In this inspiring episode, Andrea Mason, a personal accountability coach, recounts her transformative journey from bullying and abuse as a Colombian adoptee to becoming a global voice for change. Emphasizing the liberating power of forgiveness, Andrea highlights the importance of setting boundaries, effective communication, and choosing self-respect for personal growth and well-being.
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Hi and welcome to the You World Order Showcase podcast. Today we have with us Andrea, Andrea.
I knew I was going to mess this up.
It's all good.
So say it for me one more time.
Andrea Mason, she is a personal accountability coach, popular global voice, host of the podcast unleashing the champion within.
As well as the author.
Of from victim.
To victorious welcome to the show, Andrea.
It's really great to have you here.
Thank you so much. It's an honor, privilege and pleasure. Jill, to be here. Good morning. Good afternoon and good evening to the audience.
So tell us.
How you got started? I'm interested to hear your story from victim to victorious, cause I'm all about that too.
Absolutely. So yes, I was born under the war-torn drug zone error at its prime at the during the Cartel of Colombia, South America, and I arrived as an adoptee at 11 lbs. At 11 months old and to the welcome unconditionally loving arms of my parents of America.
Well, people thought it would be a my parents and family were graciously happy to have that treasure. But who would have thought down the road? It was a tragedy.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am from Colombia, South America and my parents were American descent, so I didn't look like my parents. I didn't sound like my parents. They had. I had difficult different physical features, attributes and characteristics. And So what I was doing my entire life was aiming.
To fit in what we call the people pleasing mentality.
Hard work 10 times harder just to get by in school in my community. Some say I woke, woke up and lived in Mr. Rogers neighborhood. Pardon me, dating myself, but where everybody knew each other, it took a village to raise a family. But then when kids could be cruel at those question.
Ages, they said. Well, you don't look like your parents said. Well, I'm adopted. So excited and bubbly. And they said well, wait.
If your parents didn't mind you, how could anybody want you?
Well, Jill, that was a downward spiral of being a bully, bullied and abused all throughout my life, shoved into lockers, thrown into trash cans, all because I didn't fit in. And So what I did was I dedicated over 2 decades of service to social work and psychology to be the face of change of mental health.
And create my own identity through life adversities.
Back to you.
I love that story. I'm like on the edge.
Of my seat.
Yes, it was an amazing learning, absolutely.
I can totally understand that it.
Was kind of making me think about.
In our community.
We have a lot of people that.
Adopt children from other countries that are not. They don't look the same and.
You don't really think about.
The differences in trying to help that child get through life.
A different being born under a different nationality, and while yours, your story seems to speak to.
Your parents didn't want you when I would argue that your parents loved you so much, they decided to give you an opportunity to escape.
A place that was just torn apart with violence and give you a life that you might not have had anywhere else. And it's interesting how the different perspectives can happen from the same event.
And how people can make that.
Make that gift look really bad.
To you it's.
It's like somebody came along and rumpled, the wrapping paper on.
A on a on a beautiful gift.
Right. Absolutely. And that was one of the AHA moments as I was growing up, I would look at baby pictures of myself. Now, mind you, I don't have medical records, documents, anything of my family. So it's really a blank slate. But as I evolved through adolescence, young adulthood, and collegiate years, my adoptive parents, my parents.
Always empowered me and said that we would support you to do go at great lengths to find your biological family. But what the beauty of it was, Jill was that.
I had an epiphany, you know, at the time, you know, you had those commercials, those infomercials of the up and coming developing countries, the children with the distended stomachs, malnourished. I was very, very sick. I was 11 lbs, eleven months old. That's a pound per.
So I look at.
Some kids are born 11 lbs.
Right, right. And so I was emaciated, the stenotic stomach and poor health that I was graciously grateful to have survived the trip.
But yes, it is all about perspective and that is one thing that I have learned to allow my emotions to feel and heal through that in the mentor and alumna of Les Brown saying, you know, someones opinion, you know of you does not have to become your reality back to you.
Yeah. And that just goes to the point that we do create our own realities and you can change your reality just by changing the way you think about things and it's.
Yeah, less. Brown's really good at that.
Yes, he is. Yes, he is.
So when you were.
When you were.
Learning these different.
Ways of coping with being bullied but when did you decide that?
You weren't going to take.
Their view of you anymore?
Absolutely. Great question. It had to been around middle school because that was my first personal experience of abuse. And so when I experienced that from outside, you know, my comfort zone, I had decided I was going to explore what?
Kind of get a deeper dive of understanding at what was going on and then when I was.
Kind of finding the answers. Ohh it's seeking attention. I was like, well, why would that even be a possibility to ask permission or to ask to be treated that way?
And so when I decided that I was like, no, no 8th grade they, you know, in in middle school, they ask you what do you want to be when you grow up. And I said, you know, I want to be the face of change. I don't want someone to not have concrete answers or have a cookie.
