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  • Here’s your permission slip to dream bigger (and the one question to start asking yourself today)

    start asking this question to get closer to your goals

    I used to HATE the question – what if you won the lottery?

    Ugh. What’s the point?!

    I didn’t want to dream big because I didn’t like to think about what I would never have – ironic, as this is exactly the same mentality I think underpins some people’s commitment to the ‘money doesn’t buy happiness’ trope which I LOATHE with all my being.

    Heck, I even used to work on a campaign called Dare to Dream and I think it always lowkey bugged me for that reasons. Semantics, people. Language is my thing. Word choice matters.

    Anyway, if you’re the type of person who tends to round off daydreaming sessions with a wistful or even bitter, “that would be nice,” I see you. I so feel you. I am you.

    AND… I’d encourage you to try something slightly different next time.

    Ending instead with “How could I?”

    Leave that open ended question hanging. Let your brain stew and store it away and start to mull over the possibilities.

    I know my lottery dreams are fairly modest. I’d plan another RTW trip and do more travel. Buy a house in a different suburb. Beyond that…

    These really are not outrageous dreams. Although they are very difficult and expensive and seemingly impossible in NZ. Or so it feels.

    But not actually impossible. If I were to price it out roughly, just back of the napkin calculations, they’re theoretically doable. I don’t need multimillions.

    HOW, I don’t know. But even just the idea that these may be possible? It’s such a huge shift. And it feels so much better. Lighter. Expansive. Warmer.

    So. Let “How could I?” be your guide for a bit. See how that feels for you.

     

  • I used to be afraid of getting older – but no more

     

    “You’ve changed.”

    Anyone ever said that to you?

    I veer between thinking “at the core, people don’t really change” to “people inevitably change, and it’s a given”.

    What I DO know for sure is that changing your identity is basically a prerequisite to any big, lasting change you want in life.

    I’ve never had a strong sense of self, of who I was, what I liked, what I didn’t like, what I wanted. For various reasons.

    As children, we form our identities based largely on what those around us reflect back to us.

    Honestly, what I had reflected back to me was mostly negative. It’s just how I was raised.

    Thankfully, in adulthood, I’ve surrounded myself with many people who lift me up. Through pure sheer luck careerwise, in particular, I’ve changed how I see myself gradually through the smallest of comments and observations, compounded over time. That helped build a strong foundation where there was nothing before.

    I borrowed their positive beliefs and reflections. I adopted them until I could actually embrace, integrate, incorporate them.

    I find that now I need less external input and validation.

    I can do it for myself.

    The training wheels are off.

    I literally feel more solid inside. Like I am more whole at the core.  I do the shadow work. I bring more consciousness to my days. I’m more aware of my thoughts, feelings, and reactions. I’m integrating all the parts of me, even those I started disconnecting from long ago, that started splitting off in response to difficult situations I couldn’t handle as a child.

    It’s like I was a page in a colouring book that’s now been filled in with gorgeous shading.

    I used to dread ageing. Now, I’m excited for all the time I have left ahead of me. I just keep getting better and better. I know there’s so much more to do, learn, and experience. To look forward to. As I’ve reconnected to my body, myself in my physical dimension, my wholeness of mind/body/spirit, the more I can feel things brewing that I look forward to downloading and channelling in the years to come.

    33 was a year of big personal growth. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

  • Stop looking for the silver bullet – the answers are already within

     

    Maybe you want to make more money. You’ve followed the gurus, bought the courses, done the work to uplevel your career or business.

    Maybe you want to do a better job of this whole parenting thing. It’s a constant struggle, battling with your past, as your kids and partner constantly trigger you from minute to minute.

    Maybe you want a better relationship. You’ve listened to podcasts and read blogs, tried a million techniques, but nothing sticks. Maybe things change for a few days, but it never lasts.

    You’ve been searching high and low for the strategies and tactics that are finally gonna make a difference. But at some point, it’s time to change tack. Call it quits. You’re exhausted. It’s all the same stuff, regurgitated info over and over in different guises.

    The truth? Success in whatever you are seeking isn’t found outside of you. 

    Beyond a certain point, the real solution lies within

    What you need is already inside you. 

    All the tactics in the world won’t do much until you sort out your inner stuff.

    The deeper work is the real work. 

    Your brain is used to dealing with people/conflict/setbacks in a certain way. It goes back to what it knows when thrown into those situations, even if those techniques aren’t necessarily helpful.

    The brain is a funny thing, resisting change with all its might. It falls back on what feels safe, and what it knows. Back into well worn patterns, comfortably trodden ground. Autopilot is so powerful. Like when you move house and find yourself taking the route to your old place after work, even though your new place is in the other direction. When you reach to adjust your glasses instinctively, even though you’ve got your contacts in. When you find yourself pulling your hairbrush through empty air, because you chopped most of it off just yesterday.

    It takes time to learn to gravitate towards new actions. To build that muscle memory (remember, the brain is a muscle!) and develop different reactions, physical or otherwise.

