The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Y'know those books you read once and have such a profound effect on you that you read them over and over?
I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in my 20’s and have re-read it many times over the years. It called to me from the bookshelf again the other day like it had some new illumination it wanted to share or a new epiphany it wanted me to have.
It’s the magical story of Santiago whose life adventures teach us about the importance of listening to our hearts and learning to read omens we receive throughout our life in order to discover our life’s purpose.
There are so many life-affirming, “a-ha” moments in this book and I wanted to share 5 quotes with you that really resonated with me. They are words I’m sure we can all relate to. I want to know what pearls of wisdom you have received from this book, so please feel free to share below in the comments.
1. “When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
I discovered during COVID lockdown that the best and worst of me showed up to the party at various stages. I quickly noticed that when I felt nourished and in a positive place that the energy of the household was in harmony. Like the old parable about which wolf is the strongest, the black or the white wolf - it is definitely the one you feed.
2. “Usually the threat of death makes people a lot more aware of their lives”.
This quote resonated with me, as I am sure it will with most of you, that when you are staring death in the face (or see a loved one go through pain), the important things in life come into focus with greater clarity. Isn’t it strange that it often takes the death of a loved one, a diagnosis for yourself or another great change-inducing trauma to make a shift in your actions and consciousness.
3. “I don’t want to change anything because I don’t know how to deal with change. I’m used to the way I am.”
Wow - spoken like any person we know that is “stuck in their ways” and cannot see the growth that awaits them when they shift their mindset ever so slightly. Often these people desperately want to change but the fear of failure or the discomfort of being uncomfortable will stop them from realisng that dream. If this resonates with you and you are actually willing to change (but just not sure how) - a chat with a coach is a great place to take the first step. Mel and I offer free chats so please reach out - I know you have the courage to.
4. “That disaster taught me… to understand that people need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want”.
The word disaster caught my eye in this sentence as I love reading insights about rising from the ashes of adversity. I had a mindset shift last year when instead of viewing “the unknown” and “uncertainty” through the eyes of “fear” I instead chose to view them through the curious eyes of an adventure explorer or pioneering social scientist. I know it sounds peculiar, but when the curiosity of what adversity is trying to teach us becomes more powerful than the FEAR, it can result in enthusiasm and, dare I say it, joy.
5. Santiago: “Why should I listen to my heart?”. Alchemist: “Because you will never again be able to keep it quiet. Even if you pretend not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside you, repeating to you what you’re thinking about life and about the world.”
Well, ain’t that the truth! That niggling feeling is your intuition and your true heart’s desire. Have the courage to listen to it. Please. When that voice/feeling/vision of “what could be” overwhelms you, call me. I've been there, I know the feeling well. The world needs you to live your true purpose. “To realise one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation” - The Alchemist
Grab your own copy of The Alchemist and see what secrets you unearth!
Have a happy start to Winter (or Summer for you northern-hemisphere folk!)
Love and light to you beautiful souls,
The Alchemist - on sale at Booktopia - https://booktopia.kh4ffx.net/D71Dq
Are you ready to slow down? If not, well, that’s kinda too bad. You are being invited to pause. To hit the RESET button.
Weird time isn’t it? Understatement of the century Steph!
I read the following this week and, as it perfectly captured my thoughts, I wanted to share it here:
“Few of us ever imagined a situation as pervasive and scary as the Coronavirus pandemic, but I have hope that we can turn this crisis into a unique opportunity for our children and for us to build the special kind of resilience that comes from facing adversity. Crises like this one give our innate emotional survival skills the chance to grow stronger.”
Many of you, like myself and Coach Mel, are currently in the near impossible situation of having to work from home, homeschool our children, manage our dwindling finances and run a household. Many of us also make room to check in with our elders, siblings, friends AND search the continent for toilet paper stocks! I am sure stress levels across the globe are at an all time high.
But… what if we could view this time in a different light. As the quote above muses, what if this time was given to us a unique gift, an opportunity to drop down, to reconnect the the important things in our lives, the time to change the things in our lives we seem to never have enough time for. We have time now.
