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THE PUSSYCAT MUST DIE

When you are out of lives, the pussycat must die.

***

A couple of years ago, I realised I’d used up my nine lives. I had no more chances to mess around – and by this, I mean living the wrong life. Creating success in the wrong way. Not being myself.

Don’t get me wrong, my life was seemingly great – it’s just that it wasn’t the life for me. I was living some other woman’s life. I had always known I was unusual, weird, an alien, a misfit; highly intelligent and intuitive and insightful and destined for something great. But because I couldn’t see how to be this in a world that mostly wasn’t this, I decided I must be ‘wrong’, and that I had to join the masses on the conventional plane, on the conventional path to success.

So, I became a pussycat. I said what I thought should be said, I did what I thought should be done, I became what I thought I should be… purring for people so that they were more comfortable in my presence. Neat and preened and well-behaved so as not to get kicked out of the house.

Because of this diminishment of my true power, because I went on to do it for so long (about 20 years), I became a disjointed animal – a pussycat on the outside, and on the inside, a tiger pacing a cage, looking desperately for escape. House-trained… yet inherently feral.

Because I didn’t believe there was an escape (because you are yourself wherever you go; and if you don’t know how to be yourself, you are not yourself everywhere you go), the extraordinary energy that was meant to be channelled into being myself was instead channelled into anxiety, anger and addiction.

Sometimes something would give, and in an unguarded moment, the tiger would lash out. I’d get a slap on the paw from a society that didn’t like wildness of any kind – and because I still didn’t know how to own or control this power I had, I would retreat to lick my wounds.

Of course, this led to wave after wave of escalating mental and physical breakdowns (although no-one would have known it from the outside, because I was so successful and looked so together… oh, how prevalent this is among successful women). I overcame each, with increasing difficulty. My body, mind and spirit were literally telling me: enough. But I was not listening.

When the most recent breakdown happened, I knew it would be the last. This was my last chance to listen – if I did not, I knew that the next physical and mental wake-up call would be fatal. Either metaphorically fatal, extinguishing the last remaining flicker of the unusual transformational power within me, or literally fatal, as something exploded inside my brain or my heart.

But how to make the escape? Or, how to burn the shoulds, and emerge as myself? As that weird, intuitive, intellectual transformational leader I knew I was (and had known since I was seven)?

As terrifying as it was, I knew ¬– and had always known – what the answer was.

The only way was to kill the pussycat and unleash the tiger – let my true claws come out. Let my bite be my bite.

And it had to happen overnight. A quantum leap. A warrior move.

As painful as this would prove to be (my life did not get easier; it got infinitely harder… but it also got infinitely BETTER), I had reached the point of utter urgency where it had become far less painful to change than to stay where I was. A horrifying yet miraculous realisation. If you have reached this tipping point, you are one of the lucky ones; seize the chance for what it is – and step through the portal.

And oh, was it worth it. My unleashed tiger turned out to be a fire-breathing dragon, capable of extraordinary things.

Now, I do what I want, when I want; I say what I want, when I want. Now I am not afraid – of anything, least of all my own power. Now I have my own ‘agency’, my own authority. Now I make more in one week than I used to in a year, telling other trapped, successful women how to kill the pussycat. Showing them how to burn down their old brand so they can unleash the real one.

Only you know if you are out of lives. Extraordinary power is possible if you are prepared to step through the portal.

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HOW A SANITISED SOUL STIFLES SUCCESS

I make my way in the world...I am a genius at recognising a sanitised soul in an otherwise outwardly successful person. I can see what they need to burn, and what they need to become. Some take my advice, some don’t. The reason I can see it so clearly (like Munch’s ‘The Scream’ in my head), and why it physically and mentally repels me so much, is because I also have a sanitised soul.

It is my daily battle to unsanitise it. To do what I want to do, and say what I want to say. It is a battle because I know that the unsanitised version of my soul is too much for most to handle. But I must fight on – not because I care whether it helps you in any way, but because I know I have no other option. It has become my job.

The sanitised soul is the true tragedy of modern society. It is why what needs to be said is left unsaid. Why what needs to be done, is left undone. It is why the bar is so low, why the vision is so vanilla. Why wild girls don’t become wild women who go on to become warriors who change the world – but become high-achieving CEOs who watch Wonder Woman with their wild little daughters and cry inside because it’s actually what they wanted to become (and dream of for their daughters).

It is quite literally, the stolen, sedated and the sold soul.

The starved soul.

The screaming soul.

What does it look like?