    You are more powerful than you know

    I feel as though there’s a tension in this space. For all the empowering talk about creating our own reality, there are so many outside factors – systemic, societal, physical – that shape our reality. Like it or not, there are some things we just can’t control.

    If we can’t control these external elements and we can’t control other people, what’s left?

    Only ourselves. Therapy and coaching will always focus on YOU. We can keep fighting for more equality, system change, justice, influencing bigger things beyond us. But ultimately, the only thing within your guaranteed sphere of influence is you.

    That might feel small. Depressing. But actually, going deeper and committing carries immense power. It changes everything. How you think. How you feel. Then, subsequently, what you do and how you do it.

    It’s hard to articulate and pin down. What they say, though, is true. How you show up makes all the difference. Your energy is palpable, and shifting your energy genuinely does influence the results you get back once you start taking action.

    And it starts within you.

  • Feeling stuck on your healing path? You might be missing the mind-body connection

    the power of the mind-body connection

    I remember the first time I realised the power of the mind-body connection.

    Years ago, I was listening to a guided meditation on the train. As I followed along, I literally felt the pressure and tension around my heart loosen and lighten. The stress and worry that had been weighing on my chest dissipated.

    About a year ago, I heard about somatic therapy on the Over It and On With It podcast. That’s it, I thought. That’s what I need. 

    I found a somatic therapist in the city, a few minutes from my office, and booked a session. It was incredibly awkward. I sat on the couch. I talked and talked and talked. I filled all the silence. She barely said anything.

    And then I felt something within me. Coalescing. Shifting. I felt tingles. I felt hot and cold. I felt this ball, this mass of energy, manifesting inside my body, moving around, and eventually, worm its way toward my right arm, down to my hand, and out of me.

    It sounds batshit crazy, but that is the best explanation I can give you, and that is exactly what happened on that sofa in that hour.

    All I did was sit and speak my truth in this woman’s presence, and that is what happened.

    Later that year, I did a short Zoom session in which the practitioner helped me work through a sticky situation. I identified a person who was the source of my stress, focused on my body, and located her around my heart/chest. She was so stuck there, I couldn’t even get her to turn around 180 degrees.

    We worked on visualising her going down a golden path, and eventually we went our separate ways. She left my body, and I felt immensely relieved.

    I went on to write a boundary-setting email back to that person and felt great about it. (And perhaps amazingly, she responded well to it.)

    What to make of all this?

    I’m a pretty damn practical person. Pragmatic. Realistic. Sceptical. I take a pretty scientific approach to lots of things. I believe what I see. And I also believe what I experience.

    I believe there’s probably a lot that science hasn’t caught up and maybe never will be able to. In invisible planes and dimensions. Even if it weren’t for that… well, as a friend in the social sciences says… this stuff doesn’t really interest white dudes, generally.

    These days I would say I identify as somewhat spiritual; somewhat woo.

    I once worked with a couple of healers (that’s what they called themselves) and did a bunch of research into non-western/alternative medicine to support the course material they were creating. I stepped into a whole new world. Muscle testing. Chakras. I quietly scoffed at it all, but in hindsight… I gotta admit, emotions and trauma most certainly live in the body, and doesn’t it make sense that certain emotions are stored in/associated with certain body parts?

    If we think of emotions as energy in motion … they need to move; they need somewhere to go. That’s why movement and motion is part of completing the stress cycle.

    Instinctively, I realise I’ve always known this. I used to physically shake it off after a stressful interaction, like a dog does (or even when they dry themselves). I’d even meow aloud … that somehow just felt like a good release mechanism, a steam valve of sorts, letting it all move on through and out of me.

    Connecting to the body’s wisdom

    What are your happiest memories? When did you feel you were living and experiencing life to the fullest? When did you feel most alive? Were your senses really engaged? Were you caught up in thoughts, or enjoying the moment – engrossed and engaged in your surroundings, what you felt, sensed, saw, heard, tasted, smelled?

    We often spend our days living in our heads, our minds, and not in our bodies. I know that for me, that disconnection has certainly spawned troubles. The body will tell you when you’ve had enough. It breaks down. Depending how out of touch you are, it might take a few alarm bells. Your body compass will always, however, point you in the right direction.

    I’ve learned to start dropping down into my body and seeing how she feels about any choice I face.

    Does it feel light, expansive, open? Or does thinking about it feel small and constricted? That is a strong indicator of which way to go. Think about how you’ve physically felt when making decisions in the past, and how they turned out. Did you feel heavy, burning, tingling, cold? Use those as a guide to calibrate your body compass. These are all clues pointing you toward or away from something.

    As adults, we tend to detach from our bodies. Reconnecting is an integral part of healing, and the integrated healing that follows can be so powerful.

    Intuition and the inner voice

    I think back to when I was very young. To times my instincts, nudges, intuition were very strong. Times they turned out to be right. It would sound silly to describe those instances, which were hardly consequential, but very powerful and that I’ve never forgotten.

