Whether You Think You’re Ahead Or Behind, You’re Right (And Why It Really Doesn’t Matter)

Starting and running your own business can be a sobering experience and push ALL your buttons of ‘not good enough-ness’…

  • “I’m rubbish at managing money”
  • “I hate selling anything”
  • “I don’t know enough about X, who’d listen to me?”
  • “Selling myself? I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a blunt instrument!”
  • “I’m not good at anything business-y. I just want to create and make stuff”

People have different ways of dealing with this uncomfortable feeling of not-good-enough-itis…

  • They fake it till they make it – giving an impression it’s all going great when under the surface it feels anything but.
  • They hide away – telling themselves they’ll do X when Y (and then do absolutely nothing).
  • They ‘qualification’ the hell out of it – getting as many qualifications as they can to feel more confident.
  • They push though it – working their a$$es off, harder than anyone else to prove to themselves (and anyone else looking) that they are indeed good enough and no-one’s going to prove otherwise, dammit.

The sobering and simultaneously cheering thought is that this happens to us all, at various different points in our journey; no matter how experienced or how far along the path we are.

It’s easy to look behind us, at people we’ve passed along the way, and think:

“Oh well, I’m well ahead of them, what can I possibly learn from them now?” but, in my experience, this is when we instantly lose. There is something we can still learn from everyone.

I consider myself pretty experienced when it comes to business – starting one, running one, growing one, ending one (or several!) and supporting hundreds of other people to do the same in my career – so I’ve felt somewhat confident in my ability to help my über talented 10 year old daughter ‘make the most’ of her creative talent (my words, my goals, not hers!). Except the brutal truth is that she doesn’t need my help. AT ALL.

As I watch her navigate the creation and sharing of her own creative work on not one but two instagram accounts, I am struck by what she, intuitively, seems to just ‘get’ about what she’s doing. Here’s what she’s getting right – and they are lessons for us all!

If you’re not going to plan, at least know what you’re aiming for…

For Mali, there’s no detailed plan (and as a strategist this fills me with horror!). She loosely knows what she wants to do and she probably can’t really articulate it more than “I want to create a comic book (or lots of them)”. That’s clearly all she needs to know for now, and it guides her decisions and actions perfectly well!

If the thing stopping you from starting or from taking the next step whatever that may be, is that you don’t have a plan and have no idea where to start or how to do one, all you really need to know, for now, is this: Where/what do you want to get to?

Share the journey and process…

I’ve long been a passionate advocate of sharing your journey as you do your own thing; it is such a natural, powerful and simple way to build an audience and community by sharing your own experience, and the ups and downs of the journey.

Mali isn’t afraid to share her creative process – to include sketches, works-in-progress and ask questions and request input from her followers. Not only does it show her skill and confidence in her abilities, it also shows her vulnerability and willingness to show up and be seen, finished article or not.

If you’re reluctant to share your journey and process, consider how you feel about others doing this; if it’s ok for them, why not for you? (Pay attention to the answers which may bubble up for you here, they could easily be a blind spot 😉 )

Watch and learn, experiment & play…

As adults, we’re so fixated on showing up – as the ‘professional’, as the all-knowing guru, as the qualified, certified expert – that we forget the power of not having to present ourselves in this way – of being able to show up and be seen even when we’ve NOT ‘been there, done it”, and we’re not ‘all sorted’.

We forget the power of watching and learning on our own without having to take a course or get the certificate; we forget the power of playing and experimenting on our own without having to be guided or shown the way; and we forget the power of being free to show up, be seen AND stand out WITHOUT the veneer we think we have to create to be (seen as) ‘good enough’.

A few months ago Mali was a total beginner to Instagram. Since then she’s watched, learned, tried and applied, and is now a far more consummate Instagram user than I am (or her father for that matter!). She isn’t afraid to experiment, play and have a go; uncrippled by perfectionism and curious about what other people are doing, she’s free to figure out what works for her without anyone having to tell or even show her.

Where are you no longer allowing yourself to play and explore, too focused on showing up as perfect/professional/sorted? What if it was 100% ok to be YOU – wherever you are on the journey right now – and the value that you bring in being you, right now, is good enough?

Create out loud, unapologetically…

As adults, many of us had our creativity stifled in childhood and when it came to choosing a career path; channeled into more ‘productive’ or more ‘profitable’ fields, we lost touch with our creative beings. It’s not been ok to create for creating sake, it has to have a purpose. I call BS.

Since the age of 4, Mali has spent hours every day creating. It helps that she’s home educated and hasn’t had to fit into the school system, spend hours learning how to read, spell or write (she’s effectively picked this up and taught herself and is no further behind – or ahead – than similar-aged children) and instead has been able to practise and hone her natural creative talent. And not only has this developed and nurtured her creative talents, it’s enabled her more practical, logical, left-brained skills to develop too, unrestrained by rules and applied when needed.

What still stops you from creating out loud? Where are you still being held back by those long-held narratives that it isn’t ok to create and you’re better off doing something more ‘useful’ or ‘productive’ or ‘profitable’?

Stay focused and ‘on brand’…

Most branding work focuses on crafting a cohesive, comprehensive ‘brand message’. And once you’ve done this, the expert’s advice is to NEVER STRAY from this path. This is good advice. And it can also lead us down a path we find restrictive, stifling and in which we appear one- or two-dimensional instead of the multi-faceted HUMAN we are.

Mali has a natural focus to her work – it began with collecting Monster High Dolls, then she saw how others were customising them by repainting their faces, re-hairing them, customising their bodies and she was hooked. Then she decided to develop a comic story that had begun as a play theme with some friends.

While her style and work progresses – there’s a natural evolution to it which means she naturally stays ‘on brand’ and focused on her ‘mission’. It simply evolves as she continues to create and learn, but it’s never stifling, never restrictive and she’s free to explore and take it in any direction she chooses (or it chooses to go).

Where is your brand stifling you and (ALL of) who you are? Are you afraid to ‘go off piste’ for fear of diluting your brand? Is your brand doing you justice?

Don’t chase an audience, let them chase you (aka do what you do because YOU want to do it)…

There’s a school of thought that goes “Offer what your audience wants and needs and you’ll have a business for life”. That’s good, solid advice. But there’s also a counter stream that goes “Only when you do what you want/what lights you up, will you have a business for life”. That’s also good, solid advice.

So which is right? It really depends on many, many things – including your own goals, motivations, beliefs, needs and values. Neither is necessarily more right or wrong, but one will work better for you than the other.

My daughter is very much in the second camp; she focuses exclusively on what she wants to do when it comes to her characters, story development and style. While she gets super excited about followers – especially certain ones – that’s not her goal and she’s far more naturally focused on curating quality, meaningful connections than she is on quantity.

