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  • Screw the shoulds

    screw the shoulds

     

    “You should’ve gone out with him when you had the chance.”

    So said my friend, back when we were awkward pre-teens trying to figure it all out.

    The gentle nerd with the soft eyes, big glasses and floppy hair was suddenly cool (I couldn’t work it out – why?) and she thought I’d missed the boat.

    But, no.

    As lovely as he was, I didn’t want the chance in the first place.

    You can’t fake something you’re not into.

    You can’t be swayed by what others think.

    You can’t go far if your heart’s not truly in it.

    Fuck the shoulds, the noise, the chatter, the buzz.

    Trust your Knowing, as Glennon Doyle says.

    Follow what feels light, bright, and expansive. Move towards it and don’t look back.

  • The 2 vital ingredients for your next breakthrough

    2 STEPS TO A BREAKTHROUGH

     

    A word I’ve been using a lot lately is discernment.

    Honing our sense of judgement is such a crucial life skill. Discerning what we actually want and the best way to go about getting it.

    And going into 2024, I think I can boil that down to two things:

    Awareness – of who the hell you actually are; how you feel and react to people and situations

    Deliberation – and working toward showing up consciously every day of your life and being intentional about your actions

    (Throwback here to 2016 and the 2 things I learned that changed my life)

    When you know what you want, and you’re fully dedicated to making it real, things start to click into place. Next steps reveal themselves. Opportunities unfold. Things start happening, flowing, without too much pushing or forcing.

    You follow a simple framework to manifest it: clarity, conviction, and commitment. Setting the vision, holding firmly onto the purposeful sense of guaranteed success, and channeling it all into consistent, embodied action.

    (More on that full process here.)

    Crucially, you’ve got to believe first.  The steps are be > do > have. It starts inside, within. Expanding who you are, which flows into what you do, and finally, the results.

    It’s so much about how you feel and what you consciously and subconsciously believe. Leaving behind old wounds and patterns. I spent my 20s saying I didn’t care what my parents thought. I didn’t care about their judgement. I wasn’t trying to please them or earn their pride. BUT, that wasn’t entirely  true underneath the surface. That wasn’t fully congruent. I was partly trying to convince myself. Only now in my 30s am I truly starting to release that hold … and it’s just the start.

    This year, it’s your time. Tune out the noise. Discern what your heart truly wants. Then, keep cutting out the shoulds, and keep attuning to what feels like it’s pulling you. Discern your next moves, one aligned decision at a time.

    You don’t need to know it all right now. You don’t need to see the full journey. Who knows where the path may take you? Follow the signs and breadcrumbs. The snippets, slices, slivers of a future vision that come to you unbidden. And trust the tapestry will weave itself together.

  • Protect your energy. Honour your sacred NO

     

    protect your energy, honour your sacred no

    No. Not this. No more.

    Something powerful happens when you reach that point of no return. When you have finally had enough. You aren’t going to bend and accommodate anymore.

    Trust. Your. Gut.

    Your inner knowing and inner voice.

    No one strategy works for everyone. Don’t feel like you need to follow a formula or conform.

    People who insist otherwise may not be safe for you.

    I think of instances when I did trust others over myself, and instances when I reversed that and chose to honour my intuition instead.

    You can probably guess which served me better.

    Not obeying the rigid rules and expectations of family, or playing the games a toxic work leader played.

    Not chasing external metrics (one of the things that really solidified my self trust, hilariously, was the retirement of Facebook’s relevance score for ads. A colleague, and of course Facebook reps, were obsessed with getting this score as high as possible. Sure, it’s a factor – but it’s not the most important. Sometimes people need to see important information, whether they want it or not).

    You don’t owe anyone explanations.

    You can try once. Maybe even a couple of times. Beyond that, I wouldn’t waste your energy. The people who get it are your people. Those who don’t, aren’t.

    Honour yourself even if it means disappointing others. Don’t twist yourself into knots trying to get others to understand you. Some people cannot and will not. Some are actively (though not always consciously) invested in not understanding.

    You think you can help them see the light if only you land on the right combination of words, the magical example, the key that unlocks that breakthrough and aha.

    Being misunderstood is inevitable. Letting others down is inevitable. What matters most is honouring, understanding, and trusting yourself. Being an upholder of what you know.

