Hello my lovelies!

This time last year I did the first self esteem and confidence workshop of it’s kind at the Green Rooms in Chester. The memory just popped up on Facebook.

Is she having a hot flush? Is she bursting for a wee? Or is she about to break into song and dance?

Nope, that’s just…

Posted by Marie-Claire Ashcroft on Sunday, 12 January 2020

 

I remember the run up to the date clearly.

I’d booked it in and in all honesty, the date was coming closer and I really wasn’t feeling it – the second half of 2019 was really hard for me personally. And to put that into perspective, it was the kind of year that made 2020 seem pretty manageable!

I just didn’t have a lot of oomph in me. And in that moment of weakness, the doubts, the resistance and that voice were all creeping in.

It was just after the new year and not many people had booked on for it.

I thought maybe I’d misjudged the timing. Part of me was definitely dragging my heels about it.

But at the same time, those people who had booked on, did want to come to my event. They wanted to learn whatever I had to share about confidence so I went ahead and did the workshop despite all the things I was feeling.

Out of the 5 people who had booked on, only three actually turned up on the day. The ‘business side’ of my brain was trying to chatter away – “you’re barely going to break even, maybe this is a waste of time, this is stupid, who are you to teach confidence when you’re doubting yourself right now, you imposter”.

But here’s the funny thing. I told that bit of my brain to shut the hell up and showed up completely for the people there that day. And I had a great time.

The small number meant the people there really got my attention that day and really benefitted from the work. They left me great feedback after the session and one of them went on to work further with me. The work with me that day made a huge difference in their life – and they tell me this regularly.

The funny thing is that by committing to something that day is that a load of great stuff all came about because of it:

– Despite the low numbers, I noted just how much the people that did show up that day enjoyed it and benefitted. I went on to book further events after that, and they ended up selling out. Now obviously corona had other plans about that a couple of months later so I wasn’t able to continue them but whatever – I know it works, I know it’s popular and very much in demand. I’ve seen first hand the difference it has made for people.

– Someone had seen me promoting the event over social media and was secretly becoming a bit of a fan of my approach to this type of work. The day after the event, they got in touch and asked me to come in for a meeting about possibly doing a talk for their employees and service users at an upcoming event they were putting on.

– I went in to do the talk a month later and again the feedback from everyone there was great. I got plenty of hugs for being so vulnerable and even made a few people cry because they really related to my story. I decided that the talk I gave that day would be my signature talk because of the effect it had on people there.

– Doing this talk lead to an email from their head office asking me if I’d do a team away day for all their staff on confidence and creativity a few weeks later. Again corona has put that on hold but the planning has already been done so it will be super easy to rearrange this at future date.

– I’ve ended up making a great connection with the lovely people at this company and despite postponing the Team Day with them, they’ve let me know about other projects they’re working on that they would like me to get involved with in future.

Now imagine if I gave in to that voice of self doubt when it reared up?

 

Imagine if I let myself talk myself out of it because I was feeling a bit of resistance?

 

Imagine if I just thought fuck it after not many people turned up that day and decided not to do any more of these workshops?

I would never have helped ALL of these people…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wish I could say, after years of doing this work, that the voices and the heavy energy do eventually go away.

They don’t.

They always find that little crack of weakness to work their way in and bring you down.

It’s usually when you’re tired, burned out or feeling a bit vulnerable about something.

You just have to learn how this little SOB works and give it a run for its money.

Obviously listen to your body when it needs rest and recuperation – don’t push when you’re REALLY not feeling it.

And listen to your intuition when something doesn’t feel right or when someone feels off – we ALL know what happens when we don’t listen to that one.

All of this IS a fine line. Your brain can be pesky, but it’s all conditioning and BS and the job here is to tune in to you, your natural state and your needs so you know which bit is you and what YOU need to be doing, and which is the bit that is trying to trick you and keep you all safe and small.

This is the stuff I help people with.

 

If this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!

 

 

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Want to know why I bang on about ‘know yourself, be yourself and f*%@ing own it’ all the time and why it’s such a big thing for Professional Rebel?
 
Because if you don’t have confidence in business, if you don’t see what you bring to the table in business, if you can’t see what makes you special in business – you will keep holding yourself back, missing opportunities and feeling frustrated too.
 
You may even give up completely.
This is me, 2013 – my business headshot, taken by an assistant after shooting some headshots for corporate clients.

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Standard white backdrop, flattering 45-degree angle to the camera, pleasant and not too grinny (read scary) smile – your linkedin approved seal of dullard.
Except it was still kinda me, with the copper coloured hair I had at the time and a fringe you could underline your homework with, paired with classy double leopard print obviously, but something about it is oh so wrong.
 
It doesn’t take a genius to notice something about it was off.
 
Might not look it straight away to someone who doesn’t know me – but feel into it and you know what I mean.
 
I’d already been in business full time about 2 years by then. I was making moolah, growing and had already started developing a brand.
 
I knew in my deepest heart that something about me wasn’t like my peers – be it other photographers or other biz owners in the area – and I stood out because of it.
 
And that’s a good thing, right?
 
I was always being told that I had such a cool website, my looks were brave and it seemed like I didn’t give a shit what other people thought of me.

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But the insides still didn’t match the outsides – it didn’t matter what I presented out to the world, the stories I’d created about my past, my life experiences and who I was acted like a glass ceiling to any real success.
 
