who fuels you?

Do you realise how powerful your words of encouragement are?

Why is it that we hang onto negative comments, or constructive feedback so much tighter than we do positive, kind words?

I can bring to mind within seconds any comments that have been critical, constructive or downright hurtful – yet ask me to list all the wonderful, positive affirmations that I have received over the years and I’d have to really rummage around to find these buried deep in the recesses of my memory bank.

Most people I coach are exactly the same. When asked what they are great at, what they do best in the world – the answers trickle in slowly and cautiously, like pulling teeth. Yet when I ask people to step outside of themselves, and think about what other people would say; what they are often complimented on, what people rely on them for, what their friends or family would say they are great at – it becomes so much easier to rattle off their strengths.

Why do we do this?!

Perhaps it’s a fear of looking full of ourselves, or that we will seem too ego driven.

Or perhaps we are better at acknowledging the greatness in others, ahead of the greatness in ourselves.

So I shared with you previously how a year ago I took the plunge, and moved to the other side of the world. What i didn’t tell you, was the support network that gave me the courage to leap into the unknown.

I am blessed to come from one of the most nurturing families on earth. As the years go by, I am feeling more and more grateful. I have only been met with possibility, love, support and encouragement from all of them, and this was so evident when I made the decision to move overseas. My chosen people, my “sista’s from anotha mista” are also responsible for giving me the strength and belief in myself that made this scary big move possible.

These people really did fuel me on my adventure.

I took three pieces of gold with me onto the plane that day. Three handwritten letters, from my twin sister, and my two best friends.

I knew it was going to be one of those ugly cry moments when I finally read them.  As I sat on the plane on the third leg of my epic flight, I finally felt ready to open them. At the risk of sounding like I’m tooting my own horn, I want to share some excerpts from these letters with you. In doing so I hope to highlight how important our relationships are with each other, and the power that we all have in supporting those we love:

  • “If there were to be anyone taking a trip like this with such an open mind, heart and determination to explore the world – it would be you. With your passion for adventure, optimistic attitude and zest for life, only time will tell what magical knowledge, experience, and people you will meet along the way . . . you are a gift to this world and it is waiting for you to experience it all.”
  • “Wishing you the most fun filled, adventurous and life changing trip! Smile, dance, sing and enjoy every single day of your amazing adventure! I’ll be there with you in spirit!! I’ll miss you madly and be thinking of you constantly.”
  • “You have such a power Jules, a spiritual energy that not many people posses, and I hope you harness that super power in every situation going forward because your unique instincts will only propel you to your amazing fate.”

I still get choked up when I think of the love, the encouragement and the unwavering belief in me they had.

They believed in my vision more than I did – that’s an incredible thing to feel. Their inspiring words empowered me and reinforced why I was on this journey. My head space went from one of anxiety and fear of the unknown, to one of quiet confidence and a deep belief that everything would be ok, because I was strong, capable and deserving.

I cannot tell you what that support meant to me sitting on an airplane headed to a foreign land. Their love gave me the courage to leap into the new chapter of my life.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to acknowledge other people. Never underestimate the role this encouragement plays in shaping those around us. It fuels, gives strength, lights fire and fosters belief.

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

We assume that others know the greatness that lies within them, but we all need constant reminders. Often it’s as simple as  holding up a mirror just so others can see how wonderful they truly are.

We are not islands.

We all need to relate to others, to feel connected, and most of all – to feel LOVED.

Thank you to all my energy sources, you know who you are.

Who can you fuel today?

youthinkyourenot

women’s liberation?

Watch out, I’m about to drop the dirty ‘F’ bomb . . . Feminism.

I recently finished an insightful book by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, titled “Lean In. Women, work and the will to lead.” I couldn’t put it down.

Below are some of the shocking statistics that were revealed – try to read them without dropping your jaw:

  • There are 4.4 million women and girls worldwide still trapped in the sex trade.
  • 30 years after women became 50% of the college graduates in the USA, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry.
  • Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. ie/ When a man is successful, he is liked by both men and women. When a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less.
  • Women still do the vast majority of childcare. As a result, becoming a parent decreases workforce participation for women but not men. 43% of highly qualified women with children are leaving careers.
  • When a husband and wife both are employed full-time, the mother does 40% more child care and about 30% more housework than the father.
  • Gender bias influences how we view performance and typically raises our assessment of men, while lowering our assessment of women.

Let that soak in for a minute. . . Scary huh.

How have we come so far since the women’s rights movement, yet still be so far behind true equality?

I guess I was surprised by these statistics as I have always had strong female role models in my life. I was bought up to believe that I could achieve anything my heart desired, that nothing was out of my reach. My mother worked full-time in law for 30 years, my Nana is independent and determined, I have always had female managers and department heads, plus I have worked in female dominated industries my whole life. Working with lululemon, I am continually surrounded by inspiring, entrepreneurial women who stand for each other’s greatness. So for me, becoming privy to these facts was a major wake up call to the true state of affairs.

