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Smart Girls Screw Up Too is based on my bold experiment at 36 to recreate my life with 15 Aspirations that put only my mental, physical and spiritual health first. The Aspirations were my humble attempt to ditch an unhealthy addiction to the work that I hated and the lifestyle diseases that came with it; Tinder swiping to find a man to knock me up before it was too late and Pinot Grigio to mask the pain of it all. The ultimate goal was to find joy, love and a career that made a difference. The Aspirations, the questions I asked that inspired them and the new way of living saw me navigate my way out of depression without meds to become a joyful world champion in 18 months. In the process I was named one of the UK's top young change makers by the City of London and won best pitch at Tedx Sydney. Smart Girls Screw Up Too has since evolved into a method that has supported hundreds of women from 20 countries face-to- face and 2,000 who've participated in my world first Life Audit that looks at 69 major elements of wellbeing across 15 categories that mirrors the book. These women have confirmed that I wasn't alone and that we all share similar pain.
The graphic below brings to life insights I've uncovered from the Life Audit. Having been there, I'm personally heartbroken that depression will be the number one cause of disability and disease by 2020 (Source: World Health Organisation). My research has revealed the primary trigger for women suffering mental illness is doing work that lacks meaning for money, a lack of self worth, and the deep shame that sits in the background as fear paralyses us to make a change. Smart Girls Screw Up Too and the companion Life Audit/ aspiration setting tool is my legacy to support the emerging segment of millions of highly successful women with practical paths of enquiry. My desire is to inspire them to ask their own big questions, to uncover their truth and create Aspirations that help them attract health and meaning into their lives. Without Fully Expressed Women the Dalai Lama's prediction that the "world will be saved by western women" will remain only a pipe dream. Smart Girls Screw Up Too shares real from-the-heart stories of the trials and tradeoffs I made s a single woman in my late 30's to live these bold 15 Aspirations.
I describe in an honest and vulnerable way what it really took to ditch the obsession with financial 'wealth', finding 'The One' and my ticking body clock. Ditching these things made room for more abundance, health and love in my life. Not only that, my lifestyle diseases disappeared.
BELLA ZANESCO is a life and wellbeing strategist, a world champion sailor, and a philanthropist working to give people the tools they need to become fully expressed leaders in their lives and careers.