    The older we get, the more we learn to tune out our inner voice. To stifle it with logic. And sometimes we return and learn to listen once again.

    If you feel called to, later in life, you may want to dial back into that internal voice. Because we tend to regret not trusting ourselves.

    And if talk therapy isn’t cutting it anymore for you, like me, I so encourage you to explore somatic options. At that stage, continually mining the same old ground wasn’t helping. There was nothing useful to extract. I had to heal on the physical level, without necessarily having to go back into the experiences and rehash them.

  • 5 steps to crush your money goals this year

    5 steps to crush your money goals

    Looking back over my adult life, especially in the past few years, I’ve pulled off a few things that just didn’t ever seem within reach. Mostly financial, to be fair, but I’ve come to see that the process has always been the same – and I believe can apply to any type of goal.

    (One in the realm of theoretical possibility, that is. I’ll never be a pilot as I’m never getting back to 20/20 vision. Well, some might think it’s possible to heal one’s eyesight if one just believes enough; I’m not there. Nor will I ever be a pro athlete or musician. I’m not going to pretend that literally anything is possible for anyone.)

    So if you have big money goals, or other types of goals, here’s my best advice:

    Tap into your WHY

    Money needs a purpose. What is yours? Connect with the reason you want this money and build a laser clear vision of that goal. What will you do with it once it arrives?

    Decide that it’s a done deal

    There is a big difference between logically, cognitively knowing something vs deeply knowing and feeling it, all through your body and mind.

    You need to be 100 percent behind it. Locked and loaded at a bone, soul, deep level – knowing this is happening. If you can’t quite get behind it yet, adjust your goal to something that feels more aligned.

    You can feel that perceptible shift once it actually happens. Let go of the doubts and embrace your new commitment, trusting that success is inevitable.

    See it

    You need proof that it’s possible to keep you going. Find examples!

    Treat envy as evidence. If it can be done by someone else, you can probably have it too. Maybe not in the exact same way, but in another shape or form.

    Envy is often a signpost, signalling what you’re capable of and haven’t been tapping into.

    Feel it

    What if it was already yours?

    Let that certainty and knowing spread throughout you, cascading into every cell and permeating every corner of your mind.

    Imagine how great it would feel.

    Imagine how that version of you would go about things – how they’d think and act.

    Act!

    Probably the part you’ve been waiting for, right? Stop dithering and take the damn action.

    I recently took part in a money making challenge. In that time, I focused on income generating activities, like warm outreach to former clients, putting together proposals in response to project listings, and engaging in select Facebook groups (giving value while also communicating what I offered).

    None of these actions yielded any direct results.

    But suddenly things picked up pace elsewhere. Referrals started coming in fast – and for bigger pieces of work with awesome clients.

    The universe conspires to help you when you start making moves. Take steps towards your goal and even if those don’t pan out, you’re moving in the right direction. Other opportunities have a way of cropping up, crossing your path in the most surprising ways. The payoff will come.

    But don’t rush it. Getting those foundational steps in first makes all the difference.

    Most of this is about intention and energy.

    You might hear “Money is just energy.” This refrain is a common catch cry in certain spheres. Not sure I buy into that. But for sure, the energy behind our money stuff counts.

    Years ago when blogs were at their peak, I made a fair chunk of money off blogging. Sponsored posts helped fund a not insignificant part of my RTW trip. Yet it hardly ever felt all that good to me. I often felt like I was cheating the advertiser in terms of value exchange (sense of unworthiness/not enoughness). This also carried over into freelance stuff – not feeling like I deserved the pay.

    In comparison, these days I feel rock solid when I get paid for freelance work. I no longer feel a little electric jolt when I get a payment notification – a physical manifestation of the surprise “they like me, they must really like me, they actually paid me for my work!” Instead I see those invoices paid and think “yup, that’s about right.” I’m grateful and joyful but not shocked.

    Another example…

    I’ve given away a lot of money in my life. Most of it, reluctantly, to people I know. Begrudgingly. And most never repaid.

    A small portion of that I have donated to causes that spoke to me. And that has been an entirely different experience. I loved giving that money. And I have found that the more I donate, the more comes back into my life in unexpected ways. Every time, not long after, something good follows. The universe is mysterious that way. But perhaps opening up your hands to give also opens them to receive.

    Be generous if you can, act from abundance, as your richest self. It feels good in the moment – and it pays off in the long run.

    And outside of the financial realm, energy absolutely counts.

    As a parent, I live this every day. How I show up directly impacts how any given interaction or situation plays out. Deliberately choosing playfulness over frustration and control, whenever I can, shifts the vibe and the outcome. Kids are incredibly intuitive and they know, they sense, what’s under the surface.

  • “Money doesn’t buy happiness” – GTFO with your BS!

     

    Only two types of people say this. Those who have more than enough money, or those who don’t have it and never will.

    This is what I’ve observed, over and over.

