I Won a Telstra Best of Business Award for Accelerating Women

I Won a Telstra Best of Business Award for Accelerating Women

Read times: 5-minute read

What a whirlwind that was!

I received an email almost 12 months ago now – ‘you have been nominated for the Telstra Best of Business Awards, click here to enter your business’

In 2017 I had some experience with Telstra’s awards program, and what I remembered most was the clarity I received about my business as I worked through each stage. Despite having no confidence at the time and being selected as a finalist, I was told by one of the judges I was a close second to the overall prize. This boosted my confidence in myself and my business exponentially, and since that day I always intended on doing it again.

So as I received the nomination I clicked through, and began putting my entry together.

The Telstra Awards are a rigorous process, so it’s not something you can breeze through or do in a weekend. There are four stages, each more involved than the one before it. You are notified after each round whether or not you have made it through, and if you do, you continue on to that next level. Each level they want to understand your business on a deeper level than the one that passed.

From the beginning I had the final round in my sights – the pitch pack – and so I put it all out on the table from the beginning.

The process 

The first round is multiple choice, social media links, your website and a short bio on your business purpose and story. If you’re selected to share more about your business you enter stage two, which were 3-minute videos responses on all aspects of your business, including; 

  • Company purpose and solution
  • Culture and team
  • Financials and future 
  • Business story 

They offer specific categories to best suit your business, I chose ‘Accelerating Women’ and ‘Championing Health’. For each category you submit additional answers to explain how you are contributing to Australia in alignment with the criteria of that specific category.

Once I reached the third round, I almost called it! It required 5 x 5 1500 word answers to each aspect of your business. As a solo entrant I struggled to complete it alongside my client load. You also don’t realise how much information there is to share, and how little 1500 words is, when you’re trying to explain what you do to strangers!

With the editing support of a long-term client, I passed through that stage to the interview stage – a 30-minute interview with the judges. They were extremely knowledgeable in their own fields and by this stage knew all there was to know about your business and vision.

From there, I made it through to the awards night as a State Finalist in both my chosen categories. I was SO excited!

The pitch deck was further away than I thought though – I needed to WIN in order to give my pitch. 

I WON the Accelerating Women award!

Dressed up in a gown, hair and makeup done, I attended the awards night with my two favourite people – my bestie and my partner. 

Then came the announcement – ‘I am so proud to announce that the winner is, Wildly Strong’. I was shocked! I took the stage to accept my award and deliver my acceptance speech. I was overwhelmed but also just so happy and proud. 

It was the best thing I have experienced in my business so far. And it’s not for the reason you may think.

I have no formal training in business. I am heart-led and my intuition is what brought me to where I am now. I followed my gut, shared my story and supported women in overcoming the same struggles I have overcome.

So I have no mentorship, and I get no business feedback, but the awards program offers me an opportunity for just that. It asks important questions of you as a business owner, and forces you to get clear on your past, present and future in a way that makes sense to strangers – not one of my strong points!

The National Experience 

So here I am ready to put together a pitch pack – the part I was most excited about. Judges from across Australia were selected for the panel, and you have 10 minutes to pitch your business to them. Aware of the fact that I had no formal training or any clue about corporate lingo, I put together a pitch that I was super proud of. 

They asked me questions around investment, how I was going to ‘challenge the establishment’ and things like this, to which I replied I would have to get a mentor. I hadn’t thought this far ahead, as I don’t have many resources available to me.

They gave me really great advice on what I could do to grow my business with the resources I did have – creating partnerships with other professionals that my work gels well with.

So a night of mingling, a pitch pack presented to judges, a masterclass where we met the CEO of Telstra, and a 6-hour long awards ceremony I was presented with my state finalist award. I didn’t win the national prize, but as a realist I wasn’t expecting I would. It was the experience I was seeking and the clarity around my own business journey that was most important to me.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. I have such clarity around who I serve, the direction I am taking, the story that led me here, and what I need to do next in order to continue accelerating women into the future.

I was offered a speaking opportunity with the Defense Force, an article in the Canberra Weekly, an interview with one of the judges Div Pillay in June, and I made an appearance on Sunrise off the back of this awards program. These are valuable experiences that came off the back of the publicity I received in the awards program.

Where am I going now?

If I am honest, I am resting! The two awards ceremonies were on either side of my PTSD healing sessions in Byron Bay. I didn’t really get a chance or space to process what came up in my session, and I fell behind on client work! I am still catching up.

So, it’s a rest from me, and I have a few exciting things in the pipelines that I can’t tell you about yet – but it’s coming sometime in September.

The Telstra 2024 Best of Business Awards nominations are now open, so if you know of a business that could benefit from this process in the future, be sure to nominate them here!

