Taking Charge Of Creating What You Want With Wendy Cirello
You can't run from your past, but you can either let it define you or fuel you to take charge of what's ahead. Wendy Cirello has had her shares of curveballs that would have made anyone break down. Taking control, she is moving forward from a place of intention and creating what it is she wants. In this episode, she sits down with Tony Martignetti to share with us the flashpoints in her life that made her who she is today. Now, Wendy is a curator of magical experiences for Rich Litvin at The Litvin Group, curating multi-day events, retreats, and workshops for transformational leaders and coaches. She takes us through her life story from the downs to then learning how to put action in place and create what she wants to create. Plus, Wendy shares her secret sauce to creating transformational experiences.
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Taking Charge Of Creating What You Want With Wendy Cirello
It is my honor to introduce you to my guest, Wendy Cirello. She is a curator of magical experiences. For the last many years, she has been creating transformational experiences for between 5 to 250 people. She is also an expert at curating and coaching the extraordinary teams behind these events to make sure that they go off without a hitch. She lives and creates from Southern California, but her impact is felt everywhere. I want to welcome you to the show.
Thank you, Tony.
In the room and being part of the creation process with you, I know that the things that you’ve pulled off are amazing.
It’s a co-creation. Nothing happens in a vacuum.
That’s a starting point. It takes a community, but it takes somebody to start it off and to put it in action. We’re going to dig into that and see how this all comes together. To give you a sense as to how we roll on the show, this show is all about sharing people’s moments of how they ignite their gifts to the world called flashpoints. What we’re going to do is to give you the space to share your stories, your moments of transformation, and you can stop along the way and we can see what’s coming up. Share what you’re called to share. I’ll give you the floor from there, Wendy.
For me, that would be something where it’s like a benchmark. There’s before this happened and after this happened. If I understand the flashpoints correctly, those kinds of moments are always transformative in some way. The first flashpoint where I know that is important is I had a dear friend that passed away in 2006 or 2007. That’s another thing about flashpoints is the timeline gets a little wonky, but I had a friend who passed away suddenly. It was the first time in what would maybe be described as a pretty charmed life, like I was confronted with mortality and my children. It was my son’s best friend’s mom. They were twelve. My twelve-year-old is confronted with mortality. That was very much a flashpoint. It was shocking. It’s not supposed to happen that way. I’m trying to think what was next. Do you want the flashpoint?
Even to speak to that for a moment, it’s interesting that you shared that because there’s something about moments like that that changed you because life goes on, you’re going along. There are little struggles along the way and all of a sudden, something unexpected happens. It throws you out off the game and it makes you think about things like maybe the fragility of life and, “How do I explain this to somebody or my son? What if this were to happen to my son?”
You can't make up a story; you can only create good things.
That’s their thinking. It’s confronting. It stops and changes the game. We were rolling along, playing whatever we were playing, and then all of a sudden it’s like, “We’re not in that game anymore. The game has changed, and no one knows what the rules are.” It very much is a foundational shift and it made my next flashpoint turbo transformational. It was also in shock. The games changed. Nobody knows the rules. Individually and collectively, we’re all finding our way into a new reality. It wasn’t my son’s mother or my mother or my son. It was a dear friend, and everything was turned upside down.
My next flashpoint would be when I found out that my husband was having an affair with my best friend. When I say that the first flashpoint led into this, that whole situation was if not birthed out of that flashpoint when my friend passed away or accelerated by it because everybody’s questioning everything in different ways. That’s the biggest flashpoint in my life. It was that moment when I found that out. I’m talking about a game-changer. Everything changes from that point.
All the stability in your life, all the things that you thought strongly about or thought about what it was, got uprooted. Now you’re like, “How do I be the strong person going forward from this point?”
I always presented very strong, very driven, and very focused. Grounded would have been the language at that time, but like, “I’m strong, I got this.” That would be the language. The question was, “How do I move on? How do I get up in the morning?” It was very basic questions. It felt like my foundation disappeared, but the truth was, I didn’t have a very good one to begin with. I didn’t have a solid foundation. It was more the reality of what was real as opposed to what I thought was real.
