This morning I found myself swirling with an unidentifably unpleasant emotion as I spent far too many minutes scrolling through the Instagram feed of an unfeasibly beautiful woman I met 8 years ago.
Kat and I met back in 2015 while spending four days baring our souls to a hundredish other brave soul-barers at the Landmark Forum. We became Facebook friends and the rest is history.
By which I mean that we instantly fell out of touch and never spoke again.
As I gear up to make some exciting changes here at Project Self HQ (62% likely) — see the end of this post — I’ve been badgering my team and friends about people they follow who are super authentic, real humans who talk about their actual real life (not just the highlights) on Instagram/ podcasts/ blogs. Particularly in the form of personal stories, because that’s the only thing I’m really interested in these days.
I thought I was going to be met with a barrage of awesomeness, but instead most people have responded “actually, other than you… no one I can think of.” I’m sure there are many out there though, please let me know here if you have any suggestions!
So when one of you recommended my aforementioned Facebook friend Kat’s, Real, Raw, Relatable podcast as a good example of authenticity, I thought “fuck yes, that sounds right up my alley”, promptly downloaded a few episodes, jumped on a plane to Thailand with Bloody Good Bloke, and marvelled at how wonderfully Kat articulates stories about the ego.
The similarities in our businesses are uncanny… Kat is an authenticity coach who “helps people powerfully manage the thoughts in their head, so they can listen to their heart and focus on what matters.” I’m an irreverent mind-taming coach who helps indecisive overachievers tame their minds and get clear on their values so they can live a bloody good life that is authentic to them.
Kat has a coaching program called The Legends, I used to run a coaching program called Next Level Legends.
We both use the words “legend” and “g’day” every second sentence.
We both share extremely honest, relatable personal stories, including how we were both sexually abused at the age of six and have both developed overachieving control freak personalities in response. We both loveeee dancing (though I’m not brave enough to post anything of the sort on Instagram, which Kat is fabulous at.) And we both say fuck copiously.
My heart did a little leap of excitement to find someone so on the same page about authenticity and the ego.
I made a mental note to message Kat and say “you’re fabulous, congrats on creating something so excellent” when we landed, but like most mental notes, Neville scribbled over it with multiple Sharpies and it disappeared from my mind for 6 months. Until today.
This morning while driving back from a yoga class in a blissful state, thinking about the podcast I keep threatening to start without ever actually starting, Kat’s podcast popped back into my mind, and I got Siri onto it. As I listened to an episode about money and relationships, I pondered how well Kat’s business was doing.
When I got home, I re-downloaded Instagram (always a mistake) and went looking for the number that would apparently tell me the answer.
I internally gasped to see that Kat has nearly half a million followers.
Neville immediately leapt off the couch to announce my failure.
As a the owner of a successful 10yo business with a woefully insignificant 2.9k Insta and 11k FB followers, I know that social followers aren’t indicative of business success. But yet.
Kat’s instagram is fabulous, vibrant, alive, authentic… Just scrolling through the many videos of her dancing with artfully wild hair made me feel energised.
“Christ”, I thought in awe-envy… “she’s killing it, what a legend!”
But I also thought, “Fuck… she’s really showing up.”
Well I’m hiding.
Eventually I had to name the uncomfortable emotion that was washing up my throat:
Just a few minutes of looking at how brilliantly Kat appears to be doing on Instagram
was enough for Neville to take my life-is-wonderful post-yoga mood and smear it all over the tiled floor.
In its place was left the heavy residue of not-enoughness.
Oh how it pisses me off this weird tendency that I and so many women have to automatically see other women’s success as our own failure. As though success is a finite resource. 🤷♀️ Whyyyy! It makes so little sense.
Even more so because my life is wonderful. I’m so fortunate to have a business that I love that provides me more freedom, authenticity and autonomy than anyone I know.
I have a wonderful partner who I adore, incredible, inspiring friends and family, and I travel frequently. I receive countless emails from people who tell me how much they love reading my blogs, that my writing, coaching and programs have changed their life, and that my honesty makes them feel less weird and less alone.
Obviously that’s not the full story, and there is still plenty of shite in my life at times, including being unwell with long haul 🌶️😷 for the past 1.5 years and not earning any money for the past 6 months as a result, but alas, I’m trying to counteract Nev’s bullshit here.
Just this morning I did a 1:1 coaching session with a fabulous woman in the UK who did the Bloody Good Life D.I.Y. program last year, not long before experiencing an extremely traumatic life event. She shared with me that she feels that the skills she learnt in the Bloody Good Life program saved her life. She doesn’t know how she would have coped without it.
But I only have 2.9k Insta followers.
Yes, I avoid instagram like I avoid cucumber.
Yes I get my team to post all my blog posts on there for me so I don’t get sucked into mind-numbing scrolling. Yes, my instagram sucks and has no real-time content, I wouldn’t bother following me either.
But. 2.9k followers vs 430k followers was ample evidence for Neville to spend the rest of the morning flooding me with rubbish thoughts.
I was also very hungry and found that as soon as I ate, I felt a great deal less stressed about the situation.
Gretchen Rubin once wrote about how back when she was a lawyer, she started to notice she was seethingly envious of other writers.
Like a clever McCleverson, she came to realise that instead of being a problem, the envy was actually a tool she could use to get clear on what she wanted. Her emotions were somewhat aggressively nudging her towards a career as a writer.
Instead of puddling around in envy, she used the jealous energy to propel her into action writing The Happiness Project, a book which went on to become a bestseller.
Now she makes other people jealous instead.
Alas, I’m fueling my Kat envy into inspiration… to show up more. To stay committed to my word of the year: Vibrancy. Which involves doing more things that scare me.
So, here goes… 😬
My new podcast, Nev a Mind is en route to your ears soon! Via my podcast editor and social media manager, neither of whom I’ve notified about this new project yet…
I’ve recorded the first 5 episodes! Neville is fairly sure they all suck and need to be binned! But I’m telling you so I have no choice but to launch that shit into the world. Soon.
Over the next few weeks I’m running many corporate workshops, so I’ll be focussing on prepping and running those first, but after that, watch this space!
Nev a Mind is a short form podcast — voice notes from me and Neville (my mind). Expect more honest stories about our everyday life, what we’re learning, what we’ve fucked up recently… Y’know, like the blog, but in your ears.
Andddd Neville reckons that in some of the podcast eps we’ll riff on questions that I hear from my coaching clients multiple times a week… like “How the hell can I work out what I want to do?”, “How do I stop procrastinating on what I want to do?”, “How do I stop overthinking everything and snapping at my partner/ kids/ guinea pig?” and “How do I get over my hatred of cucumber when everyone puts that shit in every salad ever?”
If there’s anything you’d love to hear about on the podcast, please let me know here!
Neville is pretty pissed off that I’ve announced this to you.
If you find yourself comparing yourself to others,
puddling around in the uncomfortable waters of envy…
1. Ask yourself, what is it that they have/ are/ doing that I want?
2. Ignore your Neville.
3. Use your jealousy-makers to inspire you to do what excites + scares you.