Lessons From A 25+ Year Health and Fitness Journey

Lessons From A 25+ Year Health and Fitness Journey

Read time: 10-minute read

I’ve been in the health and fitness game for a long time. I’ve made every mistake, and paid for those mistakes time and time again.

It pains me to see everyone making those same mistakes, as there is so much ‘new’ information online, and none of it addresses the root of what it takes to sustain a healthy lifestyle in the long term.

In this post I have reflected on this, so here 10 of my top lessons from my 25 year journey. 

1. Emotional Regulation should be your number one priority

It starts in the mind (which stems from the BODY), so you can’t be healthy if your mind-body isn’t aligned ⁠

This is first because this is KEY. I learned this after many years of perfect eating and training, when I developed chronic fatigue. As I explored the mechanisms behind this illness I learned of how dysregulated my nervous system was, and it was this dysregulation that led to my condition.

I already had depression, anxiety, ADD, and PTSD diagnosis, but because I was so removed from my body, it didn’t click until I was physically unable to function. 

What does this look like?

  • Learning to feel into the body
  • Healing and or facing childhood trauma
  • Asking questions about your uncomfortable emotions
  • Seeing a therapist if you need to
  • Taking time to reassess your job, relationships and life choices. 

These things aren’t easy, they’re a journey, but I can assure you there is freedom (and better results in all life pursuits) if this one is explored in its entirety.

2. It’s a PROCESS. No one masters the habits overnight.

We all fall backward and have to jump back on the wagon again. ⁠

Rome wasn’t built in a day! Along your journey there will be setbacks, as it is impossible to just ‘decide’ to change and have no problems. Think of change like an onion, as you peel back one layer another appears.

So you start eating better, now you have less inflammation and more clarity to see the waves in your emotional state or those things that trigger it. When you’re triggered, you may spiral back to old habits in order to regulate yourself. In noting that, you need to develop a new habit to regulate, rather than leaning on those things you’re trying to quit – cigarettes, alcohol, sugar, etc.

Be patient with yourself and think of it like you’re going on a quest, and on this quest you want to uncover all those things that are holding you back from your dreams, and work through them one by one. As you do this, work to be happy and grateful for what you already have, and this takes the pressure off!.

3. We all have different needs and genetic capabilities – learn yours. 

This is KEY! We all have different muscle shapes, strength capacity, waist size, abdominal shapes, body fat storage limitations, sensitivities, and histories. Your past will influence your present, which is why the first point is so important.

If you’re wanting to change your body, then knowing those who excel in physical endeavors are built differently. They most likely don’t share your story. They most likely have more responsive bodies, lower body fat set-points, a faster metabolism and better levers for lifting. Don’t compare your journey to anyone else but your own. 

4. Nutrition is the number one variable you can control (in a sea of environmental toxicity – so start there)

If you don’t eat well, you really have no chance. There is no other way to say it! We are all impacted by our environment, epigenetic suggests up to 95% of our health outcomes are related to just that. It’s hard to avoid pharmaceuticals, petrol fumes, and some of us have high levels of emotional or psychological stress, but we can all control our diet.

This means; low refined sugar, no seed oils, no fried foods, no trans fats. It’s not that hard to do, but it’s hard to accept as those foods are SO addictive. So, start in the kitchen!

5. Weight training has positive carryover into ALL aspects of life

Weight training is beneficial for; 

  • Bone density
  • Injury prevention
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Mental health
  • Strength levels
  • Sports performance
  • Hormone function
  • Nutrient uptake

And, it can make your body more resilient. When you train well, the nervous system upregulates and has to return to normal again. The more you do this, the more it can stretch, the more you can take on in your everyday life. 

6. Being lean is NOT where the happiness lies

I have been shredded three times. The first time I was miserable as I had major body image issues and I had hedged all my bets on being lean. When I arrived there, I was more disappointed than I had ever been. The next time it was a little better, and the last time I was well aware that it was for the sport and the enjoyment, and so it was great, but I would never choose to live that lifestyle in order to stay lean, as the sacrifices I had to make were too high. Same goes for you!

7. It’s important to identify what you’re willing to do and how you want to live, and weigh that up against how you want to look.

And then, you want to work on accepting how you look. 

⁠How you look is largely genetic, and most people won’t tell you this. This means you won’t buy their programs or sign up to their weight loss diets. I tell my clients this, they understand what is realistic for them and what it takes to achieve the body they desire to have.

For me personally, this means being around 70-73kg, I have a nice shape, but I have no real visible muscle despite when I am lean looking very muscular. After a lifetime of chronic dieting and stress, I have to accept that this is what my body considers to be safe.

So ask yourself, what about this weight is safe for me? If there are realistic changes you can make to be healthier, then it’s likely you will lose weight as you make those changes. If you’re already living a truly healthy lifestyle, then understanding any further leanness you may achieve will not necessarily stick around.