Knowing you now and hearing and feeling this, it’s amazing to see the power you bring to your life now. I want to know, how does one get from point A to point B? It’s like point A to point Z because you’re like a powerhouse.
At some point along my journey and I was still very much broken. I call myself a little bit of a three-legged broken pony. I remember when I learned it, I felt true. It was hard to hear and take in, but it was true that I had no choice but figuring out or knowing that, “I create my life.” The first round of that knowledge means like, “Is that what I created? Who does that? I have a twisted soul.” That’s the truth. The first reversion was painful and felt like almost as big of a sledgehammer as finding out about the affair. The victim version of it is like, “It happened to me. I had nothing to do with it.” I had a whole story around that that worked for a while.
Our language creates our reality. Whatever story we believe is our truth.
You can’t only create good things. As the creator of your life, you are the creator of all of it, and that was hard. That was rough for a while because then I’m beating myself up and I’m rehashing ten years of stuff, but I needed to. Once I got through that, then I was like, “If I can create anything, let’s get to creating what I want,” which made me then ask, “What do I want?” I started this whole journey about like, “What does family even mean?” The kids were coming back to the house that they grew up in, the family, and the layers. That’s not the dream anymore. What’s the new dream? Every single thing had to be reexamined like relationship and money.
I want to make a quick comment that came to mind in this element of looking back to look forward. You had to look back and almost reframe how you see your past so that you could move forward with a place of intention and creating what you wanted. It had to come from an element of like, “This is my past. When I look back, this is how I’m going to see this.”
There are layers to that too. In the first instance, blame everybody but yourself like, “I’m not responsible.” It’s then like, “I’m probably responsible. I have my part.” There’s that layer which that’s helpful, but it’s not super powerful then it’s like, “I own my whole part. I created all of that.” The next layer that was cool, “I cut off a whole chunk of my life, like a decade. I disowned all of it.” I was then like, “I don’t have to disown all of it.” I get to remember some precious, good times.
This was not a terrible night. Very much big parts of it were nightmarish and hard to look at, but big parts were beautiful and precious. There was the truth. Was it all true? No, but there were moments of truth, love and beauty that gain I had to cut it off. I’m an extreme person. I loop off the whole ten years, and it was almost impossible to move forward from that place of cutting it all off. Until I looked back and owned like, “There was beauty between me and my ex, a lot. There was beauty between me and my friend. I couldn’t be a powerful friend or a powerful partner or a beautiful true partner or a beautiful true friend as long as I was disowning any piece or part of my past. Even as I’m having this conversation, I feel like I’ve circled back a little bit more or bigger.
When you say reliving the past, there’s an element of like, “That could be dangerous.” You’re like, “I don’t want to relive the past because the past is painful,” but there are elements of that that say, “It’s okay to stare at the pain as long as you know how to frame it in a way that you can say to yourself, ‘I needed that to be who I am now.’”
That’s a whole other level. I create it and even to this day, it still is like, “Why would I do that?" I needed every piece of it to be who I am now.
For myself, I talk about how the range is important, like building that range. When you could feel all different levels of the feelings, there’s so much that comes up around knowing that you can be extremely happy and you can be extremely sad. You can be in that moment of sadness, but as long as you know what it feels like to be able to bring yourself back up and back down so you can regulate those emotions and bring them into the place where you need to be, that’s when the true gift starts to arise when you’re able to see that, “I’ve been here before. I know where to get back to and how to bring myself to the place I need to be so I can operate.”
