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Francesca Anastasi - "Whenever there is a challenge, I choose not to be a victim"


I want to share my story with you about how I went from a poor mindset to a success mindset.

I was born in Italy in a small city and I lived in the outskirts of that big city, and my family struggled over the years financially, and I went to school and then my dad, at one point, decided that he didn’t want me to go to school anymore.

So, he put me out of school when I was 13 years old, because he was afraid that all the boys would chase after me, and he didn’t want to have to worry about that.

And then I managed to go to school when I was 17 years old, and the whole time growing up, because of the financial struggles on the family, grew up thinking and hearing, "we can’t afford this", or "this is for the rich people, this is not for us".

And fast forward years later, I ended up getting married, and I was in a marriage for 14 years where I wasn’t allowed to work, not allowed to have a career. And at the end of that marriage, while I was going through a divorce and fighting for a child support, I had a child at the time. And right in between that divorce and having found a job, somebody decided to set a fire to the place where I lived.

And I had been struggling already, I had.. the job that I had found barely paid my bills, so I didn’t have the means to pay for any extras, like, house insurance for example. And, basically lost everything that was in the home, we were very lucky my daughter and I, not be in the house at the time.

That somebody decides to set a fire, it was actually a crime scene, my landlord who happened to live upstairs, died in the fire. So, we felt very blessed that we had at least our suitcases with us, we happened to be away at that time.

And then, ten days later, when… ten days later after that fire, I got called in the office and… where I worked, and I was told that the company wasn’t doing well, they were letting pretty much everyone go.

So, within ten day, I lost a home, all the belongings that I had in it, it was a little basement suite that I had been renting after I had split from my ex-husband, and now I had no job.

And so I had to start looking for work again, which seemed it would be an easy thing to do, but it wasn’t. And, I started going to interviews, job interview after job interview, and I wasn’t getting work. I was still homeless, I had, when I had left my ex-husband, it seemed most of our friends decided not to be friends with me anymore, so it was a very lonely journey, this was very difficult, and, as I said, I was going to job interview after job interview and nobody was hiring me.

I was either not qualified or overqualified, which I’m not even sure how that was even possible.

And, I was looking very very hard, at one point, I was looking so hard for work that in one month, I had 33 job interviews, I had two agencies helping me get interviews and nothing was happening and I was getting very frustrated.

I was barely living on unemployment insurance that I was given from being laid off. And months been on, and my unemployment insurance started running out. And right towards the end of that, September 11th happened, so that’s 9/11, we’re talking about 2001.

And, all the interviews stopped, and now I found myself as a single mom, without a job, without a home. I didn’t know what to do. Like, how do you put foot on the table, you have child to feed. And unemployment insurance started to run out, what do I do?

So I had to make a decision that if nobody was going to hire me, I would hire myself.

Now, the moment that really changed my mindset, as I was saying earlier, I grew up with this poor mindset, thinking "can’t afford it", always thinking, you know, "things are for rich people, not for us".

It felt like I didn’t deserve to be successful. And I remember when I, when the fire was set at the house, back in the January of 2001, I received this phone call from my friend who had told me, she said "are you sitting down?", and she told me that my house had been burned.

I remember that everything prior to that moment, was a me of feeling sorry for myself. It was always "why does this happen to me?", "why did I have a horrible marriage?", "why this?", and "why that?"

Everything was about blaming everyone and everything around me, and not really taking any accountability and responsibility myself for maybe things were happening because I was seeing them that way, and I should change the way I should look at things.

So the moment I got that call when my friend was telling me "don’t even bother coming home, because there is nothing left", it was so surreal, and I remember thinking, holding the phone and it was dead silence on my end, and thinking "I have a choice now, this is the moment for me, I can continue feeling sorry for myself, I can go to welfare and just keep blaming everything and everyone, or I can choose to clean slate", like I don’t even know what this other sign is, I had no idea what it would look like to not be and feel like a victim.

I thought "you know what? I’m just gonna grab this bull by its horns, and I’m gonna ride it with the whole it’s got. I don’t know what it looks like, I know it’s gonna be tough, but I know that if I go back, if I continue feeling sorry for myself, it’s not a place that I like and I just know what that looks like, and I don’t want that anymore."

