Welcome to the third blog post I’ve ever written.
My first, published in March 2018, was a comprehensive introduction to me and my work. I wrote it because my web developer made me do it to populate my shiny new website.
My second, published in December 2019, declared my intention to write more blogs. Given that it’s now May 2023, I don’t need to tell you how that worked out for me.
This third blog post is here to practice my writing and to share more of myself online. A way to live my purpose whilst I’m in the early years of motherhood and the muck of a five-year personal growth journey. More on that later.
Not many people know this about me, but I wanted to be a writer as a young girl. I was even published once by one of those pre-teen magazines, Disney Adventures. I wrote a spooky story about seances.
I don’t recall why I never pursued it. However, a fortunate series of events led me to become Australia’s First Professional Instagrammer in 2013, and I’ve written extensively since then. Mainly through captions, Instagram Stories and interviews.
The first piece of national media to title me ‘Australia’s First Professional Instagrammer. 2014.
Speaking of Instagram Stories, they’ve become my favourite way of sharing on Instagram over the years. Not only do they give me great engagement, a crucial consideration for a working influencer, but they give me an incredible amount of joy to put together. I get to share long-form content that stays with people longer than it takes them to consume it. I can explore any topic in great detail, and I admit that my stories these days often get to 50 slides! Most of them are highlighted on my Instagram profile if you’ve got some time up your sleeve.
Plenty of stories in my Instagram profile.
But lately, I’ve been drawn to share more. To produce content with heart and longevity. To create a body of work that feels more solid than a handful of curated slides on Instagram.
I have a lot to give. And although I don’t feel particularly motivated to be in business right now, I still want to share the lessons I’ve learned about business, mindset and life over my incredible career. I know that my stories and experiences will help others.
This blog post, my third, is mainly a context piece. It is a post to get you up to speed on my life now and how I intend to show up in this space. I’ll be writing about any topic that takes my fancy with mindset, transformation, spirituality (not to be confused with religion) and trauma, particular topics of interest.
I promise to be completely honest and vulnerable with my shares and to always share in the hope that there’s a lesson in my words for you. A takeaway that will sit with you and have you explore your world and mind.
“You all have a voice inside your head, and if it’s saying right now, no, I don’t, then that’s the voice I’m talking about.” These words, spoken by Australian coach Kerwin Rae at his flagship event NISI in November 2018, kick-started my own journey of self-discovery. For a long time, I idolised Kerwin for that event and its impact on so many people. I wanted to be up on stage changing lives like that, and I was with my own events for a while. But then my level of understanding deepened, and I realised that I needed to live and breathe the work to impact others that way. I needed to be completely authentic and in integrity with myself, congruent! Mostly though, I needed to strip back every element of my identity to remember who I was and share from that place, not from ego, not for money, not for success, but from my heart.
NISI, November 2018.
Kerwin is doing important work. So are many others in the arena: Brené Brown, Nicole La Pera (The Holistic Psychologist), Tony Robbins, Joe Dispenza, Gabor Maté and thousands more. But I have discovered that it’s not who you learn from. This work has been around for millennia, and all of the greats stand on the backs of giants. They all had mentors and predecessors. No, it’s not who you learn from. It’s all about timing. Had I stumbled across Kerwin’s event one year prior, it would have gone entirely over my head. Had I attended one year later, I would have been well familiar with his topics. As it was, I happened to be exactly where I needed to be, when I needed to be, to get the biggest shake-up of my life. And he was the one on the stage delivering it to me, showing up to share his life’s work in the hopes of helping others—the very thing I want to do and why I’m recommitting to blogging. I never know when my words will hit someone at just the right moment in their lives, as Kerwin’s words hit me.
Before attending this event, I was doing well. I had a lot of ambition and was becoming clear about my life’s purpose. I had close to half a million Instagram followers, clients lining up to pay me to travel and dozens of media appearances and interviews under my belt.
Working for Tourism South Australia, 2018.
I also worked 24/7, had a floundering relationship, zero boundaries, and was permanently in a low-key ‘fight or flight’ state. My nervous system was fried, and I was suffering from a fair amount of anxiety and spells of minor depression. Nothing I did was enough for me. No amount of money or achievement made me feel any differently. I was striving and striving and striving with no end in sight. I was a nervous breakdown waiting to happen.
Success wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
Tony Robbins says, “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. I was in pain, and my life was not sustainable. I loved my work, but few people can work with that amount of dedication and intensity for that long. I had been running on empty for almost as long as I had been in business.
I’ve since learned a lot about how our brain works. Our brain and that little voice we hear inside our head – our ego – protect us. But our brain has barely evolved since the caveman days, and our ego is built of stories and beliefs passed down from others. An outdated piece of hardware with incorrectly coded software runs the show. And it will stop at nothing to keep us where we are. (Because where we are = known = safe = survival).
Because of this, change is hard. That is the understatement of the century. We all know that real change, transformation, is hard. Otherwise, we wouldn’t go through life feeling stuck, unfulfilled and frustrated with our progress.
We all have different tolerance for change based on our unique nature and the environment we grew up in. And all of us encounter fear when we step too far outside our comfort zone. So although I was already working pretty far outside of my comfort zone when I attended Kerwin’s event, having previously been a low-income earning chef, I didn’t know how to go through life with more presence, gratitude and intention or how to update beliefs that were holding me back from my ultimate potential.