It’s a perfect analogy for what my understanding of what you consider a flashpoint. They often will be a low point and brand new low. When my friend passed away, that was a brand-new level of shock and devastation that I didn’t have that experience and then there’s the experience of coming out of it. At that time, I don’t think I looked at it as like I got myself out of it. I don’t know that I would’ve described it that way. That’s probably true, but I didn’t describe it that way. When my marriage blew up, that was the next level. I had no idea that level of pain was available. I had no idea that it felt like someone had peeled all my skin off. I’m sitting there on a rocky pit with no skin. It hurt like that. I didn’t know that. I had no idea that that level of distress, pain and anxiety was a thing. I didn’t have an experience of it. The word that I come to is confidence. I got myself. I’m much happier in a relationship, partnership, co-creation and collaboration. That’s my joyful, happy, sweet spot.
We’ve touched on such powerful and emotional pieces of your story. I want to see if we can fast-forward or move the action forward. How did you get yourself into this place where you are creating magical experiences and doing all these amazing things? How did you move yourself from this place of dealing with you are, you’re a-ha moments of, “Now I know what I need to do, how to frame my past and how to move myself forward?" How did that lead to what you’re doing in the world?
In trial and error for sure, but I figured out like I can create whatever I want. This thing around our language creates our reality and whatever story we believe is our truth. I'm really good at telling a better story to myself. I think I said, “Denial is a tool, not a lifestyle.” That’s my new saying. I don’t recommend that. As a tool sometimes to look for the good. I’m not a proponent of lying to myself, but I started telling a better story, asking for more than I’ve ever asked for in my whole life and letting people give it to me. That was a shocker.
People want to do things for me and give me things. I had no idea the joy that comes from that. I knew I receive joy from giving, but it didn’t ever feel like a cycle. I kept leaning in and I was asking for more, being more and more unapologetic about what I want. One of our colleagues talked about wholesome desires. It’s something that has gone through the spiritual laundry. If there’s a part of me, I want a convertible Porsche Speedster. I want the one that James Dean had. I want it to be gray. It’s got a dog shelf in the back with a harness for them, so they don’t pop out. I’ve got my scarf in my big glasses. The way that I want it, some people would like, “That’s not a wholesome desire.” I will argue, “Yes. It is.” I don’t need someone else to give up something for me to have it. I don’t feel bad when I see one on the street that I don’t have yet. I’m like, “That’s cool.” It’s a wholesome desire.
When you put it that way, I get that. At first, it seems like, “That seems over the top,” but no. You made a case for it.
I don’t even know if I’d enjoy driving it. I’ve never driven one, but I want it. I have all kinds of desires, big and audacious. Some of them very spiritual and beautiful. Some of them like, “I want more money. I never want to work Fridays again,” whatever the thing is. It doesn’t have to be pure and spiritual in some crazy vision of what a desire is supposed to look like. It’s more the energy behind the desire. My desires get bigger and bigger and that applies to what is possible in events, what I can create, and who will step up and do something in an amazing way that’s surprising?
I love the way you put it because that’s saying a lot about how you make these amazing things happen. It’s almost like a manifestation of it. By saying like, “I’m putting this intention into the world of what I want and it’s not going to hurt anybody by me asking for this. I’m not doing it in a way that’s going to cause any ill intent or anything like that. I’m not doing it in a way that I have such a strong to it that it’s like, if it doesn’t happen, I’m going to be like in such a dark place that it’s going to put detriment to me.” By me putting this energy behind it says like, “This is what I want. I can see it. I can see myself. I can put myself in that driver’s seat. I’ve got the scar flowing in the background.” I’ve seen your vision because of the way you’ve described it. It’s been put out into the world and now in some way, the shape or fashion, you’re going to create that. For those who don’t understand that, it’s hard for them to understand the process of how to manifest, but that’s what it is.
The universe conspires for where we put our energy. The more you desire, the more possibility there is that it will happen.
I am a very proactive person. In addition to being clear on what I want and believing fully that there is enough of everything to go around. There’s no scarcity of anything at all. The universe conspires for where we put our energy. The more I desire, the more possibility there is that it will happen. I’m looking for ways to get closer. I’m moving in that direction again. The Porsche is a fun example, but it’s much more of a metaphor for everything. It’s like, “I know what I want." I call them the diamonds of the crowns. Was that going to get me closer? Pick that up or do this or do that. I’m very active in my manifestation. I’m always looking for possibilities. I also have the ability to have probably 100 possibilities on the move at any given moment, moving in a lot of directions.
