, that’s incredible so, I think there’s lots of reasons that people come to a class like that and it’s very rarely I think, “Okay I understand because it’s doing this to my thighs or this to my body.”

Leszek: No, no one is… Yeah. I think no one is looking at the fitness at this moment thinking about, “I need to get my biceps bigger.” It’s more about feeling and kind of I don’t like the work “functional” but it’s kind of being aware of what’s happening and using your body in the best possible way and on the top of that obviously all the moving makes you happier and then you’re going home, you’ve been working for eight hours or whatever you do. After, even if you go for a run, or you go for cycling, or you go for Zumba it make you much, much better person after all.

Donna: It definitely does and I think also, I know sometimes if I’ve had a Wednesday because I have a Wednesday evening class and if your stuff’s going on in your head, maybe you’re lost and you have things to do and you’re going to your class and you’re thinking about things… Class happens. You’re drive home and you’re like, “I have no idea what was going on in my day before that,” because it does something. It clears the head, it clears the mind and maybe if there was something that you were doubting beforehand, that was giving you a bit of negativity, after that class you’re capable of anything but there’s a massive shift I think emotionally, mentally. I don’t attribute that just to Zumba. I think it’s what each person’s individual thing is that they get out of any kind of program then it’s good. It motivates you to do some other stuff.

Leszek: And it’s kind of you talk a lot about that in you, what’s happening in you. And then, I know your project, is it Soul Barn, isn’t it?

Donna: Yeah, I have a couple of things.

Leszek: You’ve got a couple of things? Okay, so let me know about them.

Donna: Okay, I have another company called The Soul Works.

Leszek: The Soul Works.

Donna: And actually the Soul Barn, it’s just a Facebook page and it’s inspirational quotes, motivational stuff and this started because I would find sometimes it just takes one sentence and flick, something changes in your head. Something changes in your attitude towards the day and I found that a quote, a philosophy, I would just read something and I thought, “How interesting.” And sometimes I found that’s just what I needed to hear at this moment. So what I was doing, I’m a big believer in affirmations. So what you set into your day is exactly how your day is going to go. You can’t control the external events but you choose how you respond and whatever you take into your day you’re responsible for that.

Leszek: Are you putting this down or are you just having this in your head in the morning? What’s your routine?

Donna: I think that’s certainly the belief, in terms of where I came from. So the Soul Barn actually started as that’s my daily affirmation.

Leszek: Okay, and then you’re just sharing this with others.

Donna: And it was the care of sharing the thoughts and sometimes it wasn’t necessarily, “This is for me,” but it was, “That’s my thought of the day,” so I put it out there. And people started like it, they started to benefit from it. I thought, it’s interesting, I have access to a lot of people, of instructors, different students, but we’re such a part of such a huge community and we all see what each other shares and you get something from it. I think it’s important to share the different things that inspire you but it has to be authentic. It can’t be manipulated. I think it genuinely has to be, “This is how I feel today.”

Leszek: People can feel it isn’t it?

Donna: You can, I think so.

Leszek: You can try and make it in common, a little bit of catch and you can think a lot of ways to manipulate but it never happens. It never works.

Donna: Do you know what I find when I was doing the Soul Barn and I enjoy. I make up the little pictures, different images that I think suits. I can spend an hour at it doing the ones.

Leszek: Some of them are amazing.

Donna: Yeah, they’re cool. But what I would find is some people would say, “I love this. I look forward to this every morning.” I’m like, “No, every morning? Okay.”

Leszek: Big pressure now.

Donna: But it was because I remember how it would make it me feel in a day just seeing a word, or a quote, or a picture, or something I needed. And that was its purpose. I wanted to just put stuff out there. So then when I would deliberately try and say something that deep then it wasn’t as effective. It didn’t touch as many people because it’d actually come from here. It was very deliberate and it like seemed manipulated almost.

Leszek: So you could see this by likes?

Donna: Most definitely, likes and shares but I knew it even before I posted it because you feel don’t you? You’re like, “Something’s a mess.” So not let me do it because clearly there’s a need for it so I did it and maybe it wouldn’t get so many shares and I don’t want to talk about getting likes and shares. It wasn’t so much about that. You used that as a gage to see how people are responding.

Leszek: You can see how you are impacting people, yes.

