HELLO, I'M TIA CASTAGNO

I did everything by the book. Got a degree with good grades, I even went on to take a Master’s degree. I landed a great corporate job in Media & Advertising and started to climb the ladder, working hard and never questioning it. For a long time at least.

In my early 30s being single and a high achiever had turned me into a Workaholic, you know the kind, working late evenings and through weekends, barely making time for lunch, not even bothering with an out-of-office during holidays… always available, on the other side of an email or phone call, no matter where I was. My Blackberry (at the time!) was an extension of my arm, scaring people with how fast I could type both on my phone and laptop.

My father’s tragic early departure from this world was, with hindsight, my call to make a change… but at the time, I threw myself even more deeply into work instead, to try and cope by not dealing with things. That’s not a healthy long-term strategy though and within six months I was shaken out of this auto-pilot mode as I fell into a deep anxiety, which was often paralysing.

I realised that I needed to make some changes to a) nurture my personal life and my own wellbeing b) create a healthier relationship with work, one where I would get back as much as I was giving.

I also deep down knew that I didn’t want to be in Corporate forever. I felt I was an academic at heart and that one day I should be lecturing.

At the time, I wanted a short-term reason not to work 16-hour days. And a long-term ticket to a different life.

So, I became a yoga & meditation teacher (OK not quite lecturing but a step closer!). This seemed to tick both boxes, short and longer term. And at the same time, give me an opportunity to look after my wellbeing, my inner game.

As to my outer game, I started teaching yoga, running workshops and retreats, and delivering keynotes on various topics I cared about (my first side hustle). All this created a space for me to explore, see my own projects through and energise myself. I could take this energy into work with me and that gave me an incredible boost…So much so that my career sky rocketed as a result of my inner & outer game (energy) changes. I rose to exec, taking on various C-Suite roles, managing large teams and businesses at the top global communications agency networks (WPP & Dentsu).

As my situation changed and I became a parent, that wasn’t quite enough to solve the toxic relationship I had with work as time, of course, became even tighter and strong emotions got hold of me: terrible guilt for not being there when I felt I should be, for not being 100% present during family moments because my mind was elsewhere; resentment towards my career – that at times felt like a prison. And an underlying feeling of unfulfillment and that there must be more to life. That required much deeper work, taking seriously my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing 24/7, not just when it was time to leave the office to teach a class. I embraced more self-development work on my emotional and mental energy with various teachers and coaches that just appeared at the right time, removing limiting beliefs and emotions (what I call blocks) that were holding me back. My life truly transformed. The moment I stopped looking for the ideal career outside (by changing bosses, companies, jobs and countries – all of which I had done) and started focusing my energy internally instead, SUCCESS finally came WITH EASE. My work was creative, demanding and rewarding. Yet, I had clear boundaries and never felt the compulsion to HAVE to work evenings or weekends. Energy became the main CURRENCY of my life. Everything else followed.

Anyone who knows me will tell you about my daily habits, routines, and rituals, which carry me and keep me balanced throughout the day on all levels, physical, emotional, and mental, no matter what’s happening around me. This is what’s called yoga off-the-mat, a complete lifestyle. I want to point out that yoga on-the-mat had cured my deep post traumatic anxiety, without the need for other therapy (yes, huge). And embracing mental and emotional wellbeing principles as a way of living upgraded my life on all other levels: performance and productivity, relationships and happiness.

BUT. What about the long-term plans for my outer game?! Yes, I felt at EASE and in control of my work and personal life, but that niggling thought that I didn’t want to be in Corporate forever was definitely still there and stronger than ever!

At mid-career point and a family to look after, it occurred to me that as for my ticket out of corporate, a) the thought of giving up my salary for the very modest pay yoga teachers get wasn’t very appealing; b) I didn’t think I should “waste” my two decades of corporate experience and all the learnings I had accumulated. Especially, I didn’t want to give up the part I loved most about my job as a leader: inspiring and helping people grow and flourish into the best version of themselves.

