My journey of self-exploration began back in 1974. I was born that year on the 14th of July, innocent, pure and ready to be loved. My earliest memory was being at my Uncle’s house in Australia when I was two and I was happy. My parents had separated and I lived with my birth Mother mostly until the age of four. As I got older I could feel the pull between both parents and because of this, I often felt unsafe, insecure, and anxious. As time went by, other feelings began to surface; feelings of confusion and rejection. My birth Mother was deemed unfit to look after me, and so my Dad regained full custody when I was four. I love my Dad and I am forever eternally grateful for his love and support over the years.
As time went on, my birth Mother would re-enter my life, sometimes for just a few months, other times I wouldn’t see her for years. It was always deeply unsettling for me as, whenever she appeared, my life would be turned upside down. Just hearing her call, “Hello, it’s Mummy”, would trigger waves of panic through my body as those same feelings of anxiety immediately resurfaced. I couldn’t express how I felt as I knew it would hurt her feelings but as all the conflicting emotions rattled through me I would feel so confused by my thoughts. She was after all, my mother, and I should love her unconditionally…but I didn’t. Because of this I thought I was bad. I was brought up to respect my elders and would never dream of bringing up confronting or challenging subjects with them, after all- they were the adult and weren’t adults always right? So I stayed silent and swallowed my thoughts.
As the years went by, controlling people would enter my life and I would feel completely powerless in their presence. They seemed to be forever demanding my respect and, having spent many years suppressing my feelings, I would never push back. Instead, I quietly bowed down to their expectations.
I became lost inside my own thoughts and emotions.
Inside I had so much to give, yet I felt no one would want to receive it.
Fast-forward to my teenage years. I was extremely shy and lacking in confidence. At night, I would tuck myself up in bed and cry; I didn’t think I was ever going to be good enough or be successful at anything. At age 15, my self-esteem hit an all-time low and I felt unable to deal with these feelings any longer. I was convinced that no one liked me and that I was just a total inconvenience to all those around me. As I was leaving the bathroom one night and saw some Panadol. I grabbed it and within moments, I had swallowed the lot. At some point during the night I began vomiting and I remember my Dad helping me. I could see little white round bits in the vomit and remember the feeling of guilt and wondering if he knew they were pills I had taken. It saddens and scares me now to think that I kept this a secret to myself for so many years. To this day I have only told Lee. I didn’t even tell my Dad until a few days ago. But now I feel it is hugely important to tell my truth as it may help others. If it encourages a parent to communicate and encourage their own children, then telling my story in all its rawness and honesty will be worth it. My own parenting goal is to have an honest and open relationship with my children, so that they feel safe to come to me and express their feelings.
I became very independent at a young age and left home at 17. I wanted to be a travel agent and, despite lacking self-confidence, I was also hugely determined and I door-knocked on every travel agency in Wellington city. One person saw the potential in me and offered me my dream job! Entering the workforce was brilliant; I had adult mentors whom I looked up to and was surrounded by positive people. During this time I gained new social skills and my self-confidence began to grow.
At 21, I moved to Auckland and met Lee. I knew straight away that he was ‘The One’! After a year we got engaged and set off on an adventure we’ll never forget- travelling around Europe together for several years. That trip was the making of me. I returned a different person. I had discovered the confidence within myself and finally found my own identity.
However, as new challenges entered my life, so did those old feelings. On my return to NZ I had secured a teaching job at a travel and tourism college. It was a challenging position and it pushed me well and truly outside of my comfort zone. I began, once more, to doubt my own ability. As the months went on I gradually became paralysed by negative thoughts and beliefs; I wasn’t good enough, who did I think I was, thinking I could do this job? I withdrew to the comfort of my room, and hid away from the world. Finally, after days in bed, I found the strength to take myself to the doctor. Whilst sitting in the waiting room, my eye fell on a magazine article entitled “DEPRESSION”. I didn’t really know what depression was, but after reading the article I knew with a certainty that this was how I felt! I showed the doctor, telling him, “this is what I have.” It felt like such a relief to have an answer to why I felt like I did. But the doctor dismissed it, telling me instead that I just needed to learn some breathing techniques!
Then in 2005, almost a year after the birth of my first child, I hit another low point. But this time it was different. Outwardly I looked happy and seemed to have everything together. But inside, and behind closed doors, it was a different story; I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t want to see anyone and always had an excuse as to why I couldn’t go to social engagements. Then one day I ‘lost the plot’. As the thought of committing suicide entered my head I broke down, crying. I rang my doctor and made an urgent appointment (by now I had an incredible new doctor). He was amazing, and after really listening to me, diagnosed me with depression. I began medication.