The word feminism has received a bad wrap over the years, and now has such a negative connotation. It’s a shame that this term has been muddied and taken away from its true meaning. Feminism needn’t equate to man-hating, bra-burning lesbians anymore.  It’s all about deconstructing and ‘dusting off’ this world to re-define it; a recent study revealed that only 24% of the women in the United States say that they consider themselves feminists. Yet when offered a more specific definition of feminism – “A feminist is someone who believes in social, political, and economic equality of the sexes” – the percentage rises to 65%. Hallelujah, that’s a step in the right direction.

“When the suffragette’s marched in the streets, they envisioned a world where men and women would be truly equal. A century later, we are still squinting, trying to bring that vision into focus.”

– Sheryl Sandberg

10.jpg.CROP_.article920-large   1911-suffragettes

“Women have been subtly striving all our lives to prove that we have picked up the torch that feminism provided. That we haven’t failed the mothers and grandmothers that made our ambitions possible. And yet, in a deep and profound way, we are failing. Because feminism wasn’t supposed to make us feel guilty, or prod us into constant competition over who is raising children better, organising more co-operative marriage, or getting less sleep. It was supposed to make us free – to give us not only choices but the ability to make these choices without constantly feeling that we’d somehow gotten it wrong” – Debora Spar.

So then, how and why has our progress stopped?

Beyoncé says women run the world, however the blunt truth is that it is men. “Out of 195 independent countries in the world, just 17 are led by women. Women hold only 20% of seats in parliaments globally. A meager 21 of the Fortune 500 CEO’s are women. Women hold about 14% of executive positions, 17% of board seats, and constitute 18% of our elected congressional officials. (The gap is even worse for women of colour, who hold just 4%, 3% and 5% respectively.)”

“This means that when it comes to making the decisions that most affect our world, women’s voices are not heard equally.”

Sandberg explains that it is not only society that is holding women back, we are also holding ourselves back – “In addition to the external barriers erected by society, women are hindered by barriers that exist within our selves. We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back (from our career) when we should be leaning in. We internalise the negative messages we get throughout our lives – the messages that say its wrong to be outspoken, aggressive, more powerful than men. We lower our expectations of what we can achieve.”

Communication is the key to change, “We need to disrupt the status quo. Staying quiet and fitting in may have been all the first generations of women could do; in some cases, it might still be the safest path. But this strategy is not paying off for women as a group. Instead, we need to speak out, identify the barriers that are holding women back, and find solutions.”

“Talking can transform minds, which can transform behaviours, which can transform institutions.”

The majority of people I coach are women, so this research has really opened up my eyes to how much more support, encouragement and outright cheer-leading the women of today need. It’s time to amp up this conversation, and for us to champion and promote our fellow women.

As a life coach, I don’t necessarily have power to change our cultural and institutional inequality; the sex trade, the stereo types, gender biases, salary differences, unequal child care policies – but I do get to have a big impact on individuals; the way they see themselves and their place in the world.

My job, more than ever, is about empowering women to live a life they love – to clear self-limiting beliefs, to encourage them to dream big, to jump onto the playing field and achieve their full potential.

I love that Sandberg isn’t advocating that every woman should want to be head of state, or a CEO, but rather – whatever our goals are, to pursue them with gusto. To fulfil our potential.

We all are the hope for an equal world. It begins with finding something you love and doing it with all your heart.

Ask yourself, what would i do if I weren’t afraid? And then go do it.

So am I a feminist? You’re damn right I am.

Social gains are never handed out.

They must be seized.

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Click here to view Sandberg’s inspiring TEDTalk on “Why we have too few women’s leaders”. 

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There is so much beauty to be found in the perceived flawed, the unravelled, the imperfect, the raw & the crumbling. If we could see this within ourselves as well as we can appreciate it in the outside world, oh what a joy it would be! 🙌🏼
How much self love & appreciation there would be, along with a total disregard for comparison. 💕
YOU are perfect!
👌🏼 Missing the heat, the bright blue skies & the beautiful madness that is Morocco. (But most of all missing my twin & travel buddy! 😢) What an adventure we had 🙌🏼 😂 those Sunday feels . . . ✌🏼If I could leave the house wrapped in my doona,
I would. Brrr ❄️ Oh how I've missed the food from home! Such fresh, healthy, delicious goodness 😍 🌱
This is a Buddha Bowl from my local vegan cafe - quinoa, Kim chi, satay tofu, beetroot relish, roasted pumpkin & rocket. SO GOOD! 😋(My Nan even had her first vegan meal & loved it - she wants to buy cashew cheese 😂!) "It feels good to be lost in the right direction" ✌🏼💙 Wandering the lanes in one of my favourite places in Morocco, a blue city built into the mountain side. The secret tonic to creativity. To living a life of freedom, vitality, exploration & adventure 🙌🏼
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