I stumbled across Gala Darling’s love-filled corner of the web way back in the early days of her blog, and from those first few clicks, I was enchanted. I’d discovered a pink-haired beacon of positivity – vibrant, bold, delightfully unapologetic – and as a newbie to blogs, I credit her with opening me up to a whole ‘nother world of wonder.
An afternoon spent trawling through Gala’s site was akin to falling down a rabbit hole. Her equal love of the smart, the inspired and the whimsical was addictive way back then, and the signature get-out-there-and-go-big-dammit! vibe of her work continues to empower thousands of women around the globe today.
I think what I love most about Gala though, is her unwavering commitment to celebration. She marvels over the ‘small stuff’ (in fact, that’s the premise of her mega-popular Things I Love Thursday column) – the magic in a swirl of cupcake icing, a funny phrase, the thrill of new experience. It’s a reminder to look at life, and most importantly, ourselves, through an appreciative, deeply loving lens. Which is, of course, what her Radical Self-Love message is all about.
Watching Gala’s evolution – along with her hair colour changes from pink to blue to pink to platinum to black – over the years has been a joy, and it seems like a sweet exclamation mark in my own journey, that tonight, I have the pleasure of speaking on stage about Radical Self-Love with this beauty.
Welcome, Gala Darling.
Let’s kick off with a biggie. Why do you do what you do?
I do it because I can’t stop myself. My career is what happens when an excitable, enthusiastic writer collides with the internet. God, just thinking about it sometimes gives me chills up my spine: there is no way I could have done this ten years ago.
This is such a unique time, when possibilities are chasm-like and available in multitudes. I know how blessed I am to be here, now, doing this.
You’ve been blogging at GalaDarling.com for six years now. What are three of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt since the early days?
They’re big-but-simple things (as some of the most important ideas tend to be). Always be true to yourself and pursue your own vision relentlessly; don’t take yourself too seriously; and the only thing holding you back is your own mind.
What’s been key for you in building your tribe?
It’s all about being real, I think. My babes are my babes because they know I don’t pull any punches. That’s one of my favourite things abut the internet: the true ease of finding likeminded people. I see this even vividly when I teach at The Blogcademy - every woman in the room really relates to me and my co-founders, and us to them!
I know that there’s rarely a ‘typical’ day in the life of a blogger/ entrepreneur/ lady of the interwebs, but can you talk a bit about how you approach your work? What does a week in your life usually entail?
A week can be all over the place… Let’s talk about a day, instead! I wake up early and meditate before walking my dog. Then I crack straight into writing and go until around midday. After a lunch break, I do whatever either needs to be done or feels best. That can vary from meetings to dates with my husband or friends, errands to shopping, going for a walk etc. I work out at the end of the day — it forces me to stop working and it also keeps me happy! — and then my husband and I do whatever we feel like!
Describe your creative process. How do you write?
I just get into it! When I’m at home, I love to light candles and incense and put on great music. But the truth is that I travel so much that I write anywhere and everywhere, whenever I can snatch a snippet of time. For example, I am writing this on an airplane, with my headphones on. The map tells me we are somewhere over Arkansas. How do I write? I just do. And I love it so much. I actually get excited about being on a plane, because it gives me a me a massive stretch of time in which to get some uninterrupted writing done.
Routines and rituals for the soul: can you tell us about the little – or big – things that keep you feeling grounded, joyful, connected, inspired?
Meditation. Gratitude. EFT. Eating clean, good food and drinking plenty of water. Going to bed early and getting a solid 8 hours. Laughing as much as possible. And setting my life up so that I have the freedom to live whatever life I feel like living that day.
I adore what you, Kat and Shauna are doing with The Blogcademy. Absolutely brilliant. Let’s pull back the curtain – how did the workshops come to form?
Whenever the three of us get together, we inevitably talk shop, i.e., blogging. All three of us have been to so many conferences and classes on blogging, but it’s a bloody rare occasion that any of us actually walk away from them feeling enlightened or any better off. So instead of complaining about that fact, we decided to do something about it!
We announced our first class in NYC and it sold out within a week. Our second class in London sold out in less than 24 hours. Since then, it has been an almost non-stop adventure. I’m on my way back from teaching in Texas, and next week we head out to Europe where we’re doing two classes in London back-to-back. (But not before celebrating my 30th birthday in the Greek Islands!* Woohoo!) * Check out some gorgeous pics here.
Launching a new venture is often thrilling and terrifying in equal measure. Have any fears, obstacles or unexpected surprises showed up along the way?
None of us really had any idea how much work it would be to put this whole endeavour together! That’s probably good, though… If we had known, we might have been a little more gun-shy! But we love it. A lot of running a live event is about dealing with things as they come up, so there have been some huge lessons learned in terms of going with the flow and trusting everything will work out! Even when we have disasters — like our LA venue cancelling on us a couple of weeks before the event — we’re always able to flip it and see a positive. In that example, we ended up using a space that was filled with turquoise mid-century furniture, and owned by the loveliest people. It was even better than our first venue!
Speaking of… The not-so-hot days. We all have them. How do you combat overwhelm and self-doubt?
It’s vital to have people on your team — whether friends, family or business partners – who you can speak freely with, and who encourage and support you no matter what. e are all wracked with self-doubt from time to time, but knowing you can speak to someone who understands and sees the best in you is such a blessing.
RAPID FIRE Q’s
I feel empowered, electric, alive, the most ME when… I am travelling, discovering new things, rolling with it, breaking routine.
I feel restricted when… Trying to repack a suitcase!
I’m inspired by… Everything! Life, love, music, stars, good black ink pens, brightly-coloured tattoos and the perfect motorcycle boot.
Radical Self-Love means… Knowing that it’s possible to believe what you want and do what you please.
My current mantra/ affirmation is… “She’ll be right!”
To wrap up, imagine you’re sitting in conversation with yourself in 10 years time. What are you doing? What does your life look – and feel – like?
It’s almost more fun not to make predictions. I have goals but I love to be spontaneous and fly by the seat of my pants, to a large degree. I am pretty sure that in ten years time I will have written many books, spoken to thousands of people, and be living a fabulous life that makes me smile until my face aches.
What a babe, huh?!
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