The power and importance of defining what success REALLY means to you

The power and importance of defining what success REALLY looks like to you from Selina on Vimeo.

I loved doing this interview SO much. It is the second interview of my new video series “Inspired” where I interview people who inspire me with the way they live and work.

Well this week I got to interview the fabulous Jen Gresham .  A former US Air Force scientist who changed her life around and became a career coach and writer – and a seriously shit-hot coach and writer at that.

She brings an intelligence and insight into what it takes to create the life you really want to live that constantly inspires and fascinates me.

Above all it’s what she has to say on the topic of success that really blows me away. And I think you’ll be blown away too. Which is why I’ve given you the full 27 minute interview because there is just so much gold in it.

Because how we define success has a huge impact on the way we live our lives, the choices we make and how we feel about our lives.

A HUGE impact.

Way more than I ever realised until I talked in full with Jen about it.

If you don’t get clear on your own personal definition of success you will find yourself chasing things that could never bring you happiness even though society is telling you that they will. It’s actually scary how much our society’s idea of success is causing us to live lives that will never bring happiness and fulfillment.

So watch the video above and then, if you want to really figure out what YOUR definition of success is, grab yourself a copy of Jen’s digital course: ‘The Overachievers Guide to Meaningful Success’



I’ve just bought a copy myself and trust me, I never buy courses – I just know this one is going to make a big difference

Find out more about the course and buy your own copy here

And let me know what this ‘Inspired’ video got YOU thinking about the way you measure success.

x Selina

INSPIRED #1: Microadventures – an interview with adventurer & author Alastair Humphreys

Hi there!
Well as promised, this week marks the start of my latest project – ‘Inspired’ – where I go and get into conversation with people who inspire me with the way they live, work and look at the world.

And I really struck gold with my first interviewee: none other than the legendary Alastair Humphreys.

A winner of the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year award, Alastair has gone on more adventures than you would think possible to squeeze into just one lifetime, from cycling around the world for four years, to racing across the Atlantic by boat, to crossing Iceland by foot & packraft to canoeing down the Yukon river, to name just a few. And his adventuring days are by no means over.

But as well as being a remarkable adventurer, Al is also a hugely talented writer, photographer, speaker and film-maker. His website IS my no.1 website to visit and that is no exaggeration. It is a treasure trove of inspiration and captivating images.

Make yourself a cup of tea and just dig in:

But it’s not actually just his own adventures that excite me, what has really been getting me excited and having me tell everyone about him, is his latest book (an Amazon best-seller)  ‘Microadventures’. In fact it’s a whole lot more than a book – it’s a movement that is inspiring people to find ways to weave mini-adventures into their day to day lives.

And THIS is what I wanted to talk to Alastair about…
Bear in mind I am new to interviewing and it was filmed on skype so it is seriously rough and ready and I decided to cut right into the juicy part cutting out any earlier preamble from me.

But despite the roughness of my execution of it, I hope you’ll be as inspired as I was hearing Alastair talk about the joys of sleeping on a hill for a night,  finding creative ways to weave adventure into our day to day lives, the importance of shaking things up to remind us that we can live our lives the way WE want and how his own adventures have given him the confidence and courage to create a life and career of his own design.


What you can do now…

1. Sign up to Alastair’s blog
2. Watch some of his videos about Microadventures
3. Buy one of Al’s books
4. Go on a Microadventure and share your experience online when you do using #microadventure

I’m back…and with a new FREE video series for you!

Hi guys,

Well…I am back!

If you weren’t part of the Project You party then it’ll have been a long time since you will have heard a peep from me. So I’m really excited about creating fresh new content for you to enjoy over the following months.

And to celebrate my return to the bloggersphere I’m going to run a fresh new FREE video series for you that I’m really excited about.

It’s called ‘Inspired’ and it’s my chance to interview some of the people out there that really inspire me with the way they live, work and play.

People who live life consciously, to their own rules, from the heart.

And who inspire and help others to do the same.

The first of those interviews will hit the airwaves next week when I interview the infamous adventurer, Alastair Humphries.

Alastair is an adventurer, blogger, author, motivational speaker, film maker and photographer. And one big huge inspiration.

Alastair has been on more adventures than you could dream up, from marathons through deserts, to sailing races across the Atlantic, bike rides from oh, I don’t know, Pakistan to China and journies across Iceland on foot. For starters.

But as well as all this wild and wonderful adventuring, what I love about Alastair is how he encourages all of us to get out and fit more adventure into our busy lives with Microadventures – the name of his latest best-selling book.

So keep your eyes open this time next week for my video interview with Alastair to pop into your inbox and if you have a friend that you think would enjoy my new ‘Inspired’ video series then forward this email to them and they can sign up using the box below!

In the meantime, I’ve restarted my Career Strategy Sessions to help people discover what career path will really make them happy in life and create a plan to make it happen. So if you’re interested then just drop me a line to find out more.

Until next week!

x Selina

Life design is NOT about trying to create a perfect life…far from it

Project You is under way!

