My guest is Sara Simmonds and she wants to motivate you to find your “superpower.” When you dig down you realize she started in luxury clothing and figured out the beauty of when we can tap into our special gifts to bring them forth in service to the world, our friends and families, and ourselves. We are all starting out again and again and to have some clear ways to insert ourselves into our work lives be it for the first or third time is helpful.
Listen to the episode here:
- Unique Power [00:02:57]
- Doing It Differently [00:11:08]
- Connecting People and Clothes [00:16:01]
- Finding Purpose and Being Empowered [00:22:26]
- Facing Our Fears [00:41:47]
- The Magic of Believing [00:46:48]
- Starting the Process of Self-Inquiry [00:51:45]
- Giving Yourself the Luxury of Time [00:55:48]
- Revealing the True You [01:06:14]
Sara Simmonds – Finding Your Super Power
Sara, let’s dive in there. I’m going to pretend like I’m your student. It can be confusing for a lot of people where they’re not sure what to buy or how to buy. I want to have you share how you move through into being an impact entrepreneur and even teaching people about connecting to their purposes or gifts and things like that.
Sometimes, at least for me, I feel more messy in a certain way. Of course, I’m organized and I know how to have a practice in place to reach goals. When I see certain people, it feels like they have it more figured out. At times, it can almost be like, “That’s not for me,” if that makes sense. I’m somebody who’s doing it. Maybe back up the story a little bit because I know you entered through buying and luxury fashion, and even your family was involved. Having a moment where you go, “I can do this but I can do it a little differently.”
Where should I begin?
Whatever feels people can connect, especially in this time where we feel a little more handcuffed. I know your family taught you about luxury and beauty. That’s also in people. My husband and I are all functional and yet I have a daughter that’s all about things being beautiful. She notices and I’m like, “Does it work? Good.” I also think that that’s intuitive and we need that.
That’s the thing. Everybody has a unique power inside of themselves, which can also be called your purpose. My unique power began when I was growing up. My dad had a textile mill in Yorkshire. My mom was a fashion stylist. I suddenly was interested in the fabrics, the colors, and what was going to make people feel awesome. I realized I had a skill in choosing the winning fabric for my dad’s design teams and then choosing the winning outfits for my mom’s clients.
I saw the positive side that what we wear can have and the positive side of what we buy can have, so then I began my career. I had a dream to work as a fashion buyer for one of the world’s top stores. I began that journey to reach that first goal. I totally believe that we’re born with intuitive gifts inside of ourselves. I had a family background. Our purpose can come from our intuition coupled with our youth. These two things combined.
For years, I didn’t know where this driving force was coming from. I’m like, “I’m going to work in a shoe shop,” at age 16. “I’m going to study retail marketing at university.” I watched this British sitcom called Absolutely Fabulous that was all about Harvey Nichols’ store. I didn’t come from London. I came from the north of England and I was like, “The girl is going to London and she’s going to get that job at that store.”
Fate had it in a totally random way. I got that job in that store but not in an obvious way. I was working in a bar, which is the only time I went to a bar in my life in a totally random area at that time called Old Street, which is now where all the hipsters are. At that time, nothing was happening there. In this bar was a guy called Michael who became one of my best friends. He was working with Harvey Nichols in the head office and he said, “I will help you get your CV to HR.” That was my route in and I got that job.
That’s an important point. It’s subtle but it’s important because when we are going to have a path of source, especially when we participate, nothing lands in our lap. If you are doing all these things around it, these opportunities are being laid out for you but it’s not always in this obvious way. It’s even important for parents to remember about their children because you overthink it a lot of times. If you have your head down and you’re doing the work, it’s almost like you can’t be kept from it. You’ll find it and it will find you, and that might happen many times in your life.
I sometimes think that that’s another definition of faith. Faith isn’t just faith in something bigger than us, but the small amounts of faith that we can display in this way in our life. When you’re working in a bar in an old street or old town, are you always optimistic? Are you like, “I’m curious how this is going to come together.”
I am always optimistic as a person. At that time, I was nervous because I was like, “I finished my university degree. Here I am. I’m in London. I’ve got the degree, but how do I get the job?” I was trying and trying, and then suddenly, fate intervened. It’s absolutely as you say it. At those moments where you do feel most vulnerable, you open yourself up, and suddenly decide to step in, trust the process, and let go is when the magic can happen.
One of the hardest things to do is, how do I work hard towards something? It’s almost like that persistence is what allows that window to open. Being an entrepreneur, there are days where you ask yourself, “Am I kidding myself? Am I totally delusional?” I’ve experienced that many times. Sometimes the business has failed and other times they went. This is an interesting space that we have to exist in as an entrepreneur or anyone who’s trying to pursue their inner drive, their inner purpose. You are going to feel that way. Sometimes you’re going to feel like it isn’t for you and that you weren’t right about what you thought you wanted to do.
