33 Lessons for 33 Years

_K6A9646 Low Res

These life, love and business lessons were originally shared over on Instagram as daily posts to coincide with my 33rd birthday, but I’ve had a bunch of requests to post them on the blog in one easy-to-bookmark post, so here we are. Enjoy!


[01] Betraying the very essence of who you are for the (supposed) benefit of others actually benefits… no one.

When you diminish your joy for fear of being judged or creating separatism… when you play down something that actually came naturally and effortlessly… or when you apologise for being too sensitive / too expressive / too whatever, you’re sending yourself a clear message.

Being who you are and owning how you feel is less important than presenting yourself in a way that is most ‘palatable.’

Let me challenge that by reminding you you’re here to live a fully-expressed life. While that’s going to be both thrilling and terrifying at times, graciously speaking your truth (as you uncover what that IS time and time again), is the path to true freedom. Deep fulfillment. Peace that starts right down in your bones.

Marianne Williamsom famously said ‘As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.’ #yes! and #amen! We all know what it’s like to be in the presence of someone who is ‘at home’ with themselves — someone who knows that they’ve been given the gift of this mind, this body, and this life for a reason. It’s comforting, liberating and exhilarating, all at once.

Do YOU like only you can.

[02] Breastfeeding is natural and beautiful, but let it be said, it is not necessarily ‘easy.’

When I was pregnant, the extent of my thoughts about breastfeeding were: ‘Have baby. Breastfeed baby.’

14 weeks later — after countless appointments with professionals including a lactation consultant, a doctor, a pediatrician, an osteo, and chiro, plus buying a breast pump (then resorting to hiring an expensive hospital-grade pump to express like a madwoman) and then, finally (!), two procedures to release Ryder’s tongue tie — we are just now coming to a place of flow with feeding.

The upside: this process has turned me into one #determinedmofo But on a serious note, the thought of women beating themselves up for thinking this process should be ‘perfect’ and that there’s something ‘wrong’ if it isn’t breaks my heart… so mamas, this lesson is just for you. If breastfeeding is more challenging than you expected, or in fact, simply not for you, know that it’s your body, your baby, your choice. You are supported.

[03] Throw a spanner in the works.

Just because it happened in the past, doesn’t mean it’ll happen in the future. EVERY experience grows us… when we allow it to. Transcend your story.

[04] Carve the time to ask yourself The Big Questions.

Creation or Evolution — how did we get here? Is there a God, or higher power? What about the Soul — do you believe there’s a journey beyond the experience you’re having in *this* body? What’s your stance, if you have one, on gay marriage? Feminism? Poverty? War? Life on other planets?

I was thinking recently about how beautifully curious children are and their natural instinct to ask WHY. Why do you believe that? Why did that happen? Why, why, why? These little people are constantly trying to make sense of the world; endlessly digging deeper to form opinions based on the little seeds of knowledge and wisdom they gather along the way.

In pondering all that (as you do!), I realised that when we, as adults, get so caught up in simply EXISTING day-to-day — whipping through our to-do lists, scrolling through Facebook, mindlessly racing from here to there — we can so easily crowd out the space required to contemplate the complex, vast, magical mystery tour that is our (capital L) Life. Which is such a shame.

Opinions evolve, shapeshift or DEEPEN as we feed our minds and open our hearts. Fire up a conversation, read a book that challenges your beliefs, journal it out… Get down and dirty with the Big Q’s today.

[05] There will never be a perfect time.

One of the best pieces of business advice I’ve ever received, and also the simplest.

At the end of 2012, in a head-spinning (stomach-churning) turn of events, my coaching business was launched after a single fortuitous decision — to send an email broadcast to my blog subscribers. And if we’re talking about ‘perfect timing’, it either was or it wasn’t, depending on how you look at it.

My husband and I had just spent all our savings on our wedding (like, ALL our savings.)

The completion date for the project he was working on was up in the air; the uncertainty around when things would end (for real) was keeping us in a perpetual state of limbo.

I had no business plan or promotional strategy mapped out, no finely crafted sales page.

Looking at the ‘facts’, logic would have most definitely said it wasn’t an IDEAL time to leave my corporate gig and blaze out on my own full-time. However: desire is a magnet. Once that decision to leap was declared, doors swung open, inspired ideas landed, the people showed up… and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

Experience has shown me time and time again that it always is when you make the choice to begin, in any way (big or small) that brings you closer to the dream.