If I had to choose, I’d say she’s got the smarter approach – she’s not a slave to the whims and changing needs of other people, and instead she stays true to herself. That’s a pretty powerful approach to business and life.

It’s so easy to look around and see others starting their own business, making waves with their creative skills and pursuing their passions; it’s even easier to dismiss it as a impossible for yourself – all those age old narratives running loose in your head, telling you the many reasons NOT to.

The fundamental question here is this: 

If a 10 year old can do ALL of this, from a standing start of pretty much nothing other than her self-honed talent and passion from hours spent enjoying and practising her craft, why not you?

And the answer? To borrow from Henry Ford’s well-known quote:

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right”.

Your Online Self

So just what is an online self? The simple answer is that it’s a REpresentation of you, online.

Many of us already have an online self, we just don’t realise it and certainly aren’t conscious about creating it. If you’re on Facebook or any other social media platform, you already have one.

All of your online activities contribute to you online self, so that means:

  • What you write, what you tweet, and what you post
  • What you share, created by you
  • What you share, created by others
  • What you comment
  • What you private message (note, even this isn’t private)
  • The things you ‘like’
  • What you retweet, and more.

If you really look and see, you can often build up a pretty accurate picture of who someone is, or certainly who they present themselves to be.

[Side note: How do you think Facebook, Google and other platforms know what adverts to show you, and sometimes manage to show you something spookily relevant to what’s going on in your life?]

Your online self is the self your online activities present you to be – consciously or not.

Why Does An Online Self Matter

If you’re aiming to work online – whether remotely for someone else or to start your own venture online – it makes sense to be more conscious about your online self and who you present yourself to be, doesn’t it?

For people to choose you, to hire you, to pay you, they need to know who you are; who you are matters. (It matters in real life too, doesn’t it? So why not online?).

And you’ll get the most benefit if you show up, as uniquely, authentically you.

Sure, you can ‘hide’, pretend to be someone or something you’re not but ultimately, you’ll be the one who suffers the most from this.

Using online tools to show up as you, to amplify and showcase you in all your glory (or weirdness, or uniqueness!), gives you access to a world you’ve never had access to before.

Online tools can be a hugely powerful tool to connect you with people and opportunities you’d never have access to otherwise…

  • Remote jobs and global clients, where you’re no longer restricted by living in a rural community or having to stay at home because it’s not easy for you get out of the house to work or travel to client sites.
  • Knowledge and skills, to learn almost anything you want/need to know, often for free.
  • People and communities, to connect with, learn from, gain support from, give support to without ever having to leave your sofa.

How To Create Your Online Self

The easiest way to start building your online self if you’re starting with nothing is to start writing.

Share your opinions, what do you feel strongly about?

Where do you stand on the things that matter to you in life?

What have you done that you’re most proud of?

What have you done that you’re least proud of?

What are the most important life lessons you’ve learned?

What are the things that have made you ‘you’?

Which book has had the most impact on you, and why?

Employers of the future are going to be looking for folk who stand out – for folk who know who they are, who aren’t ‘vanilla’ or ‘sheeple’.

You don’t have to have a blog to do this (though I’d highly recommend one!) – you can start by writing posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, a Twitter Megathread or an Instagram carousel post or similar.

Effective written communication is THE most valuable skill to hone when you work online.

While you’ll have video and voice calls, the majority of your communication online will be written. Honing your ability to communicate your thoughts, beliefs, and opinions succinctly, compellingly and effectively is key.

Start writing. You’ll only get better at it the more you do.

Where To Start When You Have No Idea How To Get Started

Rewind to 2006…and I’d just spent 2 years and well over £10,000 re-educating and re-training myself as a personal trainer and holistic health coach, and countless hours setting my own business up, including securing a healthy supply of both personal and corporate clients.

Only to realise and admit to myself that I hated the reality of working with clients to help them change their lifestyles in this way 😱

That realisation and subsequent pivot, kicked off one of the most impactful lifestyle changes of my own when we decided to hit the road, travel the world indefinitely looking for ‘home’, and run our businesses from our laptops.

What began as nothing more than a very personal journey of exploration – both metaphorical and literal – ended up resulting in global press and media features and the foundations of a pioneering movement which has impacted thousands of other people since 😱

Start Blogging…

That’s it. Two simple words of advice of how and where to start, when you have no idea where to start or how to do your something great…but that could lead you to everywhere you’ve ever wanted to go and everything you’ve ever wanted to do.

The blog I began back then – to share the many, many things we were learning about running our business on the road, the countries we were visiting and the general ups and downs of a nomadic lifestyle that very few other people at the time were living – resulted in so much more.

But Why A Blog, Lea?

You know what we all love? What we’re conditioned to love from childhood? Stories.

The reason why Location Independent became what it did is because, fundamentally at its core, it began as the story of a pioneering journey of a young couple doing something different, and doing something that others want to do – a hero’s journey of sorts.

That kind of story is compelling for other people to follow – we all love a good story, to follow the ups and downs and root for folk to overcome the odds.

Overcoming Your Objections (Yes, I Can Read Your Mind!)

But, that was then, this is now. There are thousands of blogs these days does the internet really need yet another one?

Who on earth is going to be interested in what I blog about, when X, Y or Z are already blogging and have done what I want to do?

What do I have to say? Surely it’s not that unique? 

It’s too technical for me, I’ll never manage it. 

Here’s Why Your Objections Are BS…

Let’s hit these objections head on, shall we, and move swiftly on?

Wouldn’t you be interested in someone you know deciding to actually DO something different? Not just talking about it but actually going for it and doing it…

So many of us harbour desires to write a novel, or start painting, or unleash our creative powers on something – but we’ve been conditioned not to, because it’s frivolous, it’s not serious, it’ll never make money, it’s selfish, it’s ridiculous etc. etc. Yawn, yawn, yawn.

Here’s what starting a blog will do for you…

You’re always ahead of someone and blogging gives you a platform to share with people behind you on the path…

  • What you’re doing
  • What you’re learning
  • What you’re doing ‘right’
  • What you’re doing ‘wrong’
  • What you’re finding hard
  • What you’re finding easy
  • What you’re enjoying (and what you’re not)

All of those are valuable for others to read.

Wouldn’t you find it interesting to read about someone else doing similar, if you wanted to pursue your interest in writing your own novel, or repainting dolls, or learning how to build your own websites?

But wait, doesn’t it just show how much I don’t know? How much of a novice I am? How far away I am from being a professional/expert?

Yes, perhaps. And it also shows…

  • Your willingness and ability to learn.
  • Your willingness and ability to apply your learnings.
  • Your ability to research and find out what you need to know.
  • Your willingness and ability to think critically.
  • Your ability to communicate.
  • Your ability to write, talk or create.
  • Your vulnerability and willingness to show up, even when you’re not an expert.

