This month is all about owning your space. That means we need to talk about leaning into your desires, your calling and what you most want from life. Your dream might be to live as a digital nomad for a couple of years. To travel and have adventures. Great right? Well, the tricky thing is that your brain doesn’t see this as a simple win-win situation. It worries about you and can cause some very weird feelings and doubts around your dream.
You’ll find yourself worrying about whether your family will approve. You know they want you to settle and be stable and before you know it, you’ve talked yourself out of the travelling altogether.
Sound familiar? This might not be your exact situation, but I’m sure you recognize the pattern. We all have Fear or “ego” that blocks us from trying new things or moving forward with our business or hitting our next life milestone. We give into the anxiety, guilt and shame of what might go wrong, and we lose sight of what we were chasing in the first place. We choose to stay safe in our comfort zone because we convince ourselves that it is enough, that we’re satisfied and even happy.
Of course, this is rarely the result of staying put. It is when you leap forward, take a chance and actively pursue what you love that you find joy. In fact, you could say that a big difference between happy and unhappy people, is that the happy ones follow the love. They see the fear and go for it anyway. Despite all the worry, they choose to focus on the reward, the joy, the love.
But how on earth do they do that? Fear can be incredibly convincing, I know. It can make you believe the worst of others and even of your own abilities. For this reason, “the ego” has a petty bad rap. It is branded as the devil on your shoulder, a mean-spirited little guy that wants to hold you back from everything. I don’t buy it. There is a slightly more open concept that the only thing the ego knows is fear and it is simply trying to protect you from harm. It is like an over-protective grandma that would rather keep you in a bubble than risk something happening to you.
It doesn’t want you to risk falling in love because your heart might break again; or travel, because you’ll miss out on everything happening at home; or change careers, because it might not work out. It is even afraid of success. Yup, “success” is a big no-no for the ego. If you become successful, you would have to risk being seen, you might have more money than your friends, you might even meet people that operate on a level above you, you could become a mean person, lose your marriage, never see your kids… You get the idea…
We all have our own special cocktail of fears around success and while they make you feel guilty or ashamed or scared, it is not the ego’s intention to hurt you. It just the only way it knows how to keep you safe.
Accepting this truth was personal turning point for me. I faced my fearful ego and recognized it as the most vulnerable part of myself. In that moment I could stop fighting, stop resisting and attempt to quiet that inner voice. (All the resisting was only making it louder.) Instead I could see it with love, honour the fear and then simply let it go.
Let me break that down for you.
When I notice that familiar feeling start to creep up, I ask myself, “Hey, what’s that about? What are you trying to show me?” Sometimes, simply asking this question in my head is enough to get an instant answer, other times I meditate and free write to reveal the deeper truth behind the fear.
Either way, once I see the deeper truth (the reason for the fear feeling), I can also see it’s innocent and unknowing intention. Almost instantly, that fear feeling becomes small and manageable. I can look it straight in the eye and say, “Appreciate the heads up, but I got this.”
Asking, “What are you trying to show me?” allows you to gain perspective, accept the protective intention behind the fear and soothe it, rather than fight it. You do not stop seeing the danger, but the reward/ goal stays in focus. You can feel grateful for, and accept, the warning. You know what you’re capable of and that you will be able to endure if the worst happens.
As you practice this, you will detect your fearful voice in its early stages, allowing you to move on faster and take bigger and bigger leaps towards your goals. This is how you lean into love, how to follow the joy.
So, accept your fear as your overly-cautious grandma and you’ll learn to look it straight in the eye, see the danger and go for it anyway. Not because you’re going against it (yourself), but because you know you’re strong enough to make it.
The other day I watched a webinar hosted by one of my heroines. I adore everything she does, from her books to her emails, to her courses. (I am such a fan.) I signed up the second I saw the ad for her free Master Class and stayed up to attend the live event late that night.
I knew this call would include an offer at the end, but I was fine with that, as I had actually purchased her entry-level manifesting course a little more than a year ago and loved it. In fact, I have planned to revisit the course later this month.
As expected, she didn’t disappoint. I immediately felt the same admiration, joy, and eagerness to grow. The content was life-affirming. In fact, her three solutions for a “breakthrough year,” were almost identical to my top three goals (not kidding!)
Hers: Back to basics
Mine: Keep it simple and focused
Hers: Know thy self
Mine: Grow within my spiritual practice and get closer to my truth
Hers: Find your tribe
Mine: Grow my tribe of spiritually curious, “personal development junkie,” entrepreneurial ladies.