[06] Flip your perspective.

If you’re feeling troubled, try this lens instead: it’s not happening *to* you, it’s happening *for* you.

What changes then?

[07] For the love of all that is good and holy, when you find The One… go ALL in.  

Nine years ago, Ramai and I got together with possibly the worst timing ever — not only was I in a self-declared phase of being Completely Over Men, but he was booked to fly out 7 weeks later to travel Europe for a month and move to the U.K indefinitely.

But the heart wants what the heart wants.

Those 7 weeks were all-consuming, punctuated with a tug-o-war of emotions (“This is going to end! Don’t get hurt! Pull back NOW!”) and far too quickly, that dreaded departure day rolled around. There were trembly embraces and teary goodbyes at the airport as we tried to reconcile that this might be it — a beautiful stretch in time in both our lives, but merely a chapter, not a story.

And then. My phone beeps. ‘I’m in Spain and I’ve finally been able to get a SIM card!’ My heart skipped several thousand beats. Like a romance of old (with a modern twist), this incredible man and I kept in frequent contact from then on in, learning as much as we could about each other through the written word. Emails upon emails, witty banter, sweet declarations, texts at all hours for the next 3 months (a blip, but an eternity). My best friends were living in London at the time as well, and eventually it was decided that I would throw flights on my dangerously-close-to-being-maxed-out credit card and come and visit..

AND THEN. “I’m coming home.” He says. Just like that. The ‘living in the U.K’ dream was over. And he still says to this day: ‘We just knew, didn’t we?’

Take a chance. Risk your heart.

[08] Call in (money) miracles.

I can’t remember when I first declared the following, but it’s certainly stuck with me; something I’ve circled back to when necessary over the past few years.

When it comes to losing money, either by accident or through bad or mis-timed decisions — and this is going to sound ludicrously simple, so you may just chuckle to yourself — I simply ask for it to find its way back to me. ‘Go on, Universe. SURPRISE ME.’ #abundancemindsetENGAGE

Top-of-mind examples?

Two weeks ago I absent-mindedly left $50 at a self-serve checkout at the supermarket. Two days ago, I withdrew $200 from an ATM and $250 popped out. (well THAT’S a first.)

In a similar vein, a few months ago I lost several thousand dollars on a project that was pulled… and days later opened my inbox to an email saying I was receiving double the amount that was lost in an unexpected payout.

These things aren’t foolproof — if only, right? — but when it comes to manifesting / summoning / clasping one’s hands in prayer / whatever resonates, my take is there’s no love lost in making the ask. Everything is energy, after all… And I’d rather dance through life with the rock-solid belief that I’m S U P P O R T E D.

[09] Celebrate your sisters, and celebrate them well.

Wanna know the single best way to feel inspired to honour, enjoy, support and build UP the women in your life? Start at home. Build from within first. Enter into a deeply respect-FULL, fiercely loving, wildly accepting relationship with YOURSELF. ‘Cause when you do, I promise you’ll feel a sense of peace around your own *perceived* shortcomings. You’ll relinquish the compulsion to compare. You’ll know you’re an equal, imbued with countless extraordinary gifts of your own. Self-assuredness will radiate from your cells… and importantly, you’ll know her accomplishment takes nothing from your own.

You may have discovered it’s easy to lavishly dole out love when you’re feeling LOVED BY LIFE — when you hit a high note and all feels right and flowy and abundant and your wounded bits aren’t so… tender — but consider this a gentle nudge to celebrate your sisters when you’re NOT riding high, as much as when you are.

Apart from the obvious truth that heartfelt words never go astray and may be called upon by this sister of yours in tough times to come, know that the act of celebration will elevate YOU too. Do it for her, from your heart, first and foremost. That goes without saying. But it would be remiss of me not to point out that illuminating her magnificence will serve to unlock the places it feels out of sight in your own life, also. Life is wondrous like that.

We have so much to learn from each other.

We have so much to offer each other.

We need each other.

We are (so, so much) better together.

Instead of turning your back, turn towards.

[10] You have permission to pause.

