Tampa Bay Books Interview with Terez Hartmann - Author of 'Allowing Your Success'
Please share about your background
I was born just outside of LA-la land in Inglewood, CA, then packed my bags at the ripe old age of two to relocate to the sunny shores of…
Brooklyn, New York!
Though, on the surface, I know I would have enjoyed frolicking about the beaches and mountains of California, I was indeed blessed to get to experience the Big Apple and fell madly in love with the world of Broadway musicals, 34th street shopping fabulousity, and the magical worlds of the Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Hayden Planetarium.
In true Italian tradition, my mom & I lived in the same home with my grandmother, Rose, and intermittently with my three brothers, Tony, Bruce and Patrick for most of my childhood. Having lots of large family gatherings was a blast, but even as early as 6 or 7 years old, I knew that I walked to the beat of a different drummer. Unlike many kids in our ’hood, I LOVED school, art and culture, and was utterly fascinated by philosophy and spirituality, so I really felt infinitely more at home when getting to hang with my mom and her “speak-easy” new-age adult friends. (Back then, ideas like the Law of Attraction, etc. were way too “out there,” so people on the spiritual—and especially metaphysical—path, literally had to meet in secret.)
My mom, Rev. Dr. Sylvianna Romano, is an RN with a PhD in Divinity, and I still remember being deeply moved by her talks when she donned her minister robes and would speak for the First Universal Church in New Jersey. In so many ways, my mom & I are two peas in a pod: both with thirsty minds always wanting to know and learn more about life and the “big” questions, both intuitive, both having gypsy spirits who loved to travel & explore, and both with a powerful desire to inspire others. She recognized my light and desire for creative expression early on, and was always my greatest fan and supporter, so it truly was a gift getting to have her by my side as I found my way in life.
I also had the bonus of spending a lot of time with my spiritually-open aunt “Disney Dee,” who, along with giving me another safe-haven to air my questions and insights, inspired a love of planning, organizing and story-telling. It was through my aunt that I discovered much about our family’s heritage, including an outrageous true love story about my great-great grand-parents, and that our Italian lineage also includes a colorful mix of Spanish and French blood!
Every year, from the time I was a tiny baby, my mom & I (often accompanied by my aunt and my brother, Tony) would venture to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Though I had a great time getting to play, see and do, I really took the “Dreams really do come true” and “Happily ever after/prince charming” ideas to heart, so even when I had my less-than fabulous relationships later in life, I never stopped believing that I could have what I really wanted: There was just something in these ideas that continued to come back around time and time again.
In 1987 after my grandmother made her transition, Mom, Tony, Bruce and I moved to Florida, and after a short stint in Gainesville, became smitten with the Clearwater, FL area when we drove over the Courtney Campbell Causeway for the first time. For me, this place was a dream-come-true and I was thrilled that we settled here in the summer of that year! We have all lived within the greater Tampa Bay area ever since.
After high school graduation, I attended the University of South Florida for 4 years (my 1st year, compliments of a wonderful Schimberg Performance scholarship) where I majored in musical theater and later studied both psychology and marketing. I truly loved college, but when I was offered a management position at a very young age that could lead to becoming a regional trainer for Clinique Corporation, I jumped at the chance, and left school (and even performing) behind for a time.
After 3 years in the retail industry, my soul longed for more creative expression and I knew I needed to free up my evenings and weekends somehow to allow for performance time, so I accepted an inside sales position at a computer/technology company that seemed like the perfect answer for my schedule dilemma. I was able to do a few shows on the weekends, at least for a while, and during that time also became an AFAA certified aerobics instructor and ACE certified professional trainer, which was a great complement to being a dancer and high-energy entertainer.
My day job helped me to later discover the network marketing industry, where I had a real taste of what it was like to be in business for myself (along with my fiancé at that time), and though it was not meant for me as a life-long career, the training I received, the books I read, the positive, success-focused people I met, and the autonomy and freedom I experienced during this time really lit a fire within me and helped me to lay a strong foundation for becoming an entrepreneur later on.
