Erica Virvo tells us all about building self confidence through the goals that you set, understanding the power of your own sexuality & the sometimes awkward situations that allow you to break through barriers.
Amy Riordan "We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are." - Max de Pree
Amy Riordan Welcome to the Amy Riordan Podcast. They say owning a business is a journey in self development, so I decided to explore just that. Whether you're an entrepreneur or looking for fulfillment in your day to day life, get inspired here through interviews, life stories and proven self help techniques. What you do with the information received in this podcast is completely up to you. But if you act, you will alter the course of your life in ways you never could've possibly imagined. I'm Amy Riordan. Let's do this.
Amy Riordan If you're looking for a fun, lively, vibrant interview with an amazing woman, this is where you're gonna find it today. I interviewed Eric Virvo and she is going to talk to us all about confidence. And I know you guys are gonna love this one, because not only is she talking about how she's brought confidence into her life but also talking about a few edgy topics that not only should be a part of your confidence, but also potentially on your bucket list. So I think this one's going to really hit home like a lot of you, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Amy Riordan We are back, and this time I got to interview Erica Virvo, who actually works for Nomadic Matt. She's going to tell us about self confidence, and we're gonna dive in with first talking about her childhood. So, Erica, thank you so much for joining us. Tell us about how you got self confidence through your child.
Erica Virvo Hello? Hello! Well, that's a great question. I definitely feel like I grew up in an environment and a family that fostered self confidence. And I don't think that; I don't say that lightly you, like, I think that a lot of people don't necessarily grow up in that kind of an environment. And so I feel very lucky with the family that I got born into in the place that I got born into, with the passport that I got born into, with the, you know, privileges that I got born into that you know, I had really nothing to say about. With all that said, I'm from Stanford, Connecticut. I was born and raised there. I have both of my parents and a younger brother and older sister, and we were always, always, always encouraged to speak our mind, share what we thought and participate in everything and follow through with what we said we were gonna do and our parents were our advocates, but we're also always talked to be our own advocates for anything. So we're just really; me and my siblings grew up with a heightened sense of like - you can do whatever you want. It doesn't matter that you're young. It doesn't matter that you may not know how, we can figure that out once you commit or once you say what you want to do. And it wasn't to the point where, like, if I said I wanted to be a pianist, and then I decided not to, my mom would like, make me be a pianist. But there was definitely a conversation, like why don't you want to be it anymore? Are you sure that you don't want to do this? Like, you know, it wasn't, 'Oh, you don't want to do it? Okay, fine.' And so I think that, just growing up in a family like that, with those sort of values, helped me build a strong - err - laid down a strong foundation for just having that self confidence and the ability to trust that what I do is either the right thing or I can make it the right thing. Or, if it's the wrong thing, then it's not the end of the world. So, yeah, that was the basis that I think my child, laid for me.
Amy Riordan So let's talk a little bit about you changing your mind, since we're here. So how do you feel confident when you change your mind? Because I know a lot of people struggle with that. They feel like they've let themselves down or their parents down, and obviously you wouldn't have to worry about your parents, but have you ever change your mind and felt like you let yourself down
Erica Virvo A lot. I feel like every human would say that. I definitely feel like I do that a lot, but I sort of... I try to keep in my mind this holding about context and the fact that we are who we are today because of all of the decisions we've ever made in our life. I say that because there are these times when you feel like you made a huge mistake and the only thing that I would say is it's only a mistake if you don't learn from it. So when I was, I'll give you two examples. When I was younger, I got these ice skates that were too big for me. So I went on the ice and I was not skating properly. And my mom was like, "Go tell them that you need different ice skates." So I stood in line and then I got to the front of the counter and nobody paid attention to me because I was eight years old and then, 30 minutes later, whenever - I don't know - my mom came over and said, OK, we're all leaving and I said, Wait, what? I didn't get to skate. And she was like, How come you didn't get to skate? I said, because I've been waiting on, you know, somebody to help me, and she's like, Well, how come you get somebody to help you? And I said, because nobody paid attention to me, and she's like, Yeah, but you have to make them pay attention to you. You're you're here to do something, you know, you're capable of doing this. And so, that was a terrible day for me because I didn't get to skate. But I learned a huge lesson about like, if you want something, you have