Here’s the thing: there are going to be days where you JUST DON’T WANNA. You’ll wake up exhausted. You’ll be struck by a shitty situation. Your heart won’t be in it. Your desire to do… well, anything… will slip hastily out the back door. Logic will tell you ‘it’s okay to stop!’ but then guilt may just swoop in unannounced. And because these things tend to spiral if left unchecked, you might start convincing yourself that because you JUST DON’T WANNA — you’re *actually* a lazy, incompetent, uncreative, not enough human being. (hello spiral.)

Let’s stop right here.

You’re not (lazy, incompetent, uncreative, not enough).

But you ARE a human being. Which, by virtue, means that your very human need to recharge, restore and replenish is going to show up from time to time.

So when you really JUST DON’T WANNA, pop on your ‘do nothing’ pants and shelve your responsibilities for a moment. You’ll be back in full force soon.


[11] Dig deep.

Yesterday’s lesson was a permission slip to pause when you ‘just don’t wanna,’ and I’m absolutely certain that when you tune in and listen hard, you’ll know when that’s required.

Today — the opposing thought. The times where underneath any initial resistance you’re feeling, you actually DO wanna. We’re not talking about ‘depleted and requiring rest’ (an entirely different kettle of fish.) We’re talking about digging your heels in and making it happen because the rewards will be so much greater than the minor, and momentary, pain of getting started.

Which happened for me just this morning.

After carrying a small human in my belly for the better half of the year, my current focus has been upping my fitness levels again. Like most of us, I feel significantly better — emotionally, mentally and physically — when I move my body every day, so last night I set an intention to hit the track early for a run and some light resistance training.

However, as is the unpredictability of #mumlife, last night was one of (very) broken sleep at our place, and I’ll admit that my intention was looking mighty shaky this morning.

This doubtful moment I experienced is not uncommon when it comes to our goals, whatever they may be.

We’re always choosing. We can actively step towards them, we can actively step away, or we can do nothing at all. I was on the edge of nothing at all this morning, but with the bigger desire still simmering underneath I turned on the light, pulled on my tights, crop top, socks, and shoes…. and things began to shift.

Because the choice was taken out of it — this was now HAPPENING — my energy rose to meet my intention.

Dig, dig, dig deep.

[12] ‘There’s a sunrise and a sunset every day, and you can choose to be there for it. Put yourself in the way of beauty.’

Ahh. ‘Put yourself in the way of beauty.’  Those words by Cheryl Strayed are alive to me. They remind me to celebrate the way the sun peeks out over the ocean, heralding a do over and a new day, ripe with promise. The leaves as they change colour to signal a shift in season. A child’s smile. A woman who knows her worth, and reminds you of yours.

When we look for it, we can find beauty e v e r y w h e r e. Keep putting yourself in the way of it.

[13] Stop looking for the snake.

We’re blessed to have an incredible rainforest-laced National Park not far from where we live, and at least 4 days out of 7 you’ll find me running or strolling the track that weaves around its core. I’ve been doing this for years.

And then there’s the snake.

Mostly, I start my runs mindlessly and forget he’s there, but inevitably, before I’m half way ‘round the loop I’ll hear a rustle in the scrub… or spy a Bearded Dragon basking in the sunlight… or see something out of the corner of my eye…

And I’ll be reminded of his presence. That damn snake, again. THE. SNAKE.

I imagine how we’ll eventually meet. He’ll slither out from beneath a dense patch of leaves, right across my feet (which, in fact, has happened to me before, but with a much smaller, friendlier snake; this snake is, of course, of the Big Papa Do Not Mess With Me variety.)

I’ve spent a decent amount of time thinking about this snake… and I’m sure you’ve just about cottoned on to the fact HE DOESN’T ACTUALLY EXIST. He’s a figment of my imagination. Nothing more than a habitual, default thought, based on an ‘idea’ I conjured up once upon a time that has {seriously} overstayed its welcome ‘upstairs.’

Ridiculous as this story may sound, what’s worth noting is every time I expend even an ounce of precious energy thinking about the existence of this critter (based on zero evidence), I’m yanked from the present moment. The thought may be fleeting OR my mind may wander for minutes at a time, but either way, there’s potential to miss the way the light leaks in through the fig trees. The sweet sound of the birds. The lull of the ocean that wraps the headland in a hug. Mama nature at her absolute finest.