Once I transitioned out of the MLM world, I tried my hand as an admissions representative for two Florida colleges and really loved helping others discover their paths and passions, but even then, I knew there was still more for me to do and experience. In the year 2000, I took the advice I continually gave to potential students and followed MY passion to pursue a career in music, which continues to this day.
That same year, I made another very bold move: I traveled across the country alone, to a place I had only started hearing about, Sedona, AZ, and went hiking and climbing for the first time in my life! This trip turned out to be a huge turning point in my life and still ranks as one of the most inspiring and extraordinary adventures so far! While in Sedona, I uncovered another great love in hiking and connecting with nature, and knew that I would have to allow the time to get my hiking boots onto as many trails as I could, and as often as possible! I also knew I would definitely return to Sedona and that the time would come that I would share this magical place with others in some way.
In the interim of moving from part-time to full-time in music, I also had the chance to work as a promotional model, an office manager, a consultant for Eckerd Drug and IBM and—one of my fav day jobs EVER—as an assistant to the project manager overseeing the renovation of the historic and spectacular Don CeSar Resort & Spa in St. Petersburg, Florida! Who knew that working in the construction industry could be THAT much fun?!
Around 2005/6, while facilitating a book study group, I decided to play with a self-discovery tool of my own making called “The 7-Year-Old Exercise.” I was now working full time in the music industry with a dynamite band and getting lots of great credentials & “high-profile” gigs under my belt, so as far as I knew, my path was pretty darn clear at this point! When I delved into The 7-Year-Old Exercise, however, it helped me recognize that empowering & inspiring my audience was even more of a passion than I had realized, and soon after, I began to experience an unprecedented flow of writing and composing what I called “feel-good” music which elevated my spirit in unspeakable ways. From this, a series of events were set in motion that led me to create my first company and brand, “Rock My Spirit! The Power of Words, The Power of MUSIC!”
As the music & ideas continued to flow, another idea emerged: What if I could combine this fun, feel-good music with speaking?!! The combination was made and even after my very first presentation, I felt my spirit come alive beyond anything I had ever experienced before: For me, this merging of intellect and emotion was the exact recipe I had been looking for! From that point on, the momentum only became stronger and stronger until “Rock My Spirit!” evolved further into “ALLOWING Your Success!” which has since allowed me to become a published author, a columnist/contributing writer for Transformation Magazine, to host a variety of workshops, concerts & keynote speaking experiences, and to travel extensively, creating life-changing retreats in Asheville, NC, Clearwater, FL, Santa Fe, NM and Sedona, AZ!
On a personal note…
In 2010 I reconnected with my dad, who still lives in California (I only met him a couple of times as a tiny baby), and through our conversations and visits, also learned that I am also of Polish and Slovak decent, that my half-sisters are also both trained musicians & vocalists, and that though my mom did not share my passion for hiking and climbing out in nature (her idea of hiking is strolling through a mall or Disney World!), everyone on my dad’s side is an avid hiker & explorer!
As for relationships & children, one of the greatest (and ongoing) successes of my life began in 1999 when I met and then later married my very own 3-D prince-charming, John Victor Hartmann. In addition to being my best friend and the love of my life, John also realized his dream of learning to record, mix and master music, so the extraordinary joy, fun and creativity we experience EVERY day really makes us both feel like “Billionaires of Love!”
The adventure continued when I also became a step-mom of four incredible and unique spirits, Jennifer, Carey, Jackie and Sean, who to this day, are still some of my greatest teachers!
For more about my career journey, visit: http://allowingyoursuccess.com/about_terez.php
When did you begin your writing journey?
I've been writing in some form or fashion since I was quite young - probably as soon as I could physically form words - and have always loved it! I started journaling and creating poetry & song lyrics during the single-digit years, and in my late teens/early 20's started writing for local magazines including Event Guide Tampa Bay and New Times Naturally/Tampa Bay Wellness. I discovered a passion for creating web content and e-zines shortly after, and loved the immediate gratification factor of articulating ideas and being able to publish & share them instantaneously!
