How to Use SEO to Skyrocket Your Business Growth on Autopilot

How to Use SEO to Skyrocket Your Business Growth on Autopilot

If you've been ignoring the important topic of SEO, get on top of it now! You're leaving clients and money on the table. Read on to discover the basic essentials that will get you on the road to effective SEO for your business #SEO #searchengineoptimisation #websitetraffic #womeninbusiness #ladybosses #girlboss #entrepreneur #entrepreneurlife #womensupportingwomen #fempire #fempirecoach


If you’re a business owner, you need to get your head around the topic of SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation.
It’s critical to your business growth and success.


For the first few years in business on my own, I completely ignored SEO simply because I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t appreciate how important it was. If you haven’t paid much attention to it until now, I hope this article helps you to understand the basics and to take some critical first steps to getting on top of it.


SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search results in Google and other search engines.Tweet it


SEO is also about improving the user-friendliness of your website to increase its credibility, so that search engines rank you more highly.  SEO is critical to your business because it’s how people find you. If you’re a remedial massage therapist working in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, you want to make sure that if someone in eastern Melbourne searches for a remedial massage therapist, you show up in the search results!

You might have heard the saying:

The best place to hide a dead body is on page two of Google search results.Tweet it


It’s funny, and also metaphorically very accurate! If you can’t find what you’re looking for on page one of Google search results, you usually just refine the search and try a different search term, right? So obviously, you want to do everything in your power to rank on page one of Google search results.

SEO all starts with understanding the keywords and phrases (long tail keywords) that people are searching for when they’re trying to find a product or service that you offer. It’s all well and good to use fancy language and phrases on your website, but if people aren’t actively searching for those terms you’re using, you won’t appear in search results.


The first step in any SEO practice is to undertake what we refer to as 'keyword research'.Tweet it


There are some great free tools that are available to do keyword research such as the Keywords Everywhere browser extension, or the Keyword Tool, or the Answer the Public site. Take the time to research your keywords extensively. Spend at least 1-2 hours doing this if you can. And once you have an extensive list of commonly used keywords and long tail phrases that people are searching for in your field, you should keep them somewhere where you can access them regularly, and make sure you use them across your website.

There are two ways you can build your SEO capability – with ‘on-page SEO’ and ‘off-page SEO’.


Have you ever wondered how to get a basic handle on SEO to make sure you’re making it easy for people to find you and to get great rankings in search engines? Read on to discover the basic strategies of SEO that will get you a long way to optimising your business growth. #SEO #searchengineoptimisation #websitetraffic #womeninbusiness #ladybosses #girlboss #entrepreneur #entrepreneurlife #womensupportingwomen #fempire #fempirecoach

‘On-page SEO’ is all about getting those keywords into as much content on your website as possible – blog articles, page titles, picture descriptions.


You want to eventually have an even spread of keywords throughout your website, however the most important places so start with are your page titles, post titles, and meta descriptions as a minimum. If you can get your important keywords into titles and meta descriptions, you’re well on your way to maximising your SEO.

Obviously you don’t want to go overboard and do what’s called ‘keyword stuffing’. Keyword stuffing is trying to get as many keywords into your site as humanly possible. But it will ultimately work against you because it doesn’t look or sound natural, and your top priority should be making your website a positive user experience so that people spend longer on your site and become returning visitors (both great qualities for increasing your rankings in Google). Plus, Google algorithms are extremely clever and they can always recognise when someone’s trying to ‘keyword stuff’ – and it’ll work against you!

Other forms of ‘on-page SEO’ include things like proper URL structure, user-friendly 404 pages (for when a link is broken), mobile-friendly pages and a fast loading page (I can’t understate how important it is to find a fast host! I highly recommend Little Bizzy for fast-loading hosting and great customer service). Slow loading pages simply won’t rank highly with search engines and your potential clients will click away before your site has had a chance to load.


If your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you're losing clients and money. Website load speed is that important.Tweet it

‘Off-page SEO’ refers to the activities that are performed beyond the boundaries of the website, which include link building, social bookmarking, social media marketing, content marketing and more.

In my short video below, I give an overview of all the very basic tips and tricks you can use as small business owner with limited tech-savviness (like me!) to optimise your SEO so that you can easily win more clients on autopilot, starting now.

Make sure you’re doing these essential things and you’ll start growing your business with ease.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is critical to your business success. While it seems complicated, there are some simple strategies that you can implement straight away to get your SEO moving quickly in the right direction. Read on to find out how. #SEO #searchengineoptimisation #websitetraffic #womeninbusiness #ladybosses #girlboss #entrepreneur #entrepreneurlife #womensupportingwomen #fempire #fempirecoachI hope these tips and strategies help you to get on top of your SEO and if you have any questions, please reach out!

Did you like this article? You might also like:

Why You Need to be Spying on Your Competitors to Achieve Business Success!

The 10 Most Important Tactics That Will Set Your Business Up For Success

5 Powerful Business Strategies that Tripled Her Income: A Case Study with Revi Chai


In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Kate De Jong
Fempire Coach for Thriving Female Entrepreneurs
[email protected]


Why You Need to be Spying on Your Competitors to Achieve Business Success!

Why You Need to be Spying on Your Competitors to Achieve Business Success!

Nine ways to analyze your competition and create even more business success for yourself #KateDeJong #KDJ #Fempire #analysis #market #research #brandIf you want to be a successful business owner, you need to be keeping a close eye on your competitors.


In marketing, the act of monitoring your competitors is referred to as Competitor Analysis or Competitor Intelligence. And even though you might protest and say that what you do is unique and special, which I’m quite sure it is, the simple fact is that there are other businesses out there delivering a similar outcome to you. And when people are shopping around for the best person to deliver that outcome, rest assured they’ll also be checking out your competitors and assessing all their options before deciding to buy. I’m sure you do your due diligence and shop around before you decide to purchase something, right?

Unless your business marketing and social presence is compelling and instils trust and confidence in your brand, it will be difficult to win business over your competitors.

But that’s not the only reason you should be spying on your competitors.


You should also be doing Competitor Analysis with the intention to find ways to improve your own business strategies, and to elevate your business above the rest.

Competitor Analysis can give you inspiration and ideas on how to do things better.


And don’t worry. By doing Competitor Analysis you’re not doing anything wrong. On the contrary! Competitor Analysis is an established requirement of all marketing teams in all businesses. It’s completely legal. It’s simply the act of collecting information that is already available in the public domain and using it to better understand your position in the market.

When I first engaged in Competitor Analysis (which I resisted for a long time), I found it strangely empowering and liberating. It helped me to understand how I’m the same, but also different to my competitors. It helped me clearly establish my USP – or Unique Selling Proposition – which made all my branding efforts much more powerful. Your USP is one of the most critical ingredients in your marketing strategy.

There are 9 steps we recommend you follow for a simple but powerful competitor analysis. There are all kinds of clever ways to get competitor information online (for example Spyfu, iSpionage, Fanpage Karma etc), but it’s not necessary for a robust competitor analysis. Keep it simple to start.

Follow the 9 steps below to spy on your competitors and set yourself up for maximum business success!


How to do a Simple but Effective Competitor Analysis


1. Stay Ahead of Industry Trends & Competitors with Google Alerts

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of competitor analysis, the first thing that every business owner needs to do to stay on top of industry trends and announcements is to sign up to Google Alerts. This is a free service offered by Google that notifies you of all publications across the web for keywords that you can specify. For example, if you’re a Life Coach, you could set up an Alert using the keyword ‘Life Coaching’. Then Google will send you a daily digest of everything that’s published each day that contains that search term.

This is a fantastic (and essential) way to learn what’s happening each day across your industry and to stay on top of what your competitors are doing. These Alerts can also provide great content for your curated posts on social media.


Nine ways to do the best research to analyze your competition. Position your business as the best in the market. #KateDeJong #KDJ #Fempire #market #research #business #success #entrepreneur

2. Make a List of Your Top 5 Competitors

Set yourself up with a spreadsheet or table with 7 columns: 1 column on the left for the headings outlined below, 1 column next to that entitled ‘Your Business’ and then 5 vertical columns labelled Competitor #1 through to Competitor #5 (you’ll have one vertical column per competitor).

Do a simple Google Search using your industry keywords to determine who else is delivering a similar service, in a similar way to you. For example, if you’re a Health Coach specialising in the Keto diet in Sydney, Australia, you might search for ‘ Keto Health Coach Sydney’. Write down all the names of other coaches who appear in the search results. If you’re in the online space then location is not as important. Simply search for keywords that are relevant to your perfect customer and service or product.

Try to imagine that you are your perfect customer and you’re trying to find the service you offer. Which search terms would you use?

Keep searching online until you find five competitors who you feel are most similar to you in terms of business size, service or product and the specific market they’re targeting. 

Before you proceed, make sure you have a table with five columns with five of your most relevant competitors at the top of each column.


3. Analyse Your Competitor’s Business Profile

Your first task is to try to understand a bit about your competitors’ businesses. In the left-hand side of your table, write down the following row headings:

  1. Business Overview: In this row, write down any general notes that you observe about their business. What’s their business name? What’s their brand promise?
  2. Year Established: See if you can find information in their About section on their website about how long they’ve been operating.
  3. Website URL: Write down their domain name (e.g.
  4. Company Size: Can you find out how many staff or business partners they have, if any?


Nine-step guide to do market research on your competition to grown your own business. #KateDeJong #KDJ #Fempire #market #resarch #analysis #competitor #business #success4. Analyse Your Competitor’s Marketing Profile

Now try to find out everything you can about your competitors’ marketing strategy by looking carefully through their website, social media profiles, and publications they’ve produced.

You might even want to sign up for their newsletter or lead magnet if they’re offering one so that you get an insider’s perspective on what’s being offered. Don’t feel awkward, people join their competitors’ email lists all the time! It’s the best way to understand how your competitors are marketing themselves. You probably have several competitors on your email database too!

Try to write down detailed information about the following:

Target Market: Who do you think is this competitors’ perfect customer? Who are they targeting? Try to be very specific, including their gender, age, education, interests etc.

General Marketing Strategies: How are they marketing themselves? Do they run live events? Do they frequent trade shows? Do they offer free discovery sessions? Are they using Facebook Ads, and if so, what exactly are they pitching? What appears to be their main way of attracting clients?


5. Analyse Your Competitor’s Product & Service Profile

Now it’s time to analyse the different products and/or services your competitors offer. In your table, write down row headings as follows:

Products/Services: Describe their products and services. What types of programs do they offer 

Pricing: How much do they charge for their various products and services? This may require some digging around or joining their newsletters in order to get pricing information.

Gather as much intelligence as possible about their products and services and write it all down in your table.


6. Analyse Your Competitor’s Website Profile

I recommend doing ‘website walks’ through each of your competitors’ websites. This means taking some time to browse through all their different web pages to get a good understanding of their business. Make notes as you go. 

In your table, include the following headings:

Website Overview: Is it easy to navigate? Does it look good on mobile? Is it professional? Is their branding and messaging appealing and compelling? Would you buy from them?

Lead Generation: What do they offer on their home page? Do they offer something for free in exchange for your email address (i.e. a lead magnet)? Do they offer a free consultation to get you in the door? Or do they simply provide their phone number and tell you to ‘Book Now’? Are they offering a free challenge, webinar, or telesummit? Write it all down.


Why you should be researching what your competitors are doing and how to do it for your own business success. #KateDeJong #KDJ #Fempire #market #research #analyze #competition #business #success #entrepreneur7. Analyse Your Competitor’s Social Profile

Visit your competitors’ social media accounts. Write down the following headings in your table.

Social Media Overview: Which platforms are they present on? Do they get good engagement? Are they actively replying to comments? Which one appears to be their dominant platform?

Social Media Strategies: Try to figure out what social media strategies they’re using. How are they getting their followers to engage? Are they running different promotions? Do they send people to an opt-in page? Write down all the details.

Social Media Following: Make a row for each of the social media platforms and write down the number of followers they have across each one. Capture the number of followers they have on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, SnapChat and anywhere else they have a presence.


8. Rate Yourself Against Your Competitors

Now it’s time to use the information you’ve collected to rank yourself and each of your competitors relative to one another across the different categories. This allows you to assess how you currently stack up against your competitors.

In your table, give yourself and your competitors a score out of 10 for each of the following categories:

  • Branding
  • Messaging
  • Professionalism
  • Marketing Strategies
  • Quality
  • Website
  • Social Media presence
  • Pricing (overpriced/under-priced/average)


9. Determine Your Strengths & Weaknesses Relative to Your Competitors.

Now that you’ve spent some time researching your competitors, you should have a really clear idea of your strengths and weaknesses relative to your competitors. Your table of Competitor Intelligence gives you a clear understanding of your position in the market, as well as the threats and opportunities for your brand.

Focus on building on your strengths!

While it’s good to be aware of your weaknesses, be sure to continue building on those areas where you’re a step ahead of your competitors. This will continue to set you apart from the rest.

Can you see how powerful this research can be? You should now feel confident and strong in where you are as a brand and know which steps to take to continue to establish your unique position in the market.


We can’t overstate the importance of Competitor Analysis for you and your business.

If you take the time to do it well, you’re setting yourself up for success!


We wish you all the best on your business building journey.


Have you downloaded your FREE copy of THE FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK yet?

Learn the 6 stages of business growth and exactly what to focus your time and resources on in each phase so that you can fast-track your success and establish yourself as a thriving, profitable business as quickly as possible!

In service to your success,

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Fempire Coach for Thriving Female Entrepreneurs
[email protected]

The 10 Most Important Tactics That Will Set Your Business Up For Success

The 10 Most Important Tactics That Will Set Your Business Up For Success

There's no silver bullet or magic pill that will miraculously generate business success for you overnight, but if you take the time to implement these 10 strategies and do them well, you will succeed in business! #ladybosses #fempire #fempirecoach #fempireinternational #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomeninbusiness #businesschicks #businesschicksaustraliaYou have passion, a huge vision and a burning desire to get your work and message into the world through your business – but how do you navigate your way through the mountains of conflicting information out there?

How do you know which advice to follow, or what to focus on first?



Our mission at Fempire is to help you cut through all the noise and help you focus on what matters most when it comes to establishing yourself as a sustainable, profitable business. Loyal customers and steady income are a result of your ability to develop trust and confidence in your brand, which takes time to build. But if you commit to implementing the following ten elements, and keep plugging away at your business with focus, passion, and determination, business success will be yours!

Here are our recommendations for the 10 most critical elements you need to implement for business success.


The Top 10 Most Important Elements That Will Set Your Business up for Success.


#1. A Professional-Looking Brand.

Don’t cut corners when it comes to your brand image. Remember, first impressions count, and in business it’s all about developing trust and confidence in you and your brand. Take the time to find a good, professional designer to create your logo, your brand colour palette and your brand fonts, and stick to your brand style consistently. Invest in some high quality portrait photos of yourself that allow your personality to shine through. It takes time to build brand awareness among your potential buyers, but it will be so much easier (and faster) if your brand looks professional.


#2. A Professional Website.

There’s a lot of advice out there about how you can build a business without a website and do all your marketing and sales through your social media channels. But if you take this approach you’re limiting yourself. Consumers searching for business in search engines will never find you if you don’t have a website. And most people will want to check out your website before they do business with you because they’re trying to establish whether they can trust and rely on you.

Your website builds brand awareness, allows you to be discoverable in search engines, establishes your credibility, and allows you to stay connected with your potential buyers through contact forms, blog comments, and your email list. Also, a website gives you the ability to do blogs, videos or podcasts – which can get you upwards of 4.5 times more leads! In this day in age, a website is a ‘must’ for your long term business success.


#3. Compelling Social Media Profiles.

In this modern age it’s essential that you have an online presence across multiple social media platforms. Your social media profiles display your credibility and authenticity. Choose at least two platforms that you will commit to and show up there consistently. You don’t have to be posting every day, but choose a consistency that you can commit to and maintain. Consistency and transparency shows that you are reliable and professional.


There's so much attention paid to social media posting to build your business, but have you made sure your SEO is optimised? This can make a huge difference to your bottom line! Read on to discover 9 other must-have business tactics to succeed in business! #ladybosses #fempire #fempirecoach #fempireinternational #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomeninbusiness #businesschicks #businesschicksaustralia#4. Make Your Business Find-able.

Take some time to research the important long-form and short-form keywords that people are searching for in your niche and use these keywords across your website so that Google and other search engines can find you. Invest in your website SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) because you want to show up in search results when people are searching for services like yours. There’s a funny – but true! – saying:

Where’s the best place to hide a dead body? On page two of Google search results. – Anonymous.

You won’t get found without good SEO! Also, use appropriate hashtags so that you can be found across platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. SEO is essential for gaining paying customers. I write all about the essential fundamentals of SEO in my article How to Use SEO to Skyrocket Your Business Growth on Autopilot.


#5. Show Ample Social Proof.

Social proof is validation of you and your brand by your clients, business partners or colleagues. It establishes your credibility. You might have great marketing materials and strategies, but if you don’t show your potential customers evidence of where your service or product has worked for other people, they won’t be convinced. Social proof includes testimonials, customer reviews, brand associations, partnerships, accreditations or awards that you’ve won. It’s essential that you find a way to show genuine, compelling social proof of your product or services.


#6. Compelling and Valuable Lead Magnets.

A lead magnet is something of high value that you offer for free via your website or social media, in exchange for someone’s contact details. It’s the most effective method to grow your email database with high quality, warm leads. Your lead magnet might be an E-Book, a downloadable checklist or guide, a free video series, or a free training.

Choose a lead magnet that allows you to showcase your expertise in your niche and allows people to experience you and your brand – for free. For examples, you can check out my lead magnet page here.

Lead magnets grow your email database with potential buyers, which then allows you to nurture the relationship with them, build trust and confidence in your brand, and eventually offer your services to them so that they become paying clients. This is hands-down the most effective marketing strategy to build your business.


#7. An Email Database Manager and Follow-Up Campaign.

Once you have a lead magnet that allows you to collect the contact details of your potential buyers, you’ll need a mechanism to store all those contacts somewhere and have a way to communicate with your leads regularly.  For that you’ll need an email database manager (or CRM – Customer Relationship Management) such as MailChimp, or AWeber (my favourite), or ConvertKit or InfusionSoft.

Did you know that on average, people require around 20 touch points with you and your brand before they’ll consider buying from you? This is why it’s so important that you begin a process of communication with your subscribers so they can get to know you and trust you. Implement a welcome campaign that includes around 2 – 5 welcome emails (spread out over 1 – 2 weeks) that provides your subscribers with information and valuable resources that showcase your expertise and establish you as an authority and leader. This will make them more likely to buy from you when you finally make your offers.


Delivering great products and services is an obvious 'must' in small business! Word of mouth referrals account for 85% of income for small businesses. Discover the 9 other essential tactics that you need to implement to become a successful business owner. #ladybosses #fempire #fempirecoach #fempireinternational #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomeninbusiness #businesschicks #businesschicksaustralia# 8. Offer and Deliver Great Services and Products.

This one goes without saying. In order to be successful in business, you obviously need to deliver services and products of a consistently high standard. Focus on delivering outstanding service and you will get great word of mouth referrals. Statistics show that 85% of small businesses get customers through word of mouth, which means you can spend less time and money on marketing and more time on doing what you do best – serving!

Find a way to package and price your services and products in a way that’s compelling and encourages repeat, long-term business with you. Develop an effective business funnel to move clients through the different offerings you have. Try to move away from charging per session or a time-for-dollar model. It’s essential that you find ways to package and leverage your services so that you can serve more people more effectively.


# 9. Produce Great Content, Consistently.

‘Content’ is the term for any original material you produce to educate or connect with your audience. Content includes blog posts, video trainings, social media posts, podcasts, or downloadable workbooks and checklists to name a few. You need to create content to build your brand awareness, to generate and nurture leads, and ultimately to generate sales.

Good content showcases your expertise, establishes you as an expert in your field, and builds that much-needed trust and confidence in you and your band. You’ll need to find a way to new, original create content regularly in order to establish yourself as a credible brand.


#10. Invest in Systems, Processes and People.

You won’t be able to do everything in your business if you want to do all of the above and focus on growing your business. You’ll need to invest in a good CRM that automatically captures and nurtures your new leads, and you’ll need to automate things such as your calendar bookings, your social media post scheduling and payment procedures so that clients can easily pay you.

It’s key that you learn to work on your business and not in your business in order to grow. As you grow, find good people to outsource your time-consuming activities to so that you can focus on serving your clients and growing your business.


Are you starting or growing your own business? Download your FREE copy of my FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK to fast-track your business success! This value-packed guide contains everything I wish I knew back when I was starting my own business in 2011. Click here to download it now.

Did you like this article? You might also like:

The Top 10 Mindset Qualities You Need to Embrace to be Successful in Business.

5 Powerful Strategies that will Triple Your Income: A Case Study with Business Owner Revi Chai.

How to be a Mother and Successfully Grow a Family and a Business at the Same Time.

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Fempire Coach
[email protected]

5 Powerful Business Strategies that Tripled Her Income: A Case Study with Revi Chai

5 Powerful Business Strategies that Tripled Her Income: A Case Study with Revi Chai

One of wonderful clients recently reported a tripling of her income in less than 12 months! Read on to discover her top 5 game-changers and how she's managed to finally achieve the success she desires ladybosses #fempire #fempirecoach #fempireinternational #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomeninbusiness #businesschicks #businesschicksaustralia

One of the greatest joys of being a business coach is witnessing how much progress our clients make.


Recently at Fempire we were over-joyed to receive a beautiful message from one of our clients Revital Chai, the director of Melbourne’s Paint for Fun, who was celebrating one year with the Fempire Group Coaching program – and a tripling of her income in that time! Here’s what Revi had to say:

This is the kind of feedback that makes our heart sing! This is why we do what we do, helping women like you to achieve business success so that you can make the impact and money you desire.

In our group coaching program, all of our clients receive a one-on-one private ‘Hour of Power’ coaching session each month to work on the specifics of their business, as well as a group training on a specific business topic with their sisterhood of fellow #ladybosses, over a period of twelve months.

I asked Revi if she would mind highlighting the specifics of what changed the game for her. Find out what she said below.


Revi’s Top 5 Game-Changers for Growing Your Business.


1. Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint.

Revi says: “First thing – the deep understanding that running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. As I’m a person who likes immediate results and I tend to sabotage if I don’t get instant results, it made me understand that if I want to be successful I need to have a clear vision and just stay focused in that direction. Be persistent and focused.”

It’s been Revi’s persistence and focus over the past 12 months that’s earned her the success she’s achieved. It doesn’t happen overnight, as most of us in business know only too well. But it absolutely does happen with sustained, consistent action and focus. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, as Revi says!


Planning is a critical element of running a successful business. Discover the other 4 game-changing business strategies that tripled Revi's income! ladybosses #fempire #fempirecoach #fempireinternational #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomeninbusiness #businesschicks #businesschicksaustralia2. To be successful, you have to start planning.

Revi’s next big game-changer was planning:

“Second – planning! I hate planning but that’s something that separates successful people from the ones chasing their tails. If it’s finances (I didn’t do cash flow before Femme), marketing and working with my team to plan, I now take the time to plan because I know it grows my business.”


3. Work ON your business, not IN your business.

“Third – work ON my business and not IN my business to become bigger. So I now have people that write text, post in social media, teach, make calls etc. so I have more time to look forward and grow the business.”

This one is so important. If you’re someone who hates to delegate, or you’re a perfectionist, you’re not going to grow your business. There’s is no way you can do everything yourself when you’re running a profitable business. Outsource the activities that are highly time-consuming and allow yourself to focus your time and effort on what’s important – those things that are required to grow your business.


4. Get uncomfortable!

“Another thing – get uncomfortable! You can’t break through if you play safe – not possible. It’s OK to make mistakes as long as I’m taking actions and making moves. Follow my instincts is a good one as well.”

Yes – if you want to grow your business, you have to get uncomfortable! Learn to become friends with fear and discomfort. Do those things that scare you but you know will open doors and bring you new clients and opportunities. And listening to your intuition and following your intuition is essential too.


Goal setting and planning are so critical to business success. Discover the other four critical business strategies and triple your income like Revi did! ladybosses #fempire #fempirecoach #fempireinternational #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomeninbusiness #businesschicks #businesschicksaustralia5. Grow – personally and professionally.

Revi’s final game-changing strategy is:

“Finally, grow as a person, be strong mentally. Which I knew already but there’s nothing like being around one to really get it.”

Are you surrounding yourself with people who are mentally strong, who uplift and inspire you? Are you finding ways to learn and grow consistently? Do you have a mentor who’s walked the path before you and knows the right steps to take? Do you have a sisterhood of women who are there to lift you up when the going gets tough, and to celebrate your successes with you? 

If not, come and have a chat with us at Fempire!

Nothing gives us greater pleasure than to give you the support, knowledge, and structures to thrive in business and life. Click here to schedule a FREE, no-obligation 30-minute discovery call to understand how we can support you to achieve your business dreams.

Did you like this article? Check out these great articles too:


Are you starting or growing your own business? Download your FREE copy of my FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK to fast-track your business success! This value-packed guide contains everything I wish I knew back when I was starting my own business in 2011. Click here to download it now.

Did you like this article? You might also like:

The Top 10 Mindset Qualities You Need to Embrace to be Successful in Business.

The 10 Most Important Tactics that Will Set Your Business up for Success.

7 Ways to be an Inspiring Leader in Small Business.


In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Fempire Coach
[email protected]

The Top 10 Mindset Qualities You Need to Embrace to be Successful in Business

The Top 10 Mindset Qualities You Need to Embrace to be Successful in Business

Building your own business is hard - but it's also one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things in life! There are certain mindset strategies you need to embrace in order to succeed in business which I've discovered after 6 years of building my own coaching practice. Read on to discover what they are! #entrepreneurship #womeninbusiness #businesschicks #ladybosses #fempire #fempires #secretwomensbusinessacademy #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #ladybosses #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesschicks #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomen


You’ve probably heard the saying:


‘Success is an inside job.’


And when it comes to building your own business, this is 110% true. Your mindset will make or break your ability to establish and run a profitable business. I’ve learned many lessons along the way to building my coaching practice since 2013 – often the hard way. Here are the top ten mindset shifts you’ll need to make if you want to succeed in business in the long term.


1. Your business is not about you.

It’s a wonderful thing to go into business because you want to make a difference, or you want to have more freedom and flexibility, or be your own boss. But you won’t survive long in business unless you’re selling something that people need. You might have come up with the best idea or service, but if no one wants it or needs it, you’ll never get off the ground. Your job is to figure out the ‘pain points’ that people in your niche struggle with, and then find a way to help them overcome those challenges. And do it in a way that’s different to your competitors. The number one reason why businesses fail is that “they start making things that people don’t want.” Obviously you want to do something you love and enjoy so you can go the distance, but make sure it’s something people need – and if you do, you will succeed.


2. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

If you’re going into business for a quick solution to your money problems, you’re in for a big disappointment. You have to be in it for the long haul. It takes time and persistence to build a profitable business from the ground up. You need to take consistent actions each and every day and have realistic expectations. It won’t happen overnight. Statistics show that it takes three to five years to get to the point where you’re turning a healthy profit. And if you’re someone who likes to word hard and see instant results (I can relate!), this can be challenging.

In those start-up years, try to view your time and efforts as a process of planting seeds, with the intention to eventually harvest a crop. You’re spending your time sowing the ground, making it fertile, and nurturing your seedlings with the right conditions. Over a period of time, your seeds will start to bloom and you’ll eventually harvest the rewards. If you’re willing to stick it out with persistence and dedication, you will absolutely get there.


3. Know your ‘Why’.

Do you know why you’re in business? There’s a reason you’re pursuing your business. What is it? What’s the specific difference you want to make through your work? Powerful brands have a clear vision that their clients resonate with. Starting with ‘why’ gives your followers and customers a way to identify with you on a personal level (Ranadive, 2017). It communicates your passion,  your vision, what you’re working towards as a brand. As the great author and speaker Simon Sinek often says:


“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”


Every business knows what they do, and most businesses know how they do it – their systems, processes, or programs. But few businesses know how to articulate their why – their purpose, cause or belief. And as Simon Sinek says:


“Your WHY is why anyone would care about what you do”.


What do you believe? When it comes to your business, finish the sentence: “Because I believe …”. Your job as a business owner is is to articulate your vision clearly, often. Your sole purpose is to show up and “do business with those who believe what you believe”. Forget about anyone else. You’re not here to serve them.


4. Be obsessed with your ‘why’.

You might have started your own business because you’re passionate about making a difference, or doing things on your own terms. But as a business owner, passion isn’t enough – you need obsession in order to succeed. While it can be a wonderful experience building your own business, you also get knocked down and experience rejection, obstacles, and self-doubt on your path to business success. And your obsession will get you through the tough times and inspire you to keep going. It’ll get you back on the horse after it kicks you off. Without a healthy dose of obsession and a clear, heartfelt connection to your ‘why’, you’ll simply run out of steam and give up. Make sure your business vision is one you’re willing to obsess over!


Business success requires an ability to get very uncomfortable - often! Do you have the right mindset to succeed in business? Discover the 10 mindset strategies you must embrace to become a successful fempreneur! #ladybosses #fempire #fempirecoach #fempireinternational #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomen5. Be willing to get uncomfortable – often.

To succeed in business, you’ll have to become friends with fear and discomfort. You’ll be required to step out of your comfort zone and do things you might never have done before. Whether it be public speaking, live videos, networking, or something else you find scary, you’ll need to put yourself out there in ways that are bigger than you have before. You’ll need to say ‘yes’ to anything that helps build your brand visibility and awareness. It’s completely natural to feel fear – you’re literally hard-wired to feel scared whenever you step out of your comfort zone; that’s how we’ve managed to survive as a species for so long. But survival won’t grow your business. If you’re feeling scared – great! You’re on the right path. You’re growing and expanding. And that’s how you get to business success.


