There are dreamers and there are doers. And then, there are many that say “I ALWAYS WANTED TO . . . “
Too frequently, that’s where it ends. The thought is not acted upon, it’s stuffed away in the back of our mental sock drawer, never to become a reality.
Liz Sumner is on a mission to transform many more of us “I Always Wanted To”-ers into “I Did It!”s by curating stories of inspiration and DIY examples.
I think you will be amazed and delighted how my soft spoken, self-acclaimed introvert adeptly coaxes fascinating, informative and humorous accounts from individuals who transformed their dreams into careers, adventures and legacies!
About our Guest:
Liz Sumner is a recovering procrastinator turned Productive Life Coach. She understands women who struggle with motivation, and long to feel a sustained sense of accomplishment.
A Productive Life means feeling good about yourself and what you’re accomplishing, not just one hurdle, but over time. You are on task, learning and growing, and making progress on your goals at a pace that suits you. After working with Liz, clients feel able to prioritize what’s important to them; create healthy boundaries from a place of authenticity; and find their own productivity style.
An ICF-certified coach with a Master’s in Organizational Development, Liz is also the host of the podcast, “I Always Wanted To”. She interviews people who are doing things that others long to do.
Liz lives in a lovely medieval village in central Italy, sings with a jazz orchestra, and does her best to communicate in Italian.
Listen to the end if you want to discover something about Liz that you probably won’t find on Google!
Discover even more about Liz Summer and how she Lifts & Climbs:
Listen to the Italian songstress that inspires our guest:
About the Host:
Isabel Banerjee - Your Next Business
Strategist and Transformation Catalyst
Dynamic, a self-made entrepreneur who overcame obstacles with an unrelenting positive nature, a farm girl work ethic and a conscious choice to thrive rather than survive, Isabel Alexander Banerjee cultivated an award-winning, $10 million+ global chemical business and grew it from dining room table to international boardrooms.
Isabel’s strengths include the ability to initiate & nurture strategic relationships, a love of lifelong learning and talents for helping others maximize their potential. An inspiring speaker within both industry and community, she is a driving force behind those with the courage to foll0ow her example of thriving against the odds.
With 50+ years of business experience across diverse industries, Isabel is respected as an advisor, a coach, a mentor and a role model. She believes in sharing collective wisdom and empowering others to economic independence.
Founder of the Lift As You Climb Movement (www.facebook.com/groups/liftasyouclimbmovement)
Chief Encore Officer, The Encore Catalyst (www.theencorecatalyst.com) – an accelerator for feminine wisdom, influence, and impact.
Author & Speaker ‘Who Am I Now? – Feminine Wisdom Unmasked Uncensored’ (www.IsabelBanerjee.com)
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If you have questions about this episode, please send me an email at Hello@TheEncoreCatalyst.com
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Full Transcript for Accessibility and for those who like to read along!
Isabel: What a happy day this is. Here I am sitting in Arizona, in the United States, and I have the pleasure to have a almost next door feeling with my new friend, Liz Sumner. Who is sitting in central Italy in an absolutely beautiful historic town, almost medieval. I believe you've described it. Liz is an ex-pat from the US, now living the life in Italy. And she has been a recent guest, an expert speaker, on the Global Serial Entrepreneurs Summit. And I'm thrilled to have her to be one of the very first of my guests on the Lift As You Climb podcast. Hello, Liz!
Liz: Hi, Isabel. Thank you so much for having me. I love the work that you do, and I'm really happy to be a part of it.
Isabel: It has been such a joyful experience in these few short months of testing my Lift As You Climb Movement and discovering that there are so many other women around the world that share that same philosophy. Well, and more than a philosophy, it's a way of living, and showing up every day in the world. You certainly typify this new circle that I love being part of, as we make a difference in the world together.
Isabel: I have become a great fan of yours also, I'm in that sort of groupie category, because when people read your Bio, they're going to discover, that not only are you a traveler and a learner of other languages, but you're an accomplished jazz singer. And you have your own podcast, which that's what really hooked me in the beginning to pay attention to... Who is this woman?... The podcast title... I Always Wanted To... Just speaks to my whole soul about it's time in my 60s... Not to keep going... I don't like to do that. I want to be able to look in the rear view mirror and say, I always wanted to, so I did.
Liz: Yes. That's who I'm talking to those people. that's wonderful.
Isabel: Yay. So for all of you that are out there in the audience, listening, hurry up, grab a pen and paper or journal. and replay this after and start making a list of all of the things that you wanted to. We'll get together. Liz and I, will come up with a strategy for you to execute and be able to say I did.
