inspiration & influence planning & productivity

20 practical ways of showing up and being brave (and helpful)

September 19, 2017

You are what you do, not what you’ll say you’ll do.

Carl Jung

showing up

Showing up and being brave

This is all about practical ways to show up and be brave. Because it needs to be talked about so we can all show up more, be brave, share our experiences and celebrate them.

Each time we show up – personally, creatively and in support of others – it gets easier to do it again, more often and in a deeper way. Every time, one of us shows up and is vulnerable, it helps and encourages others to do the same. And it involves action at its heart.

Tara Mohr says that her frustration is:

Brilliant women playing small. Women like you, with dreams they want to pursue and ideas they want to share.

Brené Brown says:

You have to make a choice: am I going to show up and be seen?

So here are 20 practical ways of showing up and being seen. Because each time we act, it makes it easier for ourselves and others to do the same.

I hope that it inspires you to show up and be a little braver each time in all that you are doing. Know too that it’s not a selfish act. It’s a way of helping others, showing the way and opening the door.

showing up

20 practical ways of showing up 

1 Support others who are not well or who are struggling

  • Supporting others and learning with them on the journey has to be one of the biggest and most important ways of showing up.
  • It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives, but reach out, do what you can, make time, pick up the phone, send a note or a book. Support people practically and let them know you are thinking of them.

2 Hold space for others

  • Simply holding space for others – listening, witnessing, being there, asking questions – is so powerful.
  • It’s something I’ve learned through caring for my mother and through my coaching program this past year.
  • Having space held for me and holding it for others has been a huge support and source of growth, teaching me so much.

3 Make time for self-care 

  • Showing up for both yourself and others involves an investment in self-care.
  • It might be regular practices like yoga or meditation, exercise, knowing when to rest or making time for what lights you up.
  • Make time for practices that energise you in line with your personality. It could be finding time to read alone if you are a more introverted person. If you are more extraverted, self-care might mean connecting with friends and going out.
  • A huge learning for me this year has been about how self-care is a critical part of caring for others. Just like the adage of putting your own oxygen mask on first, we need to feed our own wellbeing to be helpful to others.

4 Set learning goals and achieve them

  • Identify learning goals that will help you reach your long-term goals and commit to them.
  • You can set smaller goals, like spending 30 minutes each day on an online program you’ve invested in or working through a book to learn new skills.
  • Set your learning goals and work towards them incrementally, knowing the direction.

5 Gain certification or qualifications to strengthen your knowledge and help others

  • Linked to the above, another way of showing up is to study to gain certification or qualifications.
  • This requires commitment and working week by week over time, making sacrifices and putting in the effort, but it’s so satisfying!
  • This past year I completed my Beautiful You Coaching Academy Life Coaching program. A key part of my life transition plan, I’m now a very proud Beautiful You Life Coach.
  • Whatever it is you need to know and develop, look at options to gain the skills you need. They can be in formal or less formal ways; both are important options.

6 Honour your personality and deepen your gifts

  • Honour your special natural attributes and skills, by recognising them, paying attention to them and investing in them.
  • Find out more about your personality and how to work your strengths. Personality wise, it could be introversion or extraversion; sensing or intuition; thinking or feeling. Talent wise, it might be writing, photography, sewing or art.
  • This past year, I learned more about Tarot as a way of honouring my personality and deepening my gift of Introverted Intuition.
  • Susannah Conway’s 78 Mirrors course helped me deepen my knowledge of tarot as an intuitive tool.

7 Develop your gifts and talents by practicing them consistently

  • Once you’ve identified your strengths and talents, one of the best ways to show up is to practice them.
  • Tarot and oracle have become deep personal practices that I work with regularly, flexing my intuition. I share my Tarot Narratives each day on Instagram, linked to books and quotes.
  • If you are working on writing, show up by writing each day. It might be morning pages, a set number of words, an amount of time, or a unit that makes sense to you. But whatever it is, put it into practice.
  • As Stephen King reminds us:

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

8 Connect on social media as a way of showing up and practice 

  • Social media gets a bad rap as a time waster. And it’s true, you can waste a lot of time there if it’s unfocused. But connecting on social media can be a beautiful way to show up for yourself and your creativity. It can also be powerful in supporting and helping others.
  • I’ve shown up on social media – Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter mostly – over time because I value it immensely as a way of connecting with kindred creatives, growing the Quiet Writing community and learning from my connections.
  • Whether it’s sharing creative practices, books, tarot readings, the detail around you, the landscapes or streetscapes of your environment – it’s all a way of expressing you.
  • The community I connect with on Instagram has been such a creative and emotional support for years now. I likewise offer this support to them. Many of us have become close friends even though we’ve never met. Some of us have had the great pleasure of meeting in real life!