Though I started journaling about many of the ideas that are now in the book in my teen years, a huge catalyst for laying the basis of the book started with the lyrics of songs I had written during the “Rock My Spirit!” time of my life in 2006. Once all the pieces came together (more about that in the next section), I "officially" started crafting ALLOWING Your Success! in 2009.
What inspired you to write this book?
Throughout my life's journey, I've discovered some very powerful insights & tools that have made (and continue to make) a HUGE positive difference in my life, so the idea of having a “place” where these core ideas and tools could reside under one roof was very exciting to me! Add to that the bonus that I could be a catalyst for inspiring others to feel and know greater joy & success, and my writing took off like a rocket!
I had also become a huge Abraham-Hicks fan, so when I first heard them speak about the concept of "Allowing," the idea of LETTING things happen rather than forcing the flow of life, every light bulb in my head went off! This was indeed THE word that truly captured the essence of all I had felt in my heart from the time I was a child writing in journals, so once the content I had been collecting for years met the focal-point of ALLOWING, the material, and even how to organize & format it, flowed like a raging waterfall! It felt like an unstoppable force!
Please share about your latest book.
I actually have several in the works, including "Allowing TRUE LOVE," but first and foremost, I will be releasing a special 2nd edition of Allowing Your Success! this year.
Since the 1st edition was published in 2012, I have discovered a few more "multi-colored sprinkles" that I want to add, including a fun new cover design that REALLY captures the spirit & essence of ALLOWING Your Success!. In the course of hosting retreats, workshops, and speaking engagements over the past two and half years, new ways of articulating the insights & tools in the existing book have come to light that I simply MUST add to the mix! All the core goodies are indeed already in place, but it really felt fun to get to add a few more sprinkles to the "whipped cream & cherry-on-top" before moving on to the next book.
My husband & I will, however, be releasing an "Allowing TRUE LOVE" audio program, available via MP3 digital download and CD in the spring of 2014, to give readers some great insights, tools, and music for LETTING great relationships happen, while offering a "sneak peek" into the book of the same name that is coming! John & I had a BALL creating this together, so I know our listeners are in for an awesome ride as well!
What are some takeaways you would like your reader to get from reading your book?
-Feeling good and experiencing joy today and NOW is the ultimate success. This really is THE thing at the heart of EVERY dream, vision, goal, intention and desire you hold, so when you make THIS your priority, you get to experience authentic success EVERY day. And when you love the life you live first and foremost, it is then that all the goodies & experiences that truly matter to you CAN come!
-You have far more control over your life experience than you could possibly imagine!
-No matter where you are or what you have experienced in the past, you absolutely CAN create, choose, and allow something new, bigger, and better in ANY area of life.
-YOU are the best teacher of YOU and every individual has her/his own unique path to success. This book is nothing more than a catalyst to help YOU get in touch with YOU to discover what truly works best for YOU.
-When it comes to ALLOWING Success, FOCUS really IS Everything!
-MUSIC, believe it or not, can also be a fabulous tool for ALLOWING Your Success! and all readers have access to a special "secret" website that will allow you to experience the Power of MUSIC (along with other bonus material) first-hand!
-The Journey – REALLY, REALLY, REALLY IS the Destination! REALLY!!!
-Life CAN feel like the FUN adventure it was meant to be! The key is to appreciate NOW while deliberately engaging the ADVENTURE of life EVERY day.
"The scenic route is always on the path to living a beautiful life!"
(BTW: "The scenic route..." quote above is one of the "sprinkles" I'll be adding to the 2nd edition!)
How did you decide to publish this book? Why?
That was a given and was going to happen no matter what. I was originally planning on self-publishing because I knew I wanted to have a 3-D version of this book in my hands for ME to be able to use, dog-ear, revisit, etc., along with a few copies on hand to share with others who could benefit from it, but through a series of synchronistic events (thank you Joanne Weiland of www.LinkToExpert.com and Staci B!!), my book was published by Transformation Publishing and is now available world-wide.
I did indeed practice the tools in the book to ALLOW the publishing of the book - and as a bonus, I also became a columnist & contributing writing for Transformation Magazine, participated in some fabulous events with them (with more to come!) and met two people whom I love & value as if they were my own flesh-and-blood.
