As a group of women working towards common goals for STYLE Canada‘s brand and business, we understand the value of peer support in the workplace. So, after our last Supper Club at Soho House, we decided to bring like-minded women in business together and feature them in an ongoing series: #LeadingLadies. Learn more about #LeadingLady Erin Poredos, founder of The Joy Tribe, below.
SC: If you were introducing yourself to someone for the first time, what would you tell them?
EP: That’s a great question. I’m many things but I’ll introduce myself as a self-love and divorce recovery coach. I help single women recover from heartbreak by ditching shame, old scripts and limiting beliefs to rediscover themselves, cultivate fierce self-love, and gain the courage to live a life without fear.
SC: Who or what has been a strong influence in your life?
EP: My parents have been strong role models. My mom is very caring and giving, always wanting to help others. My dad is very determined and has worked hard for the life that we had growing up. I feel extremely grateful to have the parents I do. My sisters and my friends have been my rocks who’ve supported me wholeheartedly through my journey. I wouldn’t be here sharing my work with you if it wasn’t for them.
SC: What led you to found The Joy Tribe?
EP: After being in an eight-year relationship, marriage then divorce, I realized I had no idea who the hell I was. To be honest, this started well before any relationship or divorce. I was forced to feel my raw feelings of pain, anxiety, and identity loss. It was if I had to start life all over again. I had to unapologetically let go of ideas, thoughts, and people I held so closely to truly move forward.
When I started to realize that what I had been telling myself for so long was a load of garbage, things started to change. The struggle was real and pain was imminent but I made a choice to show up for myself and keep moving forward. I’m grateful I did. What I did wish is that I had someone who understood what I was going through, to help me through the pain and provide a road map of what to do next. This inspired me to become that person for others, someone who could guide them on their journey back to themselves again.
SC: What motivates you to empower women, especially those who are going through divorce?
EP: When you leave a relationship whether it’s a marriage or not, it can feel like you’ve lost it all. I know what it’s like to not know who you are or where to go next and feeling completely destroyed. There’s a lot of pain and regret associated with the loss of life and an identity that previously defined who you were. But divorce isn’t failure; it’s a chance at a new beginning, an opportunity to embark on your own adventure and find the path you’re meant to walk on.
Many of us don’t even realize there’s another path for us until something major happens and our world is turned upside down. I want to guide women on that inner adventure of their rediscovery of themselves. To find what lights them up, brings them joy and uncovers who they want to be. My mission is to let women know they have a choice: they don’t always have to follow the rules and they can have that epic love story… with themselves.
SC: You talk a lot about “old scripts” that make women feel ashamed and limit their belief in starting anew. Can you describe those narratives?
EP: When I was younger, I knew exactly what my goals were. I mean all those Disney movies really helped shape my ideals about love and life, am I right? I wanted to have a successful career, get married to my prince charming, have the kids, the house, and all the adult things. In reality, those goals I was striving for weren’t really mine or reality, they were unconscious scripts we’ve passed down in society that equates to a ‘successful’ life.
I admit, I placed high value on relationships and finding a partner who would provide the dream life that I thought I wanted. Nowhere in that equation did I ask myself key questions like – will this person make me happy? Will this life make me happy? Does this life represent who I am at my core? I was just so fixated on the idea of the ‘perfect’ life that I didn’t care what I had to sacrifice to get it… even if it meant sacrificing myself.
When I got divorced at age 32, I believed being over 30, single and divorced meant you’ve failed. I was worthless, damaged goods, and there was clearly something wrong with me. None of those scripts or stories were valid when it came to determining my worth – they were complete bullshit and it took a while and conscious effort to figure that out.
It was time to meet myself, my fears and my demons. It was a long journey (and still a work in progress!) but I learned I determine my worthiness, no matter what I’ve experienced or been through. No person or relationship will ever define who I am or what I offer this world. Anyone can have this inner liberation too – if they’re willing to let go and start again. And seriously, the journey is worth it.
SC: In your practice, you prioritize helping women cultivate “fierce self-love” and courage to live their lives without fear. Why are these things key to helping them rediscover themselves and feel satisfied with their life, just the way it is?
