Girl Power Series: Meet Tori

Meet my new friend, Tori! She is such a great addition to our girl gang, its always a fun time when she joins! Tori is a busy woman, you’ll find out about her life throughout the interview-  but Y’all, she is SO SO SO close to finishing school! I seriously cannot wait until June, when she can join us more often for girl’s nights- and I love that were in the same book club now! Tori reminds me of me sweet friend, Josie, who you met last week on the series, maybe you’ll notice some similarities too. I love that she is so easy to talk to and we also have a lot in common. Our personalities align when it comes to the Enneagram chart, we are both Type 2- the helper, she and I can really relate on that front and we share a passion for helping people, which in turn, helps us better understand each other. Tori is so positive and genuine and empowered and supportive- I cannot wait for you to meet her!

BG: Lets begin by introducing yourself, state your name, where you’re from, what you do and a fun fact.
TD: Tori Duran, I am from Austin, TX, I am currently a nanny and full time student. A fun fact is I managed a candy store in Seattle, WA for a year. We had over 100 types of bulk candy, ice cream, truffles, and fudge! It was a really great year.
BG: OMG you had me at ice cream!! That sounds AMAZING.

BG: What is something you’re passionate about?
TD: I am extremely passionate about Early Childhood Education and child development in general. I’m fascinated by the way children see the world through such an honest lens and an added bonus is that they come up with the funniest stuff to say!
BG: Oh, definitely, children are so honest and say the funniest, cutest, most innocent things. This is another reason why you remind me of my friend Josie, she also shares a passion for child development. Thats such an important thing, I love that you’re going to school for Early Childhood Education, I can definitely see you pursuing that career!

BG: What is your favorite quote?
TD: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” -Nelson Mandela
BG: WOW, I love that quote. That is such a powerful attitude and important outlook to have!
TD: Any time I am having trouble making a decision whether it’s about where to live or what to eat for breakfast, I come back to this quote. It helps me make a grounded decision that I usually end up being happy with.
BG: That’s definitely a great reminder not to let your fears of failure hold you back.

BG: Have you experienced a difficult season and how has that shaped who you are today?
TD: I graduated high school in 2008, which unbeknownst to me at the time, was the hit of the recession. I went through a really depressive /anxiety-ridden time, had an extremely unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and had absolutely no self-confidence. I was in a bad relationship that I couldn’t seem to get out of and had really drifted apart from my family. I had a hard time finding and keeping a job, which didn’t help at all. At one point I was living out of my car. Experiencing that time made space for me to have so much empathy for people who are also going through a rough time, even if they don’t talk about it a lot or say that they are “OK”. You never know what is going on behind closed doors. I think it’s so important to remember that in all relationships whether they are with friends, coworkers, or significant others.
BG: I’m honestly surprised to learn that about you- because that is not the woman you project out to the world, at all. I’m so proud of you for becoming stronger and I think it definitely shows in the woman you are today. I think a lot of women can relate to your struggles with anxiety and unhealthy relationships-and you’re absolutely right, we definitely don’t talk about it enough. You never know who can relate, who can help and give advice or who can just lend an ear and give a hug. I love that you came out of it with such empathy for others, that says big things about who you are as a person.

BG: What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever received?
TD: We are all responsible for our own happiness and it is a choice that we make every day! This is advice that I received while discovering and practicing yoga, it resonated so deeply with me and was a big turning point in how I approach every day.
BG: Thats beautiful. I think yoga gets a silly, hippie rep- but its so important to alone time and have peace with your thoughts and learn about yourself.

BG: What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever given?
TD: I tell parents that I work with often that it’s so important for them to be as patient with themselves as they are or try to be with their kids. We are all learning all of the time!
BG: OH, I don’t even have children and I NEEDED that advice. I absolutely have zero patience.

BG: What would you go back and tell your younger self?
TD: I would go back and tell my younger self that you don’t have to be perfect or be the best at something in order to be successful. Success is subjective!
BG: That is SO true. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- comparison is the thief of joy. Not everyone is on the same path- and we’re not supposed to be. Everyone chooses to do life differently, that’s how its meant to be, that’s what makes it beautiful. I think we all really need to take that mindset and remind ourselves that it’s okay if your life is not like some one else’s.

BG: What is something you’re happy you did for yourself?
TD: Finally going to college is something that I am so happy I did for myself! I’m a little late in the game but I’ve embraced the idea that everyone has their own path in life and it can look so different from others and still be really wonderful.
BG: I agree with that statement 100%. And I AM SO PROUD of you for earning your degree. I know it hasn’t been easy, but all of the hard work you’ve put in and the struggles you have faced along the way are about to be worth it. That’s got to be a great feeling!

BG: What is your ultimate dream, if given no limitations?
TD: My ultimate dream is to live on a farm that could also be a place to help kids in some way or another where I could grow my own food. I love nature and animals and taking care of creatures and people, having a farm with room for others is all of those wrapped in one!
BG: Tori, that is amazing! I can totally see you doing that! How can we make that come to fruition?!

BG: How do you want to make a difference in the world/ what is the legacy you want to leave?
TD: I’ve never really thought about leaving a legacy but I hope that people remember me as being kind, genuine, and fun and that maybe along the way I inspired them to try and be a little bit that way too. I also hope that all of the children I have every worked with remember being so loved and cherished while they were in my care.
BG: The amazing part about that is, that’s exactly how I described you above, without even reading your answer first, you definitely embody those characteristics. You are exactly the type of mentor young children need in their lives, you are going to do some amazing things!

BG: What are some future goals you have set for yourself?
TD: I am hoping in the near future to buy a tiny house and some land to live on. I love living in small spaces and there are some really amazing designs out there. I would also love to experience living in a different state other than Washington, Colorado, and Texas. I’ve recently had my eye on Vermont.
BG: I agree, I have such a heart for minimalism, I don’t need “stuff” or things in excess to make me happy. I think we’re really similar in that aspect too. And, although I’ve never been to Vermont, one of my best friends lives there and the photos are spectacular- I’m definitely interested in visiting… do I see a girls trip in our near future?!

BG: What advice would you give to a younger female (of any age)?
TD: To young girls I would say, forget about the boys and be so in love with yourself that you can accomplish whatever it is that you want to do. The relationships can wait and will happen, you’ve got time!
BG: That is so positive and powerful and reinforcing! I think that is so important to learn, at any age. You truly need to love yourself before you can love anyone else. And life is so much better and enjoyable when you figure that out for yourself. That is some solid advice.

BG: Who is a woman that is inspiring you today?
TD: I am really inspired by Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves. She is passionate about sustainability and equity for all. She talks a lot about diversity in her children’s lives and how to raise kids that are open minded and kind. She’s also funny in an understated kind of way!
BG: Oh, I will definitely have to do some research on her! It’s awesome that when I ask this question to every woman I interview in this series, everyone comes back with such an influential woman- and I think that’s so important; to keep learning, to be inspired and inspire others and to spread the word!

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My conversation with Tori was so eye opening. You truly never know the struggles people are facing. I love that she has come out on top and its really admirable, the woman she has become. We are new friends, I look forward to seeing Tori around more once she has finished her degree- I think that is just SO AWESOME!

Now that you have met my friend Tori, feel free to leave messages of positity for her to read! If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in being featured in the next installment of The Girl Power Series, please let me know!!

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