Interview with Ariana from Simply Living Coaching

About six months ago, I started talking to Ariana, a Personal Coach that has changed my life. When my good friend Jennifer first recommended her, I kept putting it off. Of course I did, I wasn’t sure I wanted to open my heart to change, and to open my mouth to actually saying what I was feeling out loud.

Best. Decision. I. Ever. Made.

Because most of our talks were about me and my issues, I never got a chance to get to know this amazing woman on the other end of the phone. So, with the conclusion of my coaching I decided to interview her. I tried to come up with the most compelling questions (in the most random order, because that’s how  I roll), but if you are intrigued by these and want to get to know her for yourself you can visit Simply Living Coaching. She’s absolutely amazing. Take a leap of faith, or whatever you want to call it, and invest in yourself and your happiness and contact her if you’re feeling unfulfilled.

Without further adieu…

Melissa: What did you think you would be doing 10 years ago?
Ariana: Working in the entertainment industry, very corporate and business suit-y. 

Melissa: What brought you into coaching?
Ariana: The birth of my son, 2 years ago, slowed me way down and made me see what was really important in my life.  I wanted to find a way to support other women in slowing down and seeing what is most important for them. 
Melissa: What’s one thing you wish someone would have told you before becoming a mom?
Ariana: That the first month is ridiculously hard.  I was all prepared for the challenge of labor, but not for the first month.  Your body is a rec and recovers slowly, your hormones are all over the place, you are grappling with the new identity of mom, you are getting no sleep, oh and you are learning a brand new challenging skill – how to care for a newborn.  I literally felt crazy.  But then week 4 arrived, my body healed, my hormones steadied, and I got a hang of what Teo needed.  Challenges still arrive, but I felt in a better space to deal with them. 

Melissa: Why do you think we are all so fast paced and running through life without enjoying it?
Ariana: I think that the generation before us worked really hard so that we could have equal access to it all, but now I think women are actually trying to do it all.  We are bombarded by images of women keeping a perfect house, adorable children, an amazing marriage, active social life, and a flourishing career.  Oh and don’t forget she looks great and is perfectly put together.  This means that when this is not our reality we think something is wrong with us, or we have to work at a record-breaking pace to get it all done and actually it just looks good on the outside, but we are a wreck inside. 

Melissa: What does your husband do?
Ariana: He’s a scientist.  More specifically he owns and runs a contract bio-pharmaceutical lab.

Melissa: What are your goals as a coach?
Ariana: My goals as a coach are really about my purpose in this lifetime – to create spaces and experiences for people to be their most authentic selves and know that is enough!

Melissa: Do you have favorite clients? Just kidding! HA!
Ariana:But really I do. Not that I love any of my clients more, but there are certain types of clients that I work better with, these of course are the clients I seek.  Everyone can benefit from coaching, but not everyone can benefit from coaching with me.  Currently my favorite clients are creative, driven, young women who want to simplify their lives and find true fulfillment.

Melissa: What was your household like growing up? Do you have siblings?
Ariana: I grew up in a small agriculture town in Sonoma County (Northern CA famous for wine).  It was my mom (a teacher), dad (a dialysis tech), and my younger sister, Eliza.   We lived in a 800 sq ft house and although my parents struggled with money I never felt it.  My mom grew a huge garden to “help feed the family” and most of my memories are playing outside, climbing apple trees, picking blackberries, and spending hours in my treehouse. I am close with both my parents and feel so lucky to have them near by. Eliza, who is my best friend, lives about an hour away, but we talk daily and she is totally that person who is there to comfort, laugh, or kick my ass whatever is needed at the moment.

Melissa: How do you approach each client specifically? What do you do if you’re totally not feeling it?
Ariana: I think the two pieces that are most important are transparency and non-judgement.  So if I feel something funny or it seems like what we’re doing is not working, I’ll say so.  I also ask the same of my clients.  If something doesn’t land right then tell me.  It’s also important for me to see each client as their individual whole and complete self, so what works with one may not work with another.  I hold what each of my clients want without judgment even if it is different from what I would choose.  I trust that my clients truly know what is best for them.  They are the experts here!