The 8 week summer school in life design has begun and I kicked things off this week by getting us all to take a look at our lives as a whole and creating a picture of what we’d like them to look like.

But while essentially I’ve got us creating a picture of our ideal life, I’ve made one thing very clear: life design, or at least my version of life design, is NOT about creating a vision of a perfect life and then trying to force your life to look exactly like that.

Not at all.

Life design is about approaching life like an artist, like a scientist and treating it like a game. Embracing the fact that we can’t control everything in life and that all we can do, therefore, is experiment, play and see what grows.

Yes, a huge part of life design is about following our dreams and for that our imaginations can be powerful tools, but even our imaginations are limited. They can only work with what we currently know and believe – of ourselves and of life. And so life design, as much as it is about playing with our magic ability as humans to conjure up ideas and then bring them to life, it is also about accepting that you don’t know half the things that will actually make you happy. And so it’s about going out and experimenting to see what WILL make you happy and then filling your life with THAT.

And that is what makes it so much fun.

I’ve given you a little sneak peak into a small part of the video from Week 1 of Project You: The Big Picture where I talk more about this and why we need to be embracing making mistakes rather than trying to avoid them.

x Selina

Teaching the art of life design…it’s happening!

Wow, well last week was wild.

For those of you that missed it I announced that I had a life design course up my sleeve that I wanted to create and run this summer:

Project You – the life design summer school

Fashioning my own homemade Kickstarter campaign I said that I would only do it if I got 100 sign ups.

I gave us a 2 week window to hit that target.

We hit it in less than 2 days!

And I say ‘we’ because it was very much a team effort. Facebook exploded into a frenzy of messages about my life design programme. Many of you signed up in the first hour. I was blown away by the enthusiasm and support Project You received. And I’ve been buzzing ever since.

Because now I get to create a course for you this summer that I really can’t wait for you to experience.

If you haven’t signed up then you still can – the more the merrier.
It kicks off on the 27th July.

And for now I’ll leave you with this great TED talk from Derek Sivers on ‘How to Start a Movement’ – it’s how a friend described the buzz around Project You last week.

So thank you to those of you that came and joined me dancing up there.

We did it!

x Selina

P.S. If you signed up to Project You and you haven’t received anything from me, please let me know by replying to this email – paypal is up to its usual tricks…!

P.P.S. while we’ve punched way above the 100 mark there is no limit to how many people can join in with Project You this summer so do let your friends know – just pass this email onto them

Get ready to learn the art of life design

The life I live now is one that I could never have dreamed up when I was younger. I thought back then that life was something that you did, something that happened to you.

I didn’t realise it could be something you created for yourself. Something that you could design to suit your personality, your needs, your dreams.

I had always been creative, always loved art and design above all other topics at school, but noone had ever suggested that my life could be my greatest creative project. That I could design my own life. Whatever way I wanted.

I’m not sure the grown-ups around me knew it themselves. There were certainly never life-design classes taught at school (now wouldn’t that be cool?!).

But the life I live today IS my own design. I live a life that I love, I do work that fulfills me deeply and is a constant source of fun and challenge, I am surrounded by people that I love, that inspire me and fill me with admiration. I live according to my values, follow my own rules, experience freedom on a daily basis and my relationship with myself and my health go from strength to strength.

It is no accident. I chose this. Sometimes it took huge amounts of effort. I had to take risks, I had to face people telling my I couldn’t at times. But over the years as I’ve created my life consciously, I’ve become surrounded by people that are doing the same. And when you start doing it together…ooh, there’s nothing quite like it.

And I’m not saying my life is perfect. I’ve taken wrong turns, made big mistakes and fallen in with the wrong people. But I always took responsibility when that happened and did what I needed to change the picture.

You can always change the picture.

I’ve done it in almost every area of my life over the last 8 years: career, lifestyle, home, relationships, health and wealth. Even the relationship I enjoy with myself today was something I consciously cultivated.

And now teaching life design is something I suddenly feel hungry to do. Ready to do.

I’ve been doing it for years on my retreats and with my friends and I’ve written about my own journey of living a created life, but I’ve never sat down and invited people to come and learn the art of designing their own lives and actually take them through the process of doing it so that they start to see the results for themselves.

So that is what I want to do this summer.
And I’m going to be inviting you to come and do it with me.

It’ll be simple. The kind of thing you can take on holiday, listen to on the way to work. A mix of videos, podcasts and exercises. And I want to make it really affordable.

The deal is if 100 people sign up then I’ll do it and if they don’t then I won’t.

So watch your inbox on Monday for an announcement…and let’s make this the summer you learn the art of life design and start creating your life out of the things you love.

x Selina

Are you too scared to quit? Then here is what to do…

What happens if you want to quit your job – it’s making you miserable and you know you can’t go on this way – but the idea of actually quitting fills you with so much anxiety that you are paralysed?

Do you feel the fear and do it anyway? Are there ways to get rid of the fear? Is the fear actually telling you that something is wrong and you shouldn’t be quitting your job?