Donna: So I found this very interesting. I thought, “Let me see. What do people need? What do they want?” So I used it to experiment. Well first of all I chose to hide behind the Soul Barn because I didn’t want to be, “Hi, I have some words of wisdom for everyone today.” It’s about self-indulging and I didn’t want it to be about that so I hid behind the Soul Barn but then that wasn’t as affective. But if I posted the same thing I got double triple the amount of responses.

Leszek: That’s interesting, yeah.

Donna: “Okay, interesting.” It’s maybe just going to take a while but I didn’t want it to be about me. I wanted it to be just a page that wasn’t so much about a person. It was just a page that people could relate in some way. So now I post on both.

Leszek: But again, people like to see that it comes from someone.

Donna: I think that there’s a person, which I think is what we were talking about the instruction. I think it’s the person…

Leszek: It’s what you can give them.

Donna: Yeah, and how you relate or you don’t relate to that person, which is why I also wanted the page for the people that think, “Who cares about your words of wisdom today? Who are you?”

Leszek: But I can go there.

Donna: Yeah, because that’s life. So I didn’t want it to be about, “Hey, this is what I have to say,” because none of that information is mine. It’s all out there.

Leszek: Are you still doing this?

Donna: Yes.

Leszek: So is it daily?

Donna: No, so I tested it. I tested the language. I thought, “What do people need?” Because when I connected with people at trainings, at events, at master classes, on Facebook, in person there is something missing. I thought, “What do we need? We’re all so different but we’re all the same at the same time,” and I wanted to find… I don’t know. Put something out there. Get all this incredible information that we don’t really have all of our access to because maybe this class is a little is fluffy. A little bit. Sometimes it’s [inaudible 00:32:53] sometimes not. It’s all just what we each deserve as a human being. What we deserve in this life experience that we’re having. What we deserve to give one other. All the experiences that we deserve to have but we sometimes don’t feel that we actually deserve it or we’re worthy.

Leszek: Do you remember your last quote?

Donna: My last quote?

Leszek: Yeah, the last one?

Donna: No.

Leszek: No.

Donna: Are you testing me?

Leszek: No, I’m not testing you.

Donna: Or you’re just curious?

Leszek: I’m just curious. I’m just genuine curious.

Donna: It’s probably something about self-worth. Defying the media or something. But I think I started to test it because I thought what language makes things work for people because I go through these different events and lessons and different audios and some of the language I’m open to it but some of the language makes me go, “It just doesn’t…” Or I roll my eyes. I think, “Well if I’m into it and I’m rolling my eyes what about the people that aren’t into it?”

Leszek: What’s your way now?

Donna: So what I was trying to find a way that would make it accessible to people so that we take the information and do what we need to with that. Not that my information is right but just to put lots of different things out there and see what do people get from it and I think it has to be something that you’re inspired by yourself.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: Words that speak to you in some way. You share them but I think you have put your stamp on it. So again, you can’t just be a sheep. You can’t be the same as everybody else. I’m being very mean to sheep. I actually apologize sheep. I feel a bit bad towards sheep now. You can’t be a faulty copy of everything.

Leszek: There’s this strange connection between being Scottish and sheep. I’ve learned that. I learned that here.

Donna: Wow.

Leszek: But you’re right.

Donna: Wow I’m wondering about your audience and they’re thinking, “Less sheep.” You just made really bad jokes about the Scott’s and sheep and it’s actually the Welch.

Leszek: The Welch, sorry it wasn’t me. I like Welch as well.

Donna: But yeah, I think you have to put yourself out there. Share yourself very raw, very vulnerable, very open. Not to blurb all your dirty laundry but just to share yourself, your experiences, and the people that need it at that time it will come. They will get that information and they respond and they share it with their people but I think it has to be organic. I think that’s the main thing. It has to be authentic.

Leszek: So this is Soul Barn?

Donna: This is Soul Barn.

Leszek: It’s on the Facebook?

Donna: Yes it’s on Facebook and it’s only just quotes, philosophies. Sometimes it’s gentle. Sometimes it’s a kick up the butt because we need both I think

Leszek: Yeah, both sides.

Donna: It’s tough love isn’t it? And I think you’ll get what you need that day. And if it doesn’t appeal to you it doesn’t appeal and that might be just one sentence in an entire paragraph. It’s just that one thing that you need.

Leszek: And this will kick you and you will feel it, “This is it.”

