Unleash your hero within and be extraordinary

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“Inside every ordinary person there is extraordinary potential”

Many of us struggle to reach our true potential, largely due to the fact we under estimate just what that is. We feel we might just be too ordinary to achieve great things yet even those that reach great heights begin as just ordinary people, the difference is they realise their potential, the potential that is within all of us because nobody is really just ordinary.

I speak to many beautiful, talented, special people who have no idea how great they can be. This is hardly surprising when we look at the expectations placed on us and the ideals we are presented at just about every turn. The media in particular can leave us feeling like we’re falling short. But we also have a role to play! Many of us are guilty of falling short of our own unrealistic expectations of ourselves or lacking the self belief that allows us to fulfil this potential.

So how can we reach our true potential, and how do we even convince ourselves that we’re capable of not falling short in the first place or just being ordinary?

First, we need to know what we want and then don’t ever let anyone tell us that we won’t make it. Know that there is an infinite power that lies within that makes anything possible. Every ordinary person has extra ordinary potential, especially you!

Yes things can get tough and sometimes we fail, but we also achieve so much, never forget this. We are capable of more than we know but to tap into this we must believe it is possible and back ourselves.

Don’t be disheartened if life is not perfect in every area, we are human, no-one’s is. No-one is perfect, so stop trying to be. Someone loves us just the way we are, so stop trying to be someone else. Remember beauty does not lie in what can be seen, it is in our vulnerability, our courage and our authenticity. When we are comfortable in our own skin, our beauty radiates.

Read the full article at elephant journal here and watch the video blog here

Uncover your inner wisdom & live a life that feels great

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5 ways to hear what your heart’s saying

For a long time I never even knew my heart had a voice. I’d make logical ‘head’ decisions but was always wondering why I never felt fulfilled. I would pursue promotions up the corporate ladder even though my true passion was in health and wellness. I thought earning more money would make up for the lack of life I was able to lead. I chose to work late in stead of go to the gym, I slept in at weekends in stead of spending time with my partner and I worried about what people would think if for one minute I doubted that this norm was in fact anything but!

I was too busy to spend time in stillness and life was too noisy for me to be able to hear and if I could hear I was sure I’d have listened. I preferred distracts, entertainment and anything really that kept me from being alone with my thoughts. The way my thoughts would haunt me when I paid them any attention made me think this was not a nice place to be, so for a long time I avoided it.

It’s only since a regular meditation practice and many retreats later that I’ve adjusted to stillness, silence and being alone with myself and it’s now I can see the benefits this has brought. In the stillness I began to hear things, either I was going mad or I’d found my inner voice!

I guess it’d been there the whole time, probably saying the same stuff, it’s just that I’d never given myself the opportunity to hear it, much less listen to its wisdom. Our inner voice, our intuition, it knows stuff. Decisions that come from the heart and the very core of who you are and what you want rather than the logic and expectation that can preside in our heads; what will people think, what if it’s wrong, what if I can’t do it? All those lenses that we so often put across our thoughts suddenly are replaced with an inner knowing, beyond thought, beyond logic. It feels so right it can’t be wrong and if it’s in sync with our deepest desires and comes from our hearts then generally it’s not wrong.

Read the rest of the article and the top 5 tips here

How life feels is more important than how it looks

I’d built a life around what success should look like and I’d got my house by the beach, the promotion and settled down with my partner but whilst life looked great from the outside inside was a different story. I wanted more from life so I let go of everything that didn’t make me happy and went in search of what would.

It takes courage to make sweeping changes and transform our life and often it’s not until things get too bad to bare that we’re forced into the required transformational steps. Whilst I’d put myself on the right track, it wasn’t all a bed of roses. Sometimes it has to get worse before it can get better.

Within a year I was single, jobless and homeless at 32, life couldn’t have been more different but for the first time it felt good. It probably looked like a complete disaster from the outside though! Queuing up at the job centre, cleaning toilets in an ashram, house sitting because I couldn’t afford rent. But at the same time teaching yoga, spending time with family, taking walks on the beach, writing a book and getting to do what I loved everyday.

I thought once you followed your calling the universe had it covered, wasn’t this supposed to be easy. I was doing what I loved but it felt like such hard work. I didn’t get much support because most people thought I was crazy, I sometimes wondered myself! Some days I’d be consumed by fear and self doubt, this was new territory, the unknown and I wasn’t sure if I was really up to it.

Then came by biggest lesson; it’s not about how life looks, it about how it feels. Everything happens for our greater good and where we are is where we’re meant to be, the tough times were my lessons. Without failure I could never have learned what I needed to know for success. I learned a lot of lessons from that time.

