It takes courage to honour yourself first

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness. Brene Brown

There is something incredibly expansive that follows making a decision to end something.

You feel a flutter in your chest over your heartspace and in your gut.
A knowing in your heart it was the right thing simultaneous with a fear in your abdomen of, what now?

Over the years I’ve let go of serious relationships, businesses, friendships, jobs and with them identities.

Each time it has come with a struggle, a knowing deep down it was meant to be but just not being ready, too afraid of letting go, saying goodbye and walking into the unknown.

Every time I’ve made that final choice to end and move on magic is created in the space that remains.
A new opportunity I would never have noticed or considered before has come my way. Richer friendships or relationships have begun that would have been missed.

I watched the Brené Brown talk on Netflix yesterday, and found myself with tears throughout. Because I’ve dared greatly at times when it would have been easier to stay where I was.

I believe it takes courage to honour yourself first, to wear the consequence of your choice – both good and not so good.

What I have always known to be true is you have one life, and if you are drowning and miserable, and you’ve given it all of you’ve got with no improvement, it could be time to walk away.

Life is too precious and fleeting to feel that way, even at the expense sometimes of hurting someone else.

In the midst of the turmoil before the end I ask myself, when I’m 80 how will I view this situation? And with my answer I’m guided.

Dare greatly friends, jump if you must. Trust that your leap of faith will be supported. Initially it may hurt. But the beauty that will unfold for you in time will be more than worth it.

Is it time to upgrade your automatic thinking?

Are you aware of how significantly your negative thoughts and words are affecting your life?

When we keep saying the same thing repeatedly to ourselves (e.g. I’m broke, I’m tired, I’m overweight, I can’t afford that, I can’t do that, I can’t find a good relationship) we are sending a strong message to our subconscious mind.

Rather than read between the lines and see that what you desire is (… more money, to be healthier, to be free to buy what you wish, to do whatever, to meet your soulmate), your subconscious mind looks for opportunities to give you more of whatever you are declaring because it thinks that’s what you want, because that’s what you keep repeating.

Your mind is so incredibly powerful. Being aware of your thoughts and your words is truly potent in shifting to a prosperous and abundant mindset, and closer to achieving and gaining what it is you actually desire.

Speaking in a certain way becomes our norm, so it takes real conscious effort to switch our default thinking. When you notice yourself saying limiting words, try backing up with one of these or something similar and see how your body feels…

  • I love money and money loves me. I am abundant.
  • I love my healthy, strong sexy body. I am beautiful.
  • I am confident and limitless.
  • I love you (say to yourself in the mirror).

For every one time you say the negative phrase, say the positive affirmation 7 times.

Your body will feel lighter afterwards.

It may feel uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it the easier it gets and your mindset will switch. By taking control of your default thinking you are claiming your power to create.

Our default, unconscious thoughts for so many of us is deep conditioning that has evolved from our pains over our lives, or even some which may not actually belong to us but thoughts and limiting beliefs we have adopted from our parents or social and environmental influences.

Most of our behaviours, emotions and decisions occur from beyond our conscious awareness, from our subconscious mind. We act and feel only by using a very small percentage of our brain, our conscious mind. It therefore takes deliberate effort on our part to upgrade our thinking.

Are you committed to rebooting your thinking? Initially it may feel really overwhelming and difficult to know where to start. My coaching sessions offer you the support in a safe, non-judgmental space to explore, uncover and uncreate your negative beliefs. From there we will take your learnings and you will be empowered to set goals for your future and be supported to action them. For more information visit my coaching packages or contact me to book your free 15 minute Awakening Session.

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

When you have a goal in mind, when you want more for yourself, you make the decision to create change. There will always be a voice that tries to stop you.

It might say,

What will people say?

What will people think?

No one will support me.

My friends/family will think I’m an idiot.

I haven’t got time.

I don’t know where to start.

I feel uncomfortable.

A lot of things will come up that will try to stop you changing.

You might decide to go along and start anyway.

You gain momentum, make a decision and go for it.

And something doesn’t go to plan.

You get sick.

Your kids get sick.

Your day job gets busy.

