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Every story has an ending… but in life every ending is just a new beginning.’ Author unknown  

DISCLAIMER: My story isn’t one to make anyone feel shame or to feel bad, but instead for me to own the parts of me that I’ve pushed aside, so I can integrate to becoming a more authentic version of myself and an even better coach.

Wow.  I actually don’t know how to begin with this blog post.  I’m sitting at the farm.  We’ve just had Christmas and it’s nearly the end of 2018.

I really want to have this blog series ‘My Story’ finished by the end of this year.  My vision moving forward is now bigger than ever, and I just want to get cracking with it!  No more fear of judgement.  I have far less insecurity within myself, and failing isn’t an option.  I’m ready to start fresh with my new outlook towards life and my business.

To be honest, I’ve felt really self absorbed this year and I’m ready to let that go too.  I’m ready to let that go and be more of service.

As much as the thought of being self absorbed makes me cringe, I can see that it’s been necessary.  There were times this year where I didn’t want to reflect on different parts of My Story.  There were times when certain emotions surfaced and they were so overwhelming that I with drew from family and friends; I needed space to process thoughts and emotions.  There were times where people projected their fears and opinions around me telling ‘My Story’, and regardless of their opinions, I had to stay true to myself and do what I felt to do.

If I wasn’t a little self absorbed it would have been easy to go back to old patterns of behaviour; continue fearing peoples judgement; act out of fear instead of faith.  I wouldn’t have had the growth that I’ve had this year if I wasn’t willing to pause and focus on myself as I worked through this.

Through really focusing on myself, and doing the work, my self awareness has increased even more.  I’ve always considered myself quite self aware, but I feel it’s now at a new level.

I’ve noticed how a lot of things that used to trigger me, no longer trigger me.  I think it’s because I’m much more at peace with myself, and with life.  I don’t feel so insecure.  I’m not as fearful of judgement, and the thought of failing… well, failing simply isn’t an option.

Telling My Story has been a process of surrender and healing.  I feel like the next step is to continue rebuilding as authentically as possible.  With the reduced fear of judgement, I can move forward in a way that feels true to me, regardless of what others think.  I can be seen and reach more people, and in turn have more of a positive impact in the world. 

This process has also helped me get clear on my values and with what’s really important to me (kindness, connection and inspire).  This is has then lead me to get even more passionate about my work, and clear with how I want to be of service to others.

It seems surreal to think that this has drawn out to 15 Chapters!  As I reflect on the Chapters I have told, I realise that there’s so much more I could have shared…!  But at the time of writing each Chapter, I’ve shared what’s felt right to share at that point in time.

Ok, back to where I left of with the last blog post…

It was time to get real, open and honest with everyone.  I had to start being seen…  allowing people to see all the different parts of me.  Voicing what I have to offer in my business.  Share my knowledge with people out loud.  Even share the parts of me that I would hide behind the scenes out of fear of judgement.  If I wanted to be an influencer in the health and wellness space, then I had to start putting myself out there and drop the fear of judgement.

I had massive dreams of what I wanted to achieve, yet I wasn’t actioning things; and then my cash flow would drop and financial struggle would absolutely cripple me.

So there I was at the start of the year with Glandular Fever; petrified of getting a follow on of Chronic Fatigue if I wasn’t careful, hence my meeting with Kris (Personal Trainer I knew, and now someone I highly look up too).  I wanted to know if he had any tips for avoiding chronic fatigue, and that’s where the topic of ‘fear’ came up.  I knew he would have an alternative approach, but never did I think he’d suggest fear.  He totally hit the nail on the head though.

Telling ‘My Story’ was going to be my way of moving forward with overcoming my fear of judgement and putting myself out there.  I love to write, so it made sense.

I got home after that meeting and did an instagram story telling everyone that it’s time for me to get real open and honest with everyone.  I’ve actually looked up that instastory to see what exactly I said… here are some of the words I shared:

‘I’ll be straight off the bat, I have to tell you one of my fears right now, one of my fears is that if I get really open and honest with you about what I struggle with, you might think less of me; that really scares me.’

I was clearly very concerned with what people thought of me, which connects with that fear of judgement. 

I was blown away with the responses I got from people.  People were messaging me, saying good on you and that they had more respect for me being open and honest.

There was one response I got on Instagram in particular that really got me.  A girl that I knew of, but had never spoken to in person, messaged me.  Brooke is her name, and her instagram name is ‘The Tropical Mystic.’

She grew up in my home town, yet I’d never really had anything to do with her.  We followed each other on Instagram and I’d sometimes reply to her instagram stories and say how amazing her work was.  That was the extent of us knowing each other.

She messaged me after seeing my Instagram Story and said that she had so much respect for me and asked how people had received my openness?  I whole heartedly replied, sending a long message back outlining that I’d had some intense anxiety over the weekend. I was craving to write the blog post about how I really feel, but I was terrified that it could be business suicide.  I went on to say that writing is my creative & expressive outlet, and I felt I’d been suppressing it for too long. 

I also said that my family was my main concern.  I felt they wouldn’t receive my openness well.  I called them to say that I’m going to get open and honest on social media and that I feared being outcasted (even thought they responded ok when I told them that I was going to be real, open & honest with everyone; I was still nervous because they didn’t know how open and honest I was going to get.  I cared a lot about what they’d think of me).

I said that everyone had been quite supportive and I’d had a few extra visits and calls from friends. I’d also noticed a few people project their own fears on me, saying I should and shouldn’t approach telling ‘My Story’ in certain ways.  I said that I didn’t even know what being open and honest was going to look like, and that I was scared and excited all at once.  But deep down I knew it was the right move.

Brooke replied to my long msg saying, ‘My lunch break has finished.  But this message is vital.  And I would like to sit down and reply properly.  Do you have any email I can reply on?’

I gave her my email address, and she sent me an email.  I still remember this clearly.

 

I had so much going through my head, so I headed out for a walk.  I had my phone on me as I was playing music as I walked, and I saw an email come through from Brooke.  I opened it so I could have a quick little skim over it before reading it properly when I got home.

I remember I was at a busy intersection, waiting for the stoplights to change so I could cross the road… I was reading the email and my eyes welled up with tears.  It was like some one had seen a part of me that I never shared with anyone.  A part of me was being seen that I wouldn’t even acknowledge myself. 

It was a long email.  It was titled ‘The Woods.’  This woman that I hardly knew, shared words of wisdom like never before.  It was like she had psychic abilities; the words she shared were the exact words I needed to hear, yet she also opened me up to realising that yes, this won’t be an easy journey, but it will be worth it.  She was straight to the point, yet wise and kind at the same time.

From there we had a series of emails.  I was so invested in these emails!  I remember getting home from work, being exhausted, but still reading the emails and wanting to reply straight away!  She spoke my language, and she helped me break down the different parts of me that I was having trouble digesting.

It was like coaching… more like therapy actually.  I’ve had a number of Coaches, Mentors and a Mind Body Therapist, yet I felt like the work with Brooke tied it all together.  All the pieces came together and I was understanding things on a whole new level.

The work I did with her was all through writing emails.  The emails were so long.  They worked well for me as I’m a writer.  I often find I can express myself better in writing than words out loud.

She helped me work through my patterns with past relationships; in particular with Farmer, the guy from Alice Springs and Teacher.  She also helped me untangle and process why certain people triggered me.  We discussed inner child work, spirituality, the importance of having a creative outlet and getting more in touch with my inner goddess… we covered so many things.

This person is actually the one that opened my eyes up to the Goddess stuff.  I didn’t feel like a Goddess but I wanted too.  She taught me that to be more in touch with my feminine side more, I had to allow myself to be playful and creative.  She helped me create rituals to bring more play into my life and to help me connect to myself in a more loving way (I was heavily in my masculine being driven by work).

I honestly can’t put into words how much she helped me through this process.  You may see me refer to her on Instagram quite a bit – The Tropical Mystic.  She has some excited things coming together and I highly recommend people check out her work.  She has this innate wisdom that I’ve never across before.  She’s done the work herself and then she has this intuitive nature on top of that.  I have huge RESPECT for this amazing woman!  She is now one of my dearest friends, and we’re even looking to run a Goddess Retreat together in 2019 (which is going to be AMAZING).

Through out this process I also had Kris kindly check in with how I’m going here and there.  I remember speaking to him on the phone at the beginning of telling My Story – I was so frustrated at the responses I was getting from people; people not comfortable with me sharing My Story and questioning why I’m doing it.  He was great with always reminding me to be true to myself.  Gosh, he helped so much.  He even did a couple of 3 hour coaching sessions with me to help me get more clarity midway through this process of telling My Story.  I can’t even put into words how grateful I was & still am.

I remember a week or so after a solid coaching session with Kris, I was sitting at my desk.  I had tears of gratitude running down my face, as I reflected on how Brooke (The Tropical Mystic) and Kris had helped me so much.  They were both such different people; one based in Adelaide, the other based in NSW.  Yet they both helped me from the goodness of their hearts with out any expectation of anything in return. 

I couldn’t help but think, wow.  How lucky am I that these people have come into my life and helped me so much.  I felt like my heart had been cracked open.  I was so used to being the person being of service to others; I was used to trying to hustle and do everything myself; I was in a position where I was craving some guidance and they stepped in at the perfect time. 

For once in my life, I dropped my guard and allowed people to help me.  It’s like I was allowing myself to receive, when normally I’d only be comfortable giving.  It truly was like my heart cracked open to allow people in – I allowed people in to help me instead of thinking that I had to have all the answers myself, and I was totally overwhelmed with gratitude.

I had some other amazing people help me through this process as well!  I had a dear friend, whom I’ve been friends with since primary school, often phone and check in with me, especially when I’d withdrawn.  If she hadn’t heard from me for a while, she’d give me a call to see how I’m going.  She’d listen to me, and give gentle guidance when needed.

This year you may have noticed me share with you how I was having so many break throughs and that this process of sharing My Story was helping me so much… without a doubt it WAS helping me so much; but there was also another side to it.

There were so many emotions that surfaced through this process.  At the beginning I had a lot of anger and frustration come up.  I think it was because I’d finally decided to be real, open and honest… I’d decided to find my voice and be more authentic… be myself… and then I had certain people question why I was telling My Story.  I had people say they were worried about me.  I had people get upset because I was sharing My Story (and I totally get that most of these people were coming from a place of love and had my best interests at heart), but there was a part of me that was really triggered by this.  It’s like the part of me that had been hidden away out of the fear of judgement, finally come out to be seen, and it was straight away getting judged and questioned.  That part of me was feeling really pissed off.

Once that anger and frustration died down a bit, I’d have stages of going through the different emotions of each part of My Story that I’d share.  It was really like I went back in time.  I guess feeling all of the emotions around each Chapter again helped me to write.  It helped me connect with those emotions and parts of me that I may have pushed aside back in time.  It gave me a chance to acknowledge, feel and heal them.

It got to winter and I’m pretty sure I hit a patch of depression.  I think I’m a little prone to seasonal depression.  I’ve never liked winter.  I always struggle to warm up – even to the extent where I’d need to have a shower mid afternoon to warm up.  I don’t get out doors as much in winter because I struggle with the cold.  Getting out doors and moving my body is what has me feeling my best – that doesn’t happen as much in winter, and I dare say that contributes to me feeling down.  Moving forward I’ll be having holidays every winter and heading somewhere warm!

I know that I said I’d be real, open and honest this year, but there were patches where I was too vulnerable to share exactly how I was feeling.  Feeling quite depressed in winter is an example of that.  Out of respect to myself, I wouldn’t always put how I was feeling out there on social media.  It’s not that I’m embarrassed to say that I struggle at times (everyone does!).  It’s just that at times like that, I’m super vulnerable and sensitive.  Out of respect to my self I allow myself to work through it before telling the world.  I also find that I can explain things a lot better once I’m out the other side and I feel that’s more of benefit to other people. 

Once it got to about July, things really started to shift.  I ran my first Goddess Circle.  It was a huge success and I’ve been running them on a monthly basis ever since.  I started tapping into what I call my ‘hippy side’ more and more.  I was being more true and authentic with doing the things that I love to do.

I couple of months later I had an idea for a couple of on line programs; The 30 Day Spring Kick Starter Program, and the 7 Day Yoga Challenge.  I actioned them straight away and they were a huge success.  There was no more holding back as I had this new found confidence and faith in what I was offering, plus I had a greater following on social media – having a larger audience makes it easier to get new projects up and running.  I felt my connection with followers on social media was getting stronger because they could relate to me more via me sharing My Story.

I started attracting a new tribe of people as I was being more real, open and honest.  In fact it really warmed my soul when I’d often receive emails from people, saying that they are following My Story and that a lot of what I shared, resonated with them.  Some people even said that they felt like they were reading their own story, and they feeling inspired.  Once I started having people that I’ve never meet, start to contact me and tell me that they follow my work and that I inspire them… that’s when I thought, ‘wow, I’m being seen and I’m making a difference.’  It was no longer just the people I know that were engaging with my work.  It was a larger audience of people I’d never met.

I think some of the best things I’ve got out of sharing My Story, is letting go of that fear of judgement.  Without the fear of judgement I can do things that feel more in alignment with me.  It’s helped me realise that the Goddess stuff is the path that I really want to take.  I want help people that have experienced things such as me (anxiety, depression, feeling lost, not feeling a goddess, and wanting to find a tribe of like minded people), and help them to feel like life is happening for them, not to them.