So often in todays society our focus is on how life looks. What car we drive, what street we live in, our job title, if we can get a promotion, sending our kids to the right school or just simply the clothes we wear and the supermarket we shop at. And this is further fuelled by comparison to what other people’s lives look like, when we try and keep up with the Joneses. It’s too easy to get carried away living a life according to what looks good, but what use is this unless it also feels good. If we are working more hours so that we can take five star holidays and shop at the designers stores but we’d rather be finishing work early to spend time with our kids aren’t we missing the point?

Read the full article here

And for when times do get tough, how do we continue to strive and not give up on our dreams?  Read the latest blog the answers that here

A masterpiece or a work in progress? Inspiration for March

March’s newsletter is now available to view here; Newsletter March 2016

March 2016 – A Work in Progress

I talk a lot about creating a life we love and having to make changes, facing our fears and growing into the people we are capable of being. But I also talk about authenticity, about being true to ourselves and not trying to change who we are to please others or fit in. I was recently asked how these things fit together? Change is necessary if we want something different and is a part of life as we learn and grow, this is part of becoming who we are, a work in progress. Yet throughout this there is our essence, our authenticity and this is something to be proud of, that makes us all a masterpiece.

I am happy to be back in New Zealand and for the next year will be based in the coolest little capital, Wellington.  Thanks for all the feedback about the book. It’d be great to get some reviews on amazon click here

Have an amazing March.

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Recent Inspiration

Top 5 inspirational vlogs playlist [watch now]

It’s not about how life looks, it’s about how it feels [read now]

6 things to remember to help recover from a breakup [read now]

Video blog: Finding meaning and purpose [click to view]

The Zen of colouring: 7 lessons on living a happy, mindful life [read now]

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Learn how to create a life you love with my first book: http://amzn.com/1504343816

Video blogs designed to inspire

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Some of us prefer to read, others would rather watch something so I try and mix it up with articles and video blogs and love to share with you some of the beautiful places I visit.

This week I’ve been in Raglan, New Zealand, a tiny surf town on the west coast.  Check out the video blog just filmed on meaning and purpose, how do we find it and how to avoid getting lost in the ‘search’ at the expense of living our life. Watch it here

I’ve also created a playlist of my top 5 video blogs, all under 8 minutes long and designed to help you create a life you love.  Including 7 steps to happiness, the power of positive thinking, how to achieve your potential and finding joy in every day  Playlist

Enjoy and if it resonates with you, please share it for others to benefit.

Have a great day 🙂

Motivation & Inspiration for February 2016

View the full newsletter as PDF here

Time Flies

So we are one month into 2016, it goes so fast doesn’t it. It only feels like 5 minutes since we were setting our intentions and considering what this clean slate, New Year will hold.  How are those resolutions going?

Time can go so quick it’s easy to get side tracked with the busyness of daily life and forget about our goals and dreams (until the next New Year comes around). Life can happen whilst we’re busy making other plans, but only if we let it. Check out my video blog to help keep us on track and ensure we’re always taking steps to create a life we love despite the busyness of daily life.

It’s hard to believe that my six months in England has passed in the blink of an eye. I had a lovely time with family and friends and even managed to see some snow before leaving. I am now back in my resident New Zealand and enjoying catching up on all the things I missed.

Best wishes for a fabulous February!

Jess

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Recent Inspiration

NEW! 5 things you can do to make life better [read full blog here]

Life is our greatest teacher [read full blog here]

Video blog: Equanimity: How to stay sane in a crazy world [click to view]

If you’ve not picked up a copy of the book yet, click here to find paperback and e-book versions

Info & Events

Thanks to all those who came out to support the launch of the book last month.

For anyone who missed the events. A special online launch was recorded and can be viewed here

I was recently interviewed by BBC radio on the journey that lead to me writing the book, for those who missed it listen again here

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5 things to do to create a life you love

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Have you ever thought “it shouldn’t be this hard” or “there must be more to life than this”? What do those who are happy and fulfilled do differently and how can we get a piece of the action?

Start by asking yourself these questions; When do you feel most alive, what inspires you and makes your heart sing?

Life often feels harder than it should be, we’re left thinking, what’s it about, how do I change things and how can I find a way off this wheel? It doesn’t have to be this way, we should not be so busy making a living that we forget to make a life.

We can be rich and ‘successful’ (and many of us would like to be) but this does not necessarily leave us feeling fulfilled. Being happy and living with purpose is very different from society’s model of ‘success’ we’ve been led to believe holds the key to our happiness.