to be your own advocate. You have to ask because not everyone knows what you want. You know, they're gonna just thought I was standing there looking at the skates. I don't know. I don't know what they're thinking. I don't know if I was too short, but I could have definitely made my voice heard. And I have come back to that memory so many times, just throughout my adult life, because I feel like it's such a good lesson like you have to be your own advocate because people just don't know what's going on with you. So that's one thing. So that's like a mistake or something that I wish I didn't do that I really learned from. And then there's... I went to school for interior design. I really thought that's what I wanted to do, and my third year was very clear that that's not what I wanted to do. And I decided to stick it out to get a college degree. And in doing so, I ended up studying abroad in Qatar. And in doing that, I fell in love with traveling. And so even though, and for the last 10 years I've either lived abroad - 10 or 11 years - I've either lived abroad or worked in travel. So, honestly, the 'mistake' of studying interior design has brought me my life as it is today. And I love my life today and I would have never started traveling. I don't think... had I really liked my major because I had no plans, it was literally like, fine... I'll finish my major as long as I can be on an adventure. Then I felt so in love with traveling, and I'm created this whole life of travels, and it's contributed to like, I don't know, 80 or 90% of my personality. I just saw somebody say that... Gabby Beckford was at a conference, and she said, you know, I don't know what to tell people. People ask me how has traveled, change me, and she was like, it's now 90% of my personality is because of because I travel. So I feel like that's the same with me, and so you're asking a question about like, do you ever feel like you make mistakes like, yeah, in the moment I always feel like I'm making a mistake. But if you look at your life as this grander picture and, you know, Steve Jobs said, like the dots never -- totally misquoting this. -- But the dots never matchup as you're doing it. It's on like, in hindsight that you could see how everything is connected. That's how I feel like my life is. So the answer is, I never feel like I'm making the right choice. And it has to be the right choice, because the only choice that I'm choosing, so yeah.
Amy Riordan I love the way you put it. So when we previously talked about you doing this podcast, I know that you mentioned talking to a teacher and telling him that you wanted to go into the Peace Corps. I want you to touch on that a little bit because I love that part. And I know that's part of your process, for pushing through this program that you were in, so tell us a little bit about that.
Erica Virvo Yeah. So when I was when I was a junior in college, I was really, really good at my major. I was winning the awards and top of my class, and then I went... for some reason, I went to see a musical or dance review called The Four Africa Dance Review in my school. And I was like, Oh my God, I want to go to Africa and I want to make a difference. And I don't feel like interior design is that's how I can do that. I know plenty of people make a difference with interior design, but I was clear that that wasn't for me. And so I sort of had a little meltdown at age 20 and packed up my bags. Put everything in my car, went to my advisor Mr. Whitehead, told him that I was leaving. I couldn't do this anymore. I really just wanted to travel. I wanted to go to Africa, which to me was like one place. Now it's not, think goodness, but I was 20. I didn't know any better. And I wanted to join the Peace Corps, and I wanted to make a real difference in the world, and that's what that meant to me. And so he said, Okay, Erica, that sounds like a great plan. I would love to take you to coffee right now. Will you come with me? I was like, sure, I have nothing to lose.I'm about to drive back to Connecticut right now. And he took me to coffee and explained to me, it's really nice that you wanna have that. You want a good Africa, but, as I know it, the Peace Corps really likes when people - or requires that people - have college degrees. (I don't know which one it is.) And so, since you only have a year and 1/2 left in your major, it would really behoove you to just stay and finish it so that you have a college degree. And that was such good advice. THAT WAS SUCH GOOD ADVICE.
Amy Riordan That's awesome. He sounds like a really, really great person.
Erica Virvo My favorite.
Amy Riordan And he obviously wanted to break it to you, lightly.
Erica Virvo He was guiding me. It was really... It was unwelcome at the time, but also very welcome because everyone else was like Erica's going to do whatever she wants. She always does whatever she wants. And nobody was like the voice of reason. So, or at least that I could hear, right? Nothing else was coming through until he said that and I was like, I guess well, if I want to make a difference, I should probably have, some sort of something under my belt that could make me seem... I guess I could make me seem like important or that I could do something, I don't know. As somebody growing up in Connecticut, in the family that I did. it sort of was like, you know, you have to get a college degree or you should or it never really occurred to me not to until I packed up my car.
Amy Riordan And then you and unpacked your car.
Erica Virvo And then I unpacked my car.