All of that and more. That happens every day. It’s a total ride being an entrepreneur. Every single day, we’re facing our fear. The more we grow, the more we’re tested. The fear only gets greater. It doesn’t get lesser because it’s like we’re on, “We just grew,” and now it’s like, “Here’s your next challenge. Let’s face the next one.”
[bctt tweet=”Our purpose can come from our intuition coupled with our youth.”]
When things don’t go your way, you feel incredibly vulnerable because as an entrepreneur, you have to face rejection. When you’re doing something and it’s your purpose, your product, yourself, your soul, that rejection can feel even more crushing. The way that I am, I’m learning to deal with things in deeper ways.
When that new wave happens of intense feeling, of vulnerability, or rejection, or “I don’t know what I’m going to do next,” what I’m learning to do is allow the feeling completely. Within our dark feelings, our fears, our anxieties, if we only allow them, they’re giving us the seeds to where our growth is. If we go into them completely, feel that complete surrender to the fear, and we allow it, on the other side when we come through, I feel like I’ve gone up five levels. I get all this new awareness, creativity, direction, and routes forward. I use fear to propel me forward.
People know this. Whether we like it or not, there’s a lot of waste and things around anything. Especially when you’re talking about the apparel business, denim is a big one. Where are you in your journey where you think, “This can be done differently.” How do you take the steps to do that?
I worked for Harvey Nichols for seven years and that was at the beginning of my career from 20 to 27. The first few years in any job, you’re learning, you’re excited, and you’re like, “Wow.” I was buying 100 collections. I was in menswear and focused on that. I specialized in denim. I had a gift. As I say, we’ve all got a unique power. Mine is being able to see what the unique power is in the business, in a person.
I gave that store a positioning to enable me to do my buying, which was the first to launch new trends. I launched skinny jeans for men, organic jeans, organic collections, and upcycled collections. This is back in 2007. These sorts of specialized trends, I was accounted for about 1% of my total budget, but then I was also buying big known brand names. I wasn’t couture. I was the mass luxury names that we all know.
Suddenly, I was seeing season upon season. The season first increased from 2 to 6 per year, then the shows got fuller and fuller of stuff. I was like, “What’s different from this year’s check shirt to last year’s check shirt? It’s virtually the same. Why are you telling me this season it should be that particular shade of orange, not last year’s shade of orange? That’s not fair to the consumer because it’s encouraging them to feel dissatisfied and have to constantly buy more.”
Slowly, Gabby, in my heart, I was like, “This isn’t right.” What I have always been passionate about is consumer buying behavior, psychology, and our reasons for doing things. The way we self-actualize ourselves, and there’s nothing wrong with it, is not through what we wear but it’s what we wear. It’s not our fault that industry has led itself in a certain way. The consumer industry has led itself a certain way since the 1950s of buying and creating an increasing sense of perpetual dissatisfaction.
Having studied that, this didn’t come from a conscious point of view but it came from a deep part within me. I started to go, “This isn’t right. This isn’t luxury. The quality is going down. They were charging more.” All these things didn’t align within me. I became unhappy at that point because I was like, “I know I’m good at what I do, but what’s my next step in my career?” I could only see doing more of the same for another awesome company. I was like, “I don’t want that because I want to use my skill to do good for the world.”
At that point, I was nervous and scared. I said, “I’m going to become an impact entrepreneur and I’m going to start to reimagine how we can make things for a new conscious age.” Because I felt that there would come a time that the conscious age was going to be here, which is now, today, which I’m pleased about. This is back in 2006, ’07. I left and I started with a pair of jeans because that was what I knew and had become intimately aware of.
When you talk about contribution and purpose, we can all come to the table and offer whatever our perspectives are to enhance and elevate the group. Correct me if I’m wrong, in a way, I feel that you look at connecting people with the right uniform or expression. Sometimes I look at clothing as almost like your armor or your suit that you go into the world and you express non-verbally, and then of course, verbally like, “This is who I am.” I’m getting from you that from a young age, you could connect people with their right external expression and by one of the ways is in what they’re wearing. Am I getting this right?
Yeah. It began with what they were wearing, and then I realized it was beyond the clothes. It was what’s their purpose? What’s unique about them? How can they carry that forward in a simple way that they can have that message to the world? When I was in those showrooms, I always felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger when he’s in Terminator and he got those lines in front of his eyes where he’s seeing things and it’s coming up.
I would be able to say in my mind, “Harvey Nichols first launch new trends. This is this brand. These are all the types of clients that buy it, then we’re going to go this and this.” Then be able to pick quickly what the collection was about and do it. I realized that I could do that in making products, then I realized it was in making brands, then I realized it was in giving strategies to companies, then I realized it was seeing it within humans and leaders.