Try these 5 simple tips to create a life you deserve;

 1.  Learn something new

Continuous growth is important, we all like to have something to aim for. Our ambitions and goals gives us a sense of direction and satisfaction when we achieve what we set out to do. Whether it’s a dance class you’ve wanted to start, learning to draw or a language you want to learn it stimulates your mind and soul and stretches you to challenge yourself and achieve.

2.  Let go  

Lao Tzu said “To become learned each day add something, to become enlightened each day drop something”. Clearing clutter, removing blocks makes room in your life for the things that matter. When you clean your house it feels more orderly and balanced, in the same way, letting go of what no longer serves you makes room for things that do.

We live in a world where we feel we have to have things to be happy, it leads us on an endless pursuit of material possessions, upgrading the car, extending the house, buying more accessories. We feel we have to ‘have’ things to be free when it’s the opposite, our struggle to hold onto things brings the very pain we are trying to avoid, we are terrified of letting go for fear we’ll have nothing but this is the true path to living.

If you have been hurt by someone and you still hold anger and resentment because of it, you are letting them hurt you again. Forgiveness sets you free, let go of resentment. “Holding onto anger is like holding a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else, you are the one that gets burned” Buddhist saying.

3.  Give  

It gives us a sense of purpose and that warm feeling that we’ve helped someone in need. It doesn’t have to be big money donations to charity, helping an old lady across the road with her shopping or letting a car in front of you in a traffic queue and other small random acts of kindness are equally important

The root of all happiness comes from giving to others and wanting them to be happy. Studies show that giving to others makes us happier, when groups of people were given the same amount of money to spend on themselves or on others it was those who spent it on others that reported feeling happier. Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School analysed data from 40 published studies and found evidence that volunteers had a 20 percent lower risk of death than their peers who do not volunteer.

4.  Find your purpose

Finding your purpose, why are you here, what’s it all about, what makes your life worth living. What’s important to you, what would you do and who would you be if money and other barriers were no object, what sort of person would you be, how would you like to be remembered?

We often get our sense of self from what we do (eg. I’m a mother, a lawyer, a widow). You are more than your job title or your social status, this should not define you or be who you are, it is just what you do.

Work is something we spend so much of our time doing we should ensure for a happy life that we enjoy it and it brings us a sense of purpose and satisfaction. Yet so many of us leave our souls behind when we go to work. Don’t ask ‘what do I want to do’ ask ‘what kind of life do I want to have?’

5.  Do what you love

It can be the small things like a walk along the beach, playing with the dog, visiting your favourite coffee shop, sitting down to read a good book or bigger things like travelling the world, skydiving or simply a night in with the family. Think about what makes your heart sing and incorporate things you love into every day. If you do what you love you will be successful.

Read more in my new book; A Rough Guide to a Smooth Life

Happy New Year: What’s your goal for 2016?

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View the full newsletter as a PDF by clicking here; Newsletter January 2016

I have been reflecting on my first year in business, as we tend to do at this time of year. This time a year ago I was teaching myself how to build a website and writing my first blog. I’ve achieved a lot since then but it’s easy to forget.

There’s still part of me that looks at the success of those who’ve been before and I think; why don’t I have thousands of followers or media appearances yet! We often feel we should be further along than we are. It stops us realising how far we’ve come and celebrating the successes along the way.

We are often left thinking, why can’t tomorrow be today! The impatience of wanting it all now and feeling we should be more successful than we are. I am often reminding myself it’s not an overnight thing. It’s important that we celebrate small successes along the way and appreciate the journey.

Remember your successes from 2015 and have a great start to 2016

 

Recent Inspiration

Meaning and Purpose: Call off the search [read blog here] 

Redefining success based on what matters [read blog here]

Video blog; 10 ways to make 2016 great [click to view] 

Tis the season to be grateful, guest blog [read] 

Video blog: Celebrating Success [click to view]

If you’ve not yet accessed the free resource on making 2016 great [click here]

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Book Launch Info & Events

View the official book trailer here and find out how you can support the launch [click here]

There are a series of events to celebrate the launch of my first book, including an online event on launch day accessible all over the world

Tuesday 5th January 2016 – Latest Music Bar, Brighton, UK

Wednesday 6th January 2016 – Launch Day Event – ONLINE

Tuesday 12th January 2016 – Bottesford Library, Leicestershire

Thursday 14th January 2016 – Guildhall, Grantham, UK

 

Download the event flyer

Support the launch with a thunderclap here

#RoughGuideSmoothLife

 

 

A Rough Guide to a Smooth Life

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As we approach the end of the year the last 12 months I’ve spent trying to get my book published finally pays off and it is now available to buy!