Whatever the form, there comes a point where we have to take back the reins and say ENOUGH. I will no longer invest energy into this rogue thought that’s distracting me from the beauty of what’s in front of me, for real.

We have to stop funnelling energy into a ‘snake’ that does not even exist.

[14] Let discontent guide you forward.

Feeling bored? Agitated? Restless? Dissatisfied? Imbalances have a way of revealing where we most desire change. Laser in.

[15 – 20] Business: enjoy the ride.

[Five lessons in one]

// Solve problems, and know who you’re solving them for. Trade the goal of trying to convert the peeps who AREN’T your peeps (aka, trying to be for everyone) for really getting to know the ones who are. Treat them like absolute gold.

// How often are you implementing? There’s magic in planning, strategising, mapping out, and dreaming the dream. Start there. But know that when it comes to growing your thing — and living the dream — there’s honestly no substitute for clipping that seatbelt in and taking a c t i o n.

// Commit to the process of busting outmoded beliefs around success and abundance. And it is a process. You’ll be called to push beyond your limits again… and again. Do it with love and (self) compassion, always.

// Make peace with failure. In fact, reframe the concept of failure altogether. Tim Ferriss says, ‘There are no failed experiments — there’s only feedback.’ #amentothat Failure is progress. Try this: define your worst-case scenario, in detail. Then ask, “What if that actually happened? And then what? And then what?”

// Mental shift: swap ‘uncertainty’ for ‘possibility.’ Ahh. Better.

_K6A9518 Low Res

[21] Fear will quite happily run the show. 

We’re afraid of rejection and afraid of judgement. We avoid traversing our emotional landscape FOR FEAR OF WHAT WE MIGHT FIND. We worry that we’re not talented enough, not ready enough, not worthy or deserving enough. We obsess over how we’ll be perceived, what’ll happen if we fall down, what life might look like on the other side.

The thing is though, much of what Fear whispers in our ear is an illusion, and to buy into that illusion is to sacrifice the fullness of life — unbridled freedom, the joy of discovery, the delight of unguarded love, and the high of leaping with your heart in your throat, and the result being (way) better than expected.

When it comes to your creativity, your message to the world, and your desire for more, there’s a sure-fire way to ensure you’re running the show…

Go on and do the exact thing your fear is telling you not to do.

[22] Stay open.

One of the biggest lessons for every.single.one.of.us walking this planet, I believe, is remembering that we are all experiencing the world through a filtered lens; a lens of our own perceptions. Which is to say: we interpret things in vastly different ways.

So often, we’re assigning meaning to a situation based on our past experiences — the way we were raised (good or bad), the people who influenced us, our biggest wounds, our most triumphant wins. And how could these things NOT weave their way into our worldview, right?

There are plenty of instances where this is a very good thing, but I’ve found that in situations where we feel unsettled, upset or resentful over someone’s actions, there’s so much to be said for opening our hearts with compassion and looking at things from a slightly different angle. Even if just for a moment.

Perception vs. reality. Open vs. closed.

[23] On the power of encouraging words.

For the new mama finding her feet in foreign soil, there’s really nothing quite like hearing: “Honey, you’re doing an incredible job.”

[24] Be the vessel.

I want to give you a little peek behind the creative curtain today (lessons ‘about’ the lessons) as pulling together this series has been an inspired — and interesting — process for me.

My original intention for #RM33for33 was that it would be published over on my blog as a lengthy post. * which, due to request, it now is. 

Not long after I started writing, though, another idea floated in and I decided on a whim to make this an Instagram adventure instead — bite-sized pieces of wisdom that I hoped would be more impactful and relevant when published here in their individual form.

I had several lessons in the kitty when I kicked things off, but knowing this was going to be a fairly decent end-of-year undertaking, I sat down and attempted to plan out the rest… … And promptly failed.

And so, the first lesson for me arrived.

I needed to relinquish ALL plans to allow the creative force to show ME what was to be written on any given day. {Aha. Yes. Got it.} Some days I resisted, but I was reminded of the sense of fulfillment that comes from consistently devoting and following through.

Some days, the opposite happened and words POURED out of me, and I remembered that the creative process can be easy, too.

The second and third lessons then showed up.

