Nuvola Tivoli

nuvola tivoli

It was a pleasure chatting with Nuvola Tivoli. A trained actress and former owner of Nuvola’s Little Bakery in Tooting, London, Nuvola is not afraid to take risks, work hard and better herself. Probably in our top 1% of exceptional learners, we’ve enjoyed watching as she applied the learnings from our long leadership course this year as she aspires to become a Life Coach.


What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life? 

I have hundreds of books. I prefer novels as stories stay with me.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. It’s a novel by my favourite writer, who’s Japanese, which is one of my favourite cultures. His books are very different and push the boundaries. They’re not conventional. And you find yourself in another world. 

Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It is different and quirky and crazy. I’ve read, performed and gifted this book. It’s very cleverly written with lots of layers, and is not just for kids. It makes me think about my inner child, which is very important.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I like books about serial killers. This story is told from the perspective of a little girl who’s 14 watching from heaven. She was killed. It’s a horrible tragedy, but also positive. You get to see and feel lots of things, for example she recognises she is surrounded by people who love her.


What purchase of £100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? (Brand and model, where you found it?) 

4 x Alexas, I used to shout up the stairs to my kids. Now I can speak to them calmly as we have one in each of our bedrooms and in the kitchen. I like to have music everywhere, ask for information and I always use the timer for my cooking. I think this is technology at its finest, when it understands my Italian accent!


How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?

I’ve enjoyed both my careers in acting and baking because they made people happy, which is something I love to do. I lost my bakery business because I needed financial assistance and probably a business partner in order to expand, but neither happened. Instead I burned out. I managed to keep my loyal customers and set up a home bakery service mainly making celebration cakes, which has been brilliant in enabling me to earn extra money and support me in my next chapter. 


If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it —metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. (If helpful, it can be someone else’s quote: Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?)

Don’t be afraid of showing your vulnerability and emotions. Let your heart speak and let love be the only thing you follow in your life. 

And dance whenever you can, a lot.


What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)

I did the Life Book course with A friend of mine introduced me to it at the start of Covid. I wasn’t going through a great time and they were trying to reach a million people to do the course. They said if I finish the course in eight weeks I would get reimbursed the $500. I took the challenge and I did it. It was mind blowing. It helped me find clarity about who I am, what I want and how to get it using 12 dimensions of life. It was the first time I really invested in myself. It changed my life and I’ll be forever grateful. I now have a written record of how my life is moving forward. I believe there’s no better investment than understanding ourselves and creating a life vision that we’re excited about.


What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?

I sing out loud a lot but I’m not a good singer. I love to do it. I dance all of the time, including going to clubs most weekends listening to techno.

But more unusual is the way I wash my clothes. I never mix clothes that touch skin with clothes that don’t. I never mix socks with underwear. But I do mix colours and whites.


In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?

Learning to live in the now. More and more I’m doing this. Not thinking too much about the future. It’s made my life easier. Accepting things I can’t change, focusing on what I can influence. I can’t change the past or predict the future. You guys taught me this. I appreciate more, I listen more and I’m more grateful. Part of my mission is to teach people this. Life goes so fast, it’s a pity to waste it.


What advice would you give to a smart, driven student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?” 

Take a gap year. Don’t enter the real world. Travel, meet people, experience cultures, explore and this will help you accept differences and overcome difficulties more readily. Be honest, especially with yourself. 

Ignore advice that says the only way to be successful is to be competitive and be the best.


What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Work hard for 30 years then you’ll enjoy your life. Nonsense.


What frustrates you the most about your industry and the way companies are run in it?

People are treated as dispensable. There isn’t enough care treating people as individuals and what they have going on in their life. The focus is too work oriented.


In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realisations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?

I’ve always said yes to people to please them and I burned out that way. Now I reflect and take my time and evaluate before I give an answer to an opportunity. I trust my heart and I’ve learnt to say no to bad energy or situations that are not healthy.


What does a balanced life look like to you? Has a work or a project you have been focused on caused you to neglect other areas of your life?

Finding moments every day to dedicate to myself to reflect on what I’m giving as well as receiving.  Spreading love, good energy and positivity. When work doesn’t feel like work. I have a  sense of purpose that I’m passionate about.


When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)

I cry. I dance. I cook. There’s always an action which is physical. Something that brings me back to myself, distracts me and helps to release any tensions or frustrations so I can move on.


What does leadership mean to you?

Good leaders should have a good moral compass so integrity is very important. They should know themselves, be humble and treat everyone as equals. They should be able to actually listen before talking so that they have a balanced exchange, They have power with, not over people.  Their greatest power is through synergy and creating a unity that helps people move forward in the right way. Leaders need to be balanced, knowing that not everything will work out and work holistically for the sake of everyone.


Which people have most inspired you in your life and why?

The person who has inspired me most is Michael Pollan. He wrote three of my favourite books that are all very different. He is an investigative journalist and really goes into the core of subjects.

The Omnivore Dilemma


How To Change Your Mind.


What do the words principles and values mean to you?

I did some work on discovering my values recently whilst studying a Soulful Leadership course. They are integrity, love and growth. And I live my life by them. I think it’s easier to go through life with a clear understanding of our values. I want to be the same person with everyone. To build trust and for people to accept me for who I am.


If you had a forum to speak to 50 leaders, what question would you pose to them, to get them thinking about and being better leaders?

What are your core values? Are you true to them? When you go to bed, are you grateful and happy for what you’ve done today as a leader?


What one thing could you do that you aren’t doing now, that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your personal life?  What one thing in your business or professional life would bring similar results?

Exercising and travelling. I’ve recently been diagnosed with cervical arthritis, which has changed my life. I don’t exercise as much as I used to because of this constraint. Over the last seven years I’ve stopped travelling and I miss it a lot. I like to discover new places and meet new people. I grow from these experiences and I I miss that a lot. It makes a difference. 

I’m changing my career and would like to have more of a business mindset in terms of taking the next steps. 


Have you ever engaged with self-help, mentoring or coaching? If so, how?

Yes, it started with the Life Book in 2020, then the leadership course you and Tom have done with me this year alongside a Soulful Leadership course from a Psychosynthesis trained therapist who was amazing. I’m also in the middle of studying a mental health at work course. All of this will help me open up possibilities of becoming a coach myself and also receiving coaching, which is something that I wouldn’t have been able to do just a few years ago.

Topic: 50 in 50