They also acted like one-way mirror to opportunities that would take me to where I wanted to go.
 
I was completely invisible to the people I truly wanted to work with. Not only that, it was as if my energy repelled them!
 
I could not see who I was or how I really helped people or what I was really here to do.
 
I was only working with a fraction of my magic.
 
And this whole operating with only a tiny facet of my sparkly diamond self on show meant I was frustrated AF! 
 
Deep in my soul I was deeply, deeply unsatisfied.
 
Business blue balls like no other, baby!
 
My work only lit me up during the time I was with a client. The rest of the things on my to-do list all felt like a massive ball ache.
 
It was so out of alignment but I didn’t know myself or trust myself enough to know or recognise this fully.
 
It also became a reason to beat myself up. It was feeding the story that I could never ever be happy. You see, I set up this bloody business to make a move out of a life that made me unhappy and, look – I was still bloody unhappy!!!
 
WTF?
 
Yep, my self talk was also a bit of a bish back then too – I used to give myself such a hard time about everything. 
 
Outside I might have looked like the coolest, most confident bean on the planet, but inside, I felt sad, heavy and pathetic really.
 
And people picked up on this – even if they weren’t fully aware they were.
 
You get me? Vibes an’ all that.
 
Something inside me was saying ‘don’t hire me, I’m not the person you think I am’ – yes, the imposter syndrome, self-doubt and lack of self-trust was through the roof.
 
I did not have any real confidence in myself, my ability or anything really!
Sadsack alert!

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What I’m trying to say here is that it doesn’t matter what you present on the outside, if the inside doesn’t match; if you can’t see what you’re bringing to the table; if you’re only operating using a safe and tiny fraction of your awesome, glorious and magic self, you’ll be flying around in your life and business like a fly stuck in a room, bashing itself repeatedly at full force towards a closed window, when there’s a way out to glorious freedom and happiness a few inches away. 

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Fail Gif

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I honestly thought I was being myself in my business back then.
 
This is why it was so flipping frustrating.
 
But the fact was that I didn’t really know myself back then.
 
And if you don’t know yourself, then you can’t really own something you can’t bloody see, can you? 
 
This is why success was only ever short lived for me.
 
Little bursts of it, teasing me, flirting, saying look what’s possible, but never really maintaining it or missing out to someone who seemed less able to do the job in hand.
 
It drove me bloody insane!
 
I was right about one thing though, by working as just a photographer, I was only bringing a portion of my magic to the table. 
 
I was playing it safe.
 
This was why I was getting such good results for people when I was with them in person but the rest of the job felt wrong – my marketing felt off and I was only ever able to get to a certain point of success.
 
It wouldn’t be until I saw myself, like really saw myself, put that person out there and fucking owned it, that my peeps were able to come, were able to value what I did for them and were able to became raving bloody fans and admirers for the rest of eternity.
 
It took me such a long time to get from where I was to Professional Rebel.

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It took a long time because I ended up doing a lot of this on my own.
 
The journey was quite messy – not like a flash like the image above . I wish!
 
And it wasn’t only the time it took, it was the money spent trying things out, the failed attempts (there were lots of them), the picking the wrong things (cos I didn’t know myself), and above all, it was feeding the internal belief that something was desperately wrong with me all the bloody time.
 
Working like this was stripping me of my confidence, and the reason for doing all of this was that it was supposed to be helping me get better!
 
Obviously I hired some coaches and mentors – but a lot of them had their ways of working, which weren’t right for me where I was at. They tried to put me in boxes or follow their special ‘blueprint’, which wasn’t me.
 
I joined some programs too – but without the accountability and having someone to cheer me along, I would lose interest or not finish things.
 
I didn’t feel like there was anyone who really saw me back then.
 
If you can’t see yourself, then you need someone who can help…

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My actual magic power is seeing people – at the highest expression of themselves. I see them for who they really are, at their fullest potential. I can see the masks they wear and I pick up on the stories they tell themselves which stop them from seeing what I see.
 
Using my intuition, I know how to create the perfect experience and space for my clients that allows them to see it too – comfortably, playfully and at their own pace too, and without freaking out too much and hiding!
 
If you’re feeling like you’ve been playing it safe, hiding who you are and not showing up fully to serve your clients and you’re feeling frustrated or that it’s halting your progress and holding you back – I’ve created something completely unique to help.
It’s called Raw Rebel Realness – The FUCK YES branding experience for visionary leaders. There isn’t anything out there like this and I’ve got two spaces available to start working with me one to one starting in May. If you’d like to know more, get in touch and I’ll send you an application form here.   

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p.s before I start, normal is well overrated, ok.

Anyway…

Meet Laura.

She’s one of my photography clients and has also become a really good friend.

 

 

She recently did a brave and put on an event to bring a few people from the online business space together.

The usual worries were there. I’m certain she won’t mind me saying this but I think whenever anyone steps outside of their comfort zones to do something different, parts of our brains try to tell us all sorts of stuff. I get it myself – no one will come, it will be crap, am I charging the right amount, it’s a stupid idea, blah blah blah.

No one is alone when it comes to stupid thoughts that try to keep us standing in one place wrapped in a security blanky and bubble wrap not doing anything with our lives apart from fester and listen to our own private broadcast of knobhead fm.

On Saturday, she brought together a load of people for a business event.