6. You’ve got this. Develop an unshakeable belief in yourself.

When you’re building your own business, all of your inner critics will rise to the surface for you to face. Those little voices in your head that say “You’re not good enough” (or other such untrue things) will be right there every time you make a brave decision to step out and put your work out into the public domain. Be prepared to work on your mindset constantly and do whatever it takes to develop a strong mind and an unshakeable belief in yourself and your abilities. Self-belief is absolutely critical to your business success.


7. Build your chicken first. The eggs come later.

One of the big stumbling blocks for many small business owners is the mindset that you need to invest time and money in order to grow a business. Some people go into business thinking they’ll be making great money within 12 months, with little investment, while this is rarely the case. I’m going to use a chicken and egg metaphor here to describe what I mean and compare it to being an employee.

As a new employee, you’re joining a company that already has a profitable ‘hen’ (business structure) that’s laying eggs (generating income). Therefore as an employee, you show up and do your work, and you get paid (you receive some eggs). But when you’re starting out in business, your job is to first build your ‘hen’. You need to go through the process of establishing profitable programs, structures and systems to bring in reliable revenue streams. You can’t expect your chicken to start laying eggs immediately. It’s impossible! That’s like asking your two-week-old chick to hurry up and lay eggs. It won’t happen! It takes time, money, and patience to get your business off the ground. Be prepared to build your chicken first. The eggs will come later.


There's nothing quite as wild as the entrepreneurial ride! Have you got the right mindset to be successful in business? Check out the top 10 mindset strategies you need to embrace to thrive in business. #entrepreneurship #womeninbusiness #businesschicks #ladybosses #fempire #fempires #secretwomensbusinessacademy #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #ladybosses #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesschicks #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomen

8. Adapt a CEO mindset.

The mindset of a business owner is drastically different from an employee mindset. As CEO of your business, you know that the onus is on you to bring in clients, deliver great customer service and develop a base of raving fans. You need to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Here are some of the qualities you’ll need to develop to succeed as the CEO of your business:

  • Be constantly on the lookout for opportunities and follow them up rigorously.
  • Get out and network and build relationships.
  • Stay on top of industry and market trends.
  • Get connected with other leaders in your field.
  • Be optimistic but realistic.
  • Take calculated risks.
  • Develop great communication skills.
  • Learn from your mistakes.
  • Be an inspiring leader.
  • Think outside the box.
  • Be flexible and adapt quickly.


9. Develop a positive relationship with money.

Starting a business requires money to start, to operate and for you to live on as you get established. If you’re not good at managing money, those bad habits will follow you into your business. Your ability to generate profit requires the discipline of tracking every cent and reviewing your numbers as you go, so you can start to see patterns and be on the lookout for ways to reduce your operating costs and increase your profit margins. Especially in the early years, you have to be frugal. Which is not something a lot of business owners want to hear! You’ll need to get into the habit of saving as much as you can so that you always have a cash surplus. The number two reason why most businesses fail is they “run out of cash”.


The fact is, business growth requires investment.


Become friendly with the concept of Return on Investment. Don’t look at something as an ‘expense’, but view it as an ‘investment’ instead. And how much are you likely to save or get back in return by investing that money? Are you prepared to spend now to save later?


Entrepreneurship is one of the best ways to express yourself fully and to create what you want, on your own terms! But it's also a challenge to establish yourself as a successful business owner. Discover the top 10 essential mindset qualities you need to embrace to succeed in business. ladybosses #fempire #fempirecoach #fempireinternational #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomen10. Fall in love with planning.

If you’re someone who likes to fly by the seat of your pants, you’re going to struggle in business. Business success requires solid forward planning and strategy. Successful business owners have their entire year of marketing and service activities mapped out, and they have budgets and income forecasts to accompany it. You’ll need to embrace the habit of sitting down at the beginning of each month and mapping out what you need to create, achieve, and deliver. I can tell you from experience that planning is something you can learn to love, especially when you experience how much easier it can make your life – and not to mention profitability!

And perhaps most importantly – enjoy the ride! It’s not easy to establish a profitable business, but there’s also nothing quite as rewarding or fulfilling either. You get to be your own boss, earn your own income, and create something that didn’t exist before that has a positive impact on other people. And if you can truly enjoy what you do each and every day, the whole journey will be so much sweeter. 

I hope these mindset strategies will help you set yourself up for success so you can enjoy becoming a successful business owner!



Are you starting or growing your own business? Download your FREE copy of THE FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK to fast-track your business success! This value-packed guide contains everything I wish I knew back when I was starting my own business in 2011. Click here to download it now.

Did you like this article? You might also like:

The 10 Most Important Tactics that Will Set Your Business Up For Success.

5 Powerful Strategies that will Triple Your Income: A Case Study with Business Owner Revi Chai.

How to be a Mother and Successfully Grow a Family and a Business at the Same Time.

5 Reasons You’re Losing Leads and What You Can Do About it (by Madison Miles Media)

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Fempire Business Coach for Thriving Female Entrepreneurs
[email protected]


With All This Female Empowerment, What’s Happening to the Men?

With All This Female Empowerment, What’s Happening to the Men?

Have you ever wondered what the role for men will be in this modern era of female empowerment? With so much emphasis on supporting women, who’s taking care of the men? Read on to find out. #equality #genderequality #femaleempowerment #ladybosses #fempire #fempire #secretwomensbusinessacademy #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesschicks #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomeninbusiness #businesschicks #businesschicksaustralia


In 2018 I had the honour of being invited to join forces with award-winning CEO Marnie LeFevre as one of her coaches in the Secret Women’s Business Academy. The Academy’s vision has been to support females to become successful business women and entrepreneurs. The success rate for women in business is markedly lower than for men (ref 1), and Marnie is on a mission to change that. The opportunity felt like a perfect fit for me since I’ve always been passionate about helping women succeed professionally.

The Academy’s vision has now evolved to include a stronger emphasis on feminine leadership. As a consequence, the Secret Women’s Business Academy is now undergoing a rebrand to become Fempire. And as part of that re-brand, I am now a Fempire Coach. Our mission is “To inspire feminine leadership”. The tagline is:


The Future is Female.


And if that tagline triggers a reaction in you, it’s meant to. Marnie is a disrupter and she knows that in order to disrupt the status quo and create positive change, you need to ruffle feathers. We need to have difficult conversations. The tagline was inspired in part by the Dalai Lama’s famous words that he spoke at the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit:


“The world will be saved by the western woman.”
– the Dalai Lama


He made this comment while he was sitting on stage with some pretty powerful women including Nobel Peace Prize winners Mairead Maguire and Betty Williams and former Irish President Mary Robinson. When asked what he meant by his statement, he followed up with: “We need more effort to promote basic human values — human compassion, human affection. And in that respect, females have more sensitivity for others’ pain and suffering.” (ref 2). Compassion, understanding, and kindness, he says, are the antidote to the world’s most pressing problems, and those qualities are more fully brought to the table by women. He also inferred that western women are in a position of privilege that gives them the opportunity and power to create this much needed opening and balancing of masculine and feminine roles worldwide.


In other words, it’s up to women to step up and claim their power to create the change that’s needed.


As a Fempire Coach, I now spend my days helping women to succeed in business and become successful leaders. But focusing my professional efforts on supporting women is not something I ever imagined myself doing. I’m passionate about feminine leadership, that’s for sure. One of my proudest achievements was winning the Women in Engineering Leadership Award in 2009 for supporting women to succeed in engineering leadership roles.

But gender isn’t something I’ve ever consciously attached a lot of significance to because I believe that men and women are equally competent and necessary in the workplace (I write all about that in another article here). And while I’m passionate about empowering women, I also feel equally passionate about empowering men, children, and in fact any human being to express their full potential.

And so I’ve had to go through my own internal processes of reflection and justification for why I’m now taking a powerful stand for feminine leadership by stepping into the Fempire brand. To be successful in my role, I need to resonate with the Fempire vision in my bones. And one of the most important questions I get asked by my male friends and colleagues is:


“With all this female empowerment, what’s happening to the men?”


So here are my thoughts.

Firstly, let’s define what we mean by an ‘empowered female’ is. I love Oliver Chapman’s definition:

In this article we take on the challenging subject of the roles of men and women in the modern era. With so much emphasis on female empowerment in recent years, who's taking care of the men? Read on to find out! #equality #genderequality #femaleempowerment #ladybosses #fempire #fempire #secretwomensbusinessacademy #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesschicks #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomeninbusiness #businesschicks “An empowered woman takes responsibility for her life, makes her own rules, honours herself, lives by her inner compass, values her passions, chooses empowering relationships, takes a stand, … she is courageous, empowers other women and owns her pleasure….
In this way, then, a fully-empowered woman can empower men to rise above the stereotypes of the past to become the fully-confident man he has always wanted to be and to share that confident life with her. And if all men embraced this, this world would be better off for it.”

So according to Chapman, confident women inspire men to be the best version of themselves too. The question, as Chapman points out in his article, is whether this kind of female is threatening or should be welcomed. At Fempire, of course, we would argue for the latter. But it’s understandable that many men might feel threatened as we move from the old paradigm in which the role of men has traditionally been to act as protectors and providers, into a new era in which those roles might no longer necessary.

In this new era of confident, independent women, what is the new identity for men, exactly? This is the question that many men find unsettling in the whole ‘female empowerment’ movement. And it’s understandable.


We Empower Women Through Empowering Men

Firstly, we won’t get anywhere with empowering women unless we empower men too. We are clear in our vision for Fempire: We are not a men-hating brand. Quite the opposite. We love the men in our lives; most of us at Fempire have husbands, sons, and/or fathers who we adore and cherish. And we know that our empowerment has positive flow-on effects to the men and children in our lives. Our mission is to create even more loving relationships through the work we do, for ourselves and for the thousands of women we impact.


In this era of female empowerment, we can’t forget men.


Most gender equality initiatives continue to focus on women, understandably. But a society of empowered women requires men to feel secure and empowered too. Maria Correira sums this up beautifully in her article Let’s Empower Women by Empowering Men. She says “It is not enough to enlighten and empower women and expect men to follow.” As she rightly points out, men are critically judged and assessed in our current cultural norms, based on our ideals of manhood. Terms like “man-up” suggest that being a man means exercising control over women, being tough, being strong, suppressing emotion. As Correira says, “It is also a challenge for women, who consciously or unconsciously often perpetuate these same social norms in the way they raise their sons or interact with men.”


As a mother of two young boys, I’m very conscious that my most important job is to raise boys who are kind, secure, and confident, who are comfortable with strong, confident women – and who respect and appreciate all women.


The gateway to positive relationships and empowered men, I believe, is to teach them how to be comfortable with their emotions, to be able to cry and feel, and to be able to express themselves and their needs respectfully. There needs to be a focus on helping men to move beyond traditional expectations of being a protector and a provider, and to see themselves rather as allies and equals with their female counterparts.


Female Empowerment is Good for Families

Women who feel fulfilled and happy enjoy better quality relationships at home. I know from my own personal experience that getting back into the workforce after having children was a huge positive move for my husband and I. I was happy to take time out from my career to raise our young children. However, there came a time when I was desperate to reclaim my own identity outside my role as wife and mother. My husband knew how miserable I had become. I was feeling disempowered and resentful and those negative feelings flowed onto him and the kids. He’s so much happier – we are so much happier as a couple and family – now that I’m thriving professionally and feeling happy and fulfilled again. Not to mention the relief my husband feels in not having to be the sole financial ‘provider’ anymore – that’s a heavy burden for men to carry.

There have been many times when I’ve had to go away for work and my husband has had to step up and take over full responsibility for all the domestic duties. And it’s been great for us. He’s gained a greater appreciation for everything I do, and I come back happier and energised because I’ve had some time to focus on myself and my work. My work trips have become a great tonic for our relationship as a family. We’ve all learned to appreciate each other more.

Female Empowerment is Good for the Economy

And it’s not just at the personal level that the positive effects of female empowerment can be felt – they’ve also been clearly measured at the community and global level. As Sean Illing succinctly says in his article Want Less Poverty in the World? Empower Women: “The single greatest antidote to poverty and social stagnation is the emancipation of women.”

In his article 5 Ways Men Benefit From Women’s Empowerment, William Petrocelli says:

There are so many reasons why women's empowerment is good for everyone - read on to discover how and why we must achieve gender equality worldwide, and how to support our men through this process. #equality #genderequality #femaleempowerment #ladybosses #fempire #fempire #secretwomensbusinessacademy #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesschicks #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomeninbusiness #businesschicks “Women’s empowerment benefits us all, because it’s important for the economy. Countries that have opened up education to women and brought them into the workforce do much better economically than countries that keep women suppressed. It’s no surprise that countries that suppress women and deprive them of an education are more economically backwards than others, because leaving one-half of your population uneducated means that you created have a drastically inferior workforce.”

In their book entitled Equality for Women = Prosperity for All: The Disastrous Global Crisis of Gender Inequality, Lopez-Carlos and Nakhjavani (2018) describe the findings from research across 189 different countries worldwide. Their research showed how gender inequalities – a across education, income, law, employment, and wages – lead to instability and chaos at almost every level of society. Whereas in countries where females constitute an almost equal percentage of the workforce, the economy and the culture have been radically improved.

And here are some other important benefits that result from gender equality (ref 3).


Do we need any more compelling justification for gender equality across the board?


So what is the new role for men in this emerging era of ‘empowered’ women?

As we shift away from traditional masculine and feminine roles that have allowed us to evolve and survive as a species until now, we now have the opportunity to embrace a new way of relating as men and women which is based on seeing each other as allies and partners. We have the opportunity to truly see other as equals, while also embracing, appreciating, and honouring the vastly different yet essential qualities that both males and females bring to the table. Both masculine and feminine qualities need to be equally valued and necessary. Empowered women are here to support and strengthen the men, not compete and threaten them.

To calm the minds of those men who might feel threatened by the emerging empowered women, Sandra Sully has a great way of putting it:

“This is not a race where women are running against men. We are not competing. This is not a battle. We are not enemies. Gender equality benefits us all.” – Sandra Sully


And as Hugo Schwyer says beautifully in his article Does Empowering Women Really Make Men Less ‘Relevant’?:


“[Feminism] offers [men] an opportunity to be intimate allies with their female partners, to forge relationships based on more than duty and dependency. It gives men a chance to be loved for the wholeness of who we are, rather than solely for what we can provide.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

And given all of the above, I now feel sufficiently justified in taking a powerful stand for feminine leadership in everything I do, and first and foremost in my role as a Fempire Coach. Bring it on.


During this era of female empowerment, how do we take care of our men and what's their role in our modern society? Read on to discover our thoughts. #equality #genderequality #femaleempowerment #ladybosses #fempire #fempire #secretwomensbusinessacademy #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesschicks #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomeninbusiness #businesschicks We're all about supporting women to achieve their dreams and more. But how do we support our men in this modern era too? Read on to find out. #equality #genderequality #femaleempowerment #ladybosses #fempire #fempire #secretwomensbusinessacademy #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesschicks #businesswomen #womeninbizaustralia #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #inspiration #womensupportingwomeninbusiness #businesschicks

Does Gender Matter When It Comes To Choosing The Right Mentor? A Female Perspective on the Role of Gender in Professional Mentoring Relationships.

Does Gender Matter When It Comes To Choosing The Right Mentor? A Female Perspective on the Role of Gender in Professional Mentoring Relationships.

Do you think gender matters when it comes to choosing the right professional mentor? Read on to find out my views and other great research in the role of gender in professional mentoring relationships. #gender #mentoring #mentoringrelationships #womensupportingwomen #genderbias #genderinmentoring #coaching #careerguidance #careermentoring #careers #careeradvice #businessadviceforwomen #womensempowerment #womeninbusiness #entrepreneurshipGender isn’t something I’ve ever attached a lot of significance to because I believe that men and women are equally competent and necessary in the workplace.


I grew up as the middle child of three sisters, and we were fortunate to have a loving father who instilled in us an enduring belief that we could do or be whatever we wanted, as long as we put our mind to it. My father was convinced that women belong equally in the professional world and that eventually the number of women in leadership and management positions will equal those of men. And that conviction passed on to my sisters and me, for which I’m eternally grateful.

Due to this “can do” attitude instilled by my father, after high school I went on to study Science & Engineering – a field that typically has a low representation of females (only 15 – 30% of University degrees are earned by women worldwide in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths – ref 1). And then following that, during my 15-year engineering career it was just an accepted fact that I was always in the minority as a female engineer – only 12.4% of all engineers were female in Australia’s labour force in 2016 (ref 2). It never bothered me that I was often the only female in a boardroom meeting.


And despite always being in the minority, I never felt any prejudice against me whatsoever. If anything, I was often treated with a healthy respect by my male counterparts.


In terms of mentors, both formal and informal, it was only natural that most of my mentors were men, given the low numbers of women in leadership positions. In fact, all of my mentors were male up until my mid-thirties, when I finally came across a rarity – a female boss who had worked her way in the Engineering World to a senior management position. It was refreshing to say the least, not just because she had a bright and bubbly personality, but also because she was committed to growing her employees and was always encouraging us to take on greater roles and positions.

It’s now been eight years since I quit my engineering career to branch out on my own as a Career Coach. During that eight years, I’ve taken on many different mentors as I’ve tried to learn everything I need to know about becoming a successful entrepreneur. I’ve had both male and female mentors, and it’s definitely been easier to find female mentors in the world of entrepreneurship. Statistics show that a growing number of women are starting their own businesses. Today there are double the number of female entrepreneurs compared to 20 years ago, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ref 3).


After spending 15 years in a male-dominated industry with great male mentors, and eight years being mentored predominantly by women, here are my views on the difference between male and female mentoring relationships. #gender #mentoring #mentoringrelationships #womensupportingwomen #genderbias #genderinmentoring #coaching #careerguidance #careermentoring #careers #careeradvice #businessadviceforwomen #womensempowerment #womeninbusiness #entrepreneurshipAnd while it’s good news that the number of female entrepreneurs is on the rise, the bad news is that female entrepreneurs don’t seem to be as good at making money as male entrepreneurs. It’s hard to find a female mentor who is truly successful in the financial sense.


One Australian Bureau of Statistics report showed that women who operate unincorporated businesses have an average weekly cash income of $522, while for men it is $831. And the average weekly cash income for incorporated business owners was $998 for women and $1,451 for men (Ref 4).

That’s a huge disparity.


But What Does This All Mean in Terms Of Mentorship?


In reflecting back on the qualities of the different mentors I’ve experienced over the course of both my engineering career and my coaching career, I realise I’ve been fortunate. All of my mentors have always been understanding, caring, compassionate, and committed to helping me develop as an individual and a professional.

The best mentoring relationships I’ve had have been where there’s been a strong match between my values and the values of my mentor, where the mentor is already in a position that I aspire to be in, and also where my mentoring needs have matched what my mentor was able to provide. I’ve found men to be equally compassionate when it comes to balancing work and personal needs, and they’ve always certainly been committed to helping me find a way to meet my career and personal goals.


I don’t feel that gender has been a significant factor in the success of my mentoring relationships – however, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I definitely do find it more enjoyable to be mentored by a female. There’s no denying that I feel a greater sense of ease, comfort, and enjoyment when working with a female.


And it seems I’m not alone in this sentiment. Dr. Stacy Blake-Beard conducted extensive research into the role of gender in mentoring relationships across more than 1000 college students in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math). One of her main conclusions was:


Having a mentor of one’s own gender or race was felt to be important by many of the women… However, matching by gender did not appear to affect academic outcomes – even though students were more satisfied with their mentoring experience and believed race and/or gender matching to be important.”


Does gender actually play a role when it comes to professional mentoring relationships? Here are some interesting facts you may want to consider when it comes to choosing the right mentor for you. #gender #mentoring #mentoringrelationships #womensupportingwomen #genderbias #genderinmentoring #coaching #careerguidance #careermentoring #careers #careeradvice #businessadviceforwomen #womensempowerment #womeninbusiness #entrepreneurshipSimilar to my own experience, it appears that same-gender mentoring leads to a more enjoyable experience, but not necessarily better performance outcomes (ref 5).


However, aside from the comfort factor, there’s also another important factor that plays into my personal preference for female mentors.


And it’s all to do with…


The Invisible Barriers that Professional Females Face

Despite the fact that we might be treated equally at an individual level in the professional workplace, there are still a number of undeniable, invisible barriers that we face as women, including:

  • The gender pay gap. In Australia, there is a real gender pay gap of 14.6% for full-time employees (Australian Bureau of Statistics).
  • The “Glass Ceiling”. There is still an active, invisible barrier preventing women from reaching the top. Women hold under a quarter (24%) of senior roles across the world in 2018 (according to Catalyst’s Women in Management).
  • Less investment funding is provided to female entrepreneurs. Business Insider France’s Elisabeth Hu  found that enterprises founded by women receive about $935,000 in investments on average, while those founded by men receive an average of about $2.1 million, even though women have a much better return on investment (for every dollar of funding, start-ups founded by women generate 78 cents, compared to 31 cents for start-ups founded by men! Ref 6). So despite the fact that woman are safer bets when it comes to investing, there’s still an unspoken prejudice against them.


It’s simply not easy to make it to the top as a woman in the corporate world, or to establish yourself as a thriving, successful female entrepreneur in business. Finding a successful female mentor feels like finding gold.


A female who has managed to overcome all of the invisible barriers to ‘make it’ is a huge inspiration to other women.


And I believe this is the real underlying reason why I personally prefer female mentors. If they’ve managed to do it, then they can teach me to do it too.


The Power of Female-Female Mentorship

In 2018 I met the wonderful Marnie LeFevre – a highly successful international entrepreneur, author, speaker and marketer who founded the Secret Women’s Business Academy. Marnie is passionate about empowering women to establish themselves as successful entrepreneurs, because she knows intimately the struggles that women deal with when it comes to being successful in business. And she has a large following of women who want access to her rock-solid business wisdom.

I was honoured to join Marnie’s team in 2018 as one of her Business Academy Coaches. I now spend my days mentoring other women to start and run their own successful businesses. And part of the reason that Marnie’s Academy is so successful is that women really do love being mentored by other successful females.


As women, we know how hard it can be to forge your way as a successful professional woman or entrepreneur. And we crave to be guided by a woman who’s already managed to do what we aspire to do.


Over the past half-year I’ve enjoyed being personally mentored by Marnie herself. Being in her vortex has taught me so much about the nuts and bolts of what it takes to run a successful business, but perhaps more importantly, being around her has taught me about the mindset you require to truly make it in business.


Have you ever wondered whether to choose a male or female mentor to help you develop yourself and your career? Here are my thoughts on the role of gender in professional mentoring. #gender #mentoring #mentoringrelationships #womensupportingwomen #genderbias #genderinmentoring #coaching #careerguidance #careermentoring #careers #careeradvice #businessadviceforwomen #womensempowerment #womeninbusiness #entrepreneurshipBeing around Marnie has instilled in me a sense of quiet confidence, a feeling of “If she can do it, I must be able to do it too.” And that, in my opinion, is what makes female-female mentorship so powerful.


What are your thoughts on the role of gender in mentoring relationships? What have been your experiences, both positive and negative? I’d love to hear all about them in the comments below!

In service to helping you live your brightest life,


Kate De Jong
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
[email protected]



Ref 1

Ref 2 Andre Kaspura, The Engineering Profession: A Statistical Overview (Thirteenth Edition) (Engineers Australia, 2017): p. 32.

Ref 3

Ref 4

Ref 5

How to Live and Work in Your Zone of Genius: Your Strengths are More Than Just the Things You’re Good At

How to Live and Work in Your Zone of Genius: Your Strengths are More Than Just the Things You’re Good At

 How often are you operating in your zone of genius? The only way to find true and lasting fulfillment is to consciously find and work in your own unique zone of genius. There are four critical signs to look out for in a true strength. Read on to find out what these are! #strengths #findyourstrengths #zoneofgenius #naturalgenius #positivepsychology #workinyourzoneofgenius #strengthsanalysis #strengsthfinder

Your strengths are so much more than just the things you’re good at.


When I was nearing the end of high school, I was advised by Career Counsellors and many other well-intentioned people that I should pursue Science or Engineering as a profession because I was good at maths & science. But I was only ‘good at’ those subjects because I poured endless hours of study, sweat, and tears into them. I knew that maths & science were highly valued by my school and by my parents (my father was an Engineer), and being the chronic people-pleaser that I was back then, I slogged away to make sure I got good grades.

But no one ever asked me if I actually liked maths & science – I didn’t. I actually kind of dreaded them. And it didn’t seem to matter to anyone else that technical subjects didn’t come naturally to me. They felt hard and heavy. My brain was more wired for Literature, Languages, and Social Sciences. Those subjects felt natural, fun, and easy for me. But after being told countless times that I would never find a high-paying job in the Humanities, I decided I should follow the overwhelming advice to study Science & Engineering. So that’s what I did.


And then I spent the good part of fifteen years feeling miserable.


I poured everything I had into my career, but it never felt quite right. I would come home from work feeling exhausted and empty. It was deeply frustrating that I never felt completely fulfilled by my work. I felt lost and confused, continuously searching for ways to make my career feel better, but no amount of tweaking of my career gave me the satisfaction I was craving. I started developing chronic illnesses that wouldn’t go away and I was eventually diagnosed with chronic fatigue, which I struggled with for many years.


And then one day I hit burn out, and I couldn’t go on anymore. I knew I had to step away from my career as a professional Engineer altogether.


I spent 15 years feeling mismatched and miserable in my professional career because I wasn't consciously working in my own zone of genius. Now that I've discovered what mine is, my energy, inspiration, and success levels have sky-rocketed, and I want that for you too! #strengths #findyourstrengths #zoneofgenius #naturalgenius #positivepsychology #workinyourzoneofgenius #strengthsanalysis #strengsthfinderI now know that your strengths are so much more than just the things you’re good at. And the only way to feel completely fulfilled and satisfied in your work is to find and operate in your own unique Zone of Genius.

Since discovering my own unique Zone of Genius and deliberately shaping my career around it, I’ve felt flow and inspiration like never before. My health is great. I feel energised and vibrant. And I finally love what I do.


And it’s all because I consciously chose to operate in my Zone of Genius.


So how do you operate in your Zone of Genius?


Marcus Buckingham has done great work in the fields of Strengths Analysis. In his book Go Put Your Strengths to Work, he defines four signs of a true strength, which happen to follow the acronym of S-I-G-N.


Here are the Four Signs of a True Strength.


S is for SUCCESS

A strength is an area in which you achieve success or a high level of proficiency with relative ease. And you’re able to sustain great performance over time. And they’re also the areas in which you’ll improve the most as your train and practice your craft.



Your strengths have an “I-can’t-help-but” quality to them. Maybe you can’t quite articulate why, but you find yourself drawn to particular activities repeatedly. For example, even though I was studying science and engineering at University, I always loved going into New Age bookstores to read anything and everything I could about spirituality, philosophy and personal growth. I did Reiki courses in my spare time and I was constantly drawn to anything that discussed psychology, finding your purpose, and metaphysics. It wasn’t until much later that I could see how all of these seemingly (at the time) unrelated topics formed the basis for my love of Coaching. What are some of the things you find yourself being drawn to repeatedly? Where does your instinct lead you?


Did you know that your strengths are more than just the things you're good at? There are four critical elements that comprise a true strength. Read on to find out what these are, and how you can proactively live and work in your zone of genius more consistently. #strengths #findyourstrengths #zoneofgenius #naturalgenius #positivepsychology #workinyourzoneofgenius #strengthsanalysis #strengsthfinderG is for GROWTH

Buckingham discusses how, from a neurological perspective, ‘intelligence’ in a certain area develops through the creation of thick branches of ‘synaptic connections’ in your brain. Neuroscientists have now established that a strength is an area where your brain made large connections very naturally and easily; larger than other areas.


Nature has a habit of piggy-backing on existing infrastructure, meaning that you’ll grow the most new ‘synaptic connections’ (i.e. brain capacity or ability) in those areas where you already have the most existing ones. You will learn the most, come up with the most new ideas and have the best insights in areas where you already have a natural affinity.

Since you can’t peer inside your brain to see where these thick branches of brain connections already exist and what they relate to, you have to look for the signs yourself. What does a thick branch of synaptic connections feel like? According to Buckingham, it feel like this:

It feels easy. It feels like you’re not trying very hard. It feels like an activity that, for some reason, proved quite simple for you to pick up. You learned it quickly and you find it easy to concentrate on it. You naturally stay focused on it and it feels like time speeds up, and you still stay focused and time speeds up some more. You have to remind yourself to look up at the clock, and when you do, whole hours have flown by while you’ve been completely absorbed in the activity and really enjoying it. It feels like interest, and more, it feels like inquisitiveness. It’s an activity you want to practice, to read up on, to refine with new tricks and techniques, to grow. It feels like true happiness. – Marcus Buckingham

It’s not that these activities are without effort. There is almost certainly effort. But it feels, seemingly, effortless. You feel challenged, but in just the way you like to be challenged. You actually want to concentrate. And when you do, you lose your regular perspective and you become immersed. You become lost in the activity for a long moment.


Do you know exactly what your unique zone of genius is, and are you operating in it in your work every day? To find how to experience true success and fulfillment in your professional work, read on to discover how you can consciously live and work in your zone of genius. #strengths #findyourstrengths #zoneofgenius #naturalgenius #positivepsychology #workinyourzoneofgenius #strengthsanalysis #strengsthfinderN is for NEEDS

The final sign of a strength stands for needs. Whereas the Instinct sign refers to how you feel before you engage in the activity, and the Growth sign relates to your feelings during the activity, the Needs sign points to how you feel right after you’ve done it. Some activities just seem to fill in an innate need of yours. When you’re done with them, you may feel physically tired. But you don’t feel psychologically drained. Instead, you feel fulfilled, empowered, restored, the exact opposite of drained. It’s a satisfying feeling, but it’s also much more than mere satisfaction. It feels authentic. It feels right.