Amy Riordan So you said that everybody always said, "Erica just does what she wants on. I think that that's something, like a quality, that a lot of people envy in other people, and clearly you're also an open book. So - you give me the eyebrows on that. I saw that. - but let's dive into the more personal stuff. I know that you've talked about Tantra a little bit, and this might get a little awkward for some of our listeners, but I think it's important that we talk about this because no one does. And and you always have a lot of really good things to say about that. So go ahead.
Erica Virvo So I guess I'll tell you how I got into Tantra. I'm 32 today. When I was 15, I got my first period. I love talking about periods, so this might get a little periody. 15 and a month when I got my second period, and then my third through, I don't know, 10 years of periods came every 4 to 6 months, so I would have my period for, like, four days, times three. So 12 days a year, which seems crazy. And, uh, when I was living with my family, my mom was concerned and she was like, go to the gynecologist. This doesn't seem normal. No, it doesn't. But also, it doesn't really affect me. Right? Except that I don't need to use as many pads and tampons, so great. Yeah, yeah. People are, like, envious of me. But I also knew something was wrong, so I would go to the gynecologist. The gynecologist, you know, bless them, I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with gynecologists. I just don't think there's a lot of, you know, we should straighten out your period kind of talk at the gynecologist. So they told me, since it was coming every 4 to 6 months, that I was fine. And that was my normal. And I was like, I don't really believe that, but if you're the doctor, sure. I'll leave it. Then, and at the same time, I had a lot of issues going wrong with me. I had a ovarian torsion, which led me to an emergency surgery, which, if I didn't have that surgery, I could have died that day. It's where your ovary twists so much that your fallopian tube could burst and that would, like, spread toxins into your body, and that's how it kills you. And so I had to get fallopian tube removed two weeks into my college education.
Amy Riordan Oh my gosh.
Erica Virvo All by myself, in Virginia, with no friends. It was experience. So all these things were happening. So this was 15 I get my period, 18 that happens to me and I have to get a fallopian tube removed. They say that I have PCOS, which is diagnosable, not testable. So I sort of believed them, sort of didn't. They put me on all sorts of medication, birth controls, all this sort of stuff. And so, fast forward to when I'm 28 years old and I was at the World Domination Summit, which is an incredible, incredible, like, life loving conference in Portland, Oregon, and I met this woman who just looked so womanly. Like, she just flowed and her outfit was so womanly and she spoke so softly, and it was like, almost like music. And I was like, what do you?! What is your job?! What is this? Tell me more about you, you know, and tell me I'm a Tantra Coach. And immediately, I thought, 'Okay - turn off the brain, like I'm not going to do that. That sounds crazy." When I started talking to her and asking her questions, like more curiously, not like as it could apply to me. And she told me she was hosting a meet up to explain Tantra. And so I went to it two days later and it was a room of like 60 people, men and women. And she explained, like Tantra, which is like the feminine and masculine energies in your body and you know how it works and this whole idea of, like feeling somatically like with your body, rather than your head, and how we got this way as a human society, and all this stuff. And then, at the end of it, she said, "Who wants to watch me bring myself to orgasm?" And we're all like... "Excuse me?" We were like sitting in chairs in an office, and she sat on a stool and, without touching herself, brought herself - breathed herself - into like a five-minute orgasm in front of us, sitting on a stool. I was like, "What is happening?" I've never seen this before, and now I have seen it, and now I can't unsee it. So I went up to her and she had also touched on like different health benefits of Tantra. And I went up to her and I said, "Hey, I have all this stuff wrong with my period. Do you think that, like using your coaching could help that?" and she was like, "I can't promise it, but yes, I have seen people like have different or changes or stabilization with their period or their cycle or things menstruation, so I will say it's possible. I won't say that you can. " And within three months of coaching, which was three 1-hour coaching calls, she lives in Australia. I live in New York. I started getting my period again, and within a few more months it was like regular.
Amy Riordan That is INSANE.