That’s what this week’s video is all about. Answering a question sent in by J, I talk about this very common fear of quitting a secure and stable job and having a go at something new.

Here is the question:

“My biggest challenge and fear currently is leaving my current job / income source. Lots of risks, potential issues, what ifs, yes buts etc. All of which are stopping me from leaving but keeping me in an environment that I loathe.

So I’d be interested to hear about experiences you are aware of of people that have made the leap and it wasn’t as scary as they thought. And perhaps any tips or actions to prepare for such a leap”

And here is my video answer:

is what to do…

18 Jun 2014

What happens if you want to quit your job – it’s making you miserable and you know you can’t go on this way – but the idea of actually quitting fills you with so much anxiety that you are paralysed?

Do you feel the fear and do it anyway? Are there ways to get rid of the fear? Is the fear actually telling you that something is wrong and you shouldn’t be quitting your job?

That’s what this week’s video is all about. Answering a question sent in by J, I talk about this very common fear of quitting a secure and stable job and having a go at something new.

Here is the question:

“My biggest challenge and fear currently is leaving my current job / income source. Lots of risks, potential issues, what ifs, yes buts etc. All of which are stopping me from leaving but keeping me in an environment that I loathe.

So I’d be interested to hear about experiences you are aware of of people that have made the leap and it wasn’t as scary as they thought. And perhaps any tips or actions to prepare for such a leap”

And here is my video answer:

 

So in summary:

1. Don’t try to avoid feeling that fear, don’t run from it or hide from it. That fear is totally natural – everyone feels them.
2. Take a deep breathe, take a step back and listen to where the fear is coming from
3. Find practical solutions to gaps in your plan that the fear is highlighting
4. Identify where there are unhealthy and limiting beliefs causing the fear
5. Remember that you can make your career change in a shift that happens in comfortable steps – it doesn’t have to be done in one terrifying leap into the unknown

Book recommendation: Confidence & Success with CBT – I recommend this to almost all my clients – it’s a great tool for dealing with fears and freak outs that come when going through a career shift.

If you want some help in creating your own career change plan – either figuring out what it is you want to do or how to make that change in a way that doesn’t throw you into a petrified state – drop me a line at hello @ selinabarker.com and I’ll tell you all about my Career Strategy Session.

x Selina

How to try on different careers to find the one that will make you truly happy

Today’s video is all about how to try out career ideas for size, how to get a real taste of what it would be like if that career you keep day dreaming about really was your career.

Why is it important to do that? Well first of all because it’s only until we actually try things out that we can truly know whether it will be right for us. Our imagination is a powerful tool but it is limited – it makes assumptions, it guesses at things. You might have an imagination that tends to get caught up in a golden-tinted fantasy of what a career is like and totally ignore aspects that won’t suit you or you might have an imagination that tends to focus in on the cons, on the challenges and the difficulties and is quick to write career ideas off before even giving them a chance.

If you’re anything like me you’ll have an imagination that tends to do both and usually gets it wildly wrong!

So today’s video is all about the practical ways you can try a career on for size so that you can find one that really does suit you.

Next week’s video: What would you like to hear me talk about next?
If there is something you’d particularly like to hear me talk about next week around creating a career and life you love, if there are any areas you are particularly stuck on and would like to hear what guidance I have to offer, then let me know – I’d love to hear from you. Simply leave your questions below.

x Selina

The most fun & effective way to figure out which career is right for you

Last week we looked at how to figure out your core ingredients for a fulfilling career.This week’s session is on what to do next.

This is always  my favourite part of figuring out what direction to take my career and business in next and yet it’s the part that everyone seems to forget about, or tries to avoid, when doing it for themselves. It’s uncomfortable because you want to find an answer, the not knowing can be excruciating, but if you just accept that discomfort  then this can be a lot of fun…

Watch the video to find out how to do it…

X Selina

How to identify YOUR core ingredients for a fulfilling career

I am very excited to share with you the first in my video series ‘How to find fulfilment in your career’. Today’s first video session takes a look at what your core ingredients are for a fulfilling career.

We can get so tangled up in what we think we should do and what we think will make us happy, based on what others have told us, that the first step is to get clear on what really WILL make us happy in our work. This is always a key part of my Career Strategy Sessions and I’m going to share with you ways that you can start doing this for yourself.

Watch this 10 minute mini video session with me on ‘How to identify your core ingredients for a fulfilling career’

IMPORTANT! If you sent me a message last week to arrange a call to discuss the 121 Career Strategy Session and what it could do for you and you didn’t hear back from me then reply directly to this email – the contact form didn’t always forward on the messages, so if you didn’t hear from me it’s because I didn’t get your message!

Tune in next week for video #2 in the series

x Selina

Hello, I’m back! And look what I have in store for you…

Well hello, I’m back and with a whole lot of news!

After a good few months of giving myself plenty of space and time to reflect on how I wanted to work next and what I wanted to be offering you guys in terms of coaching and guidance in creating a career you love, I’ve gone right back to basics.