But not any business event – it wasn’t the whole ‘Hmmmm Kimberley, have you published the annual stock report and written up the minutes to share with everyone’ whilst stiffs in suits hand out business cards and willy whopping about whose profit and penis was biggest.

I used to go to those sorts of events when I started my business.

Proper snoozefests, they were.

But worse than that, those sorts of places made me feel like I was a bit wrong.

Like I didn’t fit.

I set up a business because I didn’t fit in the world of 9-5.

I didn’t expect to feel like I didn’t fit again after busting a move to go and do my own thing.

The thing is that when you don’t fit and you don’t have the best self-belief to own your big bad self, it can make you shrink, hide and actually listen to that knob in between your ears.

You have to find the place you fit.

Or if it’s not there, you have to go out there and create it.

The reason Laura and I get on is that we are similar, we like the same kind of people and we both have utterly filthy minds.

I have to say I am so happy she decided to put the effort in to do something different, push past the head gremlins and bring a whole load of epic people together this weekend.

Laura managed to fill the room with people who used their boobs as a way to discuss marketing reach and online visibility; who drew childish cocks and balls on flip-charts to highlight the point about ‘the knob between your ears’, and whose message was to fully embrace and own all your conquests whether that’s in business or on tinder. Real serious messages, just delivered with love, humour and a bit of inappropriateness.

And those are just my personal highlights from the official running order.

 

There was also an evacuation in the hotel. The fire alarm went off half way through someone’s talk. It wasn’t a drill.

Clearly instead of just grabbing my coat and leaving all my stuff, like you’re meant to during a fire evacuation, I legged it to rescue my fuck it bucket which was over on the other side of the conference room.

There was no chance I was going to let my business mascot burn up in flames.

 

 

As I left the hotel, relieved with big plastic bucket in hand, there was an almighty gust of wind, which sent my fucks flying back towards the building we had just evacuated.

To my surprise, people actually started running from in front of me, arms in the air, trying to rescue my flying fucks.

It was all a bit crystal maze.

Just with added death and danger.

Oh and firemen too.

And yes, I did bother them for selfies once they’d done their job.

Whilst waiting for the building to be made safe, we stood under the railway arches, dressed in space blankets for warmth which then became super hero capes and had a little improv fashion shoot and mini disco.

It was epic.

 

The point I’m trying to make, in all my colourful and descriptive glory is that it’s so important to spend time with people who are like you, who get you, where you get to be yourself and who remind you why you’re doing it all in the first place.

THE PEOPLE WHO GIVE A FLYING FUCK! – see what I did there 😉

It’s important to fill yourself up with some life too.

Not just sit at a computer screen, a to-do list, or in a place, next to people that make you feel lonely like you’re a bit weird.

You have to go out there and find your fellow freaks and fly that flag together!

By the end of the day, us very professional business owners found ourselves inflating someone’s skin tight latex trousers by sticking drinking straws into their ankles and singing and dancing one of the muppet theme tunes all the way to the bathroom and back.

I wasn’t even drunk!

It was a day my heart and spirit so desperately needed after what has been an utter shit show in my personal life over the past few months.

And I wasn’t the only one who felt like this afterwards.

 

 

It’s really flipping important to spend time with people who get you and see you for who you are. I can’t say this enough. It’s why I set up my membership community, the Courage & Confidence Crew. A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!

 

 

 

You are moving.

You are growing.

I know that sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.

But you are.

You don’t notice because that’s the way of the world.

We’re taught to focus on all the things we’re not doing.

We’re taught to concentrate on all that we’re not good at.

It’s not your fault.

That was how school worked.

Focus and work harder on the things you struggle with.

We’ve all taken that pattern with us unto adulthood.

I know it gets you down.

I know how hard your heart aches for your potential.

It aches because it’s there.

It’s meant to be.

That’s why you feel it so strong.

And it’s frustrating.

Feeling like you’re moving so slowly.

With it always just out of reach.

Demons from your past clinging onto you.

Pulling you back into the heavy swamps you’re trying to get out of.

Bringing you down.

Feeling like you’re never enough.

Like you want to give up.

And the way to get through this?

Keep things.

Things from your past.

Things that you wrote.

So you can see.

Your dreams are coming true.

It may not be overnight.

But you’re working.

At a pace that suits you.

That suits your nervous system.

And at a pace that is embedding it in.

For good.

So that when you’re there.

You feel like you earned it.

There is no fluke.

No overnight success.

Its part of your journey.

And you’re on your way.

I know it feels hard at times.

But it’s ok.

You’re not on your own.

You have got this.

You just need to document your journey.

So you can see that you are moving.

And you are growing.

And everything is exactly how it’s meant to be.

So stop looking at the things you lack.

Look at where you’ve come from.

And what you’ve brought with you.

Skills. Lessons. Momentum.

And notice what you’ve left behind.

Beliefs, habits, behaviours.

The emotional baggage that weighed you down and slowed your progress.

You are moving and you are growing and you have so got this my love.

Every time that it feels tough and the world feels like it’s been working against you, come back to this message because it’s for you.

 

Side note:

I wrote this because I was having a little sort and declutter of my office last week and found my old business plan.

Now, I am not a planner – I hate feeling constrained by too much in my diary, schedules that leave no room for creativity and flow, and even setting goals with times and shit on them make me feel constricted like there’s no room to breathe.