  • The executive who sits in her expensive suit with her perfect hair and beige stockings in yet another boardroom meeting filled with men (while silently screaming inside her skull that she simply MUST be unleashed to raise merry hell)
  • The CEO who is required to show up every day NOT as her self in order to do her job – and who goes home every night to a relationship with someone who, yes again, requires her to NOT be herself (while silently screaming inside her skull that here, see, the most amazing version of myself is begging to be noticed and loved and revered)
  • The corporate achiever who has done everything right along the way, yet who keeps banging against a ceiling of such force with such ferocious, unfulfilled energy that she has entered into paralysis; one foot on the brake, one on the accelerator (while silently screaming inside her skull that if she could just be let loose she would EXPLODE into action and audacity and people wouldn’t see her for dust)

All have been brainwashed into believing they must sanitise their soul – or sacrifice success. Which is one of the greatest illusions there is (for the only secret to astronomic success is to be the unsanitised version of you).

And the higher the echelons of success, and the greater the risk to be taken (and the further to fall), the more prevalent the cult of the sanitised soul is. The sanitised soul exists through all of society, of course, but it is most painful to see in the rarified world of the CEO, the executive, the corporate achiever – because there you will find the very people who MUST unleash their unsanitised souls because they have the most power to challenge the status quo, to speed up true transformation, to shift the PC paradigm… and yet…

You think I’m being melodramatic?

No – this could not be more critical; it becomes a matter of life or death for some. I can make you aware to what you already know (you wake at 3am with that vague, subterranean panic about your life), but I frankly couldn’t care less if you want to ignore the warning signs. I’m in this for myself. BUT you should be under no illusion that, one day, your soul will win. It will kick up such an almighty fuss that something will break – your sanity, your health, your career, your relationships…

Trust me: unsanitise your sanitised soul now, before the damage is done.

 

 

 

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How do you turn on your Erotic ID?

Your Erotic ID™ is the key to becoming a magnet for what you want.

Understand and OWN your Erotic ID – that mysterious, magical mix of your unique identity and your image; your true creative nature that you were born with – and you will make yourself magnetic to:

… the ultimate client, lover, employee, employer…

… money, as it naturally wants to come to you…

… a business, career or empire that’s an expression of your purpose…

… a lifestyle that fulfils your wildest dreams…

… an iconic personal brand and style unlike any other.

And that’s just the start.

Your Erotic ID is the secret weapon that you can employ in all areas of your life to magnetise what you want. And it is yours, and yours alone.

Because of this, there is no prescriptive recipe – but there is a sequence. And it starts with turning on your Erotic ID.

Here’s the key to turning on your Erotic ID…

  • ONE… Write down every descriptive word of how you want to feel in this life – single words only (ie loved, sexy, creative, fiery, smart, wealthy, clever, generous, expansive, admired)
  • TWO… Strike out every one of those words that relies on someone else ‘giving’ you that feeling (ie loved, admired)
  • THREE… Of the remaining list, cut it down to just ONE that makes you tingle

That final word turns the key in the door to your Erotic ID wonderland.

The unlocking of the door is just the start.

From there, you must walk into your Erotic ID wonderland – step into it, envision it, make it expansive and compelling, and put tangible flesh on the bones of this extraordinary personal and professional tool – and see the magic that starts to ripple out across your life.

SO…

Once you have your word, we need to talk. 

 

 

 

What is Dark Branding… and are you it?

I coined the term, Dark Branding, to describe the realm of storytelling that is the antithesis of, and antidote to, light branding – which is where marketing is pretty much stuck at the moment (think the endless, cookie-cutter memes of ‘happiness’ and ‘gratefulness’, and content or brands that perpetuate the myth of perfect motherhood/bodies/interiors/diets etc etc etc).

While there will always need to be light AND dark (read up on Taoism for more on this), society’s current obsession with the light side of life – and the misguided idea that we should be working towards a Utopia – means that there is an unparalleled opportunity right now for genuinely dark brands, whether a person or a product, to cut through the forgettable mass and make a unforgettable mark.

But what is Dark Branding?

Dark Branding must be:
• Primal (example: Dita von Teese). Primal refers to the physical plane – your actual human body; all the messy blood, sweat and tears of it, the erotic and the enjoyable, the painful and the pleasurable. Light brands are often concerned with the spiritual realm, and the rejection of the physical.
• Provocative (example: Twin Peaks). That which is unusual, unapologetic, unique and utterly, enigmatically wondrous owns this space. Rather than simply ‘sex sells’, the truly provocative is something very, very hard to pin down.
• Powerful (example: Museum of Old and New Art, aka MONA). Something becomes powerful because it is bold, boldly goes where others don’t and is beholden to nothing. Something powerful cannot be ignored, and it therefore changes and challenges the world around it.