Keep in mind also, that obesity is never safe for the body. Our bodies carry healthy amounts of body fat, but this is never in excessive amounts.

8. Community is essential – you need to have a safe people in your corner.

No-one can make it on their own!⁠

If you don’t have people in your corner cheering you on, it will be hard to change. I have experienced both sides, where I had friends that were not egging me on at all, in fact behind my back hoping I would fail. This means that when I would change, I would feel disconnected and with that disconnection came me ditching my efforts in an attempt to fit back in again. 

Recognise that good connections are people who; 

  • Support you
  • Listen to you
  • Compromise with you
  • Don’t need to be right all the time
  • Ask you how it’s going
  • Point out positive changes in you

They are not people who criticise, put negative ideas in your head or hold you back.  

9. SAFETY is needed for any lasting change.

Safety for me is something I only learned in 2022 as I heal my childhood trauma. I had no idea I didn’t have safety, and no idea how to recognise it.

SO this what safety is, for anyone who doesn’t know; 

  • It is having non-judgmental people in your corner
  • It’s being able to speak your mind without fear of negative consequences
  • It’s people who have a genuine interest in your life
  • People who can be present for you 

If you feel you lack safety, then this is where I would start! Seek out a therapist as this can be a great way of learning what safety feels like, and I’ll give you a tip, it feels strange but also very right to your nervous system.

You may have heard me talking about this alot of late, particularly as it relates to weight loss. Safety is key for any physical goal, as without safety we have chronic stress, and in chronic stress the body is surviving, not thriving, and you can’t achieve things that your body deems unnecessary when it is simply trying to keep you alive!

10. Your needs will change with each phase of life.

One minute it feels important to be skinny, the next it’s important to be strong, then suddenly we care more for mobility. Ride the waves and don’t judge your earlier choices as you occupy new spaces. ⁠

Changing your preferences is normal, and it’s important to embrace this and not fight against it. I see really often people posting about how they once cared about how they looked, but now they don’t, but rather than sharing in an empowering way, they’re mocking the girl who thought weight loss would make her happy.

Weight loss doesn’t make you happy, but your belief in that was your only hope for safety in that phase of your life. What you did in the past was what you did to survive. There are no right or wrong things to do if they lead you to your best life.

I have done; 

  • Cardio and fun runs
  • Weight training and bodybuilding
  • Powerlifting
  • Strongman
  • Walking only while I had chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Back to bodybuilding
  • Now back to walking only really light training as my body recovers through trauma therapy 

I have resistance every time I can’t weight train, as it is my preference but at the same time i have to ride those waves – if the body doesn’t want to do it, then I need to give it a rest. My point here is, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ exercise routine, food, training style or phase to be in. Do what your body can do at the time.

So those are my top 10 tips for you! I hope you gained some new insight.

There is a video version of this too, if you would like to learn more!

Does losing weight make you happy?

Does losing weight make you happy?

Read time: 5 minute read

Most people get into the body transformation game with one idea in mind – 

“The perfect body will make me happy”. 

Is this true though? NO! And in this post I am going to cover this in detail. 

There are a few things I want to cover on this topic including; 

  • Where does it come from? Let’s look at the media’s role in it, and our own
  • How much this impacts us personally
  • Where does the happiness part lie? and, 
  • What can we do about it?

WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

I have been a Personal Trainer for 20 years, and a full-time Women’s coach for at least 12. Personally I have always been obsessed with weight loss and body transformation. And most of the women I have trained over the years share the same obsession. 

There are a number of factors behind why we think being skinner will make us happy, but we can narrow this down to two categories; 

  1. The media
  2. Our own personal issues.  

If we go back prior to social media, and particularly up until the last few years, there was zero representation of the averaged-sized women in the media. Every teen magazine or fitness magazine had on the cover – how to lose weight’, and most often it was a 1200 calorie diet with no carbs paired with an excessive exercise routine. 

Let’s start with the Media 

As we started to make traction in the fitness world, learning from our earlier mistakes and teaching women to nourish themselves (I’m talking between 2010-2017ish) I really saw a shift. Women want to eat more, meaning, they want to eat what their bodies require of them. They were sick of the yo-yo diet cycle. 

However, with social media came the introduction of influencers – most often slim women who looked exactly like those we had seen in the media our whole lives, but now there were more of them, and their accounts grew as women everywhere wanted to know what their ‘secret’ was. I can tell you what their secret was – their genetics – but they won’t tell you that themselves. 

They began selling diet products, fitness challenges, getting photo shoots in their underwear and the bikini and fitness model divisions were introduced to competitions to fulfill this need. Now the perfect body can be two things – tall and slender, or lean with large muscles and a perfect set of breast implants. 

