Today's BONUS episode serves as a powerful testimony of what can happen when you make the Time to be Kind & SMILE at a stranger (in a public bathroom)!
Our guest today courageously shares her personal story & journey with mental health issues from young age & how practicing self-love & kindness helped her transform darkness & chaos into a choice to be LOUD.
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Hi PARKer, I’m Marly Q. and welcome to Episode # 4 with Adrianna Foster.
If you’ve been part of my Kind Qrew for a while, chances are you already know our celebrity guest today and if you don’t, I guarantee you'll never forget her voice if you stay through the end of the episode.
For almost 2 decades, Adrianna Foster has been called the VOICE of MEXICO by legendary singers and after moving to Miami, she's become known as the first motivational singer of our time.
With over 73 thousand monthly followers and millions of downloads on Spotify ... and even more on her YouTube channel, Adrianna Foster is clearly a superstar but the reason I invited her on our show today is because she’s a superhero too!
Not only is she a successful singer-songwriter, she’s also a hypnotherapist, a mom and a PARKer, someone who Performs Acts of Random Kindness, just like you and me!
To kickoff Mental Health Awareness Month, I was inspired to share this bonus episode and invite Adrianna to shine the light on a question I’ve been asked, several times, and perhaps one you’ve even asked yourself given the current health crisis we’re experiencing around the world.
Adrianna shares the story of how we met through the power of a smile and also vulnerably shares her own journey with mental health issues from a young age and how practicing self-love and kindness helped her transform darkness and chaos into a choice to BE LOUD.
What does it mean to be LOUD? Here’s a hint - it’s an acronym and a really good one!
So sit back, relax, and stay through the end of the episode because Adrianna will give us all a reason to SMILE!
Marly Q: So why smile? Smiling is a very important part of my life and I have a guest here with us today that just makes this point so clear as to why it's so important to share your smile with others every day. Adrianna Foster, thank you for making the time to be kind.
Adrianna Foster: Thank you so much, Marly. I love you and I am so proud of you and I am so grateful and humbled to be here with you today.
Marly Q: Oh, thank you. And all of our PARKer's listening are in for a treat. You stay all the way to the end, you might hear it, you might hear the treat. Adrian would you be so kind as to share how we met. I think it was already like what, 6 years ago or so.
Adrianna Foster: It was 2014 and this is what I called, when I do my concerts and I speak, I call the bathroom story.
Marly Q: That sounds so great. Stay with us!
Adrianna Foster: What do you mean? I'm like, yeah, like your life can be changed in a bathroom. Like for real. So what happened is that in 2014 I was coming back from this year and a half trip to Mexico when I released my second album and I started the promotion of my album and my CD and it just, it all went to hell and it failed terribly. And I lost all my money and everything. So I came back November 21st, 2014 and I was homeless for three months actually. So in that event, it was probably a week after I came back, my friend she knew that I had no money. I didn't know anybody. I was like just looking to see what opportunities I could get. And she gave me a ticket for this event, and I went and of course, it's like a 350 women event and they're talking about businesses and funnels and marketing and your profit. And I'm just like there, I have no money to eat lunch. Like I have no money to Uber. Like, I don't have a house. I don't have anywhere to sleep. So I just started getting super overwhelmed and I feel like “what am I doing here”? I don't belong and I just go to the bathroom and I started crying. Like it's just this major panic, anxiety attack of what am I going to do with my life? How am I going to get back in my feet?
And then this beautiful curly hair, sparkly lady comes into the bathroom and I'm just cleaning my tears because I don't want anybody to see me. And she looks at me and she takes the time. Cause that's the thing, Marly, you took the time. Anybody else could've just ignored me or just be like, Oh I'm just going to leave or whatever.
And you were kind enough. You took the time to look at me and to politely ask, “are you okay”? And I was just like, look, I'm getting goosebumps. And that was a moment where I really felt supported. I felt heard. And I don't remember exactly the words that we said, but we ended up having a conversation and I share that my, at that time, husband was a musician and your husband too.
And it just, it was literally a two-minute conversation where your smile was so beautiful, and it really gave me peace. And not only that, it gave me hope, it sparked a piece of hope that I was not alone and that good things could happen, good connections could happen and that doors could be open in my life and that I was on the right path.