In every way, having that formulaic way to be able to take complex things within a person and a business and take it out and make it into a simple statement that then that person can go out there. What you were saying at the beginning, how does that person sound like they’ve got everything sewed together. It’s because they’ve been through a process. They’ve practiced it. They’ve practiced who they are and what they stand for. They’ve worked. They’ve gone through a process to work it out. That’s been my whole journey of figuring out my purpose. The beginning part was jumping out into my fear, jumping from Harvey Nichols to be an entrepreneur, and then figuring out the rest as I went along through the highs, the lows, the failures, the successes.
I would imagine, we all live in these universes that you have a big stick. You’re buying for these guys. Everyone’s going to make it easy for you and say, “Please come here. We want to show you this.” They’re accommodating you, and then you go out of that structure and you start anew. What’s that transition like? What’s that process like? How did you start again? The other thing about entrepreneurs or anyone who wants to keep learning is your willingness to start again at the bottom. What does that look like for you? Did you have any things in practice that supported you when you were like, “This was a big mistake.”
Not then. Since then, I’ve built those grounding practices more and more to hold me and strengthen me for those days. My meditation practice started quite soon after that, but definitely not at the beginning. What I realized quickly was exactly what I’m sharing with you. You’ve got to be able to talk your talk in a way that is simple to communicate to the world around you who you are, what you stand for, what you can offer people, why you stand out, and why they should back you.
That’s where I quickly realized, “I’ve got to be able to articulate my purpose and what I’m doing because I don’t have this big name behind me as the buyer for Harvey Nichols. It wasn’t there anymore.” I realized to quickly take what you were doing and be able to articulate it in a simple way so that you were creating your own brand authority for yourself.
This is part of what I teach people now. Today, we have one second to make a connection because our world is so overwhelmed. Normally, when someone says, “What do you do?” It’s the thing you spend a lot of your day thinking about, but you can answer it in a simple way. People experience the fight or flight reaction, startled reflex, like, “What do I do?” You only can say what you do if you’ve been through a process to get to that point.
At that point, I realized, “I’ve got to get myself together and be able to say what I do, what I stand for, and why someone should back me quickly.” Then I had to go out and start practicing it, and then you face rejection. You go out there and you say, “I’ve got this idea. I want to build an organic sustainable denim brand. Would you work with me?” You face rejection, and then you have to practice doing the same thing and saying it again and again. You almost have to write it down and have a script. I didn’t have a script at the beginning. The turning point for me was to be able to write a little script for myself of who I was and what I stood for, practice it, and then say it. When I did that, things started to change because I was prepared.
If someone comes to see you and they’re sure about their commitment but they’re unsure about everything else, how that’s going to happen, and maybe they’re not even an extrovert or something like that. I know you have a master class. Is there a way that you start to get people to break things down so that they can learn? I know you’re talking about the things that hold us back but if someone comes to you, do you think all of this is completely teachable?
Yeah. You were saying clothes are our armor and so is what we say about ourselves. We have stories that we say and we repeat them and we say them. They might not be the story that we want to say. We say who we are and what we stand for without having thought it through. They might be stories that someone else said about us, not who we want to be.
What I do is I start at the beginning. I do an exercise. I can introduce you to it. The exercise comes from this brilliant book called Power vs. Force. Power for me was an interesting word because I was super scared to be powerful. I was told, “The thing about our purposes often comes from when we’re young.” We all have this unique power inside of ourselves, but it becomes hidden amongst everything else we do because there can be a lot of shame around our unique power.
Why would we have the audacity to think that we have something special to contribute? What do you think that is?
So many reasons. The parts of ourselves that are different. We’re told not to be those parts sometimes but not all the time when we’re young. My parents would tell me off if I was being loud or being a big personality. My mom would tell me to be like Princess Diana. My dad would say, “You’re so powerful.” These two things were becoming bad things to me.
Women will navigate that differently or have to navigate it differently. It’s not the fault of men. We are a little more surprised when women or young girls are loud or they’re ball breakers or they’re highly opinionated or they’re not placating. I have a daughter that is not interested in making anyone feel comfortable and it makes me uncomfortable. I see my reaction as a parent like, “We’re supposed to be “nice” and all these things.”
That is an interesting programming because this idea of maybe creating baseline decency would be good. If you have different feelings than other people or maybe you don’t feel like talking, this is the other thing, this idea of humoring people gets put on the feminine group more than the masculine group.
Even as someone who enjoys being a powerful female, I see the impulse myself to try to pull back on my daughters a little like, “We’re here to make them feel good.” If you have a baseline level of respect and decency and you say hello and you look in the eyes, if you’re done at that point and you don’t want to be engaged, that’s okay, too. It is an interesting and deep behavior, where sometimes if you had sons, you’d be like, “Boys are so crazy.”