So in 2022, we have a new problem, being thousands of genetically elite, self-proclaimed experts who use their own ‘perfect’ bodies to perpetuate diet culture for profit. They don’t coach and have no idea of the impact their behaviour has on young women, nor do they probably care. Furthermore, we see them as ‘experts’ because they look the way we have been programmed to believe ‘healthy’ women should look. 

So just as we were making progress, an even larger force came in and we were moving both forwards and backwards at the same time. The fitness industry which was once a safe place for women to build themselves up was now just as toxic as the mainstream media industry. 

Women turn to fitness to boost their confidence, and are exploited. They achieve great things with their own minds and bodies, but because they aren’t aesthetically extraordinary, or can’t maintain a lean physique, they feel like they have failed. 

So that’s the media aspect of it. 

Then we have the second part, which is our own personal issues

Technically speaking, no ‘health’ organisation inflicts an eating disorder or body image issues onto us. In order for us to be susceptible to the messages, we need to be somewhat vulnerable to them. 

Much like they don’t remove addictive things like alcohol, porn, sugar and certain prescription drugs off the market, they wont ‘ban’ this kind of body from being supported because 1/ this kind of aesthetic-based ‘beauty’ sells, and we live in a corporation driven society, but also because, only some people become addicted. 

Some people are susceptible, and others are not. There is a really great thought leader in the area of trauma and addiction, Dr. Gabor Mate. We will use his words here to illustrate what I am saying; “ask not why the addiction, ask why the pain?”

HOW DO YOU BECOME SUSCEPTIBLE?

There are two ways you may become vulnerable to believing that your body needs to look a certain way in order for you to be happy; 

  1. You need to feel like you’re not good enough as you are, on some level, and
  2. You need to believe that there is something positive at the other end of the transformation – praise, belonging, success, attention, love, etc. Whatever you believe you need in this life to be safe and accepted, this lies at the end of your body transformation journey. 

We have only a few basic human needs – shelter, food and water, and connection. In order to survive, we need to be accepted by the tribe as no one human being can thrive on their own. 

Most corporations prey on our need for connection, as in the western world we have plenty of shelter, food and water to go around (disregarding the quality of that of course which is on a sliding scale). They do this by creating scenarios where it is taken away, for example the ever changing algorithm on Instagram based on what they call the ‘fame lottery’, supplying endless food and drinks that inflame the nervous system, and dating apps where we swipe instead of boldly approaching someone in the real world and asking for their phone number. So things aren’t really working in our favour here. 

Our need for connection is created into cash for large corporations. For those of us who become fixated on our bodies as a place of inadequacy, ‘diet culture’ is the solution. Once we walk down this path due to our own insecurities, there is no shortage of places to land. 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR BODY-FAT?

When you lose all your body fat, you do not immediately feel happy. To be perfectly honest, you may even feel worse – more vulnerable, more disappointed in learning that this wasn’t the answer. Your friends and family may distance themselves from you because your lifestyle is so restrictive, so you may even feel more left out than when you started. 

Furthermore, if you’re in a loop of thinking there is something inherently wrong with you, you will continue to find things that are wrong with your body. For me I hated the shape of my waist, and my left shoulder was smaller than my right. I’ve had clients get breast implants because they hated the way their leaner bodies came with a smaller bust, or they complain about the tiniest bit of cellulite that remains under their butt crease, which I can’t do anything about because it’s their genetics

Lately, as I have been engaging in therapy, with the trauma being the root cause of my body image issues since childhood, this ‘issue’ has been much more apparent. I noticed I look and feel different multiple times of the day. One day I think I am fat, the next I am old and ugly. I would put on clothing thinking it won’t fit because I’ve gotten so fat, only to find my body hasn’t changed at all. 

So how you see your body is linked directly with issues you have going on within yourself, and although the lifestyle adopted by going on a weight loss journey can be helpful, the weight loss itself won’t change those beliefs you have within your nervous system unless you actively work with those too. 

WHAT PART OF THE JOURNEY DOES CONTRIBUTE TO GREATER HAPPINESS?

Whilst losing fat doesn’t bring about feelings of happiness all on its own, the activities undertaken in a body transformation process absolutely can, such as;

  • Better food choices leading to lower inflammation 
  • Regular exercise increasing lymph flow and blood circulation
  • Lowered stress hormones which lead to improved sleep, gut health and feelings of calm

The truth of nutrition really is that eating a diet full of highly processed food is a problem, causing leaky gut, and neuroinflammation, which directly damages neurotransmitters and makes us feel crap about ourselves. So a healthy diet is key. Once again corporations interfere with your assimilation of this information because it’s unfavourable for their profits. 