    Choose yourself. Honour yourself.

    Parenting has changed me in so many ways. I didn’t stand up for myself enough in hospital, but once I left, I started to build my confidence, strength and conviction.

    Before I left, one sleepless night, I wrote a long explainer on the hospital feedback form. I poured it all out. I didn’t sign my name, but I figured they could pretty easily ID me. I was very open about how I felt about their approach to breastfeeding, pumping, and visitors.

    My midwife asked if I would meet with the hospital to discuss what I wrote.

    The old me would have agreed to meet with them. My people pleasing tendencies would have insisted. But that was a turning point. I paused and thought about it. The new me, the exhausted mother, took no shit. And she did not have the energy for that kind of interaction.

    I said what I said. I stood by it. I let it stand alone.

    There is a tendency for women to be written off by much of society as hysterical and emotional. I’ve definitely experienced this a lot since becoming a parent.

    I feel like I would have been gaslit if I went. No, I KNOW I would have been gaslit if I went. Nicely, Logically. It would have all seemed very above board. And it would have done so much damage to me and caused me so much doubt.

    Listen to your sacred NO and don’t dampen it down.

    Protect your energy at all costs.

    Without it, you can’t achieve in any area of life.

    Choose where your energy goes. Be deliberate. Be intentional. Be selective. Instead of fixating on fears and doubts, real as they feel, direct your energy towards your intentions and goals.

    And choose to trust yourself.

  • How to self soothe when you’re dealing with anxiety (financial or otherwise)

    how to manage financial anxiety

     

    I’ve previously written about how I had started thinking about mindset work as my full time job.

    Let me amend that.

    When it comes to money and life, I’ve realised, regulating your nervous system (that’s brain AND body) is what supports you in making sustainable progress and simply easing the regular ups and downs.

    It’s the foundation for feeling relaxed, safer, optimistic, confident day to day.

    Thoughts create feelings; they can and do absolutely influence them. One thought can change it all. One different perspective can open up a whole new dimension. One new lens can instantly shift how you feel.

    As you become more skilled at managing your thoughts and shoring up your mindset, though, you start running into limits. Because working from the neck up inherently limits you. You can only go so far without venturing lower.

    Our massive brains are what set us apart, but we’re still mammals.

    The vagus nerve is a communications and sensory superhighway, connecting the brain and various organs. Like the main control room for our fight/flight response. It sends signals from brain to body, but mostly, vice versa – body to brain.

    It’s not all in your head

    “It’s all in your head” we say, but in fact, it goes so much further than that, deeper than the subconscious even, beyond to cellular level. Your body, physical reactions, the state of your nervous system.

    Imagine you overspent, blew your budget, miscalculated and went totally overboard with brunches and drinks and dinners and takeaways last month. Yikes.

    Maybe your jaw clenches. Shoulders go up. You feel tense and hot, but also a bit disembodied, disconnected, frozen. This immediate, instinctual reaction is automatic. The dysregulation going on there shows up in your body instinctively.

    Anytime you do anything with or even think about money, emotions can trigger you into fight or flight mode. It’s a subconscious response to money anxiety. Obviously you can’t function well or think clearly or act brilliantly in that stressed out mode.

    It all gets easier when…

    You can start being more conscious and compassionate with yourself. Cultivating safety and comfort at every level and every step. That opens up space to go even bigger and beyond. That’s the real key to getting, well, whatever it is you want, ultimately.

    This is the work: being okay where you are right now, so you can then clear the way to take things to the next level from here.

    You can feel scarcity and fear at any level, any point. You can feel guilt and shame at any point. Soothing yourself at every step helps you start expanding past those familiar internal set points you’re so used to.

    9 ways to return to neutral

    Stressed about money or something else in life? Get back to baseline in the moment by doing something for both your brain and body.

