“Who would I be without the thought, ‘I’m not good enough’?”
How many things do we every day because of this feeling: that we are not good enough? The type and frequency of the food we eat; the clothes we buy; the decisions we make about work; the decisions we make at work; and the comments we leave with those we love most.
In most cases I would say we are not even aware of the effect this feeling has on our actions, and it certainly is not changed simply by a factor of how much we have achieved, or what people think of us.
This week’s guest, Emeli Paulo, is a case in point. After making a complete about-face in her life’s direction – including being personally mentored by AFL legend Jim Stynes and significantly impacting the lives of more than 300,000 young Australians through her leadership of The Reach Foundation – she was still left with a deep sense that she was not enough.
Enter the thrash, a period we are all faced with at some point in our lives. We can choose whether to enter into this period or not. Entering, as Emeli puts it, means walking into that big dark cave we have known about for a long time, but been afraid to look into; to do the work that nobody else can do for us. But when we do enter and do the work, the riches we find there are abundant. It is ‘The Ordeal’ of the Hero’s Journey. That moment we confront our greatest fear.
For Emeli this meant an extended period wrestling within herself in Byron Bay, and of trying on a whole lot of ideas for size to discover those that fit her best. What spun out of this time in the dark cave was an Emeli that did believe she was good enough, and the person who now shows up as the same authentic person regardless of whether it is a staff meeting with colleagues, a workshop with clients, a dinner with friends, or a podcast with a stranger. Saying it just how it really is with her in that moment, both the pleasant and unpleasant.
And now, spinning out of this authentic and aligned person is an organisation called Collective Potential, created with the purpose of awakening the potential of people in Australia, equipping them with the community, support and skills to be similarly authentic and aligned in their living.
Collective Potential aims to significantly impact the lives of 2 million Australians over the next year, through mixture of retreats, workshops, coaching and meet-ups. Using a pay-it-forward business model, this social enterprise empowers those they directly influence to then go on and influence others. They equip people them with the skills and awareness they need to work out for themselves where to influence, and how to go about implementing that influence.
Emeli’s openness and wholeheartedness is contagious and inspiring. She lives her values to the core, and Melbourne is already starting to feel the effects and reap the benefits of her decision to back herself and lean into her uncertainty.
When I ask Emeli what she imagined disrupting one day, she said it was the ease and unconsciousness with which GPs handout anti-depressants . What if GPs went through a different checklist before prescribing medication? Something like prompting people to try meditating and alternative medicines, to find a tribe of people where they can listen and be listened to, and to educate themselves about personal development. Emeli points out that there are people who need medication, but there are many who could find a different path to wellbeing, without the side effects of anti-depressants.
And not surprisingly, Emeli’s suggestion for those wanting to progress upon a similar path to her is to practise self-love.
I hope you enjoy this conversation with the inspirational and real, Emeli Paulo.