    I remember engaging in discussion once with someone who has been broke as hell and now does very well for themselves. She busted out this BS line – and threw something in about health (they always do, don’t they?!).

    Come on. Really. She totally failed to acknowledge how different it would have been if she had been struck down with that health situation in her younger, poorer days.

    It’s not just about the direct costs of care. It’s also about the fact that when you’re in lower paying, less stable jobs, you don’t tend to have as much leave, you might not get paid leave or have the option to take an extended absence, you might not have trauma/income insurance, you might not be able to work flexibly, all those surrounding factors play into your health experience.

    Clearly, this line drives me batshit crazy.

    Let’s be real. All things being equal, anyone would rather have the money.

    But why? What makes people spout this line that is so out of touch with reality? Have they truly forgotten what it’s like (obviously the silver spoon rich may never have known anything but privilege)? And more importantly, what’s the underlying emotion driving it?

    I suspect it might be guilt. For being comfortable, having more than others. Downplaying the status they’ve achieved (heck, it’s easy enough to get rid of money if you REALLY don’t want it!)

    At the other end of the spectrum, the motivation is probably clearer. Defensiveness, defeatism, despair. If you know you’re never going to have money, why even think about what it would be like? Why aspire to it? I don’t want it anyway. It wouldn’t make a difference. Reverse psyching yourself out, driven by envy. Proactively adapting your expectations or downgrading your desires to compensate.

    As someone in the middle – not broke, not rich – I struggle with both. Absolutely I experience envy of those with more. I also feel guilt about being better off than many (especially during pandemic times – the exacerbation of inequality is just terrifying).

    Nonetheless. Ultimately, neither serves me. Getting mired in either of those states just holds me back from my full potential.

    The truth is, the more I make the more good I can do and the more I can give back. The more I AM doing and giving back. Making bigger and bigger donations as time goes on feels freaking amazing. Hell, I can see why people might even aspire to become VCs.

  • 3 steps to getting what you want

    3 steps to get what you want

    (NB: I don’t subscribe to the ‘you can do anything!’ school of thought. There are the realities of the bodies we live in and the societies in which we exist, that we have to work around. But I do believe most of us, if we want to, can achieve way bigger goals than we think we are capable of.)

    Hustle culture would have you believe that you just need to grind to reach your biggest goals. NOPE. It starts with cultivating unshakeable belief in yourself. if you don’t believe in you, nobody else will either. Those vibes are contagious, like it or not.

    You gotta get your head right. That is where it all begins. When you are laser focused on a goal and your motivation is rock solid, things have a way of unfolding from there. Especially when it comes to financial goals. Money needs a purpose.

    1. Decide what the hell you want to do

    Clarify what it is you want and are going to work towards. The thing that’s burning you up. You’re about to start writing a brand new story for yourself.

    No, not a SMART goal.

    You don’t need to know the HOW yet.

    You just need to know the outcome you’re after, so you can imagine it in as much sharp and colourful detail as possible.

    You need to see it in your mind. You’ve got to be able to envision it before you have it.

    And then, go out and find evidence that it’s possible. You can’t be what you can’t see. All those people you’re secretly jealous of? Who have what you want and you feel wicked envy for? That’s evidence to bank right now and use as aspirational fuel.

    Lastly: write it down. I know – so corny. Just do it. There’s power in naming things and power in the written word. (I’m always amazed at what happens when I sit down and let things out on paper/screen.)

    Then keep doing it – reaffirming it every chance you get. I write out my main goal every day in my gratitude/journaling app and now I feel a sense of calm descend upon me every time I do. I also try to write out my secondary goals most days.

    I surround myself with reminders of my goal. I use my passwords. I have a vision board. These things help keep my goal front and centre, keep my mind focused and bring my attention back to it throughout the day. And I try to actively concentrate on thinking about it whenever I become aware of my thoughts throughout the day – I switch into a thought that’s going to help me get where I want to go. (Tip: keep it tight and focused on the positive, desired outcome. i.e what you want, not what you don’t want.) What we focus on magnifies since our brains work much like the FB algorithm – feed it accordingly.

    2. Feel and embody it right now

    This is about conviction. Committing to being the type of person who does that thing. If you achieved the result you want – who would you be? What would your next-level self be like? What would they think, say, do?

    When in doubt, tap into your bad bitch alter ego for guidance.

    You can’t be what you can’t feel. So, do what you can to get into the vibe of that feeling and anchor it in now. In a responsible way, naturally.

    Maybe you can’t take a yearlong sabbatical. But you can probably book a babysitter and take the night off. Or arrange a weekend away. A stretch of time devoted entirely to YOU goes a long way when you’ve been ignoring your needs for so long.

    For me, and my financial goals, this has been two-fold. Giving more generously, like my richer self would. And indulging myself more, which is not something that comes naturally to me.

    Every day, I also consciously work on this at a micro level – simply choosing to feel good whenever I can. Putting on my favourite songs. Actively appreciating the things around me.