You didn’t sleep well last night.

You have a wedding/party/event to go to.

Your routine, momentum slows down or halts.

Then you’re stuck.

The voice starts again.

You’re a failure.

You said you would do that and you didn’t.

Everyone else is now further ahead of me.

If I start now they’ll know I didn’t show up and think I’m a failure.

I can’t do this.

I’m scared.

I’m embarrassed. I don’t deserve a new life. I don’t deserve success.

My mother always told me…,

Blah blah blah

And then it’s a year later.

Two years later. Five.

And you are still in the same place.

But you’re feeling worse because you started something, it didn’t work out so now you’re really stuck and afraid.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

The way to start again is just decide you want it.

Recognise the fear, the voice telling you not to for what it is – a bully.

A bully who is scared to let you shine. Who is jealous of your light.

Make small changes.

Get out of bed a little earlier.

Have one less coffee.

Make one phone call.

Spend 30 minutes planning the assignment, and do one thing of action.

Be more present today.

Recognise the negative thought and flip it to a positive one.

What would your best friend say?

Be your best friend.

Be your own cheering squad.

Light your path and each day take a step further.

There will be days you take a few steps back. That’s ok.

As long as the next day you pick yourself up and continue to move forward.

You can do this.

If you feel like you would like assistance to move past the place you are currently stuck at, please consider life coaching.

I have 1:1 coaching packages with two options. A 1 session mentor session, and a 3 month coaching package (currently on sale for 30% off). Contact me for more details.

Do you journal?

When I was young I had a diary. Each entry always started with “Dear Diary…”

You know it wasn’t until recently this memory from my childhood resurfaced and as I thought more about it I realised the power that diary had.

As an adult I journal, not every day, sometimes not for weeks. But when I’m out of sorts, lost, losing touch with myself and my path the first thing I do is grab out my journal.

By the time I’m finished writing I’m clearer and lighter.

It’s the first tool I recommend to all my coaching clients.

The power of a diary or journal is to allow us space.
Space from our thoughts.
A safe space that no other person needs to be privy to.
Space in our minds and hearts created by getting the words that are circling around causing anxiety to be released.

Truly so powerful. And so when I think back to when I was 8 when I was gifted my first diary (with a key and all!) and the ritual I had of writing in it and those that followed over my teen years and beyond, I am grateful.

Grateful I had that space, that tool to fall on, without even knowing I was being guided back to me.

Trusting myself to sort out my own thoughts and feelings. The power of that, right?

We are our own best support system.
We must trust that, and allow the space for our own intuition and guidance to be heard.

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Stepping out despite social anxiety

I’ve felt awkward in almost all situations I’ve been in my whole life. Like I don’t fit in, like I’m just not quite the same as the people I’m with, and that because of that I feel like people don’t quite like me.

It’s a feeling possibly best described as misfiring, as in I’m present but that no one quite SEES ME. 

This has held me back in so many ways.

I’ve used drugs and alcohol at different stages of my life to mask the uncomfortableness and give me some sort of courage, alter ego even.

I’ve stayed in terrible relationships for far too long for fear of being alone, until staying is just too unbearable. 

I’ve hidden behind my son at many, many functions, to not be exposed.

I’ve used my job as a barrier between me and my client to avoid exposing my insecurities. 

I’ve cancelled going to many events last minute because the anxiety of going was too much to bare. 

Going to an event alone means summoning courage from deep down, going means knowing deep within my soul that I have to be there, and then I feel awkward as hell.

Most people probably don’t know any of this about me. Just like many people who live with social anxiety, I’ve become pretty good at being aloof, faking it so you can’t see the anxiousness under my facade. 

Stepping out into the social media world and building an online business is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I have nothing to hide behind (ok well there’s my computer & product) but what this platform requires of me is to show you ME.

Authenticity, integrity, truth, honesty, being real are traits I hold of most importance and so I felt to share this with you so you may see a bit of what’s under my posts, and I hope it can give some of you who feel this too the chance to exhale and know you are not alone.

The above is a post I shared to my social media channels yesterday. The responses I have received have been beautiful. So many women, some I have known personally, some I do not know have shared they also feel the same way.