Melissa: Are there any secrets of coaching that would enhance our personal relationships?
Ariana: LOVE yourself completely and ask for what you want. 

Melissa: What do you think is a culprit to women feeling so guilty and judgmental towards themselves, life and in general? Society?
Ariana: See answer to question above, we have ridiculous expectations for ourselves and think that something is wrong with us when we can’t live up to them. 

Melissa: Was everyone supportive when you wanted to break into coaching and make a career out of it?
Ariana: Yes from the people closest to me. But I had to get over my own judgment of the woo-woo nature of the career.  I found myself looking for the eye-roll or waiting for the criticism, but to be honest I didn’t get much.

Melissa: Do you think coaching is taboo? Or maybe not taboo but underused versus therapy?
Ariana: Well I think that this is what I mean by the question above.  I found that through out my training I could simultaneously see the incredible value of the tools and theories and see a hilarious SNL skit coming.  It’s actually what I think I can bring to coaching that is different.  I approach coaching with humor and sarcasm while holding that some of the most woo-woo techniques really work.  As a field though it is definitely on the rise and the number of coaches and clients grows exponentially each year. 
Melissa: I know I talked to you about the adoption process of Coaching (which I think is the same for anything where you ask for help) but what do you think is the key part in getting over that judgment hump or wanting help but being scared to make that leap?
Ariana: It’s a hard one.  I think many of us believe that asking for help is an indicator of failure.  When really it’s an indicator of self-care.  It’s about recognizing that your life and well-being is more important that the ego boost of holding it all together, alone. 

Melissa: How many eggs a week do you get from your hens?
Ariana: About a dozen.

Melissa: What’s a typical day in the life of Ariana?
Ariana: To be honest it changes each day.  The constants each week – time with family, yoga classes, hiking in the hills, meeting with clients, networking, lots of computer time (I’m trying to reduce this), park dates with mama-friends, gardening, connecting with my best girl-friends, evening groups (I’m a group junky I have a book club, women’s group, women is business, mom’s group), and I usually end the day snuggling with the honey in front of the TV.

Melissa: So what you’re saying is, you’re Wonder Woman? How do you find time for everything?
Ariana: Negative! I am not wonder woman, nor do I hold it all together all the time.  I have tons of help.  My husband is amazing, my parents play a big role, I have someone who cleans my house twice a month (the best money I spend).  When I changed up my life, quit my job and pursued coaching, I sat down with a coach and my husband and designed my life.  All of the things above are chosen activities that feed me.  I cut a lot of the crap I was doing because I thought I should (I say no a lot more) and followed what I loved: being outside, connecting with friends, playing with my family, and doing work that gave me energy instead of depleting me. 
But I too have the breakdowns and overwhelm and frustration, the only difference is when mine come up I immediately go to a place of self-care.  Where am I not taking care of me? And when I find it, I can usually make one or two changes and feel way better. 

Melissa: Do you have the Inner Mean girl’s “shoulda woulda coulda” come up?
Ariana: Of course! And I let her have her space and then I ask my Inner Wisdom for the truth.    

Melissa: What are your hobbies?
Ariana: Yoga, biking, gardening, snowboarding, travel (is that a hobby?), interior decorating (it’s one of my creative outlets), good food, and I am taking my first guitar class.

Melissa: Any guilty pleasures?
Ariana: I love the bachelor/bachelorette and I love the cheesiest pop-country music, oh and of course Nutter Butters.

Melissa: Who inspires you most?
Ariana: People who are living their dreams. 

Melissa: Whats your all time favorite book and movie?
Ariana: It’s more like a collection. Most recently I loved reading Olive Kitterage and watching Away We Go.

Melissa: Do you love what you do? How is it satisfying?
Ariana: I LOVE what I do! Watching my clients shed the old stories and beliefs to uncover the truth about how incredible they are is inspiring.  Transformation is exhilarating!