I want people to feel like ANYTHING is POSSIBLE!  Our thoughts create our reality, and our vibe attracts our tribe.  If only I’d kept track of how many Coaching clients finish their coaching programs with me and say ‘my group of friends have changed.  I have more friends that are so easy to get along with and we all have lots in common.’  I have so many Coaching clients that finish their programs and tell me that they feel so much more comfortable in their own skin.  They feel more content with in themselves and they’re just happier in general.  They’ve learnt to accept the parts of themselves that they used to push away.  Their self worth has increased and they no longer put up with things or treat themselves in ways that they used too.  

I often share a lot of testimonials from people on my social media, but there’s still so much beautiful feedback that I don’t share.   I can’t put into words the joy I get from helping people through my Coaching, Retreats, Yoga Classes and Goddess Events.  I seriously get goose bumps so often when I hear magical feedback, let alone happy tears as I read messages and emails from people expressing their gratitude.

I hope that by me sharing My Story, people can see why I’m so passionate about Coaching people to believe in themselves and most importantly – accept and love themselves for who they are as an individual.  I have learnt SO much from my own experience, and because of my experience I have so much love and kindness for others.  I’ve done all of the courses, study, research, etc… but I think personal experience is what teaches you the most.

I believe that everyone has a Story to tell.  Everyone deserves to be seen and heard.  Kindness is my number one core value.  I dare say that’s why so many people feel comfortable doing my Coaching Programs, and attending my Goddess Circles (and soon to be Goddess Gatherings and Goddess Retreats).

At the start of My Story blog series, I said that I had a big dream.  I’ve been too embarrassed to share that out loud with anyone, because I originally thought ‘who the hell am I to have a massive dream like that, and who am I to think that I’m good enough to do that?!’  BUT… through sharing My Story those doubts and insecurities have dissolved.  Sure I still have some, but I’m way more open to possibilities and have so much more belief in myself.  You’ve read My Story… I’ve been determined… I’ve come so far and I’m not giving up any time soon.

I said this year was about being real, open and honest.  If you’ve made it this far with My Story, I feel it’s only fair that I let you in on my vision and dream.

One day, I hope to be a motivational speaker at schools.  This has actually been a vision of mine for years.  I can see myself walking out on stage at assemblies as a well known motivational speaker.

I want to visit schools and tell them about my journey.  My journey from a very shy, quiet child, to a teenager with social anxiety that relied on alcohol to socialise; a teenager without any focus or vision for the future through a massive lack of self belief, to taking the leap from a solid corporate job to running my own business.  Selling a business and then starting a new business.  The high and lows.  I want to be real, open and honest with them.  I want them to hear My Story and feel INSPIRED.  Inspired to have a crack!  To believe in themselves and most importantly BELIEVE in themselves regardless of who tells you what you can or can’t do.

I hope to be a successful business women, with a thriving business, yet also living a meaningful life that isn’t just focused on business.  I want to have a thriving business that allows me to live a life that I’ve always dreamed of.  I want to speak to students and open them up to possibilities and to encourage them to believe in themselves.  I want kids to know that just because you go through a tough stage in life, it doesn’t make you a failure; if anything you’re going to learn some big lessons, and it’s going to take you higher.

I want to be the person that I wish I heard speak when I was at school; when I was stuffing around because I didn’t believe in myself or think I was good enough to create a dream life after school.  I wish I heard someone tell me that they weren’t a straight A student, that they struggled with patches of anxiety and depression and lack of self belief, yet with focus, self belief and a vision they created something amazing.  There’s so much I could add to this… but I think you get the idea of what I’m trying to say.

This is my longest blog post for this series of My Story yet!  I still have so much to share with you… but I want to wrap this up before 2019, which is just a few days away. 

So I’m going to leave it here.  This is My Story from when I was born through to where I am now… sitting in my dads office at the farm, as I’ve now created a business that allows me to work remotely for parts of it.

I’m sitting here, bursting at the seams wanting to start planning and locking in Goddess Events for 2019.  I want to get my Coaching Package details out for the world to see so I can help more people love and embrace who they are, and live a life that they love.

I have a massive list of things that I want to action next year… I’ll be sorting through that over the next few days to create more clarity and make sure that it ‘feels’ right for me.  That it’s not my ego thinking ‘you should do this, that, etc’.  I want to following the feeling of what I feel to do.  That’s where the magic happens.

I feel like I’ve learnt some golden nuggets of wisdom through this process of telling My Story.  I want to share these lessons with you all, and I also want to share my vision for 2019 with you.  What I have on offer, and what I’m looking to create, along with a few personal goals – because I’m mindful that I don’t want my life to just be about ‘work’.  Life’s to be lived.. and I’m exciting for life-ing more in 2019!  I will write a blog post at some stage about my lessons I’ve learnt through this experience and my vision for 2019.

THANK YOU for reading My Story.  This may be the last Chapter for this book ‘My Story’… yet I feel like another Story is just beginning.  I told my self at the start of 2018 that this year is make or break for my business.  I’m happy to confirm that it’s been ‘make’.  I am so ready for 2019, and I’m not going any where – I’m just getting started!

Every story has an ending… but in life, every ending is a new beginning.

The end.

Love, peace & gratitude,

Steph x
Chapter 14
‘I’m thankful for all of it.  The highs.  The lows.  The blessings.  The lessons.  The setbacks.  The comebacks.  The love.  The hate.  Everything.’ Author unknown  

DISCLAIMER: My story isn’t one to make anyone feel shame or to feel bad, but instead for me to own the parts of me that I’ve pushed aside, so I can integrate to becoming a more authentic version of myself and an even better coach.

I’ve had a bit of resistance with writing this next blog post.  Everything seems to be flowing so well.  I feel like I’m in flow.  I haven’t wanted to stop that flow.  I haven’t wanted to reflect back on the tougher times.  I’ve wanted to be present with what I’m doing and keep moving forward.

Yet theres still be a part of me thinking that I must finish what I start.  This process of sharing My Story has helped me grow as a person in more ways than I ever imagined.  I feel like I owe it to myself to finish this.  I also feel that I owe it to everyone else that has jumped on board with reading My Story.

It turns out that I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into with sharing My Story.  I never expected to dive in this deep with it.  I haven’t been able to avoid the depths that it’s taken me too.  It’s helped me discover my love of writing even more.  It’s been quite an enjoyable process, even if it has stirred up past thoughts and feelings.

Quite a bit of time and energy goes into each of these blogs posts.  I don’t just whip these chapters/blog posts up in an hour or so.  They take numerous hours.

For some Chapters it’s meant looking back through old diaries; revisiting what was happening at that point in time and remembering how I felt.  On some occasions it’s also meant chatting with friends or family about a certain point in time, trying to create more clarity.

There’s been certain parts of Chapters where I’ve had to think carefully about how to word things without involving or offending anyone else.  I’ve done my best to keep My Story strictly that – My Story, and not make it about other people.  Even thought at times, I have had to refer to certain people as they do play quite a vital role.

What a process it has been, and one that I would do all over again.  I know that it’s been for the best… even if it has brought up discomfort; it’s helped me face this discomfort head on until it’s dissolved into nothing. 

Ok, back to where I left of with the last blog post…

The 6th January 2018.  I was at the farm, sitting in the lounge room with mum and dad watching tv.  It was a shocker of a day outside.  Really hot and extremely windy.  Not a good day for a fire.

I’d planned on heading back to Adelaide in a few days, ready to teach yoga at Clarity Massage & Wellness, and get back in the swing of things with my Health Coaching Programs.

I’d spent New Years reflecting on the previous year that had been, and set some intentions for the year ahead.  I felt focused.  I felt ready to put myself out there so I could be seen, reach more people and in turn be of service to more people.

We were sitting in the lounge room and dads fire pager went off (he’s part of the CFS).  Straight away we all thought ‘oh no, this isn’t good.  It’s not a good day for a fire!’

I went out side to see if I could see any smoke, and yes, I sure could.  The wind was heading straight in our direction too.  Dad got his stuff together and he was out the door like grease lightening.  He also told us to keep our phones nearby incase he calls and tells us to evacuate.

Sure enough, it wasn’t long before dad called mums phone and said to her, ‘you and Steph have to leave.  This fire’s out of control.’  He told us what town to head too.

I grabbed my handbag, my laptop and dads farm laptop.  The sheep dog was hanging out at our back door because the weather was so hot.  I tried to get the dog in the car, but they wouldn’t come to me.  We didn’t know how much time we had to evacuate, so I was fighting back tears as I got in the car with out the dog.  We had to leave them behind.

Mum was panicking so I didn’t want her to drive alone.  I got in the car with mum, and left my car at the farm not knowing if I would see it again.  It’s times like that when you realise, it’s just a car.

We drove to the nearby town that dad told us to go too.  Mum had a friend there and we went straight to her house.

It was one of those days where people sit in side with the air conditioners going, blinds and curtains shut and you have no idea what’s going on outside.

I couldn’t handle sitting inside because there was a huge amount of smoke coming in the direction of the town we evacuated too.  It was honestly like the sky was just one big cloud of black smoke.  It was eery.  I don’t know much about fires, but I do know that generally the direction the smoke is heading is the direction the wind and fire is heading.  I was really fearful that the fire was coming for us, so I was sitting outside in front of the house chatting to my siblings and friends on my phone.

In time the smoke direction changed and I felt more at ease.  I went inside, and mums friend was so lovely.  She look after us well and did her best to keep us calm.

I had my laptop so I was keeping an eye on the CFS updates via facebook.  My 2 brothers, sister and I had a facebook thread happening where we sharing any information we’d seen about the fire.  We also had the TV on trying to find any updates on the news so we’d know what’s happening.  It was actually really challenging to find any updates on the TV or radio.  Facebook was actually the best.

My brother sent through a CFS map that showed the country they predicted had been burnt out by the fire.  Our hearts sank as we zoomed in on the map and could see that the 4 houses on our farm were all in the zone where the fire had been.

I burst into tears because my first thought was the poor sheepdog.  I kept saying that I should have tried harder to got them in the car.  It was the strangest feeling to sit there thinking ‘we’ve lost our house and everything in it.’  It was a pretty numb feeling actually.  I couldn’t really feel anything.  It seemed to surreal.

We tried calling dad numerous times through out the afternoon, but he wasn’t answering.  We knew that he didn’t end up on the fire truck as they already had a crew when he got there, so he went in his own ute with a fire fighting unit on it.  We just hoped like crazy that he was ok.

Before long that map showing our farm burnt out was taken down off the internet, and a new one was put up showing that our farm wasn’t actually in the fire zone.  It was close but not in it – thank goodness.

We finally heard from dad around 9:00pm that night.  He said they had it under control and we were safe to go home now.  The roads were still closed off but the police let us through and boy oh boy, it was so nice to be home… especially knowing that it wasn’t effected by the fire.

There were a few houses that we lost in the fires.  It’s unbelievable that no one was killed.  The stories I was hearing the next day whilst helping neighbours tidy up around their homes gave me goose bumps. 

Apparently the fire was roaring along the main road towards our farm.  It was moving at a very fast speed.  If the wind didn’t change when it did, the story I’m telling you now would be very different.  That wind change saved our farm. Our neighbours weren’t so lucky.

The country girl in me was reminded of that amazing country community and spirit.  Everyone was chipping in to help one another.  There were thousands of live stock that were killed in the fire, fences and pipelines were damaged; a couple of homes were also lost.  Plus there’s things like feed for stock all being burnt out.  Trees and scrap metal and bits and pieces all laying around that needs tidying up.  Fires leave so much devastation.

I postponed my work in Adelaide and stayed at the farm to assist with the recovery process.  Well really… I kind of acted as dads assistant.

One of our neighbours called dad and suggested we have a bbq for all those directly effected by the fire.  A chance for people to come together and debrief, and it was also a way to check that everyone’s ok.

We held the bbq at our shearing shed.  I told dad that I’d organise all of the food and get the shed set up ready to go.

Country communities… Amazing.  I called the local butcher to organise some meat for the bbq, and they donated all of the meat.  I called the local pub and they donated all of the beer and wine.  I contacted the local bakery to order some bread rolls, and they too donated all of the bread rolls. 

I want to add that I never asked them if they could donate it all.  They all said they’d donate it before I even had a chance to ask how much it would cost.  That community spirit is so special.

I eventually made my way back to Adelaide.  Ready to get back into the swing of things with my business.  I was ready to get back in the swing of things with life in general.  Not just work.  I decided to put myself back out there in the dating scene and put good ol’ Tinder on my phone.

Within a couple of days I’d matched with this guy and we’d organised to catch up.  I was hell nervous but through our msgs he seemed like a good guy.  He was friendly, he had a sense of humour and engaged in conversation that interested me.

After the first date, I wasn’t 100% sure about him.  He was nice.  He had these amazing blue eyes.  He was tall (being a 6’ tall girl, height is a thing for me, haha).  Health was important to him and he liked to keep active.  He really did seem like a great guy, but there was a vibe around his attitude/personality that I wasn’t sold on.  I couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was.  It just left me feeling a little unsure.

The next day after we caught up, he msged me to plan another date.  Whilst I wasn’t 100% sure about him, I thought what the hell, why not go on another date.  It’s hard to really know someone just from one date.  Friends would often say to me ‘Steph you always say you’re unsure about guys you date.  Just give them a chance!’

For our next date we headed down south to a beautiful beach.  He packed an esky with this amazing food and I packed some kombucha.  I also liked that he wasn’t phased about the fact I wasn’t into drinking alcohol, and he was open to trying kombucha.  

I’m not going to lie.  This date blew my mind.  I had the best time with him, and so pleased I followed through with the second date.  I think we both kind of lost ourselves for a bit there.  I couldn’t believe that I’d finally met someone that I really liked.  We talked for hours and had so much fun.  He had me hook, line and sinker.

