What would the countdown to Christmas be without an Advent Calendar, right?
Behind each of the following doors, we’ve called on 24 brilliant gurus, thought leaders and game changers from the personal growth, biz and wellbeing spaces to help us anticipate the festive season and share the gifts of insight and wisdom with you — our fabulous tribe!
In this 24-day mini-interview series, we’ve quizzed some of the most sought-after yogis, entrepreneurs, health professionals, coaches, authors and spiritual mentors on lessons learned, aha moments and the things that move them, inspire them and shake them to their core.
Q: What has been the biggest block you have had to personally overcome in order to succeed in biz?
A: I’ve had to really get my head around the value of my time and mastering the art of leverage. I think for most of us when we start a business it’s all about the passion and we over service and undercharge and have a lot of free coffees or favours for people. As we evolve, we start to recognise the value of our time. Now, I really have found my true worth and it is paying off.
Q: If you could recommend one healthy ritual every woman should incorporate into her routine, what would it be?
A: I can’t go past starting the morning with a warm lemon water to flush and rehydrate the body. Using just a quarter of an organic lemon squeezed into hot spring water heated in the kettle, this simple morning ritual is both cleansing and a great way to prepare your sleepy digestive system for the breakfast meal ahead. A sprinkle of turmeric or grated ginger, or even a touch of cayenne never goes astray on those cooler mornings.
My day is not complete without a little lemon water, and I personally choose to use this ritual as an opportunity for morning mindfulness. I find these special few minutes an ideal time to consider what I am most grateful for and to set my intentions for the day ahead. I hope that if you allow a lemon water on waking to harden into a habit for yourself, you get as much out of this special morning ritual as I do.
Q: What was your biggest lesson from 2015?
A: This year has required me to surrender more fully to my intuition than ever before and follow it with a courageous heart and a lot of trust.
2015 has unfolded very different to how I ‘planned’. I have had to make some difficult decisions, let things go, walk a new path and step into uncharted territory. My biggest lesson has been practising how to follow my inner voice and inner knowing — even when it is guiding me on a path that feels scary and unfamiliar.
I have come to know now that when I surrender to my higher guidance and follow it whole-heartedly, I am always safe, supported and taken to where I am meant to be.
Q: What is the most common misconception you come across when it comes to meditation?
A: The greatest misconception I come across is the idea that the mind is still during the entire meditation. Many people feel they have failed at meditation because they couldn’t keep their mind still. This also puts many people off trying meditation, because they feel they would never be able to still their mind.
When teaching meditation, I start with the most basic element — your body. Let me ask you a question: What’s the point of stilling the mind? What is the goal in that? Why still the mind if it doesn’t help you feel good? Your ‘feelings’ are all in the body, so it’s as much about your body as it is about anything else.
Many teachings fail to embrace this aspect of meditation. The thing with the body is that it stores stress in it, so if you do manage to still your mind in meditation, your body will drop into a very deep state of metabolic rest. Once in this deep state of rest, your body will begin to release stress and restore balance.
This process will manifest in so many different ways — from feelings of agitation, fear, anger, lightness, twitches, spasms, falling asleep, coughing or simply having lots of thoughts. Not understanding why this is all happening is very confusing and is why many people stop meditating. If you manage to still your mind, then ironically, you will release stress — which will stimulate your mind. Quite a paradox really. Ideally, I recommend letting go of the idea that meditation is about complete stillness and take it as it comes.
Q: How can women make sense of all the conflicting health information available to them?
A: This is certainly becoming more confusing as we have more and more — often conflicting — voices in the health and nutrition world. A great way to strip nutrition or health information back and make sense of it all is to bring it back to the fundamentals of good health, which is what most health professionals, regardless of their background, agree upon.
These include: eat more vegetables; decrease or omit refined sugar; avoid or minimise processed meats; use good quality oils, such as olive oil and coconut oil; drink plenty of water; incorporate as many real, whole foods in your diet as possible and move your body regularly.
I also think it’s incredibly important to remember that while there are some core nutrition fundamentals that benefit most people, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to how we nourish our bodies. Your body is your best barometer — notice how certain foods make you feel and pay attention to any patterns. Food is supposed to energise you. If what you are eating is consistently making you tired, it may not be serving your health. What if the parts of your body that sadden or frustrate you are simply messengers asking you to eat, drink, move, think, breathe, believe or perceive in a new way?