IMG_6849I read a quote a friend shared on Instagram recently by Glennon Doyle which I felt was a beautiful reminder of how cliquey women can be, but it made me think it’s not usually about exclusion which our default may have us believe, but more I feel it is about the fear of ourselves stepping out of our comfort zone to reach to someone we don’t know.

Perhaps there is an awe, an intimidation even, of seeing a woman attending an event alone that we feel she is strong and confident and not a match for us while we are attempting to hold our mask firmly so it may not slip and show how fragile we really are underneath.

I’ve been that woman at an event alone, trying to blend and not be too obviously on my own. What I’ve noticed in those situations is often the lack of eye contact, or the looks up and down, or the small gesture of a smile as they turn away. As an introvert, it has taken all my strength at times to not just walk out, but instead to take a deep breath in and out, readjust my mask of confidence and stand strong.

Approaching a group or another person who is alone can summon up a lot of courage, there’s a whole lot of inner conversation going on – a battle between my mind of reason and my mind of fear. It is sheer determination and will that sees reason win… mostly.

As I’ve gotten older and the personal development study I have soaked in has grown, I have learned that other people’s reactions to you are a direct indication of where they are at with themselves, and that often – if we allow ourselves to go there – can be a mirror of how WE feel about ourselves. As we begin to love ourselves as our best friend and really do the work to dispel the negative thoughts and chatter going on in our minds these situations lessen, our confidence grows, or at least our thoughts no longer have the power to control us and hold us back.

So, and this is advice I am giving myself… do that thing you want to do, even if it means going alone; say hello to the woman on her own and include her in your circle – at any given moment you could be her; consciously and actively switch the language you are using with yourself to be what you would say to your best friend; and most importantly love yourself – for you are unique, you are beautiful, and you are not alone.

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10 books I recommend for a self confidence boost:

  • Mastering Your Mean Girl, Melissa Ambrosini
  • You Do You, Sarah Knight
  • The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
  • Daring Greatly, Brené Brown
  • Rise Sister Rise, Rebecca Campbell
  • A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson
  • You are Enough, Cassie Mendoza-Jones
  • Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Judgment Detox, Gabrielle Bernstein
  • Conversations with God, Neale Donald Walsh

Leaving it until the last minute

On Friday night I was up until 2am finishing an assignment for uni that was due at midnight.

I was frantically trying to get it done all the while kicking myself for not starting it until Wednesday. 

What’s worse was it was a journal assignment. All I’d had to do was write 350 words on a set reading each week. 

But I didn’t do the readings. 

View More: http://inkandivory.pass.us/casandrasmithI had ‘many other’ things to do that albeit were necessary and important, and they were also far more creative and enjoyable than reading a 20-40+ page academic article and then critically evaluating it.

So there I am internalising my self-hate at my lack of organisation, motivation and mountain of procrastination that got me in that position on a Friday night, and I have all these beautiful comments going through my head from people saying to me,

“you are amazing, you are doing so much, you are so inspiring”
and I’m feeling like a fraud. 

In these moments of praise I even find myself saying to people

“I’ve got a lot of commitments but I’m not really doing any of it well”. 

You see what I’ve realised is this situation is like trying to get my son to eat veges.

  • He likes to eat the meat, or the thing he likes on the plate first.
  • Then he’s left with the cold, unappetising veges.
  • No matter how many years I’ve asked him to eat the veges first, they are so much nicer warm… he refuses and dinner ends in tears – both of us in tears! 

What I recognised is this is Me!! I’d decided that assignments were hard and boring, and sometimes they are, so I set myself up to avoid them to only feel the pain later. Stubborn much?!

I teach people to take baby steps toward change. Keep your WHY in front of you to help motivate you, and with every other thing I do I’ve done this, but with uni I hadn’t.

When you know your WHY- your reason for why you’re doing something – your light at the end of the tunnel, you are far more motivated to dig in the trenches to get there.

The basis of my WHY for completing my degree is I want to help people to free themselves from their limitations to create a life of freedom– it’s the same for all I’m doing- life coaching, essential oils and business mentoring. With uni it’s about having more developed skills and training to assist on a deeper level and the recognition of having that training.

