A spotlight on a wordsmith (My Story)

(Interview taken by Karen van Hout, originally published on LinkedIn)

***

SHE is fun, strong, caring, curious, hardworking and loves to write. On regular basis she shines a light on other people. Like the wordsmith she is, she ties the answers together. Sketching a picture of the person she interviews. I think it’s highly time that someone shines a light on her.

Here is……………..Andrada Anitei!

Read, be amazed and if you have any writing to do, please contact her.

***

Andrada, as you write wonderful stories about other people, I think is time for a light to be placed over you. How does it feel to be in the spotlights yourself?

Weird… Definitely unusual! I’m the one asking the questions on a regular basis; so this is a new, challenging experience for me. Spotlights? Clearly not for me! I’m more of a backstage person.

A lot of people know you from your stories. Who is the person behind those stories?

Me. Just me. A regular person, from Romania. The ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of woman. I have 2 wonderful daughters, whom I hope to bring up in a simple, yet meaningful manner.

I value integrity, honesty and friendship, above all. I give people all my trust, but cut it on the way, if necessary. Once it reaches zero, I’m gone for good. No regrets, no turning back. I used to be naive (well, I still am, at times, as I’m a dreamer by default), but life taught me that cautiousness is needed. I still struggle with that.

I’m passionate about personal development and a mindfulness ‘adept’. I’m in love and I hope God will keep this going for the rest of my life, as I’ve had pretty rough experiences in the past.

I’m clearly being vulnerable, yet I’m not afraid of that, because my inner child envisions the magic people hide behind a mask. And, as I like to say…

People are beautiful, but they don’t know it yet!’

I take the chance of being judged for what I think (and I always speak my mind), yet – to be honest – I don’t really care. I’m being transparent and whoever judges me instead of making an effort to understand, is not ready for my truth.

I think courage defines me pretty well, accompanied by determination, solution-finding and passion. If you read between the lines, all my writing displays the unconventional.

On a professional level I’m a freelance writer, editor, web designer and video creator. I have built all my websites out of curiosity and drive for continuous improvement. I started with a Google website, switched to blogspot.com, wordpress (all free versions); and, in the last months, I managed to buy my own domain (https://takenofake.xyz) to host all my work. But, unfortunately, due to my Webhost, my online home is down for more than 2 weeks and I can’t seem to figure out a way to make them ‘revive’ it.

Andrada Anitei in Karen van Hout's interview

 

‘Trying to understand is way 

more valuable than judging’

 

What life lessons have you gained, that other people should know?

Wow! This is huge! Well, with all the openness, I’m telling you that part of my lessons can be found in one of Chinedu’s videos, where my voice is his friendly advisor. I highly recommend people to watch that video and listen carefully (find it here).

Besides the ones in the video, I learned that trying to understand is way more valuable than judging. When we judge, we allow ourselves to be weak and subjective. Whereas, when we take the outside information and run it through our personal thinking filter, chances are for us to be as objective as possible. We may realize that an idea, a word, a fact can always have more angles of perception than the common accepted one. I, for one, always try to analyze a happening from at least 2 (maybe even 3) perspectives, in order to get the big picture. I’m not saying that it will always be correct, but in 90% of the cases I’m right. As arrogant as that may sound, this is the truth, due to the fact that I listen to my inner voice.

That’s another valuable lesson I learned over the past year: to always let myself guided by (what I like to call) ‘the midget’. That little gears’ keeper is there for a reason and every time I listened to it, the outcome was even better than what I expected. On the other hand, whenever I ignored it, I had a lesson to learn.

One more thing… I was afraid of failure, for so many years. But I understood that the magic happens once you get out of your box (that is, leave your comfort zone) and start looking for the benefits the unknown may have in store for you.

As a motto, I will give you a phrase a very dear friend of mine told me, a few months back:

Dream of life. Then wake-up and live it!

Why do you do what you do?

Why? That’s a big question. But I love challenges. I like to say that if I had an easy life, I would have complicated it myself. 😃

Why? Let’s see. First of all, because I needed to break free from the conventional. I have a problem with following imposed rules, especially the ones that can’t provide me with a valid ground.