These imprints are going back thousands and thousands of years. It’s no one’s fault that we learn them and we think them, but there’s a way we can get through it and start to go, “Who am I really?” From this awesome, amazing book, I created a simple way. This is David R. Hawkins’ Power vs. Force. On page 150, there is a list on the left side of words that resonate energetically from the word power, and on the right side, the word force.
I ask everybody who goes through my program to choose words that resonate with them from a powerful way to choose eleven words. That’s the beginning of the journey. Those words, I connect them to your chakras. It’s weird, now you guys all know, but I don’t tell anyone before they do it what’s the eleven words are all about and why eleven.
It’s interesting because nearly every single time, people pick the words in the perfect order from top-down. From their most conscious, inspiring, and powerful words here to the more nurturing words as we go down, and they always fit beautifully. I use these as the beginning of how you can start to be able to say, “Who am I? What do I stand for? What’s my unique power? What’s my unique brand positioning in the world?”
We use those eleven words to create for each person a unique brand positioning of who they are. One client is a chef, she’s an entrepreneur, and she makes real food and things the French way. That line comes from the eleven words. I do that with every single person. Another client says, “Enabling artisans globally.” Simple. If someone says, “What do you do?” She’s out and she goes, “I enable artisans globally.”
By having this and working through this process, then you’re more receptive to take advantage of amazing opportunities and connections as they happen. If you say, “I enable artisans globally,” and you’ve got it right there on the tip of your tongue, someone can say, “You must meet this person, that person,” and then the rest unravels. That’s the beginning of how I do it.
Someone in a new environment or new terrain is maybe in a structured system and they’re trying to find this unique place to try to drill down. Every business has a mission-vision statement. We all do it. “What do you stand for? What do you want to do?” It’s also a guide. It’s a manual that when you’re producing anything, you go, “Does this fit our mission-vision, who we are, and things like that?”
At first, I look at things that are so brand-oriented or organized that way. I almost have resistance against it. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’ve pursued through my gut and had the luxury that if I came from one arena in sports, I didn’t have to be that succinct. What’s interesting for me to hear it phrased this way is that I could also see someone being able to say this. Then it’s creating a conversation where people can start to know where and how to understand quicker what this person wants. It’s not such a big discovery.
I appreciate that because it’s important to always have an open mind to things. Let’s say you get someone to understand how they want to insert themselves into the world from which angle and what perception you’re hoping people will have that it lines up with your values. Let’s say you’re going along. You have someone who comes to you and they’ve done something way over here, something conventional. They’re a business person. They’re an employee or they work in insurance. They come over and they say, “I was this, but now I have this yearning.”
Maybe it’s somebody who’s had a family already and they’re looking to express themselves in this new extended version of themselves. Do you take them through the process differently? It’s almost like we’re a lot of things. You said it yourself, “I had this moment where I’m like, ‘Am I going to just keep doing this or am I going to go to the next?’”
It’s the same. What I shared with you is the beginning, and then with that person who’s pivoting from insurance to being an art dealer, for example, the next part after the part I shared with you is to start to get clarity, to analyze everything that you’ve done. This is not a new thing. In business, we’re analyzing every day, outwardly. To look at ourselves internally and give ourselves a health check of, “What am I good at? What did I do in my career that gave me the most joy, gave me the most impact, gave me the most money?”
That person in insurance, I’ll break it down to go deeper. Insurance was the surface, but what were you doing beyond the insurance? Were you great at connecting with people? Were you great at selling? Were you great at deal-making? Then we’ll find the DNA of what you’ve done within your career that you love. I call this the hero product analysis. Everybody’s a hero product and everything is a hero product. I look at it all through those eyes as I would do at Harvey Nichols.
I look at the person and go, “What was your DNA of the things that you’ve done as a hero product?” When we’re looking at this pivot, that’s when we start to look at your youth and start to look at what was your story. Everybody’s done so many things in their lives and at times, we might want to drop things that we were before. If you were always introduced at a dinner as, “Hi. I’m Gabby. I do this,” you don’t want to be that person anymore. You’ve grown out of that old version of you.
People will say to me, “I don’t want to be that person anymore.” I’m like, “Alright, but let’s look at what that person was all about. What was the deeper thread?” This is a real challenge because we can find the deepest thread within the person. I’m thinking of the lady I mentioned to you. She’s now a documentary filmmaker and her career started as a ballerina. She’s been a Pilates teacher. How does she span all these threads together of everything that she’s done? She was like, “I’m no longer the Pilates person. I’m a documentary filmmaker.”
