Finding Meaning, Experiencing Grace

Dear Friends,

I am inspired to share with you today. I have so much to share, many insights and offerings. But I want to start with something that touched me deeply on the plane yesterday, flying home from a client’s private intensive.

I read the New Yorker Magazine, my favorite, on the plane and found one of the best articles I have ever read. I am a writer who was a journalist for 12 years and I have to say that I am pretty fussy about articles, having read and written a lot of them over the years.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/06/27/syrias-war-on-doctors

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I was blown open by this article because it gave such an intimate view on the world of doctors without borders and what they face in out of reach war zones. Such a long way from my life, helping people in the West to transcend limits, to step into their highest self, to break the ceiling.

I love to help privileged folks, like you and I, to touch the depths of their being and step into it in their daily lives. This is awesome, but it is nothing compared to what those doctors do.

The article dives into the experience of surgeon David Nott who trains surgeons, medical students, and residents to carry out trauma surgeries far beyond their qualifications in places that are war-torn or out of reach, including Syria. This man is something different, a person of real light and truth and integrity. Read the article, let it touch you, see what you think of him for yourself. I challenge anyone to get to the end without a tear.

I was ripped open reading this article through taking a look at what has happened in Syria in the past five years where the government has assassinated, bombed and tortured to death almost seven hundred medical personnel, according to Physicians for Human Rights, an organization that documents attacks on medical care in war zones.

Doctors that go there on a volunteer basis seeing some of the most horrific things that have probably happened on the planet, and being treated like criminals for helping these people who are victims to the war, make my little problems look very insignificant.

When I look at something like this, I can only think of how lucky I am in every single way. Living in the East Bay of San Francisco as a resident of the United States. A white woman working to help people overcome their personal problems using meditation techniques. Being paid to do what I love.

I am humbled by the stories of surgeons seeing children come in every day with horrific bomb wounds or sniper wounds, their faces, their guts, their legs and arms blown away. Some dying awful deaths, some living severely compromised and some of them taken by the army and tortured publicly or behind closed doors. In the face of such horror and unthinkable danger they continue to work where possible to save people’s lives.

Every single thing about my life seems like a Grace. The question that I am left with is this:

How can I make the most of every single moment, every single day? How can I give back? How can I receive this Grace that I have been given, cultivate and nurture it, and give back to make at least some small positive difference in the world?

I am not sure of the answer, but it is a question from which I derive great meaning and when I forget about it, I am lost.

What meaningful questions do you ask yourself that keep you ontrack with your bigger sense of purpose?

I would love to know, please share or send me a message.

With love

Samantha

Running a business from the inside out

Running your own business is vulnerable. Why?

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Well it is vulnerable to promote ourselves, to sell our services and products that are really sold because of our own personal brand and presence. It is an experience of being seen, which is, at least for me, very raw.

When you live in the world, and create a business of your own, you simply cannot do everything that you know has to be done. And then you have to get out there and sell your stuff anyway even when your promotion materials etc are not perfect.

I find I can be out there acting strong and in my “got it all together” persona but this is not very receptive. There is another simple way of shining from the inside out, in a way that is vulnerable, embracing human, and not about trying to be perfect.

This way of shining from vulnerability is what I hope to do when I am speaking at the New Living Expo in San Mateo this coming weekend April 29, 30 and May 1st. And then at FemTalks in Novato on Friday and Saturday May 20/21. I hope to be real and open so that I can shine my message in alignment with the highest parts of myself, attracting the people that I really love to work with and can give so much too.

My journey in running my own business using meditation-based techniques to help people transform themselves and therefore their lives has been super vulnerable. Why?

Because I am not perfect, and I battle with the expectations in myself that I should be perfect.

The only way around this for me was to learn to lean on others. Receiving the support of dear friends, colleagues, and even long term clients has humbled and opened my heart many times over. Friends who see me for who I am, business referral partners who support me and want to be supported by me, dear clients who love the work we have done together and nourish my business with their enthusiasm, all fill my tender heart with joy.

In almost 15 years of running my own business, I have learned to create and rest on community. In this, there is a moment-by-moment choice to be held in my imperfections, so that I can authentically go out and shine the fullness of my humanity and do the work I do best: bring the energy of transformation.

For me, going out to promote my work is never easy. Whether I stand on a stage or in front of a prospective client to talk about what I do, I feel exposed and kind of raw. Yet at the same time, I feel completely confident that what I do is absolutely amazing and so much better than I can ever explain or even illustrate in an hour or just one session.