When you think about it, most people would say like, “How can you be moving in some different directions all at once?”
It’s my superpower. There’s a lot going on and I’m able to sort, follow, move, pick up and do it again.
Back to the beginning of your story and how interesting this is, what a powerful shift to go from a place of like, “Things are humming along, devastation and the world has crushed me. Now, I’ve seen an opening in the world. The universe has cracked open and created something that says that, ‘You can have anything you want. You have to manifest it. You have to put it out into the world and do it in a way that’s going to allow it to come to you, and you have to be open to receive it.’” That’s what you’ve then created in this world.
Equal to being willing to receive it, also, it is super important to go get it.
There’s going to be some action.
There is tremendous action. Without a specific example and I don’t spend a lot of time on my process. I don’t drill it down to ten steps or this or that. It’s interesting to talk about because it helps me learn a little bit about myself. It’s not just put a desire out there and be open to receiving it. It’s like, “Get clear, get clean.” That spiritual carwash. I’m a human being. I’ve got deceit and revenge. I have all kinds of negative emotions and abilities. I’m not free of those and when am I going to indulge them or when am I not? When am I going to check myself and go, “That desire has got a little hook in it, do some work or let it go?”
When you start having the non-supportive emotions and things that come along, the human things that sneak in, you have to step back and say, “This isn’t aligned with what I’m trying to create, then you can put yourself back on the line and say, “This is how I want to be in the world. Not that.” You get yourself back on the right lines.
There’s a choice that I made conscientiously and it was, “Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?” I really committed because I would have said for most of my life, I want to be right and screaming happy. Happy is overrated. It’s where the control is. It is where the drive is. I would have said that for most of my life. The second I gave that up, it’s almost like a sword. I almost gave it up like, “If I’m never right again and I’m happy my whole life, I will go to my grave joyful.”
Let’s talk about the experiences you create. What got you into creating events and experiences?
There are a couple of truths. I have always been a party planner. I’ve always been a gatherer of people. It’s my whole life. When I started on my transformation journey, being of service is a part of every program I’ve ever been in. There’s always a team and they’re always serving the event. Generally, the construct is you get to be in the room and serve, but you don’t have to buy your ticket. That’s a common construct that I enjoy. What I would do is I would get entrenched or involved in the curriculum that I would have been to all the events already. There wasn’t pay another couple thousand dollars or whatever to do the event again.
“Do you mean I can serve the event and be in the room? I’m in.” I started doing that for different programs that I was part of. I was doing it for our coach, Rich Litvin. I was good at it. That’s my wheelhouse. I kept coming back and serving again, and I kept getting more responsibility. One day, I was like, “This is not a volunteer gig anymore.” Rich is the king of bold requests. I was already creating in some way. I wasn’t the ringleader. I said, “I’m good at this. I’ve been doing this my whole life. I think we can do better if you let me.” He said yes. I have been creating magic mostly with Rich. I’ve got a couple of other clients, but I’ve been creating magic and magical events ever since. The possibilities continue to be endless.
What you did with Rich is an example of the things we were talking about, which is to say that you said you wanted this and you put the action in place. You gave an example of how you create the things that you want to create.
At that time, I was building my coaching practice and I said, “I want to get paid to travel to amazing places in the world. I only want to be in rooms with fascinating, amazing, inspiring people and speak from stage.” I thought I was going to be a keynote speaker because that makes sense, but I knew that I want it. My thought was it was a keynote speaker and reality was a creator of magical experiences. It’s everything I want.
I’d love to talk a bit more about how you do what you do and not the secrets because there’s a secret sauce to what you do, which cannot be explained or is proprietary. There’s an element of how you create these experiences, and there’s a lot of leadership elements to it that need to be told because it’s not your typical like, “How I create an experience?” It’s like, “Get a bunch of people in a room and let’s do logistics.” It’s a whole lot more than that.