    When I was in a real slump, I kept returning to a particular memory in my mind – lounging on the couch at my friend’s new house in the sun, snuggling with another friend, as we all relaxed and caught up with each other. At the time, I felt so warm and deliciously drunk with simple pleasure… I knew I had to file it away for reference. And sure enough, I came back to it multiple times a day, many, many times after that. Letting the pure joy I felt in that moment sink in and transport me away from difficult moments in the present, and giving myself a reset.

    Sometimes, there’s deep stuff that needs healing along the way. (Coming soon – thoughts on the mind-body connection!) Welcome all feelings and emotions, because stifling them doesn’t work in the long run. Only acceptance, and eventually healing release, does.

    Feeling good when the world feels like it’s falling apart could look like making a donation to a cause or signing a petition. Follow your gut and heart.

    Not convinced about the power of feeling it? Consider this. If you’ve ever been through a traumatic experience, you know what it’s like to get triggered. The body keeps score. It remembers and it relives it. Those same feelings arise and you react accordingly.

    Imagine that same power of feeling, applied with a positive lens. It’s stronger than you can imagine.

    3. Stick with your strategy

    All that prework you’ve put in during steps 1 and 2? Channel the hell out of it in this phase.

    This is the execution phase. You can’t have if you don’t do. Commit to seeing this story out.

    For me, that has ranged from researching the things I want (how much they cost, where to get them, etc – to get the ball rolling and make more of a commitment to myself) to setting up a practice simulated stock portfolio to actively doing potentially money-generating activities.

    Keep taking the next best step. Let go of exactly how and when the outcomes happen. Focus on the process. Track and celebrate the actions you take – the part in your control – not necessarily the results.

    Celebrate all along the way, even the stumbles. Every action you take is getting you closer. You are never failing, always learning. And track all those wins! They go into your bank of evidence and will help keep you flying high when you start to falter.

    Stay in the story. You’ve got to do a bit of a weird pivot here. Basically, it’s time to reverse psych yourself – and the universe.

    Maintain your focus, but at the same time, figure out how to detach. How not to be invested in the outcome. I know, it’s hard to be committed yet not attached – literally everyone struggles to keep faith and trust it’s working even when they can’t see anything happening yet. Just don’t make that mean anything. We’re always telling ourselves stories. But we never know what’s just around the corner. What if you gave up one step away from the metaphorical top of the mountain because it was shrouded in cloud?

    When doubts kick in, interrogate those beliefs. Is that really true? How do I know that? What evidence is there to prove it? What if the opposite was true? When resistance rears its head, dig deep to get to the bottom of what’s driving it. What’s the core belief underneath the block – what does it say about YOU? Get to that wound to tackle, heal,shift the root belief about yourself.

    Trust the process. Have faith that it’s working. That things are on their way; you just can’t see around the bend yet. You have to keep going around the corner to open up your frame of view. Even a few degrees makes a big difference in perspective and to the size of your horizon.

    They say that a watched pot never boils. Without fail, things have ALWAYS happened for me when I least expected them (often, when I’d given up entirely on them). And not always in the way I expected, either.

    So forget about timelines. Throw them out. Remember that we tend to overestimate what we can do in the short term and underestimate what we’re capable of over the long run.

    Why this works

    You can probably see that this all leads up to action, laying the groundwork for it. I think that manifesting brings opportunities your way. It’s then up to you to recognise and jump on them. Spot and seize them.

    You can probably also see that in the process we’re essentially … evolving. Becoming a different version of ourselves. Stepping into a new mould. Updating our identity and how we see ourselves. When you see yourself as someone who has/does/is X, it’s way easier to take action in accordance. And all this applies in the same way,

    First you start to see yourself differently. Maybe you need to borrow that belief from others. Harness the great external validation you’ve racked up over the years. Hold on to that (and let the rest go). I never saw myself as capable, incredible, a leader, until others told me so. They saw it first. Only then could I get on board with the idea.

    Then you start to feel different. To be that person now. To think in that vein.

    Then you start to do things differently – act in accordance with how you perceive yourself and how you feel.

    You can show up feeling like a rockstar or with trepidation, tiptoeing and second-guessing yourself. People will react accordingly. It changes how it all feels.

    How many times have you started off a day on the wrong foot? Everything bad that could possibly happen, happens. The shit keeps piling up. Cue the spiral. A self fulfilling prophecy.

    And have you ever had the opposite experience? Started off on a high and had that winning streak continue, everything coming up gold?

    What if you tried flipping it round, beginning from the perspective that it’s all working out, visualising it? (What is there to lose?)

    Here are a few examples of the difference that doing the groundwork makes. 

    I had a huge mental block around $60k. I really wanted to crack this figure when I left journalism. But when it came to writing down my desired salary on the application, I chickened out. I couldn’t put it down in black and white. The block was so strong. I just didn’t believe my skills were worth that much. I psyched myself out and wrote down $58k instead. I cut myself off at the knees! (This has a happy ending. They actually offered me $65k which I obviously jumped at and would never have dared to dream of asking for.)