The thought of having to swallow a pill each day for the rest of my life to solve my problems, unsettled me deeply. It simply did not did not feel like the solution and so I began to look at other ways to improve my thoughts. That’s when I met the most incredible lady, Clare Murphy. I recall our first session. She asked me why I was there and all I could do was just cry and cry. I was so angry with myself as I just had no words. I couldn’t answer any of her questions, as once again I was paralysed by my thoughts. It was like my mind and body were imprisoned, surrounded by a concrete wall with no way for me to get out…or let others in. I realised I was afraid of expressing my feelings in case I was shot down or told to stop being silly. It had to stop. My thought patterns had to change. It took some time, but I finally opened up to Clare as I knew I wanted to improve myself and I was determined to get better. During the sessions that followed, my trust in Clare increased and eventually I would do nothing but talk, in fact she couldn’t shut me up! I would leave feeling lighter and would get home and just sleep. I was drained but my body was healing, I could feel it.
I lost count of how many sessions we had together but I knew that for the first time in my life I was able to feel hope and could visualise me being a confident, happy and a good Mum. I read books, listened to audios, wrote my thoughts down and dealt with past issues, and as I did this I became stronger and stronger. When I look back now I think how lucky I was to have such a supportive husband. Lee went through so much whilst I was on this emotional rollercoaster and yet he stuck by me, and for that I am always grateful.
A better life
Part of my journey was wanting a better life. It was now 2008 and the recession hit at the same time as our son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I craved a different lifestyle and wanted our children to grow up in a fun, caring environment. I wanted them to be free from the pressures of society and the materialistic world we lived in. I wanted them to grow up in a place that allowed them to express who they were, do things that had meaning and freedom. These experiences would provide the foundations for them to build strong characters so that when they became older, they knew who they were, what their values were and that they could make their own decisions. Sebastian’s diagnoses was the catalyst of change. We were stressed out, over-worked, and were now having to cope with the challenges Type 1 Diabetes brought. It was relentless.
A year after Seb’s diagnoses, Lee and I managed to have a night away, and chose Whangamata. This beautiful Coromandel town had always been a special place for us. We had holidayed there one year and I recall walking past a shop called Bella where a beautiful bracelet caught my eye. It was engraved with the words “Celebrate Life, Live Simply, Share Joy, Smile Often, Love & Dream Big”. It is the most special thing I have ever bought myself and I still wear it most days. It gave me hope and symbolised what I wanted my life to be. Today I look at is and smile as I have achieved all those things!
As we were leaving Whangamata the following day, I turned to Lee and said “I could live here!”, to which he replied, “So could I, let’s do it!” Oh my golly, I was ecstatic! We spent the next 2 hours setting amazing goals and imagining, hoping and dreaming. Some 9 months later we sold our house in Auckland and moved to Paradise. That was Saturday 27 August 2011. Six years on, and this place is still incredibly special to me and I am proud to say we are locals. I walk the beach most days and it is my place of inspiration and gratitude. The kids love it, especially the surfing! Moving here symbolised everything on that bracelet, it symbolised new beginnings and when someone called me by the name of Lin, I liked it. Before long everyone began calling me Lin, and it stuck! Lin was now my new happy identity.
As I sit and write this today, I can’t but help feel emotional about the fact that my life may have stopped at the age of 15. How grateful I am to have experienced all these incredible gifts over the years and how wonderfully lucky I am to have such supportive friends and family. 15 or so years ago I made a choice to improve myself. I realised that I had the power to make choices which would take me down a pathway to a good life or a bad one. I consistently chose the good pathway, the one that would lead to happiness, to freedom, to a fulfilled life. I often knew which was the right choice as my gut would tell me. Of course I’m not perfect, no one is and we do all make mistakes but I believe we all have the ability to listen to those gut feelings and those inner thoughts and it’s ultimately how we react to them that is important.
After years of soul searching and discovering who I was and what I wanted in life I have shifted my mindset from one of self doubt to a positive one full of self belief. My biggest achievement was making myself well enough to come off the medication and I am proud to say I have been off the pills for 5 years. I now have the tools and strategies to deal with things the minute they begin to turn bad or negative. I know my limits, my boundaries and I know that with a positive mindset, I can succeed at anything! I have more confidence now than I ever dreamed of. I know that if I can turn my life around, if I can dream big and make my dreams come true, if I can shift my mindset to a positive one then anything is possible. If I can do it, then so can others.