Weird right? I was definitely feeling inspired. As she continued her class, all the concepts and proposed outcomes aligned beautifully to the course-on-offer, and since I was in the same mental space, I instinctively felt this would be an incredible opportunity for me. A chance to be a part of a great community, peel back a few more of my layers and learn some new tools.
Then she mentioned a payment plan and I became really excited, as I knew I could make it work financially. It was hitting all of the boxes, but then… (Yes, there’s a “but.”) I noticed a couple of sneaky fear feelings perk up. “Will you have the time?” being the primary culprit.
At first, I fought this feeling: “Just go for it,” I told myself, “Make the leap and you’ll find a way to make it work!” I probably could find time somewhere, give up something else and dedicate the next few weeks to this course.
But when I thought a little further, mentally searching for a small crack of time I could exploit, I realized how much I have going on: I currently have a job, freelance here and there, and run Bloom. My professional life is pretty full, very focused and it bleeds into most of my time.
As she started fielding some Q&A’s, I reflected back on an earlier portion of the webinar where she spoke about the mistakes that she, and many women in her community, had made the previous year. Some of these included, “taking on too many projects,” “becoming distracted,” “over-extending yourself” and “losing focus.” This wasn’t unfamiliar to me. I tend to suffer quite severely from “Shiny Object Syndrome 😜,” and while I love to plan and make lists, I sometimes struggle to execute and follow through.
That’s when I had my “aha moment”: My concern was not because of a money block or Fear peaking its ugly head. This was my inner guide saying, “Hey lady, you’re on a pretty focused path here, do you really need this extra work?” This nurturing source of knowledge was trying to show me that I had a good thing going and that the resources to achieve my goals were already in place. Check it out:
Goal 1: Keep it simple and focused:
I simplified my business model and planned my year out in advance. I am busy executing my to-do list and taking action – so, it’s working. Plus, revisiting my Manifesting course would help me declutter further and stay focused.
Goal 2: Grow within my spiritual practice and get closer to my truth:
While I had been a little less disciplined with my practice these last few weeks, I am getting back into it. My first meditation of 2018 felt like reconnecting with an old friend. I’m also returning to my beloved yoga practice after the holiday season. All this strengthens my resolve, lifts my energy and allows me to push further.
Goal 3: Grow my tribe of spiritually curious, personal development junkie, entrepreneurial ladies:
Working online, it can’t be much of a surprise that I am a member of 3 or more incredible Facebook groups filled with entrepreneurs, spiritual teachers and students. They are all very responsive, supportive and energizing and all I need to do is get more involved to find a massive network of badass ladies who are taking over the world!
The Universe never fails either. As soon as I decided to “grow my tribe” I started meeting new people and connecting more deeply with people I previously only engaged in small-talk with.
Still not quite convinced that I shouldn’t do the course, I kept pondering as I lay in bed, wide awake. Was it fear trying to hold me back or intuition trying to protect me? In that moment I realized something pretty powerful: I was already on my way towards a Break Through Year! I am 100% happy with where I am and confident that my strategy is taking me to where I want to go. #nodoubt
To be clear, I believe the course I’m passing up on is indeed a phenomenal opportunity and it is not my intention to suggest anything to the contrary. I’m sure that my mindset would grow to new levels if I took it on. In fact, if you are searching for a way to achieve some big goals this year and you are looking for a real, practical and inspirational teacher I recommend Denise Duffield-Thomas and the Money Breakthrough course combo with all my heart. It is just that, right now, I am enjoying the slow and gradual climb in these early stages of my business. I am learning a lot as I grow into my role at my own pace, and I simply don’t have room for more at this time.
When you are presented with an opportunity for your business, a course you’d love to do or a vacation you’ve always dreamed of, allow this post to take the pressure off. If you’re not ready, there is no need to jump and saying no, doesn’t always mean you are giving in to fear. Sometimes saying no, keeps you focused, clear-headed and poised to take on the next opportunity for even greater gains.
If you are sitting with a “should I, shouldn’t I” situation…
Ask yourself the following questions to help you make the right choice for your journey:
- What is the proposed outcome of this offer/ opportunity/ course?
- What do you already have or do that is similar or has the same intention as this new opportunity?
- Will this opportunity add (amplify or focus) or distract (give you more of the same or push you away from your path)?
- Do you have space for this in your life right now?
- What would you potentially need to give up to make space for this new opportunity?
- Is it worth it?
If you should do it, your answers will reveal how to make the most of the opportunity. You’ll know you shouldn’t do it if the opportunity seems to conflict with or distract from what you already have going on. If nothing else, you’ll realize how much you already have at your fingertips.
