Maya Angelou said, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” In this episode of the podcast, I’m sharing with you what I believe to be the secret to living an exceptionally passionate life because, after all, we French Kiss Life around here.
Bonjour and welcome to The French Kiss Life Podcast, where personal development meets style. I'm Tonya Leigh, certified master life coach and the hostess of this party, where we explore how to live artfully and well. Each week, I'll be sharing inspiring stories, practical tips, and timeless wisdom on how to elevate the quality of your everyday and celebrate along the way. Let's dive into today's episode.
Hello, my beautiful friends. Let’s kick off this episode with some exciting news. So here’s the thing, you all, I have been asked to write a book for at least five years. And every week, without fail, I’ll get a message either on Instagram or Facebook or via email or one of my clients will say, “Hey when are you going to write that book?” Well, guess what, I’m writing the book.
I am writing the book this year. And I’m so excited to infuse into a book the lessons that I’ve learned on life and love and style and how to live artfully and well. The book is coming. But I’m going to do it a little bit different because I don’t follow the rules. I make them up as I go and I think about the community and how to bring you along on my journey.
And so, when it comes to the book, I had this great idea. It’s called the French Kiss Life Masterclass. These are 12 monthly lessons where you’re going to get a sneak peak of what’s going to be in the book and you’re going to get to practice these lessons before the book is ever released to the public. And then, at the end of the 12 months, you’re going to get a signed copy from moi. How fun is that?
So if you want to come along on this journey of French Kissing life, where I’m going to be filming it in different locations from around the world, and also get a sneak peek of the French Kiss Life book, head over to fklmasterclass.com and you can find out more there.
So, with that said, now it’s time for a Community Spotlight. This is where I highlight someone in the community that has benefitted from the French Kiss Lifestyle. And this Community Spotlight is on VT Pretty Skin – love your iTunes handle, by the way.
But she left me a five-star review on iTunes and this is what she said, “You introduced me to me. Tonya, I can’t begin to thank you enough for how you’ve given me invaluable concrete and simple tools to help me find myself and my voice again. I started listening to you about two years ago after divorce, feeling stuck in my career and scared of ever loving again. Your encouragement and loving nonjudgmental approach has resonated so deeply within.
Thanks to your small daily challenges that you’ve given from time to time and through listening to your podcast religiously, I’m no longer afraid to define my grand. I’m no longer afraid to love again, and the most beautiful relationship with myself now and a new amazing sweetheart who treats me with so much respect and kindness that I’ve never known.
I’m no longer afraid to express and reach for what I want and clarify what my dreams are. I’ve developed my voice and discovered myself again. You’re an amazing coach with an amazing soul, thank you. Merci beaucoup #FKL.”
Thank you so much for that incredible review. And I have to say, the line that really got me was the very first one where you said, “You introduced me to me.” And at the end of the day, that is what I love doing. I love introducing women to their truest self, their most amazing, passionate, life-loving self because even if you’re in a place right now and you feel like you’ve lost that part of yourself, I promise you, she’s in there.
Are you ready to learn the secret for living a passionate life – because I’m going to give it to you. So, I want to rewind the clock a little bit because I’m often asked, like, how did you go from being a critical care nurse to running a company called French Kiss Life? It’s sort of crazy to think about.
But what I can tell you is that it has to do with what we’re talking about today, which is passion. So many women come to me wanting to find their passion. And what I tell them is that passion is an emotion, and emotions are never created by anything outside of us. This is basically cognitive behavioral therapy, which says our thoughts are what creates our emotions, never what’s happening in the outside world.
So, going back to the time when I was working as a critical care nurse in a CV-ICU, so basically I took care of patients immediately post-op from open heart surgery. And I was at a point in my career where I felt extremely burnt out. I was drained.
I was always taking care of everyone else, quite literally, and started to really neglect my own self-care and I was just lifeless. Can you relate? You’re sort of numb. You’re just getting through one day after the next. And so, I found myself asking the same question; what is my passion?
And it was really frustrating because I couldn’t find it. I didn’t even know where to look for it. And then, I discovered a secret that would forever change my life. And I found this secret in a book by Abraham Hicks. So, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Abraham, it’s all about the law of attraction, which on some level, I deeply believe in, but I don’t take it to the extent of thinking that we attract terrible things into our lives like illness and world disasters.
You know, life happens and I think that feels really bad. I’ve worked with a lot of clients who are struggling with chronic illness and they’ve had bad things happen and they can take the law of attraction and use it against them.