Earlier this year I was journaling and reflecting on these past years and in doing so, I had an epiphany. What if I took all the knowledge, all the tools and strategies I had learnt during my journey so far and shared them with others. Wow, what a difference it could make to other people’s lives. And not just to one person, what if it could affect hundreds of people….. or maybe even thousands?! Simultaneously, as I thought this, the old self-doubt popped in and I thought to myself, ‘Who am I to teach people this? I’m not an expert, I’m not qualified.” I sat quietly and visualised. “Imagine the possibilities” I said, and changed my thoughts from negative to positive. I visualised sharing these messages with people and receiving their messages and emails, thanking me for exposing my vulnerability, for sharing my story and providing them with the tools and strategies. I imagined them telling me their own story of how they now felt empowered and that they too were making choices to turn their life around.
And so I continued to visualise the ‘what if’s’. I imagined a community of people coming together to share their stories of how they were able to pick themselves up from ‘rock bottom’ to overcome their challenges and find success. Reading such stories in the past had an incredible impact on my life, I felt proud of the people I read about, and yet I didn’t even know them. I wanted to tell them how amazing they were and how they had inspired me. Their stories gave me hope and I often thought, if they can do it then so can I. How wonderful would it be for my little “community” of people to know that their story could also change the lives of others.
Part of my success was due to the support and guidance of certain professionals. So it got me thinking, what if I had “experts” on board to also share tools and strategies? Over the next few weeks my mind overflowed with ideas and the more I thought of the possibilities, the more I began to feel the passion building inside. It was at this point that I understood my WHY and the minute I realised this, I was like a rocket to the moon! The rocket was my passion, the flames my bursting fear and excitement, the stars were my hope and the moon my goal. I was heading towards my goal a hundred miles an hour! All those months of visualisations were coming to fruition.
Having researched other online businesses, I identified how I could present my ideas as a platform. My next step was to come up with a business name. Well that was easy. I knew that I wanted to inspire people, to challenge them to go well beyond their own beliefs and so Inspire Beyond Belief became reality!
So now I had my idea, my WHY, my business name and truck loads of passion. It was time to sit down and put the jigsaw puzzle together and so here it is….I’m amazingly proud to present:
Inspire Beyond Belief
“To change your mindset and achieve amazing success”
What is Inspire Beyond Belief?
It is a place for women to come and gather inspiration, tools and strategies. It will empower you to change your mindset so you can achieve amazing things. The program and community will help women who, just like me, face challenges every single day. I found my 30’s and 40’s to have been the hardest years as you are dealing with transitioning into adulthood and all the responsibilities and stresses that come with this, including mortgages, careers, family, business, financial struggles and those pesky grey hairs! Inspire Beyond Belief is a place where is it safe to share, knowing you will get support and be given the tools to make incredible progress on your own personal journey. Eventually you will be able to teach and inspire others, including your partners, husbands, and children. This may seem a long way off from where you are today but, as I have found, the inspirational journey has to start within yourself.
Our Facebook page has daily picture quotes and affirmations which are powerful tools to help shift your mindset and inspire and motivate you to take action.
The page will also feature professional videos, vlogs and webinars packed full of inspiring content.
There will be a monthly podcast where I interview inspirational New Zealanders who share their stories and journeys from rock bottom to success. The beauty of these podcasts is that they are so accessible – people can listen to them while they are driving, walking or at the gym.
The webinars will be with the “experts” and these will be an unbelievably valuable source of information.
There will be a private forum where people can come on board to share their stories, struggles, challenges and support each other in a private and safe environment. There will be no place or space for naysayers and negative people!
So, after 8 months of immersing myself in developing this amazing concept, I am on fire! Am I nervous? Hell yes! And if I’m completely honest, the thought of having to get in front of a camera and talk about “stuff” makes me feel sick to the stomach. But I know it’s necessary and I won’t get to the moon without it! What fills we with the most trepidation is sharing my story. I know that the minute I hit this button, I open myself to the world. But I stand by my beliefs and I know in my heart that if I give everything I have learned and combine it with my own personal passion I will have the ability to change not just one person’s life but thousands. My beliefs are strong and my goals are huge.
I can and I will. Watch me!
So there you go, that’s what you call being vulnerable and stepping outside of your comfort zone. This journey was the seed for Inspire Beyond Belief. This is what I was meant to do.
Whatever your ‘story’, be it a relationship breakdown, divorce, career or financial crisis, redundancy, or maybe you just have a child who’s testing your sanity and you don’t know how to cope, whatever life’s challenge is for you right now, I just know you are going to be inspired by what we have to offer. Inspire Beyond Belief will be a place for you to come to and feel empowered to make the changes you need to improve your life.
I would absolutely love to have you join me on a journey of self-discovery, register to become a member.
Life is brief and I choose to live the rest of my life to its full potential. Come join me.