For the next few weeks we saw each other a lot.  He lived 5-10 minutes away.  My routine went out the window.  Routine is something that helps keep my grounded; I kept saying that I need more routine, and his response would be ‘you don’t need routine.’

He started to say things more and more that would trigger me.  I don’t really want to list them off here.  I doubt very much that he would read this, but you never know.  That aside though, I want to keep My Story about me and not go into details about other people that haven’t asked to be part of this blog series. 

Let’s just say he was the perfect ‘teacher.’  He highlighted my insecurities.  He also highlighted things that are important to me, because they weren’t to him.  This relationship with him helped me get super clear on what my values are.  Looking back, he was a big catalyst for all of the change I’ve experienced this year.

We’d been seeing each other for 3 or 4 weeks, and I started getting sick.  I’d wake up in a sweat; my whole upper body would be covered in sweat.  I had really puffy eyes.  I was getting headaches every day.  I then started getting really tired and exhausted easily.

Before long he said to me, ‘I feel really bad; I think I might have given you glandular fever.’  He researched the symptoms and how long it takes for someone else to catch it and it all lined up.  He said that he had glandular fever over Christmas and didn’t realise that he’d still be contagious. 

About a week after that he started getting very distant.  He wasn’t contacting me as much, and then I got a msg saying he’s not available to catch up for the whole week, which was very unusual.  It got to the end of the week and I still hadn’t heard from him, so I messaged him and said, ‘can I quickly come over and see you?’  His response, ‘sure.’

I went over there and said to him, ‘what’s going on?  Is everything ok?  If you don’t want to be with me any more, tell me.’  His response, ‘I’m not sure.’  We spoke for a bit and again and again I would say if you don’t want us to be together any more it’s ok.  I just need to know.  He would keep replying ‘I don’t know.’

I was nice to him whilst I was there chatting, but deep down I was so frustrated and pissed off.  I just wanted him to be honest with me.  A few days later he messaged me to say that he’s not in a position to see me any more because he’s to be busy with uni and work.

Looking back I can see that I wasn’t using my voice (and that’s what this blog has been all about – finding my voice and using it, regardless of if people are going to judge me).  Even after he messaged me to say that he can’t see me any more, I sent him a really nice message back, when I was actually pissed off!  I should have been honest and said what I really thought. 

Looking back, I think I did start to use my voice more towards the end of us seeing each other.  That may have been something that led to it ending.  I don’t think he liked when I started to speak up and call him out on things I wasn’t ok with.

He really was the perfect teacher.  After things ending with him, it was so easy to get clear on my values!  All the things that triggered me… he was triggering my values – that’s how I got clear on them.

It turned out that I did get glandular fever as well.  I was also scared of getting chronic fatigue as a follow on from glandular fever.  That would not be good considering I was self employed.

I’d lost my way with my business a bit as I was so out of routine and not feeling 100%.  2018 was off to a different start than I had planned for.

I was now focused on my health even more to ensure I didn’t get chronic fatigue.  I reached out to a Personal Trainer that I knew, knowing that he’d had chronic fatigue in the past and he had a very holistic approach to health and wellbeing.  I messaged him to ask if he had any tips for me, to help me avoid chronic fatigue.

He offered for me to meet with him in person or via phone and have a chat.  The following week I met with him and he asked me, ‘Steph, what are you afraid of?  What are your fears?’  He said that was effecting my health. 

That conversation with this person is what started this ‘My Story’ blog series. It become apparent that I had to overcome my fear of judgement from others and find my voice.  I wanted to be of service to people through my work, and in order to reach as many people as possible I need to be seen and heard.  I wasn’t doing that because of my fear of judgement.

My business was suffering as I was shrinking and not being seen.  I was absolutely petrified of my business failing.  That thought… I can’t put into words how the the thought of that made me feel.  I actually felt stuck with my business.  I didn’t know what to do.  I was too afraid to tell people this, especially via social media because I felt that it would be business suicide.  I thought, ‘who would want to do business with someone that’s struggling?’

I decided it was time to get real, open and honest through telling My Story via my blog.  I wanted people to know the parts of me that weren’t always on show through social media.  I wanted people to understand the path I’ve taken and what I’ve learnt along the way, and hence why I’m so passionate about the work that I do.

It didn’t mean it was an easy road ahead… I experienced some of my lowest of lows and highest of highs.  Winter in particular.  That was one of my darkest times yet.  But out of darkness comes light.  In the darkness you learn, grow and evolve.  Wow things have evolved this year and I think telling My Story has been a big part of this.

To be continued…

Love, peace & gratitude,

Steph x
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‘The scariest thing for most people to do these days is simply stop.  We live in a world obsessed with keeping up.’ Jamie Gonzalez  

DISCLAIMER: My story isn’t one to make anyone feel shame or to feel bad, but instead for me to own the parts of me that I’ve pushed aside, so I can integrate to becoming a more authentic version of myself and an even better coach.

I’m back with the next blog post!  I’m trying not to leave it so long in-between posts now… yet it happened again!  My apologies.

We are now at 2017 with this story of mine.  The year I decided to not drink alcohol.  The Year I worked with a mentor that taught me how to allow stillness and space (aka not be a workaholic).  It was a year that my fears and insecurities surfaced. It was a year that I kept chugging along with work, yet had this inner knowing that there had to be more.  I didn’t feel I was reaching my full potential.

2017 was just last year!  I fear a vulnerability hangover coming up! Nah, to be honest that fear of judgement is slipping away again.  Well actually, it comes and goes a bit.  When I’m consistent with posting these blogs, the fear diminishes.  When I don’t do one for a while, I do feel some fear of judgement creep back in a bit; but not to the same extent as to when I first started this blog series.

This Chapter is quite timely actually.  It’s revisiting my experience of learning to allow space.  It’s a timely reminder for me to ‘allow space’ at this current point in time.  I’ve felt myself slipping back into workaholic mode.  I know I’ve slipped into workaholic mode when I start feeling anxious about any social engagements, and don’t want to attend – I feel guilty if I’m not working, because I have so much that I want to get done.  Or I simply notice that I’m really uncomfortable sitting around with nothing to do.  I find myself reaching for my phone, calling a friend, scrolling social media… anything but sitting in stillness with my thoughts and with how I feel.

So what does allowing space mean?  I’ll touch on it more later on in this blog post, but to put it simply, it means allowing some time out to simply be.  It means not being busy all the time.  Not always working.  Not always scheduling things in.  Not always being around people.  It means some time out for yourself to connect with yourself; actually check in with how you’re feeling and what you feel to do.  To put it simply, it’s just being.  Just being without an agenda.

This week particularly, I’ve been focusing on trying to create more space!  I’ve also been focusing on how to inject some more ‘non-work’ activities into my days.  This was all before I realised I’d be writing about ‘allowing space’ in this blog post.  So timely.

It’s challenging when work and leisure are so closely connected!  I wrote a list last week about all the non work activities I love to do.  The list consisted of hiking, pilates, yoga, brunch at cafes with friends, going to markets, writing… they are still linked with my world of health & wellness.  I live and breathe my work!

Any how, I really believe there’s a lot of magic that can happen when you allow space.  I know from first hand experience that so much good can come from allowing space, yet it’s still something I have to consciously try and put into practice.

Allowing space can be quite confronting at times.  Allowing space can mean that instead of being busy and pushing thoughts and emotions aside, it gives them space to surface… it means feeling emotions and allowing them to move through you… 2017 is a year I experienced this in a big way… as you’ll find out in this blog post.

Ok, back to where I left of with the last blog post…

2017 was the year I decided to not drink any alcohol.  After a horrible hangover on the 1st January 2017, I really questioned why I drink?  In the previous few years I’d really cut back my alcohol intake.  It just didn’t fit with my line of work and with how I wanted to feel.  Every now and then I would slip up and drink more that my quota.  It would generally happen if I was experiencing social anxiety, or if I was around friends that I used to drink with back in the day; it’s like I’d slip back to how I used to act around them.

To be honest, I also decided to do no alcohol for a year because I thought it would be a fascinating little project.  I find human behaviour very interesting, and I was keen to see how people would react to me not drinking, along with what kind of things would trigger me to want to drink.

6 months in of no drinking alcohol and I had experienced my first ‘sober hang over’.  I went to a festival and didn’t drink, yet the next morning I felt like I had a shocking hangover!  I felt nauseous and had so much brain fog.  It proved that a lack of sleep and dehydration are big contributors to hangovers!  Sleep is one of my number 1 self care practices.  I feel rotten without it.

It also highlighted my social anxiety.  Quite often when attending social events, I’d like to have a drink or two to help me relax.  To begin with I did find myself feeling quite anxious at social events, but in time this slowly eased.  It would still pop up here and there, but not as intense as it used to be.  

This year seemed to be the year that I really increased my self awareness.  No alcohol played a part with that.  My mind felt a lot sharper, and I was just a lot more aware of my thoughts and behaviour around not drinking.  I was really curious about the whole ‘no drinking for a year’ experience.

Another key factor with increasing my self awareness was via some mentoring I had.  I’d seen this guys work on social media and liked the content that he shared.  He often posted videos outlining his thoughts on things and it really resonated with me.  It sounded like a way of living I wanted to experience.

I remember having the initial call with him, to chat about wether or not I’d like to go ahead with the Coaching.  I really felt too, yet I didn’t really have the funds to do it.  It was very pricey, and to be completely honest, I was already quite fearful of my financial situation… but I knew something had to change.

I ended up signing up for the mentoring (even though I was petrified of spending that much money).  It included some weekly, and then fortnightly one on one mentoring calls.  On top of that, I was part of a small group of people that this guy mentored and we had fortnightly online group video calls.  It was so cool to connect with like minded people.  I really loved these people and still think they’re legends to this day.  So grateful to have connected with them.

When I first started working with this mentor, the first thing for me to do, was to come back to being present.  Being in the present moment instead of having a busy mind thinking about trillion different things, over analysing everything, and getting caught up in my fears (hello Gemini brain).  It sounds so simple, but seriously… how often do you find yourself thinking about past or future things?!

He got me to start meditating and encouraged me to tune into what I ‘feel to do’ instead of ‘think I should do.’   He reminded me that I’m not my thoughts and emotions and to remember that I am my truest commitment.

He recommended I listen to the audio book of the Power of Now, by Eckart Tolle (if you haven’t read it, do yourself a favour!).  I’ve now listened to it numerous times.  That book is brilliant.

Most importantly, after a few months of working with this mentor, I was getting better at allowing space.  I didn’t have to always be working out of fear. Fear that if I wasn’t working I was going to fail, and fear of thoughts and emotions that would surface if I couldn’t block them out by being busy.

Don’t get me wrong though… it wasn’t all fun and games.  When I first started this work of allowing space, it took me to some pretty dark places.  I remember just crying.  Feeling heavy and depressed.  All of the fears, thoughts and feelings that I had pushed aside by being a workaholic… they started to surface. 

I remember calling this mentor early in the piece saying ‘I don’t want to do this any more.  I’m going to a dark place.  I’ve had depression before and I don’t want to go back there again.’  He was very supportive though and mentored me through it.

What this mentor was encouraging me to do was going against my plan of really having a crack with work for 2017.  Instead of hustling and trying so hard, I was guided to do more of what I feel to do, instead of doing things out of fear (fear of not working hard enough, doing enough, making enough money, etc).

It was confronting.  It was a very different way of approaching my work than I had previously.  I felt guilty if I took time out to allow space.  I feared my family would judge me for not working hard enough, and that they would think ‘what the hell is she doing with her life?’

I discovered that the fear of not being financially stable and the fear or being alone were my two primary fears.  Through this work I was able to see what ‘stories’ were contributing to these fears.  The mentoring changed my perspective and focus around these things that I feared.  I was reminded to stay open to possibilities and follow what I feel to do, instead of focusing on the fears and acting out of fear.  

I knew that ‘allowing space’ was starting to help me, when I went to the farm to visit mum and dad, and mum said to me, ‘Something’s changed.  You’re so much calmer.’  She was right.  I even noticed it myself.  I was a lot more at peace and wasn’t always on edge having to be doing something. 

I’m so grateful that I learnt to allow space to simply allow myself to be.    

There were seriously so many different parts of this mentoring that played a big part of my personal development.  I learnt so much about myself and it’s helped me with Coaching other people as well.  I feel like allowing the ‘space’ allowed me to peel back some layers.  Let go of old ‘stories’ and patterns of behaviour, and it opened me up to possibilities.  I’ve always been a dreamer, but I now had more faith in my dreams.  

I worked with this mentor for all of 2017 and for the first part of 2018 (I’ll explain that more in the next blog).  

It was nearing the end of 2017.  I’d stuck to my work of no alcohol for the year.  I felt like I had to go out for New Years Eve as I’d be seen as a bit of loser if I stayed home by myself and did nothing.  But deep down, I just wanted to chill at the farm.  I really felt to sit by myself, allow space, reflect on the year that’s been and set goals for the year ahead.

After all the mentoring I’d had for the year, I’d learnt to listen to what I ‘feel’ to do.  I didn’t let my ego get the better of me with the ‘don’t be a loser. You have to go out for New Years Eve.’  I spent New Years Eve at the farm by myself.  I loved it.

I decided that 2018 was going to be my year to be seen.  I wasn’t going to hide away any more.  I had gifts to share with the world; I knew I was more than capable of helping people through my Coaching, Retreats and Programs (I’d proven this time and time again with clients that I’d worked with).  I’d done so much work on myself through out the year.  I felt like I had grown and evolved as a person.  I was ready to open myself up to more possibilities.  It was time to get visible so more people could see and know about me.  I planned to do this through social media.  I’d be seen via more videos and content that I’d share.