So, as a moment of decision, and as hard as that time was, you know financial struggle, no home, no job ten days later, the fact that I made that decision, made me embrace whatever challenge came. It was like a strong decision, and it was the most… one of the most horrible times in my life and at the same time, it was the best thing that ever happened to me, because it showed me that we, as individual, have so much power within us, we just have to choose to dig it but it’s there.

We all have it.

I didn’t believe I had it until that moment and I think I didn’t even believe at that moment, I just made a choice that I didn’t want the negative in my life anymore, and that would always try to find the positive and not just look at the positive but try to find how to use that positive, not just look at it but embrace it, and build on it.

And that’s what basically happened, it took that, you know, from the January down to the September 11, and then I ended up deciding to hire myself by opening a dance studio, I always loved dancing.

I had dance training so I decided to open a company and started my own business.

I had zero experience, I had no clue what business was even… I had no idea how to do anything in business and I learned the hard way. At first, I took a course on business, entrepreneurship, to do everything by the book. And here comes the next challenge, I opened a studio, I had my big grand opening, and nobody came.

And I think because I had made this decision earlier on that I would not be a victim, it kind of equipped me to try to find a different way, and instead of feeling sorry for myself again, I could feel sorry for myself sitting there in the middle of an empty dance studio that I rented, and nobody there to… to come in and get some students to support me, because that would be my only means of income.

It was a pivotal moment for me where I said to myself "oh I’m not a victim anymore, I decided that, so I’m just going to find a way, there is a way, there is no other option, and I will figure it out, I will find a way, I will ask for help, I will do whatever it takes."

And, six months later, I sold out every class I had in the studio, I worked down to the bone, but from that point on, my business got rocketed, and I learned so much about business.

I love sharing my story, not because it’s… a great story? I don’t think it’s a great story. I only like to share my story, and I share it a lot with a lot of different people because… I believe that anything negative that happens in our life should not be wasted and should not be in vain.

So I like to share my story to help inspire you if you’re watching this, if you’re feeling you’re in a place where everything happens to you, and you feel like you’re in a rut and you don’t know how to get out.

The thing is you can, there is help out there, you just have to believe that there is, and even if you don’t believe, just take the steps and when you start seeing the results, then you’ll start to believe. So there are kind of… that’s what I’ve learned, this is what I’ve learned from my experiences.

So now, whenever something happens, whenever there is a challenge, I choose not to be a victim, not to think "poor me" or "why does everything happen to me?", because that doesn’t mean that challenges don’t continue to happen, they still do. It’s just a happier way of living when… when you look at life differently from a positive side, but also how to use that positive, not just to look at it, but just how… what can you do with it, and grow from there.

About Francesca

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Francesca Anastasi (aka Sabeya) is a business growth strategist, a savvy consultant and mentor.

From homeless to CEO, Francesca shares the tools, principles and systems she applied as the founder and CEO of Confidance Institute Inc. which made the company successful against the odds, generating multiple six-figure income in under three years

The creator, producer and host of the Succeed Against the Odds show, she is dedicated to working with, and inspiring, entrepreneurs of all ages, which has led to several nominations and awards. Francesca offers business, personal development and advancement training programs. She is also the creator of the one-of-a-kind Magnificent You women's conference.

She is also the visionary and founder of the annual, global charity event Shimmy Mob for which she received the 'Telling Our Story' Award.

You can connect with Francesca through these social media pages:

Instagram — @francesca_sabeya_anastasi

Facebook — @mybizandlife

LinkedIn — @francescaanastasi

Twitter — @mybizandlife

About Spoken Out Stories

Spoken Out Stories is a video series about helping people who went and/or are going through what a lot of people consider as a hard experience, and don’t see a way out to move on with their life. It is about sharing inspiring and moving stories of different people who come from different parts of the World, and tell us how they move forward with determination and optimism despite what they went through. It is about giving another perspective, another point of view on issues that can't be solvable with a bandage. It is telling people through these inspiring stories that you are enough, that you are worthy, that you are NOT alone and that it is okay to feel the way you feel. It is about putting a spotlight on people who speak out about their vulnerabilities in order to empower and support others in their pain.

You can connect with Spoken Out Stories through these social media pages:





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