Liz: I love it. And I want to know what's on the list too, so that I can bring in guests that address those things. So, I want to know... Because what I do is I interview people who are doing the things that other people have always longed to do. And so I want your ideas, so please, communicate with me.
Isabel: Okay. There is an absolute fabulous challenge. So in the show notes, you'll find the email address... Hello@TheEncoreCatalyst.com Please flood our inbox with suggestions on things that you've always wanted to... Liz is going to help you. She's going to be your guide by bringing in guests that have done this and interview so that you will have a strategy, a map, an inspiration, to go forward and do. And then maybe, if I'm not overstepping my bounds, Liz, you might interview some of our listeners in the future, after they have a "Fait Accompli"... Right?
Liz: Ohh, please, Yes! If there are people who are doing things, I want to be pitched. So please write and tell Isabel what the topic would be, and fill in the blank of... I always wanted to... blank. and let us know that story. I want to, I want to hear that story.
Isabel: Oh my gosh. That's going to add such momentum to the Lift As You Climb Movement, because we're going to have all of you articulating it, speaking it out loud so that we can support you. You will have an accountability group that will lift you as you do this.
Isabel: So there's the challenge, Liz's contact information is going to be in the show notes as well. So again, listen to her podcast, reach out to her, give her some suggestions for inspiring speakers. So Liz, let's circle back a little bit to, how did this all come about? How did you end up living in Italy? What was the inspiration for your podcast? I'm dying to know.
Liz: Let me see... well, the podcast is a little different... but let me start in on Italy first... My husband and I, had visited Italy and loved it, and kept talking about coming back regularly. But you know, life gets in the way, and you don't get back as often as you want to. I think it was 2010. My husband surprised me, right around my birthday, with tickets to Venice And he had found this area South of Venice, called Le Marche. It's a region next to Tuscany and Umbria, but it is not as well known. He had been doing research, and discovered that Le Marche was just as beautiful as Tuscany and Umbria. But lots less expensive and way less touristed. And so, we got these tickets to Venice and then rented a car and came down to just explore, just to see what's going on, see what it looks like. And we're going to spend a week, just driving around, check it out for the very first time. We're driving to a place called the Frasassi caves, which is the largest cave system in Western Europe... it happens to be on the cover of National Geographic this month, so people can go look and see how beautiful it is.
Liz: So we're on our way... Stopped for coffee in this little town called Perdella???? I decided, we must speak to a Real Estate Agent, just, to get it over with, then we can get on with our trip. Just see what's possible. See if it even is possible to buy something. So we stopped in this town called Pergola, which is absolutely medieval, it was founded in 1234. And it's one of those medieval Hilltowns where the Nobles would defend their Hilltown from the Noble on the other Hilltown... So cobblestone streets... Really beautiful. So we stopped for coffees, and found a little real estate place called CasaMania, uh, which I love the name of it. So we, stopped in, asked the woman there... though in those days, our Italian was a little limited. She didn't speak any English. But we just managed to get across... Is there anything in the central historic district? Is it possible to get an apartment? And she said, Oh, sure! And starts reaching for her keys, grabs a set of keys, and starts to take us out to show us the apartments that were available.
Liz: We had never, in our wildest dreams imagined that we'd actually go see places, but we walked around the corner, and came up in this Palazzo built sometime after 1300, and walked up the grand staircase with the huge arching ceilings, and looked at this apartment, which had been... actually all of the ones that we saw that day looked like... Grandma and Grandpa had just left to go off to church or something like that... They all were fully furnished, had little note cards on the table, and doilies on the furniture. They were right out of central casting for old Italian apartment. So we looked at three and ended up buying the first one we saw. Both of us, agreed at the same time. That this was the special place.
Liz: We talked a little further with Paola, the Real Estate Agent, about what was possible. What we'd have to do. We didn't tell her at that point that we were ready to buy, but we thought we were eager, but reserved. The Italian system of customer service is quite different from American, and the salesmanship is a very different animal here. So we went back to the US at the end of our trip and kept thinking that she'd get in touch with us and that we wanted to play it cool... And we never heard. So we having to write to her, and saying, Hello, We're interested! And she never in her wildest dreams, thought that we were serious. She thought she'd never hear from us again.
Isabel: You were playing hard to get,
Liz: It was foolish, but that was November, and we came back in the beginning of May, and closed at the end of May.