Here’s a summary of Buckingham’s SIGN acronym for true strengths:

  1. When you do it, you feel effective, proficient, competent: The S (Success) of SIGN.
  2. You actively look forward to doing it: The I (Instinct) of SIGN.
  3. You feel inquisitive, focused and satisfied while doing it: The G (Growth) of SIGN.
  4. You feel fulfilled and authentic after completing it: The N (Needs) of SIGN.


I hope this insight has helped you look at your strengths differently. It’s so important to know what your strengths are. If you can begin to build your awareness of the activities that contain these four qualities for you, you can more consciously align your job or career around your true strengths. And as a consequence, you’ll enjoy more flow, satisfaction, and fulfillment in your day-to-day work. And this is the greatest gift you can give yourself.


Do you want to know more about your unique strengths?

Download my high quality workbook Uncover Your Natural Genius for FREE here and learn how to live and work in your Zone of Genius today!

How often are you operating in your zone of genius? The only way to find true and lasting fulfillment is to consciously find and work in your own unique zone of genius. There are four critical signs to look out for in a true strength. Read on to find out what these are! #strengths #findyourstrengths #zoneofgenius #naturalgenius #positivepsychology #workinyourzoneofgenius #strengthsanalysis #strengsthfinder

For more articles on the topic of finding and living in your Zone of Genius, check out these great articles:

1. Forget IQ Tests. Here Are the Real Reasons Why People Succeed.

2. Why is it So Hard To Find a Career You Love? 5 Powerful Tips for Finding Your Perfect Professional Path

3. Create Your Dream Job! How to Get Unstuck in Your Career with Life Design Principles

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
[email protected]

If you want to experience true fulfillment, satisfaction, and success in your work, then it's critical that you discover and operate within your own unique zone of genius. In this article I describe exactly how you can do that, coupled with the latest research findings in strengths analysis. #strengths #findyourstrengths #zoneofgenius #naturalgenius #positivepsychology #workinyourzoneofgenius #strengthsanalysis #strengsthfinder

The Art of Purposeful Living: How to Live and Work in Alignment with Your Personal Truth

The Art of Purposeful Living: How to Live and Work in Alignment with Your Personal Truth

Are you living purposefully? Are you living fully in alignment with your personal truth, both personally and professionally? After spending 15 years climbing the ladder, only to finally realise that I had my ladder up against the wrong building, I’m now passionate about helping you find and walk your true path so that you can finally experience deep and lasting joy in all realms of life. #personalgrowth #personaltruth #truth #findyourpurpose #findyourcalling #truepath #liveyourbestlife #positivemindset #motivation#inspiration #purpose #purposefulliving #theartofunlearning

There’s a path that’s perfect for you… let me help you find it.

Kate De Jong


It’s been many years since I left my corporate career and took the leap of faith to follow my heart.


When I finally realised that I not only wanted, but needed, to quit my career, there were no career coaches or mentors I knew who could guide me through the process of transition. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I only knew that continuing on my current path was no longer an option. Fumbling along on my own, my transition was filled with more doubt, fear, and uncertainty than was necessary. And this is why I’m now so dedicated to being a guide for you, to help you avoid the struggle I went through, and to help you transition into a life you love with ease, grace and, most of all – joy.

Are you living fully in alignment with your personal truth, both personally and professionally?

Are you walking your true path?


What is your ‘true path’? I define it like this.


Your ‘true path’ is the path or vocation that allows you to express yourself fully and to contribute your unique gifts in service to something you care about, while making a positive difference and earning you an abundant, reliable income.


It took me more than 15 years to realise that I wasn't living my truth professionally. Once I made the decision to discover my truth and to align my life around that, my health shifted for the better and my life improved in so many ways. Read on to discover how you too can live in alignment with your personal truth and thrive in every sense. #careers #careeradvice #bestcareeradvice #careertransition #careerchange #personalgrowth #personaltruth #truth #findyourpurpose #findyourcalling #truepath #liveyourbestlife #positivity #followyourheart #motivation #inspiration #purpose #purposefulliving #theartofunlearningDo you long to feel more fulfilment and joy in your professional life? Do you wish you could wake up each morning excited to jump out of bed and start your day because you absolutely love what you do? Do you wish that your work could energise, uplift, and nourish you? Does all of that sound wonderful, but also like an impossible dream? If so, I’m here to tell you that it might be closer within your reach than it seems, and I’m here to guide you there.

I know how painful it feels to wake up each morning with a sense of dread, knowing that you have a busy day ahead with so many meetings to attend, deadlines to meet and different balls to juggle. And that despite how ‘busy’ and full your days are, you still won’t be able to escape that nagging feeling of emptiness inside.


If you’re tired of the struggle and you yearn for something different, it’s time.


Your feelings of frustration and emptiness are a signal that you’ve wandered off your true path. Prolonged struggle and frustration are not noble, admirable or necessary. If you’d tried to tell me that seven years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’d grown up hearing constant messages like “Success takes hard work, grit, and determination” and “Nothing worth having comes easy”. I had seen my parents work incredibly hard to build their lives and I believed I would have to do the same.

But here’s what I now know: Yes, of course you will have to work hard to achieve your goals and dreams, but if it feels like hard work you’re probably doing the wrong thing. When you follow your heart and do what you’re good at, what you’re passionate about, it won’t feel like hard work. It feels easy, joyful and fun. But you’ll find that you’ll want to work hard, because you love what you do.


There’s no ‘struggle’ on your true path, just committed and inspired action that feels good!


Take some time to tune into how you feel about your work right now. Do you look forward to getting stuck into your work each day? Or do you feel a certain level of anxiety about it? Does your work inspire and uplift you? Or does it bore you or tax you too heavily? Does it feel light, easy and joyful? Or does it feel constricting and heavy? Does your work fill you with a sense of purpose and meaning? Or is it something you do to pay the bills? You’ll know if you’re on your ‘true path’ or not – and if you’re not, what I’m about to tell you will help you find it.


How to Find and Walk Your True Path

“Sometimes your hear a voice through the door calling you…
This turning toward what you deeply love saves you”


Step 1: Turn and Face the Longing

The first thing you need to do in the quest to find your true path is turn and face the longing. This is hard for many of us; I know it was for me. I felt scared that if I surrendered to my deepest desires, I’d be completely overtaken by them. I had responsibilities and obligations after all. I had bills and a mortgage to pay, savings and superannuation plans to build, and a rising cost of living to cover. Over the years, the ‘Golden Handcuffs’ had kept my straying heart at bay, with financial benefits and bonuses rewarded to me in exchange for my loyalty to the company. How could I possibly give that up to follow my heart’s wild impulses?

There really is an 'art' to living purposefully, in alignment with your truth. And it's where you'll find true happiness and fulfillment. Read on to discover how you can live purposefully in alignment with your true self. #personalgrowth #personaltruth #truth #findyourpurpose #findyourcalling #truepath #liveyourbestlife #positivityrules #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #followyourheart #motivation #inspiration #purpose #yourbigwhy #startwithwhy #purposefulliving #theartofunlearningAs Oprah says in her book O’s Little Guide to Finding Your True Purpose “Concerns about money and status long ago extinguished most people’s ability to think authentically about their career options.” I’d been so caught up in my perceived obligations and expectations from others that I’d learned to suppress my heart’s desires at all cost.

In my ‘Moment of Clarity’ I’d finally realised that my constant effort to suppress my authentic desires was the cause of all my feelings of emptiness and depletion.


It took an enormous amount of courage to walk away from all the financial security into the fire of risk and uncertainty, to surrender to those deep desires.


But I haven’t regretted it for a second. The feelings of freedom and satisfaction I now feel are indescribable. With the right guidance and support and a pragmatic risk management plan in place, you can navigate the process of career transition with grace and ease and set yourself up financially relatively quickly. When you do what you love, the money will flow. I have seen this happen too many times with my clients to think otherwise.

If you hear your heart whispering but feel too afraid of the risks involved, I urge you to ask yourself this question:


What is the cost to you of not following your heart?


How is your current career direction impacting your health, your happiness, your relationships, your family life, your freedom, your ability to have fun and enjoy life, and your sanity? Try to imagine how you will feel at the end of your life about the decisions you’ve made. In Bronnie Ware’s famous blog article Regrets of the Dying she describes the number one top regret of her elderly patients as:


“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”.


You have a choice. You can choose to commit to following your heart and doing whatever it takes to be true to yourself. Or you can live with the whispers in your heart for the rest of the days and wonder what it would have been like if you’d had the courage to follow them. Which one do you choose?


Don’t be afraid. Turn and face the longing.


 It takes courage to live and work in alignment with your personal truth. But it might be closer within your reach than you realise. #careers #careerchange #careertransition #bestcareeradvice #inspiredcareers #personalgrowth #personaltruth #truth #findyourpurpose #findyourcalling #truepath #liveyourbestlife #positivityrules #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #followyourheart #followyourintuition #yourheartknows #motivation #inspiration #purpose #yourbigwhy #startwithwhy #purposefulliving #theartofunlearningIf you truly wish to live a life that is fulfilling, joyful, rewarding, deeply satisfying and abundant, you must start to listen to the whispers. Your desires contain the seeds of your calling. Yes, your path will be challenging at times like every path in life, but the rewards will be greater than anything you could ever imagine. You’ll feel profound levels of joy, freedom, prosperity and satisfaction when you make the decision to find and walk your true path, full out.


Step 2: Start the Process of Figuring Out What You Really Want to Do.

So, what do you really want to do? That’s the million dollar question! And it’s not one we’re easily able to answer. If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably heard the whispers in your heart and you know you can’t ignore them any longer. And yet you don’t have enough clarity to know what those whispers mean and how they could possibly translate into a new career direction. It’s very difficult to decipher the whispers and yearnings to know what you really want. As the famous psychologist Abraham Maslow once said:


It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.
Abraham Maslow


So don’t be discouraged if you feel lost and confused; it’s completely normal.

I know how difficult it can be to feel the longing for a more joyful and fulfilling professional life, and at the same time to have no idea how to make sense of the longings to create a new career direction that really is the right direction.


The last thing you want to do is give up your current career and financial security to follow a brilliant idea you have, only to find out that your new direction doesn’t leave you feeling truly happy and fulfilled either.


So before you take the leap of faith to forge a new career path,  take the time to do some deep self-reflection to uncover the four elements that are critical to finding your true path.

Are you living purposefully? Are you living fully in alignment with your personal truth, both personally and professionally? After spending 15 years climbing the ladder, only to finally realise that I had my ladder up against the wrong building, I’m now passionate about helping you find and walk your true path so that you can finally experience deep and lasting joy in all realms of life. #personalgrowth #personaltruth #truth #findyourpurpose #findyourcalling #truepath #liveyourbestlife #positivityrules #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #followyourheart #followyourintuition #yourheartknows #motivation #inspiration #purpose #yourbigwhy #startwithwhy #purposefulliving #theartofunlearning

Your True Path or Purpose: Where your natural ability meets your true nature, your passion, and your ability to meet a societal need (profit).


 For a full description of each of the four elements, refer to my article Pathfinding: How to Find Your Unique Professional Path & Purpose.

You’ll know when you’ve found your purpose: You’ll find unlimited creative energy, motivation, inspiration, dedication, devotion and a deep and lasting sense of satisfaction and fulfilment.


Finding your professional purpose feels like coming home.


It connects you to something fundamental to your sense of identity, purpose, and well-being. Living in this zone provides a sense of self-revelation, of defining and expressing who you really are and you finally know – without a shadow of a doubt – that this is what you’re ‘meant’ to be doing with your life. There’s a feeling of devotion and obsession, almost. Many people who finally find their unique calling describe it as an ‘epiphany’.


There's something so deeply fulfilling when you finally find your 'purpose' - that special path that allows you to express your potential to the fullest, and to contribute yourself in service to something you care about. If you're struggling to find yours, read on to find out exactly how you can find your purposeful path and start experiencing true fulfillment. #careers #careeradvice #bestcareeradvice #careerchange #careertransition #personalgrowth #personaltruth #truth #findyourpurpose #findyourcalling #truepath #liveyourbestlife #positivityrules #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #followyourheart #followyourintuition #yourheartknows #motivation #inspiration #purpose #yourbigwhy #startwithwhy #purposefulliving #theartofunlearning Step 3: Clarity Comes Through Consistent, Inspired Action.

If you’re waiting to find out exactly what your calling is before you start to take action, you might end up waiting forever. You’ll only discover what you’re ‘meant’ to do by getting out there and trying different things. You might have lots of wonderful ideas, but it’s not until you actually engage in them that you discover whether they really are the foundation of your true calling. When experimenting with different ideas, be sure to pay close attention to what lifts your energy and excites you and to keep moving in that direction. If you try something and realise it’s not what you thought it would be, that’s OK and completely normal. Try to view the whole exercise of finding your calling as one of trial and error, adventure and discovery.


There is no failure, only feedback.


All feedback is useful and helpful. But don’t quit your job and pin all your hopes on a big idea you have before you’ve had a chance to test it out. The big question I often get asked is “When is the right time to quit my job?” This will depend entirely on your unique situation and the answer is different for everyone. If you’re happy (enough) where you are to try different ideas while still holding down your full-time job, that is the best option. Try to provide yourself with as much financial stability as you can while experimenting so that you don’t have the stress of finances while trying to find your way. If you want to break free and go it alone, figure out how much money you’ll need to cover your cost of living for at least six months and make sure you can cover it before you throw yourself into the new venture.


It takes time to build momentum and get traction.


Inform yourself as much as you can about your idea or new career direction. Read up on everything you can and better still, talk to people who are already working in the fields you’re interested in. You’ll find that most people are happy to let you buy them a coffee in exchange for some insight into what their job is like and what a typical day looks like. Dave Evans and Bill Burnett call these Life Design Interviews, where you interview people with the intent to find out more information about different vocations. A wonderful by-product of these conversations is a valuable network and connections in fields you’re interested in.

Don’t jump into a new venture without first informing yourself fully. Research, investigate and talk to as many people as is humanly possible.

Step 4: Leap!

As scary as it sounds, at some stage you will have to take the leap of faith and dedicate all your time and resources to your new career direction. This feels incredibly scary, I know. Something I’ve discovered since quitting my corporate career in 2011 to build my own thriving coaching practice is this:


Fear and excitement are in constant tension on your true path.


You’ll be called to do things you haven’t done before. You’ll have to jump without knowing whether you’ll land on safe ground. And you must be prepared to feel the fear and do it anyway. In Jenny Blake’s wonderful book Pivot she reminds us “Do not expect courage to rain down from the sky before you make a move. It comes from taking action. Courage will not arrive in full [beforehand]; it will appear afterward, when the confidence from making a life-changing decision settles in… The more courageous action you take connected with your vision and values, the more confident you will feel along the way.”


Step 5: Get the Right Guidance and Support on Your Journey

Finally, remember that you can’t do it alone. We all need guidance, advice, support, cheer leading and mentoring from those who have walked before us. I’ve been so fortunate to have the help and support of many mentors throughout my journey who each provided a valuable piece of the puzzle. It’s thanks to their wisdom and guidance that I’ve managed to build my thriving coaching practice that allows me to do what I love and love what I do while helping countless men and women to find their true path and live the life of their dreams. If you feel stuck and need help, I’m here for you! Please do get the guidance you need. I know how frustrating it is to feel lost and stuck, and it’s not necessary!

Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to help you navigate through the fear, doubt and uncertainty into your ‘zone of magic’ where your clarity, confidence, and abundance reside.

To find out more about finding your true path, get yourself a free copy of my E-Book Pathfinding: How to Find Your Inspired Professional Path & Purpose.

There's something so deeply fulfilling when you finally find your 'purpose' - that special path that allows you to express your potential to the fullest, and to contribute yourself in service to something you care about. If you're struggling to find yours, read on to find out exactly how you can find your purposeful path and start experiencing true fulfillment. #careers #careeradvice #bestcareeradvice #careerchange #careertransition #personalgrowth #personaltruth #truth #findyourpurpose #findyourcalling #truepath #liveyourbestlife #positivityrules #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #followyourheart #followyourintuition #yourheartknows #motivation #inspiration #purpose #yourbigwhy #startwithwhy #purposefulliving #theartofunlearning

Did you like this article? You might also like:

How to Live and Work in Your Zone of Genius: Your Strengths are More Than Just the Things You’re Good At

Why is it So Hard to Find a Career You Love? 5 Powerful Tips for Finding Your Inspired Professional Path

Career Bliss: How to Find Your Inspired Professional Path & Purpose

If you have any questions at all, I’d to help you. Please reach out to me at [email protected], I’d love to connect with you!

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Fempire Coach
[email protected]

This article is the first chapter in our International Bestseller THE ART OF UNLEARNING: Conscious Choices for Empowered Living. Did you enjoy the article above? Get yourself a copy of THE ART OF UNLEARNING and continue reading the stories of eight other inspirational women, who found a way to overcome their hefty life challenges in order to find and live their truth. GET YOUR COPY NOW.


How to be a Mother and Successfully Grow a Business and Family at the Same Time

How to be a Mother and Successfully Grow a Business and Family at the Same Time

Here are my top 5 strategies for successfully navigating the ultra-challenging task of being a mother and a business owner at the same time. Follow these steps and watch yourself thrive! #entrepreneurship #motherhood #workingmothers #momsinbusiness #mompreneur #mumpreneur #mothersinbusiness #womeninbusiness #mombossBeing a working mother requires an almost supernatural ability to keep dozens of balls in the air simultaneously.


And if you’re a Mother who’s chosen to grow your own business while simultaneously raising children, you’ve taken on the ultimate challenge. Many of us choose to become an entrepreneur because we’re passionate about our business vision and we want to have the flexibility and freedom to fit in around our children and their needs. But the harsh reality is that juggling business building with motherhood is hard – and there are a few truths you need to be aware of if you want to be successful in both.

Here are 5 truths to live by as a Mother and Entrepreneur.


1. If You’re Not Obsessed with Growing Your Business, Step Away Now.

As mothers, we carry the entire mental load of the household – costumes for school assembly, dentist appointments, food shopping, school lunches, after-school activities, and the list goes on. And growing a business can be all-consuming too. Squeezing the demands of a business into our already-overcrowded mother-minds is no small feat. And just like a child, if your business doesn’t get the time and attention it needs to grow and flourish, it will simply wither away and die. It requires not just passion, but obsession, in order to succeed. Obsession will get you through the tough times and inspire you to keep going. Without it, you’ll simply run out of steam and give up. Make sure your business vision is one you’re willing to obsess over.

Starting or running your own business while simultaneously being a mother is no easy feat, but well worth it if you can make it work for you and your family. Follow my five strategies to successfully grow your business and your family at the same time! #careeradvice #entrepreneurship #mompreneur #mumpreneur #workingmothers #womeninbusiness #mothersinbusiness #momsinbusiness #momboss #ladyboss #mompreneurship #mompreneurlife #workingmothersdilemma #workingmothersguilt #hardworkingmothers

2. Figure Out What You Will and Will Not Sacrifice

To succeed in business while being a mother, you’re going to have to make your business an equal top priority. Which means you have to sacrifice certain things. Despite what some idealists declare, the reality is that we can’t have it all. We can’t be there for every school event, or always tuck our children in at bedtime, or have a perfectly tidy home while simultaneously growing a business.

Get yourself really clear on what you absolutely will not sacrifice. Are you willing to give up your marathon training? Your spot on the Parents & Teachers Board? Or being there at school pick-up every afternoon? And let go of the guilt of not being “the perfect Mum”. There’s no reason to feel guilty anyway. In fact, some heartening research from Harvard Business School across 24 different countries shows that children of working mothers experience a whole range of positive benefits later in life. So you’re giving your children a gift when you choose to prioritise your business equally as high as your children.


3. Stop Making Excuses and Ask Instead “What Do I Have to Do to Make This Happen?”

During my time as a Business Coach for women, I’ve heard all the excuses – “I didn’t get time because I had to take my son to the doctor”, or “I couldn’t attend the workshop because I had the kids”. I can absolutely relate because I’m a mother too and I know how hard it is with the usual plus unexpected demands on our time. But if you’re serious about succeeding in business, you’ll need to figure out what’s required to grow your business, and then make it non-negotiable. What are the core activities that will win you new clients and allow you to serve more effectively? And what do you need to do to make it happen? Do you need to get a regular babysitter you can call on? Do you need a live-in nanny for a while? Does your partner need to take care of Wednesday or Friday pick-ups? What do you need to do to achieve your business goals? Stop making excuses and make them happen.


4. Invest in Yourself and Your Business In Order To Grow

Be willing to invest in yourself to develop the skills and competencies you need to be a successful business owner. And be willing to invest in your business to set up the right systems and structures, grow your brand awareness, win clients, and serve them effectively. For every ‘expense’ that comes along, ask yourself “What’s the Return on Investment?” If it’s going to win you new clients or help you to deliver an improved service, it’s not an expense but an investment. It’s the chicken and egg thing. But the reality of business building is that you need the chicken before it will grow an egg. Business growth requires investment. And if you’re not prepared to invest up-front in order to grow yourself and your business, perhaps entrepreneurship isn’t the right path for you.


It’s been seven years now that I’ve been growing and running my own business from home, while also being a mother to two young boys. While it’s certainly not easy, it’s also not impossible to be a great mother and build a successful business at the same time. Here are my top 5 tips on how to do just that. #careeradvice #entrepreneurship #mompreneur #mumpreneur #workingmothers #womeninbusiness #mothersinbusiness #momsinbusiness #momboss #ladyboss #mompreneurship #mompreneurlife #workingmothersdilemma #workingmothersguilt #hardworkingmothers #bestcareers #careers #careerchange

5. Find Your Tribe

Combining business with motherhood is hard and not everyone ‘gets’ it. Find a tribe of like-minded women who encourage and support you to keep going when the going gets tough, and who understand you and what you’re going through. It takes time to build a company from scratch. And it ‘takes a village’ too. So find your tribe and get the support you need. It’s our mission in the Secret Women’s Business Academy to provide a powerful tribe to support mothers and women in business. None of us can do it alone. If you haven’t found your tribe of inspired, ambitious, and heart-centered women yet, please come and join us here!


Keep your chin up, keep going, and know that you’re doing an amazing job.

If you need help growing your business, jump on over to The Secret Women’s Business Academy to find out more.

In service to helping you live your brightest life,


Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
[email protected]

When Struggle and Confusion Turns to Clarity and Confidence: How the ArtMark Experience Worked Its Magic in My Business

When Struggle and Confusion Turns to Clarity and Confidence: How the ArtMark Experience Worked Its Magic in My Business

Capturing my experience with Tracking Wonder's ArtMark Branding Program and how it worked magic in my life and business #ArtMark #Branding #MarketingStrategy #BrandStory #Clarity #SmallBusiness #Entrepreneurship #ConfidenceThose of you who run your own business know how critical it is to be able to articulate clearly who you are, what you do, for whom, and why. And yet it also happens to be one of the most difficult things to do.


When I first felt the call to step out of the corporate world and into the entrepreneurial world, I was full of ideas and excitement. Finally I was going to be able to unleash my own unique genius in the way that I wanted and I was going to do things on my terms, in my own way. I had a vague idea of how I wanted to serve others through my business, and I thought that would be enough to get started.


But it wasn’t.


I struggled to find the right words to explain what I do in my branding and marketing material in a way that would captivate and magnetize people. Despite the passion I felt in my own heart, I wasn’t able to convey that passion to others in a way that made sense to them.


And then the dreaded question at social gatherings – “What do you do for a living?”


I always dreaded that question because no matter how hard I tried, I struggled to spit out a powerful, succinct answer. And my business was suffering as a result. I failed to consistently attract the right people who needed what I uniquely had to offer.


Thankfully, early this year I found Jeffrey Davis’ 4-month ArtMarkTM experience at Tracking Wonder, and everything changed.


ArtMark is a group program designed to help you “Captivate Customers and Community with an Irresistible Brand Message and Story.” The program helps you get crystal clear on your unique brand promise, identity, and services – and perhaps most importantly – who you are here specifically to serve.


Jeffrey’s philosophy and approach are built around the idea that inner clarity about your business comes from a deep awareness and appreciation of your own unique personality, gifts, and strengths.


The program begins with a deep dive into understanding your unique personality, and how you specifically captivate and elevate people. One of the tools used is Sally Hogshead’s Fascination Advantage Personality Test, which helps you discover the Primary and Secondary Archetypes that best describe your unique personality – and more importantly, how to leverage them fully to captivate your audience.

The program then leads you through a deep process of self-reflection and self-discovery to uncover:

  • Who your competitors are and how they present their unique brand message and story so that you can understand where you fit into the already existing market;
  • ‘Your Signature Elixir’ – the unique services that you offer that solve a particular problem that people have.
  • Developing your Captivating Story to magnetize your people.
  • Your ‘Gallery of Experiences’ that will serve your people in the most effective way (often referred to as Business Funnel – as a side note, Jeffrey has developed a refreshing vocabulary to describe common marketing terms in a way that feels much more authentic, customer-focused, and service-oriented.)
  • Your Visibility Strategy.


The beauty of the program is that it helps you distill large amounts of information and self-analysis into succinct sentences that capture who you are and what you do. The ability to clearly describe yourself, your mission, and your vision, are truly empowering.


Here are some of the sentences that emerged on my ArtMark journey, which have allowed me to overhaul my branding and marketing strategy and materials in order to attract the people I am here to specifically serve.


My Anthem (My Fascinate Unique Advantage)

Cutting-Edge Expertise


My ‘Trueline’

I guide people to freedom and joy by reconnecting them to their hearts and true potential.


My ‘Centerline’

In a world where we’re so often pressured to be something that we’re not, I guide and empower heart-centered professionals to find and walk their true path so they can make a difference doing work they love.


My ‘Tagline’

Helping Heart-Centered Changemakers Find and Walk Their True Path.


The biggest revelation in the whole ArtMark experience for me personally was discovering the words to describe my ‘niche’. I’d struggled for so long to clearly articulate this part, which meant that I sometimes attracted clients who were a great fit to work with me – and sometimes not. I could never quite understand what the missing piece was in being able to consistently attract the right people.

There have always been a couple of threads running through my unique ‘purpose’.

  1. I empower people to reconnect with their authentic voice and to live their truth proudly and impactfully.
  2. I help people who feel unfulfilled in their career to find the path that allows them to express themselves and their unique gifts fully.


Until ArtMark I was missing the one critical thread that makes my purpose complete:

3. I help heart-centered changemakers make the impact they desire.


These were the words I finally uncovered thanks to Jeffrey’s powerful process:


Heart-Centered Changemakers


It was such a big revelation that I dedicated an entire blog post to it here – ‘Relax, You Are Exactly Where You’re Meant to Be: A Powerful Lesson in Trusting the Flow of Life.’


As a result of The ArtMark experience, I’ve been able to develop my Business Manifesto for Heart-Centered Changemakers.Are you a Heart-Centered Changemaker? If so, please do come and join our Community! The Heart-Centered Changemakers


My hat goes off to Jeffrey and his team for their ability to help passionate and budding entrepreneurs like myself and my fellow ArtMark colleagues find the clarity and insight we desperately need in order to thrive in business and make our unique impact on the world.


Doing It Together

Jeffrey’s operating motto is always “Doing it together (DIT) beats Doing it Yourself (DIY)”. To honour some of the great work being done by my ArtMark colleagues, here are some beautiful branding examples that are the result of this year’s ArtMark experience.


To find out more about the ArtMark experience, please visit Jeffrey Davis’ website at Tracking Wonder. I can’t recommend his programs highly enough.

Please leave a comment below if you resonated with something in my article! And share with your friends using the social media icons below!

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
[email protected]

Tired of Procrastinating? Try These 6 Powerful Tips to Overcome it Now

Tired of Procrastinating? Try These 6 Powerful Tips to Overcome it Now

Tired of procrastinating? 6 Powerful Strategies to overcome it nowDo you often find yourself procrastinating, instead of getting important things done?


If so, you’re not alone. In a survey I sent out recently to find out more about my clients’ challenges and struggles, ‘procrastination’ came in as one of the top responses when I asked the question “What do you feel is the biggest obstacle holding you back from making breakthroughs in the areas you desire?”

‘Fear’ was the number one response (which will be the subject of a follow-up article that I’m currently procrastinating over), followed closely by ‘Procrastination’.


I felt compelled to write about procrastination because I know it’s a big challenge for many business owners. And I struggle with it too.


There are certain important things I know I ‘should’ be doing in order to grow my business or to keep on top of things at home, and I often find it really hard to just get on and do them. And it got me wondering – Why? And what can I do about it? Because it frustrates me when I catch myself doing it and I’m aware that it’s a form of self-sabotage.

I was heartened to find out that I’m only a ‘mild procrastinator’ when I did the Mind Tools ‘Are You A Procrastinator?’ test. But I was told “You need to understand better why you procrastinate – there are several reasons for it, and more than one may apply to you. And you need to learn the steps you can take to stop doing it.”

Exactly. So what exactly are those reasons and what can I do about them?


Firstly, it was nice to know that procrastination is not the same as laziness.


As the Mind Tools article on Procrastination says:

“Procrastination is an active process – you choose to do something else instead of the task that you know you should be doing. In contrast, laziness suggests apathy, inactivity and an unwillingness to act. Procrastination usually involves ignoring an unpleasant, but likely more important task, in favor of one that is more enjoyable or easier.”

I find that a great description. I know I’m not lazy because I’m very willing to act. But I definitely have been known to ignore the unpleasant, but more important tasks, in favour of ones that are more enjoyable or easier.

To overcome this pattern of behaviour, Mind Tools suggests that the first thing we need to do is:


Recognise That You’re Procrastinating.


As with everything in life, the first step in being able to ‘fix’ something is to notice that you’re actually doing it. Find out where you are on the procrastination scale –  Are you a true procrastinator, a mild procrastinator, or not a procrastinator at all (congratulations – lucky you!)?

And once you know where you fit on the scale, you can start to figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing and how to change it. There are many reasons for why you might procrastinate. Here’s a list of the most common ones.