Not only that but you begin to build your own presence, your online ‘self’, your own expertise (yes, expertise!) and showcase who you are, what you can do… 

Fast forward to 1, 2, 5 or even 10 years from now, and imagine if you will, how it would feel to have this body of work, charting your journey, being able to look back at your own progress and how far you’ve come…

And that’s just the start. When you blog, you also give yourself the opportunity to:

  • Build a loyal, engaged audience (and it doesn’t even need to be big to earn a decent living, if that’s one of your goals).
  • Connect with and meet a whole raft of folk you might never have met otherwise. I’ve met some of my closest friends and confidantes online, and other folk who I’d never otherwise have come into contact with yet who I’ve learned so much from.
  • Become seen as a passionate advocate in your field (maybe even an expert in time!), and inspire others.
  • Be held accountable to the people who support your sharing efforts.

Blogging 101

So an obvious starting question is “What counts as a blog?”…is it just writing? Is it like an online diary?

To me, a blog is a platform which allows you to share whatever content you want – writing, videos, music, photos/images etc. – on a regular basis. 

So, perhaps you’re a writer who wants to share the journey of writing your first novel. Or you’re an artist who wants to share your artistic creations. Or you’re a musician/singer who wants to share your performances or songs. Or you’re a coder who wants to share your own builds…

It doesn’t matter what you share, more that you share.

There are a number of places you can start sharing…they include platforms like WordPress (what I use for this website), Ghost, Medium, Buy Me A Coffee, Patreon, and more. 

The key is to decide what works for you – what will actually get you sharing – and commit to creating and sharing, consistently. Are you in?

Are Your Childhood Patterns Hurting Your Career?

Watch the video or read the transcript and then tell me that working on ourselves and our childhood ‘stuff’ isn’t holding us back in our careers and business lives!

“…our chances of leading a fulfilled adult life depend overwhelmingly on our knowledge of, and engagement with, the nature of our own childhoods, for it is in this period that the dominant share of our adult identity is moulded and our characteristic expectations and responses set. We will spend some 25,000 hours in the company of our parents by the age of eighteen, a span which ends up determining how we think of relationships and of sex, how we approach work, ambition and success, what we think of ourselves (especially whether we can like or must abhor who we are), what we should assume of strangers and friends and how much happiness we believe we deserve and could plausibly attain.” 

The question is how do you dig into your childhood and figure out how it’s impacting you, particularly in your career and business life?

How Your Childhood Patterns Affect Your Career

I’ve written previously about how my own patterns from childhood have had an impact on my adult life, who I perceive myself to be, and where those patterns have come from in my childhood.

It never really occurred to me that they’d also significantly impact my career, my business and how I show up there…

Being a recovering control freak has meantI initially found it very difficult to let go of control of parts of my own business and outsource to others; I also experienced this as a management consultant, finding it difficult to trust my team and those I managed to do the job as I might want it (forgetting they might do it better!).

Being a recovering perfectionist has meant: I’ve either not started something if I didn’t think I’d do it ‘perfectly’ (which I keep as some undefined, unattainable standard in my head setting myself up for failure before I’ve even begun), or wouldn’t ship something that was ‘good enough’ unless it was ‘perfect’ which, of course, in my own head it never was. 

How To Identify The Patterns Impacting Your Career

Usually the simplest ways to identify your own patterns are to look for:

  •  The places you feel stuck, and don’t ever seem to move forwards with. What is it that’s stopping you? What’s the story you’re telling yourself in your head about why you can’t move forwards? Where could this story possibly have come from in your childhood?
  • The relationships with colleagues/managers/clients/customers that feel full of friction. What is it about this person you find difficult? What specifically about their behaviour triggers an over-the-top reaction in you? Where in your childhood could this possibly have come from? Who does it remind you of?
  • The areas of your life you’re not happy with, or are still hiding from. While there may be many areas of your life – money, relationships, health etc. – that you’re happy with, are there areas you still prefer not to look at? Are you avoiding looking because you know you won’t like what you see but you have no idea what to do about it?

On top of these, there are some common areas when it comes to being stuck or not being where we want to be in our professional lives…

Purpose

This is the million pound question…what’s your purpose? Many of us find ourselves in jobs we’re not keen on or on career paths we wouldn’t necessarily have chosen because…

  • “You’ll never make money in the creative/artistic fields”
  • “You need to get a sensible/responsible job”
  • “Don’t be silly, what makes you think you can make money from doing that?”
  • “But you’re not very good at…, are you?”
  • “You need X, Y and Z qualifications to do that successfully”

Our careers are typically so heavily influenced by what others think – particularly our parents – that we sometimes don’t stop to ask what our purpose is, what we want to do, and whether what we’re doing is aligned with that or far from it.

One of the things people most frequently say to me however is: “But Lea, I don’t know what my purpose is. I don’t know what I really want to do.” Or “That’s fine for a hobby but I can’t do that for a career”.

The answers lie in the journey to radical self awareness and honesty. Only when you know yourself deeply, intimately and honestly can you begin to see/feel your way to what it is YOU want to do, that isn’t clouded by others beliefs, opinions, judgments and perceptions.

Often a good starting point is to remember what you wanted to be as a child, unencumbered by anyone else’s opinions, and believing you could do and be anything you wanted…

Do you know what your deeply held beliefs about your purpose are? Do you know where they came from? Are they still serving you well? What would serve you better?

Money

Our relationship to money – and how we feel about earning it, spending it, having it, saving it, keeping it, losing it – is heavily influenced by how our parents behaved around money as we grew up.

You are likely to have integrated and internalised many (most!) of their beliefs and behaviours as your own, without stopping to question them…

  • Money doesn’t grow on trees.
  • If we’ve got it, we should spend it before it goes.
  • You have to work really hard to earn money.
  • Getting rich doesn’t happen to people like us.
  • I’m not Bill Gates, you know.
  • There’s not enough to go round.
  • Being rich is evil, greedy and dirty.
  • You can’t be spiritual/awakened/enlightened and have money.
  • Rich people aren’t good people…and on and on it goes!

Do you know what your deeply held money narratives are? Do you know where they came from? Are they still serving you well? What would serve you better?

Being Seen & Being Big

There are many clients I’ve worked with who are reluctant to show up, be seen and play bigger. They know they’ve been staying small and are desperate to play bigger but something, somewhere stops them.

Most frequently, it’s the correlation they’ve created (or that has been created for them in childhood), that it’s necessary to stay small to remain loved, and if you play bigger the love will go. That’s often the core fear.

My own version of this is about being seen, and that if I’m seen in all my ‘glory’, I’ll be rejected and abandoned, as I was at X days old when I was born (and physically seen for the first time ever), and then immediately given up for adoption by my birth mother.

