What does your soul want to DO?

Earlier this week I pulled a muscle in my neck/shoulder, which has given me a few days of being laid up at home, watching Salt, eating muffins and musing!

Inspired by Lissa Rankin’s articles, I want to share something with you to hopefully help anyone who is feeling in a one-step-forward, two-steps-back place.

Your souls calling

In one post, Lissa asks us all ‘what is your soul dying to create?’. And i realised that my soul does not want to create.

Creating can be quite an earthly, tangible thing. It springs to mind a business, a book, a radio show, a house, a baby, a table, whatever it is! To me, ‘to create’ implies output.

And i realised that part of me had a belief that if i’m not producing (or creating) something, then whatever it is i’m doing is worthless. If there is not tangible, quantifiable ‘thing’, then what do I have to show for myself?

That’s a terrible space to be in when your souls calling is truthfully not attached to outcomes. If you’re in the headspace where tangible, quantifiable outcomes (the book, the show, the project etc) denote how well-spent your time is, or how much value you are worth, then you will look down on things that don’t produce an obvious outcome. Things that you love to do for the pleasure of, the process.

My soul does not want to create anything. I know that for sure. My ego wanted to create EVERYTHING. It wanted an impressive bio full of books, movies, acting roles, gallery showings – tangible ‘things’ that prove i’m contributing to the world, being productive.

Nope, my soul can do without all that. For me, it’s about what my soul needs to ‘come out’ – how it flows out into the world. It’s like energy that just needs to have space. Anyone else ever feel that? I feel my soul doing it’s thing when i’m on the dancefloor, when i’m singing & playing along to songs at ukelele jam, when i’m in the flow at stage combat class, and of course sex. I have NOTHING to show for myself at the end of these activities – no souvenirs (unless someone else has been filming it) , no products, i haven’t been working towards anything – just enjoying myself in the moment.

My soul seeks opportunities, spaces, platforms, to do her thing, let her hair down, give it all to that space, then leave.

So is this true for you, i wonder? What does your soul need? And what does your ego need?

Resistance

When i opened up to what my soul really craves (spaces to be free), I hit some gnarly beliefs.The main one being that my soul’s desires are worthless.

How awful is that?! I know!!!

I’m sure it’s an accumulation of many factors – let’s face it, most of us have grown up in an education system that’s results-based, and its likely that out parents geared us up that way too. Worthiness, productivity etc is often based on output and measurable things. So the things we do with no measurable output (other than that we love doing them) are left out of the equation. Even thinking about sex, ‘How many orgasms did you have?’ can be considered more important than ‘how pleasurable was the ride?’

I don’t know if this is to do with living in a masculine-skewed world, and i don’t think it matters too much if it is – what matters is that we start to change our minds. The fact is, for some of us, we have to start unhooking ‘worthiness’ and value from productivity/outcomes.

The main reason why this is so important is that if you don’t feel your soul’s desires (to express, rather than to make something tangible) are worthy, that they don’t matter, that they’re not good, then you are pretty much telling yourself that you aren’t worthy, don’t matter, and are no good. And how the fuck can you live your life from that space?!

This is hard work. For me, i’m finding it hard work. To know that when i hit the dancefloor at class, just ‘doing my thing’ is enough. That my unique expression in whatever arena is enough. No-one ever told me that. Rarely has anyone ever said ‘just bringing your spirit into a space is valuable in itself‘.

Holy crap

Have you ever been valued for who you are, rather than for what you can do for another?

You’re not ‘of worth’ because you produce an outcome, or fix a problem, or make someone else’s life better. Your value doesn’t come from being measured in terms of output or meeting anothers needs.

Your value does not come from output. Not from metrics. Not from what you can provide another. Not from what you can physically go out and change. Not from anything measurable or quantifiable.

Your value comes from your being. When you walk into a room. The way in which you make pancakes. That your presence alone can make someone else feel safe. That’s your significance. Not the trophies, the certificates, the goals met, the number of followers – not that, none of that. Just your presence, your existence, and what your essence brings – which you carry with you all the time.

That’s the value, the worth, the gold.

And I raise a valiant middle finger to the world that has distorted things so much that we don’t feel worthy unless we’re being over-producers, over-achievers, constantly looking to prove our worth.