I no longer try to fit myself into that box that clearly isn’t marked for me and believe it or not, it works for me. Despite everything ‘they say’ and despite all the ‘rules’ and ‘ways things are done’, just going with my flow works for me and it’s been since doing ‘me’ and my way, that business has just clicked fully for me.

As I picked up my business plan, I had the sole intention of chucking it straight into the recycling. I opened it to have a quick look and at the front of it, was a short proposal, an intention I guess.

And all of it has come true.

Even the bits that didn’t fit me, I did them and corrected course as I got to know myself, what worked for me and whatI enjoyed the most. So I wrote this in case someone needed to hear it. Because sometimes it really does feel like you’re moving so slowly but seeing this has shown me I am moving and I’ve achieved everything I wanted.

Written sometime in 2010, maybe 2011, I have spent the last 8 or 9 years doing exactly what I intended, trying things out, learning about myself, trying on new hats, learning even more about myself and finally nailing what it is I’m about and how I help people.

Sometimes we miss how far we’ve come so I just wanted to let you know, you’re on track, there are bumps in the road, and even if you take a detour, have a little break or lose faith in yourself every now and then, it’s ok and you’ve got this.

 

 

p.s. if this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!

 

…I’M AWESOME!

So if you’ve been following my blog for a bit you might be noticing a theme at the moment.

 

Stories.

 

Specifically the BS ones. We all have these patterns in our brains, neural pathways, running the same shit over and over – mainly because our brains are lazy. Why dig out a new path in the snow when there’s already one just over there?!

 

These old pathways though, repeated stories which have created your sense of self, play on repeat like an old stuck record, way more than you can begin to believe. Trust me – I’ve been learning about this stuff for over 3 years now – I’ve practically studied for an unofficial degree in happiness, confidence and self awareness. Actually scratch that – I’d gonna go out on a limb and upgrade that to an unofficial PHD – there’s been a metric fucktonne of reading and learning as it’s my special interest aka obsession.

 

When these stories on repeat really outgrow us, they contradict our dreams (or our life purpose – whether known or unknown) because their main job is to keep you safe (i.e. not moving or doing anything in some cases if yours is particularly loud and booming) and over time, they dim the little light that shines inside us.

 

When we have that fight going on inside us for too long, the pressure can become too much to bear… when you don’t acknowledge that spark inside, that feeling in your gut, your inner knowing, or the little voice that wants the best for us (the one we make quiet by listening to the loud one that sprouts all the BS) your body eventually steps up to the job and tries to tell you you’re off track, that can be in the form of depression, anxiety, something nagging away not right. I mean, how awesome is that – all of us, with our own sat nav to guide us the right way… if we only just bloody listened!!!

 

But it’s the pesky old stories keep that keep us stuck, unhappy, wanting one thing then doing the opposite (think diets and slices of cake, ahem). It’s our habits that keep us doing the same thing day in day out, and it’s fear about stepping out of these safe patterns that prevent us from taking that first step outside your comfort zone. Team up your lazy brain along with the huge part of you that is a fear mongering scaredycat fun sponge and you’ve got a right job on your hands when it comes to making any changes to feel happy or good about yourself.

 

We can either stick our fingers in our ears whist shouting la la la to the end and numbing ourselves from it all or we can do something about it before it’s too late and we’re all old and regretful and shit.

 

The thing I learnt is that we have to listen and do those things that mean a lot to us – even if you have to spend some time working out what it is in life that have a meaning for us. Yes it can feel scary, but is it really worth spending your life doing things to distract us and numb us so we don’t feel so out of place?

 

The thing that stopped me from following some of my own ideas through for so long was my own sense of self – who am I to do this? None of my friends are doing anything like this. What is the point? I’ll only fail. People are going to think I’m stupid/weird. Why bother? It’s not going to make a difference. I’ll look a fool… blah blah blah.

But I was telling myself an old story. A really old one. One that was written when something upsetting happened to me and I was too young to see it objectively and so instead of thinking “I can’t believe people could be so cruel” or “What on earth happened to these people in their life to make them act like that?”, I created a meaning that something was wrong with me and I was unacceptable, that people only really want to hurt you and belittle you even if they act like they like you at first, that I would only be accepted if I acted a certain way etc etc.

 

As soon as did anything that triggered those old stories off, cue feelings of depression, anxiety, what am I doing with my life, I’m not happy, I can’t do this etc.

 

I decided that I needed a tool to help me. I was good at finding tools… only once it got too much to bear obviously… but isn’t that always the case? It’s only once we get so tired of our own bullshit that we actually take action.

 

I’d used photography to combat my memory issues after some sad childhood stuff. I used that in a way to remind myself that my life wasn’t as bad as my head made out to be. Maybe I needed something to remind myself that I’m not as bad as I seem to think too!

 

I created “The Big Book of I’m Awesome” to remind myself that I was more capable than my head was telling me. And I had to look at it every day to positively brainwash myself so I step into the identity of who I am living life as and being, not as the stories I made up about myself when I was little and feeling hurt by the world.

 

After stepping out from my first business, FlukePhotography to begin working on Professional Rebel combining photography with confidence and wellbeing experiences, I found it really hard to move forwards with it at times. It was a big challenge, because something inside me was clashing and keeping me afraid and self sabotaging to protect myself from moving forwards so I had to do something to help me be the person who did this.