Losing weight will not make you happier, but being healthy will

For a healthy weight woman, meaning that your body has the amount of body fat it deems to be necessary for you to create life, forage and protect your young, fat loss will not make you healthier or happier. It is also highly likely that whatever fat loss you achieve will be put back on, as this is the body’s safety mechanism. 

The body decides how much body fat is safe for you personally, and has no care for your body composition goals. So for this person, a dieting process may make you healthier because you’re eating better, sleeping better, and moving more, but you could also achieve this without cutting your calories back and losing body fat. So there is no benefit to losing that body fat specifically. 

If you’re higher in body fat than what your body deems to necessary, then you may experience more feelings of happiness as you lose weight, and with clients this looks like easily fitting into a plane seat, purchasing fashionable clothes, feeling more energised, less mood swings, moving more freely and being able to play with their kids. 

So weight loss for some people does improve quality of life, but it’s important to identify the ways in which your body weight is affecting you. It’s also important to diet in a healthy way, no matter your starting point. 

In summary, if you’re a healthy or unhealthy weight, making healthier food choices and moving more (both of which come with a weight loss goal) will lead to improvements in the following; 

  • Stable blood sugar, thus more stable moods and energy levels
  • Increased energy do to a lower toxic load, 
  • Lowered inflammation which leads to fatigue and depressive symptoms 
  • Improved sleep which lowers stress and food cravings, and
  • Better hormone balance, so your time-of-the-month will be more pleasant, your skin more vibrant and your mood overall more stable. 
  • Less stress leading to more capacity for connection

So those are the reasons why someone seems happier when they lose weight, but it is not specifically because their body fat is lower. 

What can I do to start healing my relationship with my body?

The following is what I recommend to my clients when they come to me wanting to change their bodies; 

  1. Unfollow anyone that triggers you to feel low self-worth. If you contract or feel envious when you see your feed, just remove them. 
  2. Switch your focus from calorie restriction and dieting to start, no matter where you are on your journey or what your end goal is. Eat your maintenance calories and see if you still want to lose weight once you’re feeling more healthy.  
  3. Train to get strong and improve your overall physical capacity, and do exercise that is friendly to your nervous system – weight training, cardiovascular activity, dance, yoga, pilates are examples. Note that competitive powerlifting, crossfit and HIIT training may be too much. 
  4. Start looking within. What do I want this for? Do I need to lose weight or am I just unhappy? If you feel the issue is outside of your capacity to process, hire a qualified professional like psychologist, psychotherapist, or coach who specialises in this area. 

By working on these things you can start to heal the relationship with your body. There is of course the ‘body positive’ movement, but I would be very wary of that as it often does not encourage a healthy relationship with food, which is foundational to good health in the long term. 

Often the best way out of body image challenges and diet culture is through it too, so don’t beat yourself up if you did a competition and felt like you failed. This is all a part of the journey. Now you know that’s not the answer and you can start focusing on those practices that brought about joy throughout the process and build on them instead.

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Body Love

 

Highlights from 2020

Highlights from 2020

Read time: 10 minute read

2020 was a weird year – no one can dispute that. I felt a little bit like this picture at first, as I went through all of the emotions and experiences – stress, unpredictability, shock, awakened, relieved, free – all at the same time. I would say 2020 tested our resilience, compassion, trust, and stability, more than ever before. Most people I know actually embraced the changes – extra time, less pressure at work, more time with their loved ones. Travel restrictions, lockdowns and business closures made the world seem like a much smaller place. It made us appreciate what we have right in front of us. I found myself grateful for the house I own, the friends I have, and the clientele I allowed into my business as this then became a business I run from home and I mean, completely from home. So thanks to the events of 2020, I will be going into 2021 with some really great realisations, and this post is dedicated to what I learned

1: SOCIAL MEDIA HIATUS

I took a three-month break from social media – all platforms, apart from messenger. Highlight, you ask? Hell yes! Social media is not my jam. I hate it, actually. I think it’s filled with lies, absurd competition, and fakery, and I have wasted a lot of time over the years trying to work out who is honest, and who is not. I think there are better ways to occupy our time. When the lockdowns started, I really felt the pull to go inwards. There was literally nothing else being spoken about online but you-know-what, it was all very negative, and fear-based. This is not how I like to live, nor can I do my best work or live my best life in this environment. So I decided this was my opportunity, I had always wondered whether it was necessary to post on social media for my particular business. My client spots have been full since 2013, and I don’t think any of them told me they found me on social media. So, this was my big chance! I deleted it, and instead filled this time (now that my brain wasn’t filled with everyone else’s ideas and perspectives), with re-connecting with my goals. At first I found myself scrolling Pinterest, but then deleted that too. The habit is hard to break, eh? I then got stuck into work. It was great. Whilst not on social, I learned of how it changes your brain (not for the better), I learned of its political bias, how it supports particular messages and not others, and got some real evidence that reinforced to me why I never liked it. Once I was done with my three months, I didn’t care about it at all. It didn’t effect my business. Now I just post what I think my clients would love to read, and I don’t worry about anyone else. So that’s made the social world a little more fun. I am sure there are many out there who always saw it this way, but it took me a while to get there! So, that was highlight number 1.