The sting, the rub, the beginning, and now the end

I know a lot of this stuff isn’t ‘new’ – god knows i’ve read it before. But i’m having a proper bing-bing moment so please bear with me.

Where does this split occur, where we start to believe we need to prove our worth & value in the world by going after external things? Even those of us who have let go of material things (fancy cars, job titles etc) still probably have other things we believe we need to have or do or be in order to be considered of value – whether that’s creating output that others need, or doing something that we believe will have an impact, in order for us to feel valuable.

I can pin it down.

God bless my parents.

What did you have to do to get love? What did you have to do, who did you have to be, to feel recognized, valued? When you were a kid – did your parents project a role or their needs onto you? Or did your parents allow you to just ‘be’, getting their needs met from others or met by themselves in a healthy way?

Let’s just say that both my parents were unable to provide themselves with the happiness and healing they needed, so I had a lot of stuff projected onto me.  I lived in a world where my value, worth, came from what i could provide these people with – that i met their needs that I shouldn’t have met. I wasn’t valued for simply being me – messy, hanging from the trees, plastering-barbie-with-punk-make-up me. I was valued based on what i could do for others – be that fan their social status, or be an emotional rock.

And i guess I’m starting to crack that idea that i’m valuable just for being me, not for my output or for what I can give or do for others ( I enjoy helping empower others – i’m talking about enabling and/or martyrdom…).

So my big ol’ Q’s for the week for you are: What are your feelings, memories, ideas around ‘being of value’? What do you value, what have people made you feel valued for? What’s your lifeblood, is it different to what others value from you? What does your soul want to do, and do you value it? If not, why not?

And with that, I’m done. High fives to all who made it to the end of the post.

Your value is in your happy glory

S xo

Passion. The.

My younger brother is graduating uni soon and is, like most twenty somethings, feeling pretty unsure about what to do next – which career to go into, what his path is etc.

I have done a LOT of research on this stuff myself to help direct my life choices – finding your ‘life purpose’, finding the ‘right career’ etc. And whilst I could have sent my bro a big ol’ reading list and a tonne of action steps, the most urgent and pressing thing I wanted him to know was ‘find and follow your passion’.

Passion can be easy to find, it can be hard to find. Sometimes you already know what it is, sometimes you lost it along the way, sometimes you have to go out into the world trying new things out til you finally hit on something that hooks you like a drug.

You also have to start being discerning when it comes to sorting through passing interests, things you enjoy, and gut-level passions. Often passions are things that you can’t live without. Passions are things that compel you – it’s like being in love. And you’ll break through barriers to make sure you can do your passion – whether that’s saving money in other areas of life so you can afford to do it, or willingly take the two-hour bus ride to do it, or whatever other sacrifice you have to make. You no longer care about those kind of inconveniences because you.must.do.it. Passion (a little like anger) can carry you through any bullshit excuses or reasons ‘not to’ because you inherently NEED to do whatever this passion-filled activity is.

Whatever this passion thing is, you have to treasure it and stoke it. You might only be able to do it once a week for an hour – so be it. You might not get paid to do it – so be it. Passion is your vibrancy, your soul’s colour. It MUST be done.

So if you aren’t feeling passionate about anything in your life at the moment, commit to doing the work to find where the passion is and to stoke the fires. Be discriminate – an interest of ‘something nice’ is not enough – we’re looking for head-over-heels compulsion, where you feel you are ‘meant’ to be doing whatever it is, wherever you’re doing it.

Here’s a couple of blog posts I received today that can help you on your quest:

http://passivepanda.com/finding-your-passion

http://www.thechangeblog.com/your-passion/

Yay passion. Can’t be faked, bought, analysed, or talked-into.

S xo

P.s I’m gonna list mine, to show you the differences in interest/passion levels. Try working out your own ones. Passions really are the ones that make you feel alive & that keep you coming back for more

Interests (stuff that keeps me occupied, that is fun): learning new languages, trying new sports, philosophical/spiritual/motivational stuff, organic/natural products & health foods

Things I do to live well, that i ‘have’ to do to maintain a decent life (+when i don’t do them i feel out of sorts): meditate, work out, have baths, get fresh inspiration (magazines, books, movies), manage my cashflow, live independently, share life lessons on my blog & as a mentor

Passions: dancing (waacking, voguing, the hustle/lindy hop, flamenco), sex & sexuality, making large-scale paintings & art experiments, communing with others in a shared activity (like playing music or acting) with lots of laughter, crazy life experiences like flying a plane, going on a trapeze, swimming with sharks etc

‘Who’ does your environment turn you into?

