I remember when my psychologist suggested exercise to me.
‘She is crazy,’ I thought. The truth is, I was actually feeling all kinds of crazy.
Looking down at my daughter playing with toys on the floor and my baby sleeping in the pram, I wondered if she realised that these two midgets follow me around everywhere I go?
When would I ever get time to leave them and do something for myself with a husband that works 6am to 6pm, six days a week?
“Go to a gym with a crèche, you moron,” she said. Ok, so she didn’t call me a moron, but in my head it felt like she did. I wasn’t sold on the idea until I realised that someone else could look after my kids for an hour and a half per day for only $3.50.
It sounded like a good deal to me, hell, I probably would have sold them for $3.50 at that point in my life. Such is life living with the untethered wolf of postnatal depression.
Quickly as possible, I was at this ‘magic gym who look after your kids’ signing up on the spot.
The first few times I went to the ‘gym’ I didn’t exercise. I sat in a cubicle in the women’s toilets and hid from the world. Lost in the blackness of PND and the sleep-deprived static of my life.
On my way back to the creche to pick the kids up, I stopped and watched a body combat class. I noticed something odd. These people that went to the gym and did classes, they seemed to actually like it.
Like exercise? I was baffled.
As I watched them, I noticed they got to punch and kick shit. It seemed enticing. I felt like punching and kicking shit too. So, the next day I stood nervously waiting for the class to begin, I had no idea that this class would be the beginning of the end for the world of torture I was in.
For the next few months, I showed up almost every day and kicked the shit of PND. I also started journaling my thoughts and progress, which motivated me even more (I used the Wellness Journal from here).
When I was pregnant for the first time, I had all the thoughts of playing happy families, feeding my children freshly cooked from scratch, non-packaged, organic food, lacing them in beautiful clothes and never swearing in front of them. Falling into PND was never on the agenda and it blindsided me from the start. It wasn’t until my second came along that I was fully immersed and so far down the rabbit hole that I almost choked on my tears when I accepted it.
After two years of sleep deprivation from a baby who never settled and who had all kinds of intolerances, severe eczema, asthma and croup attacks every other week, I had lost myself and had NFI who I was, where I was going, or how to adult throughout my day like a normal person.
Tired beyond words, doing all the trying, for all the things, I was slowly dying on the inside in a relentless motherhood hell.
This is not what the magazines told me it would be like. I was pissed.
After a family outing to the beach one Sunday, trying to pull it together to play happy families like everyone else, my husband and I had an epic fight in the car on the way home. My emotions were so scattered and heated with frustration that when the car stopped at the traffic lights I jumped out. We were in the middle lane of busy Sydney traffic and I didn’t even look to see if there was a car coming. I shocked myself with my carelessness, but still stormed along the road, slowly as my anger started to waiver, I realised I didn’t have my handbag, or any money or my phone or any way to get the several kms home.
Thank god my husband had parked just up ahead because otherwise, I was all kinds of screwed.
I got into the car, unable to look at my children, too afraid to see their battle scars, for I knew the way I had just behaved in front of them was beyond what I had pictured myself behaving like as a mother.
Once home, I was standing in the kitchen looking out the window at my husband pushing my daughter on the swing. I acknowledged the unhappiness in his eyes, he was staring at the ground and just auto-piloting his pushes while my daughter said, “Higher daddy, higher daddy”.
Something in that moment triggered me. My thoughts pivoted. There was an underlying strength that had been trying to shine through. I hadn’t heard it until this moment of deep awareness and reflection.
My family did not deserve this, they deserved so much more than a broken mother and it was time for me to start fighting for my family’s happiness.
I deserved more too.
I wanted to be a connected, loving and happy mother again. I felt like a protective mamma bear coming out of hibernation and I was ready to punch PND in the face for what it had done to my family and me.
My mindset was ready to be changed that day, I believe in the power of the universe and that quiet spec of strength had been waiting for the right moment to reveal itself, silently waiting for my learning and lessons to be complete and pouncing at the right moment for my mind to hear it and embrace it.
Subconsciously, I took that spec of strength and snowballed it by going to the gym and just putting my music on and sweating it out. I pushed my mind past the physical pain into new levels of endurance. The instant relief from the endorphins overflowed into the rest of my day and cross-collaborated with my Zoloft to afford me the resilience to step up and dominate past the dark thoughts that PND had been using to control my mind.
I leaned on the support of PANDA, put breathing exercises into place to lessen my anxiety, and practised self-care and mindfulness.
One day, sitting outside in the sun watching my children play, it dawned on me that I had found some kind of peace within myself. I felt harmony and it flowed into my energy and turned my mind to the future and the way I wanted to live it ensuring that my newfound power was never weakened to that extent again.
Realising that I was no longer willing to sacrifice sleep, or work like a crazy lady anymore and jeopardise my new found harmony, I sold my business that I had grown successfully on paper, but not in my mind or the newfound perception I had of success, and embraced a new start, but this time I was determined to work smarter, not harder.
When I started Business Jump, I had no idea at the time that PND had led me on a breadcrumb trail to finding my purpose and creating a life that would go on to become extraordinary.
I simply just took action, without all the answers known at the time.
I didn’t start out with the intention of creating a movement to change and empower other people’s lives through sharing my story, but magically, that is what happened.
With the first one or two businesses I set up, I guess they were just that, businesses, but once I started to experience the untold amounts of fulfilment and freedom in my own business, I wanted to help others achieve the same.