That all seemed like a great idea… but on the 6th January 2018, I was sitting at the farm with mum and dad.  It was high risk fire day.  An absolute shit of a day for fires.

It was the day of the devastating Sherwood bushfire.  Mum and I had to evacuate the farm and dad was out fighting it.  I’ve got goose bumps right now as I type about it.

This is the first time I’ve actually shared anything about my experience with this fire publicly.  It actually really shook me up, but I didn’t like to voice that.  We were lucky as the wind changed and the fire ended up missing our farm.  Our neighbours weren’t so lucky.  I didn’t think I had any reason to feel shaken up about it (but in hindsight looking back… it’s no wonder I was shaken up.  It was a frightening day and it left so much destruction).

So there I was, 6 days into 2018 thinking this was the year to find my voice and be seen, and I had suddenly lost my voice.  I couldn’t even bring myself to do Instastories (those of you that follow me on instagram would be well aware I’m always on Instagram!).  For some reason I just withdrew and really turned inwards.  I only like to share what feels true to me via my social media, and at that point in time all I was thinking about was the fire and the aftermath of it… I didn’t feel it was my place to share stuff like that on social media, nor did I want too.

I postponed my yoga classes and work in Adelaide and stayed at the farm for an extra few weeks to help Dad with the post fire recovery. 

In February, I finally made my way back to Adelaide after my extended Christmas break. After returning to Adelaide, a series of events that have been the catalyst for SO MUCH change this year, unfolded .  2018 has been an action packed year.  This is the Chapter I’ve been waiting to share with you!  You’re about to find out why.

To be continued…

Love, peace & gratitude,

Steph x
community pic
‘The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.’ Dean Ornish  

DISCLAIMER: My story isn’t one to make anyone feel shame or to feel bad, but instead for me to own the parts of me that I’ve pushed aside, so I can integrate to becoming a more authentic version of myself and an even better coach.

Wow.  There’s been quite a gap between this blog post and the last one!  My apologies.  It was never my intention!

I’ve had a few people reach out and ask if I’m going to continue telling My Story?  They’ve been hanging out for the next Chapter as they want to know what happens next!

Well… I most certainly am continuing with telling My Story!  It wouldn’t feel right to just stop… even though, when I do reach the Chapter of where I’m presently at, that’s still not the end!  I still have big visions and dreams (and determination).  The Chapters will continue as my life continues to unfold and evolve.  Maybe I’ll even continue to blog about them.  We’ll see.

To be honest, the delay with writing this next blog post was initially due to being side tracked with other work projects.  It’s blown my mind, how much things have shifted and changed since telling My Story.  It’s like it’s shaken things up so much and I no longer feeling stuck; things have shifted and are now in flow.  I feel so much clearer with the direction I want head with my business, opportunities are presenting, and the wheels are in motion!  I have some really cool stuff happening at the moment.

I always felt that sharing My Story would have quite a profound impact on me.  I felt it would help me heal things from the past and get more clarity with moving forward.  I felt it would help me overcome my fear of judgement.  I felt it would help people see the real me; help people see that they’re not alone.  This experience of telling My Story so far has done that and so much more.

However, now that I’ve sat down to write this next blog post, I’ve had to go back through my past blogs and read them again.  I feel like I’ve lost momentum and lost touch with where I was at!

I’ve then had some excuses (aka. Fears) starting to pop up…

  • ‘Oh, no one cares about your story anymore.  You’ve left it too long.  Don’t worry about it.’
  • ‘Shit.  I’m starting to feel a bit vulnerable because the stuff I’m now sharing now, wasn’t that long ago.  Do I really want to share this?’
  • ‘Oh, I’ll write this later.  I’ve got other things to do that are more important.’

I can see that’s fear.  Fear of being judged is creeping back a little bit.  But I’m aware of it, and will continue to tell My Story.  The whole reason for doing this was to over come the fear of judgement!

But then again, on the other hand, I feel like I haven’t felt to write this blog post because I’ve been so present with what I’m doing.  I’m in flow, and I’ve felt so wrapped up in current projects.  Totally loving it!  I haven’t wanted to break that flow.

To be honest, I can’t wait to get to the Chapter where I explain all the shifts and changes that are taking place at the moment.  This year has been a game changer, and the process of telling My Story has been quite a big part of that.  2018 is the Chapter I can’t wait to share with you.

Ok, back to where I left of with the last blog post…

January 2016. I was starting to feel more settled in Adelaide.  I handed over my gym business in the country 6 months prior.  I’d finished my Health Coaching Course.  I had been to Sydney to complete my Raw Food Chef qualification.  I’d started running Health & Wellness Retreats.  I’d got the foundation laid for my new business ‘Steph Bartlett.’ 

I’d moved past that experience of depression.  I was starting to feel like myself again.  I was ready for a fresh start.

Since handing over my gym business in the country and moving to Adelaide, I was feeling the pressure.  Feeling the pressure to have a thriving business.  I put that pressure on myself.  My high expectations, along with that part of me… that deep inner knowing that this is the work I’m meant to be doing.  I couldn’t handle the thought of this business not working.  I had to make this work.

In the country everyone knew me.  I didn’t need to advertise.  I got lots of business through word of mouth.  My expenses in the country were so much lower than the city.  

So basically… I’d moved to the city having a lower income and higher expenses, plus I had the task of building a new client base and new list of services/products.

At this point in time, I connected my business success to my self worth.  Work was such a big part of my identity.  I felt known for my work.  In the country, clients would see me down the street and tell me about how they pulled up from their workouts, or I’d see them at the super market and they’d cover their trollies if there was any junk food in their saying ‘but this food isn’t for me; it’s for the kids!’ and then we’d have a little joke about it.  A lot of conversation was built around my work.

I suppose I lived and breathed my work though.  My lifestyle was based around health and wellbeing, and I loved my work.  It didn’t feel like work.  It didn’t matter what day of the week it was, I loved them all and I’d live a healthy lifestyle regardless of if it was a weekday or weekend.

The year was off to a slow start.  I’d always feel that I’d have to be working.  It felt irresponsible to not be working, because I had to make this work. It consumed me a bit.  But in looking back, I dare say I would have been more productive if I allowed myself some time out to recharge.

I remember visiting my parents at the farm one weekend, and I couldn’t sit still.  Poor mum was copping it, because it didn’t matter what she’d say, I’d snap back.  I was meant to spend another half day at the farm, but I couldn’t handle it.  I couldn’t handle sitting around not working.  I said I had to go back to Adelaide and do some work.  Sure enough, I got in the car and off I went.  

The second half of 2016 things started to shift.  I started teaching Yoga at a Clarity Massage & Wellness.  This place was like a big warm hug.  The people that worked there, were my kind of people.  I also met lots of new people as I started new yoga classes.  It reminded me of the country community feeling.  It filled me up with all of the good vibes and it still does!

In September I found out that the house I was living in had been sold, so I had to move out.  I remember having a melt down driving home from a house inspection one day.  I’d looked at so many houses and units and couldn’t find anything that felt right. 

I remember calling mum on the way home from yet another house inspection that didn’t take my fancy, and I burst into tears.

I didn’t know what I was going to do.  I got home, jumped on Google and typed in ‘share house Adelaide.’  Originally, I wanted to find my own place, but I wasn’t getting any where so I opened up to the idea of a share house again. 

I actually found the best house!  It was a 4 bedroom house, but I would just have 2 house mates.  It had lots of natural night.  There was a room for me to set up my office.  It had a big backyard.  It was an amazing location.  The girls living there were both lovely too. 

Once I’d looked through the house, I straight away said ‘Yes!  I’m in!’  and the girl that lived there was all for it too.  It was such a sigh of relief to have somewhere to live!  That gave me a new burst of life as I had fresh space to set up my office, a new location.  It sparked something inside of me.

During this time I was still feeling unusually anxious though.  I guess moving house was probably a part of it.  But the other part was that I wasn’t feeling in shape.  Working in the Health & Wellness Industry and not feeling in good shape isn’t a good mix… even though I know there’s more to health and wellbeing than body shape/weight.  It’s pretty hard to move past it though.

In my diary at this time I’d written:

‘I feel like I keep stalling.  There’s part of me that feels so driven to succeed, yet there’s a part of me holding back and making up excuses.’

30/9/16

I think there was a fear of judgement.  I had these grand plans and desires to power ahead with work, but yet there was this part of me thinking ‘but who are you to do that?  You’re hardly a perfect image of health and wellbeing.’

I knew what I had to do.  I knew how to get in shape, but it was like there was some self sabotage going on.  The weight was keeping me safe from being seen; I wouldn’t be judged if I wasn’t seen.  There was a tug of war going on.

At the end of the year, a friend told me that he went to group fitness sessions on Light Square.  It was with a guy called Kris Massie and his business was Chi PT.  He suggested I get in touch with Kris and give the fitness sessions a try.

It was very much out of my comfort zone… I felt anxious about going to a fitness session and not knowing if I’d be fit enough to do it.  I was anxious about going to a new place, and not knowing the people.  I really wasn’t sure about it.

My friend introduced me to Kris and he was really kind and encouraging.  I thought, righto lets give this a go.

Chi PT was more than just group fitness sessions.  It was a full blown supportive community of people.  Just like Clarity Massage and Wellness gave me a feeling of that country community, Chi PT was another!

I started to feel I was finding my feet with these new connections.  I was meeting lots of people through Clarity Massage & Wellness and Chi PT.  Things were starting to shift and I was starting to feel better in my body again.

Before long it was the end of the year!  New Years Eve.  I didn’t really want to go out.  It was becoming more and more clear that I just didn’t enjoy big nights out in the city any more. 

Over the last few years I’d really cut back on drinking alcohol because it wasn’t aligned with my work and values.  I hated feeling hung over.  I’d always find myself regretting my behaviour after drinking too.  People would say I was hilarious when I’d drink.  I’d get pretty loud and wouldn’t hold back from saying what I really think.  I’d always wake up feeling gloomy, pondering what the hell I’d said that I probably shouldn’t have.  I didn’t see the hilarious side of it.

I ended up going to the cricket with my sister and some friends for New Years Eve.  I wasn’t that excited about it.  Cricket isn’t really my thing.  I drank beer, after beer, after beer.  Then we went to a couple of different pubs after the cricket and I found myself joining in on rounds of shots with friends.  Normally my rule was ‘no shots’.  That rule went out the window.  

To be completely honest, I had a certain something going on in my personal life that was bugging me.  I think I was so fed up, that I had a ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude that evening (that wasn’t a common thing for me… normally that would be more of a reason for me not to drink).

Needless to say the next day I woke up feeling horrible!  I remember sitting in the lounge room with my house mate and sister saying ‘that’s it.  I’m not drinking alcohol for a year!’  My house mate responded ‘most people would say that, and I wouldn’t believe them.  But you’re going to do it aren’t you.’  My response. ‘YES.’

The 1st January 2017.  I’d decided no alcohol for a year.  I knew that would test out my social anxiety a little.  I was curious about lots of different things with giving up alcohol for a year, and determined to follow through with it.

During this month I also started working with a mentor that coached people around limitless living.  His way of living was about following a feeling and not letting fear get in the way.  He also taught me the value of allowing ‘space.’ 

For me as a bit of a workaholic, allowing space was extremely confronting.  I used to use work to fill the space so I didn’t have to sit with any emotions or feelings that were present.  And on top of that I didn’t have alcohol to disguise it either like I did new years eve! 

Connecting with this new concept of allowing space, was about to unlock some thoughts and emotions that I’d locked away.  I thought I’d already done this with the Mind Body Therapist.  Turns out there was more to sift through.  

Moving to Adelaide to challenge myself… well it was certainly doing that.  But I was learning so much about myself in the process.

To be continued…

Love, peace & gratitude,

Steph x
Inner child
‘The most potent muse of all, is our own inner child.’  

DISCLAIMER: My story isn’t one to make anyone feel shame or to feel bad, but instead for me to own the parts of me that I’ve pushed aside, so I can integrate to becoming a more authentic version of myself and an even better coach.

I often ponder, am I more of a country girl or a city girl?  Most people say, ‘I can tell you’re a country girl!’  I love visiting the farm, getting back into that country air and feeling the space around me.  I love the sense of community that comes with being based in the country.  I love that you walk down the street and there’s familiar faces to chat too. 

The country reconnects me with my childhood memories.  The sights, smells and sounds bring back memories.  I often feel quite emotional thinking about childhood memories.  Part of me misses them and wants to go back and live them again; then another part of me is pleased that certain childhood experiences are in the past. 

On the flip side of country living, I love that in the city there’s new people to meet and talk too.  There’s lots of different cafes to visit; I love the different vibes cafes have with their unique styled decor and food.  There’s different events and markets to explore.  Everything is at your finger tips. 

I think in all honesty, I love having the best of both worlds; country & city life.  I think I’d be happy to base myself some where, yet have the flexibility to travel and work from anywhere.  Come and go as I please.  That’s my vision.

I’m a dreamer. I’ve always been a dreamer.  I don’t want that to ever change.  Some pretty amazing things have manifested through my dreams and visions; the key behind that has been that inner feeling of faith and belief that things will work out.

After selling my business and moving from the country to the city, my faith got tested.  My faith in my own ability, and faith in the universe, source, higher power… what ever you want to refer to it as, was tested in a big way. 

I was about to hit some turbulence; some more extreme highs and lows… Running a business in the city as opposed to the country is very different.  But that was the intention behind the move.  To spread my wings; to grow and evolve. 