Erica Virvo What happened?! And I mean, that's the menstrual aspect of it, but the physical aspect of the Tantra coaching was that I went from barely ever having orgasms, and if I did, it was like not noticeable, like, they weren't that... they weren't that great. And too, like taking control of that. And now I'm able to have orgasms pretty much whenever I have sex and they're great, and they're long. They went from, like, five seconds. So then three minutes through Tantra coaching and, like full, full body orgasms. So, I have, my life has changed like exponentially since I hired this tantra coach. Her name is Martina Hughes. She is a genius. I've had all my friends use her because, you know, people just don't talk about this stuff. And not only has that opened me up to, well, I've had a lot of benefits from tantra coaching. One has been with my self confidence, before, as a 15 to 28 year old that barely got her period; didn't know what was happening, until after the first or second session in my tantra coaching, I was like a new woman. I was a new human being, like suddenly, especially after I started getting my period was like, oh my God, I'm part of women. I'm not a girl anymore. And it seems crazy because I didn't even think that I was referring to myself as this non-woman or this person that was excluded from, you know, womanly society. But it showed up in so many ways, like now it was like, oh, I could actually have a baby where that was like a huge question mark before. Like oh, I could actually, you know, talk about this stuff where that was, like, off limits to me before. And it let me pass into this, you know, unspoken realm of like, I am a woman and I don't need to be ashamed about it, and that did - that worked wonders for my self confidence. Like on every level, in career and dating in relationships. And just like my interactions with people. I didn't realize how not having my period was affecting me until I saw the effects of getting my period.
Amy Riordan I really, really like how you talked about her when you first saw her. Because I feel like that shows how you wanted to feel about yourself. And you were so curious about that. Like, why do you have this self confidence, that that she clearly had and carried. So, obviously you learning from this is giving you that confidence, which is huge. I want to go back to, when she started talking about Tantra because I know a lot of people will, like be like oh, like... So okay, this is I'm gonna be... like, very, very honest. I would be like, okay, thank you for inviting me to your seminar, but I'm not going to be involved in this, like, hippie weird stuff. I mean, honestly, like that's my naive personality. So what, what brought you from like, OK, I'm gonna shut my brain off to actually showing up at the seminar?
Erica Virvo Well, to be honest, it's... the World domination Summit is sort of filled with all these wacky and weird professions, where people are doing things that light them up. So, you're already in this zone of, like, what's like curiosity, like, what's possible, and what are people up to? So, I mostly went because she personally invited me and I was feeling like I should probably show up.
Amy Riordan Maybe you had, like, intuition about it?
Erica Virvo Yeah, I don't even know if I would say that. I would just say, like, I didn't want to be like, 'Oh, yeah, I'll come' and then not show up. And so I went, and honestly, like most of the stuff went over my head. And the access that I had to actually signing up for something called Tantra, which seems so off limits to me, was that I could fix my period with it. It wasn't like ,could I have better sex? Like I didn't even know what that meant. Like, I didn't have a frame of reference for that. And like, just to make it clear, none of my partners have ever had Tantra coaching, it's only me. So, what we talk about in our sessions, and what gets uncovered, makes a world of a difference. Like even if the other person is not doing it. None of my partners have ever done it. And I have great sex with all... well, with all of them, that sounds crazy, I have a boyfriend. But you know what I mean.
Amy Riordan You've been able to elevate your sex life without it being something that you have to talk, or potentially even pressure your partner into.
Erica Virvo Yeah, I mean, I've never even invited them to use a Tantra coach. It doesn't seem like an issue to me. It's sort of like ,it's what I... what I do is helping me, and I'm not blaming anyone anymore. I don't even know if I was blaming anyone before. I just, I don't know, it doesn't... because I hear a lot of people, and, when I start talking about Tantra, they're like, "Oh, my partner should use that." And I'm like, "Okay... but also, you could Yeah.
Amy Riordan Exactly. So I think that says a lot about where your self confidence even started. Because for you, you're entering this room, and I mean, it could be based on, like how your parents raised you. If you say you're gonna be somewhere, you go. But you're in this room and it's out of your comfort zone, and potentially your even like... I mean, especially out of your comfort zone, watching this woman haven't orgasm like sitting on an office chair, like in front of all these people. That just... and then on top of that, being willing to try it, because I know a lot of people just close themselves off and they just like they say this is fake, like she's faking at. She's like, whatever they limit their potential because they're afraid to go in there. And I really love that you had the self confidence to go in there and try something new, because otherwise you wouldn't have the self confidence you have now.
Erica Virvo 100%.
Amy Riordan It's like eye opening, I think, on so many different levels. I think a lot of people who let their fear and uncomfortableness not let them or block them from... I mean, even even like your schooling. You're like, 'What am I gonna do with this Degree?' and it, like, lead to everything; that's just, its so cool. And I love your story, and I think you're a lot more inspirational than you realize.
Erica Virvo Ohh, that's so sweet of you to say.
Amy Riordan So let's talk about your life right now, like what's next for Erica? I want to know.