    Brain

    • Think about how much you can buy with the money you already have, right now. Or, think about 3 things you can appreciate right now
    • List all the ways you could take action to generate cash today. Or, think about 3 things you can do now that would feel 10% better than what you’re currently doing

    Body

    • Turn your head sideways, 90 degrees to your body, and hold for 30-60 secs. You’ll start to feel your whole body relax subtly, like a reset
    • Stand, focus on your breathing, in and out, and shift your weight from side to side, foot to foot, aligned with your breathing
    • Grab something in your hands (stress balls are great, or anything similar) and move it from hand to hand, side side, across the centre line of your body – think like a pendulum
    • Make your entire body stiff like an uncooked pasta noodle and hold for a minute, then consciously relax
    • Vocalise out loud! Brrrrrrr is a classic, but any sound you feel coming through you is great – do this till you feel some release
    • Shake, move, dance, stomp, rock your body – get very physical and move that energy through
    • Do a round or two of EFT tapping (there’s lots of videos on YouTube)

    Self-soothing when it comes to money

    How often do you handle, interact with, touch money in some way? A lot, right? Add to that, how often are you thinking about money?

    Imagine if all those touchpoints were a little more positive. What a difference that might make.

    How can you bring a little more positivity and safety into them?

    The more goodness you can inject, the bigger the ripple effect… infusing and informing the overall holistic relationship.

    Create stress free spaces for managing money. Low stress money dates where you go over your finances, celebrate progress and momentum, make plans for the future. Pair with delicious snacks and treats.

    Create parameters for safety that you can set and honour. You may chafe at structure and rules generally in life. I know I do. But they can actually be an ally here. Guardrails to guide your experiments or baby steps into the unknown, and ringfence risks or losses. Playing with a business idea? Give yourself permission to try, with a set allowance for experimenting. Making bigger investing moves? You can decide on limits, set stop orders for buying or selling. Have kill criteria for any money moves – a point at which you call time and quit like a pro.

    This goes for more than money

    This doesn’t just apply to financial anxiety. It goes for everything else in life, too. Anything that feels hard, tough, sticky. That isn’t flowing the way you’d like. Where you don’t feel great.

    You can start shifting it from the inside out.

    Pause and get clarity. How do you want to feel instead? Identify your desired feeling, and think back to other instances when you felt this way. Recall exactly how it felt, and the circumstances that led to it.

    With this in mind… How can you get more of that? Kindle that flame? Expand that kernel? What step could you take right now to get closer to that feeling?

    It’s like… preplanning success. Celebrating it now, despite our lifelong indoctrination to ‘not count the chickens till they hatch’. In a practical sense, that is fantastic advice.

    But internally, creating a sense of success in your body – a memory ahead of time – goes a long way toward prepping your nervous system for receiving and accepting it. Like athletes visualise doing the thing, triumphing, ahead of time … you can do the same with anything in your own life, no matter how mundane.

    Because when success feels unfamiliar, parts of you aren’t really open to it, and are even repelling it. Shout, move, dance, pump your fists, whatever you would actually do when the time comes. Practise it. Embody it. Encode it.

    This is how liberation starts

    From within. Cultivating true and lasting financial power is an inside job.

    Then, it’s always with you. Accompanying you wherever you go; it becomes part of you.

  • I’m entering my villain era. Bring it on

     

    Have you ever worked with incredibly reactive people always on the brink of an emergency?

    How painful is that?!

    You just want to shake them and shout “Get a grip! Your failure to plan is not my problem!”

    I’ve been going through life like that. Reacting and panicking, getting caught up in other people’s drama. That was my MO for most of my life.

    Now I refuse to play that game. I operate from intention and intuition.

    Slow down.

    Ask why.

    Does this really need to be done?
    Why now?
    Who does it serve?
    What are the alternatives?
    What are the consequences?
    What are the desired outcomes?
    What are the expected outcomes?
    What will the long term effects be?

    Question everything. (If you’re a parent of a young child, you know how to do this! Channel your toddler. Just keep asking why, over and over again. The 5 Whys principle exists for a reason – that usually does it.)

    Evaluate. Analyse. And do the selfish thing.

    If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that if there is a choice that feels selfish to choose, that is almost certainly the way for me to go. The scales have been so out of whack for so long.

    It’s time to fix that. Redress the balance.

    Less triaging for everybody else. More slowing down and self-honouring. Start rebalancing the scales.

  • Weeding out money demons and financial weak spots at the root

     

    Deconstructing your individual money story, your unique flavour of hangups and hurdles along with triumphs, is something you’re probably going to eventually come up against (if you haven’t already) and is the key to sustaining next-level success.

    Buuuuuut when we really get down to it… what does that mean?

    Let’s make it real, let’s get raw with some tangible examples as I walk you through some of my shit.