    My next mental block was around $80k. Again, a figure I really wanted to crack. This time I’d done the work. Talked to people who were earning this much in comparable roles. Perused salary surveys, staring at the numbers on screen, burning them into my brain. Searched in this pay bracket on online job boards specifically. I had the proof it was possible, and possible for me. And when I was offered a role at $78k, I was able to ask them to round up to $80k without missing a beat. It was a small ask, and an easy yes.

    After that, $100k was the next stumbling block. A figure I never thought would be possible in my entire life. I remember telling my high school girlfriends I’d never make six figures. It just wasn’t realistic in my old industry. (They were all shocked – but they are all in high paying fields, mostly healthcare/medical – and I think their impression of media was TV anchors, the 1%.) Again, I did all the work that I’d done to shore myself up to get to $80k. It mostly worked. In an interview, I said I was looking for $100k without hesitating – though I didn’t get the gig. But when I got the call offering me another role I’d been interviewing for, I choked. I hadn’t been expecting it. I answered the phone, frazzled from wrangling my infant at home. It was great news but I was not in a mental place to negotiate! I rambled for far too long and asked for $98k.

    When caught off guard – it’s so easy to slip back into old patterns. This is an ongoing practice. We’re never done.

    TL;DR

    None of us have complete control. In fact I’d argue that logically most things in life are beyond our control. But we do all have SOME degree of autonomy (the degree varies, of course) and especially when it comes to what we think and do.

    It’s true: thoughts become things. Everything that ever was began with a thought. We do a thing first in our mind before repeating it for real out in the physical world.

    Embody a deliberate, focused mindset and pair it with deliberate, focused actions. Amazing things can happen from there. Start with  mindset and the actions naturally flow. You don’t have to try so hard. New ideas bloom. Next steps unfold. New opportunities reveal themselves.

    That’s been my experience – first accidentally, then deliberately.

  • Money porcupines: How to spot (and stop) financial self-sabotage

    how to stop money self sabotage

     

    Let’s talk about the sneaky, invisible saboteurs holding us back financially. Or, as I like to call them, money porcupines.

    They’re a defence mechanism. They mean well! They are there for our protection. To keep us safe. To keep us doing things the way we know best, to avoid pain that we learned a long time ago was best avoided. To avoid taking risks that might not pay off. To keep us in familiar patterns, in line with who we perceive ourselves to be and who others have dubbed us. They anchor us in what’s familiar, comfortable, safe.

    And… they may not be serving us any more. Money porcupines are prickly little beasts actually repelling riches from our life – self-sabotage. These deeply held beliefs are pushing away money before it even enters our orbit.

    These little devils play havoc under the surface. You’ve seen Inside Out, yeah? These gremlins are pulling the levers and stomping all over your intentions.

    Let me give you some examples from my own life…

    I can’t make money doing what I love. Why hello starving artist mentality! I thought I would have to compromise my creativity. Turns out I just had to think about it differently and channel it in new ways.

    People won’t pay me that much. Oh, yes they will. It took me years to work up the ladder but you know what? It wasn’t so much them. It was mostly me. I needed to build my own confidence so I could raise my rates. I have no doubt I could have commanded much more a long time ago if I truly believed I was worthy of charging more. The more I earned in my day jobs, the more I learned about what other people are actually making, and the more I saw from online entrepreneurs, the more proof I gathered … that’s what made the difference for me. Now I have the evidence – not just from others’ success, but from my own.

    If asked for money, I have to give if I can. A wicked twist on, can you really afford that? If I literally have the dollars in my account, shouldn’t I honour that request?

    You can see pretty easily how these money porcupines might show up in my life, shape my actions, and hurt the bottom line.

    They tend to lie dormant for years…

    When starting out and you don’t have two cents to rub together, struggling to make ends meet … who has time for this stuff? I didn’t have the time or energy to go any deeper. Day to day struggle consumed all I had – and more.

    Then things start to get a bit easier. You can breathe more freely and loosen up.

    You probably hit some roadblocks, get through the growing pains, and keep going. You learn that you can get through hard shit and bounce back strong.

    Then you get to the point where you’re living within your means, saving and investing … but somehow you feel stuck.

    Tripping up over old money wounds rooted in the past. Getting wound up in anxiety and fear about the future. Leaking money here and there through weak (or nonexistent) boundaries. Doubting your worth and worrying about losing what you’ve built. Feeling guilt about having what you have, yet still wanting more.

    That’s where I was a few years ago. And then shit really hit the fan. It was a make or break moment. The biggest financial/personal crisis I’ve ever faced. And I wallowed and wavered for far too long. Seriously.

    But eventually I 100% committed to finding a solution. One day, I just knew that’s what I was going to do. How? Meh. I simply felt the shift inside me that came with the certainty of what I would achieve.

    I started looking around. Waking up. Facing the whole world within me that has been driving the show from under the surface. It was finally time to unlock it, face it, and integrate it. If I wanted to change things, break cycles, and make more money than I ever had before, I had to get this foundation right.