After three years of doing big online courses, retreats in exotic locations and workshops, I want to dedicate my time and energy to doing what I love most: 121 career strategy sessions with you. That’s where the magic happens. That’s where I get the best results, most enjoyment and greatest reward. Up until now I’ve kept it on the down-low because I just didn’t have the time to take people on every week, but now I’m freeing up three to four slots a week so that I can work directly with many more of you.

You can find out all about my career strategy sessions and what they’ve done to help others over here

On top of that…lots more video time!

I’m going to be bringing regular videos and blog posts to you – weekly rather than monthly. I’m going to focus entirely on teaching you the key lessons I’ve learnt over the past 8 years on how to create a career you love that is as fulfilling as it is successful. And I can’t wait.  So if you have specific questions you’d like to have me answer then shoot them over.

Keep an eye out next week for the first in this series of video sessions and in the meantime check out what my career strategy sessions can do for you and drop me a line if you’re keen.

x Selina

Why friends and family are the most likely to tell you your plan for a career change is silly

Today’s video from me was triggered by an email from yet another client who had skipped off full of excitement about their new plan for changing their career only to be met by raised eye brows and mutterings of ‘aren’t you being a bit idealistic, do you really think you can do that’ kind of nonsense that always seems to come from the family and friends you most want to receive support and approval from.

After over 8 years of helping people craft new career paths for themselves I can only say that this just seems to be the way things go: your friends and family are the most likely to tell you your big new exciting career plans are silly.

I’ve shot a video all about why this happens and what to do if it does and I’ve included the email response below that I wrote to my lovely client who, I am glad to say, once she heard that that just happens, she shot off and has been starting to get that plan in motion so that that ‘silly idea’ will one day be the life that she lives and loves : )

So watch the video, read the email I wrote to my client and forgive your friends and family that try to sabotage your attempts to forge a new career path – they’re only human ; )

x Selina

Email to my lovely client

Yep, that’s the usual. I could write a whole book on why people like to plunge a pin into our ideas. Let me ask you first – those that said ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it, don’t be silly, proper jobs and fun don’t go together’ – do any of those do work they love? Are any of those people who you really admire in the work they do and how much they love it?

Consider why they are saying that. Here are usually the reasons:

1) to protect you (possibly) because they see you in a nice safe and secure job and you jumping out of that feels scarey to them – this is usually family, partners, people that feel protective over you and want to see you safe ie not moving.

2) they are miserable in their jobs, their perspective on careers and what it can be like are extremely limited. They need to believe that work and fun can’t be combined, that it’s silly to want to work from home/cafe or anywhere in the world, that it’s dangerous to dare to imagine having work that you love because it’ll make you dissatisfied with what you have and what oyu have is safe. If you jump ship and show them you CAN have your cake and eat it (which FYI is one of my sayings when it comes to career) then imagine what that will do to them – they will have to face the fact that they have a job they don’t like OUT OF CHOICE because you are now showing them they CAN change and do something they love. They will try and stop you at all costs from doign that. They might not realise they are doing it.

I can’t tell you how much I see this. You are going to have to choose among other things to believe in another way and surroundyourself with people already living that way. I had to do that too at first and then once I’d done it I started inspiring my friends to do it too. By the way I am sitting in a cafe right now working sitting next to a greatfriend of mine who jumped ship a few years ago out of a permanent job and into contract work while making a film. Last year we were togehter in Buenos Aires for a month, working from cafes. Because we can. Because we decided not to belive it was silly. YOU belong with us. I know this is hard. You’ll have moments like this, a lot at first, but stick with it, the start is the hardest part. Once you get that ball rolling then you’re on your way to making your dream a reality. Like we did.

And you’ve inspired a blog post in me – watch out for the next one – it’s going ot be dedicated to you ; )

Your calendar is your canvas

I would love to get us all to a place where our well-being and happiness were naturally and effortlessly our top priority at all times for each of us, but we’re just not there yet (ooh if you are, then PLEASE write to me – I’ll want to chat and learn about how you do it). And that’s OK. Step by step.

In the meantime I have the closest thing to a magic wand that I can offer you: a calendar.

A calendar with a day planner where you can create slots of hourly time into your day.

Plenty of us use it successfully to keep on top of things at work and do what needs to be done. But the magic happens when you start to use it to create your life, by creating your year, your month, your week, your day so that you are consciously filling it with the good stuff.

Your calendar is your canvas.

Develop a strong, committed relationship to your calendar and you’ll really start to create and live the life you dream up.

Let’s start with well-being basics: what keeps you feeling healthy, calm, grounded, alive? These need to form the foundations of your day to day, whether it’s daily mediation, weekly yoga, running, time in nature, 8 hours sleep a night, an evening in to yourself, a massage once a month. Block the time out that you want to dedicate to these activities. They have to go in first.

Next schedule in the fun stuff – the personal projects, creative pursuits, hobbies, leisure time, hanging out with friends, pampering. The things you do for the enjoyment of it. You’d think we wouldn’t have to book in time to do the things we enjoy but again, those things slip down the priority list when we get caught up in the fast-paced reactive lives so many of us lead.