See them as the gifts that they are. Your own body knows what is best for it.
Q: What would your most potent piece of advice be for a woman setting up biz in the wellness industry?
A: Business growth is never comfortable, however pushing your boundaries and learning what you’re capable of are the hallmarks to success.
In your journey as business owner and learning to step outside your comfort zone, you’ll experience an incredibly rewarding personal journey. Accept you’ll make mistakes and be ok with that. The learnings and growth will become your seeds of wisdom and entrepreneurship.
Q: Why is it important for women to strengthen or deepen their connection to their chakras?
A: If you want your life to work, you need to get your chakras to work. Your internal world creates your external world — if your chakras are weak, blocked or stagnant, your life will be full of struggle.
Each one of your 12 chakras looks after an area of your life. If you are experiencing problems in one or more areas of your life, it’s because one or more of your chakras isn’t working properly. The key to life is simple: change your energy and this will change your life.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who suffers from debilitating self-doubt?
A: Realise and appreciate that everything is energy. You are your power and you are also a magnet in that you attract who you are being.
Start with gratitude — be thankful for all of your amazing qualities and focus on all the good things in your life, big and small. Start to build on that with positive affirmations every day, written gratitude every morning and approach every day ‘as if’. Act, be and show up like the person you aspire to be. You will start to really feel shifts as you do this.
If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. It all starts with you — you can do it!
Q: What is the single, most powerful step we can take towards financial freedom?
A: Financial freedom is the most vague goal ever and that’s the biggest problem. The solution is to make it as personal to you as possible. Define what it would feel like in every area of your life. What kind of lifestyle would you want to lead? What number of cash in the bank would make you feel safe? What would you like to be, do and have in your life? And, most importantly, what would it all cost?
Knowing your number and breaking it down into monthly, weekly or even daily goals makes your dreams so much more concrete and real than a vague sense of ‘financial freedom’.
Look at that number every day and figure out daily, baby steps to get there. You can do it!
Q: What has been the biggest benefit or change you’ve experienced since incorporating the Paleo diet into your lifestyle?
A: There have been a number of changes to my lifestyle — some are small, others significant, but collectively they have improved my health tenfold.
For a number of years I suffered from a chronic back injury. The longevity of the injury caused depression, loss of identity, detachment and a general decline in happiness. Adopting a diet that avoids inflammatory foods has helped my condition immeasurably. I now no longer consider myself plagued with a back injury and can enjoy training and life as I once did.
The other biggest shift is with my energy. Many foods I used to eat would have me feeling lacklustre, tired and sluggish after consuming, but I now know that food should nourish and energise. The foods I now eat energise me and help to stabilise my mood and output.
Eliminating foods that cause a negative effect on my physiology allows me the opportunity for optimal health and being the best version of myself.
Q: What advice would you give to someone wanting to dramatically turn their life around?
1. Get clear on what you want. Determine exactly what your life will look like.
2. Create a plan from where you are, to where you want to be.
3. Check your environment. Are those in it where you want to be, or at least headed that way? If not, they don’t belong.
4. Work hard. Make the new vision happen. Up early, late to bed — until it is real. Leave those behind who don’t belong, no matter who they are.
Do it — I promise it will be worth it.
I know, first hand.
Q: What do you believe is the most potent antidote to fear and limiting beliefs?
A: Fear revels in safety, and by virtue, inactivity. It abhors the unknown. It urges us to remain very, very still. Fear thrives on control, clarity, and absolutes. Thing is though — much of what Fear whispers in our ear is an illusion, and to believe that illusion is to sacrifice joy, passion, love, and the kind of fulfilment that comes from leaping with your heart in your throat. When it comes to your creativity, your message to the world, your yearning for change, or your desire for more…
All you gotta do is the exact thing your fear is telling you not to do.
Q: What are you most grateful for this year?
A: I’m grateful for creativity. The opportunity to create daily is what inspires me and drives innovation in our business. We’ve been very creative this year — launching Business Chicks into the US, producing an annual conference, launching an expo and many other products.
It’s a blessing to be able to create daily and encourage my team through the creative process too.
Q: What is one powerful step women should take towards mastering their inner Mean Girl?
A: The first and most powerful step in mastering your Mean Girl is awareness. Be aware of the things your Mean Girl is telling you — especially the things she says you can’t do or achieve.
