Why I’m offering FREE coaching
“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.”
When I was 5 years old, my dad used a classic 90’s video camera to record all of our family holidays. He was eternally behind the bulky, black machine and his signature move as director (and camera man) was an unmistakable laugh that came from the absolute pit of his stomach.
One thing that always made him laugh, in particular, was how unbelievably independent I was when I’d wonder off – and how I often took it upon myself to teach others.
When I sat down with my cousin, both of us being five at the time, I asked her if she knew how to play this card game and then without letting her answer – told her how to play anyway. I was desperate to teach. I would teach a stationary vehicle to dance the waltz if it let me.
But as I got older, this desire to teach ended up being labelled ‘bossy’, or ‘showing off’, and I slowly but surely sunk my enthusiasm with a big gulp, and my mouth grew shut. Who would want to hear me dish out instructions anyway? What did I I know?
So I became my own student, and channelled that excess energy into the pursuing my long list of passions. I was part of dance clubs, cheer clubs, I won state skipping competitions, and the state mathematics competition. I played soccer, attempted basketball, and took singing lessons. For a kid with no money, I somehow got involved in a lot! But, after a little while, I noticed that the girls in the back weren’t cheering me on – they were laughing at me. And when people weren’t laughing, they were straight out teasing.
All this happened whilst I was deciding what kind of student I wanted to be at school. The one who sat in the front, or the one in the back (or the one who didn’t even show up at all). Sadly, I traded the front seat for friendships – because I thought they would fill the gaping hole left in my heart after my confidence and sense of self was ripped out by bullying.
Pretending not to understand things in class, or purposefully letting assignments go because I was terrified of being poor and a smarty pants, was a challenge I did not take lightly. In fact, I became so great at pretending to fail that I’d literally failed for real. Year 12 results were delivered and it was like being left outside on the first day of winter with no door to get back in.
My ‘friends’ had actually been studying, while I was out-cooling them by ditching school. My ‘friends’ were actually feeling real pressure from their parents to focus, and get good results in exams, while I was arguing with the school about wanting to do four subjects (because they cancelled the dance class for year 12’s and I refused to do Maths or Science).
But don’t worry, this story isn’t all doom and gloom. Once I left school, I got the job of champions, the job that humbles even the most falsely-confident teenagers. I worked as a waitress in a beachside cafe, while my friends set off on their exciting journeys to University.
The thing about smelling like maple syrup and working double shifts, is that you learn phenomenal lessons about life. After scraping food off plates for two years, and talking to people from so many different places, I realised that we are all just extremely simple beings who want to be loved. And every criticism, every push, every weird look I’d had since I was five, was just another person projecting their own insecurities on me.
I made friendships that I’ll never forget, and fell madly in love (then had my heart devastatingly crushed). I got promoted to management, and responsibility flowed into my ‘bossy’ arms like rain into the river. My dream come true; I got paid to teach other people. Yes, it was just carrying plates and using a POS machine, but it meant a successful business vs. an unsuccessful one. The cafe owner, George, taught me a long list of other life lessons, and some of my best memories involve sitting at ‘our table’ eating pasta.
I hung up my apron with tears in my eyes, and set out to get a ‘real job’. The world was kind to me, and apparently my ‘showing off’ served me well, because I worked my way up the ranks in Insurance and hit almost $100k salary before I was 21. The confidence of my 5 year old self wasn’t entirely back, but it was creeping in when I needed it most – like when I was younger than my entire team of men, who all thought I was lost when I walked into the office as their new manager.
So, I was happy right? I earned more than I could have possibly dreamed, I lived in Sydney with two gorgeous house mates, and we sat by our pool on the weekends just burning cash and bathing in champagne. Ah, definitely not. Most of that was true, except the happy part.
I had a complete breakdown at 23, and an overwhelming sense that my soul had no home (not even in Adelaide). And let me tell you, when your soul is lost – you are indeed, lost. In my depressed stupor, I binge watched Marilyn Monroe movies and ate myself into a guaranteed pre-diabetic state. At one point, I actually believed I was Marilyn Monroe. It was the epitome of identity crisis.
How could I dig myself out? Why had I reached this point in life without knowing who I am?
On reflection, it was obvious; I’d sacrificed every genuine sense of myself because I believed it would make people like me more, instead of sacrificing people who treated me that way. I gave up my spirited quirks, my deepest intuitions, and my wholehearted love for entertaining and teaching.
When you give up these things, and receive nothing of value in return, you will eventually feel empty – and it’s incomprehensibly difficult to bring it all back. It was too late for me that time, but it’s not too late for you.
So here’s why I’m offering free coaching to students.
I never want anyone else to experience that moment on the ledge that I did. I want to help young people understand why it’s important to have values and cling to them no matter what. I want to help people find their way back, when they’re lost. I want to teach people, not because I’m bossy or because I know it all, but because I’ve made so many mistakes and it would be a waste not to use the lessons from them.
This is not counselling, this is not about mental health, this is about learning the basic need of self-love.
Since that fateful moment on my bathroom in Sydney, I picked myself up, moved back to Adelaide to reset (and sleep for 3 days). I went back to work, but this time, I also enrolled at University. I had lost so much control of my own mind, and I wanted to learn how it worked so I could get control back. I started my degree in Health and Medical Science, and quickly gravitated to the major in Neuroscience. Now, almost at the end of my degree – I’ve read probably 10+ books about the brain outside of my courses, I follow the current research closely, and I do specific research for this blog when I need to explain something.
I also transitioned into marketing, just for fun. I ended up finding myself, obviously, and have dedicated my life to science and the pursuit of neuro-mastery. I’ve been to 14 countries, I got married, paid off my mountain of Sydney debt, started writing a book, and started this Brain Sparks business.
I don’t have a certificate in life coaching because honestly – most of the institutions selling them look like scams, and I haven’t found a coaching course that doesn’t make me want to bang my head on the wall.
If you don’t want coaching, but you think you’re lost:
Find solid ground. Only spend time with people you trust. Do NOT under any circumstances trade what you know is right for you, in exchange for someone’s acceptance or love. You came into this world by yourself, you’ll survive in it by yourself (but mums are pretty important too, and scientifically can improve your mood just by hearing their voice). If your family isn’t on your trust list for whatever reason, find friends that share your values and hold them tight. You don’t have to live the linear life so seemingly designed for you. Go sideways. Go backwards if you feel it’s necessary. Just don’t go where someone else wants you to go, it never ends well. Find your passions, follow them all, don’t choose one. And most of all, remember that you are the true script writer of that voice in your head. And if you don’t learn to master those thoughts, they will forever master you.
I hope you reach out, and I hope I can help.