But… you might be scared. You might be fearful of what is to come; because you can’t see it/hear it/taste it, you don’t know what the new normal will be or when it is going to start. The finances might start becoming so low you are not sure how you will keep afloat.
You want desperately to adapt to this new way of life, to embrace this time as an opportunity to move your life in a new direction, but perhaps you are unsure how.
I get it. This was me. All of it and on some days right now it still is. None of us are getting it all “right” (whatever that is) but at the same time we are getting it as right as we can RIGHT NOW.
About a year ago I decided to jump off the very fast-moving treadmill I found myself on. I had my blinkers on, head down, churning-it-out and I had no idea when a pause in my life might come. I was in full-blown survival mode. Two very young kids, working a busy full-time job and my marriage and friendships were taking a backseat. I was completely stuck in a rut. I went to some dark places emotionally. I was asleep at the wheel of my life, being carried along by the tide.
Actually - when I say I decided to jump off the fast-moving treadmill what I actually mean is that I was kinda pushed off. A steady work contract I had for many years came to an unexpected end and wasn't prepared, I had blinkers on and just didn’t see it coming. It forced me to pause. It asked me to rediscover where I wanted to spend my energy.
This time of pause came not long after I read a book that changed how I chose how to live from that day forward. You might say the book and the job-loss came hand-in-hand to teach me something. It was certainly not an over-night change, it is very much still evolving but the book, Slow - Live life simply, started with this line:
"Dear Mr & Mrs Jones, I am writing to inform you of my withdrawal from the race to keep up with you . . ."
WHA? Really? It’s that simple. Hallelujah, I thought! It had me hooked, so I read on.
Throughout the book, the author Brooke McAlary encouraged me to find “out what the most important thing in your life is and put that at the centre of your life everyday”.
Great, Yep, super easy. Um, yeah, I had NO IDEA how to do that. I needed a plan. I actually needed a coach...but I only learned that later.
The plan came later in the book when Ms McAlary describes the exercise she undertook where she wrote her own eulogy - the words she hoped her children would say about her after she died. It sounds morbid but stay with me. What she penned were three lines where the essence of who she always wanted to be shone through and none of it included power, money or material things.
At that stage I wasn’t living like the person for which I wanted to be remembered. My kids probably didn't even like me; I didn’t like me so why would my friends, husband or colleagues? There was ZERO joy. Everything was a pain in my ass.
What shifted? My mindset. Then EVERYTHING. As the saying goes, “if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
I have discovered that my purpose is to support people to redesign a vision for their future, to hold their hands through the bumpy bits, encourage them to greatness and to keep them moving closer to their desires, one-small-step-at-a-time. It might seem simplistic to some but it is actually a skill. One that we are not innately taught. You have to learn it; sadly it doesn't always come naturally to people.
But that’s what coaching is, it’s helping you strategise and redesign your future, it's not mentoring (I don’t need to have done what you want to do) or counselling (my advice won’t “fix you” - because you don’t need fixing). Coaching is game planning. It’s getting you in the zone to plan the game the best you can. Do you have a plan? It’s a friggin big question. But if you answer it and plan for it; realised hopes and dreams can be a result.
The time of pause is a great chance to get game-ready. Think of it like the off-season.
If you want to get ready for your next chapter I am keen to hear from you. I am currently offering FREE 30 min introduction strategy sessions - happy to chat, ZERO obligations. I’m keen to hear your thoughts.
CLICK HERE to set up a time to chat via Zoom. If the appointment times don’t suit you - email me - firstname.lastname@example.org - happy to find a time that works for your schedule.
Big love, remember - you're here to sparkle
Order Slow, Life Life Simply by Brooke McAlary from Booktopia
I have been musing on the words, Accept and Surrender, over the past few weeks as I comprehend our collective ‘new normal’. For many people, the stillness that the corona virus has brought to our lives has been both unnerving and triggering.
Acceptance of the current ‘what is’ can be challenging when you wish the circumstance you are in was different.
Surrendering to your lack of control in a situation like this can feel unnatural and uncomfortable.
During times of crisis, people who have learned how to be resilient in the face of adversity, thrive.