We may often talk about how our peer groups, school systems, and even workplace ethos can impact us. Something I want to look at today is how work can bring out certain facets of you, and how to consider this when plotting your next moves.
I’ve worked a lot of different jobs – some public-facing, some computer-facing, some more factual, others more creative, and have found that different jobs bring out different sides to me. The Sarah who works in retail is definitely different to the event production assistant Sarah.
In my experience working in a job where you are based in an office (or perhaps doing officey work from home), computer-facing, having to have convo’s with people in a ‘professional’, cold, unnatural way, can erase you. If there isn’t a platform at work for you to be friendly, self-expressive, using your own language (rather than corporate speak) then for me at least,  i felt like going in on myself – on the exterior you’d meet a professional, unremarkable office bod. Inside i’d still be ‘me’ with no outlet for ‘me’ to go.
Whilst working my current job in a more public-facing role with a bunch of team mates, I’ve noticed I’ve really come out of my shell. When you speak with me at this job, I am 100% me with no veneer. And interacting with people all day every day has made me way more friendly and sociable. My previous office jobs did not have this kind of impact on me – quite the opposite. They made me more introverted.

I wonder if this happens to a lot of people, that they’re wiping themselves out – erasing their personality because their workplace (where they spend the most time) demands it. Not all jobs do that, but a large proportion probably do want you to ‘be’ a certain person rather than just be yourself. How many people are shutting down and not being open to others because their workplace is putting them in the habit of being closed off, with just their pc screen and work-speak for company?

It’s shit and unhealthy

so there

;)

But seriously, this brings up a very helpful question: ‘who’ do you want to be? What kind of person do you want to be? What part of yourself do you want to cultivate? What work places or workstyles would bring that side out of you?

Do you want to be more outrageous? Do you want to be more chilled out? Do you want to be more confident? Do you want to feel more vitality? Do you want to feel more of a human connection? Do you want to cultivate your intellect?

I remember years ago when i was deciding on which gap year placement i wanted to do, i had two options: nursery assistant or secondary school teacher. I wanted to cultivate my own confidence and practice public speaking, so I went for the teaching placement. I chose the experience that would bring out qualities I wanted and valued.

So maybe you can do the same if you are considering a job change or even if you just want to spice things up in your life. Ask yourself what experience, environment, line of work, or endevour will bring out a quality you want to have.Or even a quality you know you *should* cultivate in yourself, even though it may be hard or scary.

It’s a really great way to grow. You may discover sides of yourself you thought you’d lost or didn’t even know you had.

Fab week y’all, get cultivating

S xo

How much do you cherish your capacity to feel?

Let’s start with a quote!

“To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.” – e.e.cummings

I noticed recently I’ve been a little off-kilter, particularly in two ways: 1. preoccupied with food (thankfully it’s just become lots of snacking on toast and cereal rather than anything too bad!) and 2. feeling a little disconnected from my creative force.

Moreover, through my new job and the little extras it brings (the London commute, weaving through crowds,  dealing with the public in a fairly functional manner) I realised – truly realised – how easy it is to be disconnected from your feelings and even your soul when you are operating in a world which wants procedure, ‘professionalism’ (which includes stuffing your feelings and going into robot mode), efficiency, facts/information, and results.

My feminine creative expressive deep-heart self was miserable as sin tonight! It took me a good while (and some art making) to revive her. And I wondered - is this the assault all our feminine hearts have to endure frequently? Is this the struggle, really, that wears women down?

I had believed for a long time that I had quite a masculine core – a tomboy, that likes adrenalin activities, thai boxing and never wears heels (okay, maybe once a year with skinny jeans). Yet the more I step into spaces or situations that demand more masculine ways of ‘being’ (linear, fact-based, 1+1=2, less feelings and more info) the more i’ve been feeling empty and unheard. Because my feminine heart has nothing to say in those conversations. And I think that my feelings are my strongest link to being alive, and being human.