These three are the non-negotiables.

Dark Branding is also:
• Premium – because it is, by its very nature, a niche proposition
• Personal – ditto
• Peerless – ditto
• Perennial – ditto
• Polarising – ditto
• Un-PC – and therefore needed on our intellectually timid planet

Dark Branding is NOT:
• Simply sex or porn – it is more sophisticated and subtle than this
• Obsessed with death – this is an element or theme, naturally, but it is not the be all
• (Only) visually dark – a dark brand can be visually light, yet still have an undercurrent of darkness (think of one of the original masters of personal branding, Frida Kahlo)

What does this mean for you?

Well, if you have a personal or product-based brand that is not getting traction, or feels stale or off somehow, here are some questions for you…

ARE YOU TRYING TO BE LIGHT WHEN YOU’RE MEANT TO BE DARK?
This is an affliction. It comes from people being scared of their inherent darkness. They avoid making the hard decision to understand their own darkness and instead look around them at what’s trending – and simply copy the conventions of the day (this is why those insipid, sparkly gold, handwritten Instagram quotes abound). But if your true nature leans to the dark, then the closer you get to expressing this, the more your world will resonate with others (and with yourself).

ARE YOU TRYING TO BE DARK WHEN YOU’RE MEANT TO BE LIGHT?
This is less common – because it’s simply more challenging to be openly dark than it is openly light. Society is not so accepting of the dark at the moment. But, again, it’s about being yourself. A true light brand (not a contrived, copycat version) is a wonderful thing.

Personally, I have never tried to be light. I’ve always known it’s not me. (If you know of the Birthday Book, I am born on the Day of the Dark Pragmatist, which it’s eerily apt). I have researched, created and collected dark brands for more than 20 years – and I currently have two of my own. I have admittedly been guilty of toning down my darkness in the past. But experience has taught me one thing: if your brand turns you on, it will turn others on. If you are turned off by yourself, then others will also turn off from you. So the closer you are to your true self (whether you lean to the light or the dark), the more successful and happier you will be, both personally and professionally.

So, if you are a dark brand – be brave and go bloody be a dark brand!

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The Art of Erotic Eating

How you do one thing is how you do everything. 

The path from one thing is the path to everything.

How you eat is how you live.

If you want to live an erotic life – and trust me, you do, because your gut instinct is erotic, your eroticism is your existence and the expression of your true self, and only when you are true to yourself does life unfold – you must eat an erotic life.

Perhaps the most erotic quote about food comes thanks to Lawrence Durrell:

“The whole Mediterranean, the sculpture, the palm, the gold beads, the bearded heroes, the wine, the ideas, the ships, the moonlight, the winged gorgons, the bronze men, the philosophers – all of it seems to rise in the sour, pungent taste of these black olives between the teeth. A taste older than meat, older than wine. A taste as old as cold water.” – ‘Prospero’s Cell (1945)

I think about food all day. From the moment I get up, to the moment I go to sleep. And I challenge myself to eat the erotic way…

What does erotic eating look like?

  1. Admit what you want. Not what other people tell you should want.
  2. Be honest about what makes you feel good (what turns you on, inside and out)
  3. Eat when you are hungry.
  4. Eat quality, not quantity
  5. Know what creates comfort and discomfort in your body.
  6. Be curious, bold, break the rules, seek the new and exotic. This is a particularly erotic example… As is this. It is Dita von Teese, after all!
  7. Create more than you consume.
  8. Eat with all your senses. Look for umami,

This is my analogy for how to eat life, and it is the way in which you will want to actually eat when you realise that everything is erotic – and how you eat is how you live.

 

 

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Why you need to be a stripper*

Right now, I am removing about 50% of the beautiful clothes in my wardrobe. Because, paradoxically, it creates more beauty.

The world needs more beauty. it needs more acts of beauty. From an ethical and aesthetic point of view (not to mention a personal and professional one), pursuing the truth of your identity and then expressing the image you arrive at is an act of beauty. {Identity + image = personal brand.}

I don’t believe beautiful personal brands can be externally created. It starts with what’s inside. The internal is always written on the external, anyway – so you might as well accept this fact.

Not only do I hold this strong opinion. I also know for a fact that personal branding is not about adding things. It was, is and shall forevermore be about REMOVING.

We are all, like it or not, generally walking around as unconscious constructs of our external environment. What we have dressed ourselves in are other’s opinions, expectations, conventions, traditions, habits, demands, desires etc. Forgetting our own in the process.

To create a beautiful personal brand, you must let go. You must become a stripper. You must remove.