Their stigmatism and label because of their experiences. And so I served over 2 decades 2 two more decades as well as having obtaining degrees in social work and psychology to understand, to understand the culture, diversities of the world, the morals, ethics, values, lifestyles and traditions.
And then to parallel that between the science of psychology of what goes on in our mind, our subconscious, our conscious, our ego, why we have such great influence and impact to.
The masses and focus on the negative as opposed to the positive, and so that was really the aha moment. I'm enough is enough. This is not.
Who I am.
And I don't believe I deserve this treatment. And I had to take.
A really deeper dive in assessment into my own personal growth assessment and inventory.
Before I was.
Yeah, it's again, we create our own realities and as we change.
The way we perceive.
Things in the world and share that those tools to help others change the way they perceive things. It does have a mushrooming effect on those that were around and those that we impact, and it spreads out and I believe.
And it's the reason I do this show.
Are facilitating this big change in how the world is.
Interacting with each other, you know we talk about bullying and all these things, but when we talk about those things, we're just magnifying. We're putting a flashlight on them and calling, calling more of it into our lives rather than focusing on positive things that you can do and move towards.
To change the way.
People interact with each other so that bullies don't have to be bullies anymore because bullies are generally people that have poor coping skills themselves and they don't.
They don't want.
They don't want to let somebody else be the best they can be because it makes them feel smaller themselves.
It's that the whole competition paradigm that we all grew up with is changing to more of a cooperation where we can appreciate the uniqueness and value of an individual without having to compete with.
Them over it.
There's abundance. There's plenty to go around.
And when you can step into that power, you just you compete with yourself to be the best you can be at the gifts you've been given.
That then you appreciate.
The gifts of another, without wanting them for yourself, you have enough.
They have enough together. We have so much.
Yes, and it's absolutely right. So when we think about that the perspective, because what was one of the strategies and techniques I learned to achieve personal freedom was through the healing power of forgiveness, not giving permission to those individuals who were the naysayers, the non believers.
Not giving permission to defy.
And who I am? And when I was able to learn, I don't want to be this way or hang out with these people or go to this place. I was creating my own identity through life adversities and what was really amazing was when I was coming to the tail end of my career.
Social work and psychology.
I would connect with people and you would was given a chart, a file or, you know, a notebook of the diagnosis and prognosis that this individual was given. And I said I'm, I don't want that. I want to go in there. That is someone's loved one. I want to see where they've been. I want to understand what their concerns, fears and thoughts.
And that is what has excelled me in the industry because they wanted to connect with someone who saw them as a human, not as a diagnosis, medical, psychiatric or emotional, you know, unstable. And one of the biggest myths that we see in society today is mental health is not an impairment of intellect.
It's an area of improvement of balancing of emotions, balancing of thoughts and having clear vision.
And we all experience trauma drama somewhere in our life. It's just a matter of.
Which page in the Book of Life Are you ready to turn? Are you ready to stay in that chapter or create and write a new one? And that's what I've learned through my experience that.
I am a piece of each and everyone I connect with, especially you today on this platform and the audience. Why? Because we've gone through something. We've grown through something and you'll live. It may not be the same story or picture book. It's still an emotion. It's still a need. It's still a concern.
And as human beings, the three things that I've learned, virtually speaking on every continent over the past few years, everybody wants to be love.
And respect it.
And when we can bring that humanity component in every connection, every relationship that we endure, and that's what is going to allow us to rise and unite and not conquer, divide, and it starts within.
As you mentioned before, the only competition is our reflection in the mirror. But truth be told, we are our own worst critics and we must be mindful and forgive ourselves. There's no such thing as perfection.
Just constant steps of action toward.
Progression back to you.
Yeah, I love that constant.
We're always in motion, but.
If you're, if you've got your eyes on the rear view mirror all the time, the rear view mirror is smaller than the windshield.
Because you're just.
Supposed to glance at.
It you're not supposed to live in it, you gotta run into stuff in front.
And that's one of the concerns that I feel for the world today. We focus on the past, but if we don't face our past, but our past will continue to chase us.
And it's true in every realm. How many times have you connected with somebody new and all of a sudden that tonality that.
You know, physical characteristic or that demeanor reminds you of someone who's hurt you. You gotta stay a bit cautious and distant for some time, but we have to forgive. We have to learn from the losses and lessons in life. That's how we go grow. I failed.
At every single thing, even to this morning, I fail at everything I do.
But what allows me to move forward is I fail forward, don't fall behind, and know that better days are coming that you know, this too shall pass. This is not the end game.
And yes, time is limited. Time is moving extremely fast, as we've learned over the past couple of years, but it's how we utilize our time. You know, I say your time right here today is a gift. It's your presence.