Are you letting procrastination steal your dreams? Learn these 6 strategies to overcome the procrastination demons and start achieving every milestone you need to thrive in business and life #stopprocrastinating #procrastination #productivity #efficiency #workefficiency #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #liveyourbestlife #ladybosses

6 Reasons You’re Procrastinating and What You Can Do About Them


 1. You’re Not Organised Enough.

As a business owner, it’s up to you to enforce structure in your day. It was different back in my old corporate career when there were certain non-negotiable obligations like routine meetings, deadlines, or admin tasks that had to be done. But when you work for yourself, that’s much more fluid. If you don’t feel like doing something, you don’t have to do it.


But the guilt and shame that you feel as a consequence of not doing what you know you have to do can be detrimental and (as you know) can lead to a downward spiral of negativity and inertia, which can be very hard to pull yourself out of.


This is why it’s so essential to get organised. You need to create a schedule that forces you to do certain things on certain days, and then make them non-negotiable. For example, commit to getting your email newsletters out every Friday at 2 PM. Or schedule three hours every Tuesday morning to prepare your social media posts for the next 2 weeks. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me get on top of things in my own business. Suddenly I don’t have time to procrastinate anymore!

My favourite tool for getting organised in my business is Trello. It’s been a game-changer for me and my business. I highly recommend using Trello to create structure and discipline in your business.


Consistency, routine, and effective prioritising of your tasks are essential in overcoming procrastination.


Accountability can help you get things done too. Ask someone to check up on you and regularly remind you of what you promised you would do. Get coaching, or join a Mastermind group. Accountability is why coaching relationships are so effective. Coaches help you understand what’s important for you and they hold you accountable to the things you say you’re going to do. And we all need that! As a business coach myself, I still need my own coach to help me stay accountable and on-track.


2. Poor Decision-Making and Lack of Clear Priorities.

Have you ever had those days when there’s so much to do that you just get started on something, and then you end up drifting through the day being super ‘busy’, but at the end of the day you ask yourself “What did I actually do today?”

That’s a day without clear and focused priorities (and is slightly different from not being organised). If you can’t decide what to do, you just end up jumping on the first thing that feels good and suddenly you’ve spent six hours doing things that really are not a high priority and you know it.

The best question I’ve learned to ask at the start of each day is Gary Keller’s famous question that he describes in his #1 bestselling book The One Thing which is this:


What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?


I recently put together a video explaining The One Thing and how you can apply it (you can watch the video here).  Asking that question has been a true game-changer for me and when I get stuck, this is the question I turn to. I highly recommend trying it out.


Are you letting procrastination steal your dreams? Learn these 6 strategies to overcome the procrastination demons and start achieving every milestone you need to thrive in business and life #stopprocrastinating #procrastination #productivity #efficiency #workefficiency #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #liveyourbestlife #ladybosses 3. It’s Boring.

This is an obvious one and possibly the most common. I’m constantly putting certain tasks off because, frankly, they’re boring. Why pay the outstanding invoices or get on top of your admin when you could do the fun website changes you’ve been wanting to do or make pretty social media images?

The best technique that’s helped me make myself do those boring tasks that need doing is this:


Focus on how good it’s going to feel when you’ve finally done those boring tasks and you can tick them off your to-do list. Keep tuning into the feeling of relief and satisfaction you will feel and use it to get you through the task.


Another thing you can do is promise yourself a reward. If you complete a boring but necessary task on time, reward yourself with a treat; maybe a slice of cake and coffee from your favourite coffee shop. Or if it’s a really big, important task, reward yourself with a massage or anything else that feels like an absolute treat – because you deserve it.


4. You’re Worried About Failing.

This type of procrastination is simply ‘fear’ disguised as procrastination. And the only way to overcome this one is to schedule the time to do the scary thing that needs to be done and push through the fear. As the famous saying goes “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”

All the things I’ve been really scared of doing (live videos, leading group calls etc) only became less scary when I finally plucked up enough courage to just do them. And through doing them they became much less scary and even enjoyable.


The more you do something you fear, the more comfortable and enjoyable it becomes.


There’s a certain adrenaline boost that you get when you overcome your fears that can become addictive with time, to the point where you actually really start getting hooked on doing the thing you once feared.


5. You’re Being a Perfectionist.

Perfectionists are often the best procrastinators. You’re so dedicated to getting something perfectly ‘right’ before you put it out there that you become paralysed with inaction. This was once a big trap of mine, and the only thing that helped me work through this was repeatedly saying the mantra:


Imperfect Action Beats Perfect Inaction.


If this sounds like you, print out this statement in big letters (make it pretty if you have to) and hang it above your desk somewhere where you can see it all the time. And make the commitment to yourself to choose imperfect action above perfect inaction at all times. Watch how this simple mantra changes your life!


Are you letting procrastination stand between you and your dreams? I go through periods where I struggle with this more than others. Here's what you can do to overcome this big time-thief now #stopprocrastinating #procrastination #procrastinating #effectiveness #productivity #efficiency #motivation #inspire #empower #liveyourbestlife6. You’re Worried About Succeeding.

You might even be worried about doing something really well because it means that you’ll suddenly be swamped with requests from other people and you’ll get overwhelmed.

Maybe you don’t want to be known as someone who gets things done because you’ll end up being their go-to person. In that case, you may just need to be up-front and set some clear boundaries with people. Let them know what you’re willing to do but let them know you have limited time because you have your own tasks to get on with. This may require having some uncomfortable conversations but the effects will be liberating.

As Marianne Williamson has said often:


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”


Maybe you’re scared of how your life will change if you actually become successful, and so you keep yourself small so that you don’t have to get uncomfortable? If so, recognise that you’re doing that, and then try to shift your focus to all the positive things that will result from succeeding, for you and others.

I hope this list has given you some insight and helpful strategies to overcome your procrastination patterns. The top one for me remains staying organised in order to overcome my procrastination demons and something I’m working to improve each and every day.

And be sure not to beat up on yourself. Don’t let yourself get dragged into the spiral of shame and guilt that procrastination can draw you into. Be gentle with yourself and congratulate yourself for always doing your best and for actively seeking ways to improve. That in itself is worthy of a little celebrating.


Are you starting or growing your own business? Download your FREE copy of my FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK to fast-track your business success! This value-packed guide contains everything I wish I knew back when I was starting my own business in 2011. Click here to download it now.

Did you like this article? You might also like:

The 10 Most Important Tactics That Will Set You Up for Business Success.

5 Powerful Strategies that will Triple Your Income: A Case Study with Business Owner Revi Chai.

How to be a Mother and Successfully Grow a Family and a Business at the Same Time.


In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Fempire Coach
[email protected]

If you struggle to get onto the important things that you know you need to do on a regular basis, these 6 powerful strategies will help you to overcome the procrastination monster and start producing your best work. #stopprocrastinating #procrastination #procrastinating #effectiveness #productivity #efficiency #motivation #inspire #empower #liveyourbestlife

Create A Life You Love: How to Set Powerful, Heart-Centered Goals That Work

Create A Life You Love: How to Set Powerful, Heart-Centered Goals That Work

Do you have clear goals in place that allow you to intentionally work towards the future you desire? Do your goals feel really good and heart-centered? Read on to discover 6 easy steps to developing heart-centered goals that actually work! #fempire #fempirecoach #goalsetting #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #heartcenteredgoals #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesschicks

Do you feel resistance when it comes to setting goals?


I know I have in the past. The whole process can feel too masculine, pushy, or ‘corporate’. 

I do, however, believe that the act of tuning into your heart to listen to what wants to be expressed or created through you is essential to creating a life you love. Without some form of heart-centered intention or goal, you can drift aimlessly in a sea of possibility without having anything secure to anchor yourself onto.

Research (like this) has shown that you feel happiest when you having something to work towards that allows you to really stretch, unleash your full creativity and potential, and contribute to something you care about.


A clear, heart-centered goal acts as an internal compass to guide your daily decisions towards your ‘true north’, allowing you to more intentionally create a life you love.


What do I mean by your ‘true north’?
I mean the genuine, authentic desires of your heart and soul. And heart-centered goals are the means by which you align yourself with your true north.
An essential component of setting heart-centered goals is the act of first tuning into how you want to feel. I give full credit to Danielle LaPorte and her Core Desired Feelings concept that has been a major force in shaping how I now approach goal-setting. Danielle was one of the first people to make me aware of how we have our traditional goal-setting processes backward. Traditionally, we focus on an end goal without taking the time to figure out how we actually want to feel, which often leaves us feeling empty and discontent when we actually reach the goal, because it didn’t actually make us feel how we wanted.

As a business owner, it's essential that you set goals to help you achieve your vision. Without goals, you're flying blind. However, your goals have to make you feel really excited and inspired. Read on to discover 6 easy steps to developing heart-centered goals that feel really good AND help you consistently hit your revenue goals! #fempire #fempirecoach #goalsetting #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #heartcenteredgoals #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesschicks


A heart-centered goal lights you up just thinking about it. The thought of reaching it uplifts, inspires and motivates you.



Heart-centered goals lead to ‘inspired action’; tasks and actions that feel exciting and joyful. If you’re feeling the need to set some powerful, heart-centered goals for the year ahead that will actually get you to where you want to be, I recommend you use the following process. This may take some time, but I promise you it’s worth it.


How to Create Powerful, Heart-Centered Goals That Actually Work in 6 Steps


Step 1: Acknowledge & celebrate everything you did and experienced in the previous year, or the year so far.

Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit for everything we do do, and instead focus on what we think is still missing. The simple act of documenting, acknowledging, and celebrating everything you did in the previous year lights the fires of passion, purpose, and creativity for the year ahead. Gratitude and appreciation for all the goodness that manifested in your life provides an inspiring and exciting platform from which to springboard into your dreaming and goal setting. The easiest way to do this step is to write it all down, making sure you document:

  • What you DID;
  • How you GREW;
  • What you LEARNED;
  • Which new CONNECTIONS or networks you established;
  • And any other highlights of the year that feel significant.

Do you struggle to set goals for your business that feel really true and aligned with your values and desires? Over the years I've learned how to tune into my intuition to develop business goals that feel really good AND help me to consistently hit my revenue goals. Read on to find out how #fempire #fempirecoach #goalsetting #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #heartcenteredgoals #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesschicks

Make sure you find a way to celebrate and give gratitude for all the goodness that manifested in your life. If it feels right for you, close your eyes and spend some time in quiet gratitude. Perhaps light a candle. Practicing gratitude stimulates all the wonderful high-frequency emotions that are necessary for getting into an effective frame of mind for goal setting (including appreciation, joy, optimism, hope, grace, ease etc).

Step 2: Tune into the vision and mission you have for your life.


To effectively map out exciting and magnetic goals it’s important that you first tune into a vision of your future that makes you feel really excited when you think about it, as well as your purpose. There is a subtle but very important distinction between your vision and your purpose. They’re very closely linked, but you can think of it this way:


“If your vision is the map, your mission (or purpose) is your inner compass.”

– Jeffrey Davis, Tracking Wonder


Your vision is the final destination you desire to arrive at. You need a map to show you where you are now and where you want to end up (your vision). Then you need a compass (your mission) to help you continuously point yourself in the right direction, in order to reach your final destination. Your vision summarises the qualities of the life you would like to live, while your purpose defines the details of how you serve others through your work.

Your purpose statement should contain a summary of WHO you want to serve, HOW you help your people, and WHAT the result will be from your actions. To help you get the idea and to stimulate your own reflective juices flow, here is my current vision and purpose (these tend to evolve as I grow and evolve):
What is your vision for your future? This might be something you’re very clear about. Or maybe it’s something that’s still a bit murky for you.
To develop your own vision, try to think about what your ideal, dream life would look like in 5 – 10 years time. What would you be doing? What kind of person will you be? What are the qualities of the life you desire to experience? What is the end destination that excites and uplifts you? And how would you define your personal purpose?
If these aren’t an easy question for you to answer and you need more help, please get yourself a copy of my FREE (but incredibly valuable!) E-Book: Pathfinding: How to Find Your Inspired Path & Purpose.

Step 3: Get clear on how you want to feel in the year ahead.

I believe this is the critical missing piece in all of our goal-setting processes. Failing to take the time to do this step might set you up to achieve goals that don’t necessarily make you happy or satisfied or fulfilled. To tune into how you want to feel, take some time to get quiet. Take a few deep breaths in and out. Place your attention into your heart space if you can. Take a few deep breaths and really feel into the energy in your heart centre. As you try to keep your focus there, ask yourself:


“How do I want to feel this year?”

Write down whichever words come up for you. My words for this year are:

If you need some inspiration for possible feelings, take a look at my Core Desired Feelings Library inspired by Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map. Click here to go to the Core Desired Feelings Library.



Step 4: Engage in divergent thinking to dream big and imagine quantum leaps for your life!

If you want to set exciting, uplifting goals, it’s CRITICAL that you undergo some form of DIVERGENT THINKING before you narrow yourself down and choose goals that you want to shoot for in the year ahead.

We use divergent thinking to CREATE CHOICES, and then we use convergent thinking to MAKE CHOICES.
An important part of the divergent thinking process is allowing yourself to DREAM BIG and to expect ‘quantum leaps’ in your life. In the video below, I describe how Price Pritchett defines Quantum Leaps in his book You2 – A High-Velocity Formula for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps. I highly recommend reading his book if you want to learn more about his approach, which integrates quantum physics principles into personal effectiveness tools.

In order to set effective goals, you need to undergo a 'divergent' thinking process which allows you to dream big and think outside the box. Don't limit yourself by thinking too small! Find out how to set highly efficient but heart-centered goals in 6 easy steps now. #fempire #fempirecoach #goalsetting #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #heartcenteredgoals #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesschicks

Don’t you think it’s a pretty amazing thing that the only thing limiting us in life is our imagination? That we can literally do anything we want if our heart and soul want it badly enough? We get to literally dream up the life we want to live. As Price Pritchett says in his book You2:


“Seeking the quantum leap means violating the boundary of the probable. It means achieving well beyond the obvious. So don’t limit your desires to what you think you ‘can have’ …. start going after what you ‘want’. This means you must give yourself permission to dream, to risk. You must set yourself free.”
– Price Pritchett


Once you get clear and excited about what you ‘want’, you can create it through harnessing the proven physical laws of our Universe, including The Law of Attraction. To learn more about this, check out my articles:
Now that you understand what Quantum Leaps are, here’s how you can align your quantum leaps with your core desired feelings that you uncovered in Step 3.

How to do ‘divergent thinking’ that opens your mind to the possibility of ‘quantum leaps’.

Task 1: In your journal or notebook, write down all the words you chose as your CORE DESIRED FEELINGS for the year ahead on the left-hand side.
Task 2: Next to each desired feeling, make two columns. In the first column, try to brainstorm some ‘normal’ goals, i.e. what Price Pritchett would refer to as your 10% incremental goals. This is how we usually approach the goal-setting process, setting goals that we believe are within are ‘achievable’ range. In the next column, brainstorm some possible Quantum Leap goals, i.e. things that require you to stretch your imagination and dream bigger than normal. What would be REALLY AMAZING if you could achieve it next year? This is where you get to play with your imagination and dream up some really BIG and EXCITING goals!
Goals are the rocket fuel behind any sustainable & profitable business. Without goals, you're sailing rudderless in the ocean. Discover how to set clear, heart-centered goals in 6 easy steps so that you can achieve all your business dreams and more. #fempire #fempirecoach #goalsetting #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #heartcenteredgoals #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesschicks


Step 5: Choose the goals you want to focus on in the year ahead.

Now that you’ve been through a process of divergent thinking, now it’s time to ‘converge’ and choose which goals you want to aim for in the year ahead. When doing this, remember that ‘more’ is not necessarily ‘better’. Choosing a few quality goals that are closely aligned with your desired feelings and desired quantum leaps will position you to live a wonderful year. Be sure to check each goal with these questions:
  • Will this goal help me feel the way I want to feel?
  • Is this goal aligned with my authentic heart’s desires?
It’s also important not to focus on a single outcome (e.g. Publish my book), but rather to set goals that define the various milestones you’ll need to reach in order to reach that outcome (for example: Finalise the book structure, secure book agent, submit first draft etc). This is called ‘chunking down’ the goals into tangible milestones that you can work towards. This is where you get the chance to be specific and set realistic, yet challenging milestones and targets.

To be effective, your goals need to feel like a stretch (but not too much of a stretch that it feels overwhelming), and they need to feel exciting!

This allows you to take ‘inspired action’ that feels good.

Step 6: Get your goals and milestones into your diary and put them somewhere where you can see them!

To make your goals real, you’ll need to schedule them into your Yearly Planner so that you can work towards them. Put them somewhere where you can see them and be reminded of them consistently.
Lastly, have a think about some support structures you can put in place to make sure you regularly check in with your goals and modify them if needed if they’re not aligning with your desired feelings. What support structures can you put in place? A vision board? Hanging your goals up somewhere where you can see them? Telling your partner so they can remind you? Telling a friend and asking them to check in with you? Joining a group that will actively support you in pursuing your goals?

If you learn how to set heart-centered goals, your business will really take off. Read on to discover the process I use repeatedly to grow my business and achieve everything I desire and more. #fempire #fempirecoach #goalsetting #smallbusiness #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen #ladybosslife #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurship #heartcenteredgoals #womeninbiz #womenempowered #girlbosses #businesschicks

Once you decide on the goals, the actions and the support structures you’ll put in place to achieve your goals, you’re on your way!
I sincerely hope this article helps you set yourself up for a wonderful year and I wish you so much success and magic in creating the life you love.
In service to helping you live your brightest life,
Kate De Jong, Ph.D.
Fempire Coach for Thriving Female Entrepreneurs
7 Ways to Be an Inspiring Leader in Small Business

7 Ways to Be an Inspiring Leader in Small Business

woman writing at desk - text overlay 7 ways to be an inspiring leaderThose of us who choose to be a small business owner are in some way required to step into leadership, even if we’re not explicitly aware of it.


When I quit my corporate career of almost fifteen years as a Consulting Engineer in 2011, it wasn’t because I wanted to become a leader. I’d taken on various leadership roles throughout my career and enjoyed the opportunity to lead, support and inspire others. But I quit my corporate career because I wanted to experience more joy in my work, more creativity, more authentic self-expression, and perhaps most importantly, I wanted to be more impactful and to serve others more effectively.

As time has gone on, it’s dawned on me that in order to fulfil my dream of creating positive change through my business, I need to consciously and proactively step into leadership; which is not something I was prepared for, at least initially.

As I grow and evolve my ‘craft’ with time and experience, I’m realising that if I want to thrive as a business and as my own personal brand I must:

  • Step out of the shadows and claim my position as a leader;
  • Have a clear vision that inspires and resonates with people;
  • Be able to communicate that vision and why it’s important;
  • Know how to serve my people with services and products that help move them towards that vision.

Like all of us, I’ve had the opportunity to observe some great leaders over the course of my life, and some not-so-good examples of leadership. The great leaders are, of course, the ones we all aspire to be. And if we want to create positive change in the world as business owners, we need to be great leaders.


To me, the single most defining quality of a ‘great leader’ is their genuine passion and devotion to serving their people.


marble desktop with notebook - text overlay Great leaders don't set out to be leaders, they set out to make a difference.It’s often easy to tell who is in the game of leadership to further their own egotistical pursuits (power, status, influence or control) as opposed to those who are in it to make a difference. In his book Return on Character: The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win (2015), Fred Kiehl describes the results of seven years of a landmark study of more than 100 CEOs and over 8,000 of their employee’s observations of their leaders. He showed that leaders of ‘strong character’ achieved up to five times the Return of Assets (ROA) for their organizations than leaders of ‘weak character’.

Kiehl defined four qualities that leaders of ‘strong character’ show:

  1. Integrity
  2. Responsibility
  3. Forgiveness
  4. Compassion

As I reflected on those qualities, it took me back to some of the moments in my life when I’ve personally experienced leaders of ‘strong character’ and the profound effect they had on me, including:

  • The boss who came past each morning and asked my team members and I individually how we were going. Not in a superficial chit-chat kind of way, but in a genuine “How are you and is there anything you need to do your best work today?” kind of way.
  • The senior colleague who believed in me and empowered me to step up, break out of my comfort zone and achieve more than I thought was possible.
  • The manager who took it upon himself to undertake hard negotiation with company executives on our behalf to significantly improve our salaries and workplace conditions.
  • The manager who took responsibility for a ‘big mistake’ on behalf of our team, worked with us to brainstorm solutions and empowered us to collaboratively get things back on track; no blame, just compassion, forgiveness, and empowerment to move ahead.
  • The manager who very compassionately told me to go home to rest and take care of myself when I wanted to keep working through a personal crisis.
  • The leader on Twitter who says she’s working on a particular issue of national concern and would like to hear everyone’s input and feedback in her comments section. She then reads all of them and acts upon them, responding to all the concerns raised.


As small business owners, it’s even more critical that we continuously display qualities of strong character because our strength of character is our business; it’s our personal brand.


And since Kiehl has shown an astounding 5-times increase in financial performance in businesses with ‘leaders of strong character’, strong leadership is critical to deciding whether our business will thrive or fizzle out. So to all you small business owners out there who want to step up your leadership game and more consciously and proactively choose to be a leader of ‘strong character’, here are my 7 tips on how to do it:

  1. Have a clear and inspiring vision of the future that serves as your inner compass and the compass for your business – #vision.
  2. Embody the morals, principles and values of your vision – ‘walk the talk’ – #integrity.
  3. Demonstrate your genuine passion for your vision and for serving your people – #service #passion #devotion.
  4. Genuinely care about the people you’re serving and leading. Connect with them. Request regular feedback, listen to the feedback and act upon it – #listen #Compassion.
  5. Believe in your people and inspire them to be better, do more and reach higher – #empower #believe #inspire.
  6. Be transparent and vulnerable when you need to be. Admit your mistakes. It’s OK to be ‘imperfect’ and still lead your people. Genuine vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness and your people will respect you even more for it – #responsibility #forgiveness
  7. Be kind, compassionate and forgiving to others. Failure is success when we learn from it – #failureisfeedback.


What are some of the commitments you can make to yourself to uphold greater levels of ‘character’ and become a truly inspiring leader in your role as a business owner?

Are you starting or growing your own business? Download your FREE copy of my FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK to fast-track your business success! This value-packed guide contains everything I wish I knew back when I was starting my own business in 2011. Click here to download it now.

Did you like this article? You might also like:

The 10 Most Important Tactics That Will Set You Up for Business Success.

5 Powerful Strategies that will Triple Your Income: A Case Study with Business Owner Revi Chai.

How to be a Mother and Successfully Grow a Family and a Business at the Same Time.

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Fempire Coach
[email protected]

woman working at a computer - text overlay 7 ways to be an inspiring leader

7 Powerful Strategies to Help You Get Through Those Days When You Just Want to Give Up on Your Dream

7 Powerful Strategies to Help You Get Through Those Days When You Just Want to Give Up on Your Dream

This article is all about those days when I just want to give up on my dream of working for myself and running a thriving, profitable business - and 7 ways I manage to get through them. Try these powerful strategies next time you hit an entrepreneurial dip! #entrepreneurship #workingfromhome #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #dontgiveup #startuplife #hanginthere #bossbabes #businesswomen #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomenI’m not usually one to focus my time and energy on things that aren’t working because I’m acutely aware that ‘What you focus on grows’ and all of that.


And yet, I also think there’s enormous value in sharing our vulnerability and real-life struggles so that we know we’re not alone and so that we can help each other through them. And sometimes we have days where it all just feels really hard. Running your own business can feel like a lot of hustle for little return at times. Sometimes it sucks. And it’s OK to feel that way every now and then. It’s part of the natural cycle of things.

Today I had one of those days when I sat down at my desk and I couldn’t find my ‘mojo’. I’d had a couple of deflating incidents; some people unsubscribing from my email list, very little engagement on an offer I put out that I’d been really excited about. All a very normal part of doing business, but sometimes those things feel deflating nonetheless. My head was full of thoughts like “Who’s going to care if I don’t coach or publish or offer anything today. Maybe I should just go back to my old corporate job.” … and a tirade of other unpleasant thoughts.

It can be hard to pull myself out of those moments.


Because starting your own business is hard. And there are days when I just want to give up on my dream.


My dream for the past six years has been to run my own thriving coaching practice from home, while being a Mum to our two young boys. I quit my previous corporate career in 2011 after more than fifteen years in the field of water process engineering. I’d chosen my field of study for mostly the wrong reasons; trying to please my parents and live up to the expectations they had for me to be a successful professional woman in the technical fields. And I chose it for the stable financial future that everyone told me I would have if I followed Science & Engineering. Which I did have, but that financial freedom failed to make me happy. I had mostly ignored the gentle pleads from my heart to follow my natural joy; languages, social connection, and writing.


Here are seven ways I manage to get my motivation back to keep growing my business after I’ve had a tough day, or week, or month. I hope they help you to get back on the horse even when you feel like giving up. #entrepreneurship #workingfromhome #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #dontgiveup #startuplife #hanginthere #bossbabes #businesswomen #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen

But in 2011 I was finally forced to my knees and I had no other option than to step out of my profession.


I’d been through a very long ‘dark night of the soul’ (which I write about here: What Does it Mean To Be True To Yourself? My Personal Journey of Finding My True Voice & Path). I could no longer ignore the whispers in my heart that had now turned into a loud roar.

I remember the mixed emotions I felt when I finally made the decision to quit my job after almost 15 years of intense sweat and tears poured into my profession. Enormous relief, exhilaration, freedom, joy. Followed closely by lots of fear, self-doubt, and anxiety about what others would say and think. And many questions and doubts about what I would actually do going forward. I had never contemplated ‘going it alone’ before or being a business owner or entrepreneur. Those words had never even been inside my head in relation to me.


But I’d been through so much struggle and inner turmoil to get to that point that I was determined to make my own way on my own terms.


After much soul-searching, I decided I wanted to save others from the struggles that I had been through, feeling off-track and miserable in my career for so long, to help them find their authentic and joyful professional path. I was determined to make it work.

I was lucky (or was it synchronicity?) that at the time I decided to quit my corporate consulting engineering career, my husband was offered a job overseas and I had finally fallen pregnant with our first baby boy. And so I took that to be a ‘sign’ and decided to throw myself wholeheartedly into pursuing a coaching certification while simultaneously becoming a mother twice over (our boys are now aged 3 and 6). In 2014, I finally became qualified as a Certified Coach and I’ve been busily working away at building my business ever since.

I feel fortunate that I’ve had so much passion and purpose to fuel me through the start-up phase because it hasn’t been easy.


It’s not an easy task going back to ground zero, starting out in a new field in which you know nothing, building connections in a field that you have none, developing new skills and competencies completely outside of what you’ve always known.


It's not easy starting your own business and there are some days where it all feels too hard. Here are seven strategies that I hope will help you get through the days when you've lost your spark and motivation. #entrepreneurship #workingfromhome #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #dontgiveup #startuplife #hanginthere #bossbabes #businesswomen #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomenNot to mention the difficulty of setting up the actual nuts and bolts of a business, or the many costs of setting up and running one. There are so many little things that add up over time; business name registration, domain name purchase, building a website and everything that goes along with that, branding and logo design, purchasing graphic design tools, email list building software, online course platforms, social media/content scheduling tools, business insurances, legal documents, office set up … and the list goes on.

One of Sydney’s rising start-up entrepreneurs Jon Westenberg said recently:


“If you don’t have a plan to make money, all you have is an expensive hobby.”

– Jon Westenberg


And sometimes that’s what it’s felt like, an expensive hobby. Especially in those early years. Over the past six years, I’ve completed countless courses and programs from some of the biggest ‘gurus’ in the industry, trying to figure out MY plan to make money. Everyone seems to have a different idea or opinion on what it takes to “make it happen”. And I’m slowly realising that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach and each business and person is entirely unique and as such requires a unique approach. I’ve tried several different approaches; some have worked, some haven’t. But with time I guess you could say I’m slowly figuring out the best business model for my personality and services.

I’ve been extremely fortunate that my husband has been able to pick up the slack financially, especially in the beginning, because it certainly takes a long time to develop anything near a ‘sustainable income’. It takes time and a lot of patience to build a sustainable, functional business foundation. And it takes a lot of time and patience to build visibility and a platform of followers interested in your message and your work.


There is no quick fix, no overnight solution. It takes a lot of consistent, hard work before you begin to see the fruits of your hard labour.


And some days it feels like I’m putting my work out into a vacuum. Those are the days when it’s hard to get motivated. It’s hard going it alone. It’s hard being the sole person responsible for generating income from your business. If you slack off, no money comes in. I’ve read all the promises of the 4-hour work week and ‘passive income’ and while they sound great, it’s much harder to implement in reality.

If you ever get into one of those downward spirals of despair and negativity, here are some tips on how to pull yourself back up and out of it. These are some of the things that help me on a regular basis when I get into a funk.


1. Force yourself to step away from the desk and take a short break.

Because any action you take while in that negative frame of mind is not going to be productive or inspired. It’s important to get yourself back into a good frame of mind before attempting to do anything at all. Do whatever it takes to re-center and re-align yourself.


2. Get yourself out into nature and do something nourishing for your body, mind or soul.

Get outside into the garden, or go for a walk, or do something uplifting, comforting and nourishing for yourself. If you need some inspiration on how to do that, I wrote about 10 ways to do that in my blog article:
Soul-Care – 10 Ways To Comfort Your Being In Times of Overwhelm.


3. Focus on what you love about working for yourself.

Take some time to remember the reasons you decided to work for yourself. Write them down. For example, I remember how much I love the complete freedom and flexibility of my schedule and my pure freedom of creative self-expression. I love the ability I have to work from home, to be there for my kids, and to focus my time on what I want, when I want. What is it that you love about working for yourself? I wrote about mine here: Quitting the Rat Race: 5 Reasons Why You Should Break Free and Follow Your Heart.