Donna: “This is what I need for today.” But it’s interesting because the amount of people that comment, which is why I do it and why I love it so much is that, “It’s just what I needed to hear today.” Okay, good.

Leszek: But sometimes it’s even, for me, when I’m reading the quotes like that it’s like sometimes you’re not realizing that this affects what’s happening the same day.

Donna: Yeah.

Leszek: You may read it and this is somewhere there in the back of your head and suddenly you’ve got something to do and this affects you big time.

Donna: Positively or negatively?

Leszek: Many, many times positively, obviously. Sometimes negatively, if you watch some stupid things.

Donna: Yeah, I think you have to be very selective about what you allow into your day and into your consciousness. I refuse to watch the news. I don’t read the newspapers. If I want to find something out, I go find it out but I’m very easily affected that will make me think, “This world is on it’s way out where we’re going down,” if I genuinely pay attention to something. I choose not to. It’s like I believe you choose. You’re day will be what you choose to put out. What you choose to focus on you will certainly get more of and you’ll notice more of it so then you have to be very selective.

Leszek: I really like this that many, many people start noticing this at this moment that a lot of people are saying they’re not watching T.V. anymore and they do not read newspapers and stuff and when I was young I’ve been told you have to know everything. You have to know what’s happening in the world.

Donna: But that’s not always truth is it? They’re choosing what they want to show us and the world is so much more than that. It’s a lot incredible and a lot of good stuff but we’re fed the negativity.

Leszek: Always the bad things.

Donna: Always the bad things and also it’s not always the truth. It’s somebody’s version of events. You’ve done it yourself. You read something you’re outraged and you think, “Hang on. Is that the truth?”

Leszek: Let me see what’s really happening there.

Donna: Yeah, because we do. We respond to that because we’re people.

Leszek: I don’t want think about this like there is somebody behind it trying to make us angry all the time.

Donna: This is a whole new podcast.

Leszek: Yes, no we’re not going this road. So, you’re second project. I was checking this website, it’s still not live. Is it getting life soon?

Donna: Through the Soul Barn and then I have Soul Jars but it just became… They’re tools for people. So that’s not up and running right now. I’m kind of in the middle of redoing everything because I’ve got myself, my own background, and then I’ve got Zumba, and then I have the Soul Barn and Soul Jars.

Leszek: So Soul Jars are connected?

Donna: It’s connected but there’s so many things it felt a little bit messy so I’m trying to find a way to try and simply everything. And Soul Jars just came about… I posted something a coupe of years ago on the run up to the New Year and it was a gratitude jar and it’s the best idea.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: And you’ll actually, throughout the year – because I think at the end of the year we have this habit of saying, “I hope next year is better.” But actually, there was a lot of good that probably happened throughout the year but we remember the negative or the bad stuff. So each time something good happens you pop in a note and you pop in your jar and you build this jar throughout the year. And then, on New Years Eve, as like a family event or you do it with friends you open your jar and you’re like, “Whoa, look at all the good stuff that did happen this year.” And then into your new year you take… It’s a different energy. It’s a different positivity.

Leszek: So it’s positive?

Donna: Yeah, and I think it’s a good thing but we have this habit of focusing on the negative, on the bad things that happened. So I just randomly posted this and I was in The States at the time, jet lagged. I was up at like 4:00 in the morning and I think it was sometime in December. It was because it was in the run-up to Christmas, that’s right. So I got all these crazy number of shares, all these posts and I was like, “Gratitude Jar.” I Googled “gratitude jars,” and I end up and spend on GoDaddy and bought gratitudejars.com, lovejars.com. I just bought this stuff and at the same time I got Soul Barn. So at like 4:00 in the morning I just had this kind of moment of inspiration about all these things. So the Soul Jars actually grew from, “Hang on. What else can we use this for? Because I think tools are a good thing to draw people’s attention towards gratitude.

Leszek: Towards what’s really important.

Donna: Yeah, towards appreciation. Towards self-worth but again, we don’t have access to all of these teachings because we’re not given it. We’re given the negative. So I thought, “Okay, maybe if I can do something. Save the world in someway.” And on that way you can only affect your corner of the world and it will go out. Yeah, just a tool for something else and it became more. The problem is I’m struggling to spend more time but I love it. I love it and I love making them. So Soul Jars will be up and running soon again as well.

Leszek: So you’re basically making them on your own?