With the guidance of one of Tony Robbins’ previous head coaches, I decided to become a coach & trainer in Energy Management, Mental Fitness (with Positive Intelligence®) and Emotional Self-Regulation (with HeartMath®), learning how to help others go through the same LIFE & CAREER transitions and transformations I had taken myself through.

I founded my company, UnlockYourBlock, in 2016 and continued in this new direction as a side hustle, helping many women go through transitions and transformations like mine, until I decided I wanted to dedicate my full energy and attention to it.

Society teaches us how to work hard and make money – with no focus on balancing our own deepest needs and desires. And most of us get to their death bed trying to make their life fit around this unhealthy idea of success, that only leads to burnout, missing out and in the worst case, deep regret.

But not on my watch!

As a coach, course creator/teacher and speaker you could say I finally am lecturing, but much more than that! As a full-time entrepreneur, I am doing something I love, that is meaningful and that pays me well. I am what I’ve labelled the “Queen of mY Hustle”.

If I and so many other women can do it, so can you… And it’s my calling to help you!

Am I a feminist? I get asked often. Call me what you like. I firmly believe that (more than) 50% of this planet’s population is under & mis-represented, under-served, under-paid and under-valued. So that’s where I choose to put my focus with my private work.

Applying the same tools and method I tested on my skin, everyone I worked with had consistent mind-blowing and, importantly, long-lasting results. So I systematised all those tools and techniques in my flagship programmes, under the UnlockYourBlock brand.

ABOUT UNLOCKYOURBLOCK

Founded in 2016, it does what it says on the tin: our mission is to remove or transform anything standing between you and the greatest version of yourself, be it in your career, relationships with others and relationship with YOUrself. Feel happy, fulfilled, focused and productive. Where by “productive” we mean getting what you want from life.

As we work on the Physical, Mental and Emotional level, both for our inner & outer game, we build the foundations to manifest our Vision and purpose in life. We deliver inspiring talks and run workshops and programmes under our sub-brands:

PEAK PRODUCTIVITY: build mental fitness & double your productivity in 6 weeks
QUEEN OF MY HUSTLE & UNLOCKYOURCAREER: be in control! Take bold career decisions and/or start a side hustle that could turn into your business

CORPORATE ATHLETES UNLEASHED: maximise your energy and performance like an athlete, feel happy and engaged

About the HeartMath® System

Since 1991, HeartMath® researches and develops reliable, scientifically based tools that bridge the connection between heart and mind and deepen people’s connection with others. This empowers people to greatly reduce stress, increase resilience and unlock their natural guidance for making better choices. HM’s simple, user-friendly mental and emotional self-regulation tools and techniques provide benefits in the moment and over sustained periods. HM’s research forms the foundation for training and education programs worldwide among diverse cultures. HM has worked with major corporations, government and social-service agencies, all branches of the military, schools and universities, hospitals and a wide range of health-care professionals and law enforcement agencies.

ABOUT POSITIVE INTELLIGENCE® MENTAL FITNESS

With the Positive Intelligence system, we work on three key muscles in the brain in order to build Mental Fitness: 1) Saboteur Interceptor, 2) Sage 3) Self-Command.
Using our interceptor muscle, we weaken the internal Saboteurs that generate all our “negativity” in the way they respond to challenges. Our Saboteurs cause all our stress, anxiety, self-doubt, frustration, regret, shame, guilt, and unhappiness. The most widely known saboteur is Imposter Syndrome or Inner Judge – which we all have to a degree – but there are a few others in disguise, such as: Controller, Avoider, Victim, Stickler, Restless and a few more (10 in total).

Our “Sage” lives in an entirely different region of our brain and handles challenges in ways that produce positive emotions and attitudes such as curiosity, empathy, creativity, calm/wisdom, and clear-headed laser-focused action.

When we build the muscles in this part of the brain (our sage powers) as well as our self-command muscle, while weakening our saboteurs, the outcomes are incredible on three fronts:

  1. Performance: we perform better while working less — similar to athletes “in the zone.”
  2. Happiness: we feel less stressed, more peace, and consistent happiness, even in tough times.
  3. Relationships: we improve relationships, able to handle conflicts in ways that deepen trust and harmony.
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