So, going back to my first point – I realised that I have been somewhat hypocritical in advising my clients of this, when right in front of me was a wardrobe heaving with the fabric version of me from days gone by… Sydney, circa 2004, when I had a very high-profile glamorous job and was paid to be very badly behaved (which was great, since I would have been badly behave for free). Despite hardly ever wearing the clothes now, I am sentimental for that time, and the person I believe I was… the clothes represent the me from then, and I know the enduring fear of letting go of them comes from the fear of having to say, “So, who the hell am I if not that person?” The fear of being boring. The fear of having no identity,

Of course, the more you fear to let go of something, the more important is is for you to let go of it.

So, it’s time to strip away yet more of me.

* I was, in actual fact, an ACTUAL stripper – for 5 years or so – in Sydney. Stripping put me through uni, allowing me to make good money in the dark hours while I devoted every daylight hour to a double-degree alongside working as an intern (for free) at Marie Claire… waiting to land my first poorly paid yet precious magazine job. I didn’t have the wealthy parents to support me while I pursued this career, and, as someone who loved dancing, seduction, men and money, I had secretly always wanted to be a stripper (as a 7-year-old, I’d wanted to be Mata Hari… ). I’d still love to be a stripper now. In fact, I did my final university thesis on the male gaze, and the intersection between the nude and the naked – with my strip club as the test case.

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Personal branding 101: Dissent

“To be like others is a bore… Even as a child I wanted to be distinct, to be different, to be adored…” – Frida Kahlo

Your dissent is your power.

What makes you different (where your identity dissents from the herd) makes you distinct in the eyes of others. It’s also the hardest thing to identify, pursue and stay true to. We’re coached from a young age to conform. But the world will only be shaped and changed by those who challenge the status quo through their own dissenting beliefs, and who know how to express, communicate and implement this difference.

You can’t, of course, be the next Frida Kahlo. There will only ever be one Frida Kahlo. And that’s the point. If you want to attain the same status, you must learn from her unapologetic pursuit of her own dissent/difference/distinctiveness – an unyielding, all-consuming, selflessly selfish pursuit that created a true Heroine – in a way that no conventional personal branding work could ever do (this is very important: it’s no small point that Frida hasn’t rocked the world because of her logo, or tagline, or etc etc etc…).

The world needs more women like Frida, women who are willing to dissent and be role models for those other women who are dying to also be different but are feeling the pressure to conform. To be it, first you must see it.

Frida wanted to make the world fall head over heels in love with her. You can do the same. But in order to make yourself proud and to inspire others with your dissent – you must first come to know what makes you different.

In order to make yourself proud and to inspire others with your dissent – you must first come to know what makes you different.

This is where your highest value is found – to yourself and to others – and it’s also how you will be able to sidestep convention and effortlessly operate in this space of highest value. This looks and feels VERY different from the traditional status and success you are currently experiencing, but is infinitely more powerful and persuasive.

It is simple, yet not easy. And an exciting, altered reality awaits those who take on the uncomfortable (and often lonely) challenge of pursuing their Heroine identity.

A Heroine Vision Session is the first step to your own unconventional truth (and dissenting personal brand) – where you can talk with someone who gets you, and gets what you want. By application only.

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Only fearless women have real personal brands

There is much written on how to ‘create’ a personal brand.

Thing is, you can’t. Not an authentic one, anyway. Personal branding isn’t a shiny new logo, website or tagline. That’s decoration. And a true personal brand can’t be copied from others, or constructed from thin air.

Think of the most memorable women you know, real or imagined, living or dead. Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, Frida Kahlo… The fact you know of them means they have a personal brand. And chances are, the women who spring into your mind, not one of them has a personal brand that was created by a marketing company, ad agency or branding specialist. They have a personal brand because they unapologetically, single-mindedly pursued their own path.

Personal branding is the journey of defining yourself, professionally and personally, in order to leave an impression in the hearts and minds of others.

What most people don’t realise, is that this definition – a true personal brand – only arises through letting go. (Conversely, learning to let go can be attained through the process of personal branding.) What I mean by this, is that you can only be ‘defined’ in the eyes of yourself or others when you remove and release the noise and clutter around you. You must let go of anything that is copied, constructed or contrived from the world around you in order to attain true clarity, courage, conviction, confidence…

A principle of Taoism, letting go is one of the hardest and most rewarding things for humans to do. Want true serenity, power, focus and freedom? Let go.

Like all hard, rewarding things in this world, letting go takes ongoing practice… Whether it’s the clothes in your wardrobe that represent another time and now make you feel trapped, or your need to control a situation because you fear uncertainty and chaos, change and growth can only happen when you make space for them by letting go. Your personal brand is no different.