We were able to unearth what she was doing at the root of everything. She was inspiring and empowering people through movement and through different disciplines. Now she does surfing and we were able to weave together this beautiful thread of all the disciplines that she had done to create a top-line strategy of what she does. That’s how it works. I hope that makes sense.
Sometimes we have these special gifts and we apply them in a structure that’s presented to us that we’re supposed to do, and then we go along and we realize, “I’ve done what I’m supposed to do, but maybe it’s something bigger.” That’s also how we grow up. We communicate a certain way. For women, it’s closer to 30. For men, it might be closer to 40. We go, “I need to be clear about how I’m feeling.”
It’s getting those skills because you don’t want to blow up your life, your professional life, your personal life, but you’re trying to figure out, “How do I expand who I am within these lives?” It’s interesting because a lot of times, the people closest to us are like, “You do this,” or, “You act like this,” or, “Don’t you like this?” Now it’s maybe about growing out of or expanding that. It’s an interesting thing to work out out of that. Especially if we’re trying to be a dutiful, measured citizen, that can provoke people.
[bctt tweet=”We all tell a story of who we are and we’re all bigger than the story that we tell. Our subconscious mind does everything it can to protect us, keep us safe, and keep us small.”]
Also, because that makes people have to look at themselves. I’m sure you see this. That makes people uncomfortable because it’s like, “If you’re changing and you’re expanding, I have to now look at what I am doing.” People have to be careful of that. People who react negatively or too much, it’s because you’re representing something that makes them have to look at themselves.
Do you give people an idea in your master class? You talk about the things that are holding you back. Maybe you could share a little bit about that. You talk about focus and wanting people to focus on their unique part, on their real purpose. What do you say to them when you say, “Are you prepared to let part of your old life die?” That might even be people in it. Were there ever conversations around that?
No. I take people forward on that journey and then support them through the journey when that comes up. I say to people at the beginning and in the master class, “We all tell a story of who we are and we’re all bigger than the story that we tell. Our subconscious mind does everything it can to protect us, keep us safe, and keep us small. We all create constructs to try and stay safe and small. Through this journey of unlocking your unique power, you’re going to face these fears because it goes deepest to the deepest root, which is all about feeling worthy enough to receive.” That’s what I come up against all the time.
Let’s define it as success. I don’t mean monetary success or attention. Just being able to do something that you want to do is a high level of success. If you add some other things like you’re recognized in your field or you are making a good living, it’s separation. “Why do I get to? Why do I deserve or am I allowed?” I understand this so perfectly.
I’d love to hear your take on it. I always tell people, “We don’t deserve anything, but we are receiving grace.” There is a beautiful quote and I’ve probably said it before, which is, “The winds of grace are blowing all the time. We just have to raise our sails.” I wonder what that is so that we get accepted by our tribe, that we’re a part of, and that somehow, if we get amplified in any way.
It’s safer to be in a box. It comes back to that being told off when I was young because I was putting my head up. “Stay safe. Stay small.” It’s the absolute base fear that comes from our baby brain to keep us secure. I totally share what you were saying. From a spiritual point of view, I’ve been taught we’re here to serve and we’re here to serve in the biggest way that we can.
I’m Jewish and I follow the teachings of a Jewish teacher called the Chabad Rebbe. He was a guy that was recognized by Ronald Reagan in the ‘80s. There’s an American holiday day that’s dedicated to the Chabad Rabbi. He was an amazing guy that many people don’t know. He was recognized around the world for being the teaching principle that we’re here to serve and to grow.
Our job as humans is to face our fears. As I call it, be the lobster and break out of your shell. Lobsters constantly outgrow their shells. They have to hit their shell against a wall to break it free and release the bigger version of themselves. Growing is pain. It’s stepping out of our comfort zone and it’s so scary. It’s even more scary to stay as the old version of ourselves because then we just trap ourselves into all sorts of unhappiness and unfulfilling relationships mostly with ourselves and those around us.
Naturally, when we start to have the courage to grow and to serve, we begin to shine. We’re shining in our own facticity and people around us can see that. Most of the time, I haven’t had an experience. It might be that I’ve had an experience but I haven’t, Gabby. When I’m in my authentic self and I’m rising and shining from a place of authenticity, there hasn’t been a space where people have knocked me because I’ve been secure that I’m rising and shining from the place of my authenticity. It’s when we’re doubting ourselves that we’re leaving room for the people to do this. This has helped me. I’m here to do a job. In my human life, I’m here to give back, to do good, and to grow as big as I possibly can. That’s helped me to go for it and to have the courage to go forward.
You talk about checking in with oneself. Let’s say we have a stride where we’re rolling or it’s happening. The ego can be like, “You’re doing a good job,” instead of that portal mentality of like, “I’m a conduit for whatever gift I can contribute.” It’s funny, it’s like getting people to break out and then getting them to self-regulate simultaneously.