    I now know I can use my skills to earn a good living. I’ve banked the evidence.

    I now know I can handle rejection and ghosting, and that not every opportunity is for me.

    I now know that other people’s money problems are not mine to solve, and I need to put myself first – always. It serves no one if I give grudgingly.

    I faced my bullshit, ploughed through, and I still keep clearing the path as more keeps blowing back and building up.

    Breaking self-sabotaging money patterns and beliefs

    Isn’t it funny how we always tend to doubt our instincts? Come up with an idea or solution and then, the next thing that crops up in the mind goes something like: will that work? Is that really true/possible?

    And yet when the opposite happens – when fears or doubts arise – we don’t question them. We just take them as gospel. Shy away, shrink back, avoid looking too closely at them.

    What if gave them equal treatment? What if we were just as sceptical of our doubts as we were of our instincts?

    Cross examine the belief. That’s really all it takes.

    If we were to simply apply the same philosophy, play devil’s advocate, often we find they don’t stand up to scrutiny.

    I don’t deserve this. Why not? Is that really true? Or is this belief a hangover from old hurts that it’s now time to cut loose?

    Get curious about those prickly porcupines. Notice them. Sit with them. Interrogate them. Disarm and dismantle them.

    With a new perspective, you can then try on and eventually adopt a different belief. It might simply be the exact opposite of the belief you just took apart. Or maybe it’s something in the middle. If the opposite feels like too much of a leap, try:

    “I’m learning to…”
    “I’m becoming…”
    “I’m on my way to…”

    And keep sticking with it. It takes time to embed a new belief. Habits aren’t built overnight: they’re anchored in with practice.

    Money porcupines don’t just go away. You don’t get fit and healthy once, then coast for the rest of your life. Your mental hurdles don’t, either! If anything they are even more pervasive and stubborn. Acknowledging and then rising above them is a lifelong practice.

    The good news is, every time we do the work to send them back to where they came from, we strengthen that muscle. The next time, it gets a little easier to say “not today” and carry on to channel your most abundant self. Once you recalibrate, and question the validity of each money porcupine, you can ask the real question: What would the wealthiest, most self-assured version of you do? Let the answers come to you, and let them guide your next move.

    (NB: Our thoughts and beliefs are powerful. So are wider forces and circumstances beyond our control, too numerous to count. This post is solely about the former – the part we have influence over.)

    Got a love/hate relationship with money?

    Get ready to ditch your financial baggage and make peace with money at last. Join us in Money Groove, write yourself a whole new financial blueprint, and start making bigger moves. 

  • Just another take on lockdown parenting

    We’ve been lucky to spend more of the pandemic living relatively normal lives than not.

    I’ve never been so glad to live in little old NZ than I have been the past 18 months.

    Complaining about being in lockdown right now feels indulgent, so I’ll try to keep the whinging to a minimum.

    As a working parent of a high maintenance toddler, this is the hardest thing I’ve been through yet. The slog gets harder every day.

    Spud’s birthday earlier this month was a bright spot, but obviously any Covid birthday is somewhat bittersweet. Last year we had just come out of lockdown and it was touch and go as to whether that would happen at all, so we kept it low key and didn’t plan a party. And for his first birthday … shit was going down and life was a mess. We didn’t do much at all to celebrate.

    One good thing this lockdown has been the chance to detox Spud with a cleaner diet and learn a little more about gut healing (talk to me about this, if this is in your wheelhouse!) as his intolerances had been flaring pretty bad just before lockdown. Sometimes I wish we could go back to the brief period when he was only on Neocate before starting solids – that was a golden time.

    Being around him 24/7 and watching him grow is something I try not to take for granted. I get to do this – rather than I have to do this.

    He’s been through a couple of developmental leaps just in the past few weeks, and it’s a gift and privilege to witness these spurts.

    But largely, I relish the moments just after he finally falls asleep at night. #justsayin

    I can’t help but imagine being in lockdown on my own, wondering what that would be like. (I have never lived alone though I would have liked to.) I’m not under the illusion that it would be easy or perfect; in my first year out of my childhood home, I remember one stark moment of feeling such intense, stabbing, and overwhelming loneliness that I almost couldn’t bear it. I don’t think my flatmate was home at the time. I called one of my best friends, desperate for human contact. I’ve never felt so panicked about my place in the world as I did then, and wouldn’t care to repeat it.

    But I’m not a fan of what-ifs, and despite the state of things, I truly believe (more than ever) that I’m right where I am meant to be for now.

  • What are you feeding your mind? Hacking your brain like it’s the Facebook algorithm

    hack your brain like the fb algorithm

     

    Humans. We’re complex and unpredictable. Yet deep down we all just want a few basic things – to feel seen, heard, understood. Our minds are so incredibly powerful and yet, the base operating system is … well, pretty basic.

    It’s at once humbling and amusing to realise this.