The people who simply survive are those who resist the ‘what is’ that has been thrust their way; they often ‘grin and bear it’ ungraciously.
Some people allow fear, scarcity and paranoia to take over their mind, body and spirit.
Which category do you fit into? Are you in one camp but wish you were in the other? Are you a survivor and wish you were a thriver? If so, you might need to readjust your mindset about this whole, crazy new time we find ourselves in. Our. It’s collective.
Mel and I want to make this current time of crazy just that little but easier for people so we are running online workshops working through her signature program The Ritual of Change™ which outlines and deep dive into the nine separate phases in the process of change.
In the online workshop we break down, into bite-size bits of understanding, what happens for you when change comes knocking unexpectedly or when you’ve discovered that you are seeking a change in your life.
Every time we encounter change, whether it is forced or intentional, we have to pass through these very specific nine phases to come out successfully on the other side.
Not surprisingly one of the most important early phases is acceptance. Acceptance of ‘what is’.
If you’d like to explore further where you are and how you can change being in survivor to a thriver we’d love you to join us.
Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes. But I’d like to add a few more. What about; change, uncertainty...and laundry!
These two words fuel people’s fear and anxiety more than any other. Not being able to predict what’s ahead takes away our sense of control. We feel it takes away our innate power to make our own life choices. We feel powerless when change comes knocking unexpectedly.
If there are strategies to navigate both intentional and forced life changes with greater ease, I certainly want to know what they are. I want to feel more empowered around change.
Like most things in life, change is a skill.
Melissa Sheridan McNabb has had to navigate life's changes, both the forced changes like separation, divorce, personal loss and job loss as well as intentional changes she has sought such as weight loss, healing and personal growth.
Through her studies in psychology, work as a professional coach and life experience as a mother of five(!), Melissa has become a change management specialist and has identified that both forced change and intentional change have a natural cycle.
Our lives are made up or a series of small rituals, whether they be waking up, showering, having breakfast, brushing teeth etc to our checking work emails on the bus, shaking hands when meeting someone new, doing the same gym workout or having the same sandwich day in, day out.
A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed according to set sequence.
Using her lived experience to draw from Melissa developed her signature program, The Ritual of Change™ which clearly identifies the 9 specific stages in the cycle of change.
If you’re a person who finds unwanted changes a challenge or are having trouble sticking to a change you have decided to make (e.g. weight loss), then chances are you are getting stuck in one or more of these stages.
We have decided to teach The Ritual of Change™ program in an intimate, 4-hour workshop, solely for women. In this sacred space Melissa will help us navigate through each of the 9 stages to discover where we are getting stuck. Once you have awareness of each stage and identify that you must pass through each one you'll have a successful guide to take you through all changes big or small that life has planned for you.
Think of it as a toolkit for successfully managing change. I want to find out where I get stuck, so I can avoid it again at all costs!
For more about the workshop, dates and locations click here or send us an email.
You have it in you to shine more brightly,
Show me your sparkle!
Warm hugs, Steph x
Psst - if you have a friend who you’d like to empower, please share this article with them. Lift another women up onto your shoulders.
Lovely ladies, is there a change in your life you have been trying to make but seem to stumble at the final hurdle? You're not alone, I think we have all been there.
Is there change being forced onto you (e.g. redundancy, divorce or bereavement) and you just can’t get past the loss, pain, displacement, loss of self/ loss of your "role"?
We all know that the only constant in life is change, so why do we dislike it so much? Ask a room full of people how many of them like change. I think most often you’ll encounter silence. Mel tried this in one of her speaking engagements, and as you might expect; crickets. People dislike change. We don't deal with uncertainty well.
Lately I've been thinking, well if we know that change is naturally-occurring, inevitable, constant and repetitive, then why don’t we learn how to understand what change does to us, physically, mentally, sometimes spiritually and “lean into it” so we are better able to handle it when it shows up again? Why are we not taught strategies for resilience in the face of life’s changes? A toolkit would be useful, wouldn't it?