There are a couple of things that I know are true and being impeccable and on-point logistically and otherwise is important. That ground zero is we’re logistically and we’re on point. We’re impeccable and on point. That goes down to the smallest little detail of our paper straight. Is there enough of what we need? These are live events, which we’ve moved virtual, but do all the participants have what they need? There’s a whole logistical level that is of a high standard. I don’t think that’s super unique. I don’t think it’s everybody runs events that way, but that’s a level of playing in the world that I think is out there. For me, the reason why I only desire to be in the transformational space is at my events and this goes down to hotel staff, tech staff, AV staff, participants, team, the leaders, family and anybody we come in contact with is loved. If we can’t imbue, implant and impart love all the way through, then I didn’t do my job.
I love that you did that with love. It sounds cultish but in reality, it isn’t. The reality is I always think about leadership as love and it’s about making sure that everyone understands that they’re part of something bigger than themselves and feeling this element of being cared for and held. I’d love to have you expand on that because I know that that’s where this comes from.
There’s this inquiry about being a great number two, like the person behind the person. I have found that I can do my magic when the figurehead, the person I’m working for, the person I’m creating this event for, is totally in alignment with that love piece. It does come from the top down. I have curated events for people and they’re good events. They are not, not good, but there’s this gap between my commitment to loving everybody and having them feel loved, seen, heard and held and the person I’m working for. There’s not even that the person doesn’t feel that way, but there’s a gap between that value and how it comes into the room. What’s important is that me and my number one are deeply aligned.
That’s way easier said than done because alignment doesn’t happen in an instant. It happens over time and trust. That’s number one for a lot of the magic that I create. Number two is I’m real serious about it. I used to backdoor love. I build my teams, which that comes to the second part is there has to be a team that has a foundation of love. We call it the Love Bubble. That’s where my team resides for months before the event even comes to fruition. I’m committed to this love. I’m committed to the Love Bubble. I don’t backdoor, I front door it. I don’t apologize that not everybody gets it right away, but if you want to be on my team, get on board or get out. Everyone’s like, “I get it but I’m here for the ride.” By the end, they’re like, “Now I get it.” I commit to that.
There’s something that came to mind too. I don’t know if this is something that resonates. I know that I’ve experienced this from you is that I remember hearing you say something to the effect of like everything matters.
I’ve got a little tagline to everything matters. “Everything matters unless it detracts from,” you could say the goal, but I would say, “from the good.” “Everything matters unless.” Everything can’t matter. I get a lot of pushback on everything matters because everything matters. My ability to collect a lot, like 100 lanes, my everything is big. It’s voluminous. If I’m trying to think because the smallest detail matters. I give the blessing to a handout on a chair. In my team, “You’re doing the handouts on the chairs? Make sure you bless that. Make sure it’s straight.” They’re all facing the same way. Like, “We’re going to bless it? What’s that mean?” “You figure it out, just bless the piece of paper. I don’t care how you bless it.” That matters. Everything matters. I like the tagline because it lets people breathe into it a little bit. You’ve seen me explain this a couple of times and I do struggle to articulate and get people on board for what’s happening in my head around everything matters. The smallest thing matters.
The way I often see this everything matters shelf is like, if you were to show up to an event and I’ve been to events that you’ve coordinated, it’s like whoever shows up is always going to feel as though everything’s meticulously laid out to make the experience perfect. Even when things don’t go according to plan, somehow, they feel as though it was all planned to be that way. It gets corrected and it all comes together to feel as though you feel special, you feel like you’re taken care of because everything matters.
You’re helping me a lot here and full circle because based on what we said about owning our past, everything does happen exactly as it should. Stuff goes sideways all the time. I trust that it is unfolding, even though it’s not on my agenda. When things are impeccable, it builds trust. We are already loving the participants before they get there. Their safety, wellbeing and their spieling loved and held are paramount whether they know it or not. They sense it and they come in and they see the name tags are straight. They see there’s a little gift on their name tag. They see the chairs are straight. They see that there are people that are walking them out of the corner and into the middle. We are building trust and we’re we earned it. We didn’t just earn it, we deserve it, building it and now we’re giving them an experience of it. Trust equals love. People are in transformation because when people trust us, they’re going to be braver and bolder. They’re going to have a more open mind and a more open heart. They’re going to see stuff they couldn’t have seen before.