Second, because I love what I do. I love writing from the bottom of my heart, because it gives me the freedom I was always looking for. I believe that writing is like a well made clean up: once you take a thought and populate blank rows with it, you give yourself a chance to make more room in your mind, for other thoughts to come visit. If you ask me, a non-voiced thought remains in the back of our brains and will, eventually, harm us. Because it will not remain hidden forever. It will emerge, most probably in a critical period of our lives, taking the shape of a volcano. And what happens when a volcano erupts? It destroys everything in its way, most of the times.

I’ve experienced this many times, yet my father’s recent dementia episode (which, thank God, is under control now) made me realize the possible (dangerous) repercussions on one’s mind.

And 3rd on my ‘why list’ is because I want my kids to understand the benefits of thinking for themselves; the freedom of following their dream; the chances they give themselves, once they stop following the masses and rusty doctrines; and the uselessness of fearing what they don’t know.

Andrada Anitei's kids for Karen van Hout's interview

 

‘I want my kids to understand the benefits of 

thinking for themselves; the freedom of 

following their dream’

I noticed you are very keen on discovering who the other person is. Where does that come from?

I think my curiosity comes, first and foremost, from the chance I never got to be heard and understood.

Don’t get me wrong, I have wonderful parents, that did their best to give me everything they could. Yet, due to several circumstances (my mother’s illness even before I was born and my father’s obligation to be the sole pillar of the family) was traumatic, to some extent. Just a few days ago I realized this, due to a wonderful woman that connected with me offline. Rahila Khan is a magnificent human being, that instantly felt my need to cure my inner child. I’m still learning to do this, yet the call with her meant the world to me. I cried, I learned to hug myself and accept and release all the past hurt.

And so, I understood why I can’t see my value the way others do. My greatest dream was to become a singer. But no one had the time to listen… My article “When kids meet” explains everything, I guess…

To answer your question… Most of us have hard times and no one is there in the exact moment we need. So, I’ve come to genuinely be interested in what people keep locked. Not for sharing the information, because I believe privacy is sacred. But for a better personal understanding of where the person comes from.

You may be surprised, but people who others can’t stand, are beautiful to me. Maybe because I’m a weirdo myself? 😃

I’ve become addicted to human interaction, though I used to be an introvert. Paradox? Well, I’m full of those 😃 But I have an article pending on the topic. 😉

Curiosity drives evolution quote from Karen van Hout's interview

‘Curiosity drives evolution’

What makes you curious?

My strong belief that curiosity drives evolution. But, trust me, sometimes ‘ignorance is a bliss’ (in quotes because is not my saying, but I had to use it – the rightful owner knows themselves, but privacy comes first).

Also, I do believe that the more unrelated things you know, the better you can put the puzzle pieces together, in order to get the big picture of life. Yet, I’m not intrusive. If people want to talk to me, I will never force them to unveil something they don’t want. I presume this is directly linked to the respect I like to think I’m showing to everyone I come in contact with, even if this may not be returned. Nevertheless, if we do something just for the sake of it, always waiting for the coin to flip, we’d better stop and think again.

It’s an art to interpret people the way you do. How do you do that? What’s your magic trick?

Well, I’ll burst that bubble… I have no magic trick. Disappointed? Shouldn’t be. 😉 The only thing I do is to listen. Actively. That’s all. 😊

I’ve been told that talking to me is like seeing a good therapist. People tell me that I send a good vibe. And, as many of us know, vibe is energy. And energy gets transferred immediately, without asking for approval.

Do you know the ‘instant click’ kind of feeling? I think that’s what is all about. I can’t establish that kind of connection with everyone, obviously, but that’s fine. And I never force myself to. It needs to come natural.

The only thing that I’m looking for when talking to someone is sincerity. I offer it. And I hope I get it back.

What do you get out of writing personal stories of others?

Do we always need to gain something from what we do? But let me answer the question…

When writing the stories of others, the first thing I get is knowledge. Someone’s experience may prevent me from making a certain mistake, which I may have not even been aware of. I learn about situations I never witnessed or learn a different angle of approaching a problem I might have faced, but I couldn’t find a solution to fit my values to.