At about twelve months into Business Jump, I had truly found myself, and not only that but I had found my purpose, and understood who I am, and what I am here to do.
Here is what I know for sure.
We have a choice.
How we perceive things, it depends on us, not circumstance.
This experience of PND could have been wished away. I could have refused to absorb the meaning of why it engulfed me, and chosen to be completely unaware of what it was here to teach me.
However, I chose to look at it as a blessing.
Without this experience of PND, I never would have understood the power of Business Jump and used it as a vehicle to step into my purpose.
My business has created untold amounts of freedom in my life. The flexibility I have gained to live my life, how I want, when I want stretches far and wide.
Last November, I went down to the shopping centre to buy a book. I ended up walking out of Flight Centre with a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam for my daughter and I leaving in 18 hours.
A few months before that, my husband and I travelled to LA so I could see Oprah at Super Soul live at UCLA, so I could continue my self-development journey. I saw Tony Robbins, Gabrielle Bernstein and other amazing speakers live. Sitting front row, I absorbed everything and thought of all the amazing ways I was going to be able to put this intel into action to live my best life and further continue supporting my clients in the Business Jump Family.
My story and business has been featured all over the internet and received beautiful acknowledgement and just recently I was blessed with the opportunity to be featured on Sky Business to continue serving my community and empowering others to overcome their challenges and start an online business too (click here for more info on how to start your online business).
Any day of the week, I can down tools and go to the school to watch my children at a sports carnival, in a play, or go to reading with them.
My littlest starts school this week and whatever he needs, I’m there. To drop him off, to pick him up. To walk home and talk about his day and the things that are important to him.
I don’t have to ask a boss for time off.
I am the boss.
It has given me a story to tell. I share everything I have learned about business and mum life in my Facebook group, Remarkable Business Mums.
I’m the decider of what time I wake up (now my children have blessed me with sleeping in and not waking at 5am anymore!). I work wherever there is wifi. From a cafe, a library, from home or from Scotland when we go over to visit the in-laws for Christmas.
There is no sitting in peak hour traffic, ironing a uniform or work clothes (I secretly don’t even have an iron) and there is no dragging myself off to a soulless job working just to earn someone else the profit.
The crazy part is, I didn’t plan any of this.
Sure, I dreamed, I visualised, I set intentions, I hoped, I prayed, I worked for it, I stayed motivated, I was determined and I picked myself back up when I fell down but the beauty of life was waiting for me the whole time.
What has manifested to me from this experience is that we all go through pain. We suffer. We fear. We hurt. But for those of us who have learned, we turn it into our advantage. We know that there is growth and opportunity from pain and discomfort. By sitting in the uncomfortableness and asking for stillness, we can hear the message that has come to teach us.
Most run away from pain, from stress, from fear, but don’t you know? Out of the most ugliest things, the most beautiful things can grow.
I have got to where I am because PND taught me how to use pain to my advantage.
It gave me pain, to feel joy.
It showed me the darkness, so I could contrast it with light.
It showed me what could be achieved with grit and determination.
The difference between people who win, and people who fail is the successful ones re-calibrate and use their pain to their advantage.
They are brave, in the face of the storm knowing that tomorrow there will be light.
They persist and evolve.
Reflect back on your life. At the grief that you went through, at the hardship you endured and marvel at what it is calling you to become. Use this as a gift, to step outside your comfort zone and never waste a precious day again, not living within your purpose and bypassing the magic of life.
Here are my top tips on how to overcome challenges in life and a mum and in business:
Find Something For You
Business Jump in many ways was my saviour, being able to invest my energy, focus and time into something, besides the kids, that was just for me was an escape, an outlet. I could put my music on and just go into my world. The sense of achievement and pride I gained as I stood back and looked at what I had created was immense. It wasn’t without its challenges mind you, but each one I took head on and conquered and continues to do so. Business is just as much a self-development journey as it is a business journey.
So often we run away from pain and feelings of uncomfortableness, but the sooner you learn that these experiences are part of life and are here to teach us something you can start using it to your advantage. For every fuck up in my business and life, I have turned around and used it to strengthen myself and enter the next level.
Always start with mindset. If you are in a funk, don’t try and work through it, you won’t be your most productive or on your A game, instead, spend 5 minutes watching some motivational videos on YouTube, go for a walk, run, whatever but you’ll do your best work when you are feeling inspired, motivated and in your zone of genius, not when you are feeling flat and deflated.
For every thought, there is an action. Watch what you are saying to yourself and to other people. Are you spending your time ‘below the line’ blaming other people and making excuses? Or are you taking accountability for your actions and words to ensure that you are putting out to the universe what you want to receive in return?
On the days where it all gets too much, I have a strong support network of beautiful friends who I can download to, and in return support them when they are going through the waves of life. This is so instrumental to have in business and one of the key assets I would credit to also growing a successful business. We need people to sometimes be there to tell us it is going to be ok, to share our wins with us, and to grow and learn from. It is why I created the Business Jump Family, which is a Facebook group for like-minded business mums to share the journey of business with and back each other.
Even though I have just wrote this whole blog, I still have days where I feed the kids weetbix for dinner, have crazy hair when out at the shops and don’t always get it right as a mum, a friend, a wife or businesswoman. But, that’s life. It is not meant to be perfect. My radar is based on how well I can sleep at night knowing I have been the best I could have been, no matter what happened during the day. Forgive yourself, forgive everyone and sleep with a clean heart knowing tomorrow is a new day to try again.