Like I was starting over. And you were like the little, when people are like navigating in the sea and they're looking for that star that shows them the North, you were that North star for me. Your smile was that North star for me. And after that we connected and then literally everything else started happening. And I met a bunch of people that knew you and funny enough because when I knew that they knew you, I was like, “Oh I can trust them”! Cause your smile made me trust you and you were literally that North star that just showed me the way. So that's my bathroom story.
Marly Q: I need a moment. My goodness.
Adrianna Foster: Every time I share this all the time, as you know. And the reason why I share, I mean despite the fact that I love you and I love our friendship, I share it because it is so important. Like you don't know the impact that you will create on people's lives if you take a second to see them and to acknowledge them. And maybe all you have to do is just smile and say, have a great day. And you don't know how much of an impact you can make in people's lives. You don't know how you can change everything. I was ready to leave that event. I went to the bathroom; I was crying, and I was ready to just go. And because of how I felt with you, I stayed, and I met a bunch of people that were literally determined facts of where I am today. It's just, it's incredible. So look, I get goosebumps.
Marly Q: To be able to witness, to be able to first thank you for sharing that story. Not just for me to hear it again. I just, I get goosebumps too. It really does fill me up with joy and with purpose. I mean the name of this podcast is Time to be Kind and the importance of making the time to be kind to ourselves, the people we interact with, not just people we know, but the people that we run into in the bathroom and the street and take the time to notice them, even if it's just a smile. I mean, I was ready to be rejected. Who says that you are going to want to talk to me and it would have been okay? You would have been like I'm fine and left. That would have been okay. But for me what was more important is just making that time to PARK for a moment, acknowledge you and be like, “I'm here if you'd like to talk”. And you did, and exchanging our business cards and having that brief conversation resulted in this beautiful friendship and also us working together. I saw you a couple months later and you were like, this brand-new woman. Like you had life and you had a smile of your own. And I'm like, “wow, are you at the same woman I met in the bathroom a couple of months ago”?
It's just been such a privilege and honor, humble, honor to see you grow, to see you shine, to see you flourish on your journey and coming from a real big crisis in your life in that moment and being able to stay with it and have that kindness for yourself to honor where you were at and be able to go to events and seek support from community and from other people and have that develop into everything that you're doing today. Can you share with us a little bit about what you're up to because it's super exciting?
Adrianna Foster: Thank you. Well, it's so funny because really it all was born in that event. This is a true story, after the bathroom story that you gave me light again and you like filled me until like, “okay, I can do this”. I went back to my table and I started listening to all the speakers and then I just came up with it and I just realized I had like an Epic breakthrough moment and I'm like, “I am a motivational singer”. That is what I am supposed to do. I'm supposed to share my story and the passion that I have for life and the resilience that it's, I think my biggest quality and characteristic as a human being and also do it through my gift, my greatest gift, which is my voice, what I love to do, which is singing.
I had no idea how I was going to do that. Like at that moment I was like, I have no idea, but I'm going to do it. This was in 2014 and today in 2020, I'm doing it! I have this beautiful project that's called Foster Nights, which is an immersive concert experience. So what I do is that I go to people's houses, people's events, people's groups, corporations, nonprofits, whatever you want to do. Any event that wants to have an epic signature, personalized entertainment, a concert that will touch people's lives and that will nurture your soul. That's what I do. The purpose of Foster Nights is to foster a feeling of connection and community between whoever it's attending. And I personalize the songs and I create a script based on your event and what you want to celebrate. And it's really, really, really cool. People love it and I love to do it. It's an immersive concert experience. It is really what it is. And I enjoy it so much. It's so much fun and that's what I do. I motivate and inspire people and I connect people. I bring people together through my music and my voice and my story, which I think it's really important to share. And also what I believe.