    My mistrust of cash

    I love money but actual physical cash? Not so much. I can probably trace this back to what I think might be my earliest money-related memory, in which I was dispatched to the dairy to buy milk but lost the coins along the way (and was never trusted with that errand again).

    My struggle with boundaries

    My tendency to entertain any request, put up with unreasonable demands, give and give and give some more. This shows up financially and in other areas – though I’ve come a long way. Stems from parents who had poor boundaries and unreasonable expectations.

    My problems with spending on myself

    I don’t really have issues with buying experiences (food and travel) but when it comes to buying physical stuff? That’s a whole ‘nother thing.

    We rarely got gifts. I can probably count on one hand how many birthday gifts I remember getting; I think it was partly at the whims of parental moods. Sometimes from extended family too, but rarely. Ditto Christmas; I remember trying to dodge the question “What did you get this year” every year. And there was definitely a weird story around presents being for needs, not wants.

    As an adult, I’m relearning how to embrace the concept of pleasure. This probably also ties in with my difficulty receiving – I’m just not used to it, I feel really uncomfortable being given anything, as being the recipient of generosity is so … foreign.

    Little wonder it’s hard to receive anything. Even now, I receive cash every year for my birthday, and it’s not something I fully feel comfortable about.

    And that definitely links up with the drive to earn (that’s a whole thing of its own!), through hard work and hustle, and prove myself. It’s all connected.

    My problems with having and trusting

    Also – even just having stuff is difficult for me. It could be taken away (like my treasured Westlife CD, uplifted, given to someone who was visiting us, and never replaced despite the promise to do so).

    How does this manifest? Honestly, I often don’t take great care of my stuff. I was also burgled many times in my 20s, further cementing this wound. Feeling I can’t relax and have nice things. Feeling I can’t trust/rely on others financially; pocket money was inconsistent and the whole endeavour probably lasted less than a year.

    Yeah, there’s a recurring pattern here. Things suggested or started and then never heard of or mentioned again.

    My problems with underearning

    I’ve been anchored, pegged to my knowledge of the hourly rate my parents earned way back last century. Internalised that benchmark and operated with that knowledge in the background. Feeling like it’s good enough and I should be grateful to be beating that (despite, you know, inflation and other things…)

    As I mentioned before, it’s been deeply ingrained in me that I need to work hard for money. I need to achieve, to prove my worth. And subconsciously, probably to make up/atone for the brief phase in my teens when I shoplifted makeup. Not my finest hour.

    Soooo…. what are we supposed to do with all this?

    Acknowledge these root experiences and memories. Accept them, difficult as they might be and uncomfortable to admit to.

    Recognise you learned from what was imprinted on you and deeply encoded in your subconscious. It’s empowering to realise you’re not broken, there’s nothing wrong with you.

    And that now you can start to choose differently, day by day, step by steap.

    Start to build new conscious patterns for yourself. Actively. Deliberately.

    Question your instinct and consider whether the alternative might serve you better. Practice trying on new choices and see how they feel.

    I think about all the times I HAVE managed money well, upheld boundaries and honoured myself, spent well on myself, relied on others, enjoyed what I have, and grown my income.

    Find evidence to support your success and keep building on it.

    That’s how we start to exorcise these demons.  That’s the work I’ve done over the years to beat them.

    That’s how you stop sabotaging yourself and start finding your money groove.

  • Where are you making do?

    where are you making do in life?

    I used to be great at making do. I didn’t make much, nor did I expect to. I got great at working with those constraints.

    Leaving that world behind, graduating into a new reality, was a slow burn.

    Picturing and projecting into the future. Figuring out where, if nothing much changed, things would be in a year, 2 years, 5 years and beyond.

    Deciding what I wanted to carry on and what I was ready to leave behind. Contemplating how that changed the picture.

    Letting myself dare to dream. Expand my horizons. Stretch the limits.

    Getting ready to shed, getting ready to step up.

    Letting ideas creep in, not dismissing them summarily, discerning why they felt scary and whether I was willing to consider them anyway.

    Honouring my hopes and desires, my feelings, and the stirrings that energised and galvanised me.

    Where you are right now is where you are. And if it’s not where you want to stay, that’s okay too. And if you wind up remaining here longer than you want to, that’s fine, too. Things tend to unfold in their own time.