Donna: Yeah, I make the jars. I make them my own, myself in my kitchen and my pixy helpers. Actually the pixies come and help for reindeer dust. And yeah, there will be like a gratitude jar. So focused on your intention, on what you’re grateful for because I think when we focus on lack instead of abundance that’s what we tend to draw towards and we focus on a lot of these things. Even how we start the day. We wake up in the morning and we think, “I haven’t had enough sleep.” There’s your day gone because you’re already focused on lack. Versus if you wake up and you think, “I got just the amount of sleep I clearly needed for today.” That can take effort.

Leszek: Yeah.

Donna: Because sometimes it’s changing old habits or looking out your window and saying, “It’s a miserable day.” No, it’s just a rainy day.

Leszek: And this changes, yeah, this changes it all up.

Donna: It doesn’t mean it’s really a miserable day. It’s just a rainy day. Rain is refreshing. We’re going to get to live in this beautiful country. If we had sun all the time it would be terrible.

Leszek: Yeah, it would be horrible. Yeah, it would be so bad.

Donna: So that rain is refreshing and it’s cleansing and we get sitting in this beautiful country sight because of the rain. It’s supposed to be rainy day. And it’s nature revitalizing itself.

Leszek: So it’s basically always looking for positive things.

Donna: I think so.

Leszek: Is it place for being a little bit sad sometimes or you have to be positive all the time?

Donna: No, I think you have to be you. I think if you try and force yourself to feel what you’re not it’s hard and it’s fake and it’s false. But I think there’s a lot of things that you can do to adjust your mindset for the day and that’s why the quotes I found are so good. Because if you are, “Okay, today, here’s the cycle of my thoughts,” and everyone does it. We’re all human. There’s a cycle of my thoughts today and maybe take one quote or one philosophy online and go, “That’s right,” so I think it’s finding the things that work for you. But if you’re feeling lousy that day and I think sometimes you try too hard to feel good to say, “You know what? It’s okay. If I’m just supposed to feel bad today I’m supposed to feel bad. Give me a day off. Let me have a break.” I now, I don’t force myself to feel anything because I learned not to. Sometimes, I’m like, “Okay, enough. Come on. Get up.”

Leszek: I need to go. Yeah.

Donna: But other times, if all I do today is get through this day and I’ve breathed and I’ve maybe read something because I’m not… Because people have a lot of very serious heavy stuff going on in their lives. Life is difficult for a lot of people and when you say to people, “Just be positive. It’s on the outlook.” It’s actually not.

Leszek: Yeah.

Donna: I don’t believe that. I used to but I certainly don’t anymore. I think you just have to allow for whatever your feeling that day is okay.

Leszek: It was like last time, a week ago when I text you? We’re supposed to be doing this week ago. No, I was in a really bad place. It was something, which just hit me. And suddenly I’m there. It’s like 11:00 or something, or 10:00, I think I cannot do it because I was sitting inside and I was feeling like being a nine year old going first time to school and I said, “How I can just chat with you if I’m there.”

Donna: Yeah.

Leszek: And the thing that I was doing it was nothing. It was just because it was the first time to do it and thank you very much for kind of understanding that.

Donna: I think if that’s clearly where your mind was supposed to be that day. If you need all your energy for that one thing it’s hard to then divide and then give it to somebody else.

Leszek: Yeah, but I had this luck. Not luck, chance to tell you, “Sorry, I cannot do it,” but a lot of people, how people can deal with it when they are at work and they feel the same way? Because for us, I can text you and you said, “Okay, nothing happened. We’ll meet next time.” But how to deal with…

Donna: But it was convenient because it also worked out for me because I was rushed that day and I had an event that I was doing last Saturday that I wanted to make a Power Point for that I wasn’t prepared for.

Leszek: It was good.

Donna: So it was good because I actually had time to do it so it worked out well. So I think you always have to adjust and allow someone.

Leszek: But how can people can do it if they have to fake it? With work, is there any way? Or are you just saying, “No, I’m not doing it. Don’t force me.”

Donna: I see, so doing something that you don’t want to do?

Leszek: Like this interview week ago. If this was only your time you could do it and I was in the state when I was last time waiting before my run.