Is there ever a conversation around having that internal checks and balances? Maybe that 1 or 2 people that are for you, who will say, “Take it easy.” People don’t realize success is so scary, and then also dangerous, where you start to buy your own BS or you think you’re so smart. Do you ever have that conversation?
I teach everybody to have practices to give themselves the check-ins in all the different ways because I say to everyone, “As we grow, all these different things come up.” I teach people a technique that is from the 1950s called The Mirror Technique. It was about sales and it was an insurance guy in the ‘50s who taught people how to do sales. There’s a couple of books like The Magic of Believing, which is where it came from. It’s by a guy called Claude Bristol in the 1950s and they didn’t know what we know now about our brain, about energy, and these things.
They would teach a technique called The Magic of Believing, which would be checking in the mirror and repeating to yourself who you are, what you want to be, and you’ll feel great. I’ve done that myself and I teach everybody and I say, “No, it’s not just repeating an affirmation and suddenly you wake up and you feel great.” In the technique of The Magic of Believing, you look in the mirror and you talk about who you are, the things that I’ve shared, thought leader, who you are as a thought leader, your unique brand positioning, the real story of who you are. You practice that in the mirror.
[bctt tweet=”Our job as humans is to face our fears. As I call it, be the lobster and break out of your shell.”]
You check in with your body and the thing is you’ll start to feel where the checks and balances need to happen inside. I teach everybody to be their own check and balance. We have to check-in if we’re acting from an ego-mind. If that’s happening, we need to check ourselves because it’s where we can make big mistakes. We also have to check where we’re feeling massive resistance. I’ve learned that where we often feel massive resistance is the place we need to go to learn. It’s the thing we need to conquer.
In the same mirror technique, where are you feeling unsure of yourself? Where are you doubting yourself? Where are you feeling not worthy enough to receive? Look at each of those parts within ourselves. The body awareness is great. It’s using anxiety and using the things that we’re feeling inside to look and say, “What’s going on? What do I need to improve? What do I need to check? Where do I need to give myself self-love, self-care, and reassurance? Where do I need to check with my ego?” If that person was ten minutes late, it doesn’t mean, “How dare they be late for me.” Leave your ego at the door because you’ll end up sabotaging something great often if the ego pops up.
It’s having that awareness and being your own accountability partner. We’re accountable for ourselves and it’s being accountable in the sense of you’re so amazing. Each and every person is a diamond. Each and every person is incredible. Each and every person has these amazing gifts to themselves for the world. It’s our job to be able to get over each thing, to get over our own BS, our own excuses, our own doubts, and our own self-worth issues. It comes back to we’ve got a job to do. Whatever that job is, it’s anything. It’s how we serve. I know that when I’m dying, I want to know that I used all my skills to do the best job I could.
It’s an important point. We’ve made all these scales to find all these levels of success or contribution. People have to realize that when you are in your essence, you are doing a job, you’re doing it to the best of your ability, and it does genuinely reflect you in some way, that contribution is equally as important than, “I’m the owner of the company. I’m the CEO.” It’s not big and small. The reflection is authentic.
Let’s say someone is reading this and they think, “That sounds like a good idea. I have no idea where to start.” Between COVID and maybe they had some career before where they said, “I’m going to dedicate some time to my family because that feels right. Now, I’m ready to re-explore.” A lot of people hit a wall. It’s either an age thing or they don’t even know how to start again. What would you say to them? How long is the master class? How does that work, by the way?
It’s the 60 Minute Live MasterClass.
Let’s say they want to pursue that. What would you say are some of the first threads that people could even activate that process of self-inquiry and go forward?
Start journaling and start reading. Give yourself some time and space to have this inquiry and set a goal like, “For the next month, I’m going to write a journal and list out all the things that I’ve done that bring me joy, all the things that I’ve done that I’m good at, all the things that I’ve done that I’m passionate about, and what I would love to create in the next ten years.” List it. It’s called a hot pen technique where you write. Also, something important is I try to share with everybody to come out of your mind and come to your heart and your tummy area because that’s where your intuition is.
Also, journaling may be your thing, or doing voice notes may be your thing. People’s minds work in different ways. Sometimes journaling can be too constrictive. The other way is you could go for a walk every day and start to voice note those points. Also, start to read books about different things that inspire you or different people that inspire you. Say, “At the end of the month, I’m going to start to write the top five ideas of what I would like to do.”
What’s grounding about this exercise is always base it in this analysis point because when you start using analysis for your own life, it takes it from like, “Whoa,” the overwhelming, “I don’t know where to begin.” Doing analysis grounds you by going, “What did I do that I loved?” Write it down and start from there. It’s seeing it in black and white and building it in steps forward.