Time for you. Putting aside time to spend on our own, getting to know ourselves is also something that we don’t often prioritise but which is essential to our well-being and happiness. So get that in your diary too.

Next comes work – we’re usually more used to scheduling in time for work-focused activities – meetings etc. I dedicate specific time to tasks I can’t be bothered to do (otherwise I’ll never do them) and to new projects I want to get off the ground (otherwise the day to day stuff can end up eating up my time). As a recovering workaholic I also schedule in work time to ring-fence it otherwise I’ll sneakily use up my night off to get ahead on one of my projects. Just because I love doing it doesn’t mean it’s not going to burn me out eventually, so I have to be firm with myself about when to stop.

Then step back and take a look at your whole year ahead and block in time for the fun adventures, holidays, courses and outings you want to enjoy throughout the year, even if roughly at first. If they require a good amount of planning and research then block out time to do that too.

Finally, use your calendar to get into new habits so that they eventually become second-nature: When I was focusing on getting my well-being into gear because I wanted to feel nourished in my life, I scheduled in everything from ‘lunch break‘ (which I used to frequently skip) to ‘go to shops to buy nourishing food‘ (or I lived off rice cakes and marmite). Now I have turned those into firm habits I don’t need to schedule them in. This year I want to get back into painting and have a go at meditating for a month. I know the moment it gets a space in my calendar, it’ll appear in my life.

Your calendar is your canvas and a magic wand when you want to bring about change in your life.

So choose what it is you want to fill your life with and start scheduling it.

It’s time to drop your expectations – ALL of them – and this is why…

If there is ONE thing you do this year. Make it this: dig deep and find the expectations that you are trying to live up to, wanting others to live up to, asking life to live up to.

And drop them.

They won’t go without a fight, but stand firm. Make 2014 the year you drop your expectations.

Expectations of what you think will make you happy
Expectations of what your life should look like
Expectations of what others should be like

It isn’t easy, but if you don’t do it, you are setting yourself up for disappointment, frustration, feelings of failure and a constant need to shape, manipulate and control the world around you to try and get it to fit into your expectations.

It is exhausting, disappointing and it does not lead to happiness. It just doesn’t. No sooner has one expectation been met than there is a fleeting sense of achievement until the next expectation on the list is flagged up and a new goal is born. There is no end to that freaking list.

There was a time when I was almost entirely dedicated to creating a life that fulfilled my expectations. In doing so I essentially stopped life from flowing and unfolding naturally from my core and instead ended up living a life that looked great on the outside, but didn’t feel good on the inside. The more I dedicated myself to fulfilling my expectations, the more disconnected, lonely and empty I felt. As I chased after fantasies and expectations, I ran further and further away from myself…and from those around me.

I had so many expectations of what my family, friends and partners should, would, could be like that I was regularly angry, disappointed, frustrated and asking why? Why aren’t they being the way I thought they would be. It felt like a betrayal. Now looking back on it it feels like bonkers.

When you dedicate yourself to having a life that lives up to your expectations, you end up spending your life, not enjoying it, but walking around with a measuring stick, seeing how your actual life measures up to your expectations of it. You are happy when it seems to be a close match and unhappy when it seems to suddenly fall short.

It is madness. Because YOU made up those expectations. No-one else. YOU.

Yes they might have been given to you by family, peers, society…but ultimately you chose to take them on and strive to create your life to the blue print of those expectations.

You are choosing to do that.

However that part is actually the good news. Because that means you can choose to stop. Stop trying to live your life according to what you think will make you happy, or worse still, what you think you and others should look and be like. You think you know what will make you happy and successful in life. I have news for you. You don’t. You don’t have a clue. The sooner you embrace the mystery of it all, that life is one big journey that you can’t control no matter how hard you try the sooner you will start to relax and enjoy the ride. Seeing where life takes you when you connect to your core, listen to yourself and how you feel about things and make choices from there.

So even when you set intentions, like I get you doing in this year’s ‘Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014’ make sure you allow them to take any shape at all. Plant them like seeds full of infinite possibility and not expectation. Because the moment you wrap and restrict those seeds up in your own expectations of how things should be, of what will be the best outcome or the worst outcome, then you restrict the very oxygen that will allow that intention to grow and flourish.

So join me this 2014 and as you step across the threshold, plant those intentions of the feelings you want to cultivate and leave your expectations behind.

Dare to join in the journey…

x S

“Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014” – your turn to reflect and get ready for 2014!

(this photo sums up 2013 and the spirit I want to take into 2014)

While running around like a headless chicken doing all the last minute things I’ve needed to do to buy my first ever home (gulp), get ready for Christmas and prepare to fly off to Goa to run the New Beginnings Retreat, I have been taking time out over the last week and a half to reflect on 2013 and set an intention for 2014 using the “Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014” booklet I created a few years ago and update every year (you can download your copy here for free).

I’ve been doing this every year now for several years and I don’t think there is any coincidence that they have been some of the best years of my life. So no matter what is going on in my life, I make it a priority to dedicate some time to reflect on the year that has just been and get ready for the year ahead.

