Tag Archives: life

Life is what you make it…

Life is good! Life is so very very good!

I spent the long weekend exploring the many natural wonders of the NSW Southern Highlands. From forest bathing to rainforests to rock jumping when the path became a little wet, I really came across all of the wonderful gifts our natural world has on offer.

Illawarra Lookout via the Barren Grounds – worth the muddy trek to get there.
Minnamurra Rainforest – the hike is a little steep but the surroundings are sublime
Jamberoo – you had me at ‘oo’ Truly one of the most beautiful landscapes NSW has to offer.




My other life…

A frollower (thats; friend-follower) contacted me the other week concerned I’d abandoned my blog. In the back of my mind, the daily narrative of ‘must blog today’ played on repeat. The truth is, while I am fortunate to have secured a career that fulfils my passion of writing, I am the type of person that also needs to disconnect.

When I need to disconnect there is only one place I head – and that’s into the wild. Whether its hiking, climbing, paddling or simply forest bathing, to disconnect from the career that has become my life … I embrace my ‘other life’.

Earlier this year I climbed Mt Kosciusko. I didn’t start the climb from the chairlift, I started from the bottom. With a severe weather warning in place, the climb was not only strenuous, it was terrifying in parts. Best climb of my life.
I’ve trekked so many parts of the beautiful Blue Mountains. I couldn’t count how many klms.


Forest Bathing

How’s your work/life balance?

PSX_20160311_144309I was asked recently to create an article around the work/life balance theory. A topic I know a lot about … a topic I LOVE!

After writing this article [which can be found at HatchedDesigns.com.au] I really started to dissect the question of what is a good work/life balance? Over the last few years I have read countless articles on it. I have seen people and corporations build businesses and reap profit from this very popular question that seems to be causing a great deal of people, a great deal of stress.

What I want to say with this blog, right now, is … Finding a good work/life balance isn’t difficult. It is certainly not something people need to add to their stress bucket. If you find your life a little ho-hum, a little more stressed than you would like, or not heading in a direction that fills you with at least some element of excitement or simple joy, you need to stop thinking about the things you loathe and start thinking about the things you love.

Take the time to simply sit down with a pen and paper and identify things that you love.

Now, do you have enough of this ‘thing you love’ in your life?

Are your hours devoted to ‘work’ and what you ‘love’ equal?

How can you bring more of what you love into your life?

For me, it is writing and time with my family. It took me 5 years to get here, however, my employment surrounds writing from home. Getting myself to this position wasn’t easy, but, it was worth it. My children don’t need daycare or before and after School care. They are lucky enough to have their mummy at home. My family was/is my priority and writing is at the top of the list of all things I love about life, therefore I know my work/life is in balance.

Knowing you have a healthy work/life balance comes down to how you feel about it? Does it feel balanced to you? Are you happy? If not, then what can you do at this very moment to change that… What is it that you love to do?

Feel free to start a discussion below. I would love to know how you created a work/life balance you enjoy.

Samantha Jane



Everyone trips, everyone falls…

kat stanley photography.jpg
Photo by Kat Stanley Photography.

It’s a School night. The kids are in bed and I have just finished watching, A Current Affair’s, ‘Trace’ conduct a big girl chit chat with the Ambassador for girl-power, Oprah Winfrey.


The Big O has always fascinated me. I haven’t quite worked out if I love her or simply want to be her. I think it’s a little bit of both. When the chit chat made a bee-line towards ‘Self Belief’, which ironically Oprah is actually good at, she spoke about an old boyfriend in her 20s and how he asked her “why she thought she was so special”. Clearly not an actual question, just a statement to make her feel ‘less than’.

At the time, Oprah agreed with this foolish young man – little did he know who he was actually talking to – and today she laughs at how much she actually believed him. You see, she was told throughout her childhood that she was ‘not special’. Her self worth was fractured and practically destroyed well before their paths had crossed. He would have been simply another voice added to the existing internal dialogue reminding her that she ‘was not good enough’ – a self belief far too many of us adopt.

And with that came my inspiration to write this article.

I met Llew Dowley a while ago now. She had just released her first book titled Crazy Mummy Syndrome. It was a humorous, but very honest, confession of what it is like to go through hell – it was a documented account of her personal experience with Post Natal Depression. Llew learnt first hand during PND mode what it was like to have monsters in her head. The thing with Llew though, is that she used these monsters to propel her forward and through things she either thought she couldn’t achieve, or was told were impossible. Like running. In her book she talks about how she was told, due to an injury, that she should avoid running… so she worked on it, and she started running.

To me, Llew is a little bit like Oprah – she is going to hate me writing that – she is one of those people looking for the next challenge to encourage more of herself to show ‘itself’. I think Oprah embarks upon this task by talking and listening, where as Llew embarks upon it physically. First it was running and then it was walking, sounds a little backward doesn’t it? It was however the walking that left Llew horizontal on the couch in salty puddles of contemplation and disappointment.
When I first heard LLew had decided to join the Oxfam 2015 100klm walk, I was not surprised at all! This lady is a go-getter who appears to have no perceived roof where goals are concerned and with Crazy Mummy Syndrome now somewhat behind her, things seemed different for Llew, she felt strong, and in her heart and mind she was capable of killing this walk no matter how far it was.