Donna: I’m a big believer in each thing will be exactly what it’s meant to be. I honestly, firmly believe that. Whether, so I’ve maybe gone a place sometime, “I have a nervousness about this trip or something.” Something doesn’t feel right or maybe the build up to it, there’s been a something and it’s like you carry it here. It’s like, “Well I have to go because it’s work,” and you go and it actually ends up being something that you never thought it would be and I saw everything.

Leszek: Yeah, you sound very, very wise. Is there any way… No, yeah, who are your teachers? Is there any person or a book or something or meditation? Where are you taking inspiration from?

Donna: I think the key is to surround yourself by the people, the information, the knowledge that inspires you to live in that particular way and to live in a particular life.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: I think it’s very personal isn’t it? For me, I love a lot of audiobooks because if I’m at home I’m working. I travel quite a lot. I drive and I fly a lot so audiobooks work very well for me, particularly driving. So I just listen to them and I listen to them hour after hour after hour after hour until the information goes in.

Leszek: Is there any particular one, which…? If let’s say you’ve got one book. I never listen to one book. What would I listen? What would you say to me? What was the best one?

Donna: Just one?

Leszek: Okay, you get three.

Donna: Okay, one that I really like is, “The Power of your Spoken Word,” and it’s by Louise Hay. And Louise Hay is a transformational speaker and teacher and author and she talks about the power of our language. So the language that we use for our self, like our self-talk because then that actually becomes your day. So things like your rainy day or miserable day.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: Had enough sleep. Not had enough sleep. That self-talk because your body responds chemically. Your body responds to every single thought that you have and every word that you speak, there’s a chemical reaction and “The Power of your Spoken Word” I think is amazing because she’s very gentle. She talks a lot about self-love but that’s too fluffy for a lot of people so I also like David Hamilton, Dr. David R. Hamilton who was a chemist.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: And he made drugs treating cancer and cardiovascular disease and drug trials off course you always have to have a placebo, which was a fake drug. So what he found is that when a 100 people, they go the real drug and 100 people got the fake drug, see, 80 people improved on the real drug. Sometimes as high as 70, 75 of people improved on the fake drug.

Leszek: On the placebo?

Donna: Purely belief that you were getting it so he found this so incredible that he changed direction and said, “I need to look at the power of the thoughts.” So his stuff is incredible. So you have Louise Hay who talks in a particular way and then you have David Hamilton.

Leszek: This is the truth?

Donna: Yeah. It’s science. So I think a lot of people go for science. I think it’s getting a balance between science and spirituality, I think it’s getting that because particularly in this culture in this country, well it’s religious. It’s nothing about religion. It’s actually all incredible information that’s out there and all these possibilities and also information that we’re not given. There are people now teaching it and so he comes from a very much the science background. So things like change your thoughts. He talks about changing the mindset, the chemical reactions that happens every time you have a positive thought and a negative thought. The two definite reactions in the body and what therefore makes what you’re capable of. It’s incredible information. So those two I think definitely. But then there’s also people like Jack Canfield and Bob Proctor who, again, around this balance between the universe, kind of universal laws, which again is a little bit too far for a lot of people but also… Let me think. Mentality, outlook, a drive, it can get a combination between practical and physical and then also believing in something else that you don’t have proof of.

Leszek: Fantastic, fantastic.

Donna: So those would be my batch.

Leszek: Beautiful, your batch.

Donna: I think. And I think the key is just to surround yourself with the information until it becomes your… But you have down days — my goodness. And you’re like, “Okay.”

Leszek: There’s a lot of people saying that you become one of five best friends. Do you think it’s true?

Donna: So yeah, you become like the five people you surround yourself.

Leszek: Is it only five or is?

Donna: I think we’re certainly influenced by the energy of the people around us so if we are choosing people that are uplifting, they’re supportive, they encourage us, they nurture who we are, they accept us for who we are we have this space to grow and to be. And if you have people who maybe are a little bit jealous of you or they try to put their own limitations and their own beliefs on you that aren’t necessarily what you want for your life I do think we take that on board and it restricts us. So yeah, I do think who we surround ourselves with is very, very important and it’s good to be selective and it’s okay to cut ties. Just because we’ve been friends with somebody for 15 years, you don’t stop necessarily being friends with them. You think, “Okay. I need to alter this slightly.” And you don’t want to change another person. That’s not fair. They’re entitled to be who they are. But I think how much do we help and support each other? I think so.