When I started out in business for myself, I was a freelance journalist. I had been a financial journalist for about 6+ years in Australia and the UK. I was pretty good at what I did, among the best actually. I was fast and hunted hot stories. In my full time work I had to make a lot of calls to brokers, and company CEOs and other intimidating and busy people.

Yet when it came to call the newspaper editors and ask for work, basically to sell myself as a freelancer, I was sometimes paralyzed. By this I mean, I stood by the phone hardly able to breathe, anxiety pounding in my chest for quite some time before and after making that 2 minute call.

The paralysis did wear off once I got used to it. But the reason it was so much more intense to call the editors as a freelance journalist was that I was putting myself out there, not just representing the wire services and big news companies.

At times, it felt like me against the world. Like many new business owners, I often felt incredibly isolated. It was my own reputation, my skills, me that I was selling and the potential for them to say ‘no’ was a lot more personal than it had been when I was behind the face of corporation.

Since then, I have been on television to promote my own business. I have spoken to lots and lots of people (probably thousands) around the world to promote myself as a practitioner in meditation-based techniques. And I have written about 30,000 words in blogs about personal transformation, and how I can help people to dive into the sea of their own consciousness.

Even so, my ordinary mind often shouts at me that I could have also done a lot more. Speaking, writing, videos, taxes, a new website, refine my brand, and the list goes on. There is always more that you can do as a business owner to promote your business, to work in your business and even work on your business. And this drive to do more creates the energy of me against the world, the idea of being an island.

It is vulnerable to do something that always shows you where you are growing and where you are blocked. We are all in constant transition. This is absolutely evident as business owners. Running your own business is a job that reflects your stuff right back to you, in the moment, every day.

My trick is to find ways to do this business thing that are in alignment with who I really am, so that it feels good inside. To do it with others who support me in that goal.

When I am able to get centered and make business choices that feel good on the inside, the whole thing has so much more ease and flow. I shine and I notice that I attract the right clients. The people that I can help, the ones that I really love and who love me. The clients that want to dive into it, and appreciate this amazing set of skills that I have crafted over the years of intensive training.

Let me know at samantha@vitalswitch.com if you are interested in either of these events, when I am speaking at the New Living Expo in San Mateo this coming weekend April 29, 30 and May 1st. And then at FemTalks in Novato on Friday and Saturday May 20/21. It would be great to see you there. I can send details and let you know when I am on the stage… so you can see me shine in my vulnerability and we can celebrate together what it is to get up and do it anyway!

Wishing you joy and self love

Samantha

Imagine a world

Valla Beach with family, Dec 2015

Valla Beach with family, Dec 2015

Imagine a world….

Imagine a world with women and men leaders who are vulnerable and powerful, empathetic and self-aware, grounded and connected – leaders equipped to address the enormous challenges of complexity, volatility and increasing pace of change.”

– How Remarkable Women Lead by Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston from McKinsey in San Francisco.

The topics of vulnerability and power seem to be an oxymoron in common English language. I was just exploring the term oxymoron with my nephews Tully (12) and Max (15) in the car on the way out to the Never Never Creek, in the Promised Land in Bellingen Shire, NSW Australia. Tully and Max seemed perplexed about the term oxymoron. But we did get it sorted out.

Northern NSW in Australia, is where I am now – in paradise with my family. I am so happy to have such a beautiful way to let all the hard work of the year go into chaos, be rejuvenated and ready to begin 2016 on a positive note.

In the case of vulnerability and power, the term power can be equated to strength, and vulnerability to weakness according  their dictionary definitions. So how can they be used in the same description?

When talking about the power of vulnerability, (which is a term coined by Brene Brown) what I mean is that experience when someone is brave enough to be connected to the vulnerability of having a human heart, and make the tough decisions anyway. This is the strength of a leader.

On January 19th, 2016 – I will be presenting a meetup in the San Francisco Bay Area in Berkeley on the topic of authentic leadership. There will be a guest speaker, the lovely Tracey Stanton of Red Alchemy talking about her experiences in leadership running a meditation center in Berkeley and her own business in Singapore, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area.

I am really looking forward to diving into this topic with some of you. Particularly as I have a lot of juicy material to give you after running a 10-day meditation course for the Clairvision School in Australia where the emphasis was on opening, vulnerability and the topic was “The Sun Inside”.
I cannot wait to see some of you there, in just a few short weeks.

I hope that you are enjoying the holidays,
Samantha

Invitation To Shine

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Dear Friends,

I want to invite you all to a free event for my program “Start The Business You Love” at WeWork in Berkeley Tuesday November 17th at 6pm.

There will be networking, snacks, drinks (including some beautiful tea) and an opportunity to stand up and say your 30 second soundbite for your business.