The concept of letting go has been looming large in my life – and the lives of my clients – lately. Ruthless ‘removal, refusal and restriction’ are the tenets I teach to my female clients in order for them to reach and retain the burning clear brand that is inside them (this is important to note: your personal brand is only to be found inside you; it is never an external creation).

One thing that happens as a result of this letting go is that your world becomes much smaller. When you no longer tolerate the unnecessary, and you are unapologetic and open about this (when you own it, and own up to it, and then model it for others), things drop away – people, places, projects, distractions, social conventions and expectations… This is scary for most people (particularly as it seems counter-intuitive to brand-building, and as you will get push-back from those around you who are challenged by your focus). But if you are brave and persist through this scariness, the reward is that your world goes on to become much, much larger. Your inner clarity, courage and conviction (your personal brand) becomes so laser sharp that a multitude of new external possibilities and opportunities arises for you. This is why only the most fearless women will have a personal brand that means anything in our over-stuffed world.

Letting go is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done – personally and professionally – and I have to work on it, each and every day. But I know with utter conviction that is is the only way to approach this journey of defining myself.

Letting go is the ONLY concept you need to master if you want a personal brand that is enduring and authentic. Your personal brand will emerge when you let go of everything that is no longer you, and no longer serves you (identity), your work (calling) and your end game (desires).

 

 

 

 

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Your ‘calling career’ (only do what only you can do)

As a synaesthete, I am grateful to have found a way to integrate this genetic gift into my work… of course, it is thanks to the synaesthesia itself that I could see the patterns and make the connections necessary to bring all the parts of me together so holistically, with such unusual yet neat synchronicity.

And it is this ‘creative cross-wiring’ that allows me to also redefine and reimagine the careers of my clients – seeing possibilities and pathways that they would never have dreamt of… but providing the perfect solution to their un-met desire to express their true calling through their career.

If you are an ambitious, successful, high-achieving woman – CEO, politician, creative visionary, community leader, entrepreneur – I encourage you to consider:

a) What unique gifts you have… and have been denying, or hiding
b) What you truly desire
c) Who you want to help
d) What outcome you want to create

It is very likely that a + b + c + d = your calling.

When integrated with your existing experience and skills, and wrapped in your established reputation, this formula creates an unstoppable catalyst for change – for changing your life, and those around you.

I challenge you to not settle, and choose the path of difference by doing only what only you can do.

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The Pandora Paradox

THE PANDORA PARADOXYou’re a visionary, high-achieving woman – CEO, community leader, creative genius… and you have a calling. You’re drawn to something ‘more’ than what you’re currently doing (which is usually, by the way, already pretty amazing). You want to leave a legacy. Whether your calling is philanthropic, entrepreneurial, corporate, spiritual, creative, a pilgrimage back to yourself… you are one of the lucky ones who has been tapped on the shoulder by life, and been reminded by her: make no mistake, the only time is now. You are lucky because you are getting this calling now, before it is too late.

To create a legacy and follow your calling, you need to take others on your journey with you. You do this by being clear on your purpose and telling your story to support this purpose.

History tells us clearly that those who create, tell and control the clearest, strongest stories hold the power, and reap the recognition and rewards. Traditionally, this has been men (through ‘the hero’s journey’). And the strongest stories have light and dark. They are three-dimensional, with the depth that comes with all shades of humanity. So if you want to leave a legacy, to follow your calling, to live a ‘whole’ life, you need to know how to tell this multi-faceted story.

And here lies the problem for many women. To find your purpose and tell your story requires you to address what I call The Pandora Paradox – in order for you to reach and release your ‘hope’, your true calling and purpose, you must also release and recognise the darkness. Not comfortable, but necessary.

Put simply, if you are drawn to live a life that’s larger than yourself, you can no longer suppress or deny the dark things about you… because it is through them that you get to the light (your true calling). You can’t have light without the dark. It’s not about sharing everything with the world; it’s about being honest with yourself as a complicated, complex, multi-faceted human.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • What do I want?
  • What am I suppressing or hiding in order to stay safe?
  • If other’s opinions of me no longer mattered, what would my life look like?
  • What can I no longer afford to be, do or have in order to follow my calling?

The ambitious, driven female entrepreneurs and corporate professionals I work with (through The Heroine’s Journey, identifying their inner heroine – the subconscious part of them that instinctively knows their calling) understand this concept, that they need to embrace the dark and the light. They are unusual, courageous women because not only do they have a calling, they are prepared to do the difficult work – opening Pandora’s box – to make their vision a reality.

http://dangerouswoman.com.au/work-with-me/

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