 

You see I believe that you have to be ready for when that thing that you want happens so you don’t fuck it up.  You have to believe you are the person that does that, has that, is that. If you want one thing but your head is telling you you’re a sack of shit excuse of a human being, even if you work your lady balls off to get it, you will snap right back to who you think you are and what you believe you deserve. After a few years of smacking your face against your own internal glass ceiling, you either give up or realise you’ve got to do something different.

 

We wouldn’t have these ideas if we weren’t supposed to do something about them. I know we keep our dreams a secret and it’s hard to share them never mind do something about them.

 

My ideas have helped many people in all sorts of different situations. And it took a long time for it to really sink in so I could see it and receive it. Creating my Big Book of I’m Awesome helped me do this.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes we have to get out of our own way. Sometimes we have to know that other people are going through these things too so we don’t feel alone, weird, lost.

 

What things do you need to do? Do you even know?

 

What are the stories stopping you? Do you even have any idea? Is it sending you batshit crazy?

p.s. if this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!

 

 

 

Dear business owner,

You’re being so beige; so vanilla; so GDPR.

This recent round of compliance communication has highlighted a mahoosive problem in my opinion.

Eye roll overload indeed.

I bet as I’m writing this, you’re sitting fretting why nobody is re-signing up to your boring ass newsletters.

Jesus, I can’t even be bothered to open your first email, never mind the second, third and final screams of ‘last chance to opt into our monthly… zzzz – sorry, even I fell asleep typing that.

I can’t let you continue like this without at least saying something on the subject. It would be doing the world, and your business, and my inbox a massive disservice (not to mention my sanity, which to be honest, as we all know is… ermmm, questionable anyway haha).

I’m no top notch internet marketer in the slightest. I’m not even offering an awful lot of services right now myself but we live in a time poor, can’t be arsed, f*ck it kinda world where people favour screen to screen communication over talking to someone’s actual face.

We’re overwhelmed by emails in our inbox, the dings and whooshes, and the red notification flags everywhere we look as people choose to do more and more communication and business via not only just email but facebook messaging and linkedin too. And it’s so much less rude and awkward to just casually miss (ahem, ignore and delete) your email cos quite frankly, we’re already operating at maximum ball ache and our friends and families are having to compete with our ever growing to do lists.

Now I might not be your cup of tea. Heck, you may even be reading this and thinking how fecking unprofessional I am but there’s a reason I operate like this.

I’m writing this as an open letter because the world has changed a tad for all of us. We have an internet meaning access to way more people all over the world and biz can be done in your pjs without leaving your house if you want to. People who would never have dreamt of being a business person 20 years ago are now doing bits and bobs in their spare time around their kids and their 9-5 to get an extra few quid in.

With access to this worldwide market and with more and more people doing it, it’s become more about people skills than ever. The old saying that people buy from people is more true than ever before.

My swearing, opinions and personal life sharing lead me to have awesome open rates to my weekly emails. A week doesn’t go by without me getting replies thanking me, telling me they feel like they’re understood or sharing a similar story of their own. My blogs get commented upon and shared – a lot. I even get random people, who weren’t even signed up to my mails finding my words and feeling compelled to mail me to tell me how awesome my website/blog/idea is.

 

Why? Because even with something as unsexy as european data protection law, I can sprinkle a bit of personality over it and make people act one way or another. My choice in working in marmite mode (i.e. love it or hate it) means I can filter out the fun sponges and really connect with people who not only get me but will feel more than happy to sit and read shit I send them which in the long run is going to do my bank account more favours in the long run than trying to please everyone and losing myself in the process.

So I just want to say, do yourself and your biz a solid and sprinkle a bit more you in your communication and in your brand – your business and clients will thank you for it. You will enjoy it a lot more aaaand you can worry less about your tiny dwindling email list.

You’re welcome 🙂

 

p.s. if you’re all over this and want support feeling safe to show up more as the real and unfiltered you, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!

 

 

When we have BS stories in our heads, like about who we are and how we are allowed to show up and have in life, they end up driving the bus. Even if we want to go one way, the big BS belief bus will take us somewhere else and we don’t always see that there’s another way we can go. We get so used to our own patterns by thinking a certain way, we totally can’t see that there are other modes of transport and other destinations.

Just like me and my history of low self esteem slowing down my achievements or even Hannah from my last post, with her “I can’t” story. I honestly believe if nobody had said anything to her to correct that story for her, she probably would have gone through life with not so much belief in her own abilities, and I’m certain this would then affect choices she made and opportunities she took later down the line.

This time I’d like to share a story from someone who took part in one of my free challenges in the I Dare You Project a short while ago.

So, this super sweet lady had felt quite down for a few years. She had a lovely husband, a lovely home and some awesome doggy companions too. But she really wanted a family. They’d been trying for years but no joy.

When you’ve tried something for so long and it doesn’t happen, your head can start to tell you you’re a failure. You can start to think you’ve let people down around you. You cringe at anyone asking you about it. You look at people around you, your friends, your colleagues, people you look up to and even in the messaging around you in films, magazines, just everyone.

Feeling like a failure isn’t really something people want to talk about, you feel ashamed and that feeds your head even more and it can go further and further downhill into a pit of your own despair.

Now I don’t know the thoughts of this lady in particular but I have had feelings of being a failure, or things taking much longer than you had hoped or having to give up something because it just wasn’t right. I have felt ashamed and I have felt like I didn’t know who to talk to.