Melissa and I have over 80 years of lived experience between us - that’s equates to a whole lotta changes - some big, some small. Over the Christmas/New Year break I heard from quite a few friends that 2019 was a kinda crappy year for them. So this year (2020) we’ve decided to run a series of workshops based on Mel’s signature program The Ritual of Change™.
The program explains the 9 defined stages of change and allows you to identify which stage you find you get stuck in and unlock the tools to assist you to breakthrough in order to feel content and resolved with the change you are encountering.
In an intimate group of women we explain the ritual everyone must perform in order to successfully complete the change cycle. In doing this we can explore and understand the importance of each stage and where each of us usually gets stuck. This place will be different for each of us.
Is it time for you to get unstuck in order to show up in your own life? Lovely one, if not now, then when? I don't know about you, but I'm tired of being tired, I've had enough of being on the sideline of my own life. I want to participate. I want to reclaim joy (where the hell did it go?) Women are great at empowering other women; how many times have you propped up a friend going through a challenge in their life? I think it's about your turn to be the empowered one, isn't it?
Mel and I plan to make 2020 our year of being our most courageous selves. Will it be yours? We invite you to join us.
Shine bright ladies
Who will benefit from this course:
- needing to change their work commitments to accommodate care for children or elderly parents or
- living in an empty nest once the kids have flown the coup
I’ve honestly been struggling to put all this into words because it’s hard to help people believe in the unseen.
I know with absolute certainty that we are souls or spirit whichever word you want to identify with, having a human experience made possible by our physical bodies and mind.
As a massage practitioner I’ve had a very diverse and amazing career. One of my special areas of interest has been in physical symptoms of emotional trauma and neuromuscular patterning.
These elements are what led me to study counselling and psychology, I wanted to understand the mind more and therefore the mind/body connection.
Over the years I’ve had many mentors and worked with some incredible people who are experts in things like epigenetics and energetic healing. I’ve learned to hone my skills on working with the whole human being, whether I am in my role as coach, massage practitioner or just human.
I just wanted to lay down that foundation in the hope you are able to understand a little of what I’m about to share.
This is a case study of a little girl I am currently working with, for the purposes of confidentiality I will call her Lucy.
Lucy’s family was referred to me by a physiotherapist, she was born with chromosome deletion with significant joint hypermobility and low muscle tone, her family is Chinese and adamant they wanted to include massage as a regular part of her early intervention (this is common practice in China) they were advised that massage certainly wouldn’t fix things but that deep joint and muscle compression can have positive effects as well as the benefits of joint attention and proprioceptive awareness.
I agreed to meet with them as after 15yrs of practice I saw the challenge for me as a practitioner. It would also give me an opportunity to apply all the skills I’d gained around neuro physics, neuromuscular patterns and working with the whole human.
My challenge, Lucy is 2, only her father and brother speak English, Lucy couldn’t understand my words, how was I going to communicate with her.
I called on every tool I have from understanding natural human development from being a parent, understanding the concept of being able to move the body on a way that sends messages in reverse through the nervous system to the brain, so many elements that I honestly can’t explain.
We began our journey together at the beginning of May, this year. Lucy was unable to roll over on her own or push herself up into a cobra position, she had other testing that indicated she may have some spectrum intellectual impairment, things like not wanting to be touched, not making eye contact name a few. This further added to my challenge.
I began with modified massage techniques and placing her body in positions I would have put a four month old in, she got stronger lifting up her head, then she began to roll over. As the weeks past she began to commando crawl away from me making massage more challenging. I kept putting her body into positions I wanted it to remember like a four point stance which led to her being able to crawl. We then moved onto supported standing, pushing a trolley along which Lucy is becoming quite fast at doing. Yesterday for the first time Lucy stood, no hands, for only a few short seconds but she did it.
Given that she doesn’t understand my language I’ve been communicating in nonberbals and when I do speak I’m speaking to her body, to her soul, that’s all I have is to work with. To communicate as a whole human being in a way that allows her miracle to come to life.
I can’t explain in an evidenced based way what exact techniques I’ve used that have been the ones to activate her body, I honestly can’t take credit for any of it because she is the miracle, her ability to be human, her ability to do the work, to practice. Being human is a miracle. I am very much a believer in that if given the right conditions the body can heal itself. I guess for Lucy conditions are right.