Isabel: Amazing! So your going to be our go-to our resource now for those of us who always wanted to. And will do so. And it's interesting to also think about how culturally the process is different. Right from that initial sales, it's not the aggressive pursued model.
Liz: It's possible that people who want a country property, something that would be more expensive than what we ended up purchasing. Somebody might have a different experience, there might be people who speak English for one thing, because it's a bigger expense, They might have, a different style of salesmanship. Because ours was really affordable. One of the things is that the Italians are very used to people having second homes, or third, or fourth, because they inherit from family. They're used to people having places, where they don't actually live, that's not their primary home. So they have good systems for having all of your bills, go to the bank to get paid. That made it very easy for us to manage things from afar, when we only had our tourist visa, and could only come back for 90 days at a time.
Isabel: Now you've got me tingling from head to toe at the prospect that this is doable.
Liz: It really is. It really is
Isabel: Make that first step. And of course, I've shared with you before, I've had a, lifelong uncommitted to goal of speaking multiple languages and what better way to do so than immerse myself in the local culture, and just be Italian, not speak Italian.
Liz: It's wonderful. But let me give you a piece of advice that I wish I had followed myself, is that, when you do it... Don't spend too much time with English speaking friends. I have not learned Italian as quickly as I wish, because I have too many English speaking friends. Don't make the same mistake I did.
Isabel: So they're enabling you to still lean on your first language.
Liz: It's true, it was hard for me, because I'm not the same person when I'm speaking Italian. I can't be funny, at least not on purpose, in Italian. I'm much more limited in my personality. I don't get to shine. It made me sad to, be quiet and only speak the sentences that I knew how to say.
Isabel: Has there ever been a time that you've said in your life I've always wanted to be a standup comedian?
Liz: Nope. No. Don't think so.
Isabel: Right then I have another question. Can you sing in Italian?
Liz: Yes. As long as there aren't Italians listening. One of the things That works for me is, that I happened upon this wonderful jazz community, and they play the great American songbook. So I am the go-to person for how to pronounce American. That's a great joy. but occasionally I will sing in a Napoletano song, or something like that. There is a major singer, who is not known in the US, her name is Mina and she was in the sixties and seventies enormous. She was like Sinatra and Barbra Streisand put together. She's huge. She's beloved. And she's a wonderful singer, but I had never heard of her before I came here. Have you ever heard of Mina?
Isabel: No, but I'm going to check her out after...
Liz: Do, she's fabulous, everybody sings Mina songs... and they're great songs, but I tried one time, singing Mina songs at a concert... I also tried at karaoke as well, but because these people have grown up with Mina songs... Having an American, sing Mina songs, is just wrong. So I'm a little shy about singing in Italian.
Isabel: Perhaps you could help me for the benefit of our listeners, give me a couple of YouTube links to her songs, your favorite ones, and we'll share those in the show notes.
Isabel: Okay, that was the accidental tourist became the on-purpose resident. About how many years did it take you to go full time in Italy?
Liz: Five. It took me a while because the kind of visa that I wanted, which is called a Lavoro Autonomo. I work for myself. That is little known... When I went to the Consulate in Boston, I was living in New Hampshire at the time... They were familiar with the kind of Visas that retired people get, but they didn't really know the workings of how to... You could do student Visas or retired people Visas. But they didn't understand the others... and of course, that branch of the government, doesn't talk to the branch of the government here. It took me a while to find someone to navigate the serpentine process, of how to get the right visa. And it really, that actually was quite complicated. So it took a total of five years to both find, figure it out, and actually get the kind of Visa to stay here. One of the things that your listeners should know, is that it's very easy to buy an apartment or a house. It is not easy to buy a car, you cannot own a car, until you are a permanent resident.
Liz: Unless you're an American, British or Dutch. You must be a permanent resident.
Isabel: That's interesting. Can you have a scooter?
Liz: I don't think so. I think that anything that's on the road.
Isabel: What has been one of the surprises for you in becoming a resident in Italy, that you just wouldn't have thought of that?
Liz: I was surprised by how welcoming the people were. I had a belief, back in like 2002, when my husband and I considered, maybe living here someday. I got this thing in my head, because I am not Italian, I don't have family roots here... I will never belong. I will never feel the warmth that somebody who was actually Italian, would feel... and I was so wrong. The people here have embraced us so much. Particularly because we moved to a small town in a place that isn't full of tourists. So they feel honored. They feel like we chose them, and we did, the people in Pergola are the friendliest people I have ever...