Else Stories: These are the stories of real Else readers, of those pursuing and living their Else. Else Stories grant you a peek into moments of joy and insight, a look at what really matters in the lives of real people and real families. It is a glimpse into stories of adventure, family, perspective, and AHA moments, of learning, struggle, and happiness, all in the pursuit of a life well-lived, a life that doesn’t follow the usual formula, a life that is something Else.
I am writing from experience when I say that I truly believe one of the most important steps in finding and living your Else is to be yourself – that is, the real you, the authentic you. That’s when real change begins and positive things start to happen. If you show the world who you really are, then things subtly begin to shift for you. The universe responds because you’re no longer denying your authenticity.
When you live authentically, the universe starts to give you what you want in your life, however small and subtle, the world begins to open up.
There’s been a lot written about authenticity recently. I discovered it a couple of years ago whilst studying an online business & marketing course, where one of the key things they taught was to be yourself – always. To let your true light shine out despite what anyone else thinks. In doing so, you attract the right opportunities and the right people to you, whether they be paying clients, mentors, friends, advisors.
It was a real eye-opener for me as since being young, I’ve never ‘fitted in’, always felt slightly on the outside as I don’t think, or want the same as my peers.
And I realised, I’ve been wearing a mask, being the person others expect me to be, or think I should be, and so I began to let the real me emerge, bit by bit, until now, when I can honestly say I’ve finally learnt who I am, what I want and, more importantly, what I don’t want. I no longer change myself, however slightly, to fit into someone else’s idea of who they think I should be, be it friend, colleague, client or partner.
For example, I run my own business and work as a holistic therapist, treating clients with massage, aromatherapy, reflexology etc. and running workshops.
Here’s a question for you: when the you hear the term ‘holistic therapist’, what do you immediately think I should be like?
Well, I drink lots of water and green tea, I eat a pretty healthy diet (no meat or processed foods), enjoy long walks with my dog, practice yoga and meditate – so far, so holistic.
I also eat chocolate every day, drink two huge mugs of strong black coffee every morning to kick-start my day, have several visible tattoos, am very partial to large glasses of Pinot Grigio on a regular basis, and smoke a pack of Marlboro every day.
These factors, I hid, I wore the mask, I tried to present myself as how a holistic therapist should be, but I struggled with it and it was making me unhappy, my business was doing ok, but not great.
Now I don’t hide anything. As Gloria Gaynor sang, ‘I am who I am’, and what a difference it’s made not only to me and to my life in general, but mostly to my business.
Initially I did lose a few clients when I began to be authentic, but I’ve gained so many more, my workshops are now always full and I’ve gained loyal, regular clients, who love what I do and like me for who I am because they know I’m real, there’s no fakeness, nothing false about me. I’ve attracted the right people into my life.
Once you start to live authentically, realising what you want and what you don’t want, when you set boundaries, when you live your life on your terms, amazing things start to happen because you feel alive, you feel balanced, you feel ready.
You may lose people along the way, but you’ll gain more likeminded people who ‘get’ you, you find your tribe.
So whatever your Else is, the first small step is being yourself, being authentic, and then the magic starts to happen.
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