I left that event with a hunger to do things differently. I instigated many changes in my life and business, from small daily habits to significant direction-altering decisions. I started to do a handstand against the wall every morning. I began a meditation practice. I spent all my business’s money on personal development and marketing. I slowed down and started to live with more intention. I was in the grips of what I refer to as my first taste of personal development. I understood it all so clearly. How my ego held me back, and where my dark thoughts had originated.
It felt like I had glimpsed behind the veil and could now see my life in 3D technicolour. I’ve taken to calling that level 1 of my personal development journey – exposure. And the exposure led me down the rabbit hole of awareness – level 2. For a long time afterwards, I was on a journey of self-discovery. Anytime something upset me, I would sit down with my journal and explore the upset. When else in my life had I felt that way? Where did it come from? What was the trigger? I occasionally listened to the voice in my head and took on the role of the watcher, the presence behind the voice.
I stayed in the awareness stage for a long time. I had the occasional big upset and a hell of a lot of breakthroughs. Many pieces of the puzzle that was my life slotted into place. I realised why I was so triggered when people patronised me, and I’ll tell the story of my early drowning one day to tie that together. I let down my guard with my partner, and we untangled the trauma bond of our relationship and started to get to know each other afresh. I grieved past friendships and put them to rest, initiating closure and a chance for candid conversation. And I took the ultimate plunge by falling pregnant with my first baby, something I never thought I wanted. I did a lot of work over that time.
Pregnant with my first child, 2019.
And then, in 2022, something broke in me. I realised that, despite how far I had come, I was not living a life that felt true to myself. That realisation landed when I fell pregnant with my second baby. P.S. My blog will not become a mummy blog, but I’m also unafraid to speak candidly about motherhood, how much it’s changed me, and the many lessons I learn from my children.
Falling pregnant the second time around forced me to look at the circumstances of my life and strip away anything that didn’t feel meaningful, purposeful and genuine. 2022 became a year of undoing. I undid my business. I lost friends and a lot of money. I simplified my life, subsequently creating space and energy for deeper introspection. And I allowed myself to grieve for the first time in my life. I howled at all of the pain I had experienced. I fucking felt it. I let it pass through me. I thought that the awareness stage of my journey hurt, but 2022 was a whole new beast. The anger. The sadness. The injustice. I raged at the world. I FELT it! And feeling it became my level 3. To close out that chapter, I experienced the most powerful moment of my life – the natural, unmedicated birth of my son at home in an unplanned home birth.
An unplanned home birth for William. November 2022.
Through my challenges in 2022, I realised how little my inner experience of life had changed over the years. I had changed a lot on the surface – career, finances, relationship, becoming a mother, becoming insta-famous. But my thoughts still kept me stuck. I wanted to know that I was worthy of love and a beautiful life no matter what I had or didn’t have. No matter how much money or success or what car I drove or where I lived. No matter if my kids were watching tv or we were eating hot chips for dinner. No matter what, I wanted to feel worthy of love and a beautiful life. And that became my work. To integrate everything I had learned about myself and my personal development and change my thoughts. To change my experience as a human with a soul living on this planet. Level 4 is change. Integration. Taking what you’ve been exposed to, what you’ve gained awareness over and what you’ve allowed yourself to feel, and then doing what it takes to change—the most challenging level of all.
I’m not there yet. I don’t think anyone ever gets there. I’ve been knocked down enough times to recognise that the work never ends. But where I am is at the point where I believe my stories can help others. To start or continue their own personal journey. To do the work to feel worthy and happy. I call this season level 5. To give back and be the change I want to see in the world. I don’t need things to be perfect. I don’t need to sell you some shiny coaching program to get started. I can write. And I want to write. I hope that you want to read it.
It’s funny. I first articulated my purpose in early 2019 when I wrote down that I wanted to inspire people to be better for the betterment of the planet. It sounds pretty ego-centric to me now. The wording. After all, what is “better”? Aren’t we all perfect beings at our heart? And also, who was I to talk? What made me better? But this year, I sat down with my journal and asked myself this question: if I still want to inspire people to be better for the betterment of the planet, what would I tell them? I poured over my journal for the next hour and mapped out a mindset course. It included everything I had ever learned about personal development (to that point), including my own breakthroughs and the tools I used throughout.
My mindset course outline.
But once I had it all on paper, I felt oddly reluctant to start working on it. There was resistance. I would meet people and think this work needs to be out there. It can help people. Then I would continue to ignore it. Is perfectionism holding me back, or time stories? I don’t think so. The thing is, I’m a mum of two little ones. My baby is just six months old. I’m not ready to birth that course just yet. Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and feel differently. But right now, I’m in the season of honouring myself. Of being in complete alignment with my heart and my gut. I’m not ready. And that’s okay. Writing this blog, sharing my stories via email and being more consistent with my Instagram will all enable me to move forward at a pace that feels right to me and lets me continue working on myself. It’s enough. I’m enough.
Makia, William and I. 2023.
Thank you for reading this far. I recognise that we live in a society that prizes productivity and busyness above all else. I strive to be less productive and less busy. The art of reading and sitting with ourselves is being lost, and you are one of the rare people going against the trend. You could have watched 1,500 Tik Toks in the time it took you to read this, and I’m grateful you chose me. I can’t wait to start diving into more stories next time.