    But leaving it all behind starts with a spark. Saying no more. I’m done making do. I’m meant for more.

    I desire, deserve, and am destined for more than this.

    The audacity to think about wanting more. And then, daring to start doing things differently.

    Where are you making do, biding time, shrinking and playing small right now, and what’s your end game?

  • One word I just can’t stand (and what I’m replacing it with)

    find a mantra that works for you

     

    One phrase that REALLY grates on my nerves is this: creating money.

    So too do creating clients, creating results, etc.

    Hello, cue brain scoffing…

    BUT you’re not literally printing/minting cash, are you?

    BUT you’re not literally bringing new humans into the world, are you?

    You’re not literally making cash out of thin air. You’re recirculating existing currency. Clients were already moving through the world; they just weren’t YOUR clients before.

    The resistance, at least for me, is strong. The instinctual, involuntary reaction, visceral.

    Maybe it’s semantics. Making money doesn’t elicit such a response. Nor does getting clients or results.

    And isn’t make just another synonym for create?

    Stripping it back, I think I stumbled across two hurdles.

    1. Something about the word ‘create’ feels like it bypasses hard work (at least to me)
    2. Create is closely tried to creative, and I also have a fraught relationship with that word

    I don’t super identify with the label of creative so maybe I feel similarly imposter-y about throwing the word create around. (Probably a subject of another whole post; my hang up here is around my personal definition of creativity. It has traditionally been very narrow; only now am I starting to apply it more broadly beyond the visual arts that produce something tangible, and extending it to nonfiction writing, ways of thinking, etc…)

    Unlocking that little insight freed me to go beyond and search for a word that did resonate more strongly. Personally, I’ve adopted the word generate. Something about this feels much more aligned. More concrete. More momentous. More active.

    Y’all know I’m very anti-hustle, but by the same stroke, sitting back and waiting isn’t the vibe, either. For me, generate fits and straddles the gap. It feels to me like it honours the aspect of taking action and earning a result, but not necessarily by grinding.

    It’s grounded yet allows for ease and flow in there, too.

    If something isn’t resonating with you, by all means, find something that DOES vibe with you to take its place. Because words matter. They’re powerful. And choosing the right ones, even if it means making up your own mantra, makes a difference.

    Do you ever get caught up on a particular word? What’s gotten you stuck lately?

  • 3 steps to feel-good money

    3 steps to feel good money

     

    The better you feel, the better you do.

    You know I’m all about figuring out how to feel better about money, so you can do better with it. It’s a beautiful cycle. A worthy model. A virtuous flywheel.

    So, here’s a simple framework for feel-good money. Enjoy!

    Stack up the evidence

    Write your badass bio, financially speaking. List all your past money wins, previous achievements, and create a narrative around this. One that speaks to your track record of success.

    This might feel weird and imposter-y and uncomfortable.

    But this empowering story is just for you. To help you get used to focusing on your triumphs rather than flops. Stack the deck in your favour, and take this step toward being kinder to yourself and easing up on past you.

    Track your wins

    A plug for these quick money wins. Get a few under your belt, boost your energy, and get some momentum going!

    Then, keep the vibe going. Tune in and pay attention to all your wins, big and small, from here on in.

    What counts? Anything goes, honestly.

    Getting a great deal in a sale…

    An unexpected refund…

    A referral for a cool, lucrative project… etc

    Again, you’re learning to tune in to the goodness, because we’re wired to dwell on negativity. It’s not so natural to look for the good stuff.

    Celebrate the hell outta it

    Ride those highs as long as they last.

    I beat myself up for things, even years later. Do I celebrate their positive equivalents, years later? Probably not (see previous point).

    So, we gotta milk the wins as they come and savour every minute.

    Celebration means feeling it all, revelling in it, soaking it up. No dismissing or downplaying. No modesty here, thanks. Stretch yourself into feeling egoic.

    Squealing. Dancing. Moving and vocalising are all great!

    Whatever moves you. Whatever the mood brings you to. Embody the good vibes and encode these beautiful feelings and memories in your body at a cellular level.

    If you liked this, you’ll probably love Money Groove, my self-paced digital course all about finding your own financial groove. It’s your roadmap to ditching your $$$ baggage, making peace with money, and fast-tracking the path to MORE of it.