    Your brain basically has a nifty little Facebook-like algorithm powering it

    You can shape, feed, train it to support your goals. I mentioned the reticular activating system in my last post – this is what is always working to show you what you want to focus on, bringing you the best stuff, surfacing new opportunities that you can capitalise on. Helping you get where you want to go.

    If FB can serve you ads for all the things you want to buy and all the content you want to read, your brain can absolutely steer you likewise, bringing your attention to opportunities you want. Maybe that’s finding a new job. Turning your eye toward ways to make more money. Finding the perfect house or partner.

    The flipside of that, of course, is it can reinforce negative patterns. I’ve had to consciously work to let go of a number of deeply ingrained beliefs and replace them with more useful ones.

    I can’t make good money doing what I love >>> I get paid well and have fun doing it

    Oh hey, ex journalist over here with a starving artist mindset and pegged to poverty-level income from the beginning!

    This was a gradual process over years, but the data points added up and eventually, this shift happened for me too. As I truly came to see and believe what was possible, I made damn sure I pursued the money and steeled myself to ask for it.

    • My friend from uni who landed a $60k starting salary (obviously not in journalism…)
    • My colleague who went to a PR agency, constantly got told what a great job she was doing, and given a pay rise every 6 months.
    • My colleague who went on to do social media at a financial institution for $80k
    • Hearing about PR reps and media/comms managers on $130k

    I devoured salary surveys, staring at the numbers until they imprinted in my brain. I did the same with the salary bands on the intranet, burning those figures into my brain. If those people could make that much money, so could I. Why not?

    I shouldn’t spend money on myself >>> I get to have nice things if I want them

    My immigrant parents definitely modeled intense frugality. Honestly, I still have a mental anchor around $20 being what we spent on shoes and gifts. I bought a $25 swimsuit once and lied to them about what it cost. Shopping sprees – buying more than one non-essential item at a time? Get outta here! And on top of that, I had a block around having nice things, knowing they can be taken away (like when my mum gave away my Westlife CD to a friend’s kid, or the multiple times I’ve been burgled, or other people taking/using things of mine).

    I work hard and I deserve nice things. I know this gets some people into trouble, but I am more of the underbuying, self-denying variety 🙂 Little luxuries, like hand cream or nice cheese, elevate daily life SO much. You can’t be what you can’t feel, and pleasures that help me feel like a million bucks actually support my success.

    I’m not an ideas person >>> I know my stuff and I own it

    A particularly formative experience for me involved receiving unexpected, harsh criticism from a parent. That probably fueled my reluctance to put myself out there and to do anything to avoid the discomfort of going through similar pain. But of course, I wound up dating someone who told me, albeit jokingly, “I’m surprised you came up with that by yourself…”

    Until recently, the word “idea” was literally a huge trigger for me. I’d panic if asked for ideas. I’d panic ahead of “brainstorming sessions”.  Spontaneous ideation was not a thing for me, so I worked really hard to overcompensate and overprepare.

    Being asked to prepare presentations on my area of expertise at work was a daunting challenge every time. But each time, I was able to synthesise industry trends and formulate great decks based on my own knowledge, and surprise myself.

    Now, I embrace my subconscious and know that great stuff flows out from there when I relax and let it. I try not to overthink things too much before speaking up. I trust my value and power, because over time people have validated my contributions over and over. The data points added up. I now finally believe them.

    I’m a bad communicator >>> I am an articulate and thoughtful communicator

    My parents were terrible communicators. Not that they realised it. They told me I was, projecting their issues onto me. Everything was my fault. And of course, we gravitate to what we know, and I’ve experienced the same pattern play out with others since then.

    I communicate fantastically through writing. I’m much better at verbal communication than I used to be. I am often complimented on how articulate and thoughtful I am, and recently a colleague literally told me she learns a lot from I work and communicate. My communication style continues to evolve for the better as I heal, become more emotionally mature, and learn more about psychology and human nature.

    Clear your cache, upgrade your brain’s OS

    Where the hell did all that stuff come from, anyway?

    As you can see, it’s mostly shit we’ve taken on from external sources and formative childhood experiences. That noise is like retargeting – stalking you, haunting you, following you around. Whispering (or shouting!) at every chance it gets. 

    When you become aware of it and start to really observe what’s happening, you will realise that your brain is probably telling you mostly unkind thoughts. You’re stuck with it, even though it’s not that helpful. We’re stunted, frozen in time emotionally, playing in adult bodies.

    What if you flipped that around and nurtured your mind with encouraging thoughts instead? What could you do? What could you have? What could you be?

    Clear your cache. Each belief you shake up is like clearing your browser cache, emptying out all the accumulated weight. 

    Upgrade your operating system. Eventually, you’ll notice a dramatic difference. Rewire enough beliefs and it’s like running an entirely new OS. If you’re about my age, you’re probably still running something like Windows XP when now Windows 10 is available. We’re up to a WAY newer version and just haven’t updated.

    There’s a whole new world waiting on the other side. You may not look any different, but you will feel like an entirely new person.