EP: Love isn’t just about a relationship with another person. It’s about investing in the relationship you have with yourself first. Self-love should be a priority whether you’re in a relationship or not. We tend to lose ourselves especially in relationships because we’re constantly putting the needs of others above our own. We need to give ourselves permission to say yes to ourselves and do the things we want to do and need to do without feeling guilty. Being mindful of how to treat ourselves and the crap we put in our bodies. From the words we speak, to the movements we engage in everyday, to the foods we eat during our favourite Netflix shows – it all counts. It also means having compassion for what you can’t control and loving yourself through it. During the rediscovery process, you’re letting go of the things or people that aren’t serving you and your happiness and replacing them with the things that do. It isn’t easy but no epic, blockbuster love story is.
SC: You help single women become the “heroine” of their own love story, but in less of a traditional sense. Can you explain?
EP: I believe that life is an adventure that brings both positive and negative experiences that we need to overcome in order to get to the next level of our lives. With each level we pass, we gain valuable gifts, trinkets, and knowledge. Each of these difficult situations (whether you want to believe it or not) always brings gifts and learnings. They lead you to your next job, next relationship, next adventure that’s on your path. You just need to want to see it and be able to grab the opportunity when it appears.
Growing up, I had always been fascinated by fairy tales and fantasy. The stories were always filled with magic, adventure, and epic love stories – I was hooked. That’s how I got into gaming and the video game character, Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. The first halloween after my separation, I was stuck on a costume to wear and that’s when Tomb Raider brought me back to life.
When I was in costume I felt strong, beautiful and like I could conquer anything – then I thought why can’t I feel like this 24/7? Once I knew this was a belief I could hold everyday things changed. Next time, you want to feel powerful, imagine becoming your favourite adventure heroine, like Lara Croft looking for your next tomb to raid.
SC: What do you hope each woman feels after working with you?
EP: After my divorce, I realized my dream had nothing to do with a husband or a wedding. My dream was to create the most incredible life and to redefine my relationship with myself. Every second I sat around in my own wallowing in my own sadness was another minute of life wasted. I decided to take back my life, started to love all parts of me, broken or not, and cleared the garbage I was putting into my body and mind. My life changed dramatically – like, real magical stuff. That’s exactly what I want for my clients – to see that they deserve all the love in the world, especially from yourself.
SC: What do you hope to achieve with The Joy Tribe?
EP: For me, it’s really about changing people’s realities when it comes to what their capable of. We live our lives trying to fit into boxes and are afraid to step outside of the lines. I want people to embrace that everyone is unique and deserves love and the most epic life, no matter who they are. No one is perfect, and life isn’t perfect but everyone has their own unique journey to take. That’s what makes life beautiful.
SC: What is your greatest achievement over the past decade?
EP: It’s going to sound cliché, but after years of doubting myself I finally followed my intuition, quit my job and chose me for the first time in my life. Despite my fear of failure and letting my family and friends down, I wanted to do things differently. I wanted to stop being a rule follower and make my own rules and do what was truly in my heart rather than choose paths because I was supposed to.
SC: What do you love most about the work you do?
EP: Seeing my clients have those little ‘aha!’ moments that completely change their perspective. It’s almost like a light goes on and they’ve made a new discovery of themselves. I feel very lucky to be able to witness my clients transformation and give them courage to move forward in their journey. I get to be their cheerleader with the pom poms and a huge sign at the side of the road, screaming at the top of my lungs, ‘Keep going… I’m with you every step of the way!’. To me, that makes this job the best job in the world, knowing that I am able to help someone realize they are the heroine of their own epic adventure.
SC: What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
EP: Don’t let anyone dictate how you feel about yourself or your worth. Their opinions don’t matter, yours do.
SC: If there’s one message you could send through your platform, what would it be?
EP: You always have a choice. It’s up to you to create your own happiness and a life you love.
SC: If you could tell women who are feeling hopeless and alone in socially-distanced COVID times one thing, what would it be?
EP: Become the best friend you’ve always wanted and start dating yourself. Once you start building a life that you feel confident in and that’s authentically yours, everything else will fall into place.