That is a gift to me. It is valuable. It cannot be wasted nor given back, and we must use it wisely. Everybody has the same amount of time every day.
It's just are you making the most of it? Making memories, making it your mission and message to move forward.
But it's so true too.
So what are your thoughts on forgiveness?
How do you?
Absolutely forgiveness. As Lewis B Smedes quotes a paraphrase, forgiveness is to set a prisoner free only to realize the prisoner is you.
Because we are the ones that are giving the power to others to.
Make that false limiting belief, or if it is valid to overtake our life, to define who we are. And that's not who we are. We make mistakes. We are human beings. We are energy beings. So what we emulate what we portray, what we give off can either be a reflected.
Or be deflected, but what I must keep in mind is that we have a choice every single millisecond of our lives. We have a choice and that is why I decided to build the brand and business of press play, plan life according to.
You choose every single day. We can't blame others. We can't focus on our past. We can't move forward without having a clear vision.
And what allows us to forgive is to say hey.
Have you been bold enough and brave enough to approach that individual and let them know how you feel in a civil, respectful manner?
This is so difficult over the course of the change of the world, because a lot of us are either trapped or living with our predator or not naysayer a non believer, if you will.
I can't tell you I was coaching someone who has the misbelief that this person actually said this. And after peeling away the layers and kind of rehashing the incident, they never said that.
It was the individual's perspective and emotions that drew them to that conclusion.
So remember, we don't know the circumstances, mindset and situations people are in when we get maltreated.
But just as we are grateful and happy to create praise, are we bold enough and brave enough?
To say you know what?
That made me feel some sort of way. This is how.
I felt. Was this your intention?
Because this is the attention I received and is giving it.
Ladies and gentlemen, effective communication, effective listening is key.
Because we are not mind readers, but once we gain clarity, we can move forward.
I have a couple of.
Thoughts about what you just said? One is that.
Often people want.
To are told to forgive people who have hurt them and that.
Though I do believe you should forgive them.
Don't wait for them to ask for forgiveness, right? Because.
In the asking.
If somebody does ask you for forgiveness, what they're really usually asking you is to excuse bad behavior. It's up to you to determine.
Whether you will allow that type of behavior in your life and if you decide that you're going to, you need to set some really strong boundaries around how you're going to interact with that person in the future to protect yourself.
Do forgive them, but you know there are some people that you're going to forgive, but you're not going to interact with them anymore because they have no intention of.
Of changing their approach to you.
Or respecting your boundaries and that you're.
You're allowed to do that. We we're raised so often with the idea that you have to accept everybody and you have to be all inclusive and you have to just put up with bad behavior. But you know, the reality is, no, you don't. It's your choice and.
If you don't value the opinion of others.
Who are foisting that opinion on you?
You have every right to.
Not listen to it, not accept it.
Absolutely. There's a post that I posted some probably months back. If not, it's a history post that says.
Let me just make sure I say I'm gonna paraphrase it, but it says something people don't have to like you. And I don't have to care. Now it sounds a little bold. It sounds a little blunt.
But going back to what Joe had mentioned and I mentioned earlier in.
The segment, it is a choice.
Say yes to you first before in saying yes to others and no to yourself. It's about self, dignity, respect and affluent. To be quite honest, just like them, it's a reflection of you, because if you are permitting the maltreatment, if you are permitting.
The disrespect then you are telling the universe source your belief system that that is OK.
And that is not right, because one of the biggest lessons I've learned in my journey is that.
My expectations of others.
Will never be granted because they're not me and I can't expect that from them.
I can just expect that I'm civil, respectful, authentic and act with integrity. That's all I can control.
But what I can also add on to that.
Is allowing those like minded individuals into my space. Now people are saying as listening to this well, what if it's my mom? What if it's my spouse?
What if it's my child?
Still, all rules apply.
Again, it goes back to effective communication and listening. If you say to your child if you say to your spouse if you say to your parent, I don't appreciate how this made me feel because this is how it was received.
Believe you me, it's a big, jagged pill to swallow, ladies and gentlemen.
But you're taking accountability and responsibility per for your perspective.
But at the same token, it's the rest of the world's perception. Well, if her husband treats her like that and her son treats her like that, what? You know what? It's OK. I can.
Treat her like that, no?
We have to take personal inventory, self-awareness and discovery.
On who we are.
What we believe, what our message and mission is, and make sure every single day we're applying that in every connection, behaviour, decision, thought and relationship that we are encountering.
And when you're talking to.
People in your periphery and you're trying to correct a behavior that is.
That you allow to.
Have an impact on.
You, because ultimately it's what you allow in.
Some people call it triggering, but when you're triggered, it's just because you have allowed whatever that is to create thoughts and chemical reactions in your body.
To produce an effect and emotion and.
If you approach people to correct.
A situation in the communication if you approach them from the perspective of power.