Then, remind yourself that this is not your truth and yes, you can do anything your heart desires.
Q: What was one of the most powerful steps you took towards healing your own relationship with food?
A: From a young age, my relationship with food was complicated, emotional and out-of-control. My younger self would diet and deprive all day, only to end up binge eating once my willpower was depleted. Sick of yo-yo dieting and hating my body, I realised that I needed to break up with dieting.
Slowly and patiently, I shifted my focus away from weight loss and the list of foods I wasn’t allowed and began focusing on eating for my health — rather than the number on the scales. I swapped starvation and deprivation for nourishment. My daily mission was to eat more of the ‘good stuff’ like vegetables and fruit — not fewer calories or carbohydrates. I quit fighting against my body to lose weight and started listening to my hunger instead.
By making health my focus, and not weight loss, I healed my relationship with food and went on to lose 20kg.
The healthiest, best, only diet to do is the one you can literally live on forever. When you stop working against your body, it will support you to naturally find your healthiest weight.
Q: What does self love mean to you?
A: To me, self love means that every decision we make comes from a place of love. We make choices that nurture, nourish, and bring joy. By doing this, we are able to show up as our best selves, which is the ultimate gift we can give to the people in our lives and the world in general!
Having this approach also means that living a happy and healthy lifestyle comes naturally. Instead of eating well and exercising to try and change our bodies (ie. coming from a place of fear), we start to naturally make food and movement choices that make us feel great. Self love is truly the foundation for us to build our dream life on!
I believe that self love starts with being gentle with ourselves — when I’m working with my clients on building self love, we often start with gentle acceptance. It’s about being OK with wherever we’re at emotionally, physically and mentally instead of trying to be ‘better’ or positive all the time. When we take this approach, the inner critic (that self-berating voice in our head) starts to quieten down and we instantly feel more inner peace.
Self love is also about making time for those little things that make us feel great — for me it’s things like time in nature, time with people I love, movement, stillness, a lovely cup of herbal tea, a long bath, getting creative, and empowering women to find more self love in their own lives!
Making a Love List of all the little and big things that make us feel great is a fun exercise to help us see how we can practice more self love.
Q: What does limitless living mean to you and how do you personally embody this each day?
A: Limitless living to me is everything! For it’s not about how life looks, it’s about who I am being that makes my life and the experience of living it limitless.
I embody this by reminding myself that who I truly am is not this body and not my story, but simply the feeling that moves me. Energy.
This means to not be influenced by all that makes me human (ie. thoughts and emotions). All that has me perceiving I am separate to all that is through my own judgment of what is.
When doing this, it doesn’t mean I don’t experience emotions and thoughts. I actually have a deeper experience of it all. I experience all of the perceived positive and negatives of life, but only within each moment. I don’t drag the experience of moments before along with me to build my identity or story as that in itself causes limitation.
I am then free within my own experience of life itself — free to let all that I feel is possible express into and through my life, as no longer am I getting in the way of that energy which moves me and all that is.
That energy is love. It is who I am and to limit love is to place conditions upon what is truly unconditional.
The question for myself in realising this was, “Could I be so free of my own conditional mind to really live unconditionally?”
I hope like I continue to, you come to experience and know for yourself the answer.
Q: What is the greatest misconception you are trying to challenge when it comes to women’s fertility and hormone health?
A: The greatest misconception I face daily is that the pill is a magic bullet to fix almost all gynaecological problems. The pill sadly doesn’t provide a means of fixing hormone imbalance, but sadly further contributes to the problem as it drains the immune system, compromises gut health and puts great strain on our vitamin and mineral stores.
For some it can be a great short-term practice, but it cannot (nor has it ever been able to) treat the core problem. Taking a look at what we do day to day that is more than likely the contributing factor to hormone imbalance is a practice that can begin to steer health in a positive direction.
There are so many lifestyle influences that shape our wellbeing — it’s all about getting clued up on the drivers that are contributing to illness. If we don’t change our ways, we can’t expect a different outcome. More so, there is no better medicine than understanding your own body and discovering what it’s telling us each month — especially as women — to really propel us towards greater health and fertility.
Q: What are your goals, both personal and professional, for 2016?
A: For 2016 my personal intention is to be more authentic and honest — no matter the outcome. I want to feel love, light and electric.
Professionally I will release my online program, which I can’t tell you too much about right now (because I want you to be delightfully surprised). Its goal is to inspire you to live mindfully with tonnes of productivity, connection and a deep sense of fulfilment.