I was about to learn that before I could have my dream business up and running, I had some work to do on myself.  This work would help deepen my understanding of not only myself, but of others as well.  It was all building my self development, tool kit and passion to mentor others.

Ok, back to where I left of with the last blog post…

Just before I handed over my business to the new owners at the end of June 2015, my brother said that he was moving from Kununurra to Perth.  He was going to take 4 weeks to explore the Gibb River Road and West Coast during his drive to Perth.  He had a mate jumping on board for part of the trip, and wondered if I‘d be keen to be another co-pilot.

I figured I had money in the bank from the sale of my business (being self employed, and not having anyone working for me.. I had to factor in loss of income whilst not working).  I’m not the best at celebrating wins or doing things for myself out side of work.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to have a bit of a holiday, and release and let go of the gym business.  I think it was good because it gave me something to look forward to after handing over the gym. 

I flew to Kununurra where I met my brother and his mate, and with in a couple of days, we embarked on our little adventure, heading for the Gibb River Road. 

Wow.  The Kimberly region is absolutely stunning.  I’ve always been a nature lover.  The landscape and climate was amazing.  The only down side is that I have a phobia of cows (yes, I grew up on a farm and I have a cow phobia!).  Many of the places we camped were in station country, and that meant cows wandering around!  My worst night mare!  We just slept in our swags.  No tents or anything.  I remember one night hearing a cow mooing in the distance; I was so worried it would come right up to my swag! 

When ever I travel and explore new places, I feel more inspired than ever.  It helps me tap into my creative zone and get the creative juices flowing.  It also makes me want to move.  Every time I visit a new place I think ‘oh, I could totally live here!’ 

I’ve always had a part of me that’s wanted to move to a new place where I don’t know anyone.  A new town or city I can explore and get to know people.  Over the years I’ve visited places such as the Riverland in SA, Alice Springs, Byron Bay, Broome, Perth… I’ve travelled to these places with the purpose of checking them out to see if I could live there.  I’ve always left these places thinking ‘yes, I’m doing it!’ yet I’ve never had the courage to follow through with the move though.

This trip with my brother was amazing.  I’m so grateful that I did it, and so grateful that my brother and I just got to the end of the trip without annoying each other too much… haha.  It was the perfect spacer between selling my gym business and starting my new business that I simply called ‘Steph Bartlett.’

I was still travelling to the Country weekly to teach yoga.  I’d travel down in time to teach two evening classes, stay the night and then teach another 2 classes the next morning before driving back to Adelaide.  Short and sharp, but also nice to see some familiar faces.  I always felt so appreciated by people that attended classes, and the feeling was mutual.  I appreciated them attending my classes.  I always loved seeing everyone!

I’d finished my Health Coaching Course and started taking clients for Coaching.  I went to Sydney and did a Raw Food Chef Course.  I started teaching Yoga at a studio in Adelaide, and I’d also run my first of many Health & Wellness Retreats. 

During this time I started experiencing some pretty intense back pain.  I’d drive from Adelaide to the country and then back to Adelaide; after each trip I’d struggle walk after getting out my car.  I’d get shocking pain radiating down one of my legs.  Even whilst teaching yoga, there were some moves that would give me some intense back pain.  I was seriously wondering if I’d be able to continue teaching yoga.  It was a terrifying thought; I loved yoga. 

A friend told me about a Mind Body Therapist they’d seen in Adelaide.  She highly recommended them.  I’d never heard of a Mind Body Therapist before.  She said he had a back ground as a physiotherapist as well, so I figured ‘oh well, makes sense that he might be able to help me with my back.’

I remember going into my first session with this Therapist and he asked me the general question of how I was going and what’s been happening.  I responded, ‘not much.  I moved to Adelaide this year, sold a business, been away travelling for a month and just recently ran a health & wellness retreat. Yeah, so not much.’

He looked at me with a kind and caring look of ‘ah, do you realise how much stuff you just listed off.’ 

As I finished my sentence, I realised how it must have sounded.  Classic example of how much I didn’t acknowledge any achievements.  I had such high expectations of myself.  I was always looking ahead to the next project or at how I could improve things.

Considering you’ve followed My Story so far, you’d be able to see just how much I’ve grown over the years.  I started off a very shy child that would ask teachers for jobs to do before school so I didn’t have to find the courage to find kids to play with; to a woman that ran her own business, did public speaking, created programs, ran events, and taught classes.  Such a contrast between my younger self and the woman I am today. 

After a few sessions with this Mind Body Therapist, my back was so much better.  Even though my back was better, I was still attending sessions though.  It was kind of like the work had only just began.  They’d introduced me to my Inner Child.  I wasn’t familiar with this work, but wow it had an impact on me. 

There’s so many things this therapist has helped me with.  I could write a whole separate blog post on what I’ve learnt from these Mind Body Therapy Sessions; absolute game changer for me.   

I was so in my head and disconnected from my body.  Through the therapy, I learnt to feel emotions in my body again, which was scary, because I’d blocked them out to protect myself.  I didn’t like feeling emotions and certainly didn’t like to show them.

We explored my fears and social anxiety; I was able to gain understanding of why these fears and anxieties were there, which helped me to move forward.  We also looked at relationship patterns that I had, and I learnt to connect with my inner child.

There were a few experiences during the sessions that really stand out, and I have vivid memories of.  The first one was when the therapist asked me to close my eyes and imagine Little Steph (my inner child, aka. me when I was younger). He than asked me to imagine reaching out to her and giving her a hug. 

I closed my eyes and pictured me as a child; I imagined reaching out and hugging Little Steph, the younger version of me. With that, I had tears streaming down my face.  I’m not one to cry in front of other people.  There was no holding back the tears.  I felt raw emotion.  It was like my Inner Child had been waiting to be seen, acknowledged and held for years and years.  I was amazed to think that an exercise like that could have such a profound impact on me. 

Another experience literally had me stuck for words… which doesn’t happen very often!  I can and do like to talk.  Communication is generally my thing – classic Gemini.    

Midway through one of my sessions, my therapist asked me to list off good qualities/traits that I had.  I literally froze.  I couldn’t speak.  No joke, I couldn’t get the words out.  It was the strangest feeling. 

I think part of the reason was because I knew that if I did speak, I was going to burst into tears.  I felt some intense, raw emotion building up and it caught me off guard.  I could feel that if I opened my mouth to speak, I wouldn’t be able to hold up my front and I’d be a sobbing mess.  

After sitting there for a bit in silence, not being able to list off one good thing about myself, the tears started to flow anyway.  I could no longer hold up my front, and I still couldn’t speak.  Not even a single word.

My Therapist very gently said, ‘how about you repeat the words after me.  I’ll list of some of your good qualities/traits and you can repeat them after me.’  He’d say something, and it would take a good few seconds before I could speak and repeat the word.  I was still a bit frozen, and as I’d say the words there would be tears flowing. 

I think that part of me feeling frozen was simply because I knew I was going to have an out poor of emotion and I was trying to hold it back.  The other reason being, that Little Steph (the younger version of me), had been yearning to feel validated and acknowledged.  By me listing off good qualities about myself, it meant that Little Steph was receiving something she had longed for.  She was being acknowledged.

This was just the beginning of this work.  I never realised there was a part of me ‘Little Steph’ that had been so neglected and pushed away.  I had separated from them.  I was also surprised at how much resistance I had towards reconnecting with that part of me.  In some sessions I could feel myself thinking ‘no, I don’t want to do inner chid work; I don’t want to connect with Little Steph.’  It was like it was a painful part of me that I wanted to push away, yet that part of me was longing to be seen, loved and accepted.   

Outside of this work, and back with my business work… I was busy creating.  Creating a new website; I had a business mentor to help me get set up with some back end stuff; I had a graphic designer set up my new business logo and graphics; I was attending networking events to meet new people, I started teaching Yoga at a yoga studio in Adelaide, I was running Health Retreats, Health Coaching people… I had a bit of stuff on the go.

The set up of my new business was starting to take its toll on my bank account… I’d taken a month of work travelling around the country side… it was getting to a stage where my bank account was dropping and fear was creeping in. 

Actually, it wasn’t really fear… it was more my self worth plummeting.  I always felt so much pride through my work.  Through my work thriving, I felt like I was thriving.  Work was such a big part of my identity.  With the feeling of my new business not booming (as opposed to my gym business which was fantastic), I started to feel that I was failing.  I felt I was losing my identity.  My self worth was taking a hit.   

To be continued…

Love, peace & gratitude,

Steph x
The dark cloud
‘Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.’  Madeleine L’Engle  

DISCLAIMER: My story isn’t one to make anyone feel shame or to feel bad, but instead for me to own the parts of me that I’ve pushed aside, so I can integrate to becoming a more authentic version of myself and an even better coach.

You may have guessed this next blog post is going to be about my experience with depression.  Well I’m going to call it depression.  It’s what I imagine depression to feel like.

I don’t believe depression feels the same for everyone.  When a Coaching client tells me they’ve got depression or have experienced depression, I never assume I know how it feels.  The symptoms they share often resonate with me, but I know that everyones experience is different.

I can’t help but think there’s still some stigma around depression, or more so the term ‘mental health.’

I bet everyone reading this knows someone that’s experienced depression.  It’s so common, yet a topic that still makes many people uncomfortable.

Maybe it’s through not being able to comprehend what depression feels like; or not knowing how to assist or act around someone with depression?  I’m not sure.

There’s been a little delay with writing this blog post!  It’s not due to being uncomfortable about sharing my experience with depression.  It’s far from that!  I’m more than happy to chat to anyone about my experience; especially if it can assist them in some way.

The plain ol’ reason for the delay, is simply being distracted by other things! It’s amazing how everything is starting to come together.  I feel more clarity and direction with my work, through sharing my story.  

As I put this particular blog post together, I realise that SO MUCH has happened in the last 3 years. So much.  In fact, I feel that I’ve learnt more in the last 3 years than I have in the 10 years prior.

The last blog post was about me turning 30.  I turned 33 last month.  I’ve really had to pause and think about the order of events so I can share them with you!  So many things have happened in these last 3 years.

Ok, back to where I left of with the last blog post…

I couldn’t keep up the front any more.  I thought I could hide how I was really feeling from the world.  I thought I could keep it all to myself; keep up my persona of happy, positive, out going Steph… yet deep down I was drowning.

There I was, sitting in my gym, behind the reception desk.  The closed sign up.  I believed that no one really knew how I was feeling.  A phone call was about to change all of that.

One of my dear friends called; I answered my phone thinking that I’d be able to keep it all together, but the simple sentence of ‘how are you going?’ broke me.

I broke into tears.  I said, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  I just feel like crying all the time.’

This friend of mine actually works in Mental Health.  We’ve been friends since year 3 at school.  She was gentle, and supportive.  She talked to me.  I don’t remember exactly what was said, but I know it was a turning point for me.  It was when I realised that something wasn’t right.  That perhaps it wasn’t that ‘there was something wrong with me’ or that I was a ‘weak, negative, unhappy person,’ and that maybe I was experiencing depression.

I moved to Adelaide in February 2015.  I handed over my Gym business at the end of June 2015.  Between February and January I was driving too and from Adelaide to the country.  I was working Monday to Wednesday at my gym, and then spending the other days in Adelaide.

The depression brewed between those months of February to June; between my move to Adelaide and handing over my business.

There were a lot of changes.  I’d moved to Adelaide.  I was going through the process of selling my business.  I was working out what direction I was now going to head with work.  I turned 30 and had a lot of unrealistic expectations attached to that.  A guy I was dating suddenly went cold on me; I felt rejected.  I’d put on weight and hated my body.  I started to with draw.  I would have excuses for not going to social events.  My social anxiety was at all time high.

I went and saw my naturopath and she had this little machine thing that she tested things with.  She said that my radiation levels were extremely high.  She asked if I lived near a power station or did I have a power pole right outside of my house or something?  I said no.  I was a little puzzled how my radiation levels could be so high.

I returned to my new house in Adelaide later that day, and it some how came to my attention that two power boxes for the house, were attached to the back of my bedroom wall.  Opposite these power boxes on the inside of the wall was my bed head.

Yep.  Every night I was sleeping with my head completely opposite to the power boxes; hence the radiation levels.  I was very quick to my bed to the other side of the room.

Another thing about this house, was that when we moved in it had a funky mouldy smell about it.  It had black furry mould growing up and out of a couple of the drains.  The carpet in my bedroom was pretty gross as well.  It was a beautiful house, yet it had some issues with mould.  I didn’t have an understanding at the time of how toxic mould is.

I consider myself a highly sensitive person, and a deep thinker.  I think the combination of lots of changes in my life, loss of direction, the radiation, mould and weight gain, all played a part in me experiencing depression.  That’s my take on it anyway (please note that everyone is different.  Just because I felt these things effected me, doesn’t me everyones depression is caused by them).

Back to that phone call with my friend at the gym.  The moment I broke down and finally voiced to someone that I wasn’t feeling right.

My recollection of this time is quite blurry.  I remember feeling quite numb.  I felt heavy.  I had little drive.  I wasn’t afraid of death.  I had thoughts of it.  I’d think that no one would care if I was no longer around; it wouldn’t be that greater of a loss to the world; and every time I’d think that, I’d have tears streaming down my face.  Yet deep down, I knew my parents would be distraught.  The knowing that it would destroy my parents… that held me back with going too deep with those thoughts.

There were still glimpses of happiness, joy and excitement around this time; yet they were rare.  They weren’t as heart felt as they used to be.  I guess this could be partly due to the fact that I’d started with drawing.  I dodged social events.  I preferred to hide away and stay home.  I wasn’t doing things that brought me joy.