But if you think about the law of attraction is always about reaching for what feels a little bit better and a little bit better. And so to think that you have created bad things in your life that feel out of control, does that feel good? It doesn’t for me.
So I do believe in the law of attraction, but I don’t believe in using it to beat yourself up. But the law of attraction states, you attract who you are. Whatever you’re a match for is what you attract into your life.
So when I think about that time in my life, I was definitely attracting more situations that I was bored in. I was definitely attracting more people who wanted me to care for them. I was definitely attracting negative people, but honestly, the negativity was in my own mind. So I was just a perfect match for all of the things that I did not want.
And when I read this, I was like, what, you attract who you are? And I started to think about what I wanted to attract into my life. I wanted to attract incredible experiences, incredible friends. I wanted to attract more goodness and excitement. And so I took a pause in my life and I really started to play around with the idea that our feelings are always being created by how we think.
And when I looked in my own mind, it was no wonder I felt so lifeless and so dull. I was thinking the same dull thoughts every single day. I was waking up in the morning dreading going to work for my 12-hour shift. I was complaining about my life. I was telling myself that things were never going to change, that I didn’t have what it takes, that I didn’t know what to do, that I was confused.
And as a result, I kept attracting the same experiences over and over and over again. It truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I’ll never forget, around that same time, it was a Sunday night, I remember it as clear as day.
I was working a 12-hour shift and I had a patient who was waking up from his bypass surgery. And he looked me straight in the eyes and he said, “You are an angel so full of love and compassion.” Yes, he said that literally verbatim because, quite honestly, anesthesia causes you to see and say unusual things. However, I did have this light bulb go off and I really thought about what he said.
I am love and compassion. I didn’t have to find it. It’s who I was. And I realize that, if I could be love and compassion, I could also be passionate in the life I had in that moment because, again, passion is an emotion that you get to create by how you think.
And then I started to think about my friend, Caroline, that I worked with who was also a nurse. And she was, like, the most passionate person I’ve ever met. We would get called in – when I worked at the operating room – we would get called in at like two and three and 4am for an emergency surgery. And she would just come bebopping in and she’s like, “Oh my goodness, I get to see all of my friends, how fun is this?”
We were all grumpy and complaining that we had been awakened by our pager. And she was so just happy. Her filter of how she saw the world was so different. She was passionate, no matter if she was at the hospital or if she was at home with her family, or if she was at Walmart. Carolyn just was a passionate woman.
And that’s when it all started to come together, what I was reading and understanding. So, number one, you attract who you are, and who you are is an energy of a feeling state and you get to create that feeling state no matter what is happening in your outside world.
And so I began to show up as a passionate woman in the job I had, emptying the bedpans, talking to family members, even taking my daughter to school. I started showing up in my life as a passionate woman. And the way I did this is I started to really get into a state of gratitude because gratitude cannot exist with lifelessness and boredom and even fear.
When you’re in a state of gratitude, you’re just focused on what is going well and right and you’re showing appreciation for it. And so I changed my attitude at work. I was like, you know what, how blessed am I to be that person that when someone waked up from open heart surgery, I’m there affirming that they’re okay and that we’re going to take amazing care of them and helping them navigate that very scary journey along with their families?
I started to look again for what was going well and right in my life. I started to celebrate the little things. And all of a sudden, I started to feel the life come back inside of me, like the light that was almost about to go out started to flicker brighter and brighter and brighter.
You see, a passionate woman accepts her life as it is now and she looks at how she can improve it, make it better, make it more fun, make it more exciting. But what I was doing is I was complaining about my life. I was arguing with it. I was constantly looking for things outside of me that things outside of me could never give me because our feelings are always being created by how we think about ourselves, how we think about other people, how we think about our life situations and how we think about the world in general.
And that is good news because that means you don’t have to change your whole life in order to feel better. But then, what ended up happening is that my life began to change because remember, you attract who you are.
And so what ended up happening, as I showed up at work differently, people started to notice. Doctors started to ask me to take care of their patients. I started to feel more pride in my work. I started to feel like I was doing a better job. I started to attract new people at work.
Before, I was attracting all the people that wanted to complain with me. But as I shifted my energy, I started to attract more fun-loving people who enjoyed having a good time, even in the CV-ICU.