It’s about living simply and enjoying the moment.
Q: What do you believe is the most damaging misconception when it comes to health and nutrition?
A: I believe the most damaging health misconception is just about any of the fad diet crazes fuelled by social media and celebrity mags.
These approaches, which are often not backed by qualified professionals, do not take into account a person’s unique circumstances — their stress levels, hormone balance, current diet and exercise plan or health history – all of which play major roles in how our bodies lose and gain weight.
More importantly, when people try – and inevitably fail – to lose those hard-to-shift kilos, their mental state is affected by having failed at something ‘guaranteed to get their best bikini bod ever’. And you know what happens to many of us when we’re down… “Where’s that block of Cadbury Creations?”
As a Nutritionist, I believe in creating personalised treatment plans for each and every person. Not one treatment plan is the same, because we are not cut out copies of each other. I see clients gaining weight the more they exercise; energy failing as vegetarian and vegan diets are introduced and anxiety and insomnia increasing as they cut calories or turf the latest celebrity-banned ingredients.
Having tailor-made diet, exercise and supplement plans is critical for optimum health, which is why choosing a health practitioner you trust is the first place you should start on any health journey.
My motto is, ‘Do no harm, make it better’ — what more could you ask for in health?
Q: How can we cultivate passion for our past self?
A: We’ve all effed up. We’ve all hurt people, said the wrong thing at the wrong time (or worse: said nothing at all), took someone for granted, disregarded our bodies, acted ignorantly and arrogantly and downright obnoxiously.
And you know what? All those screw ups?
They made you.
They sculpted you.
Could we have done without them?
Sure. But at the same time… perhaps, no actually, we couldn’t.
It’s said that a heart that breaks is stronger once it heals. The best conditions for a lotus to bloom is out of swamp-like mud.
Friends, we are that lotus, and that mud represents our regrets, mistakes, royal stuff ups. It represents yesterday.
It’s all data. It’s all information so that we can come back stronger where once we felt broken.
If I look upon my past with a cringe, or if I find myself moving into a state where my psyche is actively trying to suppress the memory and pretend as though it didn’t happen, I ask myself this question:
Tara, can you understand why you did that? The answer is always yes.
Tara, can you understand why you lied to that person? Yes, I can. I was afraid to lose them.
Tara, can you understand why you abused your body with those substances? Yes, I can. I wanted to belong.
Tara, can you understand why you abandoned that relationship? Yes, I can. I was ashamed and embarrassed.
Does offering understanding and compassion to ourselves make what we did right? Of course not.
But better than that — it makes it neutral. Because when we can offer a space of compassion to ourselves first, then you better believe that you’re going to be able to offer that same compassion to others, tenfold.
Q: What has been the highlight of your year?
A: The highlight of my year has been seeing so many amazing people train to become life coaches with the Beautiful You Coaching Academy and step into the lives and businesses they have always dreamed of. They have come from all over the world —Australia, UK, Canada, USA, Spain, France, Hong Kong and so many other places — and together they have formed an incredible global community of light workers who are doing amazing work with people in helping them achieve their goals and dreams.
I have seen them featured on the cover of and in the pages of glossy magazines, speak on stage to hundreds of people, launch beautiful websites, grow their social media tribes and impact the lives of thousands of people.
It has been truly humbling and awe-inspiring to watch and be a part of and it makes me so hopeful about the future — for them and the world as a whole.
It also makes me realise how important it is to never give up working towards your dreams and what you most want for yourself, because the most incredible thing may happen. It could become a reality. This is what is happening for me now and it is something I am so grateful for.
Q: What has been your greatest, professional achievement in 2015?
A: One of the biggest professional achievements for me (and Stylerunner) came just a few months ago, with Stylerunner making it onto the BRW Fast Starters list for 2015. Then, a few weeks later, making it onto the Deloitte Rising Star Tech50 List! These are both huge milestones for us and I’m so excited for what’s to come next.
Q: What is the biggest misconception you consistently face in your work?
A: Sadly, there are so many. Sexuality can bring up a lot of fear, judgments and labels.
My biggest challenge is when people fail to see the importance of education promoting healthy sexuality. We learn to keep our bodies healthy and our minds sane — why shouldn’t we explore tools to enhance and embody our wonderful sexual essence?