I’ve looked back through my diary to see if I did any journaling at this time, to try and help me get more clarity around my thoughts and feelings.  I’m so surprised to see that there were no journal entries between October 2014 to 31st December 2015.

That’s quite unlike me – over a year of no journaling!  Back then, my journal was my outlet.  It was what helped me through challenging times.  To think that I stopped journalling, makes me realise how much I’d lost my drive. 

I actually called my friend last week and asked her what she remembers from that phone call at the gym?  She said that I didn’t really say a great deal.  She remembered me saying that I didn’t really know where I fitted in any more.  I just felt depressed.  She said I didn’t really elaborate too much about things, and at the time she didn’t actually realise just how depressed I was.  She asked why I didn’t elaborate and tell her? 

The truth is, I was feeling that numb and heavy, that it was too hard to talk about it.  I was already in tears, and the thought of talking details of how I was feeling was just too hard to voice out loud. 

I think I also feared peoples reactions.  I couldn’t deal with fuss, or people being worried.  I could hardly deal with my own emotions, let alone feel responsible for other peoples worry and concern.

I remember being at my parents farm the night of that phone call at the gym.  I can’t remember how my parents become aware I was experiencing depression (maybe I told them…? Honestly, I can’t remember).  I just remember laying on the lounge room floor in front of the TV.  I remember feeling their concern.  I overheard mum say to one of my brothers that I wasn’t too good.  I remember my phone ringing.  It was my sister.  I knew she would have been calling, because she’d be worried about me… I let it ring out.  I didn’t have the energy to answer.  

That day/night was a turning point though.  I honestly think it was the voicing out loud to someone that I wasn’t ok that changed things.  I was no longer alone.  It’s rather ironic really.  The hardest thing to do was speak out loud about it, yet it was the number one thing that helped me move forward.

I didn’t tell the world that I was depressed.  Only close friends and family knew.  They were showing me love and support without the ‘oh you’re depressed so I’m going to be super nice to you’ kind of vibe.  They treated me like a normal human being, but it was evident they were showing me extra love and care.  It was truly supportive and helped me get back to feeling like myself again.

Later in 2015 I started seeing a Mind Body Therapist in Adelaide.  A friend referred me to them as I was having issues with my lower back.  I was questioning wether I’d be able to continue teaching yoga, because my back was so bad.

Seeing this Mind Body Therapist has been one of the best things I’ve ever done.  It helped me see that the physical body is often a reflection of the emotional body.  It was my first experience with doing inner child work too.  More about that in the next blog post.

My first journal entry after this period of depression was on the 31st December 2015.  It was a summary of 2015.  I’d turned a corner.  The depression had lifted and let go.  I’d found my drive again.  I was starting to feel like myself again.  Here’s a little snippet from my journal entry:

Last day of 2015. OMG – what a year.

I’ve finally learnt that instead of having only high expectations of myself, I also need to recognise how much I’ve achieved.

This year….

ACHIEVEMENTS:

Moved to Adelaide in February

Started and finished my Health Coaching course

Completed Raw Food Chef course

Sold ‘Fit For Life PT’ business

Started my new business ‘Steph Bartlett’

Started teaching yoga at a studio in Adelaide

Moved on and got over past relationships!

Met new people through networking events

I was ready to embark on a fresh new year for 2016.  I was also ready to keep doing the work with my Mind Body Therapist.  I wanted to learn more about my Inner Child.  This work was heavy at times, yet so rewarding because it helped me own all the different parts of me.  It helped me understand relationship patterns, social anxiety and how disconnected I’d become from  my inner child.  I was about to learn so much more about myself.

To be continued…

Love, peace & gratitude,

Steph x
Bali pool
‘Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down.’  Cigar Gor  

DISCLAIMER: My story isn’t one to make anyone feel shame or to feel bad, but instead for me to own the parts of me that I’ve pushed aside, so I can integrate to becoming a more authentic version of myself and an even better coach.

As you’ve been reading my blog posts, has it made you ponder how well you really know people?  Can you see that perhaps some people hide how they’re really feeling.  Perhaps hide that they’re feeling down, alone, anxious or lost?

That’s been some common feedback I’ve been getting from people.  My blog has encouraged people to open up the conversation of ‘how are you really going?’  They’re digging a little deeper to check that people really are ok, because it’s so easy to brush it off and be like ‘yeah, I’m good thanks,’ but deep down that’s not the truth.

It got me thinking, I wonder what my life looked like from the outside to other people during my teenage years and during my 20’s?  I did smile a lot; I still do.  I did get the nickname Miss Attitude at one stage at school, so I suppose my attitude was a little bit present then!  But all in all, I dare say people probably thought I was just your average teenager, and average adult as I moved through my 20’s.

Well, I basically feel that I was your average person going through those years!  It’s all relative to each persons experience I guess.  I think that being a teenager and then moving into adult life is a challenging time for many people!

There were also plenty of good times during those years.  I just haven’t gone into depth with them in My Story.

The reason for me sharing My Story is to find my voice.  I’m speaking up and sharing the parts that I haven’t spoke up about in the past.  I’m peeling back the layers and showing parts of me that I used to hide.  That’s why I haven’t gone into depth with the happier times of life; they’ve always been more visible and expressed.

So I guess this is just a little reminder, that what I share with you here is me finding my voice.  I’m speaking up about parts I used to be afraid people would judge me for.  This experience is working a treat for overcoming the fear of judgement.

I’m hoping that through me finding my voice and speaking up, others will feel more confident to do the same.  That’s been one of the highlights for me with sharing My Story – hearing that it’s got people speaking up and discussing their mental wellbeing.  People are realising that they’re not alone.  Lots of people people go through highs and lows.  I believe that’s part of life; it’s how we learn and grow.

Keep the conversations going.  Be open and honest with one another, and don’t be afraid to check in with people or speak up if you’re needing someone to talk too.  Use My Blog posts as a reason to get the conversation started if that makes it easier.

Ok, back to where I left of with the last blog post…

My gym business in the country was going really well.  I loved my gym and the people I trained.

I called it a gym, but it was basically like a Personal Training Studio.  People would come in for 1 hour personal training sessions, either one on one, or they’d have up to 6 people in a group getting trained at once (group personal training).  It wasn’t like a gym where you pay a monthly membership and use it when ever you want.

There were 2 other gyms in town, not just mine.  Within a year or so of my gym opening, the other 2 gyms had closed down.  That resulted with business increasing even more, and me doing some pretty big hours.

I would often start at 6:30 or 7:00am and then have clients through until 12pm.  I’d go home for lunch; set an alarm for 20 minutes on my phone so I could have a little snooze.  I’d then go and take my dog for a walk, and then start training people again in the early afternoon and work through until 8:00pm or 9:00pm.

I was fortunate enough to have a couple of people approach me wanting to do some Personal Training work.  They’d just done their Personal Training course and were already clients of mine.  They knew how I trained/operated, and I also knew them well.

It was great to have some Personal Trainers on board.  They were lovely girls and open to feedback and learning, which always impresses me.  It meant that I didn’t have to such big hours as well (I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I was also a Zumba Instructor and ran a few Zumba classes each week, and did fitness with kids after school).

After my break up with the guy from interstate, in true Steph style I embarked on something out of my comfort zone.  That was always my thing for helping me move forward after a break up.

This thing out of my comfort zone, was going to Bali to do my Yoga Teacher Training.  It meant living there for a month, and completing the study to be a qualified Yoga Teacher.

I was petrified of going to Bali by myself.  Sure I’d been overseas before, but that was with my sister.  For this trip I was going solo.  For some reason Bali just scared me.

My wonderful Personal Trainers kept the gym running for me whilst I went to Bali for a month.  I loved that I had created a business that allowed me to do that.  I could be in Bali for a month whilst still making an income without me physically working.

Arriving in the Bali airport was the scariest part of the trip.  I went to get my suitcase and my padlock on it was broken!  Advice I always got was, if the padlock on your suitcase is broken, don’t take it.  Well I wanted my suitcase; I took it anyway.  Lucky nothing was planted in it, nor stolen.

For some one that experiences social anxiety, rocking up at the venue/accommodation for my yoga teacher training was so terrifying.  I didn’t know anyone.  Oh, and can I just add that I had no experience with yoga.

As a kid, I found a Yoga Class on the lifestyle channel on TV.  I used to set my alarm before school, get up and do the class on TV and then go back to bed until I had to get up for school.  

No one else in my family did yoga.  I’d never been introduced to Yoga.  I’d just seen it on tv and thought it was cool.  I was innately just drawn to it.

Everyone at the Yoga Teacher Training in Bali was experienced with Yoga, except for me.  People had come from all over the world. Japan, Canada, America, Germany and Australia (even two beautiful sisters from Adelaide!).  All of the yoga was so new to me, but the people there were all lovely and supportive.  In fact I made some great friends there.

I often tell people new to my yoga classes, that when I first started Yoga I couldn’t touch my toes (people new to yoga sometimes don’t believe they’ll ever become flexible!).  I was so far from touching my toes that being in uttanasana (standing forward fold) was exhausting; I’d wonder when we could move to the next pose!  Same with Downward facing dog.  It was so challenging!  People see me now and struggle to believe it, but it’s the truth.  My body has become so much more flexible with yoga.

What I wasn’t expecting with yoga was for my mind to become so much more flexible.  Yoga opened up a whole new world to me.  A whole new world with how to look at life and approach life.

In Yoga there are Yamas and Niyamas.  They’re like Yoga’s ethical and moral codes; it’s things you can practice on and off the yoga mat (google them; they’re fantastic).

By exploring and practicing the Yamas and Niyamas, that’s what really transformed my world.  People that attend my Yoga classes will understand what I mean.  With all of my classes I teach with intention.  I give people something to practice on the yoga mat, yet it’s something they can also practice off the yoga mat in every day life (things such as non judgment, non attachment, contentment, truthfulness, kindness, etc). 

I could write a whole series of blogs just about the top things Yoga has taught me!  So much, and I feel blessed to be able to share what I’ve learnt with others via my yoga classes.

When I returned from my Yoga Teacher Training as a qualified Yoga Teacher, people were eager for Yoga classes!  Yoga classes hadn’t been offered in my country town for a long time (if ever..?).

It took me a good few months to build up the courage to teach my first yoga class.  I kept putting it off, thinking I wasn’t ready yet.  Truth be known, I was never going to be ready as such.  I’m still forever learning as I teach today.

 

Before long I was teaching up to 10 Yoga classes per week.  I remember a lady say to me after teaching my first Yoga class ‘Steph, you’ve found your thing.  Teaching yoga is your thing,’ and she was so serious and sincere as she said it.

Within a year or two after my Yoga Teacher Training, I started getting itchy feet in the country.  Work was getting quite repetitive.  Don’t get me wrong – I loved all of my clients dearly.  I enjoyed my work, but I felt like I had done everything I could do.

I did Personal Training at my gym.  I did group out door fitness sessions.  I’d taught adult Zumba classes and Zumba for kids after school.  I’d created a chair yoga class for some seniors.  I even created a few challenges like a sugar free month, and a just move it challenge.  I felt like it was time to spread my wings and keep pushing my limits a bit.

My sister was looking for a house mate in Adelaide, and begged me to move in with her.  Originally I didn’t want too, because I wanted to move to Byron Bay.  I’d been on a holiday there once before, and thought it was the most amazing place.  In the end though, I suppose it just made sense to move to Adelaide with my sister.

I found a house in Adelaide with my sister and moved there.  I worked a few days a week at my gym in the country, and would then spend the remaining days in Adelaide (lots of driving!).  My days in Adelaide I’d spend studying.  I was studying to become a Holistic Health Coach.

I didn’t advertise my gym business being for sale, however someone approached me about buying it.  I knew that selling my gym business was the next step for me to move forward with my life in Adelaide.  This was my first experience with selling a business.  It was a walk in, walk out sale.  The new owners took over the business just as it was; they were able to continue trading the day after the sale.

I handed over my gym on 30 June, end of financial year.  Prior to that on the 7th June was my 30th Birthday.  This month of June was a challenging one.  Wow did I have some expectations around being 30.  I thought that was an age where you should have your shit together.  Be married, have kids, have a solid career.  I felt I was failing.

It was around this time that I felt like a dark cloud was coming over me.  I’d had experiences of feeling down in the past, but this was different.  I started to struggle getting out of bed in the morning; I was losing motivation; I was becoming with drawn… I didn’t want to see people.

Just before I sold the gym, I would often turn the sign on the door at my gym to ‘Closed’, so no one would come in as I cried behind the reception desk.

One day I was sitting in my gym, behind my desk with the Closed sign up.  My phone started ringing and it was one of my very good friends.  I took a deep breath and answered the phone thinking that I’d be able to keep it all together and sound like normal, happy Steph.  She said hello and asked how I was going, and with that, I broke into tears.  I couldn’t hold up the front any longer.

To be continued…

Love, peace & gratitude,

Steph x
Canada
‘There will come a time when you believe everything is finished.  That will be the beginning.’  Author unknown  

DISCLAIMER: My story isn’t one to make anyone feel shame or to feel bad, but instead for me to own the parts of me that I’ve pushed aside, so I can integrate to becoming a more authentic version of myself and an even better coach.

It’s fascinating how different stages/chapters of my blog are more challenging to write than others.  Some chapters I have vivid memories and feelings from, where as others like this one… I rely quite heavily on my journals to reignite what happened and how I felt.

I think that’s what’s delayed this blog post… it’s a few days late.  I struggled to bring myself to write it, as I didn’t really know where to start.  I’ve had a bit of trouble connecting to the in depth thoughts and feelings from back then.

As you may have worked out, I very much write straight from my heart and soul.  I need to feel a connection with what I’m expressing through words.  I can’t just guess and stumble my way through it. 

