Terreeia and I in 2007
In 1998 I was in a six month leadership course with Landmark Education. Terreeia was the head coach.
I didn’t like my coach. One day while in a coaching conversation with her I got totally frustrated and ended up saying some mean things. Immediately after I hung up the phone I felt bad and didn’t know what to do about it.
All my life I preferred to go straight to the top to get advice or coaching, so if I thought there was someone better, I’d just go to that person. It’s why I was so good at finding mentors when I decided I wanted to be in the design industry.
In this course, Terreeia was that person. So that day, about 5 months into the course I called her crying:
I’ve just discovered that I am a bitch.
“I know, she said “So why don’t you just own it?”
“What? What do you mean?”
“Well, you’re actually not a bitch, it’s just that sometimes you behave like one. When you own your faults and accept responsibility for your behavior, you don’t have to pretend anymore. People can call you on your stuff and you become easier to be around”.
“So if someone says I’m a bitch or being bitchy, I can’t get offended, but this way I can notice when I’m being a bitch and stop anytime?”
“That’s right. And there is more to it than that.”
She agreed to meet me for coffee to discuss this revolutionary idea further.
All my life I have been unfiltered and I’ve upset a lot of people by saying whatever I was thinking or what no one else in the room was saying. Sometimes that’s a good thing and other times not so much. Being unfiltered has gotten me into so much trouble and is the reason why I was fired so many times when I was in corporate jobs and lucky for me, I failed enough times to figure out what I was really good at and at the same time be able to create a career where I get paid to be honest, every, single day.
The other day someone bought my shutter colour solution because she wanted a new colour for her shutters. I took one look at her house and told her it would look much better without shutters and that they should be removed.
She said “All this time that’s what was wrong (and with our neighbours houses too) we were looking too hard, knew something was wrong but couldn’t figure out how to fix it”.
The job of any consultant is to look at a situation and be able to diagnose what works and exactly what isn’t working at the same time, not to just give your clients exactly what they want.
Anyway, back to my story. I loved being with Terreeia. Talking to her made me feel calm because my brain is so tortured.
Terreeia is a masterful communicator and her specialty is working with executives and entrepreneurs who suddenly find themselves in a position where they have staff and need to accelerate their communication and relationship skills.
Throughout her career, she has won awards and accolades for creating team environments where people not only work together but actually like and respect each other as well.
Terreeia is the most diplomatic person I’ve ever met. At the same time, she can have a really difficult conversation with you and you don’t feel judged. As I sat there, listening to her, I decided I wanted to be just like her.
To my complete and utter surprise, about 45 minutes into our coffee meeting, these are the words that came out of my mouth:
“So, you may or may not know, I’ve stopped dating David, and I’ve moved on. To you.”
I had no idea I was going to say that until that moment. Especially since I was and am a straight girl. Never been attracted to a woman before or since Terreeia.
Terreeia just looked at me and said “Oh, so you’re going to date me for six weeks because that’s your pattern and then dump me for someone else?”
No, I said, but really I was thinking, “Well yeah”.
Terreeia was intrigued and amused. So she said “Tell you what, meet me at Pride next weekend, so you can see what my world is all about”.
I went to Pride and we started hanging out.
On our third date, I met Terreeia at her place for breakfast. She said “I’ve just bought this condo and don’t have any furniture, so be warned, you’ll be eating standing up.”
When I got to her place, I looked around and said, “I can help you, I’m a decorator”. And I whipped out my mini measuring tape from IKEA, haha. Well we all have to start somewhere right ; )
The biggest thing I have learned about being in a long-term relationship is that values hold you together. You don’t even need to have a lot in common but your values have to be in sync.
So how does a diplomatic introverted team person end up with an independent, extroverted, entrepreneur, type like me?
Terreeia and I connect through deep discussions, mutual discovery and respect, caring and generosity. I love that she’ll analyze everything including every aspect of our relationship with me to the minutia.
The things we value together are generosity, integrity, self awareness, honest and clear communication.
Do we argue, scream and yell (well, I’m the screamer) like any other couple? For sure, but we’ve spent lots of time studying personal growth and development and analyzing where our reactions come from (our past relationships including mom or dad) so we also forgive fast and move on.
Sometimes we don’t know who we’re going to love or which career we’ll end up in, but we know what keeps us there and it’s interesting to learn that sometimes love or our career chooses us.
PS. We’re on an overnight train to Halifax to start our tour of Atlantic Canada, stay tuned for photos!! xo Maria
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