So, do the course, take the risk and don’t not do something because you’re afraid. Just remember that new is not always better and that you can say no (even to possibly wonderful opportunities) in order protect your journey. Trust in your own knowing of what is right for you.
A new year comes with a lot of excitement, resolutions and hype. I love this part of the year and every year I embrace this next chapter with that new year’s glow. But a week or two into the new year, excitement turns to overwhelm and anxiety; and rather than feeling ready for all the things I’m going to do, I feel defeated, not knowing where to start.
Sound familiar? This used to be my story. Every year, the pattern would repeat and I would feel powerless to follow through on the goals I’d set. This year, however, I feel different. It’s well into January and I still feel ready and I am busy executing my plan. I am actually following through. BOOYA!
Full disclosure, I had a 2-week break and only started my business year on the 10th of January. I had no computer and went completely offline for the entire trip. (I can already hear the gasps.) I know, it’s a little crazy for a blogger, but guess what, I had zero stress. I planned for it, made arrangements and scheduled what I needed to. I arrived back, relaxed and energized for the next part: taking my business and my life to the next level in my journey.
On our trip, we visited Spain and I snowboarded for the first time in my life! This was something I honestly, never thought I’d do. I just thought it was way too badass for someone like me, but nevertheless, I did it, and it kicked off my new year with a capital K!
I’ll be honest, I fell a lot. I mean, A LOT! I fell forward, on my back, on my butt, I tumbled and I struggled to stand up on the board. Every time I fell I half expected myself to get fed up and quit, but instead, I became kind of excited. I thought, “Oooh, that hurt. So, don’t do that.” Then I got up and tried again. Falling hard on the ice, makes you realise that you’re not going to break, making the entire concept of falling a lot less scary. I didn’t see it as embarrassing or sore, but almost like a badge of honour. Like, “Hells YEAH, one fall closer to a clear run.”
I just believed that I would be able to do it and eventually I could. I didn’t quite get my perfect run, but I don’t care. I can snow board, and I have the bruises to prove it. The most surprising thing was discovering how much fun I had and now hubby and I planning to make it an annual holiday.
Quite a jump, right? I had no idea I could do this, and now it’s a sport I want to include into my regular life. I’m thinking about future holidays with friends, picturing myself getting better and gliding down the slopes with a little more grace each year. Imagine I hadn’t tried, that I had given into fear and frustration. I would never have known how much joy this new activity could bring into my life.
The experience was more than fun. The intense physical activity of learning a new skill set my mindset for a powerful year. I’ll break it down into three steps:
1. Decide what you are going to do:
Make a plan and commit to it. Towards the end of last year, I had planned to get my new year organized before going on my trip. I kept pushing it out to meet deadlines and before I knew it, I only had a week before my trip, with zero plan for 2018. It was anxiety-city over here, until found a 4-hour workshop to plan my entire year! It was incredible. I blocked off my time, and got it done in those 4 hours. Resulting in a completely automated business during my trip and a calendar that lives right next to my desk, telling me exactly what I need to today, so that I keep moving forward.
Business aside, what is the thing you want to do for yourself this year? Why not choose the biggest, craziest goal? How can you surprise yourself? How do you want to grow this year? Go on, pick a challenge and decide with every fiber that you will do it, no matter what it takes.
2. Do it. Every single step, just as you planned:
Nothing happens without follow through. If you make a plan, you have to follow the steps. You’ve made your list, you know what you need to do, so do it. If you make a mistake, that’s okay. Remember you’re simply learning another way it’s not going to work, allowing you to move on to the next step or to find an alternative route.
The trick is to get up, dust off and try again as fast as possible. Remember that you committed to this goal. Refuse to give in to frustration and excuses and you will get it done!
3. Believe and repeat:
Now, I know a year is a long time and it’s hard to stay 100% into it 100% of the time. When you hit a low moment, honour that feeling. Give yourself a little time off and then get back up. You must keep going, keep believing and trust that you will get where you’re going.
If you get way-low and you’re struggling to get up remember that you are attracting what you feel. Do something that makes you feel good, and you’ll start feeling ready for more. For a crash course in upping your happy-levels, do this free Happy Habits Audio Workshop. As soon as you feel great in you’re here-and-now, you will get closer to even more of what you love and what feeds your joy.
You got this lady! Remember that when trying something new or pushing for a new level, you will fall, a lot! But you won’t break. You are stronger and more resilient than you know. The more you try, the more confidence will grow from within and before you know it, you will feel invincible. You will be able to push with everything you have, towards your best year yet.