4. Remember WHY you’re doing it. And get inspired again by your goals.

When you’re in this state of mind, it’s important to reconnect with your PURPOSE – your ‘big why’. I remind myself how much pain I felt when I couldn’t find my professional purpose and joy for the longest time. And I think of all the people who have told me how desperately they want to find their joyful career path and to live a life more aligned with their heart and soul. I take the time to go back and read my Business Inspiration and Vision.  And then I go back to the exciting goals and vision that I set for my year ahead, which I do each year through Quest with Jeffrey Davis at Tracking Wonder.



5. Re-read some of the positive feedback from your clients and appreciate the areas where you have traction in your business.

Go back and read or simply remember some of the positive things people have said about your work and the impact you’ve made on them. And spend some time appreciating those areas of your business where you ARE experiencing flow, traction and momentum. Find a way to remember that your work matters and that people need and appreciate what you have to offer.


6. Remember that you’re making progress, even when you can’t yet see the fruits of your labour.

Building a business requires us to continuously plant seeds and they don’t always germinate when we’d like them to, or sometimes they don’t germinate at all. Some days I can feel disheartened when I feel like I’m not seeing any results of my hard work. But then I experience an unexpected surprise or breakthrough and I’m reminded that progress is ALWAYS being made, even when it doesn’t feel like it.


You know those days when everything just feel way too hard and you just want to throw in the towel? Don’t give up! You might be on the verge of a breakthrough. Discover these 7 strategies to help you get your mojo back when you’re having a big ‘dip’ on your entrepreneurial journey. Hang in there! #entrepreneurship #workingfromhome #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #dontgiveup #startuplife #hanginthere #bossbabes #businesswomen #womeninbusiness #womensupportingwomen

7. Don’t give up. You just may be on the verge of making a breakthrough!

No matter how bad your day is feeling, don’t give up. You might be just about to make a touchdown. Keep your thoughts and energy focused on the vision you hold and how good it feels to be living your dream, on your own terms. If you need help staying tuned in to positive energy and the flow of abundance, take a look at my article How to Attract More Abundance & Joy Into Your Life.

And if all else fails, take a day off, go and do something you love and tomorrow is another day. But most importantly, hang in there. The world needs your precious gifts! And if you ever need to reach out for some moral support, I’d love to connect with you. You can reach me at [email protected]





Need help finding your unique professional path and purpose? Get your FREE copy of my E-Book PATHFINDING: HOW TO FIND YOUR UNIQUE PATH AND PURPOSE here.

In service to helping you live your brightest life,


Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
[email protected]


What is a Virtual Assistant and Why Might You Need One?

What is a Virtual Assistant and Why Might You Need One?

blurred peach background text overlay What is a Virtual Assistant and why you might need oneVIRTUAL ASSISTANT

A trusted asset who takes away your frustrations by completing the tasks you don’t want to do, letting you focus on what you love.


It can be so hard when you’re starting your own business, or running a ‘side hustle’ alongside your main job, or even trying to stay up to date in the rapidly changing online world. For Gen-X people like me (born 1963 – 1980) or older, it’s particularly challenging since we haven’t grown up with the Internet, Social Media and the Online Business World like the younger generations have.

Proficient ‘digital literacy’ isn’t part of our basic, native skill set, unless we’ve been educated and worked specifically in the IT fields. When I see how easily my 6- and 3-year-old boys navigate an iPad or computer, or how easily a ‘Millennial’ navigates their way through the online world, I realise how much things have changed since I was growing up and how much we’ve had to learn and adapt to stay afloat.


There have been so many technological breakthroughs during our short lifetimes


… from the emergence of home computers, to fax machines, to E-mail … from ‘floppy discs’ to recordable CDs to USB memory sticks … from record players to tape cassettes (and ‘Walkmans’), to CDs and then to MP3 players … from Analog TV with four channels to cable-TV with 100+ channels … from basic old Radio to ‘online streaming’ … from videocassettes to DVDs and eventually Netflix-like systems. It’s been one continuous stream of technology upgrades that requires constant adaptation to stay ‘up with it’.


The very first Apple Mac computer that we had in our home in the ’80s. We felt very modern and ahead of the times!

Still, I was proud that I always adapted well to all the technology changes. I embraced social media in 2007 and was doing fine in my previous career as a Consulting Engineer, mastering all the software and technology systems we used to do our work efficiently.



I thought I was doing pretty well at keeping up with the times…. Until I started my own business.


And then I realised oh how very little I actually knew about anything in the online digital world. Of course one of the first things I had to do was develop my own website, which meant finding a domain provider, a web host, choose a website builder, develop a logo and brand colour scheme, choose an email marketing host (which one?!), build an email list, understand digital marketing, develop digital products for my marketing, make sure my website was SEO-friendly (what’s that?!), choose business management software. People were recommending all kinds of different platforms/scheduling tools/business ‘must-haves’.


To say my head was swimming in this sea of endless information would be an understatement. There were times when I just felt like curling up into a ball and retreating back into my old corporate career where none of this stuff was necessary.


Woman with glasses sitting in front of a computer text overlay - Focus on your business. Why hiring a Virtual Assistant can help your business grow

I’m usually pretty good at figuring stuff out. But at some stage, I had to admit that I was well and truly LOST. There were two things that helped me navigate through all the noise and FINALLY find my way in this seemingly impossible world of digital information:

1. A great business coach.

2. My Virtual Assistant (VA).

My business coach helped me “see the wood for the trees”, helping me figure out what was important at that stage in my business and to choose systems and strategies that would work for me. We developed a business strategy for my small coaching business. This gave me an enormous boost of clarity and was a big help in moving forward (if you’re stuck, I really highly recommend working with a good business coach).

My business coach often suggested that I start employing a “V.A.” to help me out with all the tasks that were needed to set up and keep things running. When she first said “V.A.” I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. And when she explained what it meant, I resisted the idea enormously. I was just starting out and hardly making any money, so how could I afford to pay someone to work for me?


But it’s the chicken and egg thing.


Do you continue spending your time doing things that are well outside of your own ‘zone of genius’, or do you hire someone who’s incredibly savvy in the online world to do these things for you in the blink of an eye? Do you first need to make money before you can pay someone to help you? Or do you need someone to help you before you can start earning money? It’s been my experience that it’s the latter.

A Virtual Assistant is someone who is right on top of everything in the online world. They’ve either been trained or educated in the world of web development, software and/or digital marketing, or they’ve worked in these fields their whole career and so it’s second nature to them. So things that feel hard and clunky for many of us feel very easy and light for them. Their genius is website development, social media engagement, digital marketing and more … all the things that are clearly NOT my genius.


And hiring a VA is not as overwhelming or daunting as it might seem.


You can initially hire someone for just a couple of hours a month to help you with the most basic tasks you need covering. And as your business grows, you can increase those hours as you need. But it’s certainly been my experience that they can at the very least help you GET THE BALL ROLLING, and once it’s rolling, they can help you keep it rolling smoothly (as possible).


So what kind of tasks can a Virtual Assistant do for you?

Here are some examples of what they can do for you:

  • Website changes, web page development, sales pages, website analytics to measure your site’s performance;
  • Set up your online payments or accounting/invoicing systems;
  • SEO-optimisation for your website;
  • Social media graphics, social media scheduling, social media analytics to measure how you’re performing;
  • Email community newsletters, Email broadcasts for particular promotions;
  • Product launches;
  • Blog broadcasting and distribution;
  • Manage your Email inbox,
  • Set up your Client scheduling system, manage your schedule … and more.

Anything you need to have done in the online world, they can do for you.

The biggest challenge I find is in having the courage and foresight to DELEGATE. This has never been a strength of mine, but I’m working on it and it feels so good and so efficient when I manage to do it well.


What have been the BIG POSITIVES I’ve found in working with a Virtual Assistant?


  • I learn so much from my V.A. As I work with her I’m learning so much about all the different aspects of online business and my own knowledge and proficiency are increasing exponentially. Just one example is that she taught me everything I need to know about SEO (a concept I ignored for the longest time because I had no clue what it was). It stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it’s just a little bit critical to running a business. Thanks to my V.A., if you now search for keywords related to my business, you’ll actually find me. I hadn’t appreciated how important that is. If people are looking for a service you offer, they need to be able to find you!
  • She allows me to focus on the core elements of my business – i.e. the coaching, writing, and content development – rather than wasting my time doing things that I’m terrible at.
  • She figures out ways to do things that I am just completely stuck with. She saves me time and energy and handles the online things with way more elegance and finesse than I would ever be able to.
  • She has helped me professionalize my online presence and as a result, I feel more professional and can deliver services that are more professional.


It can take some time to find a good VA.


It took me some trial and error to find the fantastic V.A. I now work with. I tried a couple of girls in the USA because the whole concept of V.A. is much more widely accepted and implemented over there (relative to Australia where the concept is still emerging). But due to the time zone differences and currency exchange (with the US dollar being significantly stronger than our Australian dollar), it was ineffective and expensive for me.


Image of flowers on a desk with a computer blurred in the background - text overlay - Put your focus back on your business. Why hiring a Virtual Assistant can help you grow your business.

You may need to try a few different people before you find the right one for you. Sometimes you’ll have a very different working style to your V.A., which can become an obstacle to a good working relationship. But when you find someone who you work well with, hold onto them because they’re worth their weight in gold!


With my wonderful V.A’s permission I’m going to share her details with you (very begrudgingly because I don’t actually want to share her with anyone – lol). But she does have some spare capacity at the moment and would be able to help you out if I’ve managed to convince you that you need one!

Her name is Alex Hammett at Lemon and Lime Business Solutions. I couldn’t recommend her more highly so please do reach out to Alex if you need some virtual assistance.

I really hope this insight has helped you and if you’ve been unaware that you can hire a V.A., or if you’ve been sitting on the fence about getting one – please do go ahead and find one as soon as possible. You won’t regret it!

Are you starting or growing your own business? Download your FREE copy of my FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK to fast-track your business success! This value-packed guide contains everything I wish I knew back when I was starting my own business in 2011. Click here to download it now.

Did you like this article? You might also like:

The 10 Most Important Tactics That Will Set You Up for Business Success.

5 Powerful Strategies that will Triple Your Income: A Case Study with Business Owner Revi Chai.

How to be a Mother and Successfully Grow a Family and a Business at the Same Time.

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Fempire Coach
[email protected]

The Power of Purpose and How to Thrive in the Emerging Purpose Economy

The Power of Purpose and How to Thrive in the Emerging Purpose Economy

Purposeful people and businesses are set to thrive in the newly emerging Purpose Economy - find out how‘Purpose’ is driving the new economy. Your professional purpose – or BIG WHY – acts like your internal compass that keeps you finding ways to serve and thrive financially, no matter how much instability and upheaval is going on around you.


It’s not often that a book comes along that feels like a real game-changer, but that’s exactly how Aaron Hurst’s book THE PURPOSE ECONOMY (Oct, 2016) felt for me recently. His book felt like a welcome confirmation and validation of everything I’ve been observing and witnessing over the past several years, and his ability to clearly articulate what I’ve been sensing for a long time felt so significant that I wanted to share it with you.

You might have seen this happening around you too: People are increasingly craving more MEANING in their work. It’s no longer enough to simply go to work to pay the bills, or to view work as a means to an end. We spend such a large percentage of our waking lives working that more and more people want to ENJOY their work at the very least, but preferably ALSO experience these three things in the workplace too:

1. Authentic self-expression and personal growth;

2. Nurturing relationships and connection with others (community);

3. Engaging work that’s impactful; we want to feel as though our work MATTERS.

The emergence of the Purpose Economy defined and how purposeful people and businesses will be the ones who thriveAnd this is where Hurst’s book comes in: THE PURPOSE ECONOMY – HOW YOUR DESIRE FOR IMPACT, PERSONAL GROWTH AND COMMUNITY IS CHANGING THE WORLD. In his book, Hurst describes how as a human species we’ve evolved through various different economies in the past few thousand years and how this evolution has created the era of PURPOSE that we’re experiencing now. I’ve summarised the evolution of these different economies briefly below.

The Agrarian Economy

Starting out as hunter-gatherers for many thousands of years, we eventually learned how to farm and cultivate the land in ways that allowed us to produce more stable sources of food and to stop moving around. An economy began to develop, centered around our agricultural interests. As the farms grew, so did the first villages and towns. This also marked the beginning of land ownership, social classes and specialised trade. Wealth and freedom were tied to owning the land and the ability to optimise its output.

The Industrial Economy

With the invention of the first commercial steam engine in Britain in 1712, a new wave of industrial innovation was born and the new Industrial Economy emerged in which wealth was tied to the large-scale production of goods and services and value was placed on increasing efficiency. Many industries needed more and more specialised labour and saw education expand to develop the talent needed. As people moved from farms to factories, vocational services were introduced. Modern democracy merged. International trade boomed, connecting cultures around the world. All of this came at enormous cost to the natural world, with widespread pollution and the mass extinction of countless species.

The Information Economy

By the middle of the 20th century, the marketplace was dominated by large corporations and institutions. The bigger the organisations became, the greater their need for improved communication and information systems. In the Information Economy, the commodity of value was information and the ability to develop it and transmit it quickly and efficiently. We’ve been fully immersed in the Information Economy for at least the past 30 years. And we’re now standing on the rising tide of the Purpose Economy.

The Purpose Economy

What is the Purpose Economy?Purposeful business creates value for all stakeholders - not just for the short term profits of a few

As Hurst says: “The Purpose Economy describes the new context and set of ways in which people and organisations are focused on creating value and defines the principle for innovation and growth; the quest for people to find more purpose in their lives. It is an economy in which value lies in establishing purpose for employees and customers.

The emergence of purpose as the new organising principle of our economy is a product of our current moment in time, based on where we stand in history: our current culture, values, education, technological abilities, social organisations, political realities, and the state of our natural environment.”


These are the global forces shaping the emerging Purpose Economy:

  • Our increasingly interconnected global community. The Internet has allowed people all across the globe to connect, communicate, and collaborate, independent of our physical location. As a result, we’re collectively more aware of global issues and how our actions impact the world around us.
  • Our evolution upwards in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Many people around the globe have reached a level of personal fulfillment and now desire to transcend our own needs to prioritise the needs of all society and future generations, seeking more connection and self-actualisation.


The Purpose Economy is emerging thanks to our collective evolution up the Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of Human Needs

  • Longevity. The average lifespan in 1796 was 24 years old. Just 100 years later, the same person could live to be 48. And now 100 years later that average has almost doubled again. And given the aging population, we won’t be able to retire at 60 and live off our savings and pension anymore. We’ll be required to work until we’re much older, which means we need to find something that feels purposeful and that we ENJOY doing, or life will get very tedious!
  • Changing families and evolving roles. Both parents in most families now work, and we’re hiring people in record numbers for the jobs highest in purpose – caring for our kids and aging parents. We want to know that our carers feel a sense of meaning and purpose in their work too, since we’re trusting them with our precious people. AND since we’re giving up our precious time with our families to work, we want to know that our work MEANS something and has an impact.
  • Environmental, economic and political turmoil has created great instability, upheaval, and uncertainty worldwide. The pace of change in our lives is ever-accelerating as large institutions and organisations restructure, collapse or merge in order to stay relevant and survive. People are seeing this upheaval and turmoil and desire to do something to help.
  • A rising desire by many to have a positive impact on the world somehow.

All of these factors have caused major changes globally that were magnified by the ‘Great Recession’ in 2008. The global instability has drastically changed the fabric of today’s professional workforce. We no longer have a single employer for our entire career and the average tenure in a company has dropped steeply, with the average employee staying at a single job for a mere 4.5 years today. As Hurst says:


“We’re all becoming defacto freelancers, on our own and navigating great uncertainty in every direction. The global shift has placed MEANING AND PURPOSE at the heart of the contemporary workforce. Purpose, rather than career longevity, now provides the stability we need.”


In the new Purpose Economy, WIN-WIN SOLUTIONS are the new commodity of value. People increasingly respect companies that provide a product or service that creates a positive net benefit or outcome for other people, nature, and the economy. There is no longer any respect or room for exploitation or selfish aggrandizement.


If your business doesn’t create positive value to ALL stakeholders, it won’t survive. There’s a rising need and requirement for businesses to lead the way and show how to not only create a win-win solution but to THRIVE because of it.



Here’s why I’m personally so passionate about PURPOSE:

Oprah Winfrey's famous quote on finding your life purpose

I quit my corporate career of fifteen years in 2011 to start my own business in a completely new field (career coaching), because no matter how many changes I made or roles I took on in my previous career as an environmental engineer, I just couldn’t find or sustain a real sense of fulfilment, satisfaction or JOY in my work. And my health and relationships suffered terribly as a result. I felt completely lost and off-track. It wasn’t until I made the decision to quit my career to follow something more aligned with my strengths and passion that my health started improving and my life started feeling better and better. Ever since then, I’ve been on a mission to understand why some of us seem to easily find a professional path that we love, while some of us really struggle with it.

Through talking to people, coaching many clients and doing in-depth research on the topic of career satisfaction, it seems that there’s one thing that separates someone who really LOVES their work from someone who feels just “meh” about their work, and that is:

A clearly defined sense of PURPOSE.

Once I was finally able to clearly DEFINE and CLAIM my own unique purpose, everything fell into place and my life took on a whole new level of meaning and joy, both personally and professionally. Over the years I’ve pondered the topic of ‘purpose’ extensively and developed my own definition for it. It reads like this:

Your PURPOSE is the path or vocation that allows you to express yourself fully and to contribute your unique gifts in service to something you care about, while making a positive difference and earning you an abundant, reliable income.

I discuss in detail how to find your joyful and purposeful professional path and purpose in my related blog article: PATHFINDING – HOW TO FIND YOUR PROFESSIONAL PATH & PURPOSE.

In summary, there are four different and very critical components to your purpose, as shown below.

How to find your BIG WHY - how to find your purpose

When you manage to get these four different components working in harmony in your professional life, work feels GOOD and deeply fulfilling.

Last week I came across a beautiful example of a ‘purposeful business’ when I was looking for furniture for our new home. I was so excited and uplifted by this business that I made a short video about it which you can view below. To find out more about this thriving, purposeful business, creating win-win solutions for people, nature and the environment, go to STORIES ON THE WALL.

So how do set yourself up to THRIVE in the new era?

To adequately prepare yourself for the Purpose Economy, it’s essential that you take the time to do some deep self-reflection and take stock of your biggest asset – YOU. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my particular skills, strengths, and unique abilities and how can I leverage those more fully? #naturalgenius
  • What is my authentic personality and which environments or activities fully support and nurture my authentic self? #truenature
  • What kind of organisation, profession or business idea will allow me to more fully express myself authentically? #authenticselfexpression
  • What do I actually care about enough to want to dedicate my time, energy and resources to it? #passion
  • How can I contribute my unique gifts and talents to something that I care about deeply? #service
  • How can I make a positive difference and make an abundant, reliable income? #financialabundance
  • What is the positive impact I personally want to make and how? #impact
  • What is my unique purpose and my BIG WHY? #purpose

Getting clear on your PURPOSE is an essential step to thriving in our society going forward. If you need help answering any of these questions, be sure to get your copy of my FREE E-Book PATHFINDING – HOW TO FIND YOUR UNIQUE PATH AND PURPOSE.I'm so excited to offer my free Ebook on how to find your unique professional path and purpose

As always, I love hearing from you, so please reach out at any time at [email protected]

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
[email protected]

Quitting the Rat Race: 5 Big Reasons Why You Should Break Free and Build Your Own Business

Quitting the Rat Race: 5 Big Reasons Why You Should Break Free and Build Your Own Business

If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart #KateDeJong #Fempire #KDJ #tips #advice #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #findyourpurpose #purpose #dreamjob #inspiration

Do you fantasise about quitting the rat race to start your dream business?

Are you tempted by all the #laptoplifestyle posts flooding social media platforms?


Thanks to high-speed internet and cloud-based systems, it’s easier than ever before to work from anywhere you like. Culturally, we’re getting tired of the rat race and more and more people are craving more flexibility, freedom, purpose, and creativity in their work.

I quit my corporate engineering consulting career back in 2011 and I have to say I haven’t missed it at all. I now get to create my work days on my own terms, and I fit my work life around my busy life as a mother to two young boys. 


Freelancers now make up 35% of the American and Australian workforces, and these numbers steadily are on the rise.


The percentage of freelancers is even higher among the younger workforce. A survey conducted by Upwork and published in The Herald Sun showed that in Australia, “Among workers aged 18 – 24 years old, 47% are freelancing either part-time or full-time, versus 28% of Baby Boomers”. Having grown up in the digital world, it’s natural that young people in the modern era are more flexible, agile, networked, and connected – the perfect ingredients for entrepreneurship and freelancing.

It’s interesting to note also that the majority of older people who chose to start their own business did not do so out of necessity, but by choice (57% of the total), with flexibility, freedom, and improved work-life balance “luring them from the rigid confines of the 38-hour work week.”

I know that when I was growing up, freelancing seemed incredibly risky to me; the responsibility for generating your own income throughout all economic cycles seemed like a far bigger risk than I was willing to take. However, independent workforce surveys such as the UpWork survey in the USA show that freelancers are now, in fact, earning more relative to their old jobs. Among respondents in the UpWork survey, more than half are earning more than they did getting a steady paycheck in their former job. A total of 46% were able to successfully raise their rates in the past year.


53% of freelancers believe that having a diverse portfolio of clients is more economically secure than having one employer. Times are changing indeed.



If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart. #KateDeJong #Fempire #KDJ #tips #advice #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #purpose #dreamjob #inspirationBut if you’re sitting on the fence about whether to finally answer that little voice that’s nudging you to quit your day job to pursue something closer to your heart, I understand from personal experience how hard it is to make that decision. Deciding to leave a stable career path and a reliable salary for an unknown outcome, no matter how exciting or appealing the idea, is absolutely not an easy decision to make to. And it’s not one that I made lightly myself. It wasn’t until I started suffering from severe chronic health issues that I was finally forced to change direction (you can read my full story here).

And even when all the signs were pointing to the fact that I needed to branch out on my own, it was still an absolutely terrifying thought; I had a lot of fear and insecurity to overcome before I was able to consider the idea of becoming a ‘business owner’ seriously.

But taking the leap of faith to start my own business was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, for the reasons I’m about to share with you. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy.


Starting your own business is not for the faint-hearted. It requires enormous amounts of resilience, grit, perseverance, and most of all, belief in yourself.

But the rewards more than outweigh the sweat and tears you put in.


There are days when it all feels too hard and I want to give up on my dream (as I write about in my article Those Days When I Want to Give Up On My Dream – And 7 Ways I Manage to Get Through Them). But they’re happening less frequently as I establish more reliable structures, systems, and approaches that allow me to earn a more reliable and predictable income. Establishing yourself successfully in your own business won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. As long as you approach it with a practical, low-risk strategy and get advice from those who have gone before you, you’ll find a way to make it happen.


Here are 5 big reasons why you should break free and start your own business.


1. You’ll Enjoy Greater Freedom and Flexibility

If you’re tired of the groundhog days of alarm clocks, rushing and commuting, then you’ll love being your own boss. No more forcing yourself into the office early in the morning no matter how late you stayed up the night before, or the complete lack of free time to do the things that sustain and nourish you. As your own boss, you can work according to your own schedule and work with the natural rhythms of your body clock and creative impulses. I love that I can now take time off when I need to and catch up on my work in the evening if I have to. Freedom and flexibility have become especially important to me since becoming a mother to our two young children.

Yes, you’ll need to have robust self-discipline and sufficient structure in your days to force you to be productive and be able to enjoy the traction and momentum you need in your business. But when you’re doing something you love, it’s not hard to find the motivation to get onto your work.


It’s been my experience that structure and routine are your best allies as a small business owner. The good part is, you get to decide on the business structure and routine that suits you.


2. You Can Do Things on Your Own Terms

If you’re someone who finds it hard to be micro-managed or to follow someone else’s ideas (especially if you don’t agree with them), then you’ll love being your own boss. In the great article “Why entrepreneurs choose freedom over money”, they conclude:

“Despite the fact that people who work for themselves often work more, have fewer benefits and experience more on-the-job stress than those who work in a company, the majority of Americans would prefer to be entrepreneurs. Our research shows that entrepreneurs are more satisfied with their jobs – and happier in general. Workplace autonomy is a powerful motivator.”


3. You’ll Experience More Fun and Pleasure in Your Work

I really needed to pinch myself the first time I received money for my coaching services; it seemed such a gift to be paid for something I found so enjoyable and enriching. Doing something you love really is the biggest gift you can give yourself. Plus, entrepreneurs are a fun bunch of people! It continues to amaze and inspire me to see how much entrepreneurs seem to enjoy their work. One of my favourite mentors Jeanna Gabellini always says:


“If it ain’t fun, don’t do it!”
– Jeanna Gabellini


A central part of Jeanna’s work and message is teaching people how to harness the Law of Attraction in their business to attract more profits and abundance, and having fun is an essential part! This was something that took me a long time to get used to. I was used to having to work hard and to ‘struggle’ at work; I’d come to accept that work is a necessary evil to pay the bills and to get ahead in the world. It feels so great to now to actually have fun in my work each and every day. To learn more about the Law of Attraction, check out my blog article: How to Create More of What You Want Using the Law of Attraction.


If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart #KateDeJong #Fempire #KDJ #tips #advice #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #findyourpurpose #purpose #dreamjob #inspiration4. You Get to Fully Express Your Unique Gifts and Talents

You have your own unique zone of ‘natural genius’ – the things that you’re naturally good at without even trying. During my corporate career, I think I was operating in my own zone of natural genius only about 20% of the time. The rest of the time I was doing things that weren’t aligned with my natural strengths and didn’t feel joyful.

I know that every career includes tasks and activities that we like and many task and activities that we don’t like. But when you’re working in a way that allows you to fully express the gifts you do have, somehow the other parts don’t feel so onerous or annoying – they’re in service to the beautiful thing you’re creating through your business. Are you working in your Zone of Genius? Find out in my article: How to Live & Work in Your Zone of Genius: Your Strengths are More Than Just the Things You’re Good at.



5. You Get to See the Direct Results of Your Efforts and Enjoy Making a Positive Difference

Do you often wonder whether your daily work is having any impact? In my former career I spent countless hours writing Business Cases, proposals and strategic plans that were often shelved, delayed due to lack of funding, or often dismissed because it was “not the way we’ve always done things”. And while I was part of some important breakthroughs during my career, I wanted to spend less time justifying and defending my ideas and more time just getting on and doing them.

When you work for yourself, you can pitch your idea and philosophy clearly and those who resonate with your vision – and need exactly what you’re offering – can respond. And then you can get on with the task of serving those people directly and effectively. I believe the more people who embrace their yearning to make a difference and put themselves out there to start serving in their own unique way, the faster we’ll see things improve in the world.


Are you ready to leave your day job to start your own business?


If you’re at the point of wondering whether you should leave your career behind to pursue something closer to your heart, Helena Klein suggests asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you have to justify your job to yourself and others?
    Do you find yourself saying your work is actually ‘not that bad’, when in reality you know there must be a more joyful and fulfilling way to spend your working days?
  • Is your work giving you energy or draining you of it?
    Is there at least one part of your work that you look forward to each day? If there’s no part of your work that truly excites you, it’s time to make some changes.
  • Is there anybody I work with whose life I would like to have?
    If you don’t see any positive role models at work to look up to and who have the kind of life you want, then why are you there? There is no use in working your way up to a job that you don’t want to have.
  • Do you feel inspired by your work?
    Are you able to think freely, out of the box? Or do you feel trapped and patronized? If you spend too much time completing other people’s tasks, ignoring your own thoughts, or withholding your talent from the world, then it’s time to think seriously about change.
  • Last but not least: is my work in line with my personal values?
    If the things you’re doing at work don’t feel good to you, this is a big warning sign. You should feel proud of what you do and feel good about yourself when you do it.


As Farnoosh Ahramsays:

“If you want to venture out on your own, pursue a call to greatness and live a meaningful life on your own terms, do it. Do not wait for permission. Do not wait for acceptance or validation. Do.Not.Wait, my friend. Because time is the one thing that you cannot buy back with all the gold and power in the world.”

If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart #KateDeJong #Fempire #KDJ #tips #advice #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #findyourpurpose #purpose #dreamjob #inspiration


Do you want to break free but you’re not quite sure how to go about setting up your own business? Get yourself a FREE copy of THE ULTIMATE FEMPRENEUR SUCCESS HANDBOOK and learn everything I wish I knew when I decided to start my own business back in 2011!

Are you still trying trying to figure out what you’re meant to be doing with your professional life? This FREE E-Book will help you: PATHFINDING: How to Find Your Inspired Path & Purpose.Learn how to build a career that unites your true nature, your passion and your natural genius into work that is a full expression of yourself, allowing you to get your unique and valuable gifts into the world in a way that is FUN and deeply fulfilling!


Did you like this article? You might also like:

How to Be a Mother and Successfully Grow a Family and a Business at the Same Time.

How to Live and Work in Your Zone of Genius: Your Strengths are More Than Just the Things You’re Good At

Why is it So Hard to Find a Career You Love? 5 Powerful Tips for Finding Your Inspired Professional Path

Career Bliss: How to Find Your Inspired Professional Path & Purpose


In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Fempire Coach for Thriving Female Entrepreneurs
Create Your Dream Job! How to Get Unstuck in Your Career with Life Design Principles

Create Your Dream Job! How to Get Unstuck in Your Career with Life Design Principles

Are you feeling stuck, disillusioned, or frustrated in your career? Harness the power of Life Design Principles to get yourself unstuck and loving your work! #career #bestcareeradvice #careeradvice #careerguidance #careerchange #lifedesign #lifedesigninterviews #lifedesignprinciples #careertransition #dreamjob #dreamcareer #bestcareer #findyourpurpose #purpose #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeatJob hunting can be one of the most soul-destroying, confidence-zapping processes to go through.