What is the best advice you have received about writing?
To be honest, writing is a natural and intuitive process for me and I learned a lot just from going inward. I started writing for the joy of it, so keeping the joy in the journey and listening to my inner guidance was crucial for me. As an avid reader and a song-writer, I already knew the value of having a clear beginning, middle, and end, along with the importance of good structure & continuity, so I simply applied those same principles to creating the book.
In retrospect, I was thrilled to discover that the things I did naturally were also things that were (and are) recommended by other writers I love and respect!
What is your advice to beginning writers?
-Write first and foremost for the JOY of it and do it for YOU.
-You will always allow your best material by writing when you feel INSPIRED to do so and while it is flowing: Do it when you just can't help but write, rather than trying to "make it happen" or force the process.
-If you find yourself working within a specific time-line and wanting to meet target dates that may not offer you the level of flexibility you would prefer, take a moment to "Find the love in it," remember why you want to write, and carve out a "small slice" intention BEFORE you get your pen in hand or your fingers on the keyboard.
-Delays of ANY kind mean it is getting bigger and even more fabulous: Always remember that IDEAL timing trumps forced timing EVERY time!
-You will have the greatest ease, fun and success with writing if you keep the love and joy in the JOURNEY and PROCESS of creating your book. The most important reader is YOU, so create something that moves and inspires YOU that YOU are proud of! Do this, and other readers who are ready and open to your material or your story will be drawn to your work!
What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?
Writing the book was a complete and total joy from the word go, REALLY!
If anything challenged me, it was the editing process. For me, handing my freshly completed book over to an editor was like handing over a new-born baby to someone else. Scarrrryyyy!!!!
Editing was a completely different journey in and of itself, and I had a few bumps because of my own fears/resistance to it, but it really helped me to stream-line my message. Staci (who was a doll and also like-minded awesome allower) & I actually worked really well together on the editing process, so I still had a lot of say on the final product.
In truth, because this was my first book and I wanted to get it "right," I did find myself caving to industry standards and leaving out a little more of the silly "me-isms" than I would have liked, but as they say, you live and learn! At the same time, I would not trade the experience Staci & I shared for anything, because it really did help me to cultivate and clarify my message considerably, while fine-tuning my skills as a writer. Many of the things I discovered while editing the book helped me immensely in my work with the magazine and other writing projects since.
After walking this path, I discovered that I can have BOTH clarity and playfulness, hence the addition of my sprinkles in the 2014 version of the book and the inclusion of those in EVERY work here-after!
What has been your greatest reward in writing this book?
The creation, publishing and on-going sharing of this book have allowed me to thoroughly enjoy MY journey by getting to focus on a topic that feeds my soul in unfathomable ways! I have met some of the most amazing people, personally allowed all kinds of incredible opportunities, adventures & experiences due to living the principles and using the tools in the book, I get to experience a level of joy and freedom on a daily basis that is beyond what I once thought was even possible, and I get to reach for more and more fun & fabulousity as the allowing adventure continues!
Most writers are readers. What books are on your "to-read" list?
I mention several in my book, but when it comes to the subject of Allowing, I have to say that anything by Abraham-Hicks is at the top of my list every time. There are many authors I have loved throughout my life, but the tremendous consistency of Abraham-Hicks' message, along with the fact that it resonates 100% with what I have always felt in my heart (to the extent that I have heard them utter EXACT words and phrases that I wrote in journals and in music even before encountering their material - and this still happens even now!), makes them the Mac-Daddy-Mother-Ship of Allowing for me!
I have been so deeply touched and experienced so much joy through their work that I proudly and openly dedicate my book to them and am extremely mindful in making sure any specific tool or term in my book that came from them is always properly credited and recognized. Fabulous is fabulous, and I always believe in giving credit where credit is due!
Where can readers find out more about you and your book?
The book is also available in both physical and e-book format through:
And through hundreds of other distribution sources world-wide.
Question for fun sake---what was your favorite childhood toy and why?
First would be wooden blocks, then Lego. I loved to build and create. Go figure :)?!