What you said is so important and I believe that, every new beginning is often disguised by a painful and chaotic ending. And I think that we have such a misconception about what those crisis or chaotic moments in our lives mean. We're raised to believe that we have to avoid them, or we have to feel the shame of them. We have to hide them or something's wrong if you're going through a problem. And that's not true, that's actually not true. This is exactly how awakenings and how new beginnings work. It is chaos, transformation and choice. You go through the chaos; you are in the darkness. If you're able to hold it and to stay and to really ask yourself the question, “what's the purpose of this”? Not why this is happening to me, but “what's the purpose for this. How is this serving me”? You will go through a transformation process that hurts, that it's in pain, but this is where people like you come into play and support me or you can attract the tribe and the opportunities and the solutions. And the tools that will support you. And then you have a choice. You can choose to stay in the darkness, and you can choose to believe that this will define you for the rest of your life. Or you can choose to be reborn. You can choose to embrace your truth. You can choose to remember your voice and be loud. What is loud? Loud is just showing up in the world and being in integrity with your truth, with who you are and serving the world through your gifts. And that is what foster nights teaches, that is what I teach, and that is my purpose.
Marly Q: And I love how it's been a journey to get right to this purpose because I remember you said something super important. Everything that you just shared was super important and true and so relevant to so many people. I mean it's mental health awareness month and I think that it's vitally important for people to have the courage and be loud to share their stories of struggle, of crisis, of trauma and how really allowing yourself, I see it as practicing self-love and kindness through that can allow you to see that light. You said it yourself to attract the right people in the right opportunities because after you got out of that bathroom, you study yourself. You went to the bathroom; you were ready to cry it out and leave. And because there was a little spark of kindness, it was a little spark of a different energy that you chose to receive. You chose to receive It. Allowed you to go back into the event with a different mindset and attract the ideas, the aha moments, the answers, the opportunities that you were looking for. “How am I going to get back on my feet”? “How am I going to find a place to live and make a business out of what I want to do”? You are asking the right questions. You were in an open, receptive mode. And that's why I believe so strongly that kindness is a superpower. And that currency, that energy of kindness, if we are open to give it and to receive it from one another can truly change. Not just your perspective, but your path, your life
Adrianna Foster: And think about it. I think it's like a ripple effect. Because it's a chain reaction because you gave me that spark and I chose to receive it. And because of that, it is exactly what you're saying. I got ideas, opportunities and connections, tools of more support that slowly, little by little throughout the years have been allowing me to build up. Right after that, I met the platform where I started creating my, at that time, one on one business, which is hypnotherapy. That gave me the opportunity, the monetary currency for me to get back on my feet and do this and then that allowed me to expand. And I started doing the motivational concerts, which I did them with you!
Marly Q: Yeah, we helped you kick off the motivational concerts.
Adrianna Foster: You kicked off the motivational concerts. And then you know, that opened up even more and more opportunities. And then I met this other coaching program that we were together in and that gave me even more opportunity. So think about how important it was that time that you took to be kind and the chain reaction that you're giving, not just to me, but to all the people that I’ve been able to serve. Like I often ask myself, what would have happened if I would have left that event?
Marly Q: I know for me, I mean obviously not only would I have missed out on a great friendship that we've been able to develop and nourish, but also, I remember the first time that you ever sang publicly in the United States was on my stage, at the 5K PARK Fest and there was tears and you "just sang the National Anthem" and there was people crying at our event and that wasn't a motivational concert, you were just singing the National Anthem! And people are crying like, “wow, who is this woman”?
Adrianna Foster: But again the reason why I decided to do that is because it was you. Because I trusted you. So I felt compelled to ask you, “Hey, can I sing the National Anthem at your event”? Because again, because you gave me that time to be kind, you took the time to be kind to myself. So I created like that bond with you and again, like it's exactly what I'm saying. Like imagine what would have happened if A, I would have left the event or B, which is my whole purpose with what I do, I would have chosen to not receive. I would have chosen to be like, who the hell is this person? I'm not going to talk to this lady. I'm fine.
Marly Q: “What the hell are you so happy about coming in here smiling? There’s obviously nothing wrong with your life”. Which I’ve gotten that before. It's like, wow, it's a problem for me to come in with my light. Okay, you don't have to receive it. You don't force it on anyone, but you received.
Adrianna Foster: That’s exactly what I’ve learned and what I preach and what I practice and what I teach people. It is okay to be in the dark. Within the dark is where light is born. All you have to do is to make the choice, to make the choice to see it, to make the choice to receive it, to make the choice to believe that everything is happening for you, that you've been taking care of all the time, and that is those moments are the opportunities where you reclaim your voice, which is your purpose in life, who you really are meant to be, and you have the opportunity to start choosing to be loud. For me LOUD, it's an acronym.