If you’re currently without work or stuck in a job you hate, then I’m sure you know how depressing the whole job-hunting process can feel. You troll the internet for job vacancies, then try to mold your cover letter to express a (perhaps inauthentic) desire for the job and then wait seemingly forever for a confirmation email or response that sometimes never comes. The trouble in this situation is that you give all your power over to a process that you have absolutely no control over, and get yourself into a downward spiral of low self-confidence and negativity pretty quickly.

This week I learned of a staggering statistic in Dave Evans & Bill Burnett’s wonderful book Designing Your Life: Build a Life That Works For You:


Only one in five jobs are actually posted in job search engines or anywhere on the internet. This means that four out of five jobs are not advertised – anywhere. No wonder so many people feel frustrated and rejected when job seeking.


If only one in five jobs are advertised, where are the other four out of five jobs? Evans & Burnett call it the ‘Hidden Job Market’, which they describe as “the job market that’s only open to people who are already connected into the web of professional relationships in which that job resides. This is an insider’s game, and it’s almost impossible to get inside that web as a job seeker.”

So how do you become one of the ‘insiders’ when you’re on the outside? Accessing the hidden job market all comes down to one thing – networking. In a recent LinkedIn study, it was shown that 85% of all jobs are filled via networking [1]. ‘Networking’ is a word that makes some people cringe while conjuring up images of making small talk with potentially helpful strangers or approaching people cold turkey with a business card. But it doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be that way. The whole process of networking to access the hidden job market can be turned into a very pleasant and enjoyable – and extremely productive – process, through a technique that Evans & Burnett describe as ‘Life Design Interviews’.


In the Life Design Process, you first figure out what your dream career path would be – don’t settle for anything less.


Figuring out your dream career can be a challenging task in itself and it’s important that you first take the time to get clear on what that might look like. If you need help with this, be sure to get your FREE copy of my E-Book PATHFINDING: How to Find Your Inspired Path & Purpose.

Once you’re clear on what you want, you then invite someone who is already connected into your desired field to have a conversation with you about what it’s like to work in that field or job.


You approach the conversation with a mindset of curiosity and interest and with the intention to find out whether this kind of work really is something you desire yourself.


Don’t keep waiting for the perfect career path to land on your doorstep, harness these powerful Life Design Principles and start creating the career of your dreams now! This process works – I’ve built my dream career from scratch using these principles, and you can do it too! #career #bestcareeradvice #careeradvice #careerguidance #careerchange #lifedesign #lifedesigninterviews #lifedesignprinciples #careertransition #dreamjob #dreamcareer #bestcareer #findyourpurpose #purpose #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeatPeople are generally very happy to be interviewed to talk about themselves and their work, especially when they know that the intention is to seek information, not to request or apply for a job. Evans & Burnett state that you must approach the conversation “as a sincerely interested inquirer – someone looking just for the story (not looking for the job). That’s how this works.”


There’s something magical that happens when you move from a place of desperation and neediness into a place of open-minded curiosity and non-attachment.


There’s a shift in your energy and you open up the conversation to an authentic connection and conversation, as opposed to an attempt to coerce the other person into giving you something you need. People are very good at picking up on ‘needy’ energy and it’s repelling. Curiosity, on the other hand, is inviting and appealing.

There are two great outcomes of this approach:

1) You find out first-hand whether this profession really is what you think it might be and whether it’s something you really do want to commit your time, effort and resources to, and;

2) You establish a connection with an insider in that field. You are networking in a completely organic and non-forced manner, bringing you closer to accessing the hidden job market.

The more people you interview, the more information and insight you learn and the more connections you make. Evans & Burnett describe how one of their clients, Kurt, started off as a job-seeker. He submitted thirty-eight job applications, along with his impressive resume and thirty-eight individual crafted cover letters. Out of all his applications, he received terse rejection emails from eight companies and never heard back from the other thirty. “No interviews, no offers, no follow-up calls.” Needless to say, he became disheartened and dejected. After learning of the Life Design Interview process, Kurt then identified people he could talk to and went out and conducted 56 life design interviews in different companies and organisations related to his dream field. During that process, he established a wide web of authentic connections and in the end, was offered seven wonderful job offers and had to spend significant time considering which one was the best fit for him.


He turned his situation of desperation into one of being connected and in-demand. This is how the Life Design Process works.


Did you know that only 1 in 5 jobs are actually advertised, and the rest are direct hires through peoples’ networks? Dave Evans & Bill Burnett (founders of Life Design Principles) say that the other 4 in 5 jobs are locked in the ‘Hidden Job Market’. Read on to find out how you can easily access these exciting work opportunities and build a career you love. #career #bestcareeradvice #careeradvice #careerguidance #careerchange #lifedesign #lifedesigninterviews #lifedesignprinciples #careertransition #dreamjob #dreamcareer #bestcareer #findyourpurpose #purpose #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeatTo get unstuck in your current career crisis, it’s crucial that you shift yourself out of a powerless, dependent-on-others mindset into an empowered, proactive and non-attached mindset. This shift in itself will create several positive benefits you hadn’t anticipated. Take back your power and rather than wait for the next best thing to come along, get busy deciding what you want and figuring out how to create it. Burnett & Evans describe five Life Design Principles that are essential to accompany your Life Design Interviews.

Life Design Principles


1. Be Curious

There is something interesting about everything. Endless curiosity is key to a well-designed life. Which fields interest you and what would you like to know about them? Which kinds of people could you talk to to find out more information? What do experts in this field argue about and why? What are the key issues people in this field deal with? What are the problems/issues/challenges that keep these people up at night and are these issues you are passionate about too? “Endless curiosity equals increasing knowledge, options and clarity about your life direction.”


2. Try Stuff

When you shift into a mode of bias-toward-action you stop being stuck. There is no more analysing, worrying, pondering, or solving your way through life. Evans & Burnett talk regularly about “building your way” into your dream job. Keep figuring out the next action to take and do it. Who can you talk to next? What is something you could do to find out more about a certain field? What can you read or learn to find out more about a particular idea you have? Are there any courses or self-study modules you could follow to learn more and upskill yourself?


3. Reframe Problems

Reframing is a change in perspective, viewing something from a different angle and changing the meaning around it. For example, a dysfunctional belief could be “I’m too old and it’s too late to find my dream job”. A reframe would be “It’s never too late to design a life you love and I have the power to create anything I desire.”

Ask yourself “What perspective do I actually have in this situation?” and if there is a way to change it for your own benefit and empowerment. We have the power to reframe any situation and substitute a limiting belief with a resourceful one. We get to choose and design our own life.


4. Know That It’s a Process

Knowing that building your dream career is a process means you don’t get frustrated or lost and don’t ever give up.


5. Ask For Help

We’re not meant to walk this path alone. Our success depends on building networks of support and collaboration. Find yourself a mentor (or several) and join groups or networks of like-minded people with similar aspirations. Facebook Groups is an amazing resource for people looking to link in with groups of people on a similar path. As Jeffrey Davis always says “Doing it Together (DIT) beats Doing it Yourself (DIY)”.

So get yourself unstuck by brainstorming who you could conduct some Life Design Interviews with and get out there and start actively and intentionally building the career you desire. You are in charge of your life and your destiny and only you have the power to build the life you want.

And good luck dear friend, please let me know how you go in the comments below!


Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Fempire Coach 
[email protected]


The Art of Dreaming Big: How to Harness Your Imagination and The Law of Attraction to Create What You Want

The Art of Dreaming Big: How to Harness Your Imagination and The Law of Attraction to Create What You Want

Do you allow yourself to dream really big? Are you preventing yourself from experiencing greater levels of success and abundance? Read on to find out. #lawofattraction #dreambig #dreambelieveachieve #manifestation #motivation #inspiration #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotes #busninesssuccess #entrepreneur #mindset #success #tips #steps #careerHave you experienced first-hand how the magic of the Law of Attraction can work in your business and life?


In 2015 I completed a great course for entrepreneurs and business owners called ‘Profit Quest’ by Jeanna Gabellini at Masterpeace Coaching. This was my first introduction into applying Law of Attraction principles into my business.

Her tagline that drew me into the course was:

“Double your profits, double your fun!”

When I first saw her promotions I thought “Wow, that’s a big call.” Can I really double my profits and double my fun in my small coaching business by the end of her course?

I enrolled in her course to find out and lo and behold – it appears her system really works.


It’s powerful and yet it’s so simple. And it’s based on the Law of Attraction.


Do you remember the big ‘hoo-ha’ surrounding the movie “The Secret” when it came out all those years ago? The movie was all about the Law of Attraction. I really liked the message in the movie, but at the time I thought it was also a bit simplistic and materialistic, telling people they could have whatever house or car they desire if they could just imagine having it.

But I’ve since realized that there’s much more to the Law of Attraction.


The Law of Attraction teaches you how to be a co-creator in your own life – to align yourself with a vision you love and then allow it to unfold.


The Law of Attraction is basically this: Like attracts like. So within, so without.


When you imagine having, being or doing something you care about deeply, something that feels joyful and exciting, you create an energetic ‘blueprint’ for what you desire. When you step back and surrender, and (importantly) believe that you can and will have the thing you desire, then quite miraculously, what you desire starts turning up in your life somehow. Not always straight away (although sometimes it does!); but the steps to reach it will start appearing. You’ll start getting intuitive insights into what you need to do. Suddenly you’ll meet the right person, or you’ll find the perfect resource to help you take the next steps.

The key is to let your imagination run wild and to feel into what you would really, really like to manifest in your life. And here is the catch – most of us are so trained into thinking a certain way; we have so many beliefs about what we think we can and can’t have. And when we focus on what we would really love to create in our life, we come up against all the internal, negative programming that tells us we can’t have that.


We’re not trained to dream big.

In fact, most of us have been taught to keep our dreams small.


One of the tasks we had to do early in the Profit Quest course was to define exactly how much money we would love to make by the end of the year, if everything in our business suddenly started aligning and flowing. This was quite difficult to do. At first my head took over and I wrote down a number that I thought I ould realistically achieve.

There's an art to dreaming big. From a young age you're taught to keep your dreams small and to not want too much. But the only obstacles to achieving what you 'truly' want are the ones in your mind! #lawofattraction #dreambig #dreambelieveachieve #manifestation #motivation #inspiration #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotes #busninesssuccess #entrepreneur #success #mindset #tips #steps #career

That number, however, is not a number that got me excited or inspired. We were asked to write down the dollar amount that would make us feel super excited – not a number too far out of our league that it feels impossible and overwhelming (hence leading to disappointment and fear of failure), but a number that feels like a big stretch, but also feels energizing and exciting.


So I wrote down a number that felt super exciting.

At the time I wrote it down, I didn’t actually believe that I could make that much money, but I thought it would be cool if I did!


When you allow yourself to think big like that, all of a sudden things start showing up that align with that vision. Since adopting this technique, I’ve experienced major positive growth in my business, all because I’ve managed to make big shifts in my internal mindset around what is possible for me, my business and my clients.

Jeanna makes a digital and hard-copy journal available called Speed Dial the Universe, which has been an incredibly powerful tool for me. It’s a daily reminder to dream big and to set your internal compass towards allowing miracles to manifest in your life. I was skeptical at first, but my experience with it has shown that it really does work. The journal is a fun way to start your day because it focuses your mind, body, and soul on positive outcomes that you desire in your life.


Here’s How The Law of Attraction Works

Manifestation  =   Clear Desire  +  Surrender + Trust  +  Belief  +  Gratitude 

The Law of Attraction explained in simple terms #LOA #personal growth


First, you need to be able to dream big and set a big, clear intention about what you want to create.



In the law of attraction, you don't attract what you desire but rather what you're BEING. The cliche "You have to fake until you become it" holds absolutely true. Discover how to apply the LOA in your biz and life. #lawofattraction #dreambig #dreambelieveachieve #manifestation #motivation #inspiration #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotes #business #entrepreneurmindset #success #mindset #tips #steps #career

This isn’t easy when we first start out. Our internal beliefs put all kinds of limits on what we think is possible. But you can strengthen this ‘muscle’ and over time, if you commit to doing this practice daily, you will find that you’re able to allow yourself to dream bigger and bigger. And when you start seeing the signs and small steps of what you desire appearing in your life, it’s so much fun!

The other important ingredient is surrender. You have to set your clear intention and then let go. This part can be really hard! We’re so used to controlling everything we want to create in our lives. However, without surrender, you can’t be in a receptive state and be open to receive the insight and wisdom that’s trying to be transmitted to you.

And finally, belief. This is very intertwined with surrender and can be difficult. With many things that I write down in my journal, at the start I’m not sure I actually believe I can have those things. But I’m willing to write them down. And with this simple act, it opens the floodgates for possibility, belief, and optimism to flow in. And this allows us to start behaving as if we already have the thing we desire. This in itself opens the doors to miracles.


So when you start acting as though you already are someone who has the things you desire, you become a ‘vibrational match’ to the things you want, and you start attracting those things into your life.


Discover how the Law of Attraction ACTUALLY works and start manifesting greater levels of joy and flow in your biz and life! #lawofattraction #dreambig #dreambelieveachieve #manifestation #motivation #inspiration #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotes #business #entrepreneur #mindset #success #tips #steps #careerFeel like giving it a try? Start dreaming big, focus daily on the things that you would really love to create in your life and then sit back and enjoy the ride. And let me know if anything shifts for you. As always I would love to hear from you!

To read more about The Law of Attraction and how to apply it in your life, take a look at my two recent blog posts:



In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Fempire Coach for Thriving Female Entrepreneurs
[email protected]
Forget IQ Tests. Here Are the Real Reasons Why People Succeed.

Forget IQ Tests. Here Are the Real Reasons Why People Succeed.

In this article we're busting the myth of IQ tests as a measure of intelligence, thanks to cutting edge research by Scott Barry Kaufman at Yale #IQ #intelligence #intelligencetests #intelligencequotient #successmindset #theperilofIQtests #IQtests #grit #perseverance #determination #attitudeiseverything #genius #zoneofgenius #strengths #strengthstests #strengthsfinderHave you ever felt constrained by a label? Or been unfairly compared to others? Or have you felt empowered by a label?


I felt compelled to write this article because I’ve seen both the positive and the destructive forces of labels playing out in the lives of many people close to me and I’ve felt them acutely myself.

Labels like ‘gifted’, or ‘not gifted’, or ‘talented’ or ‘not talented’ put us into artificial boxes that don’t actually exist (except in our minds) and they can limit — or over-inflate — the way we feel about ourselves.

Plus, they can become self-fulfilling prophecies in that what we believe about ourselves tends to become our reality. One of the biggest dream-killers is a lack of self-belief. And what better way to kill someone’s aspirations than to tell them they’re ‘not gifted’, or ‘not talented enough’.


Labels can hold us back. By comparing ourselves to others, we feel less-than.


And they don’t allow for the ever-changing nature of our authentic self to unfold and flourish. We’re not static, we’re constantly changing and learning. And measuring our ‘intelligence’ at a single point in time is unfair.

As a Career & Business Coach, one of the biggest hurdles I experience when coaching people to create the lives they so desperately want is their beliefs about themselves. I see them get all excited and lit up by an exciting vision of the future they’d love to create. And then I see the fear and inner gremlins creep in that tell them they’re not good enough, or ‘smart enough’ to make it happen.


You’re about to discover that IQ tests are not necessarily an indicator of your potential. Instead, there are four real elements that determine your level of success.


And you’ll find out how you can apply these four principles in your own life in order to thrive and unlock your full potential.


“In the 40-plus years that I have worked with children, I continue to be in awe of each young soul whom I am privileged to get to know. I have learned a great deal about each Self. I’ve experienced their emotions, anxieties, joys, passions, and ambitions, and I see that each Self is perfect in itself. It is only when we start comparing them to each other that we begin to see imperfection.”

— Annemarie Roeper, quoted in Ungifted, by Scott Barry Kaufman.


I’ve always had a bee in my bonnet about the concept of human intelligence and the idea that some people are inherently more ‘intelligent’ than others. I’ve simply always felt intuitively that it’s not accurate.


I believe we’re all equally intelligent, but in radically different ways. And it depends on our environment as to whether we get the opportunity to fully nurture and develop our unique form of intelligence.


When I was about nine years old I was made to sit a test called PEAC (Primary Extension and Challenge), based on IQ (‘Intelligence Quotient’) measurement. I was very surprised that I scored highly on that particular test, because I knew very well that I wasn’t any more or less intelligent than my classmates. I was under no illusion and I knew that my classmates were very good at some things that I wasn’t, and vice versa.


My classmates and I were all different and clever in our own, very different way.


My mind just seemed to work in a way that made me score high on this particular IQ test. As a result, I was labelled ‘gifted’ and channelled into after-school ‘extension’ classes. Suddenly my afternoons that were once filled with play time were spent sitting in a classroom learning about electronics, meteorology, ancient mythology and Italian. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I really didn’t enjoy those classes. It became a real source of anxiety for me to attend them. Plus, the label ‘gifted’ was very uncomfortable for me among my peers as well as at home among my siblings and created all kinds of unwanted tension. Comparison really is the beginning of all problems.


Then there is the story of Scott Barry Kaufman.


Scott is the author of the wonderful book Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, who at a very young age was diagnosed as having a learning disability based on IQ tests. As a result, he was channelled into special classes for the learning disabled. Like me, he knew that he wasn’t any more or less intelligent than the others, but his particular kind of intelligence wasn’t fully quantifiable in an IQ test. He tried desperately to escape the label of ‘learning disabled’, which affected him in immeasurable ways (as you can imagine).

It wasn’t until one particular teacher in high school took a chance on him and allowed him to enter her ‘normal’ classroom. Scott went on to prove his school psychologist (and countless others) wrong by graduating from high school and he eventually completed a PhD in Cognitive Psychology at one of America’s most prestigious universities – Yale.


After being labeled ‘learning disabled’, he is now one of the most respected Psychologists in the field of human intelligence and is a wonderful example of how labels can be proven utterly wrong.


Latest research at Yale University confirms what I have always intuitively understood – IQ tests are not an accurate prediction of someone’s potential or level of success in life. Read on to discover the four true parameters that define how likely you are to succeed in building your dreams. #IQ #intelligence #intelligencetests #intelligencequotient #successmindset #theperilofIQtests #IQtests #grit #perseverance #determination #attitudeiseverything #genius #zoneofgenius #strengths #strengthstests #strengthsfinderKaufman’s book highlights the real limitations of IQ testing. He discusses how the first modern IQ test was developed in France by Alfred Binet in 1905, who was given the task of inventing a test that would distinguish ‘fast learners’ from ‘slow learners’ in a school environment. The IQ-test that Binet developed was quite effective at doing so, but Binet himself knew the limitations of the test.

After working with hundreds of children and their test results, Binet knew that the outcome of the test was not 100% reproducible and depended on a number of factors including the level of anxiety of the child at the time of the test, their current level of maturity, their environment, how motivated they were to do well in the test and the amount of stimulation they received until that point.


Binet knew that the IQ-test was not a direct sign of potential, which depends on a myriad of other factors.


Binet said himself: “With practice, training and above all, method, we manage to increase our attention, our memory, our judgement and literally to become more intelligent than we were before.”

And yet despite his public statements about the limitations of the test, the test was fervently adopted for measuring human intelligence worldwide. Lewis Terman, a professor of psychology at Stanford University in the USA was smitten with the Binet test and with some modifications developed the Stanford-Binet test in 1916, which went on to propel the IQ-test forward as the gold standard for human intelligence testing and remained America’s test of choice for half a century (Kaufman, 2013).

Terman and his team believed that intelligence is fixed, enduring and hereditary (which we now know is not the case). His labels influenced a whole new generation of IQ classification schemes. Interestingly, as Kaufman discusses in his book, Terman’s impact surprised even himself. As he noted about fifteen years after the first edition of his test was published “I knew that revision of Binet’s tests was superior to others then available, but I did not foresee the vogue it was to have an imagined that it would probably be displaced by something much better within a few years.”


The imperfect and flawed IQ-test was not superseded by something better within a few years as Terman predicted. It is still the basis behind most intelligence testing used worldwide today.



In his book Ungifted, Kaufman refers to research by Kevin McGrew which showed that IQ tests are “fallible predictors of academic achievement.” He explains how for any given IQ test score, half of the students will end up obtaining final achievement scores at or below their IQ score. Conversely, and frequently not recognized, is that for any given test score, half of the students will end up obtaining final achievement scores at or above their IQ score [2]. So as you can see, IQ tests are not a be-all-and-end-all summary of your potential. They simply “measure an important but limited slice of intellectual functioning in a very limited test environment”, as Kaufman says.


So what is intelligence then?


I’m a big fan of Nicholas Lore’s definition of intelligence in his book The Pathfinder: How to choose or change your career for a lifetime of satisfaction and success.

“Intelligence is a natural gift for doing anything well.”
– Nicholas Lore


We all have a natural gift for doing something well. And therefore, we are all intelligent.


Human intelligence is vast and varied. There are so many different forms of intelligence. Who decided that one particular form of intelligence is more valuable than the others? Why do we value certain types of intelligence over others? In this article, thanks to cutting edge research at Yale University, we bust the myth of IQ tests and outline what it really takes to succeed. #IQ #intelligence #intelligencetests #intelligencequotient #successmindset #theperilofIQtests #IQtests #grit #perseverance #determination #attitudeiseverything #genius #zoneofgenius #strengths #strengthstests #strengthsfinderEach of us is unique, with a very distinct and particular zone of what I call natural genius; a particular set of skills, gifts, and talents that are unique to us. And who are we to judge whether one set of skills and abilities makes us more intelligent than someone with a completely different set of talents and abilities?

I call the things you do naturally well your natural genius because I believe that the term genius shouldn’t be reserved only for those who become successful and wildly famous because of their specific gifts. It should be acknowledged that we all have a specific kind of genius, and the only things that separate you from a well-known ‘genius’ are these following things:

· The right conditions, environment, and support to nurture and develop your particular zone of genius;
· The belief that you have a very unique and particular zone of genius;
· An attitude of ‘grit’, a term gaining popularity to describe “A passion and perseverance for long-term goals” (defined by Angela Lee Duckworth);
· A passion and love for something that allows you to sustain and fuel an attitude of grit, which in turn allows you to develop and express your genius to its fullest extent.


In her famous book Wishcraft, Barbara Sher discusses how we’re each born with a ‘seed’ of genius that contains the maximum potential of our fully expressed life; a bit like the acorn contains the blueprint of the fully developed oak tree.


But that acorn will not become a fully developed oak tree unless it is nurtured in the right conditions with nutritious soil, water, sunshine and air. Your natural genius needs a special kind of nurturing too with regards to the environment you grow up in and live in. Sher explains that all accomplished ‘geniuses’ received the right conditions to nurture their particular genius, including support from their environment, encouragement, stimulation, and opportunity.

Kaufman (2013) says that a nurturing family environment is a necessity to help a child flourish, just as a fish needs water to swim and survive.


And one of the most important discoveries in recent years is that the environment you’re in triggers gene expression.


This means that some talents lie dormant in all of us, waiting for the perfect environmental conditions to trigger them. So a supportive and stimulating environment is critical to the development of your own unique intelligence.

To understand whether your own zone of natural genius was nurtured as you were growing up, try to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the following questions [from Wishcraft].


Did you know that IQ tests are inherently flawed, and they’re not an accurate predictor of your potential or level of success? Read on to discover how the IQ myth has been busted, and learn the four true parameters that will determine your level of success (hint – they’re all within your reach!) #IQ #intelligence #intelligencetests #intelligencequotient #successmindset #theperilofIQtests #IQtests #grit #perseverance #determination #attitudeiseverything #genius #zoneofgenius #strengths #strengthstests #strengthsfinderWas your natural genius carefully nurtured while growing up?


1. When you were a child, were you treated as though you have a unique kind of genius that was loved and respected?
2. Were you told that you can do or be anything you want, and that you would be loved and admired no matter what that was?
3. Were you given real encouragement in finding out what you wanted to do, and how to do it?
4. Were you encouraged to explore all your talents and interests even if they changed regularly?
5. Were you allowed to complain when the going got tough, and were you given sympathy?
6. Were you rescued when you got in over your head, without being punished or reprimanded?
7. Were you surrounded by happy, fulfilled people who were pleased when you succeeded?

If you answered ‘no’ to four or more of these questions, then it’s likely your natural genius wasn’t provided with the optimal conditions to fully unfold and develop. It’s possible that you don’t know what your natural genius is and perhaps you feel skeptical about even having one.

On the other hand, if you answered ‘yes’ to four or more of these questions, it’s likely that your natural genius ‘seed’ was nurtured very well and allowed to germinate, perhaps grow into a seedling, or perhaps even into a fully developed tree. It’s likely that you have a clear and healthy sense of your own abilities and your unique gifts and talents.


That’s a wonderful thing. You’re very lucky!



In this article we discuss the true nature of 'intelligence', and how to discover what your zone of genius is so that you can consciously live and work in your zone of genius and thrive. #IQ #intelligence #intelligencetests #intelligencequotient #successmindset #theperilofIQtests #IQtests #grit #perseverance #determination #attitudeiseverything #genius #zoneofgenius #strengths #strengthstests #strengthsfinderOne of the best places to start looking to uncover your natural genius is in your childhood. What are the things you loved doing as a child, what did you naturally gravitate towards and what would others say you were naturally good at? And what do you love doing? The seeds of your natural genius will be hidden in there.


There are many different kinds of intelligence and an infinite number of ways in which these types of intelligence can interact and complement each other within each of us.


Commonly referred to as ‘talent stacks’, different combinations of talents can result in very different and powerful abilities. Thankfully today there are numerous approaches, systems, and tests for discovering your own particular innate strengths, which can help you understand the best professions and environments that suit and nurture your particular genius.

I’ve highlighted just some of the many different ways the innate abilities can be classified in Table 1 at the end of this article. What’s important is that you recognize that you have a zone of natural genius. In her book Coach Yourself To A New Career, Talane Miedaner says:


“Our inherent abilities are so much a part of our makeup that they can be like breathing; we may take them completely for granted and not even recognize them as special talents and abilities”.

– Talane Miedaner


You’ll know you’re operating in your zone of natural genius if:

· It feels fun and easy;
· You can do it for hours and you are more energized afterward, not less;
· Time collapses around you. You lose track of the hours when you’re engaged in your natural talent;
· You create superior results with less effort;
· You add value effortlessly to those around you;
· It is easy to be successful;
· You are happy and fulfilled;
· You feel fully alive and self-expressed (Miedaner, 2010).


So how do you realise your maximum potential and succeed?


Potential, Kaufman says in Ungifted, is a constantly moving target. The more we engage in something, the more we develop our brain capacity in that area and the more our potential grows.

In his book Brain Rules, John Medina describes how what you do and learn in life physically changes what your brain looks like — it literally rewires it. So you can absolutely develop intelligence in an area, depending on how much time you dedicate to something.

There are four essential ingredients for success:

1. Grit.

2. Perseverance.

3. Belief.

4. Passion.


IQ is over-rated. Discover the four true parameters that will determine your level of success and how to apply them in your life. #IQ #intelligence #intelligencetests #intelligencequotient #successmindset #theperilofIQtests #IQtests #grit #perseverance #determination #attitudeiseverything #genius #zoneofgenius #strengths #strengthstests #strengthsfinderIn her compelling TED talk, Angela Lee Duckworth describes how in study after study, she found that the most telling factor for success was grit (passion and perseverance for long-term goals). Talent and success are usually unrelated or even inversely related.


She argues that it’s all about perseverance and follow-through.


This brings me to the other essential ingredient for developing your potential — passion. Passion is what fuels and sustains grit and follow-through. When you’re passionate about something, it means you care very deeply about it. But being passionate about something doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always feel upbeat and joyful. In fact, in Joseph Campbell’s famous book The Power of Myth he explains that the Greek root of the word passion translates to suffering.

In her article on the topic, Annabelle Parr describes beautifully:


“Following your passion means choosing a vocation that is so important to you, so vital to your being that you’re willing to suffer for it.”

– Annabelle Par


Annabelle Par goes on to define passion as being “where fulfillment, growth, joy, and change exist”. Your passion will push you to your growth edge and force you to fully develop and express your gifts which can feel scary, challenging and very difficult at times. But through this unfolding of your full potential, while being in service to something you care about, you’ll naturally feel deeply fulfilled and satisfied throughout this process of growth and change. Many studies have shown that people who feel most fulfilled are those who are giving their gifts in service to something larger than themselves.


Find your passion and you will discover your capacity for grit, which will allow you to develop your intelligence and proficiency to follow your dream.


So please, if you ever feel those inner gremlins creeping in that tell you haven’t got what it takes to fulfill your dreams, I am here to remind you of this:

· You are a genius in your very individual, unique way. Don’t let an IQ test result, or anything else for that matter, stand in the way between you and your dream;
· The world needs your specific gifts.
· The way to develop and express your full potential is to forge ahead with grit, perseverance and belief in yourself.
· Find your PASSION and let it fuel and sustain your grit and perseverance, and take you to the most fully-expressed, happy and fulfilled version of yourself you came here to be.


“Greatness is not born, but takes time to develop, and there are many paths to greatness.”
— Scott Barry Kaufman

Do you need help uncovering your very unique Zone of Genius and learning how to full nurture it? Get your FREE copy of my E-Book UNCOVER YOUR NATURAL GENIUS: Complete Strengths Analysis for a Lifetime of Success, Fulfilment, and Happiness.
In service to helping you live your brightest life,
Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
[email protected]
QUEST 2017: A Profound Approach to Plan an Impactful Year Ahead

QUEST 2017: A Profound Approach to Plan an Impactful Year Ahead

For the first time ever, this year I joined an inspiring group of wide-minded, visionary entrepreneurs in Jeffrey Davis’ Quest 2017: 12 Principles to do Business as Unusual – a powerful approach to planning the year ahead that involves weekly writing prompts to invoke “a possibility mindset, provocative points of view, deep reflection and a healthy dose of wonder”.