Forget new years resolutions (they’re full of shoulds anyway) and goals. By giving the year an intention it helps guide my choices and create projects that come from how I want to feel, rather than what I think my life should look like.

As a result these last few years have been, without question, the happiest, most fulfilling and successful years of my life and they keep getting better as I keep letting go of my expectations and instead simply plant intentions based on how I want to feel.

The simple process of reflecting back over the year that is coming to an end, never fails to give me fresh insights and perspectives on things and this year has been no different and since setting my intention for 2014, the past few days have been filled with a feeling of warmth and excitement as I look forward to a fresh new year to step into and play in.

For the past few years I’ve always shared with you my process so that you can do it too. And I’ve done the same this year.

Here is the exact same process I have taken myself through over the last few days. You can print out the PDF and write it out or download the word doc and type straight into it. Totally up to you.

As ever I would LOVE to know how it goes for you, so let me know below what insights you get from reflecting on 2013 and what you’re going to fill 2014 with.

And in the run up to the New Year I will continue to talk about themes that come up at this time of year when we reflect on how our year has gone and look into the unknown of the year let to come. And I’ll let you in on what came out of the exercise for me…but I want you to have a go first…let me know how it goes.

x Selina

What happened when I set the intention to ‘grow a whole new business’ without knowing what I was going to do…

For those of you that have been following me a while, you’ll remember that back in August I made an announcement: I said I was ready for a big new challenge. I wanted to “create and run and grow, in quite a big way, a business”.

Watching the video again, what strikes me more than anything is that I seem compelled to do this, without having a clue of how or what I’m actually going to do it. I say in the video “it’s like I have this energy to do it, it’s as if this role is calling for me to fill it“.

And I love that.

I am the first to put my hand up to say I try to force myself to be ready for a lot of things in life before I actually am – to make more money, to have kids, to be in a relationship, to take my business to the next level. I want everything now. I don’t like to have to wait until I’m ready, until some unknown mysterious source within me, which frustratingly seems to have NO sense of urgency to it, decides ‘it’s time’.

But when it does happen. When I act out of a sense that ‘now is simply the time, there is no rhyme or reason to it’ the experience is amazing. There is no rush, no urgency. I give myself time, enjoy the process (with the occasional bout of impatience and frustration) and I don’t overload it with heavy expectations or judgements which kills most possibility. It’s not driven by need. My future happiness or survival doesn’t depend on it so there is no unnecessary pressure for it to work or I may as well curl up and die.

When it happens this way I enjoy the unknown, the unknown becomes this delicious bottomless melting pot
where I throw in a guerrilla bomb of intentions and see what emerges. I’ve not got a fixed idea in my head of what I want and therefore the doors of what is possible are thrown wide open. Rather than trying to force things, I’m allowing them to emerge.

And I could never have guessed at what did eventually emerge. While I was focusing on where I thought the action was going to be, a partnership was being forged and a business idea slowly coming to light, naturally and with total synergy, without us even noticing it at first. When it finally hit us it was as if it was the most natural and obvious thing to do in the world and having started bringing it to life we’ve found it flows with such power and ease and with such a delicious vibrant energy that people seem immediately drawn towards it. We have friends diving in to help bring it life from all angles. I’ve never experienced anything like it.  But if you’d told me at the start of the year that this would be my new businessI would have laughed you out of the room.

And is if that weren’t enough, at the same time emerged an idea for my very own brand with matching logo (something I’ve always wanted, like a kid that dreams of having a pony), a book idea that I’m going to nurture and allow to grow in it’s own good time and another collaboration that I feel is going to make some serious waves out there in the world.

By putting my intention out there, chucking it out into the unknown and letting things unfold naturally, without trying to force it or rush things along (not too much anyway!),  I got WAY more than I had bargained for. Way more than I had dared to imagine. But that always seems to be the way when I just let things evolve and unfold naturally. When I keep my impatience under control. Don’t try to force or manipulate but let things grow and allow things in.

Now I am longing to announce to you what all these things are. But again, it’s not quite time. It’s good to have these out of public view while each of these things finds it’s feet and takes shape without the scrutiny of onlookers.

Instead what I would like to do over the next few weeks is share with you my ‘Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014’ process with you and invite you to join in and do it too. I’ve been doing it for the past five years and it has made those 5 years incredible and unforgettable years.

So watch out for the next email I send which will include a free ‘Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014’ download.

x Selina

Write a letter to you today from your 80 year old self

Imagine you are 80 years old, it’s your birthday and you are looking back on your life with happiness and contentment.  You have had an incredibly fulfilling life over the years, loving what you did and how you lived.

You have a chance now to send a message back to yourself in October 2013 – you remember back to the challenges you were facing then and the dreams you had. What words of advice and encouragement would this 80 year old, wise, loving, content version of you, with the benefit of hindsight, send to the you of today – what guidance would you offer yourself?