Not all the actions that are required of you to realise your dream are fun, or creative, or exciting; some of it is boring or challenging, but all the pieces are equally important and have valuable lessons to give you along the way. 

My next assignment is due in a few weeks. My plan of action is to do an hour a day on it everyday to get it finished, on time or before. 

My short-term reward is uni holidays start beginning of November for four months… I’ll have all the time to do the fun stuff then! 

Is there something you’ve been putting off starting for all your own reasons?

Don’t want to, it’ll be hard, got other things to do?

Maybe reading this will help you know you aren’t alone, and give you a little push to take action- remember any action is a step forward and closer to your goal.

Much love,

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You don't have to see the whole staircase.Just take the first step.

Getting my dream job and why I quit

I had a dream job. I put out a wish and I got that job.

I had a dream job. I put out a wish and I got that job.

It was a job I had thought for a long time while building my career would be the cream.View More: http://inkandivory.pass.us/casandrasmith

I worked hard. I put in triple the hours I was being paid for and then some. Because I really wanted to do well and prove to those who’d hired me that they’d made the best choice. 

I loved what I was doing. I loved the hard work. I loved my students. I loved the money. And I was really good at it, really good.

But I didn’t love the system. 

The system didn’t care about its employees. It didn’t set people up nor support them to succeed.

It bred a fear mentality. People feared losing their jobs. And because of this it was every man for himself.

Backstabbing, undermining, office politics. It wasn’t me.

It wasn’t in line with my ethics nor values. The system was abusing me, it was breaking me. But I needed the money. It had me trapped just like everyone else.

I reached breaking point. My lease on my house was about to end. I had to move. I had my son to support. But I could no longer do that job. 

I quit. Mid-course. 

I felt so guilty leaving my students. I did everything right. Waited until they had a replacement. Finished the module we were in. Dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s. 

Left with my pride in place.

I have never looked back.

At my breaking point, I reached out to a friend who helped me see what I was going through wasn’t worth it. She offered my son and I stay with her until we found another house. 

What I learned is

+ When you least feel you have support, open your eyes wide- there is always someone there for you.

+ No job is worth your self-worth or sanity.

+ Trusting your gut, stepping up and saying “No, this is not for me” is deadly empowering.

+ Living your truth always wins.

+ Walking through a door when the other side is pitch black and you don’t know what’s there is frightening and exhilarating all at once.

+ When you take a risk and trust, the universe will have your back.

+ Opportunities you could never have imagined previously appear and your life will be transformed.

+ Nothing is worse than living a life you hate because you’re too afraid to change.

After I finished working there and stayed with my friend for a month.

  • The perfect home came my way. It had all the things my other home was missing for the same price.
  • I met my partner.
  • I discovered a new career in coaching and found the most supportive course (I feel) is available to study with.

This has opened my world to incredible possibilities, to new fascinating people and as a result two (almost three) new careers.

+ I’m almost half way through my counselling degree

+ A qualified Life Coach

+ A business mentor assisiting people to create alignment between their self and business

+ I share my experiences with essential oils with people to support low toxic solutions for their home and emotional health and mentor a team of gorgeous souls to expand their businesses.

Life is good. It flows with ease and I am happy.

View More: http://inkandivory.pass.us/casandrasmithThe point of sharing my story is I want you to know you don’t have to stay small.

You have choices. You could absolutely choose to stay where you are… it might be comfortable for you, as in at least you know what tomorrow brings… every day of your life.

Or you may choose to open your eyes and mind to endless possibilities and begin to live a life that sets your soul on fire, that lights you up in ways you may have never dreamed.

All of my coaching clients have been in a position where they have felt stuck, they know they desire change but just don’t know where to begin. My series assists them to work through what it is they truly would love their life to be.

I guide them from personal experience and an innate belief that we all have within in us the power to change our situations, particularly with a little support. I encourage you if you are seeking change to talk to someone. Share you dreams, it is the beginning of opening your mind. You deserve to live your best life.

Much love,

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