Erica Virvo So there's so much going on. Let's see. Aside from Tantra Coaching, I'll all sort of segway it, because it started with Tantra. But once I got into Tantra, my mind and my sexual self confidence went through the roof; through my own roof, right? So the roof kept raising every time I did something else. But, once I started Tantra, then I was introduced to a practice called Orgasmic Meditation, which doesn't really exist anymore. But then, with orgasmic meditation, then I also got let into, this like, feminine coaching program called The School of Womanly Arts by Mama Gena. And I just completed that this year, and it was phenomenal. I don't want to sing its praises too much, because it doesn't exist anymore. It was the last year they ever did it. But I cannot tell you how life changing those three weekends over three months were. I saw so much healing; it was all for female identifying people. It was like 900 of us and the amount of healing, acceptance, empowerment, pleasure, joy, sadness, anger, like all the things were just like so wildly expressed. And I've never seen that before, and I've never experienced it before. I feel like my whole life got elevated when I was in that program and just has continued, and I realized that, like life, or life is meant to be pleasureful. And I'm meant to do things that bring me joy and I'm meant to be, you know, worshipped or thought highly of because I am a person that deserves that.You know, there's just all this crazy conditioning that we have, just as women in this society that was broken down over the course of that. So that was huge, and I think how that's contributed to who I am now... I mean, for one, I talk about periods and sexuality like I've never talked about it before. I have a whole new understanding when people compliment me that like, they're not just lying, which I feel like, if you don't know that, that's what you're saying. I feel like a whole lot of people are saying that to themselves. I feel very valid in where I am in life and what I've gotten to create and yeah, I mean, that has been.. there's always, like others things, right? Like I've gotten to go traveling so many places and gotten to do all these things. But I think the way of being is what I've got in the most, from all the coaching programs that I've done, especially Mama Geno's is like, you just get to be. Like instead of when I feel sad, I feel wrong. It's like, No, I just can be sad because that is a feeling, and that's something I never really learned before. And I'm 32, so it's interesting because, like, people have said it to me, but I hadn't really learned it until; that I had seen it in action. So I did that. I'm doing that. I also just had a date coaching client because I thought that I wanted to be a date coach. I don't necessarily want to be a date coach, but I do love talking about dating and relationships. I think it's super important. And I'm working with Nomadic Matt, who is a travel blogger and, just putting together community events for him. And I live on Roosevelt Island with my boyfriend, we just moved in, which was a tiny little island right next to Manhattan, between Manhattan and Queens, and it's basically awesome, beautiful, so much greenery. It's like being in New York without being in New York and I love it and I don't know, I'm going on a trip to Ghana in a few months. That's sort of what I have planned.
Amy Riordan That's incredible. So, really quick I want to touch base, and I can't feel like me remember the name of it. so forgive me, but when we talked last, you said that you and actually a friend of ours, Paige took this course, and I want you to talk a little bit about that. Erica Virvo Yeah, so, we took this course, called Landmark Worldwide, which is a personal and professional development organization. And I took this course when I was 17 years old. My parents put our whole family in it, and it is all about creating the life that you love, and how that works is you create relationships with people because we live on Earth with all these different people. And if we can't relate to people and be great with people and collaborate with people and ask people for what we want, like, what are we doing in life? Like we don't live in these silos. We don't live on top of mountains by ourselves. So it's really like, how to create a context that really empowers you for, like, whatever situations you're in. So it is absolutely 1000% the best money I've ever spent in my life was on Landmark, thank God my parents, you know, paid for it the first time I went into it. But I reviewed at all when I was 26 years old, and I completely created awesome finances, which manifested as a lot of money. I created a career which manifested as six years in the travel industry. I manifested beautiful relationships, which has manifested in boyfriends that adore me. And that also manifested as like wanting to live in New York City and making that happen or wanting to go on certain in trips and making those happen, just because, like, I determined that's what I wanted. And then I would just create however, to get that. So it is an incredible personal development program that I think is doing amazing things in the world. There has been over, I think, like two... between two and three million people in the world have done it. It's all over the world, all over many cities, many countries and it's incredible.
Amy Riordan Erica, thank you so, so much for being on the podcast. I'd love to have you on again, so I'll probably be bugging you later. But also, thank you for sharing with us your self confidence. And I mean, I think that this is gonna help the listeners a lot. So thank you so much.
Erica Virvo Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to share. Like you said, I'm an open book, so. I hope you guys enjoyed everything I shared. And thank you so much.
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