I want to share the type of work I do because I love to support women to stand up and shine in their lives. One of the things that I value most is the experience of helping a person to connect with their true essence and then go through the process of expressing that in the world.

I am really excited to be hosting my first event in the Bay Area for my program “Start The Business You Love” because I believe that when women come together in community to celebrate each others’ success the whole world will be a better place to live in.

There are even studies to tell us that when women get paid more, they spend a bulk on it on their family, their community and making the place around them better.

“The simple Truth about the Gender PayGap” 2015 edition found that families increasingly rely on women’s wages to make ends meet.

Between 1967 and 2012, the percentage of mothers who brought home at least a quarter of the family’s earnings rose from less than a third (28 percent) to nearly two-thirds (63 percent).  

Aphrodite. Image from http://commons.wikimedia.org

Aphrodite. Image from http://commons.wikimedia.org

You are beautiful and when you stand up and shine in all of your feminine glory, everyone around you benefits.

For one thing, when you allow yourself to be big in your true sense of self, you give everyone around you permission to do the same.

I am committed to helping women to stand tall in their value, to get what they want, to grow in their lives and to create a community to support all of this to happen.

On a practical level, this is important as women are still paid significantly less than men. Among other reasons, I have observed that we are too often stuck in our “nice girl persona” afraid of making other people uncomfortable.

In 2014, women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 79 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 21 percent. (The study “The simple Truth about the Gender PayGap” 2015 edition)

What matters most to me is seeing people connect with who they really are, and then expressing it in their lives. After working with many women around the world, I see that when women connect with their passion and sense of purpose and commit to expressing it in their lives, they not only feel joyful but make the world a better place.

So right now, I am going to do it too – I am going to shine the light on some of the amazing testimonials I have received from women that I value dearly. I want to share with you that I am so happy and grateful that my clients enjoy working with me because I give them clarity, direction, vitality, confidence and real transformation.

This is what one woman said recently about her work with me:

“Samantha is compassionate, warm and has a generous spirit. There’s also a bit of no bs and strong confidence that is very comforting. She’s extremely insightful and has changed my outlook on the world. I feel I’m a better person for having worked with Samantha. Since working with her, I’m more empathetic and compassionate. I’m not as hard on myself. I know how to relax myself when anxiety kicks in thanks to the meditation techniques that Samantha gave me.” Anita, Executive Producer. Brooklyn, New York.

I want to respond to this touching testimonial by saying that I am so happy to be doing this work, as I feel it is important on a big picture level – even in the arena of global economics.

Some of you might not know this but I am a closet economic geek. I studied economics at university as part of my bachelors and wrote about it a lot as a financial journalist in Australia and the UK. Macro economics is fascinating as sometimes it really gives you a sense of the world’s timeline. (Sometimes)

The thing that excites me about economics right now is that many experts are predicting the future is in the hands of women. When women stand up in their value the world economy will improve, they say.

The future of American Entrepreneurship and growth is in the hands of women.” said the Kauffman Foundation in the November 2014 report titled: “Sources of Hope: Women’s Entrepreneurship”.

This very cool report outlines that women are not owning their share of the economy. If we step into this, now or anytime soon, it could make a big picture difference.

“Overall, women owned businesses account for about one third of all types of  businesses in the United States. Among employer firms, however, women owned businesses are only about 16 percent of the total, and their share of revenues and employees are in the single digits. Among high growth firms, moreover, women usually account for less than 10 percent of founders in any given sample.”
These types of statistics, however, aren’t necessarily the right kind of frame
for approaching the issue. The matter of women and entrepreneurship is not one of trying
to reach some sort of quota; it also is not a matter of “fixing” women or “fixing”
entrepreneurship or “fixing” anything else.
This is an economic growth issue, and to the extent that half of the American population and more than half of our educated population are not fully participating in the engine of growth and innovation, it is an opportunity to avoid the “secular stagnation” that is now expected for the American economy.” – Kauffman Foundation. November 2014. “Sources of Hope: Women’s Entrepreneurship”

If you want to be part of this empowerment, and you are enthusiastic about starting with yourself – changing your approach to your business and learning how you could take a stand and step up to something bigger in your life – I would love to work with you to help you.

As my client, you will get to know who you really are in the best possible sense, and then find out what you want in order to best express that in your life and your business.

Or, if you want to hear more, you want to do something about it for yourself or know a friend that could benefit from this kind of support, please come to the event on Tuesday Nov 17 6pm at We Work in Berkeley I love to hear from you or spend some time talking about how I could support you, so do write me a message here.

Wishing you all much joy!