There seems to be a lot of confusion around Feminism. This confusion causes conflict, expectation and pressure that takes away from what it’s really all about. It is probably one of the most important movements of our lifetimes, and our grandparents’ lifetimes. It is a movement aimed at a simple ideal: equality.
Contrary to the popular belief that Feminism is exclusive to being a lesbian who hates men, fashion and makeup (although that is an option), it is simply about giving the same opportunities to all people, without judgement, expectation and prejudice.
It is not about women being better than men or renouncing everything that makes us feminine and it is not about creating another exclusive society that sets more rules to live by.
No-one is proud of their character flaws and our typical response is shame and self-hate. Judgement is at the top of the list of nasty flaws we hide and don’t talk about. I have struggled with insecurity around my identity and my go to defence mechanism for this is judgement. While this doesn’t put me in the best light, I want to share it with you as understanding the meaning behind judgement has turned it into a useful tool rather than the ugly crutch I used to lean on.
In the past, I was so afraid of revealing my true being and my vulnerabilities that I would shield them by critiquing others and myself, usually adding humour to further hide. While doing my first round of decluttering close to a year ago, I noticed this pattern and how I was using it to bury my true self. Now, I had made the commitment to work on myself and when you do that there is no room for hiding. The faster you face up to your blocks and fearful beliefs, the faster you grow and the faster you get closer to your vision.
Seeing the total pattern, I saw the vicious cycle I was in: I would have a judgemental thought/ action about someone and then immediately feel guilty and ashamed, judging myself and so I would go on. Learning more on the topic, I discovered that my brain had the best intentions. There was something that would be painful for me to face up to and my brain was trying to protect me from that truth. The irony, of course, is that it stunts your personal growth and you are not protecting yourself, but harming yourself in the long run.
This was a major breakthrough that immediately broke the cycle of perpetual judgemental thinking. I decided to stop judging myself and chose to see the positive intention in my thoughts and actions. I did this by acknowledging the judgemental thought as soon as I recognised it and following a process learn from it.
Next, I needed to address the source. I needed to understand what my brain didn’t want me to see so that I could learn the lesson and clear the pattern with forgiveness. My strategy was simple. I would use my defence mechanism as a tool. I became vigilant in noticing judgemental thoughts as they popped into my head and followed a 3 step process each time.
These three steps break the vicious cycle of judgement as a crutch:
STEP 1: How can I see this with love?
Judgement and insecurity come from a place of fear. They help you avoid; to keep people and painful emotions away from you, but when you choose to see your thought with love, you acknowledge its best intention and you let your guard down so you can see what it is trying to hide. So right there, when and where you have the thought, say (to yourself) “How can I see this with love?” If that’s all a bit too woo-woo for you, you could use either of these options too, “Mmmm, that’s interesting, I wonder what that means?” or “How can I see this positively?” That takes the edge off, allowing you to change your response to a more authentic expression of your true self. With this first step, I am choosing my response and how I want to participate in the situation and I immediately feel safer and more secure to do the next step.
STEP 2: What is the lesson?
Still in the moment ask yourself, “What is this trying to teach me about myself?” Or “What is the lesson here?” When I ask these questions in my head I always get an answer or a realisation of how I am falling into old patterns. A couple of times I have even experienced profound moments of clarity where I suddenly see a problem from a new perspective that allows me to deal with it and move forward. However small or big the realisation, I make a note of it right there so that I remember to do the third step later when I have some time to myself. (If you’re worried you’ll forget, pretend you’re writing a text and make a quick note on your phone.) The answer isn’t always obvious, so if you’re feeling a little stuck, try looking at your judgement as a reverse mirror for your insecurity. If your thoughts are commenting on someone’s point of view, it is likely you are insecure about your own perspective on the topic. Ask yourself why this is? Do you feel unqualified to have an opinion or like you might look stupid? That’s what you need to look at a bit more deeply in step 3.
Now, these first two steps might seem like a lot of work in a social situation, but with a bit of practice you will get to know yourself better and find that you run through them in under a minute.
STEP 3: Let it go.
A bit later, when you have some time to yourself, the last step is to address your fearful pattern so that you can clear it with forgiveness work. When you do forgiveness work on your fearful patterns, you are able to clear and let them go so that you can get closer to your personal truth and who you truly are. The principal is to forgive the situation, yourself for your part and the other party involved. This is not AA and you don’t need to make contact or say it out loud. What is important is that you acknowledge the experience and then forgive any blame as you accept the lesson and the opprtunity to learn more about yourself.
