Tiffany Vacca is a warm, endearing, powerful, and inspirational woman.  We read her blog and were determined to get her to fill out the Thrivival Questionnaire.  Tiffany did not disappoint.  With her uncompromising honesty and heartfelt determination to live her life at the highest level, she is a total thrivivalist.  We’re so excited she was willing to share her insight because this is a woman whose voice needs to be heard.

What does “thriving” mean to you?

Thriving means living my life in such a way that I am connected to my higher self. My spirit feels alive! It means to live life full out, with passion and making no excuses for I am and who I wish to become. It’s when I choose to embrace all parts of me, both my light and my dark, which I feel a sense of calm and inner peace, despite the drama that may be going on around me. When I choose to show up as me, be present, open my heart and my mind, and be able to inspire others, I am thriving. When I am merely surviving everything seems difficult and my body feels tense, as if it’s not in alignment with my heart.

What do you do on a regular basis in an effort to thrive?

The key to my “thrivival” is in making sure that I incorporate things into my everyday life that bring me joy and keep my heart and mind at peace. I begin and end each day with a mental gratitude list (I am so bad when it comes to writing things down but, if I had a list of things to improve upon, that would be on it), I meditate for at least 10 minutes (sometimes to nothing, sometimes to my sound machine and other times to a guided meditation), and I exercise at least 6 times a week. As far as I am concerned, intenSati is the new coffee!

On the commute into work I make sure to have my iPod and my Kindle on me at all times. The daily grind into the office, especially in midtown Manhattan, can take its toll on a person so I make sure to have my upbeat tunes, novels and self-improvement books at my fingertips. Once I am there, I make it a point to steer clear of any drama, do my job to the best of my ability and not to take anything personally. I also make every effort to laugh as often as possible. I am a total goofball and I love to make people smile. I take my full one-hour lunch and I make it a point to get outside for a breath of fresh air for at least 10 minutes.

When I get home for the day I make time to play with my cats (I love the unconditional love that animals provide), catch up on some of my shows, read and just enjoy the silence.

I’ve also been known to take myself on little retreats and recharge my batteries. For instance, in June I took a long weekend and flew out to Toronto for the Hay House “I Can Do It 2010” Conference. It was a 3-day event filled with inspirational speakers and workshops. As someone who believes whole-heartedly in the coaching process, a retreat like this does wonders for my spirit.

In what ways have you gone from survival mode to thrival mode?

It took two recent challenging events and some serious soul searching to make me realize that I was barely surviving let alone thriving. I used to be a person who blamed everyone else for my problems. The world was against me and I was the consummate victim. I was very angry, bitter and negative. It was once my 11-year relationship ended that I started to realize that something needed to change and it needed to come from within. I started back up at the gym and my personal trainer recommended coaching. I was unfamiliar with the process but, after many months of research, I fell in love with the practice so much so that I enrolled in Coach U and decided to become a coach myself. I met so many remarkable people and made so many great connections, one of which was with my own coach whom I absolutely adore. I met and fell in love with a wonderful woman from Finland (ah, the power of the internet) and she came here to get her Masters at Rutgers University. Life was certainly looking up until February of this year when reality hit hard. My Endometriosis was so severe, and I could no longer deal with the pain associated with it, that I had a full hysterectomy. I was 34 and never had a child. I spent a great deal of time focusing my coaching sessions around this dramatic life change and, little by little, I was learning to accept it. I started to get back to the gym once again and, through a long time friend, I was introduced to the practice of intenSati. intenSati is a high-energy workout created by Patricia Moreno that combines dance, yoga, and martial arts with spoken positive affirmations. It is a total transformation not just for your body, but also for your mind and your heart. I was hooked from day 1! I believe that intenSati was introduced into my life at the perfect time because, not long after, my partner was sent home to Finland as her visa expired. I really cannot put into words the toll that this has had on me. All I can say is that I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by people who love and support me. This love and support ranges from my coach, to the intenSati leaders and community as a whole, to my friends and family. In class I am reminded that I am strong, that I can choose to not only face the challenges that lie before me, but to embrace them. There is nothing that I can’t handle so long as I have faith that “what I want is on its way and it’s coming to me in greater amounts than I could ever imagine”. All I need to do is stay present, remain in a state of constant gratitude, and trust that everything in my life is developing and unfolding exactly as it should. Yes, a hysterectomy was a huge blow but that does not mean that I cannot ever have children. Yes, sending my partner back to Finland hurt like hell but that does not mean that I won’t ever see her again. I may not have had a say in how these events unfolded but I do have a say in how I choose to approach each situation. In the end, I will choose to be gracious each and every time.

When it comes to my professional endeavors, I began thriving the day I discovered that my passion in life was coaching. I loved each and every class and each and every coaching session I was a part of. I still keep my day job to pay the bills but anytime I find myself coaching, which is on a part-time basis for now, it’s like new life is being breathed into me. Between the coaching community and the intenSati community (I plan to become a leader myself one day) I feel like I can take on the world!

What are some things that get in the way of your efforts to thrive?

I find that I am my own worst enemy and I am the only one that blocks my efforts to thrive. When I am not being present and I allow myself to start coming from a place of fear, it can get ugly and fast. I end up comparing myself to others, trying to be someone I’m not in an effort to fit in and all kinds of doubt and self-deprecating thoughts find their way into my head. I start to “should” all over myself: I “should” be a full-time coach by now, I “should” be skinnier, I “should” be writing or blogging, etc… The good thing, however, is that once I see what it is I am doing, I can choose to take a few deep breaths, close my eyes, bring about an intention for that moment and begin again. If that doesn’t do the trick, I can always pick up an extra intenSati class, touch base with my coach, call a friend, or do anything else that is going to bring me joy.

If you feel low, how do you boost your level of thriving?

If my energy is low and I feel survival mode coming on, I do one of two things. I either sit with it for awhile and allow myself to feel whatever it is I need to feel in order to move through whatever it is that’s on my mind, or, if sitting with it is not something I wish to do, I dip into my toolbox and choose from any number of things. I will exercise or at least get outdoors and grab some fresh air. I will crank my music up on full volume and rock out. Watching myself attempt to dance is always good for a laugh. I will call a friend, pop a comedy into the DVD player, read a book, soak in a bubble bath, or, if I am really feeling it, I will book a massage appointment. I also love to just lay on the couch with my cats and listen to them purr. It’s always a nice soothing sound. If I have some major clearing to do, the beach is always the answer for me. I simply love to sit and listen to the waves crashing. Some people go to church; I go to the beach.

Who in your life, or in life, do you admire for their efforts to thrive?

I admire people who are just trying to do their best and live their life to the fullest. We all have a story to tell and I get so empowered when I hear of those who overcame their obstacles, are chasing their dreams and not allowing anybody or anything to hold them back. More specifically I truly admire my coach, the coaching community as a whole and all the intenSati leaders and students who keep making a difference not only in their lives, but also in the lives of others.