The spaces I thrive in are deeply rooted in the feels! I think I like adrenalin activites because of that feminine need to feel deeply, rather than because i am necessarily masculine in my energy. Creative expression, to me, is all about feeling and the senses. The conversations and blogs I contribute to are mostly around perceptions, feelings, life experiences, philosophy and spirituality – from a heart-space. Being in the flow often means being in a present state of feeling, whether that’s playing sports, meditating, painting, dancing, or watching Lars and the Single Girl (which I watched the other night and *highly* recommend).

This may or may not be a ‘women’s problem’. I’m sure there are also many men who feel like they have to stuff down their feelings and become a little robotic at work, or out and about living life. It really sucks. If society is built and made up from both men and women, both types of energies, from both functional linearity and feelings-based creativity, then how come the vibe overall feels so antagonistic towards being human, real, with feelings, with connectivity?

I’ll be spending the next few days stoking my personal fires around what’s important to me, and how to ensure my soul light remains shining. I didn’t realise how important being in a deep-feeling state was to me until it started to be overtaken by the demands of linear living.

Some interesting Q’s to think about for you:

  • How much do you value your capacity to feel, express, create, select, and connect with others at a fundamental human level? If you didn’t have feelings, only thoughts, what would that be like?
  • How do you handle (or don’t handle!) moving between linear, masculine spaces/situations and more emotive, feminine ones?
  • Do you think in your town/community/workspace/family/peer group that there is more of an encouragement or expectation to be linear, logical, fact-based, ‘masculine’ OR more feminine, based around feelings, self-expression and flow? Has that affected the choices you make and your level of personal happiness?

Would be intrigued as to how you feel, so pop a comment below and let’s get a discussion going!

Have a splendid week

S xo

Your gut sometimes speaks loudest in darker times

This weekend was pretty emotional and big for me. I moved out of my family home (I’ve been staying with my mother and brother) to lodge with a friend, and I’m the first person in my family to have done this – none of my cousins, aunts or uncles, or parents ever moved out from living with their parents to live independently. All of them went from family home to living with fiances/partners. It’s common in my family for kids to stay with their parents til their mid-thirties when they get hitched, so to have flown the coop under thirty and be a single girl is almost pioneering.

Many of you reading this probably left home after college, or are married, and probably wonder why is this such a big deal.

Well, everyone you meet has their ‘area of challenge’. For some people, it could be an eating disorder. For others, it’s debt. For others, it’s being in bad romantic relationships. You know an area of challenge – that part of your life you wish you could change, but for some reason you keep replaying the patterns and habits? Well for me, my area of challenge that has taken a long time to handle has been moving out to live independently. That’s why it’s a big deal.

In this area of challenge I have had the fear, I’ve had the emotional issues, I’ve had habits that stopped me from taking a risk to change. I’ve had resistance – both within me and from my family. And I’ve had to make tough decisions and draw on a lot of inner reserves to stay the course.

So, post-move-out, I’ve been learning a lot of things about myself already. I’ll share one with you now: It’s funny the things that can bubble up when you walk through fear. Fear can be an amazing clarifier. When the true survival-instinct kicks in, it can guide you without you even having to think what your next steps are. For example, on my first night at my new digs I felt homesick and worried, and I had a headache, and I was trying to adjust to not being part of my family household. But I just couldn’t think. So I let my body go into autopilot, and listened to my gut. It would tell me what to do. “You need water” “Go buy some bread” “Read your book” “Wash your hair”. It was SO clear. I was in an emotional place where I didn’t know what the hell to do with myself, yet there was this powerful, clear ‘voice’ guiding me through it all. After I’d carried out my inner guide’s ‘instructions’, instead of feeling sad or anxious or overwhelmed I just felt exhausted and crashed into bed.

I’ve been learning that you can be as scared or confused or tearful as anything, but you can still get your ass to work, or cook dinner, or take care of yourself. You can walk through the fear, feel AWFUL, and still function. Fear, sadness, confusion, all those ‘negative’ feelings can affect you hugely but they will not kill you. And alongside all these feels, you’re bound to bump into your inner guide to anchor you while you meltdown.

I’m settling in okay now ;) More lessons from this to come…

This week’s question: When do you hear your gut / inner guide clearest? Has it guided you through difficult times?