Over the last four months working with her and her family I have seen her learn to make verbal sounds, she laughs, she will make eye contact, she claps hands and waves bye bye. She is also starting to have some nice two year old tantrums. Lucy is very switched on.
If you are in any field that requires you to work with people I ask that you be open to seeing them as whole human being and work with all of them Mind, Body & Soul.
I’m sure you’ve all seen quotes like this image or heard the statement before?
It’s a crock of shit. It implies that all that’s required of you to change anything is a shift in thinking. Yes that does come into it but in itself isn’t what brings about change.
It doesn’t matter what it is these days, everyone is looking for the shortcut, the hack that helps them get where they want to go the fastest and with minimal discomfort and disruption to themselves and life.
Sure Awareness and self awareness is phase 1 just choosing to think differently on the subject isn’t going to fast track you to the result.
To complete a full circle of change in any area there are a 9 phases. You can’t avoid any of them. Many try but always circle back once they realise they’re still in the same place. Since teaching The Ritual of Change™️ I know exactly which phases people try to avoid. Phases 2,3,6,7 & 8. They involve the biggest amount of effort.
Let me give you an example.
Phase 1 is awareness so say for example someone who cares about you has pointed out to you that your leadership style is actually bullying. They’ve shown you evidence and you realise this person isn’t the only one who feels that way. Here’s where you can choose to move into phase 2 which is Acceptance.
This is the first phase many stop because they don’t want to accept what they’ve heard. They don’t want to accept that a part of them is showing up in a way that is hurting others, they don’t want to accept that part of themselves that’s a bully.
Typically they would brush it off, make the person who brought it into their awareness wrong, likely remove that person from their life and continue on until some point in the future when someone else brings it back into their awareness.
This stops the process of change for that person, without their growth they aren’t able to change that leadership style which would continue to be detrimental to those they lead and therefore detrimental to the company they work for or the business they own. The result would be either staff not confident enough to speak up because they don’t want to be on the receiving end or high turnover of staff because they’ve had enough of this person. Either way there are costs in productivity and morale, therefore culture, not to mention the monetary costs involved with new recruitment.
Stop looking for the shortcuts, there are none when it comes to change and personal growth. Do the work.
This conversation was inspired by my WTF moment earlier today when I saw a post on SM about someone wanting to have hypnosis done on a three year old with “behavioural issues”.
Now I am going to take all children with legitimate medical conditions out of this conversation because it isn’t about them.
This is about the “normal” kids that push boundaries, have bad behavioural habits, that seem somewhat disobedient and naughty. Some call these normal developmental milestones “ behaviour problems”. These are the kids of parents searching high and low for a label to attach to their child and their behaviour to justify their lack of personal growth and lost parenting.
Harsh? Maybe but also true.
Let’s keep in context here that the underlying vision of Courageous Coaching is to create a better humanity by shifting the paradigm of motherhood as mothers typically have the most influence over children however these principles apply just as much to fathers.
I am not a “parenting expert” who is. I am a mother that has raised two children to adulthood and 5.5yrs into raising the third.
My beliefs and parenting style have evolved as my children did and the only people on the planet that can evaluate how I did are them and I’m happy to say I get a lot of thanks and gratitude.
To the outside I’ve always been “alternative” in my role of mother/parent which is now being called “awakened” or “conscious”
My aim here is to disrupt your thinking and encourage change.
I learned when my first born was 18mths old to see her as a human rather than “my” child. When my almost two year old was having a tantrum every time I took a glass off her it wasn’t because she was being naughty or had behavioural issues, it was because she knew she could safely use one, clean one and put one away as that’s what she was doing at Montessori school. She was trying to tell me to trust her. I had to learn and grow (Change).
I learned to really look at my little human with fascination and wonder as she explored. Tantrums happened when I didn’t trust when I allowed all the shoulds of generations past to be my guide, when I allowed my fears to dictate actions, my frustrations to dictate discipline.
Do you see that the behaviour born out of a tantrum has nothing to do with the child?
