8 Life Lessons With Heidi Fossali
8 Life Lessons With Heidi Fossali

8 Life Lessons With Heidi Fossali

Having cut her teeth as a model and stylist, Heidi Fossali turned her attention to life coaching following the end of her marriage. Today, she’s the author of ‘From Frightened To Fabulous’ – a self-help tome aimed at women going through the menopause and beyond to help them make the most of the next chapter of their lives. We asked her to tell us about the power of reinvention and the life lessons she’s learnt so far.

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On Love...

A lot of women my age are looking for love for a second, possibly even third, time around. What I’ve come to realise is that so much of your outlook on love and relationships is formed in early life. My childhood was a happy one, but the belief system we were fed was quite restrictive. My mother and father weren’t the types to say, “I love you” and we were never encouraged to be disruptive or rock the boat. I think an awful lot of that is what led me into my first marriage and, eventually, feeling trapped in it. I knew staying in that relationship was limiting my potential but, for the sake of my two little girls at the time, I tried my very best to stick with it. No one had ever encouraged me to live outside the ordinary. Taking the decision to leave and pursue a divorce probably marked the start of my reinvention journey. Today, I’m hopeful about finding love again, but the truth is I’m also a little bit sad. It’s difficult to find someone who comes from the same bunch of grapes – which is a piece of advice I give my daughters. I’ve also been very disappointed by love, but I’m also driven by the idea of finding it again. I’m always living in hope – even if I’m starting to feel a bit impatient!


On Reinvention…

After my marriage ended, my parents (especially my father) were very worried I wouldn’t cope – especially with two small children on my hands. But I sat down and wrote a list which proved I had skills that would stand me in good stead. Self-doubt and fear of change had kept me in an unhappy marriage longer than I should have stayed – and I was finally ready to stop holding myself back. Explaining what you want is far harder than saying what you don’t want. But doing so is what will get you off the same old treadmill and into new pastures. It was at this point that I discovered life coaching – which uncovered a whole new Heidi. It took me out of my head and into my heart, and I knew I had to share that power one day, hence the book. It’s designed to show you how to work on yourself through eight steps, so you keep learning and moving through this next stage. By sharing my own messy reality, I’m hoping others feel inspired to move forward with their lives.


On Careers…

I think my parents were a bit disappointed that neither my siblings nor I went to university (but only because the Joneses next door did). As for me, I’ve always been passionate about fashion, beauty and fitness and I’ve never ventured outside of my core skill set – I am my brand. Even when I was working for a music management company on the King’s Road, it was my people skills that shone through. I also have an aesthetic appreciation and a good eye – which is difficult to teach. I’ve always just seen my ‘career’ as my lane – but because I’ve always been who I am, it’s never really felt like work. It’s never felt like something I chose; it’s just been my purpose since day one. Purpose is a huge question – especially for women my age who so often feel like they’ve been out of the game too long and are now invisible. My advice would be to write a list of your skills, find out who you are and connect with the woman you left behind. Then, figure out what you’re good at and you’ll know what you have to offer. At our age, I often think it’s often either entrepreneurial or creative – which is so exciting. Don’t play it too safe.


On Friendship…

The thing about friendships is they’re all about ebb and flow. There are times in your life – when you’re travelling or your children are at school – when friends seem to come quite easily. But it’s not always that way, especially as you get older and your circumstances change. A lot of it comes down to environment, too. There weren’t many people with my personality when I was living in France, but I found lots of friends in LA, where people are more exuberant. Personally, I know I dive in with almost everyone I meet and I’m guilty of thinking I need to share my soul with everyone. I don’t think I struggle with friendships but, sometimes, it’s like they struggle with me. I often reach out to people and get very little back, but that’s common as I think most of us can count our true friends on one hand. One achievement I’m proud of is that I’m now friends with my ex-husband. I truly believe making peace is crucial if you want to move forward and open your heart to new relationships and experiences.


On Health & Wellness…

My health has always been very important to me, but my reasons for this have changed over the years. For example, when I was a model in the early days, losing weight was always a top priority (and a disaster, by the way). I was lucky to grow up in a home where there was no caution around food, so I don’t have any weird hang-ups and I was always sporty at school, too. Then I fell in love with the gym, so it became about fuelling my body with good food and eventually getting certified – with heaps of research and reading along the way. I’ll never know if this is one hundred per cent the case, but I believe my commitment to health and fitness helped me navigate menopause as well as I seemed to. Who knows? But it’s certainly something I think about. I certainly believe in the power of protein, good fats, omega 3s – all brilliant for your body and brain. I also think it’s the reason I’m able to be so positive most of the time – that, coupled with healthy exercise. My discipline is definitely something I take a lot of pride in.


On Style…

Style isn’t just about what you wear. It’s also how you treat people and, generally, how you present yourself to the world. At this age, there’s no need to change who you are, but I do believe women are taught not to take pride in their appearance beyond a certain point and that actually makes me quite angry. The thing is, you can have done lots of work to feel good on the inside but, if the outside doesn’t reflect that, you’re not going to tap into that last bit of confidence you need to fulfil your potential. Personally, I’m all about doing small things to feel good – hence why the book runs through five areas to help you feel the best you can. Sometimes, it’s as quick as a haircut or starting to really look after your skin. The good news is there are no rules – it’s about self-expression and championing yourself. Let’s face it, there’s a reason we all love Trinny so much…


On Money…

Money makes me so uncomfortable. Talking about it causes a lump to form in my throat – mainly because at the age of 42, when I got divorced, I had nothing. I had to battle to stand on my own two feet, so I know that feeling of sweating through the night and being forced to ask for help (which is really hard by the way). I’ve been lucky to have some angels along the way who have come to my rescue when I couldn’t pay the rent, but I have a real fear and hang-up around money. I think lots of women my age probably do too. I’ve also been accused of being a gold digger after my divorce – being told I was only dating certain people for money. But that was never, ever the case. Today, with all these bullets on my belt, I’m proud to say I’m stepping into my potential and taking more control. I’ve finally realised I’m capable of looking after myself.


On Motherhood…

I get quite emotional thinking about my children. Being a mother is by far the thing I’m most proud of. Despite everything they’ve been through – because I chose a difficult road – they’re exceptional. One is a trainee lawyer in Washington on an academic scholarship, the other is at UCL doing her masters and I couldn’t be prouder of them both. It’s the most instinctive thing I’ve ever done and it’s been a driving force in my life. Today, everything I do is to make them as proud of me as I am of them. I’m aware that a lot of my decisions haven’t been their choice, but they’ve had to roll with the consequences. But I love being a mother today as much as I did at the very beginning. 

From Frightened To Fabulous: The 8 Secret Steps To Unlock The Best, Most Vibrant Version Of You! is out now. Buy your copy here. Follow @Heidi.Fossali on Instagram.

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