Marly Q: I love acronyms! Here we go. Share, share!
Adrianna Foster: What I created around being loud in my experience and what I’ve seen with my clients and all the people that I work with is when you get to the point that you give yourself permission to be LOUD; Loving, Open, Unapologetic, and Deserving.
When you really, truly embrace your greatness and allow yourself permission to be Loving, Open, Unapologetic, and Deserving is when you A, show your truth and share your voice with the world; B, you inspire others with the gift that you are inherently by being born in this planet and C, you give others permission to do the same. By you taking up space with your light and being loud with your voice, you give others permission to do the same and PARKers that are listening, this is how we're going to change the world. Now I really want you to, like if you're listening and you're feeling this energy that we're feeling here, just close your eyes for a second and just think about it.
Like you don't have to do big things. You don't have to be the CEO of a company or become the greatest public speaker in the world or no, you can be LOUD at home with your family. You can be honest, loving, open, unapologetic, and disserving with your kids, with your clients, at your job. Whatever activity that you choose to do, whatever it is that the lights your heart on fire, whatever it is that you choose to create in the world. Just do it in honesty and honesty with who you are and an integrity with your purpose in life because that is how you will serve the world. And that is how you will make a difference. And that is how we will all collectively at the same time make a difference and change the world.
Marly Q: That's how we're all superheroes. I absolutely love that acronym. Can I add it to my list of favorites?
Adrianna Foster: Of course.
Marly Q: I love it. I want to be LOUD. I actually really see, even the journey of creating this podcast as my own journey of being loud and honoring my own voice, and having that unapologetic and deserving, loving and open, I know I messed up the acronym, the letters, but it's okay. And going back to my purpose and my why and being reconnected to how important it is to do those small acts of random kindness. It's all about the small acts of kindness that have the power within us all to make a huge difference in not just the world, in your everyday life, the people that you interact with, the people that you talk to, the people on the street, you just never know. And I hope that everyone that's listening to this episode and this podcast today, again it's mental health awareness month and there's people that might be listening that are going through a dark time in this moment. And they hear us all successful and she's got her business and she's all going, but it wasn't always like that. And we’re here to remind people, that sometimes the reason that you can show up in life with joy and with energy and with spark and with light for others is because you've been through some darkness and you've honored that.
Adrianna Foster: Absolutely. And I think one of the biggest acts of kindness that you can do is give yourself permission to be in the dark. At least that has been my experience. I always share in my talks and every time that I'm on stage, I share my personal story. When I was eight years old, I was diagnosed with chronic depression, anxiety and I suffered from bullying and other types of mental and physical abuse for many, many years. And in the adolescents, because of my living situation and everything that happened, the depression kicked in such a really, really strong way. I suffer from panic attacks and anxiety attacks and just massive, massive depression. And when I was 18 years old, I tried to commit suicide. So yeah, people ask me all the time, were you always this bubbly?
No! I think that for me, what has gotten me to where I'm at right now, the reason why I'm able to be sitting here right in front of you with this beautiful presence of yours is because I have given myself over and over and over again the gift of kindness. I have given myself the opportunity to just be on the dark and to understand that the darkness was serving me. It was not attacking me. It was not trying to destroy me.
Marly Q: There was nothing wrong with you to deserve being in this darkness.
Adrianna Foster: Exactly. It was not something that would define me for the rest of my life. I remember, after the attempted suicide, I had a few weeks, of course my family was concerned and going to doctors and this and that and at one time I just, I was just literally meditating and I had this like spark of truth that it was like, there's a purpose for this. Like this is not going to be my life. I refuse to believe that this is how life is. So I get to find, and first of all, understand why this is happening, which is, being kind to myself, my story, not defining like, “Oh, there's something wrong with you”. And second, knowing and finding the tools and the knowledge and the lessons of how to change this, how to transform it. And I think that was a moment where I chose to reclaim my voice, to rediscover it and being LOUD. It's a daily choice. At that time of my life, being LOUD was showing up to my therapy, showing up to my courses, finding transformation, asking for support. I went to the Camino de Santiago, Santiago's way in Spain, like showing up to all these opportunities, embracing transformation, embracing pain, being in my darkness, that was my way of being LOUD.