2: GRATITUDE

Despite it being a stressful year, I realised that I have everything I need right here, right now. If I was to never acquire anything else, I would be one happy woman. I realised that my business isn’t going anywhere, and no lock down is going to dull the flames that fuel the drive in my clientele. I would say about 95% of them cruised through the year, didn’t quit, stayed on track, and smashed their goals – some had babies, lots of bodies and minds were transformed, a few ladies competed (Robina turned PRO!). They actually inspired me! Because growing up I experienced a lot of stress, there has always been a part of me that clings really hard to what I have. I work non-stop fearing that I am not doing enough, not being enough, and that with the slightest ‘bump’ I could lose everything I have worked so hard for. I feel like the penny is going to drop an any minute. 2020 was the year in which I realised that will never happen. I built my business with integrity and it is here to stay. I feel so much calmer since having this realisation, as I didn’t realise I was still operating with this underlying fear playing in the background. If anything, my business has been busier than ever. I am working from home now, still considering whether I will return to a gym or open up my own, but for now I am content. Which brings me to highlight number three…

3: I WORKED ON A LONG TERM DREAM

With no travel, no social media distractions, and a few less clients in the first month of lockdown, I found myself feeling really energised with this extra time. Even though it was only 10 hours or so, it felt like a lot of time to spend on me. I made a connection with a long-term friend and client, to assist me in a work project which will be revealed very soon – a few months time in fact! It’s how I always wanted my business to be, but with health issues and such a consistently heavy client load I was never quite able to piece it together. Anyways, I can’t reveal too much. In the meantime, enjoy browsing my new Website! This is part one of the change we have been working on during this time.

4: IT WAS THE HEALTHIEST YEAR OF MY LIFE

Health is the greatest wealth. I would always read this, whilst battling health issues, but never really understood it’s full meaning. In the past all my money and focus was on healing my body – I wanted to be completely healthy so I could live my life to the fullest. Although it did take me years to achieve, 2020 was the first year I was able to reap the rewards of all that hard work. I was able to save money as I didn’t spend it all on health care. I experienced no mental health interference, consistent sleep, no break in training, no fatigue outside the normal kind, I branched out and ate various foods that I haven’t been able to eat for years and lost another 6kg. I had the time and mental space to read up on, and learn about topics outside of the health field, which included studies on surveillance, gender identity issues, social media toxicity, political memoirs, and other topics. (yes, heavy, i love this kind of thing!) But I love to learn and grow so it was great to be able to focus my attention in this way.

5: I FOUND OTHERS WHO WERE EMBARKING ON A SIMILAR HEALING JOURNEY TO ME

Healing yourself from illness is not something that the larger population understand, and I always found this isolating. When you want to bypass medical recommendation and unwind your health problem, there is no one to talk to but the specialist groups you find on social media, or the professionals you are paying for this support. Even now I am healed, I still struggle to find others that understand my journey, but one event stood out to me in 2020, and that was a conversation I had with others who were working on healing their bipolar disorder (this is one of the things I healed in myself). They found themselves in such a similar place to where I was in the past, and were seeking answers to missing pieces, or things they could add to their efforts, as they were so close but not quite over that line. I contributed mine which brought me much joy! Might I add this was on Facebook – so that’s another thing that it is good for 😉 When you find people who understand all of you and what you have experienced, it is a very freeing thing.

6: UNCOVERED SOME INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN TO CARRY ME THROUGH 2021

Again with the fact that my attention wasn’t on my health, and I was researching new areas from politics to history, I found myself super focussed in on women who speak their minds and aren’t afraid of what other people think of them In a healing journey, much of what you need to do is reclaim what you lost in your childhood – what you were shamed for, isolated for, and disliked for. One of those things for me, was honesty. I always told it like it was, didn’t like being told what to do, but was convinced that this was a bad thing that I needed to ‘stop’. The next piece of my healing journey is to reclaim that part of me. In my research I found women who can inspire me into 2021, and with their strength and wisdom backing me, I don’t see anything getting in my way. I don’t believe any of us can achieve what we want without modelling off the courage of someone who has already done what we wish to do. So, that’s it. In summary it has been an amazing year, one of great transformation, realisation, gratitude, and joy.   What was your favourite memory of 2020??

Finding a Silver Lining in Times of Adversity

Finding a Silver Lining in Times of Adversity

Read time: 7 minute read

I’m kind of stating the obvious here by saying that these are trying times for many of us; things are going a little crazy out there, and there is contradictory, confusing and confronting information being spilled out of every media outlet in sight.