You can click on the link to view the official trailer.  Full details are here; www.inspireyourlife.org/book

A practical self improvement guide on surviving modern life. Rediscover the art of happiness, find meaning and purpose and create a life you love. 

Jess uncovers the key to creating a happier life and leads by example. Her perspective shines a bright light at a much needed time. Let her guide you this book will help.  Shannon Kaiser, Coach & Best Selling Author of Find your Happy & Adventures for your Soul

For those who read the book, please leave a review on amazon and I’d love to hear your thoughts.  You can use the hashtag #RoughGuideSmoothLife when posting about the book.

To see how you can get involved and help support the launch click the link; How you can help or click here to support the launch through thunderclap

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Don’t forget to check out the new resources section on the website for free stuff I’ve posted for you.

Keep an eye out for events and give aways as I launch the book officially in the New Year.

All the best for 2016

Jess 🙂

Breaking down or breaking through?

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When it feels like things are falling apart, sometimes they’re actually falling into place

My life has changed dramatically over the last year. I began to wake up and get in touch with my true self, who I was and what I wanted. The problem was that it was none of the things I’d spent years building my life around. My corporate career, my partner of 7 years, my house by the beach and my lavish lifestyle. Within the space of 12 months I replaced all of these things as I went on my journey of waking up to what’s important in life. Let me tell you about what I now refer to as my breakdown breakthrough!

I was blessed with a life that had all the hallmarks of success from the outside but inside it felt like there was a hole in my soul. I had ‘everything’ except what really mattered and I was unhappy when I was told I had all the conditions necessary for happiness. It was through this process that I began to figure out how and why.

I had been unhappy for a long time but I was chasing all the things society told me would bring success and happiness so I couldn’t understand why I was left thinking “there must be more to life than this”. I began meditating, I studied Buddhism and trained to be a yoga teacher. The things I was learning really struck a chord and made sense to me. It was like a philosophy to life that I’d missed out on in my education. As I began to put it into practice I could see how it brought happiness. I could also see why I’d been unsatisfied for so long walking a different path. This new knowledge transformed my life.

Since then, I have become so much more aware. I feel more connected to nature, the seasons, my food and myself, I know who I am and have made peace with the imperfections. I am aware of how my body feels and know instantly when things are not right. I notice more colours and smells around me and I seem to have developed an intuition I never realised was there. I guess you could call it a spiritual awakening although without the brightly light, earth moving, epiphany I suppose I would have classed as a ‘proper’ spiritual awakening. For me it was more gradual over time and I never noticed it happening. It’s only now when I look back and put the pieces together that I understand my transformation.

I got perspective around what matters and this wasn’t my KPIs, job title or annual bonus. I’d rather have the time to spend with those I cared about, do the things I love, take care of myself. It wasn’t that I’d lost my ambition as some thought, it was that my ambitions changed. My version of success became how happy I was, not how much I earned. It also gave me the courage to try all the things I’d wanted to do but was often too scared. Where previously my insecurities had held me back I had found a new confidence to live my dreams; I travelled, I wrote book and I began teaching all things that had been on my bucket list for a while but locked away in a dusty corner of the room, breaking through allowed me to bring this to life.

I suddenly realised all that was possible and I saw things differently. In my mind I had discovered a new way of living and a path laden with happiness. For years I thought there must be more to life than this and now finally I was waking up to what that meant. Buddhists liken an awakening to a lotus flower growing out of the mud to bloom into a beautiful flower above the water line.

If you’ve been through this sort of transformation yourself you’ll know it’s something of a break through in life, but can so often be mistaken for a breakdown. The symptoms are very similar!

Years spent living according to the norms and expectations had left me drained, I got sick a lot, I had no energy and I was unhappy. My authenticity had been buried for so long I wasn’t sure what it really was anymore. I wanted to find meaning and purpose in my life and live according to what was in my heart, but I had to find it first and this was part of waking up.

As I went through the process of my breakdown breakthrough I experienced confusion, sadness, fear. I doubted myself and began asking questions that made others feel uncomfortable. I sought out like minded people which meant moving in different circles and making new friends. Those around me could see I was changing and going through a struggle and for many it was so far from what they deemed to be normal that mental instability must have been the only logical conclusion. I started to do things they thought were strange; living in Ashrams, stepping off the career ladder and meditating with monks. They needed to find a reason for the change in me and for many a breakdown seemed to fit the symptoms.