Other fears about being seen, playing bigger include:

  • If I show up, I’ll be found wanting and everyone will see I’m not good enough.
  • I’m going to be found out soon (imposter syndrome!).
  • Everyone will think I’m boasting/arrogant/big-headed.
  • It’s safer to stay small.
  • I’ll show up/be ‘ok’ when I’m thinner/richer/prettier/healthier.

Do you know what your deeply held ‘being seen’ narratives are? Do you know where they came from? Are they still serving you well? What would serve you better?

To see your childhood patterns requires some radical self honesty and awareness; it requires you to look deeply in the mirror and hold the discomfort you may feel about what you see. It requires exploring your ‘shadow’ sides, and elements of who you are that perhaps you feel ashamed about, dislike and would prefer not to look at.

As difficult as this is – and believe me, sometimes it can feel hideous! – on the other side of this lies freedom, power, control…not in a “Mwahahaha, I can control you!” kind of way, but in the “Mawahahaha, I can finally control me” kind of way… 

Because when you understand why you behave in the way you do, why you react to things in the way you do, and where these patterns originate from, it gives you the power to choose a different way of behaving and reacting that might just serve you far better.

The 7 Most Useful Things I’ve Learned In The Pursuit of Growth

Working on oneself in the ongoing pursuit of personal growth and self development is tough; at times, it’s akin to climbing a mountain that appears to have no summit!

I’ve experienced and pursued many forms of growth over the years, beginning with various qualifications in fitness and holistic health and more recently regular sessions with a therapist. Plus the biggest container for growth: My relationship with my partner!

There are certain lessons I’ve learned that have stayed with me and endured throughout; some of these aren’t easy concepts to grasp but when you do, they can shift your entire perspective on life…

#1 Is your normal really ‘normal’?

Nowhere has this been more keenly illustrated to me than the reaction I’ve had from not one but two highly experienced and qualified therapists when I told them of my experiences of flying halfway across the world, aged 5, on my own with my younger brother as an unaccompanied minor to stay with my father, every single year.

To me, this was ‘normal’ – it’s just what happened. To others, it’s far from normal and the truth of that hit home when my therapist asked how I’d feel if I shipped my same-aged son off on a plane, accompanied by a stranger, to go and stay with a father he barely knew and only saw once or twice a year!

We each have our own versions of ‘normal’ in our pasts, and it can take an outside perspective to question these.

Sometimes, our version of ‘normal’ can be presented to us by others – parents, siblings, friends etc. – and repeated so that we never even think to question them. They have a vested interest to maintain the ‘normal’, while you may not.

It can be a really useful exercise – if you’re noticing that your typical MO is no longer really working for you – to look back at your ‘normal’ life and begin to question whether you’d consider it ‘normal’ and even ‘ok’ still.

Or another way to look at it is:

How would you feel if your ‘normal’ happened to someone you cared for deeply?

The purpose of exploring this is to begin to create your own truths and narratives, less influenced by those around you, especially if they’ve been holding you back with their versions.

Underneath those ‘normal truths’ may lie grief, loss, and other painful feelings that once they’re released, you will find yourself free to move forwards in a way that you’d previously been held back from.

#2 Can you hold more than one truth at the same time?

You’ve probably heard the one about different people witnessing the exact same event but recounting utterly different ‘facts’ when asked what they witnessed. This concept of there being many different versions of the truth has been a powerful one on my journey.

While the adoption narrative for most people is one of positive benefits only – ”Oh you were so lucky to have been adopted and given a much better life than you’d have had” – there is also the narrative of loss, grief and the totally unnatural event of a child being taken away from their birth mother. Both narratives are true about the same event at the same time, one is not more true than the other, nor does one negate the other.

On a related note, this is a similar concept to being able to hold conflicting feelings about something or someone simultaneously.

For example, when I’m talking to my kids about their emotions, we talk frequently about how they can be utterly furious and hurt that their father is planning to move 5 hours away from them, at the same time as still loving him and craving his attention. Both things are true and it can be a tough ask for them to hold both truths at the same time.

This is related, on a much deeper level, to the ability to hold the light and the shadow – firstly in ourselves and then in others.

It’s about being able to embrace and love ourselves, not just for the good and positive we see but also the ‘bad’ and ‘negative.

We are a complicated mix of many things and being able to integrate and hold the whole is the absolute foundation of self acceptance and self love.

#3 Respond, don’t react.

There’s a difference between the two – responding is a more conscious, considered action and reacting is typically an unconsciously-driven, knee-jerk action.

When we react, it’s usually a sign that we’ve been triggered – that one or more of our painful buttons has been pushed and an existing ‘wound’ has been poked and prodded. We then act (out) from this hurt and wounded place, often unaware that this is what’s going on.

If we want to respond instead – to be able to act in a way that’s more in alignment with who we are beneath our shields, defences and existing wounds – it means getting out of a triggered space.

It means taking a breath (or several), and if it helps, write out what you want to say, in all its steaming, ranting glory first. Then take another breath.

Then ask yourself the question below – is it more important for you to be right or connected? – then delete what you’ve written (or burn it, safely), and RESPOND instead of reacting.

If you need to, wait until the next day and use the space of a night’s sleep to get yourself back on a more even keel.

#4 Is it more important to you to be right or be connected?

This is something I’ve learned most from my partner who has frequently challenged me with the question: “Lea, would you rather be right or be connected?” – when we’re in the middle of an argument and it gets to a stage where it seems pointless to continue!

We use this with the children too, when they’re adamant that they’ve done nothing wrong, the other party is to blame and they can’t move past it.

While it feels good to blame – to shift the responsibility as far away from you as possible and onto the nearest easy target – it usually gets you nowhere fast, except perhaps a temporary feeling of relief.

Fundamentally, blame is divisive. You can stay wronged and be right, and alienate those around you – revelling in your ‘rightness’.

But most of the time, we want to be connected. And to do that, you may have to not be right for a change!

(Note that isn’t necessarily the same as being wrong – let’s not go that far, shall we?!).

It’s ultimately your choice in a situation: Stay right or get (re) connected?

#5 Fault is not the same as responsibility.

It’s really easy to blame others for our woes and for us not being where/how/who we want to be. Maybe you had a difficult childhood, you’ve had a traumatic past, you’ve been the victim of some awful events – and while it may indeed have been at the hands of others and their fault, it is not their responsibility to heal you.

Whatever your trauma, past or emotional wounds, nobody but you can do your work to heal those wounds and help you recover from past trauma. Nobody but you can learn how to change your patterns, behaviours and responses that are no longer working for you and are rooted in past defences.

You may feel like you’re ‘owed’ something, that it’s someone else’s job to help you but it’s not. And if you don’t do the work to help yourself, no-one else can or will.