Have a great week, see you the other side of fear!

S xo

 

If you are not your job title, who are you?

Super-stoked to have had an article featured on Tiny Buddha this week, if you haven’t read it yet check it out here!

I was also really lucky to catch Gabby Bernstein lecture here in London, if you haven’t ever been to a transformational/healing/spiritual talk (and get most of your info online) I really recommend getting yourself to a talk – sharing a space with other like-minded folk is a powerful experience.

So on to this week’s topic – detaching yourself from identifying with your job/work title!

This week i started a new part-time job, mostly to feed two needs – to get more money alongside my editing/coaching work, and to get me off the laptop into a more public-facing role.

The job is by no means one you need much qualifications for, and it’s not high-falootin in the social status stakes. And if i’m really honest, a small part of me is feeling ‘you have a Masters from the LSE! You’ve worked for some of the top creative organisations in London! You are too good for this!’ Ah, the ego! How it likes to judge, and how it cares about things like status. How it can tie your sense of self or self-esteem to something like a job role :o !

A good friend of mine went through a similar situation a couple of years ago. He was a stock trader in the City and quit to pursue a new career in illustration. To pay the bills whilst he was starting out and retraining, he took retail work. I’m sure his ego was on his case too! It’s not that there are jobs or careers that are better than others, or that if you work in certain sectors you must be smarter/better than people who work in other sectors. It’s more to do with other people’s perceiptions & projections of you depending on what you do for work, and to do with your sense of self if you tie it too closely to whatever role you’re working at a given time.

This has been a great learning opportunity for me, and as always i want to share my lessons with you guys.

Yesterday whilst at this job i had a moment of feeling really happy and peaceful. I’d been choosing to engage with the job, to make the most of what was in front of me at any moment (for example, talking to a customer about their holiday plans or talking with my co-workers about the company). I’ve been very ‘present’ with this job – not thinking about the future, or the next day, or even the next hour. Just staying present and wondering what might come next.

And i realised that i am not my job.

Job titles, who you work for, what your role is, none of it defines you. None of it ‘is’ you.

Who i am instead is the person who smiles and chats with the lonely security guard in the lobby. I’m the person reassuring the tourist who can’t speak english so they feel safe while i serve them. I’m the person who spends time with whoever is in front of me at any particular time, getting to know them, taking interest in them, and making the most of the interaction. I’m the person who wants to do the best for whoever i’m serving.

I realised that i take my Self into any situation. I could work for another company or be running my own business and i’d still be the same person – taking time to be friendly to other staff, engaging in what is set in front of me, no matter the location.

And so, i am not my job – the job is just an arena for me to be. And the arenas change, and that’s okay. I won’t ‘lose’ myself if i change jobs or lose a job. ‘I’ am always here, and can take me wherever i go.

That’s pretty effing empowering. So many people identify themselves by their job title, professional credential, label such as ‘artist’ or ‘entrepreneur’. To be from from that attachment is liberating.

Of course, there are some jobs, tasks, careers that i’m likely to be more suited to and it makes sense to play to my strengths, go for the gold.

But to know that if need be, if i have to take work that isn’t necessarily my gold for a period of time, i can bring myself to it and not be identified with it, well it’s super liberating.

It feels like – i can put golden gates around my essence and say ‘this light is me’, and a job role is just a place to be in. Like drawing boundaries. ‘This light within is me, this job is not me’. Pretty damn sweet.

So how about you? Do you identify closely with your work? Do you enjoy the label or role you use? Or do you draw lines between You (your essence, your flavour) and your work? Even if you make art and proudly call yourself an artist, can you draw a boundary between your creative essence and the actual ‘work’ of being an artist? If you are a stay-at-home mother, can you distinguish between who You are in your essence and the current role you are in?

It’s an interesting thing to think about. If you can make this distinction between your Self and your job, role, or work, then I reckon you will be able to get through any career set backs or losses with a huge amount of grace, whilst others who identify heavily with their work role would really suffer.

Our roles in life WILL change, it’s inevitable. We won’t always have the same job, we may not be married forever or have the role of mother forever, we may not always have the same level of health – all the kind of things we might identify with can change throughout life. So knowing that these things are not ‘you’, and being clear about who you are at your core, is going to really help empower you as you go through life.