The group shares their thoughts and ideas in a Facebook forum that provides the container for everyone to share what kind of possibility 2017 could hold for each of us. As Jeffrey says “Together, we’ll seek meaning, integrity and impact in life and career while remembering that Do It Together (DIT) beats Do It Yourself (DIY)”. This is an open, free forum that you can join too if you’re looking for a thought-provoking and creative way to plan your year. The QUEST2017 group process is finished for now, but you can still use the writing prompts in this blog to reflect on your own journey. I decided to share the process with you here for two reasons: 1) To share my reflections, hopes and aspirations with you for the year ahead, and 2) To help you reflect and ponder your own plans and ideas, in the hope that it helps you align your own heart, body, mind and soul. This is a long blog post with 12 short essays so I don’t expect you’ll have the time to read through all of it! But please feel free to scroll through and jump to the sub-headings that feel relevant for you. Below are the 12 different writing prompts from 12 different visionaries, plus my responses.


Writing prompt #1: Your True Calling

The first writing prompt has been contributed by Krista Tippett (@kristatippett). Krista is an American journalist, author, and entrepreneur. She created and hosts the public radio program and podcast On Being. In 2014, Tippett was awarded the National Humanities Medal by U.S. President Barack Obama. Krista asks:

What is your vocation, your sense of calling as a human being at this point in your life, both in and beyond job and title?” #YourTrueCalling

  This happens to be an easy one for me to answer right now because the question has been a central theme in my life for as long as I can remember. They say that what we’ve struggled with most in life is often the very thing that we’re called to do as our vocation. And interestingly enough, the one thing I’ve struggled with most in my life is having a clear sense of what my true calling is. And I’m quite clear in my heart now that helping others find their true calling is my true calling. To me, your true calling is something that makes you feel completely aligned in body, mind and spirit. It allows you to unleash and fully develop your very specific and unique gifts in a way that feels joyful, uplifting and energising and allows you to contribute your gifts in service to something larger than yourself. I believe we each have unique and valuable gifts that the world needs and that we each have a specific calling that we’re uniquely designed for. I’ve come to believe that your true calling is the alchemic ‘sweet spot’ where your true nature (your authentic self), your natural genius (your natural strengths and talents) and your passion (what you care about deeply) intersect. Walking the path of your true calling allows you to become more and more of who you are (a process of unfolding), while giving your gifts in service to something that the world needs.

“Our purpose in life is to become the fullest expression of ourselves” – Kate Northrup

We start walking our true path when we commit to following what feels light and easy and joyful (I agree completely with fellow Quester Paula Trucks-Pape on this concept). And as another one of our fellow Questers Ginny Lee Taylor quoted, your true calling is:

“… Where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” – Frederick Buechner

  I now dedicate my business to helping people uncover their true calling through a process that’s designed to find their own sweet spot where natural ability meets passion and joy. If we’re doing something for the money or success or image, it isn’t our true calling. If we’re doing something for the job security and to play it safe, it isn’t our true calling. Sure, we may have to do these things as intermediate steps on the way to our true calling, but I believe it is our intention that defines whether it’s our true calling or not. If our intention is to serve the world somehow through our unique abilities, then we’re living our true calling. The calling itself may take on various forms and outwardly appearances along the way, but if we stay committed to developing and expressing our natural genius in service to something we care about, we’re on the path of our true calling. I know firsthand how soul-destroying it can be to feel completely out of alignment with our true calling and to ignore what wants to be expressed through us. I’ve felt a deep call to do something meaningful with my life for as long as I can remember. There was a distinct moment when I was seventeen years old as an exchange student in rural Paraguay, South America, standing on the banks of a local river looking out at people bathing in the polluted water that was just downstream from a major cement factory. I felt called to do something about situations like this where people and nature suffer from the effects of heavy industry. And that’s what I ended up doing for almost fifteen years, working as a process engineer designing wastewater treatment plants that clean up polluted water before it’s discharged back into the environment. It felt good to be doing something to keep our environment and waterways clean. For years I was a strong advocate of sustainable planning and strategy. But even though it felt good to be doing something positive and to work on interesting, challenging and rewarding projects, internally I felt empty and frustrated and a continuous, nagging feeling that there was something else I was ‘meant’ to be doing. If I’m completely honest, I pursued science and engineering to please my parents who thought that engineering would give me lifelong job security and opportunities (which is true). But I most definitely wasn’t operating in my zone of natural genius, or in my zone of joy or true passion. I knew I had gifts to give that were completely untapped. My gifts are in languages, writing, teaching and connecting with people. For years I struggled on in different roles as an engineer, always hoping that the next role would give me the fulfillment and satisfaction I was seeking. But it never did. Eventually, this stifling of my natural talents and heart’s desires turned into very real physical effects. I developed what the medical world could only describe as ‘chronic fatigue’. I battled constantly with lingering illnesses and viruses, combined with continuous, overwhelming fatigue. I kept going to work during this period, but every day felt like a living hell. I can now see clearly that the illness was a ‘soul crisis’ and my body’s way of telling me that I was completely out of alignment. But it took me almost ten years to finally accept that I had to stop living my life to please others and to finally find out what it means to please myself. I had to go through a process of shedding everything that I’m not, and to instead embrace everything that I am, in order to ‘find’ my true calling. Interestingly enough, after years and years of seeing different therapists, medical professionals and natural healers (with little to no effect), my health made a sudden turnaround on the day I decided to quit my corporate engineering job of almost fifteen years to focus on things closer to my heart. I gave myself permission to give up the struggle and striving and committed to doing only what feels joyful and uplifting. And every day after that my health and energy improved. Today I feel so blessed to experience ongoing health and vitality. And I’m convinced that it’s because I chose to finally listen to my heart and give myself permission to be me. If it feels at all relevant for you, feel free to get a copy of my free E-Book Pathfinding: How to find and start living that special calling that you are uniquely designed for, where I discuss this topic of finding your true calling in depth. Helping you find your true calling really is my true passion!

Writing prompt #2: Do I love myself enough to stop working on myself?

  The second writing prompt comes from Susan Piver (@spiver), a New York Times bestselling author, a meditation teacher and renowned speaker. She is the author of eight books, including How Not Be Afraid of Your Own Life. Susan’s mission is to teach everyone to slow down, soften our hearts, sharpen our minds and create a life of fearlessness and authenticity. Susan asks:

“Do you love yourself enough to stop working on yourself yet? Who would you be in that case?” #LoveYourself

My immediate response to the question “Do you love yourself enough to stop working on yourself yet?” was – No. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to answer that question in the affirmative, although after reflecting on this question these past few days I’ll definitely strive to. Here’s a picture of my bedside table today.   It pretty much always looks like this, the titles of the books just shift and change over time. But they’re almost always on topics of personal and spiritual growth, psychology or social entrepreneurship. I’m a life coach by profession, so it’s hard to know how much of my reading is to stay informed and abreast of the latest developments in my field and how much is my desire to improve and ‘fix’ myself (because I don’t love myself enough to stop working on myself yet?). But I find this question intriguing and through-provoking and I’m grateful to Susan Piver for asking it. I feel such an ongoing hunger for knowledge in the area of personal growth, and despite how many times I’ve told myself to take a break and read something different for a change, I always end up getting bored and reverting back to whichever self-improvement book I was reading. So am I constantly reading because I don’t love myself enough to stop working on myself yet? Or am I doing it to better serve my clients? I think both. And because it feels like my calling. In my response to the first Quest 2017 prompt #YourTrueCalling I explained how my true calling happens to be helping others find their true calling. And funnily enough, the one big issue that gets in the way of people having the courage to follow their true calling is SELF-LOVE. We all know the inner critic dialogue that says “I can’t do that, I’m not smart enough” or “I couldn’t run my own business, I’m not savvy enough” or whatever line it is that comes up when you try to justify to yourself why you can’t make the transition to making your JOY your full-time job. “I can’t/couldn’t …. [insert what your heart really wants to do] because I’m not … [insert limiting beliefs and negative judgments about yourself]”. A big part of my work is helping my clients work through their own inner barriers to authentic self-confidence and self-worth (= self-love), just as I struggle continuously with this myself (we’re all human after all). We’ve all built up so many excuses and reasons for why we can’t and won’t commit to pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone and into the zone of uncertainty and fear – where the magic happens! – to follow our true calling. And why? Because we think we’re not good enough and can’t make it happen. Because we don’t believe in ourselves enough. And perhaps because we don’t love ourselves enough to do whatever it takes to make ourselves blissfully happy…? Don’t we think we deserve this and nothing less? We were all born as pure, unconditional love, before we started getting bombarded with negative judgments and criticism from our environment. Panache Desai calls our original pure love essence the ‘liquid gold’ that’s inside each and every one of us. And he refers to it as gold because it can take time to excavate and dig through the layers of emotional scarring that we’ve built up around it to protect ourselves from the pain in the world. If we want to fully love ourselves, the opinion in the psychology/healing world has been that we need to peel back the layers of the emotional onion, layer by layer, with the help of a therapist, counsellor or healer, to heal them and to rediscover our original, undamaged inner child who knew only love. Or do we? Could we just make a conscious decision right now to love ourselves anyway, emotional scarring, warts, imperfections, flaws and all? I guess that’s the whole purpose of Susan Piver’s question “Who would you be if you loved yourself enough to stop working on yourself?”. Perhaps we’re fine and worthy of 100% self-love right now, as imperfect as we are. What if there’s nothing to learn, do, or fix or improve? Who would I be then? Hmmm. Good question. Could I stop working on myself and love myself anyway? Could I stop bombarding my clients with techniques and tools for removing emotional barriers and instead just mirror back to them the unconditional, pure love that is within them already? Is it my true calling to reflect back to others the liquid gold that is already theirs? Interestingly enough, I had similar thoughts recently when I realized that everything boils down to being able to love ourselves in the midst of all our imperfections. I wrote about this recently in my article Radical Self-Love & Acceptance: Could this be our one true purpose in life? But back to Susan’s question. Who would I be if I loved myself enough to stop working on myself? I would be free. I would be relieved. I would be relaxed. I would be at peace. I would love and be loved, fully, unconditionally. I would be secure in the knowledge that I have arrived, and there’s nowhere to go. I would be someone who feels so at peace in my own skin and in my own heart that I naturally exude peace and love to all those I come into contact with. A kind of Dalai Lama. Is that possible? I don’t know. But I’m sure as hell willing to give it a try. Thank you Susan for your beautiful question. I can see now. This is it. This is what we’re all being called to do. To love ourselves unconditionally just as we are, right now, right where we are. In our all imperfection and total perfection.

Writing prompt #3: Where will I be brave enough to bring forth even more of myself this year?

The third writing prompt comes from Kristen Noel at Best Self Media (@BestSelf_Media). Kristen is a writer, speaker, motivator and Editor-In-Chief of Best Self Magazine, the leading voice for holistic health and authentic living. Kristen asks:

Where are you going to go deeper this year, where can you be brave enough to bring forth even more of yourself — to infuse your work, creativity and business with that which is uniquely YOU, thus inspiring others to do more of the same? What could that look like in 2017 for you? #BringYouForward

Hmm. Another good question, thank you Kristen. I guess this brings me to the first question – who am I if I’m being uniquely ME? I believe the keys to our uniqueness lie in who we were as a child, before we became conditioned by our environment. So I started looking there. My uniqueness #1 – An ability to embrace the paradox of life The first thing that comes to mind is that I’m quite a person of paradox. My brother Cam who’s 14 years younger than me always saw this quite clearly. He used to call me a ‘square on the edge’, which I thought was hilarious (once I could get past the square part). When he was young he observed me as a teen and young adult and he saw someone who worked hard, studied hard and got good grades, but who also loved to party hard, rebel and push the boundaries. My mother used to say that I didn’t just burn the candle at both ends, but that I “snapped the candle in two and burnt all four ends”. When people asked me how I did it all I would reply, “I don’t sleep much, I’ll sleep when I’m dead” (thanks Bon Jovi). As I’ve grown older I’ve been forced to find a more appropriate middle road, because living that way is not sustainable (obviously). But I still walk the tightrope between the polarities of my character. I love yoga and meditation and reading books on Buddhism and spirituality, but I also love to drink gin and rock out to Led Zeppelin or AC/DC. I love going for slow, peaceful hikes in nature but I also love to compete in high-energy triathlons. I love drinking my hot lemon juice and green smoothie every morning, but I also love to eat hot chips and drink beer on occasion. I’m a responsible Mum to two young boys and a focused and disciplined small business owner, but I also love to goof around, be silly and dance to Hi-5 with my boys.

“We cannot run from paradoxes; we can only embrace them and become one with them. For, in reality, the apparent opposites are two sides of the same coin that are meant to reside in harmony” –Patricia Spadaro

How will I use this quality to infuse my work, creativity and business this year to inspire others? In reflecting on this question, it strikes me that the ability to embrace seemingly contradictory behaviours can actually be beneficial for all of us. It’s about balancing out all the different aspects of ourselves. By giving ourselves permission to embrace all the crazy impulses we feel, we start expressing ourselves more fully and feel more alive as a result. This year I’m going to commit to embracing my paradox even more. And I’m going to encourage my clients to give themselves permission to feel all the unique impulses they have and to find ways to act on them. This seems to me a fun and enjoyable road to authentic and full self-expression. And since my calling is to help others express themselves fully through their work and life calling, this is probably an essential component that I hadn’t thought of until now! (thank you, Kristen) . My uniqueness #2 – A (latent) ability to speak my mind freely As a child I was always very forthright with my opinions. My mother tells me that she always knew exactly where she stood with me. But growing up, I was constantly told by my family that I would end up having no friends if I didn’t learn to keep my thoughts to myself and be ‘nice’. So I learned to temper my opinions and say only what I thought people wanted to hear. I learned the hard way that others don’t always value what you think and that true authenticity and honesty is an opinion that’s tempered with maturity and compassion for the other person’s perspective. Otherwise you’re just being obnoxious and small-minded. But over the years I’ve swung completely the opposite way and it’s now a major challenge for me to speak my mind freely and to put my opinions out there, for fear of upsetting someone. I’ve developed a hyper-alert sensitivity for knowing when I could upset someone and to keep my thoughts to myself. But given the challenges we’re facing as a global community right now, I don’t think we have the luxury anymore of beating around the bush. I need to develop the courage to voice my opinion and withstand the inevitable controversy and discomfort this brings, and hopefully inspire others to do the same in the process. I’m going to shift my focus from wondering how I might offend someone, to how I can say the right thing to inspire and motivate someone towards positive action, even if I risk receiving negative feedback. I have to assume that the number of people I will help will be greater than those I might offend. My uniqueness #3 – An ability to see and hear others It’s really important to me that the people I’m with feel heard and seen. If I’m in a group I want to make sure no one feels left out. I like to really seepeople and to appreciate the unique qualities, abilities and perspective they bring. I’ve been fortunate to live more than half of my adult life overseas in different countries on four different continents and this has given me a deep appreciation of different perspectives and the huge challenges that people face around the world. It’s helped me see that at the end of the day, no matter what our background, history or culture, we all want the same things – to feel secure, to belong, to feel valued, to be appreciated and to be happy. This is my true desire for everyone. Where will I be brave enough to bring forth more of this quality this year? I feel committed this year to take an even stronger stand to connect people with each other (to nurture a greater sense of belonging for people) and to really see and hear the people I connect with. I will make a commitment to ask and listen, rather than teach and talk. My pledge for 2017 This year I commit to bringing even more of myself forth into my work, creativity and business with that which is uniquely ME, by focusing on these key areas:

  1. Embrace and nurture the paradox in myself and others.
  2. Speak my mind more freely with the intention to inspire and motivate.
  3. Nurture connection and belonging. Ask and listen.

Thank you taking the time to read my thoughts. I’m so excited to dive into the next writing prompts to plan the year ahead with possibility and wonder!


Writing prompt #4: How will I use my power as a force for good in 2017?

Today’s writing prompt comes from the visionary psychologist Dacher Keltner at the Greater Good Science Centre (University of California, Berkeley). Dacher asks:

“In your work life, your personal life, and in your community, how will you use power as a force for good, and empower those around you in specific acts that make up your day?” #PowerforGood

At first glance I found this a difficult question to answer, given that I haven’t had a particularly broad sense of the word ‘power’ until I decided to download Dacher’s highly revered book The Power Paradox. I was immediately glad that I did. This is a man who speaks to my heart and who believes that each and every one of us has the potential to be a force for good in the communities and networks we move in. I love how he defines power: “Power is the medium through which we relate to one another. Power is about making a difference in the world by influencing others.” Keltner has a beautiful way of describing this concept further: “Power is not something limited to rare individuals in dramatic moments of their highly visible lives – to malevolent dictators, high-profile politicians, or the jet-setting rich and famous; nor does it exist solely in boardrooms, on battlefields, or on the U.S. Senate floor. Instead, power defines the waking life of every human being. It is found not only in extraordinary acts but also in quotidian acts, indeed in every interaction and every relationship, be it in attempt to get a two-year-old to eat green vegetables or to inspire a stubborn colleague to do her best work.” Given that I’m a mother to two young boys, much of my ‘power’ these days is indeed in getting children to eat green vegetables. I found Keltner’s description refreshing and uplifting, reminding me that power is indeed not limited to how we conduct ourselves in business, but how we operate as a person in every aspect in our lives. In his enlightening book, he defines four ‘social practices’ that constitute powerful, positively influential leadership: empathising, giving, expressing gratitude, and telling stories. He suggests that each of these practices “dignify and delight others… They constitute the basis of strong, mutually empowered ties. You can lean on them to enhance your power at any moment of the day by stirring others to effective action”. So, to answer this writing prompt, I decided to address how I’m going to implement these four practices in my work life, my personal life and my community. Empathising: Like many creatives, I have a natural ability to empathise and I’ve spent much of my adult life trying to figure out where the other person stops and where I begin, so that I can untangle myself from the emotional problems of others and give back what is not mine to carry. Learning to turn down the dial on my empathy register has been a challenge for me and to move from being a ‘fixer’ and ‘saver’ into someone who has healthy, strong boundaries, while still maintaining my ability to empathise. I spend a significant amount of each day empathising with my sons and my husband and the issues they’re dealing with, as well as with my coaching clients where I act as an empathetic sounding board for the challenges they’re working through. However, in terms of using empathy in service to ‘power’ more effectively, I could be more empathetic in my networks and social communities by asking more questions and listening to the answers, as opposed to focusing only on giving and teaching. People like to know they’re being seen and heard, and I can definitely pay more attention to seeing and hearing those in my social networks in 2017, and showing genuine empathy for the challenges they’re dealing with. Giving: Again, giving is a natural part of your profile as a mother and wife. It seems that most of our day is spent in giving our time, attention and focus to people other than ourselves. However, I can definitely focus on giving more to my clients this year in terms of excellent service, providing more free resources and helpful information to support them on their journey. The same goes for my social media networks. After reading Dacher Keltner’s book, I believe that a subtle shift in focus from ‘marketing’ with an agenda of giving to receive, to plain and simple ‘giving’ will help me grow my social outreach more organically, with more authentic and genuine impact. Expressing gratitude: While gratitude has been a focus of mine for a few years now, this is definitely something I can always do more of. I can extend heartfelt gratitude to those people already within my networks and in my community, because without them, I have no ability to have any ‘power’ or ability to influence others. I can express more gratitude to my family and friends because they are my support, my nourishment, my everything. And I can especially extend more gratitude to my clients, because without them, I have no ability to build my business, to develop my gifts, to live my true calling or to affect any kind of positive change. Telling stories: I love this one. I really believe that stories are how we connect to each other. It’s through sharing our stories that we connect authentically, share our humanity, our vulnerability and our strength. And most importantly, stories help us know that we’re not alone in our humanly struggles and triumphs. I’ve written about the Power of Story in a recent blog post. Until now I haven’t thought of telling stories as an effective ingredient of leadership, but I can see how it is. Leadership is all about creating connection and a sense of camaraderie around a common cause. I will strive this year to use story – both telling my own stories and encouraging others to share theirs – as a way to nurture a feeling of camaraderie, belonging and togetherness in my networks. As Jeffrey always says, Doing It Together (DIT) beats Doing It Yourself (DIY)! Thank you Dacher Keltner for helping me reflect on this topic and for your valuable, refreshing insight.

Writing prompt #5: What sacrifice am I willing to make in 2017 in service to the greater good?

  Today’s writing prompt #5 comes from Scott Barry Kaufman, Scientific Director at the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center (University of Pennsylvania). Scott asks:

“What is one major personal sacrifice you are willing to make this year in the service of the greater good?” #Sacrifice

This was a really hard question for me to answer. I’m coming out of a long phase of life that’s felt like one long, challenging road of self-sacrifice. I’m 41 years old and we’re very blessed to have two young boys aged five and two. It took us a long time to manifest these two little guys and it wasn’t easy. It was a journey filled with heartache, loss and pain, but we did it and we’re so grateful that we’re one of the fortunate couples who were able to make our baby dreams a reality. I’m acutely aware of how many couples struggle every day with the pain and devastation of unfulfilled baby dreams. The road to parenthood was filled with much sacrifice; sacrifice of the small pleasures in life while we tried to live, eat and be extremely healthy to give our bodies the best chance of conceiving. And then as every mother knows, the first few years of raising young children requires an enormous sacrifice on every front. We sacrifice our sleep, our bodies, our sport, our free time, our work, our social lives and more. I really like the quote that fellow Quester Alicia Anderson found on sacrifice:

“A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves.” – Mother Teresa

I’ve definitely done all of that and more 0ver the past six to eight years. Would I have it any other way? No, absolutely not. And yet I’m at the point in my life where I’m ready to reclaim my life, to start building my own identity again and to keep working on building my business and my dreams, which include the ability to inspire and empower others to live their best lives through my small coaching practice. The hardest part for me over the past six to eight years has been the need to put my work and my business on the back-burner to focus 100% on my family. This year I’m finally in a position where I can start to focus more on myself and my work and that feels good! So, what is one personal sacrifice I would be willing to make this year in service to the greater good? Hmm. My greatest challenge as a mother to young boys is time. What do I need to sacrifice in order to find more time – Sleep? Family time? Time with friends? Sport? Social outings? No, I’m no longer prepared to sacrifice those important things because they’re what make life so rich and rewarding and I believe we must enjoy the journey as much as – if not, more than – the destination.

“You should never sacrifice three things: Your family, your heart, your dignity” – Unknown

Rather than sacrificing life’s small pleasures for the sake of the greater good, I believe that my ability to make a positive impact will lie in becoming more focused in the time that I do have. I’m making a commitment to myself to spend more time planning and less time jumping in and engaging in random actions that aren’t aligned with a bigger vision. I’m making a great start by planning the year with Quest 2017 for the first time, and I start private business coaching next Monday to help me approach 2017 with laser focus. I’ve decided that my one big personal sacrifice this year will be along the lines of what many fellow Questers have already voiced – my addiction to playing safe and small. While I continue to play small and keep my (potentially) controversial thoughts to myself, I’m not serving anyone. The fear of speaking out and attracting negative feedback is irrational and no longer a reason to withhold the gifts I have to offer by speaking and writing freely. It’s only through truth, raw honesty and authenticity that we have the ability to provoke, invoke and inspire. It’s only by daring to put ourselves out there and be seen, that we reap the joy and satisfaction of being of true value and service. My pledge for 2017 This year I’m willing and prepared to sacrifice my addiction to playing small and safe. I will endure the (potential) discomfort of negative feedback when voicing my opinions freely and without inhibition. I commit to stepping up into greater visibility in the knowing that in doing so, I’m helping others do the same. Thank you Scott Barry Kaufman for helping me reflect on this topic and for your valuable, refreshing insight.

Writing prompt #6: How will I shift my focus from ‘keeping busy’ to ‘leaving a legacy’ in 2017?

Today’s writing prompt #6, the final prompt under the theme ‘ENGAGE’, comes from Jocelyn K. Glei (@jkglei), author of the book ‘Unsubscribe’. She describes herself as a writer who’s obsessed with how we find more creativity and meaning in our daily work. Jocelyn asks:

“How can you shift your focus from “keeping busy” to “leaving a legacy?” #Legacy

Hmm… another great question, thank you Jocelyn. I often help my coaching clients get a sense of the kind of legacy they want to leave, so they can build a life vision and goals around that. It’s a very useful and powerful technique for getting through to people’s desires and motivations in life. But it’s been a while since I’ve reflected on the question of legacy myself. So thank you Jocelyn for the prompt. What kind of legacy would I personally like to leave? When I think of legacy I often think about what my dearest ones would say about me at my funeral. I’d love to be remembered for my big heart, for my big dreams and my zest for life. I’d love people to say that I uplifted them, nourished them and made them feel good about themselves and their choices. I’d love people to remember me as someone who was fun to be around and who could make them smile and laugh. I would be touched if people felt that they could be themselves fully around me, knowing that my heart is warmed by people who have the courage and confidence to be themselves without inhibition, who don’t care what society expects or demands, but who choose to do what makes their heart feel good. But in reflecting on this, I have to remind myself that legacy is not what people will remember about you when you die … it’s about what you leave behind that will continue on without you when you’re no longer here.

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will” – Chuck Palahniuk

So what will be my legacy? Who am I to leave a legacy? Is it reserved only for the mighty and powerful who change the world in some significant way? Or is it possible that we all have the oportunity to leave a positive legacy, no matter how small we feel our contribution might be? If I’m to leave a legacy, what would I like to leave behind? I love to empower and inspire people to embrace everything about themselves and to find ways to express themselves authentically in life and through their work. My business mission is to help as many people as possible in this way: “I’m devoted to helping you connect to your heart and find your calling, to design a life that feels truly joyful and fulfilling.” I believe a life well lived is one where we give ourselves permission to own the desires and dreams we have and to make them a reality in whichever (small or large) way we can. I believe we’re all born with natural, innate gifts and talents – what I call your natural genius – and I’m on a mission to help as many people as possible to unleash their natural genius into the world in service to something larger than themselves. My business vision is all about helping people harness their natural gifts in service to the greater good. It states: “I hold a vision of a world in which each and every one of us is expressing and contributing our unique gifts in a way that feels deeply satisfying and rewarding, in service to something larger than ourselves. This focus on serving the greater good while bringing our full, authentic selves into our work creates a world in which everyone feels connected and valued and is expressing their full potential, while contributing to the flourishing of life.” If that could be my legacy, to know that I’ve contributed to this vision in some bold, impactful and courageous way – I would be one proud lady. If what I leave behind is a trail of people who have – because of me – had the courage to follow their hearts and to impact the world in some way through their gifts, then I would know I have left a positive legacy. And what is the part that will continue on without me? Perhaps it will be an organisation that I set up, dedicated to helping people get their gifts into the world. Hmm, I like that idea… So – how do I shift from simply keeping busy, to aligning my daily actions and choices directly with this greater vision for my life and my business? I believe the answer may lie in questions that I could ask myself each and every day before I jump into action:

  1. What’s one thing I can do today that will allow me to serve people more effectively?
  2. What can I do today to uplift or inspire someone to step up and find more courage and confidence?
  3. What can I do today to build on my legacy of helping people get their natural gifts into the world?

I’m excited about the New Year and the chance to see how these questions might act as a daily compass to keep me focused on the bigger vision and legacy for my life and my business.


Writing prompt #7: Do you spend your time acting or reacting?

  This week’s writing prompt came from Jonathon Fields (@jonathonfields), a New York City dad, husband and lawyer turned award-winning author, media producer and entrepreneur. His most recent book, How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science and Practical Wisdom, is a wake-up call and a path to possibility, complete with 30-days of inspiring, actionable explorations. Jonathan’s current focus, Good Life Project, is a global movement that inspires, educates, connects, and supports mission-driven individuals in the quest to live better, more engaged, connected, and aligned lives. Jonathon asks:

“When it comes to the way you live each day, do you spend more time acting or reacting? If the latter, what one commitment can you make to be more intentional in the year to come?” #ActingorReacting

  This will be a short response today. I’m very fortunate that I’m a Mumpreneur who gets to divvy up my time in the way I want, working from home while raising two young boys. They both go to wonderful schools and so I have time during the day to work on projects that I want, without the inevitable disruptions and distractions that come with working in an organisation or company. So, I spend my days every day acting very intentionally, rather than reacting to things around me. It’s a delightful way to live and I chose very intentionally to live and work this way so that I can focus my time and efforts on my life work and passions. One of my biggest frustrations in my old corporate career was the inability to focus and get things done, due to the constant need to react to the things happening around me. So it’s truly a blessing to be able to work the way I do now. My biggest distraction while working from home is my own procrastination and household chores than can always be done, rather than working! I find that having a very detailed plan of what I need to do each day helps me to focus and stay on track and inspired with the work I’m doing.

Writing prompt #8: Adapt from within or adapt from without. Are you ready?