That’s an important point because our feelings and our emotions about ourselves and our lives are overwhelming. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, even in the notion of our purpose is still a practice that we have to strategize and such. I’d be curious to pivot a little bit. We talked about apparel and luxury. I’ve made a commitment a few years ago where I will go on The RealReal, Poshmark, or anything.
I’m your worst nightmare. I’m unfancy because I’m 6’3″ and nothing fits. Even when I was in fashion, I forewent any connection to apparel. If I said black, a black dress, black slacks, black shorts, my mind was on other things. I’d love to get your take on that. If people want to do it better and more consciously, maybe direct us where we can go. We use the word luxury so that means there’s a price tag to that.
I’m excited to share this part with you. I hear what you’re saying. I’m looking in front of me. I’m in my studio area and there’s a rail of clothes that are all the old things that I don’t wear anymore that I’m waiting to resell. This is a perfect example of what’s been going on, especially in COVID times. Everyone’s like, “What am I doing? I don’t need all these things.” Why do we buy all these things? The reason why we buy so many things is that we haven’t got to the root of who we are, what our style is. We’re always seeking. We buy something and we don’t connect what we’re buying to how it makes us feel.
My biggest tip in being a sustainable shopper going forward is to take your wardrobe and give yourself the luxury of time. Send your kids out. Ask your husband to go take them or get a babysitter to do something. Give yourself the luxury of time, an evening or an afternoon, and try on everything in your wardrobe and stand in the mirror and say, “How does it make me feel?”
Gabby, much about confidence comes from what we’re wearing. It comes from feeling comfortable and showing the right bits of our body off that we feel confident about. Wearing the right knickers or wearing clothes that aren’t tight. If your clothes are tight, then you feel uncomfortable, then you feel conscious.
I call that the stuffed sausage. I’m a big girl. I’m 6’3″. I’m 190, between 170, 175 pounds to 178 pounds. I always go, “The worst thing you can do is wear something too small.” I’m appropriately sized. My body is pretty balanced. I’m bigger. I have some muscles. Overall, if I wear the stuff that fits, I’m not going, “Maybe I should lose a few pounds,” or all that gibberish. Wear stuff that fits you. I do find it fascinating.
If they want to get something new, pretty, and shiny for something, or because they want that, there are so many sites now that do have these clothes. I buy clothes that have tags on them. If they’re weird about certain things, even these sites have a filter that says, “New with Tags, NWT.” It’s not about not getting things that are special or nice but there is a way to buy more consciously. Besides that, do you have other tips?
Buy more consciously. Buying secondhand clothes is great because they are unique and you can get amazing designer prices at less price. You can also look for companies like ZARA. I love ZARA. ZARA has a whole section on their website called Join Life. All of Join Life is sustainable. I see that they’re always future-facing. They’re a great company and they always had. They have made it a huge mission for their company to make more and more of their collection sustainable.
In the Join Life area, you will see that every item has traceability, where it came from, and its origins in the sense that it might have used recycled fabrics, upcycled fabrics, bamboo, and all these new textiles. Everything in that area is sustainable so you don’t even need to think about it. It’s all the same price as any other ZARA. It is affordable and sustainable.
There are more and more sustainable websites where you can find clothing that is from sustainable brands. You can have things made for yourself as well. You can also look at your clothes and see how you want to customize your own clothes and reuse them in a new way. You can also do swapping parties with your friends and re-engineer your wardrobe in that way. The first point is to figure out your own style as well by doing that technique with trying things on and looking at parts of your body. Where do you want to show things off? What feels good looking as well? What colors make you feel good, make you feel confident?
When you’re going forward to shop, you’re shopping more consciously so you can use less budget. You don’t have to buy as many things because you’re not going to waste the things that you buy. A big reason why we waste things is we don’t feel confident. That’s why we didn’t wear them in the first place because we didn’t do the exercise at the beginning. If we get it right from the beginning, then you could spend less and buy less pieces and make them better.
I finally learned years ago. I have this fantasy of pretty things and flowy things but that’s not me. That’s not my physique. That’s not my personality. That’s what I’m not looking for. It makes me feel vulnerable. It’s weird. In my clothing, I don’t want to feel anything overly vulnerable. I want to direct everyone to my head, my face, and I want to get into it. When I was young, and this is how wacky I was, I was in fashion but I was playing volleyball at university. I was 19 or 20 and I was starting to get interested in this idea of business, being serious, trying to be smart, and take it seriously, all this stuff that you can’t control anyway.
I used to buy Norma Kamali suits because I was like, “These people are taking me seriously.” Weirdly, that’s over 30 years ago. I still have a few pieces because they lasted forever. They cost a lot of money then but it’s also interesting that there’s another part of the cycle. Once you start to live it and be it, the clothes become less important because you’re like, “I was using that to help me get along.” I have no problem if I went to a meeting in a pair of unripped black jeans and a black t-shirt. It’s like, “We’re about the work.” It’s a funny thing where you use it sometimes and sometimes you almost go beyond it.