While the cause may be someone else’s fault, the responsibility to move on with your life and heal those wounds is yours and yours alone.

#6 What’s the story you’re telling yourself?

If you watch Brené Brown on The Call To Courage, she illustrates this concept brilliantly.

Most of the time, underneath the surface we are all constructing a narrative; we decide upon the story and then we filter everything through that story.

So if the story you sometimes tell yourself is “Well, I’m really stupid and ugly and I’m never going to amount to much” – if someone close to you says something that hits this nerve, you’re going to easily go into this narrative and behave as if this is the only truth (when as we already know it isn’t!). That may mean lashing out, or being defensive (or offensive), or it may mean going into a cave of isolation and not wanting to come out.

Understanding the stories you tell yourself is the first step in being able to change the ones that aren’t currently serving you well and are keeping you stuck.

You likely have all sorts of stories around many aspects of your life – relationships, families, money, career and more. Do you know what they are?

The other useful aspect of this is knowing that other people in your life have their own stories.

When you’re in the middle of an argument or someone appears to be behaving irrationally or blowing something out of all proportion (in your opinion), try asking them: “What’s the story you’re telling yourself right now?“. Or if that’s too hard, ask yourself: “What’s the story they could be telling themselves right now?

#7 Own your own stuff. Wholly.

When faced with difficult truths about ourselves, it is far, far easier to shift the blame, shift the responsibility and shift the truth onto someone else. But this is not the path to growth.

When we find ourselves in repeating patterns, destructive relationships and situations we find difficult, there’s one truth and one truth only…we cannot control anything or anyone but ourselves.

This is powerful to understand; when we give up trying to control the things we can’t control (other people) and focus instead on controlling ourselves – our responses, our reactions, our behaviour and our choices – we begin to fully own our selves, and look at the part we play in creating what we’re experiencing.

All the time, YOU are fully responsible for creating your own reality.

Even when others are involved too, how you respond and behave is still your responsibility and no-one else’s. No-one can ‘make’ you feel anything.

(Think about it: How on earth could I ‘make’ you feel happy if you didn’t choose to feel happy yourself?).

No-one else can control your emotions or the feelings you experience, but you.

No matter how someone else behaves or what they do to you, how YOU respond is YOUR responsibility.

This is quite a shocking concept for most people, so reluctant are we to fully own our selves, including the ‘dodgy’ bits!

Growth and self development work is tough and is not for the faint of heart but the concepts above have been fundamental to my growth and absolutely vital in the quest for radical self honesty and awareness…and as a wise man once said:

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change” – Eckhart Tolle

Blind Spots: How To See What You Can’t Yet See

One of the most valuable aspects of working with someone else is their ability to see what you can’t yet (ever) see about yourself – your blind spots.

This is true in relationships, or at least the kind of relationship where each of you is open to exploring and challenging your own default behaviours and reactions to grow together, instead of being trapped in a dysfunctional, co-dependent, “I need you, you need me” dynamic where personal growth is a deadly threat to the relationship.

A HUGE clue to a blind spot hiding in plain sight, for each of you, is that recurring argument you have on repeat which never seems to get resolved or go away. Dig a little deeper and the blind spot you can’t/won’t see is staring you in the face.

This is  true in your career, whether you work for someone else or for yourself. Nowhere is the saying “we don’t know what we don’t know” more true than when it comes to our professional selves; the self we want to be seen as competent, confident and eminently capable to anyone who is looking.

To have it pointed out that we don’t know or can’t see something is, for many of us, akin to being told we’re stupid, incompetent, incapable.

(There’s a blind spot right there – can you see it? How do you react to critical feedback? Why do you have that reaction? What’s the story you’re telling yourself when someone gives you that kind of feedback?).

This is true about your own personal growth…

One of the most fundamental lessons I’ve learned, both from seeing a therapist and being in my relationship as I explore my adoption, is that who I thought I was is not who I am.

Confused? Bear with me!

There are certain traits and aspects of my personality I’ve always been aware of…I’m a control freak, I’m a (recovering) perfectionist, I’m impatient (though at times I can be incredibly patient; this dichotomy has always confused me), I like to be useful and this has served me well in my time. Most of these I simply accepted as ‘just the way I am’, with zero clue about how I got this way. Cue exploring my adoption.

It’s become patently obvious that… 

I’m a control freak because the huge trauma that happened to me at 0-7 days old – of being abandoned by my birth mother and, literally, from one moment to the next having everything I ever knew suddenly disappear – was one utterly beyond my control. Who wouldn’t then want to spend the rest of their lives trying to control whatever they could so that this kind of unanticipated, unexpected, unforeseen trauma doesn’t ever happen again?

I’m a perfectionist because somewhere in my unconscious mind not being perfect was my fault and lead to me being abandoned. Who wouldn’t then want to spend the rest of their lives trying to be as perfect as possible so this never happens again?

I’m impatient but typically only with myself because I’m a perfectionist (see above); I can be infinitely patient with anyone else because it’s ok for them not to be perfect; I can accept their shadow side and right not to have to be perfect but not my own, because my fear is that it won’t be accepted by others and I’ll be abandoned.

I like to be useful because if I’m useful then people will want to keep me around. Who wouldn’t want to remain useful so they’re kept around versus risk not being useful and being abandoned?

Each of the above were my blind spots; behaviours I accepted as ‘just me’, nothing I could change and they’ve served me well. Except now, they don’t. 

Frankly, it’s exhausting trying to control everything and everyone around me – having children has been one of the best enforced lessons here! And pushing for that level of control only serves to push away those closest to me…therefore resulting in the very thing I’m trying to avoid (them leaving!).

It’s exhausting trying to be perfect all the time; never allowing myself to fail or not get it 100% right, and again having children, what kind of role model am I if I won’t allow myself to get something wrong? If making mistakes isn’t ok?

And being useful? On the deepest level, we each want to be loved for just being. Not for anything we do. And so do I – it’s liberating, freeing, and a relief to be in relationships where I’m loved for being me, not just because I’m useful or handy to have around. And yet again, the unconditional love of children here is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve experienced – I’m loved for being me, for being their mother no matter how good/bad I am at that.

In business, we have all sorts of blind spots we just can’t see too.

The stories you tell yourself about making money that are keeping you poor… 

“Money’s not ok to want. I’m being greedy to want more. Money doesn’t grow on trees. I have to work hard to earn money. Money’s the root of all evil. Money = stress. I’m not good with money.” 

The many ways you discourage yourself from marketing (telling people about) what you do that are fundamentally stopping you from ever growing your business… 

“It’s not cool to show off. People will think I’m bragging. Who am I to think I can do this? I don’t want anyone to see me fail. I don’t know what marketing is. Marketing = selling = vile!”