If you don’t have something to snap you out of that train of thought, your own pattern, you continue on a downward spiral.

You need a pattern interrupt. Something to inspire a plot twist.

Sometimes it’s just knowing that there are other possibilities, other options, other ways of thinking about it – a reframe.

I had no idea how this lady was feeling until I received a heartfelt message thanking me.

 

 

Something I did, or said and put out there, planted a seed in someone’s life and changed it – not just for them, but for a little girl too.

Sometimes you don’t need to turn your life upside down to make it better, you just have to have something (or someone) to remind you there’s another way.

I’m not telling you this to blow my own trumpet. I’m telling you this because the idea I had to do the I Dare You Challenge scared the living crap out of me for ages. I procrastinated and I couldn’t tell anyone about it for ages.

It felt silly, I felt like I would be judged. But I worked through it and it’s an idea that evolved and is helping people. So it’s things like this that we have to come back to when self doubt kicks in.

Sometimes there are things bigger than ourselves that we feel called to do. We have dreams and ideas for a reason. We have to come back to why we are doing them and not listen to our heads which only want to keep us small and safe. Every time I get scared, doubt my ability or listen any other silly thing my head tries to come up with, I come back to those things – why I am doing it and how is it being of good service to others. Seeing how I’ve been able to help people is always a good reminder to keep going. By not listening to the part of myself that told me my idea was silly, I was able to help someone in a way I could never have imagined.

And I’ve been helping people like this lady ever since.

 

p.s. if this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!

 

 

 

I’m a step mum to three children.

I call them my bonus children. Find one good man, get three kids free 🙂

It’s not been something that has been easy at all.

I’ve never wanted children of my own – though I fully appreciate that hormones may take over my senses at some point in the near future. All I wanted a nice bloke to share my life with and to touch (ahem grope) his bottom occasionally.

But it happened, I got mildly stalked by an interesting chap who I ended up quite liking and falling in love with. He came with baggage, an ex wife and three kids. Whilst I’ve never been of the Disney Princess happily ever after ilk, it’s definitely not a situation I ever expected to find myself in.

After waiting a good while to meet them, wondering whether or not they’d take to me and whether or not the ex wife would hate me, there was a lot of getting my head around what this would be for me. Was it a chance to experience the freedom of having children in my life yet being able to give them back / head out to the pub when they did my nut in or would this make me feel trapped, like I had to make compromises and consider many other people in any decisions I made.

After many instances of it being quite the head fuck, eventually I decided to just be me and if anything came up with them, their mum or anything, I could deal with it just like everything else that has come up in my life that I have dealt with. We always forget that we do have epic coping skills and that we do get through all the shit life throws at us.

When I stopped being preoccupied with all the stuff in my head, my issues, me me me ahem (as we all do) , I started to notice something really that bothered me.

The youngest, a little girl, who was about 6 or 7 at the time of this story, had a big thing of saying that she can’t – you know, “I can’t do it.”

I know it’s nice to have her dad do something for her now and then, I mean who doesn’t like people doing stuff for them occasionally, but she had a distinct tone of not really being very capable or believing in her abilities.

It probably doesn’t help having two older brothers who enjoy playing with one another more, who tell her that she is annoying or stupid because she has less experience on computer games or whatever than they do.

Whether you hear something once or often, there are some things that stick in our heads. Especially when the person saying the thing has some authority in your life at the time – your big old grumpy dad, your older brothers and sisters who you look up to or your lovely teacher who is normally very nice but had a bad day and took it out on you.

These things, which sometimes can be fleeting comments as well as things said regularly by your siblings eventually become the voice in your head. Honestly, if you spent a day writing down all the negative things the inner voice comes out with each day, you would start to notice it sounds like someone important in your early years like your mum, grandma etc.

If you repeat a story in our head enough, it actually becomes a belief – something we deem to be true and once we take this story to be true, a part of our brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which acts like a big filter, only starts letting in things that support that belief.

The purpose of the RAS is to stop your brain from blowing up from system overload from all the things coming in through all of your senses at each given moment.

It takes a heck of a lot of re-programming to untangle that story, realise it’s a false opinion and that we can tell ourselves a new story. Our brains aren’t half down with a bit of habit and repetition.

It worried me that this little girl was constantly coming out with things that implied she wasn’t very able. I decided to have a go at nipping this in the bud in a fun way.

One morning when she was at our house, she said ‘i can’t’ about something so I hopped in with a little ‘game’. We had to repeat something over and over again.

My name is Hannah. I am awesome. I am strong and I can do what ever I put my mind to.‘ – her face lit up with delight and her whole energy changed. We made this into a little morning routine for a bit and even made some little cards she could keep by her bed and do by herself.

Time passed and to be honest, I completely forgot about it until my other half received a text message from his ex with a photo of her practicing her hand writing one evening.

 

 

If you can’t read it, it says: “I am Hannah and I am incredible. I believe that I can do abslootly everything if I put my mind to it.

Obviously I had a bit of a moment about it – you know, making an impact on someone young and impressionable made my eyes get a bit moist. It was a lovely surprise.

The good thing was though, that after being reminded of this little ritual we had and how she was still practicing it, her dad and I both notice a something about her recent behaviour. Neither of us hear her saying she can’t do anything any more. Matt caught her almost saying it one time playing a computer game but then correcting herself saying “this level is a bit tricky isn’t it?”