The more you find your purpose, the more you go beyond it. I went through this process as well to do the wardrobe exercise. I realized for myself, I’d always been hiding. I didn’t want to show my vulnerability. I hid that by wearing colorful clothes, snazzy clothes, patterns, and bling-bling. It was all hiding myself. As I found more and more confidence doing more and more of the work, I stripped myself back. Now I only wear simple clothes and I douse them up with a pair of earrings and that’s it because I found myself.
When you find your purpose, you’re not as reliant on having to buy things to identify yourself through that name or that thing because you found your own self and who you are and who you stand for. You don’t need the label when you’re out in the restaurant with brands to be hiding amongst. You’re like, “I’m so and so and I stand for this. Accept me for who I am.”
The notion as we move through life is the transition from that identity. The goal is almost reaching even beyond that. When you have the ability to participate and contribute, then you can be still in that, in general, so people can ask you what you do. It doesn’t become as important to you to prove to them or show them. It’s all these cycles that get us to a place where we can do even less, if that makes sense. Not less contribution, but less of the theater, less of all the stuff.
Sara, I appreciate your time. For you, what is your next dream? You’ve been doing this for a while. This is bringing you to a new place, it has to because then you learn more and you see things and you go, “There’s a gap here.” Is there something for you personally that you are wanting to sink your teeth into? You’ll be continuing to be doing this and to teach people to be impact entrepreneurs but is there something else inside you that’s starting to call you and rise to the surface a little bit?
[bctt tweet=”When we start to have the courage to grow and to serve, we begin to shine.”]
From my personal side, my femininity. I love what you said in your book about the feminine woman is about being receptive, being soft, being submissive. It’s rising up and as you go deeper into finding your purpose and these layers start to strip away of trying, pushing, shoving, and you can release, let go, relax, and start to reveal the true you.
For me, that’s absolutely about my femininity coming through, allowing my softness to shine, to build beautiful connections, deep relationships, deep friendships with people because I love humanity and how we can come together, share, and collaborate. It’s using everything I learned at work to go into every area of my life. Being on a journey of unpacking your purpose can bring to your connection. Gabby, I’m looking to bring love into my life with my soulmate, wherever he is. Maybe he’s reading this right now. You never know.
Many people experience this where we’re fighting and we’re being sold this world’s message, which makes sense. What’s interesting is when we face our fears like you’ve done in your business, that can also help us practice to do that in our life. To be receptive is scary and vulnerable. Also, the confusion that femininity is somehow something that’s weak. I always looked at it as uber kick ass.
The vulnerability part has always been tricky for me. I’ve had to work on that and I have a partner that’s made that safe and your children will force that in a different way. It’s a biological response of like, “I care and I’m here.” To remind women, when you talk about superpowers, it’s the ability to be of service, to be kind, and to be loving. That is the power. It doesn’t mean you can’t crush and say no and have boundaries but it’s not going one for the other. It is that stripping away that is the power, for sure.
It’s a huge power.
I want to follow up with you and hear how that manifests. You can direct everyone to all the important places to connect with you.
SaraSimmonds.com is my website and you can find links to my masterclass there. It’s @SaraSimmondsLondon on Instagram. They’re the two key places. Connect with me, I’m there. It’s got my phone number on Instagram. It’s got the master class and email on my website. I’m excited to connect with more and more of you and to connect with you again, Gabby, and chat more. This has been absolutely awesome. I’m so grateful to be here.
Thank you for your time. We’re eleven hours apart but I appreciate your time and the thoughtful way in which you’re approaching something that a lot of people are trying to navigate. Thank you.
My pleasure. Thank you very much.
Thanks so much for being here. If you’d like, rate, subscribe and leave us a review. All of my music was graciously done by Frank Zummo and Tom Thacker. If you want to see some of the behind-the-scenes action, follow me, @GabbyReece. Remember, don’t miss new episodes every Monday.
Subscribe to The Gabby Reece Show
- Power vs. Force
- The Magic of Believing
- 60 Minute Live MasterClass
- The RealReal
- Join Life
- Norma Kamali
About Sara Simmonds
I am Sara Simmonds, an impact coaching expert, and a Global Leader in Living with Purpose Welcome to my journey your real power is you. The day that changed everything for me was the day I realized we don’t need more we need meaning. This was the day I became conscious and the day I decided to dedicate my career to building impact.
I love People, and I love Connection. From the age of 5 years old, I would ask strangers are you part of our tribe? In High School, I wanted to be Unique, as I understood Unique makes an impact. I would hunt out vintage clothes, dress my friends for the end-of-year ball, and see the results being unique brought for them to build a real connection.