I seek to understand why I felt a certain way or why a certain pattern of behaviour played out.  I’m all for increasing my self awareness, and that’s why I’m so passionate to coach and mentor others to do the same. 

I’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes with coaches, mentors and therapists, which you’ll soon read about as I reach those parts of My Story. 

Last week I actually saw my Mind Body Therapist that I used to see a few years ago.  I booked in to see him, so I could get clarification on why I reacted and felt certain ways in past sessions with him.  I wanted to know why certain topics always brought me to tears, and why in one instance I was literally stuck for words.  It was like I was frozen and I couldn’t speak.  It was the strangest experience as I’m generally not one to be stuck for words!

I want to understand it for when I get to telling that part of my story… that will be a Chapter or two away. The work I did with this therapist really opened up a new world to me.  It got me understanding myself on a much deeper level.

We also spoke about my experience with sharing My Story.  He asked me to take him through the process of sharing My Story so far; how I’ve felt, etc.  I told him about the fear I first experienced with deciding to share my story, to the frustration and anger I felt when I could feel disapproval from certain people, to the sense of ease and letting go of fear of judgement from others as I’ve moved through this process. 

He helped bring light to why I’ve had such reactions.  That’s now helping me further with sharing my story, and I’ve booked in to see him again in a couple of weeks.  This experience of sharing my story has given me so much more than I could have imagined.  What an experience it’s proving to be.  The sharing and learning continues.  

Ok, back to where I left of with the last blog post…

My new gym was coming together so nicely!  The perfectionist in me was happy with how it was looking.  The walls were patched up and painted.  I even had a gorgeous friend come in and paint monkeys and fun things on the walls of the play area for the kids, and other friends donated toys to put in there.

The reception area was set up; the signage was done, and after numerous trips too and from Adelaide getting quotes and comparing different gym equipment, Dad and I had finally got all of the gym weights, machines, etc from Adelaide back to the gym. 

It took a couple of trips to transport everything to my gym… and it did take some pulling over onto the side of the road so the ute could cool down after over heating!  It was summer, and it was a heavy load, especially driving up through the Adelaide hills!

I really loved the process of creating the gym.  I loved dreaming up ideas and working out how get things to work (I love problem solving; where there’s a will there’s a way!).  I loved choosing the colour scheme, painting, getting quotes, working out the financials/quotes, etc.  It was such a creative process, and one that I loved. 

So there I was with this amazing, new, beautiful gym set up, just as I wanted it… yet there was a part of me feeling empty.  I vividly remember feeling sick in the stomach as I walked to my gym to do some painting one day.  I felt sick thinking, ‘why have I set up this gym here in the country when I’m no longer with Farmer?’

Farmer had his new girlfriend.  It left me feeling really rejected and not good enough, but the silly thing was, I was the one that said I didn’t want the relationship to continue; yet I didn’t want to see him with anyone else. 

My mind was consumed with Farmer.  I’m pretty sure my family and friends were sick of hearing about it (even though they were still so patient and supportive of me).  

It really was perfect timing for me to head overseas with my sister.  I still remember phoning her and saying ‘book me what ever you’ve booked. I’m coming!’  A month overseas.  2 weeks in Canada (1 of which we’d visit our brother at Big White Resort), and 2 weeks in Europe doing a Contiki Tour.

I never really had the desire to go overseas.  I’ve never been one to get the travel bug.  Yet I did feel to go on this trip with my sister.  I think mum and dad felt more at ease knowing my sister wasn’t travelling alone as well!  

So off we went.  First stop was Canada.   It was January and it was freezing!  It was then that I realised just how much I dislike the cold!  I was forever looking for a warm cafe to sit in so I could enjoy a warm hot chocolate! 

I didn’t journal whilst I was overseas.  I didn’t take a journal with me.  I kind of wish I had!  I remember that I wasn’t feeling 100% myself.  I was really excited to be going overseas and exploring new places, but I still had Farmer on my mind, and I was questioning my setting up my gym in the country considering things with Farmer were over.

Visiting Big White in Canada was a great experience.  It was my first time seeing snow and my golly there was lots of it!  We were so lucky to be able to stay with our brother, and experience life of living on the mountain with our brother, his housemates, and friends.  It was like were were part of community as soon as we arrived.

There were so many Aussies!  It was quite funny actually.  One of my brothers mates on the mountain messaged my brother and asked ‘hey, do you have a sister here?  A girl that looks just like you just got on the gondola!’  That was me.  I do look quite a bit like one of my brothers.  I thought that was quite funny though considering we were on the other side of the world and someone picked that we were related!   

With the Contiki Tour, it was a lot of driving during the day and then exploring and partying at night.  I remember having a ‘the penny dropped’ moment on the Contiki bus.  I had a moment of thinking ‘Seriously, who cares if Farmer doesn’t want to be with you.  Let it go.  It doesn’t matter.  You don’t need him.’ 

It’s hard to explain, but it was honestly like this light bulb moment, where I suddenly really felt and believed that it was time to let it go and move on.  It was like a got a hit of self belief and confidence to get out and live life on my own terms. 

I really enjoyed my time overseas, but I still felt like a part of me was missing.  I wasn’t showing up 100% as myself.  There was a side of me that didn’t feel good enough, that was still hiding away.  A part of me that was holding back from really living life.  In hindsight, I think that had been a common feeling through my teenage years too.  It was just becoming more apparent now.  I think it was a lack of confidence, self worth and self belief.

The next journal entry after that overseas trip was very upbeat.

“Wow, what an awesome start to the year already!  I was overseas from 7th Jan – 8th Feb with *sister.  Spent a week with *brother at Big White.  That place opened up my eyes and made me realise there are lots of awesome people out there in this world, and you don’t meet them by hanging out in a country town every weekend. 

I went snowboarding which was completely out of my comfort zone but so good!  Then *sister and I spent a week checking out other parts of Canada.  Then we had a 2 week Contiki Tour.  Met some more great people there and it feels so good just knowing that I’ve travelled around so many different countries and seen so many more cool places.  I’ve now come home to my beautiful new gym and business is going really well.  Another part of this great start to the year is that it’s starting without Farmer.  No more writing about the highs and lows of our relationship; it has now flatlined to nothing.” 22/2/2012

I was home again after my overseas trip.  I’d got the wanting to escape from my country town out of my system.  I was actually happy to be home and excited that I’d opened the doors to my new gym, and that business was going well.

Work was something that always had me feeling good.  I loved connecting with people (and I still do!).  You get to know people really well when you regularly train them once a week. 

If I didn’t have a social event on for the weekend, I would go to the gym and work.  Work was a ‘time filler’ and a bit of a distraction.  It gave me something to do instead of sitting around not knowing what to do.  It also gave me a sense of purpose.  I felt good being able to be of service to others.  I really loved my work, and was happy to be at the gym on weekends working. 

During this time I started dating a guy from interstate.  I’d been over to the NT with a group of friends, to visit another friend and I met a guy that lived there.  We did the long distance relationship thing for quite some time. 

It was really good to break the cycle from Farmer and be in a different relationship.  This relationship was exciting, fun and this guy really treated me well.  He was very thoughtful, caring and generous.  I had many good times with him.  

He was thinking about moving to live with me in the country as his work was FIFO (fly in, fly out at a mine).  Part of me liked the idea of this.  We were both over flying to see other every few weeks.  Yet there was part of me that was quite unsure if it was the right thing.  I didn’t know how to voice it.  I was in two minds about it. 

This relationship ended before the move took place.  It ended due to some poor behaviour on my part.  Once again I was a sobbing mess, even though I knew the relationship ending was for the best. 

It appears that every time I go through a challenging time (ie break up), I do something that takes courage and is out of my comfort zone.  After Farmer it was a trip overseas.  After the guy interstate, I decided to enrol in a Yoga Teacher Training in Bali.  This meant traveling to Bali by myself (with petrified me), and living there for a month whilst doing my yoga teacher training.

I had a couple of Personal Trainers working for me at my gym, so it meant I had the opportunity to keep the gym running whilst I go overseas for a month.  So there I was, ready to go to Bali for a month so I could learn to be a Yoga Teacher (I nearly pulled the pin a week before leaving because I was so nervous!).

Upon returning I was teaching 10 Yoga Classes a week on top of my gym work.  Business was going really well.  It wasn’t long before Farmer was back on the scene, and then off the scene again.  There were thoughts of selling my business and leaving town.  There was also my first experience with a deep, dark depression that I haven’t told many people about.  I didn’t have the capacity nor energy to talk about it.  Things were about to change.

To be continued…

Love, peace & gratitude,

Steph x
move to country
Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.  

DISCLAIMER: My story isn’t one to make anyone feel shame or to feel bad, but instead for me to own the parts of me that I’ve pushed aside, so I can integrate to becoming a more authentic version of myself and an even better coach.

When I was at school, I never thought I’d be a business owner one day.  In fact there was absolutely no way that I thought I would! 

I remember thinking that being a Personal Trainer would be cool, but it wasn’t really something I could do as a career.  It wasn’t a common thing back when I was at school. 

I also thought being a Yoga Teacher would be cool, but again, put that down as a not realistic option.  I thought it would be way to hard to become a Yoga Teacher. 

I remember thinking that running a business must be horrible, because imagine all of the responsibility.  I couldn’t see why anyone would want that kind of pressure, and then to add to that… imagine if you employed people as well!  What a head ache. 

Yet here I am; I’m a qualified Personal Trainer and Yoga Teacher; I’ve created 2 businesses, and employed people.

Have I always been entrepreneurial?  I don’t know.  The only link I can really see is that I’ve always had a creative mind.  Loved dreaming up ideas, and finding solutions for things. To this day I still refer to myself as a dreamer.

On the farm as a kid, my cousins and I used to make show bags… I can’t remember if we tried to sell them to one another?!  When we’d get actual show bags from the Adelaide show, we used to sit on wool bales in the shearing shed and trade things from each others show bags.

I also recall my cousin and I setting up a shop down at the sheds on the farm (quite a few people worked on the farm; my dad, grandfather, 2 uncles and a few workman).  We got some old gallon drums; stood one up at each end of our bar with some kind of wood/plank thing across the top as a counter.  I think we just sold cups of water or cordial… I also think that may have only lasted a day or two!

I can honestly say that I never dreamt of running my own business though.  It was something that evolved over time.  It all started with my move back to the country to be with Farmer.  The comfort of starting a business in my country home town.  A town that has some real get up and go in it. 

My interest in business continued to grow; it came naturally, as I truly loved the work I was doing. 

Ok, back to where I left of with the last blog post…

My journals have been so helpful with me telling my story.  They’re helping me to piece the timing of things together, and also bringing back the thoughts, feeling and emotions that were present each step of the way.  

I clearly remember moving back to the country to live with Farmer.  It was a hot summers day, and we’d been to the Big Day Out music festival the day before.

The part that is a bit of a blur, is the number of times we’d broken up and got back together.  We were known for it.  We had quite an on and off again relationship. 

This journal entry was a few weeks after moving to the country to live with Farmer; it really paints a picture of how I was feeling.  I know full well that I wouldn’t have voiced this to anyone else.  Only my journal.

‘Well, what can I say? I live at *country* with Farmer now, which I was really looking forward too.  Now my moods (high and low) are back.  I feel so lost at the moment.  I used to be a fun, outgoing, loving life kind of girl.  I don’t know where she’s gone.  She’s now feeling extremely unattractive, struggling with money and understanding where she fits into life.

I feel like I’m really lonely, yet I’m living with my boyfriend – it shouldn’t feel like that.  I guess it’s because in Adelaide I’d come home and my two house mates would chat to me.  Now I come home and Farmer’s hardly ever around.  In Adelaide I’d go to work in a big gym full of new people I’d love meeting and getting to know, along with seeing other Personal Trainers which would make my day so fun.  Now I go into a gym – no people apart from my 1 or 2 clients I’m training and no other trainers to chat with.’ 19/2/09

Farmer and I had an on and off relationship over 4 years to begin with.  I won’t share all the details as to why in this blog post.  We had some great times together, but we also had some not so fun times together too. 

Basically we weren’t seeing eye to eye with a few things.  Within 6 months of moving in with Farmer, I decided we needed a break and I moved out to my parents farm (they were about a 30 minute drive away from Farmers).

Well I thought it was a break… or should I say, I decided we’d have a break without giving Farmer any notice.  There was an incident that happened and it just tipped me over the edge.  The following day was when I decided that’s it, I need some time out.  I needed a break, and decided to move out to mum and dads for a bit.

Farmer wasn’t happy.  In his eyes it was a break up, and he didn’t know if he wanted us to be together again.  I was beside myself.  I remember my sister and dad coming to move my stuff out of his house.  I was a crying wreck (and I was never one to cry in front of people, especially not my family).  My sister and dad basically packed up all of my stuff as I wasn’t capable of much.  I just sat there sobbing, pointing to things that were mine so they could pack them up.

Looking back, I could have spoken up and said what I wasn’t happy about.  I could have stood my ground.  Been more open and honest.  I could have valued myself enough to know what things were and weren’t inline with my values.  I was young, and with this being my first proper relationship, I was quite inexperienced with all of this.  I wasn’t using my voice.  But in my defence, there are always two sides to every story. 

A couple of months later I was back living with Farmer again.  Even though I think we both knew we weren’t quite suited, we still found that feeling of home within each other.  There was a comfort there.  We were both always drawn back to that.

Before long, things were off with Farmer and I for the second time.

