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From homeless to happy- Verrelli credits his success to the power of perspective

Dario Verelli, founder of Octopus & Son Social Media Inc. credits his success to having the right mindset, during a speech in Calgary on Thursday.

Verelli, who struggled with homelessness when he ran away from home at just 17 years old, believes in the power of perspective and adaptation, which he says have become hallmarks of who he is.

“It is truly my option, how I want to view things,” said Verelli, who believes in internal locus of control.

Internal locus of control is to have the perspective that one is in control of one’s destiny, as opposed to external locus of control, the perspective that others control one’s destiny.

Verelli discovered the power of perspective when after a year of being homeless in Calgary, he relocated to Banff. 

“When I went to Banff, suddenly I was a young traveller trying to venture the world, and my poverty was welcomed, because ‘I was nourishing my mind and heart,’” said Verelli.

With that change of perspective, things began to turn around for Verelli, who found a job and a place to stay, and in 2015, went on to cofound Worknicer, which has become Alberta’s largest coworking community. 

Over the past 20 years Verelli, now 38 years old, has noticed that his perspective has changed so much that what he once called “points of sadness,” like the spaces around the city where he used to sleep, have become what he now calls “points of pride.” 

“I just so happen to have this experience that’s rooted in who I am,” Verelli told his audience, who he believes despite having different experiences, can all relate. “At one point, you changed your perspective, and it gave you more than you actually knew,” he said.

Despite his success, Verelli struggled with issues surrounding his self-worth, eventually leading to his exit from Worknicer. 

At that time, Verelli took steps to change his mindset yet again, and started with writing a list of all of the things that he had accomplished and was good at, something that he urged his audience members to try themselves.

“Your skillset is massive, and digging in to that is phenomenal,” said Verelli. “You’re going to start realizing you have a lot more at your disposal than you imagined.”

Audience members, a group of around 20, seemed captivated by Verelli, listening intently, laughing at Verelli’s quick-witted sense of humour, and some even shedding tears. 

“Fantastic!” said Tami Cormack, an audience member who works in the sustainability industry, when asked how she felt about the speech. “Many things resonated,” she said “it’s all about perspective.” 

Verelli took the time to answer many of the audience member’s questions, seeming intent to help them however he could, and even offering to meet with some of them at a later date to discuss things further.

“I like helping people,” said Verelli. “It’s kind of my schtick.”   

Verelli is now the Director of Marketing for Octopus & Son, a digital marketing agency that he founded, and founder of Socialveil, a visual social media scheduling platform. Verelli also teaches Digital Marketing Strategy at Mt. Royal University.

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