Melissa: Any hidden talents?
Ariana: I try not to hide my talents 🙂

Melissa: What’s your favorite food?
Ariana: Oh I just love good, fresh, simple food.  What do I wish I was eating right now? Fresh heirloom tomatoes with a slice of mozzarella and a dollop of home-made pesto (we just planted our tomatoes and basil, so that’s where my head is)!

Melissa: Do you love living in California? What about Oakland? You know it’s one of the most dangerous cities in the US? Does that matter to you?
Ariana: I LOVE Oakland.  Sometimes I’m a little over the top with all my Oakland pride, but really I love this city the way die-hards feel about the cubs, boys feel about their moms, and New Yorker’s feel about NY.  This is my town the good, the bad, the ugly.
Why, you may ask.  There is something about Oakland’s realness and rawness that I find beautiful. I mean there is the fact that have access to some of the best restaurants, shows, museums in minutes all while having an urban farm (veggie gardens, fruit trees, chickens, and a hammock).  I am surrounded by diversity of race, religion, thought, etc.  As well as diversity of environment; I can walk to miles and miles of trails from my house, be to the ocean in 20 minutes, downtown SF in 10 and to the slopes in 3 hours.   
And yes I live in a beautiful and safe neighborhood and there are horrible homicide rates and gang craziness, and to be honest it is easy to forget the incredible pain and suffering happening a few miles away.  But even when I worked at a high school in East Oakland (a high crime area) I find people here dedicated to change and authenticity in a way that feeds my soul. From the hills to flat lands people show up the way they are and don’t care quite as much about image (I mean they live in a city that has a horrible image).  There is movement towards social justice on every street corner and I feel driven to support the healing of this city in whatever way I can. This is my home. Oak-town Baby!

Melissa: Anything in the works for the future? Where do you want to be in 10 years? How about what do you want to have accomplished in 10 years? Ariana: Hmmm. . . Right now I’m working on bringing in a little community work.  I’m not sure exactly what this will look like, maybe sitting on a board, or doing non-profit coaching, or maybe just volunteering for an awesome org.  I’m also trying to get more into blogging.  I’ve been loving writing and had a lot of response (this is a perfect example) of people who are curious about my life, so I think I’m going to up that a bit. 
Ariana: In 10 years I’d love to be still coaching fabulous women, working with social change orgs, and perhaps doing some writing.  I think it would be amazing to contribute to a magazine or online publication.  I’d also love to do some international work, but I have no idea what that would look like – I’ll leave that one up to the universe! Oh and of course grow my farm and family 🙂


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3 responses to “Interview with Ariana from Simply Living Coaching

  1. I just wanted to say that I loved this interview! Ariana sounds like just the type of practical dreamer one would hope life coaches are like. I especially loved the answer to the question of if she had favorite clients: “Currently my favorite clients are creative, driven, young women who want to simplify their lives and find true fulfillment.” Awesome.

    AND, I would like to give HUGE ups to Ariana’s Oakland pride! People who have never been to northern California can sometimes be stunned to find out that Oakland is so rich with culture and community, arts and social change, I know I was. I admit that I myself haven’t been exposed to the truly criminal areas, but I believe Ariana when she says there is a sense of change and authentic that we all can believe in.

    And lastly, congratulations for empowering yourself and taking charge of your life! Sometimes human beings think tools mean we can’t do it with our own two hands, but the truth is the end is god gave us hands AND a brain! Reaching out and using tools makes you stronger than the rest of the pack, thanks for driving this idea home for me! Here’s to staying on a path of strong growth all life long! XOXOXOXOXXO

  2. Summer

    I loved your interview! There should be more people out there like Ariana coaching women! Inspiration to me for sure! I might look into being a personal coach. I know so many women who would benefit from this, i’m figuring it out myself! You need to take it a day at a time, we’re not perfect…there’s no such thing as a super-mom. I’m finally getting that through my thick head! Focusing on my family and what my purpose is, that’s all there is to it! Thanks so much for sharing this Melissa!!! I LOVED IT!!! Miss you so much!!

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