Leszek: No, I think that’s a good one. I think the same comes to whatever you want to achieve in fitness. It’s also like a lot of people you know they want to do something about… I can talk only about this. It’s mostly they want to do, let’s say, change a little bit the way they’re eating and then suddenly their partner is like, “No, I’m not going to do it.”

Donna: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Leszek: And then you are like, “My god. It’s so, so hard.” So with the emotional things it must be the same or even harder isn’t it? If you want to be open and your partner is always like, “It’s raining.” It must be so, so hard for somebody.

Donna: And I think the hardest thing is not reacting because I think we have to look at what do we have control over. We don’t have control over events. We don’t have control over people. We’re only responsible for our own, our thoughts, what we choose to picture and visualize and our actions.

Leszek: What you project.

Donna: Yeah, and also how we react. So we can choose how we react. So you can get annoyed at that person or you can go, “It’s okay, that’s your way. That’s your place.” It’s hard. I think it’s hard work to change habits and especially people who are close to us. They’re the one’s that really get their hooks in don’t they? If it’s a stranger it’s easier because we don’t have that over from the reality.

Leszek: That’s why people have got problems with family isn’t it? A lot of arguments are with family because it’s easy to say to your brother for example, or to your mom what you really think and this is not… You didn’t say this to your friend. You would be like maybe this is not the most appropriate thing.

Donna: Also, I think we have like all this conditioning. It’s like a condition fetish. So our relationships have been conditioned and conditioned and conditioned and suddenly there’s something here and it’s hard to change them but I think we can only change what we put out. So if we put out a particular thing, we can choose how we respond. We always have the ability to respond differently but that’s our effort and it’s changing those habits and I do believe when we make those changes we don’t think about them. We put in this, we put in this, we put in this and we continue to do it ourselves and eventually I think things do come around but it’s a real commitment to making those changes and not responding in old ways and responding in new ways. That’s why I think affirmations are really good. And you might think I’m lying when you first do them but just start your day like… Even something like, “My energy harmonizes perfectly with that of my family. My energy harmonizes perfectly with…” You’re nuts. It’s like a little bit if you say, “Well you’re crazy.”

Leszek: Do you put it in the mirror?

Donna: I write it down. I write down gratitude. So everything I’m grateful for. Everything I’m thankful for. So focusing on gratitude but also, “This is what I choose to take into my day. This is how I choose to focus on my relationships.” And it’s doesn’t always work because we’re not necessarily great ourselves as what we put in but yeah, I think affirmations are very important.

Leszek: It’s like you’re I think seventh or eighth person I’ve talked here and it’s everyone who was here I was talking to everyone is doing this at some way.

Donna: Really?

Leszek: Either they’re doing in their head or they’ve got five-minutes or they’re putting down but everyone is doing it and now I’m kind of doing this from time to time but sometimes I’m forgetting so I just… This is my thing. I need to get it a little bit more often because it works.

Donna: I think it works but it’s really what you choose to focus on. If you go to the supermarket, the eggs have been in the same place for three years in the bacon aisle. And you go there for three years on your weekly shop and you get your eggs and you go do something else. Like we’ve been talking about definite foods and diets. So if you find this really cool recipe you want to make it and you’ve never heard of this one ingredient so you go find it. You ask somebody in the supermarket and they go, “It’s here.” They take you to the shelf and it’s right next to the eggs. The eggs that you’ve walked past every week for three years and that you’ve picked and you’ve never seen it because you’re not looking for it. So I think you’ll find what you are looking for. And also, like say we have a room of 50 people and we say, “Okay, look around and count how many things you can see that are green. Close your eyes. How many things did you see that were red?”

Leszek: Not a chance.

Donna: No, because you were looking for something green so I think at the same time you’ll find what you want to find whether you look for the positive or you look for the negative you will find it because you’re looking for it.

Leszek: Okay, last question before we wrap up. Imagine someone is just about to change something in their lives. It might even be you. You being like 18 years old now and just going. Is there any advice you would give this person?

Donna: For making change?

Leszek: Yeah, for something for doing this.

Donna: I think self-belief is one of the biggest things that we can possibly have because I think to make a change is actually quite difficult. It’s making it in the first place. Once we’re there, I think committing to actually making it and believing that you deserve better than what you’re doing…

Leszek: But if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you change it? If someone is really down in thinking, “I’m not worth that.”