As much as I love to express my opinion on global issues, I like to stay in my lane when it comes to expressing them publicly unless they are directly related to something I know well, and practice often. Given the fact that I am in the health and wellness sphere, I will focus my attention on supporting you all in finding positivity, within crisis, as that is something I am particularly skilled at!

Finding silver linings to seemingly negative and hopeless situations is one of my favourite things to do, and something I have done hundreds (if not thousands) of times throughout my life whilst dealing with depression and anxiety growing up. It is really all about attitude, resilience, and where you choose to direct your attention.

When facing stress, or feeling blue, you need to do two things;  the first is to change your state, meaning, you need to snap your body out of whatever funky energy it is ‘sitting’ in. The second is to find a silver lining, something that brings positive opportunity to a negative situation, so you can move forward.

So in the spirit of contributing something to this weird and stressful time, I’ve compiled a few of my favourite ways to uncover that silver lining, change your perspective, and your physical state, so you can continue on thriving in times of stress.

 

PERSPECTIVE SHIFT

Perspective shifts are all about flipping a negative into a positive, moving from self-defeating mindset to a constructive one. It’s not an easy task, and sometimes you need to keep yourself accountable and snap out of victim mode in order to make it happen. It all depends on how ‘stuck’ you are.

STEP 1: Write down a list of all the benefits to your situation

You probably rolled your eyes when you read that. What positives!? In order to do this, you need to dig deep, as when you’re not in a good place these things don’t just jump to the surface. If you lost your job, did you actually like it? If you have no money, were you out of control with your spending? If you just went through a breakup, was that relationship really serving your highest good? Think outside the box a little and answer with honesty.

STEP 2: Write down a plan as to how you will make the most of the situation

A plan is where you take that benefitfrom the stressful situation that you uncovered in the previous point, and write down actionable steps to make something happen. This may be something like;

  • The problem might be; I lost my job, but I didn’t like it anyways. The actionable step might be; reflect on what I would actually want to do. Apply for jobs in a more desirable field. Seek out further education to bridge the gap between what I can do, and what I want to do.
  • The problem might be; I have no money, but I was overspending before. The actionable step might be; Make a budget; what can you afford, what do you need in your life, and what can go? When you do have money again, how are you going to hold onto it? What better way to reel in your spending when you actually have no money to spend anyways?

There is always a silver lining, you just need to look for it. Resilience comes along with stronger foundations after every ‘fall’, as when approached constructively, you climb out stronger than before.

STEP 3: Write down everything you have, that you are grateful for

Write a list and stick it on your fridge if you have to. When the coronavirus shutdown first occurred, I was pretty angry as gyms closed so now I am working from home, my income down, my business in limbo and to be honest I was feeling pretty apathetic for a day or two. Then a quote popped up in my feed, which I reposted, that put things way back into perspective;

“Ok, but honestly, how privileged are so many of us that during a global pandemic, we can just stay warm at home, reading, working, still being educated, creating, talking to our loved ones, with little worries and a fridge stocked with food?”

I have no idea who wrote the quote but what a reality check for us westerners who are complaining about lack of toilet paper and (these next two were me) closed gyms and the fact that it took me three hours and 4 grocery shops to find and purchase meat to fit my specific macro requirements??

Reality check. There is always something to be grateful for.

 

CHANGING YOUR PHYSICAL STATE

 Sometimes, this one needs to come before the first if you can’t seem to get past your negative thinking cycle, or victimhood. We’ve all been there, where we have a problem and are not even slightly open to solutions to those problems, whether being offered by friends, family, coworkers, psychologists, etc.

When you’re stuck, you need to do something to change your state before you go ahead trying to be grateful. And fun fact, you probably won’t want to change your state, because you don’t feel like it. Oftentimes, in order to surpass out limited selves, we have to do things we don’t feel like doing. So to change your state, here are some of my favourite suggestions;

Create a go-to playlist, with all those songs that light you up

I mean lights you up, from the inside. You know those songs you hear that bring you such joy and make you just want to dance around like a crazy person? I have a playlist of those; it’s called ‘Wake-up/Inspirational’. I put it on when I feel crappy and eventually, you get back to feeling good

Get out into nature

Nature changes your state, something to do with the negative ions and the sounds it makes. Whether your jam is the beach, rainforest, up on a hill somewhere, or the local lake, force yourself to get out there and sit still, in your fave place, until you change your state.

Express yourself through whichever means possible

Whether it be dancing around the house like a crazy person, singing at the top of your lungs, playing an instrument, drawing, reading, writing, do something that brings your soul to the surface. You don’t need to be skilled or talented at it, you just need an outlet. Having a go-to outlet is an easy way to change your state. Mine is singing, as I find it relaxing, or I have tribal music that I love to play loudly while dancing around in the lounge room. Weird, I know.