It’s amazing how little things like this can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Imagine if we all stopped spinning round in our own heads.

Imagine if we all started saying nice things to ourselves instead of being mean.

Imagine releasing the trap and being less self absorbed about our own issues to be able to really see that we can help someone with something that could be getting them down.

Sometimes we have to get out of our own way to be able to see things like this and to have the self belief that what we have to offer is of value to other people and to  have the courage and to act upon them.

 

p.s. if this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!

 

 

 

It’s no fun…

Feeling like you’re missing out on life; days, weeks, months and years passing you by.

Feeling the fire in your belly slowly fading away.

Putting on a brave face knowing you’re dying on the inside.

 

It’s slow torture…

Knowing you’re on the wrong path but not knowing how to do anything about it.

Feeling like there’s something wrong with you – like your brain is broken.

Beating yourself up over and over, looking at how things aren’t right and never taking in and receiving the good things.

 

It’s a lonely place…

Feeling alone and different. Wishing you could find people who get you.

Looking up to people you admire do things the things you want, wishing you had the courage to do the same.

Wondering if you can ever feel amazing about your life, if that’s even possible.

 

And above all else, it’s such a fucking waste – not being able to see all that you are, all you have to offer and how magic your life is and can be. And maybe, just maybe, little you can make a difference to someone, to your community or even someone all the way across the globe.

 

Sometimes it’s a case of looking at it from another angle. Sometimes it’s a case of working through what made you start looking at life like that. Sometimes it’s having someone on your team helping you out of the little hole of semi doom and gloom you’ve landed in.

Despite feeling like that all my life (and still having it creep up and bite me on the ass when I’m on a roll – hello saboteur, I see you!), I realised, after working on it for fooking YEARS, that I have a super power. It was ignoring this (not being able to see it for love nor money) that lead to feeling so goddamn awful and putting on a brave face so as not to burden anyone with my woes for so many years.

My super powers are being able to see people for who they really are – like reading between the lines, seeing through their bullshit stories and genuinely being able to light up a room with my super sunshiney energy.

Imagine having that skill, knowing you can really bloody help other people get out of their heads and see who they really are and show it to them using photography and mentoring.

Imagine having the power to lift people up and encourage them that they’re worth something, that they’re able to follow their dreams and find out who they are and what they need from life, then cheering them along as they do it.

Imagine giving someone permission to be themselves so they can feel light, unburdened and more free.

Imagine having that ability under your belt and not doing a goddamn thing about it because you’re stuck in your own head being told by that voice that you suck and you’ll never amount to anything, withering away in your own despair and letting life pass you by.

 

The Dalai Lama once said, “The World Will Be Saved By the Western Woman”.

Not just one woman – don’t worry, my ego hasn’t done a full on flip reverse. I’m not Kanye West.

No one (neither men nor women) is going to do jack shit if they’re crippled by their own inadequate sense of self.

If you look back at history, we’re the first generation where we don’t have to marry if we don’t have to, us ladies have freedom to work if we want to and men can stay at home and raise kids, we can vote, we can travel, we can communicate with the rest of the world and find other likeminded people. But there’s a whole lot of other stuff implying we can’t – family, guilt, shame, media, beliefs, fear of what other people think and keeping up with the Jones’s – all of this can keep us in our own heads going round in circles like a headless chicken and going nowhere fast.

If we can’t free ourselves from the bollocks, nothing really happens. We might make a change in our lives but oftentimes those old feelings and thoughts do come back and slowly drive us potty all over again and more often or not we retreat or mess it all up. That’s what I mean when I talk about having everything aligned – not just our dreams and desires, but our thoughts and beliefs too.

I want people to start telling themselves that they are good enough. That their ideas matter, that their dreams and desires are worthy of coming to fruition, that we can create lives and businesses that inspire the next generations, that we can create wealth for good causes and things that matter.

I want people to feel good and feel that they matter, so they can step outside of their heads and into their hearts, to carry out that passion project, to help those less fortunate feel seen and heard.

I want people to see who they really are and all that they’ve achieved so they can inspire their kids and the people around them – especially those worse off who have started life with the shitty end of the stick.

I want to show people that you can have fun, that life doesn’t have to be so serious, that your best ideas and moments come from when you’re not trying too hard, when you accept what is and be in the moment, you can be happy.

 

By taking steps to stop believing all this BS in my head – the negative voice, the stories I tell myself and the beliefs I’ve picked up from others along the way, I am able to help others be themselves and love their lives.

I want to lead by example so awesome peeps like you can stop doing work that drains you; so you can reframe the bad stuff to see just how strong you are, to see your value and that you matter and that you deserve to be seen and heard.

I want to empower amazing people like you to really live, make the most of their time on the planet in a way that suits them and not in a way they think they should, to set up their dream businesses, do the things that matter to them.

I want to help people take steps to break free from anxiety, depression and self doubt – all those things are are messages to say something needs to change. Not listening to who you are and what you’re here to do. Not listening to myself and telling myself the wrong stories were making me unhappy and taking me down a path that wasn’t right for me.

I’m just a woman who wants to make the world a happier place.

Not just by forcing a smile and pretending all is sunshines and rainbows, we don’t do bypassing around here.

I want people to see who they really are, celebrate it, enjoy their moments… and just let go of being a fucking cunt to themselves all the time.