And community, rather than victimhood, be the hero of your own journey.
In a creative way for change, rather than saying.
You did this to me and it made me feel like this. If you take ownership of the comment like you said this and I chose to feel this reaction, it would help me if you would in the future maybe phrase it this way.
Or maybe behave this way to me when you when this behavior or comment is made, I feel.
This response it's my initial response.
The switch from.
Having a conversation in power and in alignment with who you are.
And standing in your strength versus.
Whining at somebody because you feel like you're being victimized can create a whole different response. This is something that I learned very recently, and I can report that it works much better than just being mad at somebody, because usually just being mad at somebody.
You start in the loops that we run in our heads.
They don't have any idea what's going on in your head because they're not mind readers. They're not even really very good at like body language. They were. They wouldn't be doing this in the 1st place, but.
So it's kind of like.
Taking poison yourself and hoping it's going to kill the other person.
Right. And it's an it's yeah.
The advance will get out there.
You know, one of the greatest lessons I've learned was I had someone very, very close and it was just a battle every day. And I said to myself, oh, wait, Andrea, you're giving them power.
Let's try this. And So what I did was I said all right.
I get it.
We're, you know, oil and vinegar, we're not. You know, we're not.
We're not gelling.
Well, so I did my best to say, well, what does this individual do for someone I love? OK, it doesn't have to be me. It could be another family member.
Or I could go the minimalist route. Well, they held the door open for me. They answered my call and just that change in channels, what I coach and what I teach, what that shift in channel.
You can change everything because I was on the forefront front lines Battlegrounds every single day with this person and I was just like what is I approached them civilly respectfully, just wasn't getting through. I said all right, you know what?
Pick and choose your battles again, that word choice. So I said all right.
They may not treat me fine. They're not going to change.
What have they done for someone I've loved that was positive and I just kept that very clear vision in my mind.
And truth be told, to this day, Jill, our relationship hasn't been.
As strong as it is today, because I've removed the behavior that I could not change because you know from 12 step and in social work and psychology you can't change, cure or cause something for someone, they have to find it. But.
So that was a game changer for me. Now again, you're right. We don't have to forgive everyone, and even ladies and gentlemen, and we're not.
Saying to forget.
Would take the opportunity to in silence in a journal.
On paper and burn it and say I forgive you.
I'm no longer giving you power over me and I forgive myself for allowing this to carry over for such.
A long time.
It's a game changer. It's not easy, but that's what I do as accountability coach. I walk people through their emotions. I allow you to heal. I allow you to feel because you don't want it bottled up.
Because there was a period of time that I suppressed my emotions so much that it ended and almost cost me my life.
Being in the hospital, on the ICU unit.
For over a.
Stress and emotions are so primitive, your mental health is your number one asset. Without it, you're not here.
Absolutely. And again, it's what your emotions are. A chemical reaction they cause.
Physical changes to occur in your body, and if you aren't processing the chemical.
Reactions properly and they will affect your other organs and they can cause you they can kill you. Honestly, I mean it's a really big deal. So do you do mostly one-on-one coaching is that or group coaching or.
Well, I do a bourbon. Yes, I do. I do offer all because, you know, some individuals have that what I call level up because it's kind of starts as a war story. But hey, wait a minute. They gone through that. I feel comfortable to share. So I do provide one-on-one as well as group coaching. I do professional speaking as well as.
Is that one?
You know different events that I host.
You know, and what I've done over the past couple of years was I started out just sharing my experiences, my thoughts and that has been such a release. You know, I have conducted over 1000 videos on YouTube now of just different content of emotion abuse.
You know, organization success relationships because I feel the best anything that you've gone through gives you the permission, certification and opportunity to help others achieve it too. And so I do provide those services as well, absolutely.
Awesome. And how can people get?
In touch with you.
Absolutely excellent question. So all my information can be found over here Andrea masons.com and I'm on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. Like I said, I have a YouTube channel as well as and mentioned in the beginning of the show unleashing the champion within podcast.
And again, the recent release of Oops, it's upside down victim to victorious my book, which not only is the path less traveled.
But a guide to achieving personal freedom through the healing power of forgiveness? Absolutely.
I love that. And so what's the one thing that you'd like to leave the audience with today?
Through life's trials and tribulations, triumphs are made through the toughest times. Miracles made. I'm a living testimony and. And remember this and hear this from my heart.
Remember to follow your heart, not the herd, nor the hurt for success and joyfulness are on the other side. And remember, in this crazy game of life, you have the right at any age, any stage to choose to press play in life according to you.
Thank you for joining me today, Andrea.
Thank you so much. And for your audience and you as well, I will provide the information. I gift everyone as I'm paying it forward. Someone's listening, someone's watching and someone needs support as accountability coach, I'm gifting everyone here with the.
Episode information 30 minute complementary coaching connection. Thank you so much for having me.