Samantha

Asking For Money

IMG_3146Hello There,

Imagine this: You feel amazing. Your hair, your clothes, your shoes all feel amazing.

You are about to go and meet a new potential VIP client who is not going to argue over price, and just cannot wait to work with you. She is ready to receive your work fully. She wants to do the work.

It is a full body yes on both sides. You just know it is going to be a great conversation, and that the two of you are going to create something incredible together. This woman’s life is going to change as a result and that feels incredibly nourishing to you.

What if that was your experience almost every single working day of your life? How it would it feel?

You would be living your purpose.

What if living your calling is about changing your mindset as much as it is about getting the practical side of your business in line? What if it is really mostly about finding the part of you that CAN DO THIS every single day?

Many of the women I work with tell me that they have a lot of anxiety about making big decisions alone, stress around the topic of money, and they do not know how to tap into their authentic style of leadership.

And they really want to live a joyful life doing what they love.

Yet changing your mindset around the idea of starting your own business, or being in business for yourself can seem challenging, even daunting.

I remember when I was first in business for myself, back in 2001 when I started working as a freelance journalist. I had been a full time financial journalist for years, working for companies like The Wall Street Journal’s Dow Jones News, and Australian Associated Press in Sydney. I had had my news stories published in every newspaper in Australia. I had had the experience of being the one to break world news about one of Australia’s top 500 companies.

Yet when it came to calling up editors and asking for work I was terrified. Calling stock brokers and analysts to get hot news tips is certainly intense, but nothing compared to being a freelancer calling the editors. Then once I got the job and I had to call the accounts departments to ask when the very much needed check would come through, I was even frozen with fear at times.

Back then the only way through the fear was to do it. I just kept going back to the phone, picking it up, and asking for work. And the only thing that made me do it, was that I really needed the work very badly to pay my bills. That and a very very strong stubborn streak that meant I just could not give up.

However, when I started a business in New York – Vital Switch – with my business partner Matteus Levell, it was different. I was giving private one-to-one sessions to American clients and I had to negotiate for payment in very intimate settings. People’s stuff about money comes up easily in these settings, which was intimidating for me at first.

The book The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist starts out with a great quote about how we are so often unconsciously driven by our emotional relationship to money:

Money is like an iron ring we put through our nose. It is now leading us around wherever it wants. We just forget that we are the ones who designed it.”– Mark Kinney.

When I had to negotiate for my payment with my private clients, my money stuff came up. The fear of asking for something that I really needed was there again.

This time though, it was different because I had support. My business partner helped me through it. He coached me around the energy of receiving.

It was amazing, because as soon as I started to put my focus on the heart opening of receiving instead of the fear of asking, the money started to come in. A lot of my stress dropped away.

The attitudes around money and the beliefs that hold them in place are often very deep. They may be something that we can understand with our ordinary mind, but in fact the anchors that hold them in place are often deep in the unconscious mind.

If you want to change them there are two things that need to happen – first you have to get into action and do things that go against the limiting beliefs and shake up your attitudes. And second, you need to see the real source.

Seeing the real source of your beliefs means seeing where they actually came from in the first place. When you really see it from deep inside, something shifts. There is a knowing, a sense of clarity and your whole Being can start to change the attitudes that may have been holding you back.

I have one client who is very successful in her business, (six figures) and she wants to go to the next level. The thing is that there are times when she is hit by big waves of anxiety. She is a successful person, and very capable and solid in general. But these waves come through her life quite regularly and at those times she becomes incredibly anxious about money, often overspends, and tends to create long impossible to-do lists.

When we worked together, it became clear that if she did not act on the anxiety by spending and creating impossible to-do lists, then she realized that she had big feelings underneath the fear that were previously only unconscious.

There were feelings of deep grief, loss, and a fear of abandonment in her heart. When we worked on opening this in the sessions, allowing her to feel her sense of self in a deep and connected way through the pain, she changed. She became more still, more calm and more peaceful. Through that experience, she also found a sense of certainty about what decisions to make and how to move forward in her business in a way that was supportive and felt good to her. She went to the next level.

I am so happy and grateful to work with women in this way. It is a true joy to see the women in my life stand up and shine their highest sense of self and achieve success in their businesses.

To learn more about my program “Start the business you love” please come to my FREE EVENT in Berkeley on Tuesday November 17th at 6pm – 8.30pm at the WeWork building.

If you cannot come to the event and you are interested in hearing more about what I do, or you want to connect, sign up here and we can set up a complementary one hour free of charge to see what is the next best step for you.

Wishing you all the abundance of deep connected joy,

Samantha