Despite me previously trying to engineer it this way, #holyrevelation — the conditions DO NOT need to be perfect to write, and to try and cultivate that perfection is *actually* just procrastination. (most of these were punched into the Notes app on my iPhone with Ryder cradled in my arms). As a new mother who also runs her own business, this one was particularly potent.

The other lesson (a re-learning) was that when we ask for our creativity to show up and guide us, it does. Often unexpectedly, possibly down an alternate route. But guide us it does. We are to follow that energy. We are the conduits, after all.

[25] Feed your mind.

‘May your thirst for knowledge be met with a depth of understanding.’

My Dad — he of the one-word text message — scrawled that poetic declaration inside a hardback encyclopedia he gave me when I was 11… and yep, looks like I must have filed it under MEANINGFUL because here I am sharing it 22 years later.

The thirst for knowledge.

The lifelong student.

The curious mind.


Does those terms resonate with you too?

It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to supercharge our minds today. From books to workshops to docos to blog posts to podcasts to courses… there’s an absolute abundance of information, on any given topic, right at our fingertips. A simple click and we’re away.

Which brings me to a few recommendations. Below you’ll find a small, random selection of resources that have spoken to me as a personal-development ‘devotee.’

// AUDIBLE subscription — best $5 you’ll spend each month. A treasure trove of audiobooks to take on your next walk or car trip. (multi-tasking at its finest).

// TIM FERRISS’ podcast for really bloody good (in-depth) conversations with fascinating characters.

// BRAIN PICKINGS for beautifully crafted, impeccably researched essays on writing and philosophy and everything in between.

// MINDSET: THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY OF SUCCESS by Carol Dweck, exploring her insightful research on the ‘fixed mindset’ and the ‘growth mindset.’  the growth mindset is what we’re talking about with this lesson.

// THE UNTETHERED SOUL by Michael Singer; anything by Caroline Myss, Debbie Ford, Marianne Williamson and Pema Chodron; ASK AND IT IS GIVEN by Esther and Jerry Hicks… and so on! Soul food for the spiritual seeker.

// THE BIG LEAP by Gay Hendricks for busting limiting beliefs. Much-loved by coaches and online entrepreneurs.

// ON WRITING by Stephen King; BIG MAGIC by Liz Gilbert; STILL WRITING by Dani Shapiro; BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott — my favourite books on writing.


[26] Expectations are joy killers.

[posted on Xmas Eve]

As a culture, we’re continually bombarded with romantic ideas about the holiday season. From gifts, to spending, to meals and family dynamics — wherever we turn, it seems we’re greeted with perfectly-styled images of ‘a happy, harmonious Christmas.’

It’s a lot to live it up to, no? Is it really any surprise that the expectations we have for our own celebrations can be through the freaking roof?

Not at all… and here’s where shit can hit the fan. When our reality doesn’t match how things ‘should’ be, there’s SO much potential for us to end up triggered, resentful, disappointed and hurt — the opposite of what we’d hoped and desired.

So with this in mind, and because attaching to an outcome can kill our joy in one swift manoeuvre, it makes sense that practicing the art of D E T A C H M E N T might be the surest path to an enjoyable Xmas.

A few thoughts on releasing the grip of expectation…

// Sideline the idea of perfection. It’s okay if your carefully-thought-out present doesn’t get the reaction you were hoping for. It’s okay if you forget the sauce, if the weather sucks, if Plan A gets shelved for Plan B, or if someone doesn’t show up to the family lunch because they’re dealing with their own stuff.

// Allow others to just ‘be themselves.’ Remind yourself that they’re doing the best that they can with the tools that they have. An open heart will radically alter every interaction.

// That said, protect your energy if you need to. Accepting others as they are does not mean forsaking your own emotional wellbeing.

// Don’t be afraid to slow down. Over-committing yourself is a recipe for overwhelm and stress, at a time of year when restoration is particularly key. (Plus, there’ll be plenty of time to see everyone next year!)

// And finally, return to mindfulness. Your breath is your anchor. Always.

[27] On celebration, future visions and family traditions.

A little Xmas story.

On Christmas Day a few years ago, much to the delight of my three brothers, I whipped out a canvas-bound notebook and emphatically declared: ‘A new tradition starts now.’