  Today’s writing prompt #8 under the theme ‘Challenges’ comes from Linda Rottenberg (@lindarottenberg), author of the fantastic book ‘Crazy is a compliment: The power of zigging when everyone else zags’’. Linda is the CEO and Founder of Endeavour, the world’s leading organisation supporting high-impact entrepreneurs. Linda asks:

“Today we all have a choice: We can take risks and actions to ensure that we adapt with the constantly changing times or we can hope for the best and do nothing. Adapt from within or you may be forced to adapt from without. Are you ready?” #Adaptation

  I think this is a great question and so relevant for the times we’re living in. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life wondering how to best adapt to the times we live in. I studied Biotechnology at University, largely because of long discussions I had with my Dad when I was trying to figure out what to study. We both agreed that innovation and environmental protection were going to be big needs in the 21st century and Biotechnology was at the forefront there. My Honours research was on a topic called ‘Bioleaching’ – a mining process that harnesses bacteria to remove precious metals from minerals. It was a pretty novel process for the mining industry back in the late nineties. My first professional job was with BHP in Reno, Nevada (USA) in 1998 as a process engineer. It was exciting to be involved in cutting edge, innovative projects that promised to be more environmentally responsible. But then I experienced my first mining industry crash in 1999. Less than one year out of University and the entire mining industry ‘busted’ as metal prices came crashing down. The BHP headquarters in Reno was forced to close its doors and my colleagues and I were made redundant from one week to the next. A classic case of ‘adapt from without’. I vowed after that experience I would never work for such a volatile industry or allow my life to be so heavily dependent on market conditions. I decided to go back to University and study further in the field of environmental engineering. I was determined to do something positive for the environment and to immerse myself in a more stable and predictable industry. I had an interesting and challenging career in water management and I was fortunate to experience the good times in Australia from 2005 to 2011. Infrastructure projects were booming and the engineering consultancy I worked for had an over-supply of exciting, large and challenging water projects to work on. Engineers could name their price and pick and choose where they wanted to work. We received generous pay rises each year and bonuses were in abundance. They were definitely the glory days. And then in 2012 the bubble burst. On the back of yet another resources industry collapse, engineering consultancies across Australia were forced to let go of many of their staff and those left behind were forced to fight over the small project scraps being tendered out, as infrastructure expenditure halted across the country. We were fortunate enough to be in a position to move overseas with my husband’s work in 2011 for a 5-year long adventure in Paris, France followed by Geoje, South Korea, for his role on Shell’s first ever floating LNG facility. When we first arrived in Geoje in 2013 it was yet another ‘boom’; big companies from all over the world were working on large shipbuilding and oil & gas projects at the massive shipyards here in Korea and expats were flown in from all over the world with generous salary packages. And then the bubble burst again. For the past two years oil prices have come crashing down and again massive projects are being shelved and people are being laid off. In 2011 I’d had enough of the boom-bust cycle in engineering and I made the decision to branch out on my own and start my own coaching business while raising our young family. I’m so grateful I did. It hasn’t been easy and I’m learning the hard way that working for yourself is uncertain and challenging and it stretches you well beyond your comfort zone. But the rewards are deep job satisfaction, flexibility and an ability to do things on your own terms. You get to do what you want, when you want, and work on things you care about deeply. But most importantly, you develop a certain resilience and ability to generate income even when times are tough globally. If you offer something of real value where there is a deep and consistent need, then you’ll always find a way to serve people and build your business in the process. Adaptation has become my middle name since branching out on my own. I’ve been on a steep learning curve while adapting to the field of coaching and the online business world. I’ve had to learn how to set up and run my own website and blog, how to create and launch programs, how to market and sell my services, how to set up online systems to support and develop my business and how to move with the times in technology so that I can stay afloat and embrace the fast-pace changes in the online world rather than get left behind. It’s become plainly clear to me that we’re facing times of unprecedented change. It’s most definitely a time where we need to adapt from within or be forced to adapt from without, as Linda Rottenberg suggests. I’m so incredibly grateful that I happen to love change, variety and finding new and creative ways of doing things. So to answer Linda’s question – “Adapt from within, or adapt from without – are you ready?” – my answer is YES! Bring it on.

Writing prompt #9: How will you stop yourself from being held back this year?

  This writing prompt was contributed by Desiree Adaway of Adaway Group (@desireeadaway). Desiree is a writer, speaker and coach whose mission is to build resilient organisations. Desiree leads difficult conversations on race, class and gender. She asks:

“How have you allowed a system, institution, or tradition to hold you back? What will you do to make sure this does not happen in 2017?” #HeldBack

  I didn’t need much time to reflect on this one, and my answer will be short. I’m thankfully in a phase in my life where there is nothing holding me back except my own fears and inner gremlins. I’ve worked in many organisations and institutions during the course of my life where I’ve felt held back in some sort of fashion. My decision to branch out on my own in 2011 was a direct result of this frustrating feeling. Now that I’m working on my own terms, I’mrevelingg in the delicious feeling of freedom and free reign to work how and when I want, and to impact the world around me in the way I want. Nothing feels more delightful than that, and it’s my mission to help as many people feel the same way! Thank you Desiree for the prompt!



Writing prompt #10: What is your intuition telling you to do in 2017?

  Prompt #10 is from Jess Lively of The Lively Show, a podcast designed to uplift, inspire, and help you add a little extra intention to your everyday. named it “the #1 podcast that all female entrepreneurs should listen to” and Levo League named it “one of the 10 best podcasts every woman should know.” Jess asks:

What is your intuition calling you towards next?” #FollowIntuition

Whew. It’s mid-January and my family and I have just returned from a few weeks away to my second home – Holland – where my husband comes from and where we lived for many years. Although our time away was filled to the brim with jetlag, visits and catch ups, I always find holidays a refreshing break from the routine of day-to-day living and they allow me to gain fresh insight, even if they are crazy busy. They also help me tap into my underlying intuition. There are a few things calling to me this year. Intuitive nudge #1 – Forgive more I’m a believer that things don’t tend to come into our awareness ‘by chance’. As I was reflecting on this question this morning, a tweet popped up on my phone screen by Emily Burgess that says “The only type of growth comes from forgiveness. Heal your heart. Forgive more.” I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I think my intuition is telling me loudly that in order to make sure this year is a good one, I need to forgive more. Forgive myself, firstly, for the things that I could have/should have done better in 2016, and give myself permission to be human and to make mistakes. What’s important is that we acknowledge our mistakes and try to make amends where we can. I need to find the grace within me to forgive those who I feel ‘wronged’ me in 2016 and refer to the quote by Lewis B. Smedes that says “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover that the prisoner was you.” We all do the best we can under whatever circumstances we’re presented with, and sometimes our imperfect actions hurt someone else. We need to cut each other some slack and allow each other to make mistakes, and forgive quickly. So first port of call this year – more forgiveness. Intuitive nudge #2 – Step out of the shadows into full visibility Next, I’m feeling a very strong intuitive urge to step up and out of the shadows. I’ve been comfortably hiding in the shadows for the past few years while I’ve undergone several major life transformations; quitting my corporate career to re-educate myself and start my own business, becoming a mother to two young boys and living in several different countries as we follow my husband’s work. As we prepare to move back to Australia in the next six months, it’s time for me to have the courage to live my message out loud. I’m passionate about helping people find their true calling and to live the work that lights them up and energises them. The only way I can do this effectively is if I commit to stepping up and proactively getting myself in front of people, with the intention to serve them in the best way I can. Intuitive nudge #3 – Employ at least one virtual assistant to help develop my business The next message coming loud and clear from my intuition is that I must start to leverage my time more effectively and employ one or two people who can assist me with the things that I’m not good at – social media, website development, email newsletters, administration, book-keeping etc. This past year I’ve spent way too much time trying to figure these things out myself when I could have been spending that time coaching or putting my ideas together and developing services and products. I’ve been stuck in the chicken-and-egg thing; I want help getting my business off the ground properly and yet that requires a significant financial investment. So I continue to try to do everything myself, which means I don’t have time to move my business forward as effectively as I could. So it’s time to bite the bullet and employ people to do the things I’m not good at and frankly do not have the time for. It’s time! Intuitive nudge #4 – Develop and launch my coaching programs My next intuitive nudge for this year is to work hard at developing the content for two coaching programs I’m working on that provide people with the opportunity to do much of their deep self-reflection and introspection at home, privately, before they enter coaching sessions with me. This leverages my time much more effectively, and allows me to serve and reach more people. I just need to stop procrastinating and get the programs developed and out there! Intuitive nudge #5 – Continue to get private coaching myself At the end of 2016 I decided to invest in private coaching from Jennifer Smith at The Art of Better Blogging, and it was the best decision I’ve made. Thanks to Jenn’s help, I’ve been able to get crystal clear on exactly what I need to do to grow my business and get the exact, specific advice I need to hear in order to step up into full visibility and get my products and services out there. For too long I dabbled in online programs and courses without private coaching, thinking I could do it myself once I had the necessary information – wrong. I became stuck in an endless cycle of spinning wheels and was not going anywhere. Deciding to invest in private coaching was by far the best thing I did in 2016 and I now know it’s an absolute necessity going forward. Intuitive nudge #6 – MORE is not BETTER Something I discovered in a very tangible way last year was that doing more does not mean I accomplish more. What’s important is that I take the time to get quiet, to listen to my own intuitive guidance and to align my heart, mind, body and soul before proceeding in any particular direction. I’ve been a perpetual ‘doer’ my whole life, and it’s not only exhausting, but ineffective. In recent years I’ve experienced that when I take the time to slow down and align my actions very intentionally, magic happens. And this year I intend to infuse a whole lot more magic into my life! Wow. That’s a LOT to work on this year. I’d better stop writing and go and get started. Thank you Jess Lively for your wonderful prompt and for your super insightful podcast that I’ve recently started listening to. I highly recommend Jess’s podcast to anyone who wants support, encouragement or advice on how to live your best life.

Writing prompt #11: How will you take stock of your habits and improve them in the coming year?

  Writing prompt #11 comes from Charlie Gilkey (@charliegilkey), a self-described “Walking contradiction: author, consultant, social philosopher, and veteran. Co-creating a better tomorrow with others today.” He’s a champion of and catalyst for Creative Giants, talented Renaissance souls with a compassion-fueled bias towards action. Charlie asks:

“How are you going to take stock of your habits and improve them the coming year?” #KeepDropAdd

Charlie advises that in order to make way for new things in our limited time, we need to ‘drop’ some things. He asks us to reflect on which things in our lives should stay, which things should be dropped, and which things should we add? Thanks Charlie for this reflective prompt. It was necessary for me to think about these things with intention, even though my habit is to just keep ploughing ahead without thinking about these things. I think I can answer this one fairly quickly. Here’s what I’ll keep, drop and add this year. KEEP: My morning 20 minute yoga routine, quality family time on weekends. DROP: Unfocused time on social media, trying to do things myself that I’m not good and instead pay for help to do those things. Paying for help with the tasks required for running my business is the only way I’m going to break the unproductive cycle and win some extra time in my day. This will be a big goal for me this year. ADD: More self-care (a massage once a month, more yoga practice, more meditation), more telephone chats or catch-ups with friends, more date nights with my husband.

Writing prompt #12 – What does your ideal day look like?

  This prompt comes from visionary Jenny Blake (@jenny_blake), an author, international speaker, business strategist, career coach and yogi now living and working in New York. She’s the author of ‘Pivot’, a wonderful book I’ve just finished reading that outlines a four-stage process to mindfully navigate career paths. Jenny asks:

“Describe your ideal average day one year from now. Where are you? What routines help start the day? What projects are you thrilled to dive into? What kind of impact are you having on the world around you? Who are you with? How do you unwind at the end of the day? Don’t think too hard about the answers; go with your gut and fill-in whatever first comes to mind.” #IdealDay

This is a fantastic exercise that I get my coaching clients to do when I’m working with them. The only way we can begin to create the life we reallywant is to first imagine it. The hard part here is to let our mind think truly big, rather than confining ourselves to what we think is possible. It’s not easy to imagine our most ideal life, but opening up our imagination to what’s possible is the first and critical step to creating more magic in our lives. It was great for me to spend the time reflecting on this (I don’t tend to do it enough myself). Here’s how my ideal day would look: It’s December 2017 and it’s been a truly wonderful year. I wake up to the gentle noise of birds outside our window and as I lie in bed I give quiet gratitude for the day ahead and for all the blessings in my life. I wake up gently, put on my yoga clothes and head outside in the cool, fresh morning air with my yoga mat to do my fifteen minute yoga routine on the back lawn. The sun is just coming up over the horizon and the birds are chirping on this beautiful, warm summer morning. I feel my body ground down into the earth as I move through my yoga poses and then I sit quietly in ten minutes of meditation and reflection, imagining a perfect outcome to the day ahead. I head inside to make my morning lemon juice. My boys are now awake and we enjoy a cuddle, a chat and breakfast together. It’s my husband’s turn to get the kids organized and off to school this morning, so I take the time to relish a long shower and prepare myself for my exciting day ahead. Today I’ve been invited to speak on ABC Radio about my Joyful Career Academy that helps young adults through a process of self-reflection and self-discovery that identifies their unique strengths and soul gifts, to uncover the most ideal career path that allows them to bring their full self into the work place. Before the talk after lunch, I’m spending the morning with two of my favourite coaching clients who I’m guiding through a process of starting up their own business. We’ll be working through some of their biggest challenges and helping them break through their blocks to maor growth in their business. After the delightful coaching sessions I go out for lunch with a dear friend of mine and we discuss all things from family life and holiday plans to the things that light up us up and make us feel excited. We discuss music, fashion, sport, shopping, our latest projects and ideas. After a nurturing conversation, I head off to the ABC to get ready for my talk. It’s a wonderful afternoon connecting with like-minded people and reaching out to more people with my message. I feel uplifted and inspired by the impact I’m able to make in helping people unleash their natural genius and get their unique gifts into the world in a way that makes them feel deeply fulfilled, satisfied and valued. I head to school to pick up my beautiful boys and we head down to the beach for a play in the sand, a swim and an ice-cream. My husband meets us down at the beach for fish and chips. We all head into the water for one more swim and play before we head home. The kids go to bed easily after a bath and bedtime story, and my husband and I relax onto the couch to enjoy some quiet alone time with a good glass of red wine. It’s been a great day. It’s been a great year. I’ve developed a full and rich website of resources and guidance for people seeking a more fulfilling working life. I’ve earned my first wonderful annual income based on my high-end coaching packages and public speaking engagements. I’ve launched an online course to help fulfilling career seekers find and live their calling. I have a wonderful team of talented, highly competent people working for me and helping me serve and reach more people. We moved back to Australia and found the perfect family home, in a suburb we truly love. We’ve made new connections and rekindled old ones. We’re surround by caring friends and family. We really are truly blessed.

BONUS writing prompt #13: How will you manifest your understanding that we’re all connected?

Our final visionary for Quest 2017 is Rebecca Walker (@rebeccawalker). She may be best known for her role as the original leader and founder of Third Wave Feminism, the movement, and the co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation, a non-profit organization that works through grant-making, leadership development, and philanthropic advocacy to support young women ages 15 to 30 working towards gender, racial, economic, and social justice. She has authored many books, including her latest collection, Black Cool, which explores the singular aesthetic that has helped to shape the world. Time Magazine named Walker one of fifty most influential American leaders under forty because of her transformative views on race, gender, sexuality and power. Rebecca asks:

“This coming year you have the ability to share a bit of your privilege, energy, and love in a way perhaps you haven’t done before. In 2017, for what person or group will you support with your whole heart and clear voice to make their life easier and personal evolution more possible? How will you manifest your understanding that we are all connected?” #Connected

I truly do believe that we are all connected and that when we make the decision to show up powerfully and be the best version of ourselves, we have a positive and inspirational impact on those around us. We impact the world predominantly through our connections and relationships. And so this year I commit to connecting and reaching out more, to proactively building networks and communities with the intention to serve as many people as I can with my message. My message is an echo of Howard Thurman’s famous quote “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive”. There are so many people out there feeling less than excited about their work. So many people drag themselves into their office or workplace and feel frustrated, uninspired or at worst, depressed and loathing about the way they spend their days. Many people don’t know how to lift themselves out of the rut in which they’ve unknowingly landed and struggle with the nagging feeling that there must be a more enjoyable and fulfilling way to live life. Many people feel they have a ‘calling’, if only they could figure out what it is and know how to live it, and how to make enough money in the process to quit their day job. I will show up for those people this year. I’ve heard many stories lately from friends and acquaintances who struggle at a very deep level with overwhelm and fatigue in life. One of them said “I just have to rediscover my love for my work”. But perhaps the love for your work has changed or been lived to its completion and it’s time for something different. We need to let people know that it’s okay to crave change and something different. It’s a very normal and healthy reaction to life, if we could only embrace the positive side of wanting change. We shouldn’t see it as a failure or a shortcoming of our own in some way. It’s simply acknowledging that you’re ready for the next exciting phase of life. There are ways to change or shapeshift your career to find more pleasure and enjoyment in day to day living. It is possible – and necessary – to move in the direction of something that lights you and up and allows you to use your strengths and talents in a way that offers real value to others. It’s possible to love your life, and you should! Life is too short, it’s a tragedy if we spend our time feeling stuck and overwhelmed. So – my commitment this year is to show up for all of you who struggle with the issues I just described. I know how it feels. I’ve been there – for almost 15 years I was there, struggling with feelings of frustration and complete lack of inspiration. And now that I know the joy of finding my calling, I want more than anything for everyone to feel that kind of deep joy and satisfaction every day. So dear friends, this year I will be here for you, cheerleading you and motivating you to dig deep, to find your calling and most importantly find the courage to take the necessary steps to get out there and start living it. And since we’re all connected, I know that any small positive impact I can have on someone’s life, those changes will flow onto the people around them and the ripple effect takes action. All we need to do is step up and show up for the people we’re here to serve.

Pulling it all together – synthesising the QUEST

Wow. What a process! So much reflection and deep processing of my values, thoughts and ideals. I’ve emerged so much clearer and stronger in my convictions and plans for the year ahead. Thanks to Jeffrey Davis tools and resources, I’ve been able to process the different themes and visions to come up with a solid plan for 2017. I feel really thankful to have been able to participate in this process. A big shout out to anyone who wants to jump on board this process for next year, I highly recommend it. And I hope that by sharing this process with you, it’s helped you in some way on your journey.

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,
Katie De Jong, Ph.D Life Coach & Career Strategist Whispering Heart Coaching [email protected]
The Rise of 4 Different Species of Entrepreneurs – Which One Are You?

The Rise of 4 Different Species of Entrepreneurs – Which One Are You?

Find out about the emergence of four different species of entrepreneurs in today's changing professional landscape - and discover which category you fit into! #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #ladyboss #ladybosses #womeninbusiness #liveyourpassion #followyourheart #liveyourdream #passion #solopreneur #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurial #entrepreneurmindset #success #successmindset #ladybosslife #worksmarter #changemakers #heartcentered #heartcentred #worksmarternotharder #laptoplifestyle

When I was growing up I rarely heard of the term ‘entrepreneur’ and when I did, it usually referred to one of those unique and impressive people who had managed to make millions out of business-savviness and clever risk-taking.


My Dad knew a few of those people and they always seemed terribly impressive to my young self. But in my world, the messaging I received at home and elsewhere centered around the need to create a stable, financially secure future for myself by getting a good education and finding my way into a large corporation or organisation as soon as possible.

Getting a salary package, holidays, benefits, and opportunities for ladder climbing would mean that I had ‘made it’ in life (at least that’s how I interpreted all those messages).


So the idea of entrepreneurship simply never entered my world of options and it seemed like a scary and risky proposition reserved only for the well-backed and incredibly bold risk-takers among us.


But when I finally achieved all of that – the salary, the employee benefits, shares, and ongoing ladder-climbing opportunities – instead of feeling the satisfaction, accomplishment, and happiness that I thought I should feel, inside I felt miserable and empty. After almost fifteen years of working my way up through academia and the corporate world, in 2011 I knew the time had come to take a leap of faith and go it on my own.

Even though it was the scariest thing I’d ever considered in my life, the call to follow the small-business-owner/entrepreneurial path was impossible to ignore. The alternative – spending the rest of my career working on someone else’s payroll, on their terms, and for their agenda, and stifling my own creativity and authentic personality – was no longer acceptable.


Suddenly the concept that once seemed so impossible became the only way forward.


Interestingly, the definition of entrepreneurship is subtly changing. Bruce Bachenheimer, a clinical professor of management and executive director of the Entrepreneurship Lab at Pace University says “Entrepreneurship is much broader than the creation of a new business venture. At its core, it is a mindset — a way of thinking and acting. It is about imagining new ways to solve problems and create value.” And given the changing nature of our workforce and the emergence of the new Purpose Economy, there are ever-increasing opportunities to solve new problems and create value.


Entrepreneurs are driven by a desire to make a difference and to contribute their gifts in service to something larger than themselves. Discover how the world of entrepreneurship is changing and evolving, and how you can play your part in this brave new world. #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #ladyboss #ladybosses #womeninbusiness #liveyourpassion #followyourheart #liveyourdream #passion #solopreneur #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurial #entrepreneurmindset #success #successmindset #ladybosslife #worksmarter #changemakers #heartcentered #heartcentred #worksmarternotharder #laptoplifestyle

Hence the rising number of entrepreneurs worldwide.


Linda Rottenberg, entrepreneur extraordinaire, founder of Endeavor and author of Crazy is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags says “Today entrepreneurship doesn’t just mean starting a tech company. It means undertaking any bold venture – from improving your neighbourhood to selling crafts out of your basement; from modernising your family business to proposing a new initiative in your corporation. The techniques involved in sharpening your idea, facing down critics, recruiting boosters, and handling setbacks apply in almost every realm of work.”

Rottenberg describes the increasing trend of entrepreneurs worldwide like this:


“In the world today, there’s an unstoppable, unwavering trend toward individuals who seek to improve their own lives and, in the process, improve the world around them.
They’re entrepreneurs.”


Research in Australia, my homeland, shows that “small and micro business is Australia’s fastest growing employment sector. Aussie start-up culture is burning brighter than ever before as Baby Boomers and Gen Y lead a movement to ditch the corporate ladder in favour of becoming their own boss.” [1]. Research in the USA shows that people are increasingly choosing entrepreneurship too. A study by Intelligent Office revealed that nearly 65 percent of workers would rather be an entrepreneur or independent employee than work in an office.

Rottenberg says “If some moments have been ripe for diplomats, financiers, soldiers, or politicians, today is ripe for entrepreneurs.” The reason for this she says is this: “The reasons behind the shift are complex, but they come down to one simple reality: We live in a time of uncertainty. Our economies, our companies, our jobs are no longer stable and secure. Change is the only constant. To survive, we all need the skills required to continually reinvent ourselves.”


Everyone needs to take some risk or risk being left behind.


Entrepreneurs are true 'men in the arena' (and women!). They're willing to get in there, have a go, they're willing to fail and get knocked down, knowing that if they fail, they'll fail while daring greatly - and that's where the true breakthroughs, fulfillment, and positive change happen. Are you entrepreneur? Discover which of the four emerging species you belong to so you can thrive even more! #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #ladyboss #ladybosses #womeninbusiness #liveyourpassion #followyourheart #liveyourdream #passion #solopreneur #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurial #entrepreneurmindset #success #successmindset #ladybosslife #worksmarter #changemakers #heartcentered #heartcentred #worksmarternotharder #laptoplifestyle

Despite the enormous growth in the entrepreneurial sector, it’s true that not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship. There’s a general consensus that certain qualities make a good entrepreneur including:

  • Unwavering passion, persistence, and commitment;
  • An ability to dream big;
  • Open-mindedness;
  • High level of self-discipline;
  • A forward-looking approach;
  • A constant flow of ideas;
  • A clear vision and commitment to a cause;
  • An effective communicator, a high level of emotional intelligence and self-awareness;
  • A desire to continually learn, view setbacks as opportunities;
  • A moderate risk taker;
  • Self-confident;
  • Enjoy hard work;
  • Love challenge and problem-solving;
  • Enjoy change, adaptability, uncertainty and variety;
  • Love to lead, motivate and empower others. (references 1, 2, 3, 4).


If the majority of these qualities don’t sound like you, then entrepreneurship isn’t likely to float your boat for long.


As happens with the growth of any field or model, the entrepreneurial field is diversifying and spreading in its form and impact. Once reserved as a term largely for the start-up industry, it now infiltrates just about any sector you can think of. Linda Rottenberg has spent her entire career finding, coaching, and financially supporting fledgling entrepreneurs with big ideas through her organisation Endeavor. In her many years of experience of working with thousands of entrepreneurs and speaking on countless panels on the topic, she defines four different types of entrepreneurs. I found her definitions fascinating and insightful. Here are the different types and their characteristics. I’m most definitely a butterfly. Which one are you? (All definitions below are taken from Rottenberg’s book Crazy is a Compliment.)


The Four Different Species of Entrepreneur


The world of entrepreneurship is changing and 'gazelles' are the special breed of high-growth, rapid change animals who dare to take on the world and create massive breakthroughs in the way we do things. Read on to discover which species you belong to! #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #ladyboss #ladybosses #womeninbusiness #liveyourpassion #followyourheart #liveyourdream #passion #solopreneur #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurial #entrepreneurmindset #success #successmindset #ladybosslife #worksmarter #changemakers #heartcentered #heartcentred #worksmarternotharder #laptoplifestyle1. Gazelles

Gazelles, Rottenberg explains, are the classic entrepreneurs of myth and reality: “Someone who starts a new business venture and aims for it to explode into a white-hot phenomenon”. Examples are Home Depot, Facebook, Jenny Craig, and Instagram.


High growth is the goal.


The term ‘gazelle’ was coined by economist David Birch in 1994 to describe high-growth businesses whose sales double every four years. Though only a minuscule 2 – 4 % of companies fit this model in the USA, this group accounts for nearly all job creation in the private-sector.

When you hear politicians say “Small businesses really create most of the new jobs”, they’re talking about gazelles, Rottenberg says. In her experience, while wildly brilliant and visionary, gazelles tend to make the same mistakes over and over: They expand too quickly, they lose focus, they tangle with their partners and they can’t give up control. But when they have a supportive team around them who can help them balance out these aspects, they’re unstoppable.



These special creatures are changing the way we do business and transforming corporations from the inside out. Which entrepreneurial species do you belong to? Read on the find out! #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #ladyboss #ladybosses #womeninbusiness #liveyourpassion #followyourheart #liveyourdream #passion #solopreneur #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurial #entrepreneurmindset #success #successmindset #ladybosslife #worksmarter #changemakers #heartcentered #heartcentred #worksmarternotharder #laptoplifestyle2. Skunks

The term ‘skunk’ was adapted by Linda from the Lockheed Corporation, which during World War II set up a secret division to build fighter jets. It was called Skunk Works. Linda uses the term to describe “Entrepreneurs operating within large corporations [who] go out of their way to stink up the joint.” They’re sometimes also referred to as ‘intrapeneur’, an employee operating within a company who takes responsibility for “turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.”


They’re often people who have become fed up with the limitations of conventional company practice and develop a better way to do it, or see something that is desperately needed and go against all bureaucracy, traditions, and resistance to get it done.


Given the rapid pace of change in the world and the need to adapt and innovate, corporations are now urgently requesting and encouraging their employees to be more independent and creative. The corporate world knows it’s essential to their survival.



Entrepreneurs who are driven to create social change through their enterprises are the new entrepreneurial 'dolphins', often working in the not-for-profit or public sectors, advocating for real change. Which species of entrepreneur do you belong to? #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #ladyboss #ladybosses #womeninbusiness #liveyourpassion #followyourheart #liveyourdream #passion #solopreneur #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurial #entrepreneurmindset #success #successmindset #ladybosslife #worksmarter #changemakers #heartcentered #heartcentred #worksmarternotharder #laptoplifestyle3. Dolphins

These are people who dedicate their skills and services to helping the social sector become more entrepreneurial. These days they are referred to as ‘social entrepreneurs’.

Rottenberg explains: “Dolphins are contrarians in the non-profit or public sector who are willing to buck the conventions of their professions and agitate for real change.


“Why dolphins? Because they’re smart and social (they live in cooperative pods) and are one of the few animals shown to be altruistic toward others. But they’re not pushovers: Harm a dolphin’s pod, and watch out!”


Rottenberg continues: “Today even causes for which there are no compelling private-sector solutions are ripe for an entrepreneurial shake-up. It’s dolphins making the waves.”




Driven by freedom and individualism, entrepreneurial 'butterflies' are rapidly transforming the face of entrepreneurship and changing the world for the better. Which entrepreneurial species do you belong to? #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #ladyboss #ladybosses #womeninbusiness #liveyourpassion #followyourheart #liveyourdream #passion #solopreneur #entrepreneurlife #entrepreneurial #entrepreneurmindset #success #successmindset #ladybosslife #worksmarter #changemakers #heartcentered #heartcentred #worksmarternotharder #laptoplifestyle4. Butterflies

This may be the fastest-growing group of all. These are small-scale or lifestyle entrepreneurs. First among these are sole proprietors – plumbers, yoga instructors, freelance writers, organic farmers, artists etc. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that a majority of U.S. businesses have no paid employees. Forty percent of American adults have now spent part of their careers working on their own, and 24 million more are expected to be self-employed by 2018. Globally the number of independent contractors will reach 1.3. billion by 2020. Rottenberg explains:


“These fields are booming because they’re open to anyone: Moms, dads, grannies, twenty-somethings, even teens starting microventures in their basements, cars or bathrooms. As Jay-Z put it ‘I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man.’”


While some of these entrepreneurs aim to be fast-growing gazelles, many are content to stay small and local. Rottenberg’s reasons for calling this group of entrepreneurs ‘butterflies’ is beautiful: “Butterflies are incredibly varied (there are at least 17,500 different types of butterfly) and [are] driven by freedom and individualism. In both Eastern and Western cultures, butterflies have long symbolised the soul, especially one reborn after a period of cocooning. Beyond personal transformation, butterflies are vital to their habitat and an indicator of its overall well-being. More butterflies equal a healthier ecosystem.”

At first glance, this group may not appear to reflect the ground-breaking level of skills that entrepreneurs usually harbour. She says “Do you really need to be disruptive when you’re selling homemade cheese at the farmer’s market?  The answer: You do, especially because your competitor probably has an in at Whole Foods, now accepts credit card payments with a Square reader and has just launched a vibrant Web business.” Besides, she says, “butterflies are uniquely suited to this age of disruption. In chaos theory, ‘butterfly effect’ is the term given to the idea that change can come from anywhere. The weather in Central Park can be affected by a butterfly flapping its wings in South America […] Don’t underestimate the tenacity of a butterfly. […] They aren’t waiting for changes to happen to them; they’re making changes happen every day.”


So clearly entrepreneurship is no longer restricted to a minority group of high-growth tech start-ups but is infiltrating increasingly into every corner of life including the public sector, the corporate sector, and the small business/lifestyle sector.


I found it humbling and validating to know that butterflies like me are on the rise and that “more butterflies equal a healthier ecosystem.” At the end of the day, a healthy ecosystem is one in which all species are thriving and growing. And in the case of entrepreneurship, this definitely seems to be one growing, large, and thriving global ecosystem.

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
[email protected]






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