And as time passed by, and as I’ve evolved and as I’ve grown, my way of being LOUD has been different. Today, my way of being LOUD is standing up on a stage and speaking about my truth and sharing with people. Yes, I tried to commit suicide when I was 18 and today, I am in peace and I'm going to show you how to do that. I'm going to show you how to reclaim your voice and be LOUD. That is my way of being LOUD. Right now your way of being LOUD is nursing your home and being a mom and doing this podcast and maybe the way of being LOUD with my neighbor is just being in an office and serving clients in the way that she does. Like there's not a specific way. It's the intention and the context that we do things.
If we do things with the purpose and in integrity with our truth, we make a difference and we give ourselves the opportunity to just be great and show our greatness.
Marly Q: To show up as yourself.
22:21 Adrianna Foster: And let me tell you Marly, there's no greater feeling or more addictive feeling in this world than feeling free to be yourself. Like that's my experience.
Marly Q: Yeah, it feels pretty good!
Adrianna Foster: It's amazing. It's just this like complete ease. I feel like that's heaven.
Marly Q: Ease is the right word. I think ease is the right word. Because you're not fighting. There's no internal battle with yourself.
Adrianna Foster: There's no internal battle. It's just, I feel good. I feel good to be myself and I feel loving to myself. I feel open to receive more and more opportunities. I feel unapologetic to just show who I am, and I feel deserving, like I'm worthy. That's what being LOUD means.
Marly Q: Oh, thank you so much for sharing this. There's so much gold in this conversation. Please tell all our PARKers listening how can they connect with you? How can they learn more about Foster Nights?
Adrianna Foster: Absolutely. So if you go to my website, www.adriannafoster.com, you can find all the information. I would love to connect with you or follow me on social media. I'm always sharing my crazy stories with my daughter and my life. Being a mom and being a Latina in the United States and learning how to speak a language that's not mine and how to share my stories in both Spanish and English. And then I do videos. I do acoustic videos of my songs. I'm pretty crazy. So if you want to have fun with me, follow me on social media and Instagram, you can find me as @adriannafosteroficial, in Spanish, or my YouTube channel, which I have more than 17,000, I'm so grateful. 17,000 followers in my YouTube channel.
Marly Q: That is amazing!
Adrianna Foster: Adrianna Foster on Spotify, I have a lot of people. I have like 85,000 listeners a month. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, 85,000 listeners. I love you. I'll give you more music soon, I promise.
Marly Q: Could you give us a little music today, make a little gift, a little gift once we wrap up. Ooh, I get my own little private concert here!
Adrianna Foster: So every time I hear this song or I sing this song, it reminds me of you like I mean it and because your smile literally was the light that I needed to just keep on going, that little spark of oxygen that I needed to just one more step that totally created the momentum to where I'm at. So this is for you Marly Q. [Signing - Nat King Cole - Smile]
Smile though your heart is aching Smile even though it's breaking When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by If you smile through your fear and sorrow Smile and maybe tomorrow You'll see the sun come shining through, for you
Light up your face with gladness Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying Smile, what's the use of crying? You'll find that life is still worthwhile If you just smile.
Marly Q: What a gift. What a treat. Thank you! I'm going to have to wrap it up now so I can have a good cry. Thank you so much for making the Time to be Kind. Thank you for the gift of your voice. Thank you for the gift of your story and everything that you shared today. I feel that we can talk for many, many, many more episodes. So is it okay we invite you back?
Adrianna Foster: Of course. Oh my God. I can be here every day, so you just let me know.
Marly Q: Awesome. Thank you so much.
Adrianna Foster: Thank you.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a big SMILE on my face!
I really hope today's interview inspired you too and serves as a powerful testimony of what can happen when you make the Time to be Kind and SMILE.
Your SMILE has the power to be the spark that YOU or someone else needs to feel seen, heard, connected and encouraged to keep going … and as you heard, it could even be someone's North Star to light the way through a dark time and be guided back home.
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