Writing people’s stories is thought provoking. And I love to be mentally challenged! This is, actually, the way that the person I’m in love with managed to get to me… 😊

Andrada & her kids for Karen van Hout's interview

What’s your own personal story?

Oh, my…. Where do I begin?

I was the kind of shy kid, who would never want to bother a fly (and I’m not friends with bugs!). I was never the one to be invited to high school parties or even get invited for a drink. Paradoxically, in my teenage years, I would be the one to ask for a date. I think I always had the courage buried deep within, yet I only became aware of it once I had to end my toxic marriage.

Yes, he was never ready, but I pushed it. I pushed the first date, I pushed him to get married and I pushed him to become a father. Doing a bit of introspection, I think it was because of my selfish desire to have a beautiful family.

Yet, that is due to the perception we’re being imprinted ever since we are born. We’re being taught what to think, what is ‘best’, what is ‘wrong’, how to analyze a situation from a perspective that does not belong to us. And, if we are not aware of the fact that we can think for ourselves, we tend to take everything for granted. We believe that a person should look for happiness outside, while it is always within. We’re being guided to follow the masses, even if what they say or do contradicts our values. We’re being forbidden to voice our minds. We’re being preached that vulnerability is weakness. We should surround ourselves with a high wall, while all we wish for is to tear them all down.

Want to know me even better? Even if my most appealing website is down, I’d rather guide you towards the old one, to an article called I am… Ask me…’ written last year (August 2017).

You are a marvellous writer. Do you write for others as well?

Thank you very much for the compliment! I am honored! 😊

Well…. Yes. I do write for others. But not for anyone. And not because I’m arrogant, but – as I said above – I need a connection to happen. If I can’t get that feeling of genuine collaboration, I turn it down. Someone told me that I choose my interviewees very well. Well, that’s the criterion. I need to FEEL.

My writing is not about the money, but about making me feel that I can add value to others. I want to showcase beauty, not answer volumes. I choose quality over quantity. Always!

My editing is not just for grammar and punctuation – it goes hand in hand with rephrasing, for a better understanding of the human touch.

My websites need to represent the person behind the business, not just answer the conformity rules of rigidity.

And my videos… well… they need to tell a story. Just like my writing does.

‘My writing is not about the money, but about making me feel that I can add value to others’

What can people reach out to you for?

Anyone who is genuinely interested in working with me needs to, first of all, acknowledge that I may not take their offer. I’ve had too many offers that under-valued my skills. Again, not from an arrogance standpoint, yet from the ‘I didn’t see that coming’ perspective.

As I mentioned, I still have hard times in realising my true value, yet I definitely know that I would never underestimate or overestimate myself, while remaining flexible and adjust as per my clients’ needs and situations.

What can people reach out to me for?

1. Telling me their stories, under any shape: ghost-writing, web copies, blog content writing and posting (the latter requires an additional pinch of trust), articles of any kind (but please, keep bugs preventing away!), interviews… My dream is to write for a magazine and I plan to start my own one, soon.

2. Editing services. I’m in love with arts, so my eye will always go for beauty. If I don’t like it, I won’t present it to the world. So, I can take a text and make it attractive. Rephrasing is what I love best about it.

3. Proofreading. I have a thing for errors… 😃

4. Books/ products/ services reviews. I’ll make sure the values of the company are outlined.

5. Web design. As I said, since I’ve built my own, I can work with WordPress, Blogspot, Google or GoDaddy. Of course, I know about others as well like Wix, Weebly, etc), but they did not fit my requirements (and I’m pretty picky when it comes to details and features). My technical background (for user testing, reporting or system implementation) would never me allow me to overlook important aspects.

6. Research or statistics.

7. Video creation or editing. I can do funny videos, professional videos… I love to make transcripts and insert captions and background music (which needs to, definitely, match the message).

8. Writing tips (besides the ones presented in my #10tips10dyas challenge, which spoke about interviewing only).

9. Any kind of collaboration that does not involve betraying my values (e.g.: please understand that my phone number is not for sale and neither is my image). I may not be Miss Universe, yet I’ve been sent many messages for non-orthodox proposals.