The reluctance to sell yourself and the beneficial impact of what you do that’s keeping you stuck at the same level.. 

“I’m not that special. Surely everyone’s good at that? I need to re-train. I’m too old to get started in that. No-one will hire someone like me. I don’t have the right experience. I don’t have enough experience. I don’t have any experience.”

The many beliefs you have about how things ‘should’ be done that are stopping you from doing anything… 

“I have no idea how to ‘properly’ do marketing/finances/strategic planning. That’s not how X does it. What if people laugh/think I’m stupid if I do it like that.”

Many of these beliefs are deeply buried in your psyche, often internalised from your parents’ own beliefs and the prevailing energy you were exposed to as you grew up…

For me, there are parts of my money narrative that are currently blind spots for me; I am aware of a repeating pattern in my life that when I get to a certain level of earning, I’m clever at subtly self sabotaging what I’m doing. I’m aware that this *may* be related to some adoption stuff – some guilt that I’m the ‘fortunate’ child who was ‘given’ a path with more opportunities while my birth family live in relative poverty in a shack somewhere in the Philippines. Yeah, that’s not great and I can see the many, many holes in the narrative I may have unconsciously created (it’s such a blind spot that I can’t currently ‘see’ whether this is indeed the narrative I’ve created!). Still a work in progress…

We can’t see them because we are spectacularly unaware they’re there, and yet they drive large parts of our behaviour, reactions and decision-making.

So how on earth do you know what your blind spots are if you can’t even see them?

There are clues, if you pay close attention, and they include:

  1. Repeating patterns that may feel out of your control and that they just seem to keep happening to you. Like constantly finding yourself on the receiving end of unfair accusations, or finding yourself in situations which quickly spiral out of control into some drama-fuelled crisis, or finding yourself the victim at the mercy of ‘bullies’ who pick on you for ‘no reason’.
  2. Repeating arguments that go on and on, and never reach a conclusion or resolution. Like who’s responsible for making sure X happens, when you’re both busy with work/careers/kids, or that one of you wants to spend more time together doing ‘couple-y’ things but the other is happier doing things apart or with their mates, or that you want more sex than you currently have but your partner just never seems interested or bothered about it.
  3. Reactions that feel out of proportion to the event that happened. Like the reaction your boyfriend/girlfriend has when you want to go watch a movie with a friend on your one free night of the week, or the reaction you have when your partner turns over and goes to sleep because they’ve had a long day and clearly hasn’t noticed you’ve made an effort to look as alluring and sexy as possible for them, or the reaction you have when your partner/parent/friend tells you you shouldn’t wear something you like because it makes you look frumpy/tarty/too old/too fat.

These behaviours and reactions are your current conditioning…and the good news is that they can be ‘unconditioned’ or ‘reconditioned’.

This conditioning – many of these behaviours, reactions, responses, thought patterns, beliefs – are the things you’re currently doing, beliefs you’re currently believing, ways you’re currently being that aren’t serving you and are keeping you stuck. These are your blind spots. Can you see them?

P.S. And how do you feel about others seeing them while you still can’t?

Showing up, Being Seen & Standing Out #2

Showing up

I received my first official piece of snail mail with my new name on this week; and my first bank card. While I’ve unofficially been using this name for a while now, starting to officially change all my identification and documentation feels like an important step in showing up more as ‘me’ than ever before. 

As a blended family, we are going through a tough time right now. We’re working through some really hard issues for one of the children who is having daily tantrums, violent rages and learning how to hold her own boundaries as well as respect those held with her. It is not an easy task and is taking almost all of our energy and strength to work through this with her, together.

Simultaneously we’re also trying to give our three other children the energy and airtime they deserve, but it’s tough and we have little left in the tanks at the end of the day. Sometimes just the thought of showing up each day is too much but as the saying goes…

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Being Seen

On top of this, my partner is also working through some of her own really deep stuff relating to her childhood traumas and patterns. This is the part of the process we both hate! Being seen in all our ‘glory’, the worst bits of us laid bare for the other to see.

For me, this has shown up as anger, rage and daily grumpiness; for her, this shows up as mistrust (of me) and meanness. None of these are attractive traits and neither of us enjoys being seen in this way AT ALL.

And yet we both know that the right, intuitive thing to do is to love each other through these difficult periods of being seen, and to show up daily to say: “I love you anyway, shadow parts and all”.

Standing Out

For a total change of pace, I’m enjoying being back on the email marketing bandwagon again. I recently joined a Telegram group dedicated purely to newsletters – topics of discussion typically focus on open rates, newsletter platforms and how to improve results from your newsletters.

It’s been a timely and valuable reminder that:

  • Newsletters and email marketing as a strategy are powerful, and pretty easy to get started with (in fact, if I were launching something new, I’d opt for this over any other approach to grow and nurture an audience).
  • Newsletters aren’t just a marketing strategy but can also serve as a business model in and of themselves (paid newsletters, sponsorship etc).
  • It’s useful to treat a newsletter like its own product – with its own name/brand, sales page and unique positioning.
  • I’ve always liked the idea of spending time creating really useful content and earning money from doing that. Still pondering this one…

The good news is that since I’ve been inspired to put energy and attention back into this area of my business, it’s really been paying off.

I’ve barely sent any newsletters out for months – neither from this website or location independent. Since re-committing, I’ve managed to find the consistency to send out two weekly newsletters (Great Things and The iWord) and one fortnightly one (Remotely Intimate).

For months, with no action and activity directed towards them, my subscriber lists have stagnated and barely grown. Since re-commiting, I’ve added already seen tens of new subscribers each week…just gotta move that into the hundreds again. I’m ready for my newsletters to stand out and become the stars of this business show 

Showing up, Being Seen & Standing Out #1

Showing Up

For the past 3 years, I’ve not shown up as much as I ‘should’ have in a professional capacity. I’ve not been active in any communities, I’ve not had the bandwidth to stay in touch with many people, and I’ve shared barely anything on social media. I’ve been inconsistent, sporadic and flaky. That’s NOT the me I’d come to know!

My personal life has been firmly in the driving seat – coming out, starting my first lesbian relationship, exploring my adoption and trying to make contact with my birth mother. It has been a time of exploration and turning inwards, not turning outwards.

But as I get more of a handle on the personal – especially in relation to my adoption – it feels the right time to start showing up again, to start being seen by more than just one or two people, and to start standing out (it no longer fills me with horror to write that. Progress!).

Being Seen

One of the most fascinating experiences over the past 3 years has been uncovering and seeing some of my default patterns as things that I can actually control, choose and change, instead of hiding behind the belief that it’s “just how I am”. 