And then, things outside of work started to change because what you resist persists. So if you’re resisting your job, if you’re resisting where you are in your life, that’s where all of your attention and energy is going and so there’s really no space for possibility and creativity and all of the good stuff.
But as I started to feel better and I started to feel more passionate, I noticed that I was starting to see things that I couldn’t see before. For example, the opportunity came around for me to go to sommelier school. I would not have even seen that opportunity had I been so caught up in resisting my life and feeling bored and lifeless.
By waking up and generating the emotion of passion, I then started to see more things that I was passionate about. And then, as some of you may already know, that led to other opportunities like food and wine writing and going to food and wine festivals that then led to the next thing and to the next thing. But I had to change first, and that’s where I’d gotten it so, so wrong.
I was constantly trying to change the world first in order to feel better when the real secret is you changing first and then the world will have to respond to your newfound radiance, your newfound joy, your newfound energy.
So I want you to think about this one question; what if you made the decision to bring passion into everything you do? Really think about that.
Now, I will admit, I’m not passionate about everything that I do, but I always know that it’s an option, and I am, on most days, more passionate than not. But it is an option and I want us all to consider, what if we made the decision to bring it into everything we do? What if you took showers with passion? What if you created passion when choosing what to wear or when answering the phone or before writing an article or during dinner or when you’re making love or when you’re washing the dishes?
You get to create the feeling that you desire and passion is such a fun and exciting feeling to generate for ourselves. I don’t know why this just popped into my head, but I remember many years ago, I was in Paris and I was staying up in Montmartre and I heard the most beautiful voice beneath my window.
It was a male voice. He was singing in French. And I opened up my window and it was a homeless man. And he was so passionate. He had a baguette and he was just singing to the top of his lungs. And I realized, wow, here he is homeless and he’s more passionate than a lot of people that I know, and I’ve definitely been there.
And he proved a very important point, and that’s what this podcast is all about. Passion is an emotion that you get to generate and then bring that gift into your life, into your daily task. Instead of waiting until one day when you find it, you get to experience it now because passion is not found outside of you. It is who you are underneath all of the thoughts that separate you from this incredible emotion. So again, what if you made the decision to bring passion into everything you do?
It is time for a J’adore, the part of the show where I get to share something that I love with you. And oftentimes, my J’adores are the simple things, the things that make everyday life either more beautiful or more comfortable. And today’s J’adore definitely makes my daily life a lot more comfortable.
So, here’s a little interesting Tonya fact; I have really weird feet. Now, I know some of y’all can relate. As much as I love beautiful shoes, and I have a collection of them and I do wear them, most of them hurt my feet. I have a really hard time finding shoes that actually are comfortable.
Which is why I have another admission to make; when I’m at home working, most of the time, you’ll find me walking around in slippers. Cute slippers, but slippers nonetheless. Now, granted, I dress up, not in something crazy dressy when I’m working, it’s always something comfortable, but I love walking by the mirror and being like, hey, you look cute. And I just don’t feel good when I wear my PJs or my robe all day.
But when it comes to my shoes, I love just slipping on slippers in the morning. So, when I heard Oprah talk about one of her favorite things being Vionic Slippers, I had to try them because I also have a slipper collection.
And so I ordered a pair and, you all, Oprah was right. They are now one of my favorite things. So if you’re someone who likes to walk around in your slippers like me, you need to check them out. They’re called Vionic Gemma Mule slippers. And I have the pair that’s in tan and I’m about to order a second pair in black for the fall.
But they are so comfortable; so comfortable, in fact, that they received the seal of acceptance from the American Podiatrist Medical Association. So yeah, they’ve got some good built-in orthopedics as well. Good arch support, all the good things. And I won’t say that they’re super beautiful, but they are definitely comfortable.
So, make sure you check out the Vionic Gemma Mule slipper. You can go to frenchkisslife.com/slippers to see what I’m talking about. And on that note, I hope you have the most beautiful and comfy and passionate week ever. And hey, if we’re not connected on Instagram or Facebook, come find me. Let me know what you thought of today’s podcast. I’m @tonyaleigh on Instagram and Tonya Leigh on Facebook.
Until next week, go out there and French Kiss Life. Cheers.
If you enjoyed this episode and you want to dive even deeper into the French Kiss lifestyle, let’s start with a makeover; a mindset makeover. You can download my free training, The 3 Mindset Makeovers Every Woman Needs by visiting FrenchKissLife.com/mindset – because after all, mindset is the new black.