Have a great w/e y’all

S xo

Coaching spots available, ladies! – Inbox me at s_l_byrne@hotmail.com

It takes a village….

Hands up who considers themselves Wonder Woman?

Strong willed? Resolute? Can do anything and doesn’t need anyone’s permission? Makes things happen and will do it all by themselves just to show others that they ‘can’? Who needs help when you can do anything, right?

Wrong!

Sometimes we need a posse of folk who can help us storm the castle. Some battles are just TOO big to handle alone.

I’ve been learning that the past couple of years. If you are in your own private war (be that to overcome an addiction, unhealthy habit, to get out of a toxic relationship, to make a radical life change) and let’s face it most of us have at least one area in life that causes relentless drama – then you need to recruit comrades.

I had to learn this lesson the hard way. For years I had tried to make changes in my life by myself – on sheer willpower and sometimes reading articles or books to guide me. And that would get me so far. But for real change to occur, I had to be able to reach out to buddies.

When the going gets tough, you need to have someone available for you to drop an email, have a call, even meet up. If you’re being pushed to an emotional limit, you need to know you have someone you can reach out to. I’ve had moments where sending a text or quick facebook message were like lifelines – friends are able to give you perspective and remind you that you’re not alone on your journey.

And not only is having a support system important for getting you through the tough times, keeping you on course, and holding you accountable, it’s also super important to have people you can share your journey with! Yes they will be there during the difficult times, but they will also be there for the successes, sharing in your celebrations.

And as the goal appears on the horizon, when you’re coming to the battle’s end, the final fears that might be coming up get overshadowed by the immense gratitude you have for your posse. You can make the final furlong because you will not let them down. The journey is no longer just about you – it’s about bringing everyone across that finish line. They wanna be part of your success, so you have to cross that line. Fear has to take a hike!

So whatever you may be going through, don’t go through it alone – whether it’s overcoming something you’d like to change in your life, or working towards a big goal. Reach out! Not only will it help you through the difficult times, but it will spur you on to keep going.

Love love,

S xo

Lesson from Fear:Going around the houses

Today I read an article by an actors marketing coach about how fear can create the same ol’ pattern of behaviour: you get an idea, you get scared that it won’t work/you’ll get rejected so you overanalyse it then you either trash the idea, or use it in a highly diluted, un-fun way that is a million miles away from the original idea.

I see this often. Not just about creative ideas but decisions in life, too. Do I approach the guy I fancy? I want to do this (insert wildly outlandish activity), but will it lead me anywhere or make me successful? I want to create a blog on this topic, but will people read it and what’s the point of it anyway?

Personal story.

Years ago when I first got the idea that maybe I’d want to do acting, in my mind what I *really* wanted to do was be in action movies – anything from Kill Bill to Batman to Lara Croft to the Bourne series. Running around, kicking booty, helicopters n motorbikes, yes please.

Me, yesterday

But what happened.

Fear stepped in. Instead of me taking the most obvious step, the step that would have me doing what I REALLY wanted right from the get-go (take stunt acting classes!), instead I listened to my fear which said ‘you have to be a “serious’ actor”. This lead to a winding road of theatre acting classes, Shakespeare, falling asleep whilst watching plays at the National Theatre (true story), and going to networking events trying to hold conversations with actors who wanted to discuss plays.

I hate going to the theatre.

But my ego kept telling me ‘if you wanna be an actor, this is what you have to do, else no-one is gonna give you a break, no-one is gonna take you seriously, and you have to compete with all these theatre types who have theatre training.’

As time went on, I started to feel like I wasn’t really ‘an actor’ because I didn’t wanna talk about Chekov or the more academic side of things (which is crazy – if you enjoy acting as an activity then you’re an actor). My passion waned, and possibly worse, I felt frustrated and lost. I thought I enjoyed acting – so why did I feel like a fish out of water?

I took a break. I didn’t act for about a year. I took up freestyle dancing, and through that re-connected to my passion for self-expression through movement. And the call of acting came back.

This time, I’m gunning for what I want and love. I refuse to let my fear or ego trip me up. No more going round the houses. Just direct.

I took a ‘dramatic violence’ class last week and I was completely in my element – grappling, fake-strangling, punching ;) It felt RIGHT. There is much more of this to come, so brace yourselves.