‘Oh my, so I’m living with mum and dad again.  It’s over with Farmer and I, it seems so silly that I’m struggling to accept it.’ 14/12/10

Every time we’d break up I would be a blubbering mess, even though I knew it was for the best, and that things weren’t right with us.

So… I could go on with numerous journal entries about us getting together and breaking up again… but I won’t!  I just wanted to set the scene and give you a feel for what our relationship was like.  To cut a long story short, it was an on and off again relationship.

I guess the other thing that I’m noticing is that during these emotional times, it was always my journal that I would turn too.  Don’t get me wrong, my friends and family were SO SUPPORTIVE as well, but sometimes I just couldn’t express my feelings in words out loud.  It was so much easier to put them in writing.

During this time I had started building my Personal Training Business.  There were already 2 gyms in town, so I hired a few days/hours at one of the gyms.

I’m so grateful for the gym owner that was happy for me to hire their gym; it gave me a chance to build up my client base without having a huge outlay of setting up a gym.  I also did a few odd jobs for people here and there as I built up my Personal Training Business.  It was the beginning of this ‘running your own business’ thing for me.

The beautiful thing about starting a business in the country, my home town, was that there were so many familiar faces.  Yes, I felt lonely when I first moved back there to be with Farmer, but in time I was back in the swing of country life.  Walking down the street knowing pretty much everyone you see!  Lots of chatting and connecting with people.

I got to see my friends and family that lived there so much more.  Farmer and I had a great network of friends too.  We had so many fun times (social events in the country are far from boring, in fact very creative!).

After a few years of Farmer and I having an on and off relationship, I see that in 2011 I wrote the following journal entry:

‘So… Farmer and I have been seeing each other for a couple of months.  I told him the other night that things need to stop because I can’t let my guard down and I’m not ready for us to be together again.  He said he understands and that’s fair enough.  I think we both need time to work out what we want as individuals instead of what we want in a relationship.’ 14/10/11

I think I always thought in the back of my mind that we would probably get back together at some stage.  I always new it was a toxic relationship, but at the time I couldn’t imagine a life with out him. 

During this time I could no longer work from the gym space I was hiring.  It meant that if I wanted to continue Personal Training my clients, I had to find some where to train them!  So I went into action mode and checked out every vacant building around town.  I was never afraid of what I would do; I just saw it as ‘ok, well I had better find some where else to work from!’

I found a building that wasn’t being used.  It was a beautiful big space.  It needed some work done, but the owners were really great, and happy for me to do what ever I wanted with it.  I started fixing up the walls, painting, getting quotes for fitness equipment, etc.

I can honestly say that I think I looked and felt the best I had ever been whilst setting up my new gym.  I was in great shape.  People were asking me ‘what have you been doing Steph?’  I honestly think it was because I was loving the process of setting up my gym, spending hours on end painting (yes, I actually like painting!), and being creative with designing and working out how I’d set up the space.  I didn’t feel stress or pressure as most of my time was spent setting up my gym and not working as such.  I felt free as a bird.

That soon changed though.  I heard that Farmer had a new girlfriend.  I still remember how sick I felt in the stomach.  I felt like I could vomit.  I knew we weren’t right together, but I didn’t know life without him.

There I was… living in the country… setting up a new gym that had cost me thousands of dollars… and then I heard that Farmer had a new girlfriend, and all I wanted to do was run away.

My sister had booked flights to visit one of our brothers over in Canada for a couple of weeks, followed by a contiki tour around Europe for a couple of weeks.  I didn’t have the funds to go on a holiday like that, but my golly I just wanted to escape.  I wanted to get away.

The timing was kind of perfect.  My sister was doing this overseas trip just before I had planned on opening my new gym.  My parents said they were happy to loan me the money… on top of the money they loaned me to set up my gym; I’m forever grateful for their support.

I’d never been overseas.  I didn’t even have a passport.  I called my sister and said ‘Book me the flights, tickets, etc, that you’ve booked.  Book the exact same for me.  I’m coming!’

Yes.  There I was.  Farmer had a new girlfriend.  I’d just set up a new gym in town.  I wanted to run away and escape life for a bit.  Overseas travel had never really appealed to me until now.  I was about to set off on an adventure.

To be continued…

Love, peace & gratitude,

Steph x
my story. relationships
Maybe it will work.  Maybe it won’t.  Maybe seeing if it does will be the best adventure ever.  

DISCLAIMER: My story isn’t one to make anyone feel shame or to feel bad, but instead for me to own the parts of me that I’ve pushed aside, so I can integrate to becoming a more authentic version of myself and an even better coach.

There’s been a delay with writing this chapter.  I had planned to have it posted and shared with you all a few days ago.  I didn’t feel to write though.  I felt to get out in nature, do some yoga and work on some other projects.

Maybe there was part of me that was putting off writing this chapter?  Talking about relationships makes me feel pretty darn vulnerable, however it plays quite a vital part of my story. 

I feel that the relationships we have with others is often a reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves.  I feel this has proven true for me any way.  It’s no wonder they say, it’s important to have a good relationship with yourself before you call in another.    

I haven’t touched on relationships up until now.  I feel to give you a little back ground information before getting back to My Story.

Going through school I often watched the popular kids get boyfriends / girlfriends.  I’d have a little crush on a guy here or there, but nothing would come of it.  I was too shy, plus I didn’t believe I was worthy of that kind of connection.  I struggled to like myself, let along allow someone else to like me. 

Once alcohol was introduced to the mix and the outgoing Stephy would come out to play, it gave me the confidence to talk to more guys.  I let my guard down a bit.  I would flirt and love chatting and getting attention as young teenagers do! 

The first time I kissed a guy… well I think I was 16 or 17.  He was 4 or 5 years older.  He was cheeky.  He was confident.  He got my attention.  He set the foundation of how my relationships would play out for quite a few years to come. 

The first time we kissed was at a party.  I think it was at a 16th Birthday party (a combined one for me and two friends).  It was at a friends house.  There were lots of people.  There was drinking, loud music, dancing, a bon fire, glow sticks (haha, we used to love glow sticks!).  So much fun! 

To cut a long story short, this guy and I would just hook up (when I say hook up I mean kiss, nothing more).  We’d hook up when we were both at parties on weekends, and then there was little to no connection outside of that.  We’d occasionally chat on the phone (no mobiles back then… it was calling the good old landline at the house!).   

I remember always thinking ‘I wonder if he actually likes me?’  It used to consume my mind.  I used to play hard to get.  I’d tell friends I wasn’t interested in that guy, yet deep down I was always hoping I would see them, and sure enough I would always end up with them at parties… and my friends always knew full well that I would end up with them again!  

Looking back through my journals, I would always write about how confused I was.  I didn’t know if they really liked me.  I’d then get angry because they would do something I didn’t like; I’d write in my journal ‘that’s it, not going back there again…’ then the next weekend I’d see them and I’d like them all over again.  It was a real on and off relationship type style… yet it was never really a relationship.

This pattern then played out for years to come (teenage years through to early 20’s).  I’d hook up with a guy (again, just kiss them, nothing more – this made me feel in control and like I wasn’t letting them get too close to me), we’d have a great night at a party, and then there would be no contact until we’d see each other again at another party. 

This would last for a few weeks, and then they’d generally lose interest or I would do something silly or over react to something to sabotage it.  I’d then go ahead and really dislike that particular guy for a good few weeks!  I’d think they were the worst person on the planet and someone I never want to see again; that would help me to let go and move forward (oh, being a teenager…!).

Looking back I can see that I felt I had control by never committing to any of these guys.  It’s like I felt that by just keeping it as a casual thing, and telling people that I’m not really into them, it meant that I was protecting myself from getting hurt.  It’s like I had in the back of my mind, they won’t want to be with me long term, so I’m not going to get too attached.  Or I’d think… I’ve told my friends I don’t really like them, so if this guy no longer likes me I won’t look so silly, because my friends know I didn’t like them anyway.  

The silly thing was… I did still get attached.  Reading back through my journals… wowsers!  All the ‘I wonder if I’ll see them this weekend?’ and ‘I wonder if they actually like me?’  I was sooo stuck inside my head with it all.  

I can see that my self worth needed some attention.  I hated the way I looked.  I lacked confidence and had a bit of social anxiety, and that’s where alcohol played a part.  I didn’t value myself.  I didn’t see the goodness within me, and as a result couldn’t see how anyone could ever see good in me.

I was one of those girls that said they only like the bad guys and wasn’t ever attracted to the nice guys.  I can see why now… by going for the bad guys, you know it’s going to end.  I wouldn’t get too close and I’d know it wasn’t going to last.  

Getting attracted to a nice guy would be dangerous territory… that meant there was a chance of getting in too deep and then get super hurt if it was to end one day. 

So there’s a little back ground to my relationship history as a teenager and in my early 20’s, before being in a relationship with Farmer (we’ll refer to him as ‘Farmer’ in this blog).  Farmer was one of those guys I used to refer too as a ‘nice guy.’  That’s when this pattern of going for the so called ‘bad guys’ changed.

Ok, back to where I left of with the last blog post…

Unemployed and back to full time study.  I quit my corporate job so I could follow my passion with health and wellbeing. 

When I was at school, I thought being a Personal Trainer would be a really cool job but I didn’t believe I could do it.  Hence I never pursued it.

Some of you may be thinking ‘but Steph, you haven’t really painted a picture of being into health and wellbeing yet… you ate some much junk food, binge drank…??’

The thing is, growing up I always had interest in Health and Wellbeing.  I grew up on the farm eating well.  We didn’t eat many processed foods at all.  It was all meat from the farm, fruit & veg, and mum would bake cookies, cakes, and muffins.  Sure they may not be considered 100% ‘healthy’ as such, but at least mum knew exactly what was in them.  There was no preservatives, artificial rubbish, etc.

I grew up always going for a walk or bike ride after dinner ever since I was a real little tacker!  My siblings and I would in our pj’s, riding our bikes down the drive way to the mail box and back, whilst mum and dad would walk. 

As I got older I’d go through fads of running as well.  I could never really get into the running though – I still struggle with it, haha.

My Nana used to give me her ‘Good Health magazines’ once she’d read them.  I’d love reading about health topics.  It really did always interest me.

I also went through quite a few stages where I’d go to parties and tell friends, ‘no I’m not drinking this weekend, I’m detoxing.’  It was like I had an all or nothing approach.  I think in my 20’s I started to realise how much alcohol effected my mind and wellbeing.

I think the turning point was in my corporate job.  One of the insurance underwriters that had a desk across from me, would ask me ‘Hey Bartlett, what did you have for dinner last night?’ After a few days of responding with super unhealthy dinners, he said to me ‘Ok Bartlett, I’m going to write down what you have for dinner for a week.’  I said, no worries!

At the end of the week he read back to me something along the lines of ‘Domino’s pizza, pasta, McDonalds, sausages and veg, spaghetti on crumpets…’  It was basically a list of meals that lacked nutrition! 

It was actually quite an eye opener when he read them back to me!  I did laugh and think ‘oh dear!’

Another insurance underwriter in the office decided to do a 30 day detox.  She asked if I wanted to do it with her.  It meant no alcohol, caffeine, meat (with the exception of fish), sugar, flour, dairy or processed foods.  I did it.  I felt great.  I remember overhearing one of my friends say to my parents, ‘this is the best Steph has ever looked!’

I’d always played around with health stuff.  I liked to be the guinea pig.  I’ve always liked to learn first hand how things work and how they make me feel.

Any how, back to relationship stuff…  I had started dating farmer whilst I was working in my corporate insurance job.

To start with I wasn’t too sure about him.  He was a nice guy.  He was super nice, and I was really not used to that, nor comfortable with that!  It was out of my comfort zone. 

It’s fascinating how I would pull away as soon as guys would show interest and be nice!  Even in the last few years when I’ve dated guys, I’d tell my friends ‘they are so nice!’ and I’d say it like I’m surprised… my friends would always laugh and reply, ‘but Steph, so they should be!  You’re a beautiful person! It’s ok for them to be nice to you!’ 

I gradually let me guard down with Farmer and things were going quite well.  I still had moments of thinking ‘I don’t know if they actually like me?’ Again, I think that was through my own insecurities. 

It was always so exciting to drive back to the country where I grew up so I could see Farmer on the weekends.  I would literally be counting down for the weekend so I could go back there, or he would come to Adelaide.  I guess with the long distance relationship thing, it meant there was the build up of excitement during the week that we’d get to see each other again! 

This long distance relationship started whilst I was in my corporate job, and continued during my Personal Training course. I then worked for a year as a Personal Trainer at a Goodlife gym in Adelaide.  By the end of this year, I was getting a bit tired of all of the travelling too and from the country on weekends to see Farmer.  I think I was tired of Adelaide as well.  I was craving some country life. 

I decided to quit my job at the gym in Adelaide and move back to the country to live with Farmer.  I told my boss at the gym about my plans.  He organised a meeting with me and another manager at the gym, where they both told me to perhaps reconsider my plans.  They didn’t believe I would be doing myself any favours by moving to the country.  They said there wouldn’t be the opportunity or client base to work with in the country.

I appreciated their concern and advice, however once again, I followed my intuition.  I felt to move back to the country.  There were already 2 gyms in the town I was moving too.  I wasn’t 100% sure what I would do for work, but I knew I would make it work some how. 

I guess this is where my journey as a Business Owner began… a move to the country and then finding my way with creating a business.  What a roller coaster ride running a business can be… and then add a relationship break up to the mix… Farmer and I had a few challenges… that makes the ride even bumpier and had me questioning my self worth and self esteem even more.  I was about to learn so valuable lessons, yet I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything that’s happened, has had me evolve into the person I am today. 

To be continued…

Love, peace & gratitude,

Steph x

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