‘I’m going to be the keeper of this little book here, and in it, each year we’ll document What We’re Most Proud Of from the year that was, and what’s a Done Deal for the year ahead.’ {Yep. #lifecoachinthehouse There’s no escaping me.

I have to give it to the boys, and my Mum and step-Dad, because it wasn’t long before they all got RIGHT INTO IT. Goals and proud moments were flung around the room with reckless abandon. As each family member had their turn in the hot seat, we’d lift them higher, urge them to dig deeper: ‘What about this?’ and ‘Don’t forget that one.’ My heart grew bigger along with their smiles. We contemplated. We joked. We bonded.

This whole reflecting and visioning business is my ‘world’. I have the privilege of having an online platform via which celebration and wild dreaming is fully supported. I also have the gift of dear friends who’ll readily hold space for my goals for the future.

But, for my family members — particularly my brothers — I could see that carving out time to acknowledge the year’s achievements before rushing headfirst into a new one was not a regular occurrence…

And that the gift of being held and witnessed is the greatest gift of all.

[28] The grass is green under your feet, too.

A handy, sure-thing formula for a contented life: more focus on what you do have, and less focus on what you don’t.

[29] Gratitude is everything.

The research doesn’t lie, the benefits are endless, and — yep — turns out all those passionate, vocal advocates of appreciating what ya got really are onto something.

Practicing gratitude can CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

[30] The way you make people feel, and creating what you wish existed.

When I’m creating anything, my primary focus is on creating a transformative EXPERIENCE.

More precisely, I want my people — those who choose to purchase from me or work with me — to feel part of something special. A loving tribe; an inspired collective. I want them to feel heard, included, supported, elevated… and of course, I want them to feel empowered to do the thing they want to do.

In birthing any project, in the initial ‘scratchy concept’ days I zoom in, firstly, on how I want my peeps to feel — hat tip, @daniellelaporte — from the moment they see the product for the first time to their thoughts looking back on the journey. This is big.

Lasering in on the experience bleeds into everything from this point on: the stories I share on my sales page, my immediate communication after someone buys from me, the designer I bring on board, the quality of the software, the depth of my support… and so on.

Feelings clarified, I then switch tempo. I go deep on the strategy. The features spelled out in detail. The A-team I’ll hire. The end goals. The important movements that will take me from here to there. This is where the fun really begins, and the specifics of the vision usually shapeshift several times as this process unfolds. (allow them to — you’re evolving as the project evolves!) (also: the challenging/ resistance-filled bits are where you’re really growing, so embrace them eagerly!)

I’m also a firm believer in creating the product that would have helped YOU out. In other words, create what you wish existed.

As a blogger who knew no-one online when I ‘ventured in’ back in 2011, having access to a bustling online community of like-minded bloggers would have been invaluable. That thinking lead me to creating one of my own — and so was born my eCourse Bright-Eyed & Blog-Hearted.

Experience. Feelings. Strategy. Usefulness. Here’s to a year of powerful CREATION in 2016.

[31-33] On reverence and reflection.

[Posted on New Year Eve, 2015]

WE’RE HERE. What an unforgettable 12 months it’s been. From the gut-punch of losing a soul sister; to the magical ride that is pregnancy (and the support that blew my mind); to epic business highs and the launch of new ventures (Ramai’s); and of course, to the most defining moment of my life thus far — becoming a mother to our beautiful baby Ryder.

I’ve plumbed the depths and touched the sky in 2015. And now, friends, it’s time to close this year out.

The final 3 of 33 are not {actually} lessons, but rather, questions. They’re an integral part of my yearly review ritual — which also involves my husband, my journal, The Desire Map and a corner of our favourite beach. Feel free to weave them into your own reflections (*at any time of the year) if they speak to you.

1 // SWEET RELEASE: What do I need to leave behind?

2 // GET GRATEFUL: Who do I need to thank?

3 // VISION, BABY, VISION: What will I (co-)create in the year ahead?

May your answers surprise and delight you.

You made it. And now I’ve gotta know: favourite lesson? And why? Share with us in the comments below.

One last thing… I’d be ever-grateful for your support in sharing this around, so feel free to hit the buttons below to share on the various channels. Big thanks!

Images by Bayleigh Vedelago; styling Peppa Hart