I give a very similar exercise to this to every person I coach before we have our session together. When I get to the part where they send a message back to themselves today, what I find is that they often come out with some incredibly wise, loving and powerful advice. It often stands in stark contrast to the negative, fear-driven, confused and panicked things they are saying to themselves day to day.

Which brings me back to one of my major points and one of the core foundations of my coaching approach – that deep down we all know what is best for us, we all know what we need to do, what changes we need to make in our lives so that we can feel free, happy and well. It’s just a matter of accessing it.

The problem is that few of us are in the practice of stopping and asking ourselves for guidance from that calm, wise, timeless side of ourselves that stands back from the madenss of our day to day lives and sees the bigger picture. But when you try it you might be surprised at how easily you can access that side of yourself.

I did this letter writing exercise as a blog post two and a half years ago (here it is if you want to read it). I still remember writing and then reading the letter back to myself and genuinely feeling huge reassurance, love and encouragement from the message I’d written to myself. In those days I was pretty harsh on myself in general so to hear myself speak to myself with such love, understanding and encouragement was powerful stuff.

And then yesterday I stumbled across it again and I was blown awayThe words I had written then, the guidance I had given myself and the forecast for a then unknown future was so spot on…part of me now looks at it and thinks how did I know? At the time of writing it I was a whirling ball of nervous, restless energy that had plenty of experience of euphoria and excitement but very little of calm contentment. In fact it felt like a place I couldn’t access at all. And yet I had faith that I would. I even knew how to get there.

And that is why I believe that we can all be our greatest source of wisdom and guidance, we just have to practice at accessing that side of ourselves. This exercise is a great place to start.

So put aside some time this week in your diary and take yourself off to somewhere with no distractions – a cafe, a park, a library and imagine you are your wiser 80 year old self, writing to you as you are today – what guidance, reassurance and encouragement do you want to give yourself?

Write it down and see what comes up for you.

I’m going to be writing another one for myself too.

x Selina

The stupidest piece of advice ever: Fake it til you make it

I’ve got my rant on today.

This particular rant is at a piece of advice I see bandied around everywhere. And it has to stop.

It’s this one: fake it til you make it.

It BAFFLES me why this has taken off as a sound piece of advice for those starting out.

Pretend to be something that you’re not because what you are isn’t going to be good enough? Lie to the world? Hide who you really are? Don’t be honest, don’t be real?

How is any of that a good idea? It’s the stupidest piece of advice I’ve ever heard.

It is not an effective strategy for success.

Let me explain first why faking it doesn’t work.

First of all, faking it feels crappy.
You have to put in huge amounts of effort to pretend to be something you’re not, while forever feeling a fraud and imposter and terrified that any minute now you’re going to be found out. Aint no flow going on there.

Secondly, a lesson from bed to business: People can tell when you’re faking it.
Far from attracting people, it actually makes them eye you with suspicion and back away.  Faking it at being some big-shot expert, when you’ve been in the game a month, is pointless. Noone buys it. There’s nothing to engage with. Nothing real. So people are left feeling faintly suspicious and disconnected from you.

Does it mean you can’t play big until you are big? No. You can play big right from the start if you want to. It’s about thinking big and taking actions that are aligned with big thinking. But don’t, for the love of god, pretend to be big when you’re not. It’s just cringy.

Being real, being honest. That’s where your power is. If you’re new to something, don’t try to hide it. Being new to a scene is not a bad thing. Your power IS that you’re new to this. You come from somewhere else, with your own unique bag of experiences. That’s what makes you and what you’re offering to the world special.

And that is the whole point I’m making here. You are too special to pretend to be something that you’re not.

If you want to be big, play big.

But never ever fake it.

It’s not cool.
It’s not what people want.
Be real.
THAT is what people want.

And breathe. Rant over.

So what do you think? Think it’s the stupidest idea ever too? Or am I missing something? Have you faked it til you made it, had a ball and made a huge success out of it? Leave your comments below.
x Selina

Discover what I did recently to bring a big buried dream back to life

(me doing some heavy-duty tree hugging in Sequoia last week!)

OK, so did you do the homework from last week? Did you go and pull out that dream that you’ve been burying. The one you’d given up on or have been busily compensating for NOT living?

If you didn’t, take a moment to do it now.

Dig deep and pull out that dream that you’ve been avoiding.

I’m not talking the light-weight dreams like ‘getting 100 new followers on twitter this month‘. I’m not even talking the bigger bolder ones like ‘running a marathon this year’.

I’m talking the dream you avoid talking about because not having it in your life hurts too much so you avoid it altogether. In fact you’ve set your life up to distract you from the fact that you don’t live that dream. It’s the one that makes your heart ache when you think about it. It’s that thing that deep down you long for.

Here is my big dream, the one that lies deep at the core, that’s been there forever, that I have been leaving gathering dust for years.

It’s a simple one. It’s a classic one. It’s downright unoriginal but here it is: to have a loving relationship and a family.