I used to believe that being adopted from birth hadn’t impacted me in any way (cue Becky’s guffaw). The reality is that it has, naturally, shaped my entire way of being.

Being abandoned by the person who’s brought you into this world, who IS your entire world at 7 days old, has a tendency to do that. Very early on I, as we all do, learned certain behaviours and patterns to survive and get my needs met. 

Most of the time, we go through life using these same patterns and behaviours, unaware when, where and why they developed and never questioning whether they’re still serving us, or not.

This journey of mine has been a fascinating exploration of my own patterns and behaviours. I’ve learned that, instead of protecting me and keeping me ‘safe’, the following default patterns and behaviours keep me isolated, alone and no longer serve me well… 

  • Getting triggered by anything potentially rejecting and abandoning, even if that isn’t what’s actually happened.
  • Going off onto my island and sealing myself off, emotionally and physically, to cope with a (usually perceived) experience of being rejected or abandoned.
  • Using anger and grumpiness as a defence to keep people away from my own vulnerabilities.
  • Needing to know because, as my therapist put it, my ‘pot of not knowing’ is full to the brim of unknowns that most people just know. E.g. who my birth parents are, what actually happened in the few days after I was born before I was taken home by my adopted parents, the circumstances surrounding my adoption, her reasons for giving me up etc. etc.

We frequently talk about going on a journey of self discovery, well this – the ability to start choosing different patterns and behaviours that actually help me meet my own needs and get my needs met by others – feels like one of the most exhilarating and powerful journeys one can experience!

Standing Out

As you’ll see from the home page of my website, I’ve always labelled myself as multi-passionate; I’ve bounced from idea to idea, excelling at the starting things up stage but being less thrilled at the day-to-day stage of maintenance and steady growth. While it’s brought many, many positives, it’s also come with disadvantages…

The biggest one? If I’d stuck with just one thing – Location Independent, for example – imagine how huge it’d have been now if I hadn’t taken a break from it when my children came along and done something ‘easier’! 

With my various projects, I’ve often experienced a sense of things feeling disparate, separate, not cohesive, not integrated. It’s been a constant source of frustration – my time feeling pulled in many, varied directions instead of being able to focus on one core thing.

This is, of course, also connected to my own emotional stuff – the bigger and more successful something gets, the more I’m seen, and being seen, for me, resulted in abandonment and rejection.

Of course my adult, logical, rational mind knows that this wasn’t necessarily the case – but my baby brain, and the resulting narratives and patterns that were deployed to cope made that initial link and have continued to run the show. Until now. 

I’ve finally discovered and committed to a theme which underpins everything I do…all my projects. I say I but I mean we…

Becky and I have been plugging away at LemonAid, slowly growing a community, creating products etc. etc.  In between raising a blended family of 4 young kids, and home-educating and flexi-schooling them all – it’s been hard going.

In a similar vein, we’ve struggled to find one over-arching theme that tied it all together, in amongst the coming out, the lesbian family, the blended family, the bi-racial family, the home educating, the running our own businesses – that’s a lot of ‘other’, a lot of hooks we could use to appeal to our right people, but we’ve struggled to find THE one.

Until, finally, we agreed that the one thing that does indeed underpin all our work is the word we’d struggled hard with as a couple…intimacy.

When one of you has an utter terror of it (ahem, surprisingly that was NOT me!), it’s been quite a journey to overcome this and work towards a place of true intimacy…that is, of being able to show up and be seen (and loved). And now, we work with it, in it, on it, daily!

The iSpot is all about intimacy as a superpower in your life; Location Independent is about how you can use intimacy as a superpower to show up, be seen and stand out when you work from anywhere/online (and it’s even easier to hide behind your computer screen and never fully show up), and here at my site, I help folk show up, be seen and stand out online with a website that works, as well as use it as my own personal platform to show up, be seen and stand out.

It feels like everything is aligned – pulling in the same direction, working at depth and breadth, and in a way that works 100% for me, personally and professionally. Finally, 

 

Sportscasting

Do you ever find yourself repeating the same argument or frustrating pattern with someone, again and again, and wonder what the heck is going on and how you can, once and for all, get out of it?

Sportscasting is one of the most useful techniques to address and manage difficult and challenging dynamics and behaviour – for both adults and children! – that you’ve probably never heard of…

What Is Sportscasting?

My version of sportscasting is adapted and developed from Janet Lansbury’s technique to help describe the nonjudgmental, “just the facts” verbalization of events she advised parents to use to support infants and toddlers as they struggle to develop new skills.

Never mind the toddlers, sportscasting can, in fact, be used in a far wider range of circumstances and situations…

…In arguments and disagreements where it’s not always clear what the intentions, motivations and triggers are behind what someone’s saying and why e.g. When you spiral into the same old argument with a partner/parent, with each of you defending your corner and totally blind to the other person’s perspective.

…When challenging violent, aggressive and random behaviour that appears out of proportion to something that’s happened e.g. When your child lashes out at being told ‘no’ to the smallest of things which doesn’t seem like a massive deal to you, but results in out-of-control behaviour.

…When facing passive aggressive responses that don’t directly address what’s actually happening in an interaction or exchange e.g. A colleague who constantly makes snide, unhelpful or derogatory remarks designed to belittle or humiliate you in an indirect way.

Sportscasting is a valuable way to get underneath any unconscious, game-playing devices or indirect, passive aggressive ways of communicating because it brings out the pattern into the open, puts a name to it, and allows both parties to address what’s actually happening in the dynamic between them from a place of conscious awareness.

Being able to verbalise what might actually be going on under the surface, on behalf of someone who can’t yet express it themselves, is a powerful way to step out of that pattern, especially for children.

Why It Works

It’s hard, in the heat of a moment, to maintain a clear head, especially if you’ve been triggered. It’s also hard to hear and understand what’s actually being said when the words sometimes don’t appear to make sense or don’t match your sense of what’s actually going on.

Stepping into sportscasting mode allows you to instantly and immediately step out of the drama, get yourself into a more adult space, and observe what’s happening as a more passive onlooker, than get sucked into a back-and-forth, emotionally-charged exchange which does nobody any good.

It allows you to look beneath the surface of what’s being said, to understand what’s actually going on, and empowers you to see things from a different (their) perspective and why they’re behaving and responding as they are, because you begin to understand where it’s coming from.

How Do You Do It?

To begin sportscasting, there’s a process you can use…

Step 1: Observe and verbally reflect back your experience of their behaviour.

Step 2: Identify what triggered the behaviour in the first place.

Step 3: Identify and encourage verbal expression of the emotion/feeling being displayed.

Step 4: Provide space for discussion to take place.