There really is no need.

 

So yeah, imma gon’ put on my super suit and do what I can to leave the world in a better place than when I found it.

 

 

p.s. if this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!

 

 

The way I felt about myself fuelled my anxiety and depression.

And depression and anxiety fuelled how I felt about myself.

I’d brave it and make some big changes in my life, like get a new job or move house, and it helped for a short while – like as a nice distraction and something to focus on for a bit but then this empty feeling would eventually creep back in.

It went on for years.

Little did I know that picking up a camera would be the start of putting this life long cycle to bed.

You see I never planned to become a photographer – it just sort of happened… a happy accident, a fluke.

 

Due to childhood trauma, my little yet awesome brain developed a little differently and the connections to my memory kinda got jumbled up. This left me unable to remember huge parts of my life – not only the bad bits but also the adventures, the experiences, the stuff worth living for.

As well as being an epic tool to remind myself of all the good things in my life, like a visual gratitude diary, I started using photography to explore emotions, like spotting patterns in my thinking or using it as a way to express how I felt, like when I was going through a painful break up. I wasn’t really a ‘talker’ back then.

I never expected the camera to take me on an adventure escaping the 9-5 and setting up my first business (FlukePhotography) – it was a success… well, for a few years anyway.

It wasn’t until I realised I’d slipped back into feeling deeply unhappy again that I knew I had to work out what was going on.

How could I be unhappy again? Was there something wrong with me?

 

 

I worked out that I didn’t trust myself.

I didn’t believe in myself.

And I couldn’t see myself for who I really was.

When it boils down to it, the truth was that I didn’t accept myself.

I thought by stepping out of the into the world of self employment that I’d be taking life and stuff more into my own hands, but that couldn’t have been further away from the truth.

You see when you do a thing, if all of you isn’t aligned to that thing – your words, your actions, your beliefs, you soon find yourself bumping head first into walls and you won’t know why. It will start to drive you insane.

Taking the plunge and doing a brave to follow my heart only highlighted just how bad I felt about myself. I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t believe in myself enough so I just starting doing what I thought I should. No one teaches you how to run a business, so I looked at what everyone else was doing.

And then it hit me smack in the face.

I had slipped back into exactly the same cycle I thought I’d broken free from.

Doing what I ‘should’ be doing – what was expected of me.

 

 

This is probably why most people stick to the path mapped out for us. It’s less uncertain. It’s less likely to have us rejected and questioned by our loved ones. The thing is though that this path also fills us with so many thoughts, possibilities and anxiety about all that we have to do to keep up.

We can never do enough, be enough – there’s always something we should be doing to lead these perfect lives expected of us. Everyone else around us seems to have it sorted.

By following this path we loose touch with ourselves. We get crippled by the things we think we should do and stop listening to ourselves and what we, as individuals, want and need in life.

We have stories playing in our heads, some almost as old as we are, clashing with what we dream of and stopping us from getting to where we want to go. We keep looking on the outside for acceptance and approval that we’re doing the right thing. We keep pushing and pushing, losing touch with who we really are and what we need. Doing what we should until we don’t know who we are any more – this is what’s fuelling our depression and anxiety.

I realised that when we hop on the should train, it causes us anxiety. Our heads go into overdrive.

And when we keep doing what we should and not what we want and need, we get depressed.

It’s the body’s way of telling us something is wrong.

But we don’t listen.

We keep going.

Until we don’t know who we are any more.

We try and fit ourselves into roles and boxes. But what good is it playing so small, squeezing ourselves to fit and live false lives?

We stop feeling. We listen to our heads instead of our bodies.

Picking up a camera initially to help me remember things lead me to on a path to really reflect upon my life and the lives of those around me..

When I realised what was happening to me, I wanted to step out of it. I wanted to stop listening to the voice in my head and start living from my heart so my life would mean something to me.

You see, I believe the world we live in today tries to make us feel bad about ourselves.

When we feel bad about ourselves, we keep looking for something to fix it – something outside ourselves to make how we feel go away.

Constant messaging about not being good enough keeps us inside our own heads, beating ourselves up like there’s no tomorrow, comparing ourselves to other people, feeling like we’re never quite where we should be.

The longer we stay in our heads, do as we’re expected and ignore our true feelings, the more pain we cause ourselves leading to things like anxiety, depression – but it can become too much to bear so we do things to numb out, activities, more thoughts, more doing what we think we should.

And repeat.

It’s madness.

Honestly, if anyone actually heard the utter bollocks going on between our ears, we’d all be living in a mental hospital.

And nobody talks about it.

Which is why I DO talk about it.

I want to help.

You see I’ve realised that stopping all these behaviour and thought loops, we give ourselves a sense of freedom. No longer are we too worn out by our thoughts and trying to do everything we think we should. We get the headspace to live more purposefully and do more things that have meaning for us.

So I’m on a mission to do help people feel good – about life, about themselves, about who they are so the can send ripples of awesomeness and joy out into the world and make it a better place.

If I can help people feel better about who they are and do more things that matter to them, then so can you. It’s bloody life changing. And you don’t have to move to the other side of the world to do this… unless you want to ovbs!

 

p.s. if this resonated with you and you want support working through this, Professional Rebel’s Courage and Confidence Crew is just what you need!

A community for unconventional, creative and rebellious women who want to develop the courage and confidence to live life unedited – find out more here!

 

 

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