Donna: I think we look outside for approval and for our self-worth. We value the opinion of other people far more than we value the opinion of ourselves and this is why I that Louise Hay thing about seeing the Power of your Spoken Word, because it really is all about your self-talk and it’s just creating new habits. So, one of the first things I think, what do you say to yourself in the mirror? I think guys have it a little bit different. Woman, we’re not very nice to ourselves in general so you maybe comment on your hair, your body type. Knock it off because you would never hang around anybody like that, yet, we do it to ourselves. So I think it’s just this, creating small changes. Believing that something is going to happen even if you don’t know the how or how you’ll get there or thinking, “It’s still hard right now.” It only takes 28-days to create new habits so if you can do something consistently for that time, you’ve created new habits.

So I always think my advice would be write down your goal. Write down whatever it is that you want to achieve, whether it’s a clear thing or something physical, or if it’s just a mental state, a state of being. Write it down on a card. Keep that card in your purse. Keep it in your pocket. Write it down even if you don’t believe you’re going to make it yet, write it down. Get it out. Look at it every single day and genuinely believe that you’re capable of doing it. And you’re going to have to fake it at first and give yourself an affirmation. One of my favorites and use this in one of my other sessions I do, it’s called UP: Unleash your Personal Power. It’s all about living the best version of yourself and believing you’re capable of it and it says, “I am beautiful. I am wealthy. And I am worthy.” And people, “I’m not saying that. I don’t know what nonsense that is.” But why shouldn’t you?

Leszek: Yeah.

Donna: Because what’s the alternative?

Leszek: This is what you want.

Donna: I’m ugly. My life is full of rubbish. I don’t have a good life and I’m not worthy of any of it. Do you want to live the rest of your life like that? I’m pretty sure people don’t. So I think it’s making a commitment to do that. Say an affirmation. Whatever it is. Believe it. Even if you don’t know how, say it. I say mine several times a day, several times a day, several times a day. And by the end of the day you walk. Your shoulders are back, your chest is up and I think that will change your physicality. Go into something physical.

Leszek: That’s awesome.

Donna: Yeah, but I think believe you’re capable of doing it. If you don’t believe it, get information. Get books. Get audios about changing your self-talk because I think it’s the self-talk, that’s what determines what we get and what we’re capable of doing. It doesn’t mean external events don’t come in but we can react to them.

Leszek: But they [inaudible 00:57:43].

Donna: I think so.

Leszek: I don’t know. It was so, so, so insightful.

Donna: Thank you.

Leszek: It’s like, yeah, I need definitely go into these books now and I have to check them. We will put them somewhere on there. And if someone want to find you. We covered this a little bit so if someone wants to talk to you, the Facebook probably?

Donna: Facebook, just Donna Giffen on Facebook. Well now you’re going to make me update my website aren’t you?

Leszek: They will make you.

Donna: It’s been on my to-do-list. Now I have to.

Leszek: Well, you have two days now.

Donna: I’ve got two days. I’ll do it tonight. See, this is why you’re good at what you do. We saw you. Joanna and I were watching you a couple weeks ago. We’re like, “[inaudible 00:58:30] cracker.” Yeah, it’s a good thing but it’s a motivating and driving. Yeah, so Donna Giffen but also donnagiffen.com will be up and running by the time…

Leszek: I can hold it two days if you want.

Donna: The soulworks.org but they’re all going to lead to the one site.

Leszek: Fantastic.

Donna: Yes, and also just the Soul Barn because it’s not always about the person, just having access to information. The Soul Barn and any kind of inspirational, motivational, uplifting page on Facebook is a good place to go.

Leszek: And your Zumba class? When it’s happening?

Donna: Well, we just finished for the summer.

Leszek: Okay.

Donna: Finished for the summer because I’m away consistently quite a lot during the summer so I’ll be back in October.

Leszek: Any events in Scotland?

Donna: We do. We have an even on Friday, the 17th of July in Grangemouth. And again, that’s all on if you go to Donna Giffen on Facebook, that’s all listed there. We’ve got something in August, in Glasgow. But also you guys have lots of classes here.

Leszek: Yeah.

Donna: With Joanna. Yeah, and lots of instructors all around so check them out.

Leszek: Fantastic. Okay, thank you very much.

Donna: Thank you, thank you.

Leszek: Cheers.

By Leszek Stelmachowski

Full-Time Coach / Part-Time Artist
I will help you reach your full potential.