By Shondell Babb
September 17, 2016
Mrs. Delia Veronica Joseph, CPC, founder of Improveology Lifestyle Coaching is an incredible, trailblazing woman. Delia powerfully transforms lives in Winnipeg, as she helps people recognize their worth and live out their potential. Delia embodies the perfect cocktail of skills, personality and authentic kindness that makes you want to be in her warm presence and bask with her, as she realizes her own destiny.
The warmth Delia exudes is evident throughout her beautiful character home in the Wolseley neighbourhood, carefully decorated to reveal a well-travelled and rich cultural household. I met with Delia in her home where the coaching takes place, to discuss her life’s passion.
On September 10, 2016, Adeline Bird launched her first self-help book, Be Unapologetically You: A Self-Love Guide for Women of Colour. How did you feel, sitting in McNally Robinson Booksellers for her book release?
I felt like that was my daughter, honestly. I was so proud of her, because this was something she wanted to birth since the first time I met her. She was sitting in the exact same chair as you feeling like, ‘should I write? Shouldn’t I?’ She had mentioned she wanted to write a book. And I asked her questions around that. What kind of book? What was the intention? And how important is it for you? Those kinds of questions led to her really wanting to write the book because she realised it was something that was a passion for her.
The intention was to help people, so being of service to other people on how to love yourself, how to honour yourself. And part of it is because at one point she didn’t love herself, she didn’t honour herself and she didn’t feel good about herself. She recognized that she had a poor relationship with herself, that led to her having poor relationships with others.
So, as she was talking, I encouraged her in saying that she’s not alone, she’s not the only one. There are people out there that need this information.
What she told me was that a perfect stranger, encouraging her to write that book, made her feel like she had to write the book.
What were your thoughts in the moments after she gave her speech, and began the book signing?
When she was speaking, I was just admiring how powerful and how authentic the words were, coming from a place of knowing that this was the right thing to do, in terms of sharing her story. And knowing her “why”, was so beautiful. Her ‘“why” is because of other young women coming up, especially Aboriginal women. And she fosters two young Aboriginal girls. So she’s true to her mission statement.
You could hear the passion in her voice when she was speaking, she believed in what she was doing.
How crucial is it that Adeline released this self-love guide now, considering that she is also a part of the First Nations community?
Right now there’s a lot of interracial black and aboriginal kids or people out there. A lot of them don’t know both sides and don’t know how to navigate both cultures, because they haven’t been exposed to both. So for a woman like her to come up and say it’s ok to embrace both, I think it’s really crucial.
She doesn’t have a lot of black women in her life that are powerful and strong. Her father is African and her mother is Aboriginal. So when you embrace both cultures you become so much more powerful, because you’re not denying one to become another.
Were you Adeline’s life coach? For how long?
Yes. I’d say for about six or seven months. I met her in November (2015). She was part of a debate panel at the University of Winnipeg for a seminar called Sexualizing the ‘Disposable’ Woman. I said hello to the panel and invited them over, just to say congratulations for doing what you did. Only Adeline showed up, so it worked out really well, we had a nice one-on-one.
When we started talking about self-love, she was moved by the fact that someone would sit (with her) and was interested in what she had to say.
You wrote the Foreword in Be Unapologetically You. What were your sentiments when she asked you to write it?
I actually was taken aback. Adeline is well-known in the city and she knows a lot of people. She’s met a lot of people before she even met me. So I was honoured, that she asked me. I was like: ‘What? Me?’ She said: ‘Yes. You. You have no idea how much you’ve influenced me in writing this book.’
Adeline also sent me a message to notify me that Be Unapologetically You was the number one selling book in Winnipeg, in the paperback non-fiction category at McNally Robinson Booksellers, September 4-14, 2016!
In your Foreword, you said: “I received unexpected insights…”, can you share what some of those insights were?
Just the fact that everybody has their own journey when it comes to self-love. And just the fact that she was in abusive relationships and saw abusive relationships, that she can pick herself up and actually realize that was not the norm. For me, the insight was the fact that a young girl like that, she’s 33 I believe, was able to write a book like that.
You know sometimes when it comes vulnerability, not a lot of people have the courage to do that. I think it was a good insight for me because I wasn’t able to be vulnerable until I was in my 40s. And I know people my age who are not accepting of being vulnerable. They’d rather hide it and, um, pretend like it’s not happening. The more you do that (hide it), the more you die inside.
What made you decide to become a life coach?
Hmm. That’s a great question. I think I’ve been a life coach almost all my life honestly because people feel like people can talk to me, right? And they know it’s not gonna go anywhere in terms of the confidentiality thing.
But the other thing is, I’ve had that feeling too, where it’s not fun to be stuck, it’s not fun to feel unsatisfied. It’s not fun to feel like, you don’t know where you’re going, or you don’t even know how to be confident. It’s not fun to feel less than or under-valued. And, it’s not fun carrying your past around with you, your past mistakes.
So, because I worked through all those things and can recognize it in others, I love to see people succeed, I love to see people live in their authenticity.
I want to touch as many lives as I can. You’re designed to enjoy everything that’s on this earth. It’s not just for the chosen few, it’s for everybody. It’s about honouring oneself. I want everyone to honour themselves, because when you do that, you respect yourself. And when you respect yourself you make better choices.
You teach participants in your group seminars and also have one-on-one coaching sessions. What is the number one thing life coaching or a participant has taught you in the process?
Ahhhh! That’s a great question. Woooow. What have they taught me?
Humility, they taught me how to be humble. And vulnerability, that it’s ok to be vulnerable. And that I’m not alone when it comes to (having) self-confidence. A lot of people who I actually attract, I see myself in each one of them. There was a time where I didn’t feel worthy. There was a time where I wasn’t in a good relationship. There was a time where I was confused. There’s a time where I struggled with (my) career. There was a time where I struggled with: should I go to school? or should I stay in this job?
They have taught me to truly believe in myself. That you really have to believe in yourself. And that these new tools and skills and habits that I’ve learned along the way, that it actually works.
What a participant had taught me during one coaching session was that I had to re-evaluate how I spoke to my partner. A lot of times your clients will mirror some things that are going on in your life as well. When you’re doing the work, you think that you’re just helping other people, but you’re also getting insight into your own life as well—if you’re open to seeing that.
If I keep hearing of an issue from people when I’m interviewing them, whatever they’re stuck in, that’s how i come up with courses, to help them get unstuck. So when I’m teaching courses like Valuable by Design, Confidence, Know Thyself and FLY-First Love Yourself, I’m actually teaching myself. You teach what you need to learn.
I personally know of three other women in Winnipeg who are life coaches. What sets you apart from them?
(laughs) I’m a Certified Mediator and a Certified Professional Coach (CPC), since 2009. There are some life coaches that are not certified. I’m also a relationship coach and can show people how to communicate. I work with singles, couples and do pre-marital counseling.
If someone is reading this interview and struggling in their life and with their career and purpose, what would you say to them?
To seek out a coach, because what I can tell you, is that no one walks their journey alone. A therapist has a therapist, a singer has a voice coach, a life coach has a life coach.
Anyone you know that’s successful, has someone that’s helped them along their journey. Seek out someone that’s doing what you want to do, but that’s doing it better, so they can then teach you what they’ve learned.