It’s all you. Your beliefs, fears, expectations, frustrations etc.
Why do you have them?
Where do they come from?
What part of you needs to learn and grow (Change) in order to have more calm and harmony in your home?
The world doesn’t need anymore children labeled and medicated. Stop looking for reasons to keep blaming your children for their “behaviour”. (Context here is children under 7)
The world does need more “awakened” and connected parents who really do value the sacredness of their role.
Do you know how blessed you are to be the first teachers of humanity?
Do you know how big that is?
Did you even know that as parents that’s your job?
Time to wake up.
How many times have you said you’ll do whatever it takes, then not done it?
Why haven’t you done it?
I believe the answer is that “the thing” isn’t one of your values.
Hubs and I were talking today, moreso not seeing eye to eye on where we weren’t on the same page about doing whatever it takes. I disagreed because what was being asked wasn’t in line with my values therefore not something I would do whatever takes for.
What it did do was provide me with another opportunity to write down what my whatever it takes values are.
Eg, My Health.
I will do whatever it takes to stay in good health so I have the longevity and quality of life I desire.
As they say “prevention is better than cure” so I work everyday on prevention.
What that looks like for me is beginning my day with my fave herbal adrenal support tonic. Life and business is stressful but my body doesn’t need to suffer so I love it with some high grade adaptogen herbs.
I have a cold pressed whey protein smoothie bowl for breakfast as once I add water it becomes live with prebiotic and probiotics. Aside from the trace minerals I know as a woman in her 40’s that increasing my protein intake is important to sustain my body in the decades to come.
Incorporating intermittent fasting into my regime every quarter to support my overall health and boost immunity.
As I still do physical massage work at elite sports level I need to be strong and look after my own back so investing in massage, gym membership, PT’s, exercise specialists, chiropractic and using them all frequently is me living my value of health.
I hurt my back 6mths ago and didn’t hesitate to spend and do whatever it took because of my value of health.
I invite you to examine your own values and if you’re not sure about what values are or how to figure out what yours are, ask yourself this,
“What would I do whatever it takes for?”
Still not sure?
Click the link below and book a free Strategy Session.
These past 9 days of The Wellness Recovery Program have revealed so many things to me, things about me and business.
What I’ve learned about myself is that I am an artist, not a performer. By that I mean I feel very deeply, it matters to me that I am helping people through legitimate life challenges and by being blessed with so much life experience I am able to draw on the wisdom to create my own work. I could for what of a better analogy sing other people’s songs and perform them well but it’s just not the same. Don’t get me wrong, the world needs performers and you don’t have to look very far these days to find them but what of the artists?
I’m doing what I love, what I’m passionate about and I was reminded this week while wearing my massage hat why I got into coaching in the first place.
Asking people to get almost naked and them trusting you to work with their body is also them trusting you to work with their mind and soul too. Tapping into neuromuscular patterns and energy is something I’ve learned to do over 15yrs during a treatment. The body can tell you a lot. A constant on my table all these years has been the conversations, the tears, the vulnerability and the openness.
Way back in 2005 when I was working full time in my business with professional sport for the first year I noticed my footy guys were the ones that opened up the most. Some very challenged and I thought I want to help these guys more but how? They trusted me to open up and that’s a special thing.
That was the catalyst for me to go back to school to study a Bachelor of Applied Social Science, Counselling with Sports Performance. I found the structure of Counselling and psychology too restrictive as I discovered while I was applying what I was learning is that people are not text books. I found more flexibility in the coaching paradigm and I’ve found it to empower people more effectively, bringing about faster outcomes which when your a professional athlete with a mindset block matters. I have been coaching for many years before actually becoming a “coach”.
There is nothing more rewarding for me than seeing the person you’re working with thrive in a new way. Whilst I am a guide, a skill giver, a cheerleader, an accountability partner it’s not me that makes the changes, it’s them. The work always has to be done.
I love creating new rituals and new content that comes from a depth of knowing that only I can birth. That’s the artist in me. While performers become popular, it’s artists that create legacy and live on, well after the final curtain call.
Which are you?