There are a million reasons why I had started to give up on this dream, but ultimately, like with your deepest longing, it was the longing itself that made it so painful. The not having it hurt too much. Being resigned to it not happening felt safer and less painful than holding out in hope that it might still one day come true.

I just couldn’t bear having this dream that I longed for, that didn’t seem to be in my reach. So I spent my energy on dealing with it not having come true. The result was a quiet sadness underneath all the joy, fun and happiness I was experiencing in my life. Not because I didn’t have a partner and family to wake up to every morning, but because I was denying my dream. I wasn’t giving it the space or the chance to grow.

I thought I’d pretty much managed to erase the dream altogether.

And then I went to a workshop in Esalen, California – all about getting in touch with yourself on a core level. And before I knew it I’d plucked this dream out of the dark and there it was unmistakeably alive and kicking and in my hands. I groaned. Not this one still.

See here is the thing:

Your dreams are alive IN you.
They start out as longings.
Your job is to create the space to bring them to life.

Having thoroughly workshopped my own dream out of an anxiety-inducing ‘let’s not even think about it, it’s just not going to happen’ to a blissfully calm and content ‘of course it’s going to happen, why wouldn’t it’, I wanted to share with you the key steps that helped me take an old deeply buried dream and bring it back to life in a way that no longer causes me sadness and pain, but that makes me feel fuller, more complete and faithful to myself and my dreams again.

So take out your dream now. It’s time to breathe life and belief back into it:

Instructions for washing the disbelief out of your dreams and scrubbing them in sparkling reality:

1. You long for the thing that you are ready for

I’ve come to the conclusion of late that we’ve got it seriously wrong when it comes to longing. We’ve tangled it up with suffering and painful feelings of not having, not being complete, lacking in life in some big way. I think that we’re missing the whole point of longing and the critical part it plays in the whole ‘dream then make it happen’ cycle.

That feeling of longing is not a sign of something lacking, it’s the sign of a dream being ready to be brought to life. It signals the very startof a dream coming to life. It’s the seed.

2. Your dream fits you like a glove

Ask your friends what they long for, really really long for. I bet their answer will make sense to you. I bet you will be able to picture them at it because it’s just so them. It makes sense.

Well the same goes for you and what you long for. You’re longing for it because it’s an expression of who you are.  That dream fits you like a glove.
You are THE person to make that particular dream come to life.
You are having that particular dream, you are longing for that thing in life, because you are meant to one day live it. Otherwise you wouldn’t be dreaming it.

3. The dream is already alive IN you. Start to feel that and your dream will start to come to life.
Now bear with me on this one if at first this all sounds a bit of a stretch. It’s just because we are, most of us, still operating from the DO-HAVE-BE rather than the BE-DO-HAVE principle of how things come about in life. But it really does work. Try this for starters:
– Take your dream
– What would it feel like to be living that dream?

That is the feeling of the dream already alive in you.  It’s like the seed underground of what will one day be a tree in full bloom above ground.

The tree is your dream realized. Your longing is the seed. It’s the start.

– What is an activity you can do or a place you can go where you can connect with that way of feeling on a regular basis? Is there somewhere in your body where that feeling lives? Connect with it there. Every day.

Because you need to start cultivating that feeling in you. Because as you cultivate that feeling, the dream starts to come alive and starts creating a space for it to emerge into your outside life.

When I went through these stages during the weekend workshop in Esalen I started by not even mentioning the dream that I had come up with. Then at some point, as I listened on and tried on these new ways of looking at my longings, the penny finally dropped. It was as if I finally acknowledged this dream, gave myself permission to have it, gave it the stamp of approval and the go ahead to believe in it. As I did that I started to allow myself to feel what it would be like to be in a loving relationship and to have a family. I got comfortable in the feeling, got comfortable in the whole idea of it. Plenty of emotion came up in the process, but by the end of it I felt like a different woman. I still am feeling like a different woman. I connected with my dream, brought it to life again and now I am happily honouring it by simply allowing it to be without any fear or even thought of ‘what if it doesn’t happen?!’.

You know what? It feels totally possible and totally delicious.

I now feel confident that it will happen. No rush. But why wouldn’t it? I’m not attached to exactly how it will look, it has space to breathe and grow but I’ve noticed that my actions, my choices, my thoughts, my perspective around this whole area have shifted massively. Where there was pain and sadness, now there is ease and contentment. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s come as a huge shock! haha!

Living our dreams isn’t always the easy route. Far from it. Bringing your deepest desires to life requires being committed without being attached to a certain outcome. It requires you creating the experience you’re seeking through feeling and learnign to embody it before it ever exists in the world outside of you. It requires patience, self-discovery, it requires dealing with disappointment and grief.

It sounds hard, and sometimes it is, but it is worth the effort. In bringing your longings to life you grow into your own skin, slip back into your core in a way very few other pursuits will cause you to do.

For now, it’s your go. Take that dream of yours out into the open, clean out the disbelief and breathe life and possibility back into it and let me know how it goes.

Much love from California, next week I’ll be reporting from Sedona after the Dirty Footprints art retreat with the famous and fabulous Connie!

x Selina