In August this year, Llew and 3 friends, Sian, Charley and Bridgette, joined hundreds of other ‘change makers’ to complete the Oxfam 100 Kilometre Trail Walk to raise money for people in need. 100 kilometres is a long way and when I asked Llew how experienced her team members were in attempting this sort of distance, she said they had very limited experience, but all knew it was something they wanted to do. Now this clearly isn’t a walk along the Esplanade. We’re talking peaks, mountains, foot holes and stairs that require miles of walking lunges. It is tough!

The girls trained. They completed 30, 40 and even 60klm treks prior to the big 100. Bundeena to Otford to Audley from 6am to 9pm. It was repetitive and challenging, but their mindset and training had them convinced that they could do it.

When I met with Llew to discuss how the walk went, she was clearly upset. She said, “Oh you want to talk about me not finishing it?”. As it turns out, by the 3rd check point an old friend had decided to join Llew. It was bad knee number one and surprisingly bad knee number 2. Incredibly swollen and in no condition to continue, she was forced to stop at 43klms. Devastated doesn’t describe what Llew was feeling. I think she felt cheated, ripped off.

Llew had put her heart into this, and in her mind she had seen herself succeeding before it even started. Little did she know that, when others would cross the finish line, she would be lying on the couch in tears wondering what went wrong.

Chatting to Llew I could see that it was the ‘not finishing’ that she saw the most. All I could think was, “You walked 43klms!. I have never walked that far! I’m not sure I could … maybe I should try?” The greatness I saw was the failure she saw, because she was brave enough to see more. To believe more of herself – in herself.

We need more people like Llew! More people to expect more from themselves. More people brave enough to attempt BIG things. More people who choose to stop listening to the monsters in their head. If Oprah had listened to that boy in her 20s would she be where she is today? I doubt it.

Maybe it’s time to stop looking at what you haven’t achieved and start looking at what you can.

[Llew and her team raised $13,000 for Oxfam, assisting people who need it the most.]

Read more about Llew’s journey over at: http://www.crazymummysyndrome.com

This article appeared in the 22nd issue of I AM Magazine.

It was written by:
Samantha Jane
E: iammagazine@live.com.au / sjfreelanceblogger@gmail.com

Need a Writer? Contact Samantha Jane.

I AM B2B – Business2Business

Another Sutherland Shire local business…

kirsty obrien

When you need the services of a professional, you want someone with experience. And not just the pen on paper type. You want someone who, not only understands the problem, they have test driven solutions all the way to success.

If you want to improve your appearance, you opt for a hairdresser who is known for their ability to style others, or a makeup artist with a kick ass portfolio. If you want to lose a few pounds, you choose a personal trainer who has achieved success in weight loss. If your car packs it in, you most definitely want a mechanic who knows how to pull apart an engine and put it back together.

You want someone who has been there and done that… you want someone with experience.

So what about a Life Coach or any coach for that matter?

What counts more to you? The establishment they achieved their degree at, or hands on experience?

You have to ask yourself, who is more qualified … someone who has simply studied or someone who has hands on experience with the ups and downs of life…

Kirsty O’Brien, founder of Invisible Crown, is a successful Women’s Empowerment Coach. She is in love with her life.

Kirsty believes you won’t get what you want out of life until you are in cahoots with yourself. This was a valuable lesson she learnt a few years ago when she went through divorce, nursed her 4 year old through cancer therapy, lost everything and even faced bankruptcy. It is a lesson she intends passing onto others… it is the lesson of acceptance and true self love.

The hands on experience Kirsty gained, in rebuilding her own life, has given her valuable tools in assisting others build theirs.

Every woman has unique struggles and personal triumphs. We learn a great deal of wisdom from our time spent on the ride down to ‘rock bottom’. Some women never experience those times and then there are others who do. Those times, as difficult as they are, teach us the most about life. Kirsty has found her most successful coaching tools from her personal experience with ‘rock bottom’ and is now using those tools to help women identify and achieve their dreams.

It is very easy to sit back and say, I wish I had this, or I wish I had that. The question is ‘how’.
How do you get to ‘success’ – do you really even know what ‘your success’ looks like?

Kirsty helps her clients take the action that is required to achieve their dreams. Maybe she can help you find that yellow brick road to your very own happily ever after.

Here are some of the services offered: One on one and internet coaching sessions, intensive workshops and retreats, and self esteem workshops for teen girls. To find more on services available please visit the following website:
Email invisiblecrown@outlook.com.au

Dreams don’t work unless you do!


It’s like expecting to win lotto without buying a lottery ticket – unless you provide action {work} for your dream, it will never come true.

You want to write a brilliant novel? Start writing and KEEP writing. An unfinished book will never get published.

You want to be a chef? Start cooking.

You want to be successful artist? Start creating.

Whatever you start you must keep going.