Meditate

If you know how, this is a good one. Breathing, mindfulness, sound mediation, or walking meditation are all ways of changing your state and bringing about inner stillness.

Exercise

Physical movement is crucial for releasing stored energy and reinvigorating your body. Whether for you this is running, walking, cycling, going to the gym, and whether or not you feel like doing it, just get it done. This will change your state.

So there you have it, I hope you find these suggestions useful! Once you change your state, you can return back to your original task of finding a silver lining to your challenging situation. There is one there, always, you just need to dig down a little deeper, and find it.

Note that I have steered away from focusing on more obvious things such as eating a healthful diet, getting plenty of sleep, avoiding the narratives of the mainstream media, though it is my belief that these things are crucial for physical and emotional resilience as well.

Happy digging!

Jen x

Alignment over Hustle

Alignment over Hustle

Read time: 7 minute read

Being in the business game I constantly see coaches and entrepreneurs talking (or shall we say bragging) about their ‘hustle’ – how hard they work, how many hours they put in, what time they get up in the morning, etc. 

Is hustling really all its cracked up to be? How does it apply to life in general?

Lets compare the two… 

Hustling is a masculine energy; it’s about pushing, controlling, forcing, and working things into place. It’s about doing whatever it takes. It’s a cognitive (thought-centred) process, where you observe what others do, think about how to beat them, and strive to outwork. 

Aligning is a feminine energy, where you lay goals out, and ensure they’re congruent with you personally. It’s about bringing who you are, and what you want to do together, so they can work along side each other. Sounds like the winner already, right? 

I think it depends on the level of success you want to achieve in that particular activity, and the kind of person you are, but assuming we are all women here I am going to propose that you get aligned, before you hustle. 

I learned this lesson the hard way, always working harder, longer, and more effectively than all of my competitors. Yes it brought me a lot of ‘success’ at the time, but it lead me down a pretty dark road to burnout, which left me back peddling in the end. So here I am making sure you don’t make this same mistake!

I learned that simply working hard wasn’t enough. I needed to bring alignment into the mix. 

Alignment + Hustle = Success

Success is not just about beating the competition. It’s about liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. We can thank Maya Angelou for that quote. So before moving forwards you need to have a pretty good idea of the goal posts you’re aiming for.

If you simply want to feel happy, then alignment is literally all you need. If you want to excel however, you need to hustle once you have your aligned and your goals are in place. It’s a constant push and pull between the two energies; we align, then we hustle, and repeat this process over the long haul until our goals have been achieved. 

How to apply this ‘alignment over hustle’ principle 

In general nutrition/health/weight loss goals, you align by making sure you’re losing weight for the right reasons, and that you are using a method that works with your body. That is enough to get you great results. The hustle comes in when you’re partaking in a competitive sport such as bodybuilding, or wanting to lose that extra 5% in the end. 

In training/exercise, you align by finding a training regimen that you enjoy, is at your experience level, and is well balanced. Working with your body, and not overstepping your physical capacity, is essential. You hustle when you want to excel, after you have laid the foundations down

In business and at work, you align by working out what you want to gain from your business, regardless of outward ‘success’ markers. You hustle once you know why you are doing what you’re doing, and where you want to end up.

In relationships, I believe alignment is really the only thing you need. If you have to hustle someone to be your partner or friend, or hustle your family to do what you want, they’re probably not your people.

Finding alignment, with yourself and your goals

Finding alignment means finding out who you are on a deeper level. Remember that finding alignment is essentially a feminine energy, and feminine energy is PASSIVE. It works better when it’s aligned first. 

STEP 1: You have to get quiet. Take a break from the ‘noise’ of the outside world. Meditate, go to the beach, or sit alone in your favourite café. Tuning out the outside world is the only real way you can work out what is going on for you, on the inside

STEP 2: Ask yourself some deeper questions; is what I’m doing making me happy? Do I have a clear goal? Am I energised, or exhausted? Do I feel supported, or isolated? Be honest with yourself here. 

STEP 3: Work out what you can let go of, and what to focus your attention on. Work out how you are going to ensure you don’t get caught up in other peoples ‘hustle’, and stay aligned with yours. 

Simple, right?

If you find yourself cringing at the idea of this whole suggestion, it’s a sure-fire sign you need to do a lot of work in this area!

Without alignment, we risk losing connection with our deeper wants and needs. We risk going a million miles in the wrong direction. We risk never discovering, or losing sight of our own unique gifts and talents. We also risk burning out and having to backpedal, which in itself is extremely stressful. Been there, done that.

Jen x

 

 

 

 

 

Transformation is yours for the taking. 

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