I love that because it’s something that correlates well with the business world because when you create a situation where people feel like they’re being taken care of, they’re being held, trust is built and there’s a foundation of safety. What then happens is they’re going to be willing to open up, be honest, share, and do things that they wouldn’t normally do because they didn’t feel safe. They didn’t feel like there was somebody there who’s going to take care of them.
That commitment to the common goal, it’s like if you take out trust, safety, feeling seen and feeling love, how motivated are you to get on board with what the team is doing? I’m going to be looking over my shoulder because I don’t know who has my back. The flip side of that is all of my now intelligence, motivation and inspiration are now available to this team because they have my back. I feel safe. I trust them. All these things take energy to do for yourself. Every business team should figure out how to love each other. Stop talking about the budget.
I want to shift gears into something unrelated. What is one book that has been impactful for you or multiple books?
I loved reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. That was music to my soul. It wasn’t earth-shattering. There were many things that it wasn’t, but it was such beautiful truths that I love. I needed it. I read this back close to when my life was falling apart. That book was super healing, beautiful, and a great reminder of who I want to be in the world. The next one that I love, and I’m reading again is they have a sequel, The Big Leap. Do you know it has a sequel?
I did not know there was a sequel, but Gay Hendricks put a book out called Conscious Luck.
Spend money in alignment with your values. Don't lie to yourself when you don't.
That’s something about the zone of genius. It pushes further into that. That book helped me share my transformational experiences with my normal. People in my life who are not doing this deep inner work. They don’t have all this funky language. The Big Leap was a super bridge between me and the people that I love dearly and to share what I’m about with them. I love that they created that bridge. Also, Lynne Twist, The Soul of Money. That one is life-changing. She’s a beautiful storyteller. I believe her trade was fundraising.
It’s a new take but not super new, like the exchange of money is energy. Think about how you spend your money on what you spend it on. Is it a small business? Is it not? Is it sustainable? There’s no like, “It has to be sustainable only.” If that’s not your value, then you shouldn’t spend your money that way. Spend money in alignment with your values and that’s my tagline. Don’t lie to yourself when you don’t. I certainly don’t always spend money and totally align with my values, and I don’t pretend that I am. It’s like this spiritual carwash for how you spend money. I love that book so much. That book was wonderful. I highly recommend that.
I’m glad that we’ve had this time together. It’s been magical.
Thank you, Tony.
Thank you so much for coming on and sharing your stories and insights. I wanted to give people an opportunity to be able to find you if they want to learn more about your work or reach out and say hello.
I don’t have a website. I don’t have a business card. I can be found on Facebook at Wendy Cirello.
Facebook is the best way to get started and that way, people can find out more about you there.
I appreciate your leading me through this and that cycle that we said about you go back, embrace and there’s such healing in the campfire conversation. I feel and appreciate that.
I’m thankful that you came. This has been such an enjoyable time to spend with you. I want to thank the readers for coming on the journey with us too. I know they’re leaving feeling, first of all, magical and feeling like they can do anything with their lives if they want to create that intention towards something powerful. Thank you, Wendy, for bringing that to us.
- Wendy Cirello
- The Four Agreements
- The Big Leap
- Conscious Luck
- The Soul of Money
- Wendy Cirello - Facebook
About Wendy Cirello
Curator of Magical Experiences for Rich Litvin at the Litvin Group
I curate multi-day events, retreats and workshops for transformational leaders and coaches.
I have extensive event planning experience and a Master's Degree in Spiritual Psychology. This makes me uniquely qualified to serve in the world of transformation.
One of my superpowers is my expertise in building the teams that support these events.
I am a lifelong student and mentor of leadership and that comes through In everything I do.
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