  • Life lately…

    I feel like I covered off a big money update last month… so, time for a life update!

    I’ve shifted into a new, slightly different role that’s just the challenge I need. Dreamed up a new awesome freelance offer (I’m often referred to edit books and help put together online courses, and now I’m seeing a need for ongoing strategic and editing support with regular daily/weekly content). Finished NLP (neurolinguistic practitioner) certification and now am cooking up a coaching offer (which I envision as being a next step up from my course, and broader – more life and money, not just money). Watching Parenthood and Better Things; next up Ted Lasso, and catching up on the later seasons of Gilmore Girls (even if I hear they went off the rails)

    But realistically the thing that takes so much time, energy, bandwidth… is parenting.

    Sooo… here’s a braindump of life on that front 😊

    Toddler eating + ongoing food intolerances

    Spud is firmly in the beige food phase. I don’t blame him. All his intolerances really do restrict things.

    Dairy, seafood and fish, nuts (though all are improving, especially I thiiiink that last one?) – it cuts out many options, especially for an already picky toddler.

    A couple summers ago he returned to nightly screaming around midnight, waking and squealing bloody murder. It took a few days but eventually I pinpointed the likely culprit: my granola, which he’d started eating as well. So much for healthier breakfast cereals! Nuts were not identified in the ingredient list, but I imagine there were probably trace amounts. And when you can’t trust the inclusions on the label, you start making your own. So, I now make my own granola every week.

    When we did Hello Fresh for awhile, he was also struggling at nights. Again, I can only assume trace presence in some of the ingredients.

    The last few months, he’s started vocalising it, constantly telling me he has a sore tummy. That’s helpful, rather than me just surmising it from his actions and behaviour.

    What’s helping? This kiwifruit bowel health stuff is magic for soothing digestive issues fast. Also still doing these Renew Life kids probiotics, but the kiwi stuff is gold for quick relief. (I also have these digestive enzyme tablets on hand as a backup.)

    Obviously avoiding, though not totally, those trigger foods helps (dairy is in so many things, and lingers in the body too, as it’s slow to process through).

    Favourite things

    Screaming surprise! at me constantly.

    Robots.

    Transformers.

    Countdown farm blocks.

    Hot wheels.

    Dinosaurs and sea creatures.

    Counting out syllables.

    Sounding out letters.

    Asking questions, always. Are there lots of cranes in Ukraine?

    Revelling and struggling with…

    Teaching him how to think. This coaching really is the crux of parenting IMO.

    Responding neutrally.

    Asking questions. Open-ended, ideally.

    What have you tried? What else could you try?

    What about X? Strong-willed kids do better with suggestions than instructions, or at least this one does.

    I want him to form his own thoughts. Do things for himself. Learn to think and work through things for himself.

    So I find myself always trying to come up with analogies and examples.

    Sometimes it’s easy – ‘hug it!’ I said, telling him how to stay on the spinny thing at the park.

    Sometimes not. A page was ripped in his book – ‘”put it in the bin” was his response (as usual). I said ‘ if you get a scrape or scratch or bruise, are you no good, should I put you in the bin?’ Possibly a bit harsh but I think the message got through … nope, you’re still you and you’re still working just fine.

    I try to show when I’m learning too – making mistakes, having difficulty doing something. We saw BMX bikers doing all sorts of daring tricks as the Easter show, some wiping out pretty badly. I was thrilled. We were in the front row right up close. What better way to see people trying, failing, getting back up and trying again?

    His perfectionism tendencies (‘put it in the bin!’ ‘I’m done!’) are strong. “You’re perfect” he’s told me, even when I clearly show I’m not. But the other day, I heard “It’s not perfect but it’s fine” – and my heart soared.

    Staying calm, modelling calm nonviolent communication and a can-do attitude, reminding him we can figure anything out and fix things. Spilling milk in the morning always results in upset. But you know what? We don’t have to wipe up every drop immediately, as you’re probably going to spill more before you finish.

    My family of origin is very judgmental, quick to share their thoughts and opinions. I want to foster the opposite. Cultivate non-judgmental, open-minded curiosity.

    It’s possible. Could be.

    Very little is black and white in life here on earth. I try to reflect that in what I say.

    What I’m thinking about

    Thinking about starting school in term 4, and holiday care…

    Thinking about planning his first plane trip…