Andrada Anitei profile picture for Karen van Hout's interview

How can they reach you if they want to work with you?

There are 2 channels I want to use, for several reasons:

1. My e-mail address: anitei.andrada@gmail.com (Please avoid spam and! Make a bit of an effort and send an individual message!)

2. My LinkedIn profile (https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrada-anitei)

Last but not least: You just mentioned the ten tips challenge. I realized that you are good at teaching others. Are there plans for a sequel?

Ha! You caught me red-handed here. 😃 When I was young, I wanted to become a teacher (of course, later on, after I wanted to become a princess 😃).

On the other hand, people keep on telling me I should go for coaching. I’m pondering over this, for now. I think I might do that and I’m not sure what keeps me from it, in this moment (I can’t help myself to “speak” out loud…). Maybe because I didn’t see it as something I need to go for. I guess I have actually been doing it all my life, so to speak… People ask for my opinion in a natural way and in the same natural way I provide them with answers. We’ll see…

‘Smile! Have a break. Fool around. Never give up’

What should people know and is not mentioned here, yet? 

a) I love sarcasm (especially British humor, that most people avoid).

b) I have 3 books under the pen (a love story, a motivational stories book and a “how-to” book). Did I say 3? Let me add my biography… but that one will, probably, be completed before I take my last breath 😃

To be fair, one of them (the love story) is only waiting for a benevolent publicist or someone to help me self-publish. I tried that, but expenses prevented me from purchasing a simple plug-in for Kindle format editing. What else…

c) I love coffee and my time alone in the first hour of the morning (for your safety, stay away until I’m done sipping the last drip 😃).

d) I love analogies.

e) I want to move to Australia for the rest of my days.

f) Norma Kraft is my ‘on-line mommy’ and I’ll love and support her till I die! By the way, remember to support #AgeDoesNotDefineUs campaign she will be rolling out soon.

g) Plagiarism is theft!

h) Smile! You can heal a soul with it!

i) Have a break from the world from time to time. You’ll thank yourself, as you will manage to see the world through a different lens, when you come back.

j) Fool around! Life is not just for worries. Watch my latest #gratefulcookie video and I’m sure you’ll understand.

k) Excuses hold us back – due to fear (unreal), while reasons may be grounded in reality.

l) Never give up on values to attain balance! And never give up on balance to attain a status!

m) Eyes never lie. They are the shortest road to a soul.

n) Life is more than just a label. Get rid of it! Because perfection is a journey, not a “me first” competition.

o) Learn dancing in the rain and no storm will seem too strong. Learn playing with the rain drops and they will guide you towards the sun.

p) Enjoy the NOW! Nothing lasts forever.

q) Embrace whatever comes to you. This single thought (adopted as mindset on the 1st of January this year) changed my life. It’s been 6 months since I’ve adopted it, yet my life took loads of (beneficial) turns.

r) Believe in yourself!

s) Dream big and work for it!

t) Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. So, be yourself; everybody else is taken!

u) People who judge are afraid of what you could actually accomplish. They secretly envy you for your power to stand tall for your values and beliefs. And for following your heart.

v) You can always make a habit out of anything. Know that choice is always in your hands. So, choose to make a habit out of rising after each fall! You will only grow stronger!

w) Everything happens for a reason, even if we may not understand it on the spot.

And, as a last message… I wish you this:

‘Let there be a thunder of happiness!’

***

Karen van Hout is the founder of OF WOOD and offers Systemic (Team)Coaching, Counselling & Training for Passionate Female Professionals in the Benelux.

She enables these high potential female professionals to take on or improve their (leadership)performance.

Are you looking for the person who can help you or your team member to: – take up the (leadership) role confidentially and position appropriately – understand and know how to counteract gender bias and stereotypes – understand team dynamics and how to respond to this – improve human relationships, joy and motivation at work, Feeling confident, acknowledged and contributing to a greater good?

Let’s talk. Contact Karen via email at: info@of-wood.com for a no obligation chat. She’d be happy to help you to improve your results. 

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