Although we dream at night, dreams don’t come true overnight.

Stay committed to your dream and you will reap the rewards.

Chase your dreams, do what you have to do to make it a reality.

Is there a half marathon or even an ultra marathon on your bucket list – but, you can barely run a kilometre? Find inspiration in 41 year old Tanya’s incredible journey, from struggling through an initial 800 metre run to killing it on THE BIG RED RUN!

Fear of failure, and pain, is the best motivator to get me up, out of bed, and running. I wanted to know I could, I wanted to prove to myself that the old me didn’t exist anymore and I wanted to do something to make my family and especially my son proud.


Chase your dreams do what you have to do to make it a reality. Chase it, commit to it, and sacrifice for it. For the first time in my life that old saying ‘You can do anything you want’ rings true. And trust me, it is so worth it, the pride of my family, my pride in myself and the confidence it has given me more than outweigh the struggle to get there. I’m not the fastest, the strongest, or the fittest, when its all said and done I’m pretty ordinary but I’ve just done it, 6 days 250 ks in the desert, and I can honestly say it was fun!



John Coutis, the man with half a body, leads a very FULL life.

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The ‘Rolling Success’ John Coutis is a man on a motivational mission to prove that, “if he can…you can!”

How does a man born with a severe disability that left this country boys parents thinking they would have to bury their son in a shoebox become one of the world’s top motivators, sharing a stage with some of the most influential people, like the great Nelson Mandela…

One month before his 18th Birthday John made the courageous decision to have his legs surgically removed. From birth, John’s legs were rendered useless, they simply did not work. He could feel touch only when he saw his legs being touched, otherwise their was nothing. After that surgery John says so many things ran through his head, one of them being, “how much is my life worth?” He asks the thousands of people that pack the stands at his motivational talks, how much they believe their life is worth. Some look at him with a blank face really not knowing the answer. He says the answer is simple, “Your life is PRICELESS! You have to start spending it that way. DON’T WASTE YOUR LIFE. Write down your goals, because GOALS give you purpose and direction.” John states that one of his goals everyday is to have fun and enjoy himself.

John puts his success down to the taunts and bullying he experienced as a child. He learnt from a very young age that if he was going to get somewhere, anywhere in life, he would need to block out the voices telling him he wasn’t good enough. He quotes on his website rollingsuccess.com, “Blocking out the negatives has been a full time job for me. My focus has been on achieving and doing what most said I could not do.”

John classes himself as ‘a lucky one’ due to his disability being visible. He believes that everybody has a disability – everybody – for most people however, it is their heart, attitude and the way they treat others and themselves. One of life’s biggest battles, according to John, is loving who you are.

“I don’t want to be sitting in a nursing home at 80 years of age thinking would my life have been different if I had done what I wanted to do. The trick is to get up off your bum and get into life, because you get one chance to do your very best – one chance! How lucky are we today.”

“No matter how screwed up you think your life is it can always be straightened out.”

A final word from John; “Let me tell you that you are not ‘JUST’ anything. You, like me, are a human being, talented, special and an individual. You are not ‘JUST’ anyone you are someone.”

Watch the Inside Story special on John Coutis tonight on Channel 9.

For more information on John please visit his website at rollingsuccess.com.au and be inspired by the video links below.

They may make you fart…but recent research reveals, beans are most definitely good for your heart!

An 11 year study conducted by geneticists, physicians and medical researchers, in ‘blue zone’ areas around the world – [places where people live the longest with the lowest rates of chronic disease] – has revealed that BEANS are the cornerstone in a diet producing optimal health and overall life longevity.

“One five-country study showed that beans were the only food that predicted a longer life—for each 20-gram serving (about two tablespoons) eaten a day, the chance of dying dropped by 8%. Fava beans in Sardinia, black beans in Costa Rica, lentils in Ikaria, soybeans in Okinawa.”

Beans not only deliver more protein than beef, they are a friend to the gut by providing an ideal environment for good bacteria to thrive.

Looking for easy ways to up your bean intake? Simply add a few tablespoons to your salad, soup, stew or a nice warm bowl of chilli. Here’s a tip! Next time you are baking, leave the butter and oil out! Puree some beans for the moisture you need in those yummy muffins, loafs and cakes. Sounds odd, but trust me, you’ll never know the difference.

How many beans will you eat today?

Another blog by Samantha Jane…
sj freelance blogger graphic copy

[Information and quotes sourced via the Wall Street Journal and sheknows.com]

Never lose sight of the gateway…

Feeling like you are stuck or not progressing towards a goal or some sort of ‘better’ future can be extremely disheartening. In times like this I choose to look through peripheral vision to what truly lies in front, behind and all around me. There is always a gateway to someplace or time that you want to be. The gateway or open door is always there. At times you will feel like you are walking parallel to this gateway, as opposed to towards it. Remember, during these times you are exactly where you need to be. Life is a journey of winding roads, speed humps and, unfortunately sometimes, dead ends, but, a gateway to a new adventure or experience you truly desire, will always remain.

Happy Monday – Samantha Jane Editor @ I AM