9 Commit to blogging, reading or other accountability practices regularly 

  • If you’re a creative, you can show up via commitment to a pattern of accountable, regular practice.
  • Showing up has an aspect of accountability. It might be books read on Goodreads, blog posts on your blog, social media over time or working quietly with an accountability group behind the scenes.
  • I’ve blogged for 7 years now but always struggled with consistency. This year, I’ve posted 1-2 times each week. It’s been a challenge but I’ve committed to it and talked about it.
  • Reading can also be an exercise in accountability and productivity practice.
  • Try to find a practice and metric that works for you and be accountable.

10 Write about your story

  • Be authentic and write your story. This helps others feel less alone and encourages them to do the same.
  • I’ve written about my journey of becoming more wholehearted this year on Quiet Writing, encouraging others to do so too.
  • From that, I’ve encouraged other women to share their wholehearted stories with 12 women coming forward to guest post on Quiet Writing in 2017-18. We will create an e-book together on our wholehearted stories to help others discover and share their own.
  • Each story opens the door for others. It might be a blog post, a novel, a poem or a memoir. Telling your story will help you work out so much – just as it will help others to read your experiences.

showing up

11 Write for others, guest post and stretch your audiences

  • Embrace your ability to draw on your experiences and knowledge to write for others such as via guest posting.
  • It’s a way of showing up for yourself because you have to ask yourself: What do I know? What have I experienced? What can I share? How can I help others?
  • It pushes your boundaries, stretches you and helps makes connections across your areas of knowledge and experience.
  • Powerful stuff, it makes you more visible and builds your audience as well. Here’s a guest post I wrote on a subject dear to my heart: leadership, self-leadership, and solitude.

12 Write and publish or self-publish

  • Write with a view to publishing whether it be on your blog, for a publisher or self-publishing.
  • It’s all valid and more than that, it’s a path to ways of earning income, developing your voice and getting your work out there.
  • Over time, I wrote 36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence, a personal narrative of the books that have impacted my story. It’s 25,000 words and is available free for Quiet Writing readers. It’s a gift but I also learned so much from it.
  • Self-publishing is not just vanity publishing anymore; it’s a very real way to be read, build business and skill, and seek further publishing options.
  • As Joanna Penn says on your publishing options:

The publishing world is exploding with opportunity right now…and many authors are finding new ways to build a career with self-publishing, traditional publishing or a hybrid combination of the two.

13 Communicate and connect with others especially kindred creatives

  • Connect with special kindred souls whether it be via your newsletter, in your social media exchanges or through sharing posts and books.
  • Create ways people can communicate with you and be accessible if your aim is visibility.
  • People want to communicate with you as a creative human being however you can make that work for you and others.
  • If you do find someone who you connect with as a kindred creative, reach out to them in some way. It can feel vulnerable, but it’s worth the risk. You never know what might evolve from showing up in this way. Some of my best collaborations and connections have developed from one of us doing exactly that!

14 Commit to working on energy healing and spiritual areas

  • Working on energy healing and spiritual development is integral to personal growth and self-care.
  • I’ve committed to working on my intuitive skills as well as healing and working with guides to support my growth and creativity. I work with the magical energetic healer Amber Adrian.
  • Find what works for you in energy and spiritual realms. Whether it’s prayer, angels, crystals, tarot, oracle, channeling, church or working with the cycles of the moon – working with these connections is supportive in managing our energy, healing, breaking through barriers and being authentic.
  • And it’s time to shed any concerns about what people think about this. As Ruby Warrington says in Material Girl, Mystical World, it’s time to come out of the spiritual closet.

15 Work through a life coaching series 

  • Working through a life coaching series is a fabulous way to show up for yourself and others.
  • Coaching is goal-driven and action-oriented. You’re in the driver’s seat and are responsible for showing up and doing the actions.
  • You can have an excellent coach, but unless you do the work, there won’t be much personal progress.
  • As part of the Beautiful You program, I’ve worked hard on coaching goals of balancing self-care with the care of others and of juggling writing and coaching as twin goals in Quiet Writing.
  • I’ve learned so much too from the experiences of my Pro Bono Life Coaching clients as they have learned through a life coaching series with me.

16 Connect with family members including through family history research

  • Making time for family and ancestry is a way of showing up for yourself and others you are connected with over time.
  • My family and family history is important. I’m committed to understanding the stories of the people who came before me.
  • This helps to keep family, family history research and ancestral connections alive and can teach you so much about yourself and your heritage.