This week’s takeaway:

If you identify something that you want to do, or something that you love, ACCEPT it and take the shortest, most obvious route possible towards bringing it into your life. Don’t listen to the BS that says ‘well if you want to do this, you have to do XYZ first’ or ‘you’re not a proper ____ if you don’t do XYZ’. Don’t let fear take you on an unnecessary journey away from your core desire. Don’t negate your desire to make it more ‘acceptable’ or seemingly less ‘risky’. Because

  1. You may waste a lot of time, money, effort
  2. You may begin to question if you really want what you want in the first place – self-doubt
  3. You might start to even dislike or become jaded about your original passion
  4. You might find yourself amongst people who are NOT on your wavelength, feeling pretty isolated

All bad beans.

In the past couple of years I’ve learnt that when you ACCEPT what you are truly passionate about, and stick with it, your passion will grow, doors will open, you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who you love and who support you, and your sense of self will start to feel more solid. When I really got into waacking (the dance form I do), even if other elements of my life felt turbulent or unsure, I knew that at least one thing was true; I am whole-heartedly a waacker and I had that to hold onto. And you know, if I had let fear lead me round the houses when it comes to dance, I’d probably be a jaded unfulfilled ballerina, missing out on the passion, friendships and competitions I get to do with waacking.

I think something I was prone to doing was looking at how I could ‘maximise my chances of success’ by picking the most popular or mainstream area, even if I wasn’t lit up by it. And aiming to be the ‘all-rounder’ rather than an expert. Being an action actor is quite niche, waacking is a very niche dance form, even the things I write about in my blog (life lessons) is kinda niche.  But you have to love what you do, not try and alter it so it fits into what ‘most’ people like or ‘respect’. It’s unsustainable. Passion is pretty much the only thing that will keep you going the long-term. So don’t let fear rob you of falling in love with your passions and missing out on opportunities for success! And when you follow your niche, you’re bound to become an expert in it much much quicker.

Can you relate to this? Have you let fear lead you on a merry dance, rather than just dive in to what you really love and want to do? Are you doing that right now, and if so, what do you truly want and what can you do to move towards it, rather than away from it? Leave comments!

Off to practice my bad-ass action girl swagger,

S xo

Let your feelings be your guide to create YOUR normal

This week I’ve been thinking about how some of the biggest game-changers have been recognising when a situation or state of being is ‘not healthy’.

This may not be as easy or obvious as you might expect.

There are lots of things that are prevelant or ‘normal’ in our families, peer groups, society, yet are not healthy or ‘right’.

For example, debt is actually kinda normal – it’s likely that you know a few people who are in debt, and reading the papers there is lots of talk about the normalcy of consumer debt.

Likewise, co-dependent relationships (between romantic partners or even in families) can be considered ‘normal’ – the ‘need’ to have someone complete you, or to give your all to another because ‘that’s what relationships are about’.

Working a job you hate then binge-drinking and partying hard at the weekend could be seen as normal in certain circles!

However, because something is the norm, or seemingly widespread, does not make it right or healthy.

So if you’re in an environment where it appears certain negative behaviours are the norm, how do you ‘know’ or have the lightbulb moment that this behaviour really is not healthy or right for you? Your peer group, the media, your family etc could all be ‘showing’ you that it’s normal behaviour, so how do you carve a different path?

Listen to your gut. Look at how this behaviour is impacting you. Give yourself some quiet time away from everyone and everything to reflect on what is true for you.

Think about a time when you were not in debt, not in a co-dep relationship, working a job you enjoyed, a time when you didn’t turn to an addiction or comfort food. Even if that means going back to when you were a kid or teenager.

Realize that your unhealthy state of being in debt/co-dependency/overeating/overspending/living an unhealthy lifestyle is NOT YOUR NORMAL.

Create your own standard of normal. It doesn’t have to be the same as everyone elses. Just make sure your standard of normal benefits you, makes sense to you, and will improve your life.

As an example, when I was in debt, I thought that was normal for a while. My father had been in debt, as a student I readily took on cheap/free credit and my fellow students were in debt, and in my early twenties a lot of my peers were also living on limited means, often relying on credit cards. It just seemed like debt was a normal part of life.