I don’t blame them for thinking this and I can see how fine the line is between a breakdown and a breakthrough. I also know that their reactions were out of worry and concern for me and what I was going through.

There were days I felt like it was all too hard and didn’t want to get out of bed. There were days it all seemed to be going well and then days I’d wonder what on earth I was doing and felt like I was on the brink of failure. But often it’s not until the pain of where we are exceeds the promise of where we want to be that we are forced into action and these feelings were my catalyst for change.

I think in some ways a breakthrough can start with a breakdown. It’s when things sink to their lowest we find the motivation for change. It is often our darkest times from which we learn and growth. As Thich Nhat Hanh says “Without the mud there can be no lotus”

In order to experience life’s greatest joys we must also experience its deepest sorrows. Many happy people have grown from their darkest times and are a product of the experiences they’ve learned from. “It’s through the cracks that the light gets in.” As we wake up it gets lighter and it becomes possible that we are breaking through.

After going through my breakdown breakthrough hopefully now those who were concerned can see the difference it has made. I can certainly feel it. For me it was a true awakening to how good life can be and how we achieve happiness. I awoke to what’s important in life, to the joy in everyday, the power within us all and the infinite potential of life. It felt like I’d finally been set free and was a true break through to my authentic self. After years spent wondering if this is all there is to life and I’m now living life.

Novembers newsletter and returning home

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You can now view this months Newsletter Nov for recent inspiration and information.

I have also just booked my tickets to return home to New Zealand after Christmas.  This has given me an opportunity to reflect on the nomadic lifestyle, having a home in a country not of my birth and the struggle many people have in accepting why nomads can’t stay in one place for long.  Here is the outcome of those thoughts:

Calling the nomad home

Pico Iyer, Travel Author, asks; “where is home?” “is it where you’re born, where you live, the place you love most? Or is it more than a physical place?” I agree with Iyer when he says “home is more about soul than soil”. It is what makes you become who you are and it’s what you carry inside your true self. It’s where you feel alive and the place you most want to be and that can be many places.

I am a Nomad. I don’t stay in one place for long and have loved to travel ever since my first trip backpacking to Australia in my early twenties. I fell in love with the freedom and adventure and have been doing it ever since. I am at ease living out of a suitcase. I don’t feel the need to have an address. I love the wonder and excitement of travel, different cultures and new people. It’s not that I am lost, nor am I searching for something I just love this way of life, the road is my home. The wanderlust, it livens my soul. I am captivated by the endless possibilities, the sounds, sights, tastes and smells.

I’m like a bird that needs to fly, I follow the sun and migrate when it turns cold. I feel unsettled if I spend too long in one place. I find my inspiration flows when I’m on the road, it aids my creativity and makes my heart sing. I also learn so much from different cultures and the people within them. I may touch down and take rest in many countries but it’s unlikely I’ll stay. My feet will itch and the road will call me once again. Like a bird I relish my freedom to fly, don’t try to clip my wings or keep me in a cage. It’s a life of adventure, a life many dream of but few live.

I spend time revisiting my birthplace to see family and friends who are dear to me. But there’s one place in particular I always return to. They call it the land of the long white cloud.

It is a place of stunning natural beauty, mighty mountains, clear lakes that shine like jewels, rugged coast line. Picture postcards views. A place where there are few questions and the answer is always ‘no worries’. How I miss the big green spaces, the clean air and the slower pace of life. I long to return to a place where I’m not the only one that says ‘Ay’ after a sentence! I have no physical place to call home there, no family ties yet something keeps tugging at my heart. A light burns bright in my soul when I hear the accent or see pictures of its landscape.

I have travelled to many places yet the natural beauty here is something I’ve never seen repeated. But it’s much more about what the eyes see. The heart feels the tug, the pull towards home. The soul feels the connection to a land that is not of my birth and when I am here I am home.

I can’t guarantee I’ll stay but I am always sure I’ll be back. When I leave I carry a piece of you within me. When I return that piece becomes complete. As I slip off my jandals and walk out onto the beach, my feet fit the earth beneath them like they were made to walk here. As I listen to the Tui and walk with the Totara, my heart sings and my soul breathes a sigh of relief.

From the tip of Reinga to the wild, west coast, through the mountainous desert in the shadow of mighty Ruapehu and the stillness of the vast Lake Taupo, this is where I belong. Aotearoa has my heart, there is an unseen tie that keeps me coming back. It’s a place I miss when I am not there and a place that will always occupy a piece of my soul. Never forget how blessed you are if you call this place your home.