While I would love to say that today I don’t have any judgemental thoughts, that is just not the reality (yet). However now that understand that my judgmental thoughts are really signs that there is more to learn and more to clear, I actually celebrate them. I know they have nothing to do with the person or situation I am judging and everything to do with me getting to the next level in my journey. Every fearful belief that I clear leaves me with more clarity and increases my drive towards my vision. Ultimately the goal of this practice is to clear these lessons until I no longer have a use for judgemental thoughts, meaning I won’t have them anymore. But that is a long, so for now, I choose to see these thoughts with love use them for good and for growth.
Launching Bloom has been an incredible learning experience as I am exploring the true expression of my purpose and how that relates to service. The truth is that launching was only the beginning of the journey and only opened the door to more questions around purpose and my place in the world. While wrestling with this disconnect, I reconnected with guidance and found the answer: Bloom as a Personal Branding website was a deviation from the original idea and I knew I had to correct course in order to stay true and on purpose.
Well, as you might imagine, this was not well received by yours truly and I resisted. I felt completely disillusioned as this meant a change in position. All my design and branding training said this is a dangerous move and one that can show uncertainty and devalue a brand if not handled well. Enter anxiety! But, once I moved past the seeming disappointment and looked to teachers like Gabrielle Bernstein and Marie Forleo I began to see the path in front of me. I listened to Marie Forleo’s “How to get anything you want” audio workshop. Somewhere towards the end, she shares a mantra she leans on, “Clarity comes from engagement, not from thought.”
I accepted this mantra fully and developed the idea that we are all in a permanent state of discovery. Not an original idea, I know, but for the first time, I really understood what it meant. It is the truly liberating feeling that everything is an experience; not a series of successes or failures, but simply learning. When you truly accept this truth you feel the weight of all your “mistakes” float away and you invite the freedom to explore even more. With this I changed the meaning of the following concepts:
- New and change have lost their scare factor and no longer represent the anxiety of the unknown, but opportunity and excitement.
- Failure and success are now learning results that guide my next steps.
- Character flaws are no longer shameful thoughts but useful tools that guide me towards becoming more self-aware, a better friend, partner, student and teacher.
These reframed concepts helped me realise changing my position was not the drastic rip I had made it out to be, but a natural change that I was growing in to as I placed absolute trust in inner guidance. Your truth/ purpose/ path reveals itself as you work it. It does not show up like a sign with a bow on it! I felt the weight of it lift and through a few more sessions of connection, my next steps became clearer and clearer.
The trend I noticed that sparked the original idea for Bloom:
I and many women form a slightly forgotten group or generation. We’re not quite as free thinking as our millennial cousins, and not quite as security-driven as Generation X. We want security and freedom! We want the white picket fence and the freedom of travel. We want to be the boss and also feel taken care of. We want to be free and independent and have a family. We want it all, and it feels so damn confusing and frustrating.
It’s not that we don’t like where we are, we love our lives. It’s that we crave more, we crave new and different. We love our partners, have beautiful kids, but yearn for purpose and independence outside of that space. We have our career and a flourishing business, but no time to travel or to tend to our personal dreams. We wonder whether we’ve missed the boat and whether life is how we’ve already chosen it. Did I mess it up already? Am I stuck here? Is there a formula, a special sequence of events that allow some of us to “have it all?” Do we even want it all?
Therefore the questions are, “How can we have more without adding stress and overwhelm? How can we transition to include more of the life of our dreams without totally disrupting the life we have?”
Remembering this driving thought and connecting to these questions showed me that Personal Branding was only the beginning. Truly embracing your personal purpose bleeds into your whole life and while business is often the vehicle that gets us to our goals, it is the connection to our truth that allows us to design and live our vision. Without fully connecting to our core desires, we will continue feeling disillusioned with what we already have and never quite feel like we’ve arrived.
The true purpose for Bloom:
In the coming weeks, BloomHabits.com will become a place to find empowering habits to design your life intentionally and with purpose. Whether it’s a small adjustment to bring more joy into your every day or radical shifts that invite big change, BloomHabits is about being true to that feeling and helping you find the shift you need through love and authenticity.
Collaborating with an inspired group of teachers and experts we will cover topics around lifestyle, meditation and yoga practices to find guidance in your intuition. We will also look at purpose in business and at home and how change can invite new intentions that push us to grow into new roles with grace and ease.
So watch this space as we vlog, blog and share knowledge about how all of us can design our lives with intention and realise what we truly want.
If you have been following since the start, thank you. It is my hope that as Bloom grows, you join me on this crazy ride, embracing the speed bumps and moments of doubt as part of the journey. Each obstacle only gives me more to learn, allowing me to grow and get Bloom even closer to my ultimate vision. I know we will get there as long as I stay connected, stay on purpose and trust that I am right where I need to be.