Let’s break it down…

You’re hitting your sister [reflect back the behaviour that’s currently occurring]. Is it because you’re cross she didn’t share her sweets with you [identify the triggering incident] and you feel angry, hurt and rejected by that? [Observe and reflect back what emotion seems to be driving the behaviour].  Is that how you feel?” [Provide an opportunity and space for them to confirm or correct what’s going on for them; note the more you do this, especially with children, the more able they become to observe and express this for themselves].

You’re calling me names and being mean to me [reflect back the behaviour that’s occurring]. Is it because you really wanted to have sex last night [identify the triggering incident], but felt rejected when I fell asleep? [Observe and reflect back the emotion you suspect was triggered]. [Frame it as a question to give them space to confirm or correct what’s going on for them, or explore it with you from a less emotional, less triggered space, if they choose to].

You’re criticising what we decided to do [reflect back the behaviour that’s occurring]. Is it because you felt left out of your son’s birthday party [identify the triggering incident] and feel hurt and scared that you’re missing out on important bits of his life? [Observe and reflect back the emotions that may have been triggered]. Is that what’s happening?” [Provide an opportunity and space for them to confirm or correct what’s going on for them, or explore it with you from a less emotional, less triggered space, if they choose to].

You’re shouting at me and using angry, offensive language [reflect back the behaviour that’s occurring]. Is it because I’m not agreeing with you and taking your advice [identify the underlying belief that may have driven the behaviour], and you feel angry and unheard [observe and reflect back the emotion that was triggered]? Do you experience that as a rejection?” [Provide an opportunity and space for them to confirm or correct what’s going on for them, or explore it with you from a less emotional, less triggered space, if they choose to]. 

How To Make Sportscasting Work For You

The art of sportscasting takes practice; it can be even more powerful when you know what someone’s core narrative is and what their default patterns are, because this allows you to understand their behaviour and reflect it back to them.

For example, one of my daughter’s core narratives is that we had her younger brother because she wasn’t a ‘good enough’ child so we had to have another one (😱). Knowing this means that when she’s triggered and decides to be absolutely beastly to him for a minor infraction, we can sportscast her extreme reaction…

Even though you think your brother’s the favourite and we had him because you weren’t good enough, that’s your story. It’s not our truth. And it doesn’t mean it’s ok to kick him hard in the stomach just because he accidentally knocked your drink over“.

If you don’t know someone’s default patterns and narratives, Brené Brown has an excellent approach to understanding what may be some of these age-old, default patterns and narratives. Simply ask: “What’s the story you’re telling yourself?

Using A Simplified Version of Sportscasting

The trick here is to sportscast the behaviour you’re experiencing and then ask a direct question to be answered, which creates space for constructive and open dialogue instead of mudslinging or further game playing…

  • “It sounds like you’re really angry at me for changing this filing system; what could I have done differently to make it work better for you too?”
  • “It sounds like you’re frustrated by the lack of progress; is there something that’d help you to feel more ok with the process?”
  • “It feels like you’re really upset by something I’ve done; can you tell me what that is?”
  • “It feels like you really want to control what I do; can we talk about why that is and how that feels for each of us?”

One of the most valuable benefits of using sportscasting is that it empowers you to step out of a drama-fuelled, emotional state and back into a more adult, observing state giving the dynamic some of its balance back.

 Give it a whirl and see how it works for you (it takes practice, so keep at it)…

The World Has Changed So Why Are You Still Relying On The Same Old Strategies To Try And Succeed?

We live in a very different world today to the one our parents grew up in…

The systems that once seemed empowering are now looking like outdated relics, no longer relevant to the world we’re living in…

The education system which once guaranteed a secure, well-paid job at the end of it, now appears to yield nothing more than years upon years of debt and no guarantee of a job to help pay that debt back. [Tip: Check out Lambda School for disruption at its finest; this is a true game-changer.]

The healthcare system which was once at the forefront of eradicating devastating diseases and advancing and equalising healthcare and treatment for all, is now run by folk focused largely on profit and driven by corporate agendas.

The world of work which once guaranteed a job for life with a hefty pension at the end of it (requiring not much else but loyalty in some cases!) has changed beyond recognition in many fields, with temporary contracts replacing permanent jobs, remote-first companies, and the ongoing struggle for a level playing field around salaries/wages and fully equal opportunities.

And despite these pretty pivotal changes, most folk are still caught on the same hamster wheel path, unable to see what’s coming (or is already here) and/or do anything about it. We still hear and often heed the same old advice to achieve ‘success’…

“Work hard and get as many qualifications as you can, especially a degree from a good uni…it’ll set you up for life.

Just listen to what the doctor told you; don’t go and see some woo-woo ‘quack’, they have no idea what they’re doing.

Don’t take any risks, career-wise, stick with the job you’ve got/on the path you’re on, you’re lucky to have it. It’s too risky to try something else!

You can’t make any money from your writing/art/creative talent…you’ll have to get a ‘sensible’ job if you want to be rich and taken seriously.

Seriously? If you’re still listening to this advice (or hearing these – your parents’? – voices in your head), why? Is it still serving you?

Do you have the career you’ve always dreamed of or are you still harbouring secret, unspoken desires to do something more?

Is your autoimmune/niggling health issue being healed from the inside out, or are the symptoms simply being treated for ‘comfort’ and ‘quality of life’?

Are you at the weight and level of health you desire from following your doctor’s/the medical system’s advice? (Hint: They are trained to treat dis-ease, NOT optimise wellness).

Are you actually using the knowledge and skills you learned in your undergraduate degree in a meaningful way in your career, without the need for additional courses and training or a boatload of hands-on experience?

But rejoice! it’s not all doom and gloom! Alongside these changes are other enriching and empowering developments…

We have a voice!

The rise of social media has given a voice to the individual; we have direct and public access to brands, personalities, media outlets, journalists through a variety of channels. When we want to, we can use the power of collaboration, community and crowdfunding to make ourselves be heard in ways we never could before; this is truly  powerful.

We have knowledge at our fingertips!

We have access to more learning tools and resources from around the world (e.g. Khan Academy, eLearning platforms, plus a plethora of online courses and more) than at any other time in history…from the comfort of our own home and often for free; this is truly powerful.

We want more!

Our exposure to what’s possible has exploded; we are surrounded by YouTube sensations, personalities who at first appear to have few skills and yet make millions, and role models of all shapes, ages, races and sizes. We want more from our jobs – we want what we do, day in and day out, to make a difference and matter. We want more from our stuff – the sharing economy with the likes of AirBnB – empowers us to get more from our ‘stuff’ and possessions than ever before.

If you’re still stuck in the ‘old’ systems – and that includes your own mental/thought patterns of ‘But Lea, this is just the way things are done!’ – what are you waiting for? How are the ‘old’ ways still serving you?

The world has indeed changed – and is still changing – are you ready to try new strategies to get you to where you really want to go?