As i worked to get out of debt, one of the biggest things that helped me was holding on to the belief that ‘being in debt is not my state of normal’. I had to look back through my life to pick out the times when i was not in debt (which proved to me that it is possible to be out of debt), and believe that being in debt is a temporary injury that i would recover from.

Temporary dysfunctions can often become very long-lasting states of normal. That is why setting your own standard for ‘what is normal for me’ is so important. If you have an inkling that there is an issue affecting your life, tell yourself that this is not your normal and like an injury, you will recover.

It may also help you to start sourcing stories, people, ideas that all support your desired ‘state of normal’. So for me, i spent a lot of time visiting financial guidance websites which had case studies of people who had cleared their debts and instead were using their money towards savings. It was important for me to be surrounded in any way i could be with people who didn’t believe debt was normal.

So this week, I encourage you to look at one thing in your life that isn’t serving you, yet is a continuing problem. Does it feel normal to you? Are the people around you all doing the same thing? Do you feel ‘comfortable’ with this problem even though you might know it’s not working for you?

Once you establish your new normal in your mind (eg my new normal is to be debt-free, my new normal is to have clean relationships, my new normal is to exercise every day), your problematic behaviour will start to feel less comfortable! You can use these new-normal phrases as affirmations each day to keep you on track (eg ‘my new normal is to be debt-free’).

This will really help you begin to take steps to move away from the negative pattern. Sometimes we have problem areas in our lives just out of habit, so this can be a good step towards breaking the habit.

I hope this helps you – it’s really helped me. Perceiving any undesirable habit or behaviour as an injury to recover from, not a state of normal, is a powerful way of handling these situations.

Have a great week

S xo

If you would like one-to-one coaching to turn around a negative pattern and/or to create a new ‘normal’ for yourself, get in touch!

Don’t let other people’s issues be your issues!

This week’s post is gonna be short n sweet

I tend to have a bit of an influx of self-growth newsletters and blog posts come through my inbox – covering a range of topics from body image to finances to diet to ‘how to manifest’ etc. I don’t sign up to them all because I have problems in these areas, rather I like to be tapped in to other people putting out positive, supportive content on the interwebs. Generally speaking their ‘voice’ is empowering, and about making life as good as it can be.

However.

I had a moment. I was reading a newsletter (aka blog post) all about women’s body image. And whilst, yes, towards the second half of the newsletter they were talking about the beauty of women being in their spirit, energy, self-love etc which is all super good stuff, for the first half of the newsletter they were highlighting all the things that could give you body issues eg what the media say, women’s propensity to compare how they look with each other, possible bullying at school etc. It was a way to empathise with readers, and probably did resonate with many people reading it. Yet of course, for some readers it would not be such an issue, and for others it may be exactly what they need to work on.


For me, i’m very lucky to feel pretty okay about my body image. I work out a lot and have a clean diet, so feel I do the best I can with what i’ve got. Yet when I was reading the first bit of the newsletter, stating all the reasons women may have body image issues, I started feeling like ‘oh, maybe I have body image issues too’. Even though prior to reading this I was feeling good and kick ass in my work-out gear. I was empathising with all the reasons why women (including myself) may have issues, that a teeny part of me wondered if i did indeed have some doubts that need work.

When in reality, i have bigger fish to fry right now! And i’m looking alright thank you very much.

So this week, I encourage you to be mindful about seemingly good/uplifting content out there, whether it’s online or in magazines, that may subtly make you wonder if you’ve got an issue (that you probably don’t have).  Even well-meaning writers can start their articles saying things like ‘most women feel xxx about their xxx’ or ‘in this economy, it’s not surprising if you feel xxx about your finances’ etc. And maybe before you read that article you felt fine, but now you’re like ‘oh god, maybe I do feel a bit xxx about my finances in this economy’ or ‘well, maybe I do feel a bit xxx about my xxx’.  (that could be ‘I feel judgemental about my skin’)

Don’t buy into it. Unless of course you are conscious that you do have an issue that you specifically would like to address. Otherwise, be mindful. Sometimes even seemingly empowering content can make you wonder if you have an issue when really you don‘t!

Thank heavens for media literacy, people.

S xo

p.s If you want some juicy group coaching to help you live a rockin life, Terri Cole & Ashley Turner’s program starts shortly, can not recommend them enough. Details here.