17 Work with or for other people in line with your values

  • Whether it’s paid, pro bono, volunteer, in the home or outside, how are you working with or for other people?
  • How do the experiences and outcomes validate you and show that you are on the right path and have much to give?
  • If it’s not feeling right, how else could you work with and for other people to grow in a different direction?
  • Think about how you are aligned or how you can be better aligned so you can show up for what is of value to you.

18 Work through the practicalities of health and well-being issues

  • Our health is an evolving and changing issue and one we need to honour and show up around, whether it’s in public or private ways. There’s no point putting your head in the sand about your health – physical, emotional and mental health.
  • You don’t have to share what’s not comfortable but on the flip side, if we all stay quiet, what is the impact of this?
  • Consider: How are you showing up on the health issues in your life and how are you addressing them? How are you taking responsibility for any changes and understanding them? What actions are you taking? What support is there? How can you connect with others and with information on health issues? Are you reaching out for help if you need it? How are you showing up for others?
  • As well as caring for my mum who is unwell, I’ve been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, this year as well as osteoarthritis. I’m asthmatic and the flu hit me twice quite badly. I’m usually well so it’s been a challenge all round!
  • Working through the practicalities of all this with tests, learning, treatments, and reading, I’ve aimed to understand the meaning of these changes in my life.
  • I’m not saying I have it all sorted by any stretch, but being authentic, honest and open about these issues will help me a lot more than pretending they don’t exist.

19 Identify your body of work in the world

  • Whether it’s the job you are in now or the job you are heading to or if you are self-employed or working for others, identify your skills and body of work in the world.
  • Consider: How have you shown up over time in roles and with skills that matter? How have you made a difference? What are the special skills you bring to the world?
  • Think about how you can develop and take this body of work forward to help others.

20 Identify the core themes in your business or life’s work

  • I’ve worked on my new Quiet Writing business and its core concepts – its focus, key tenets, proposed offerings, how I can serve people.
  • I know its focus is ‘wholehearted self-leadership’ based on my own experiences.
  • Being connected, creative, flowing, intuitive and poetic are core values of my brand.
  • Consider: What are the core themes in your business or life’s work? What are the threads that tie this story together? How can you serve others from all that you have learned?
  • Think about how you can show up in your business or creativity to help others.

showing up

Showing up is not just about us

It’s not just about us and our own experiences. Self-leadership is where it starts but each of these actions impacts and enables others. We can never know our full influence. A key part of showing up is trusting that our work makes a difference to others. Whether it’s what we write, our intuitive work, tarot readings shared, social media inspiration, communicating with and caring for loved ones or holding space.

My Tarot Narrative work started as a practice just for me but as I was doing the work, I thought I might as well share it. Each day I receive messages of how my intuitive work helps others. This means so much to me and deepens my commitment and practice.

It starts with each one of us but it’s not all about us. It’s about being of service to others and inspiring others as well.

So share your story…

How are you showing up in the world?

  • Where have you stretched a little this past year to show up, hold space, reach out, learn, put your creative work into the world?
  • When you have showed up and been vulnerable, how did it help others?
  • How could you be a little braver?
  • Where would it be of benefit to show up more?
  • How could your showing up more be helpful to others?

Share your story in the comments below or on IG or Facebook!

Feature image and open door image from

Clivias are in my garden and the flowers were from my mum x

Keep in touch

Sign up + get your free ebook 36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence

Just pop your email in the box to the right or below and ’36 Books’ will be with you soon! It’s a 94-page reflection on the creative influence of what we read. It takes you on a journey through my own influences. Find out which 36 books influenced me and why!

You will also receive updates and opportunities from Quiet Writing and its passions. This includes coaching, writing, creativity, and other connections to help you show up and express your unique voice in the world.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and connected #12 – the courage to show up

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

How to write a blog post when you have almost no time

coaching personality and story planning & productivity

Creative and connected #12 The courage to show up

September 15, 2017

Courage starts by showing up and letting ourselves be seen.

Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

show up

It’s Quiet Writing’s first blogiversary so I’m sharing thoughts on what I’ve enjoyed this week and over time on the courage to show up and be seen.

One year ago, on 13 September 2016, I hit the publish button with a welcome post on Quiet Writing. I’d been writing for six years before on my previous blog but it was time to step up. I wanted to refocus on my core values of being:

creative, intuitive, flowing, poetic and connected.

And this past year has been about weaving these values into everything I do. As I reach a one-year milestone at Quiet Writing, I’m thinking about what it means to show up here and elsewhere.

Showing up at Quiet Writing and elsewhere this year

The whole world changed this past year. Showing up for me has meant learning a new way to live. My primary role has been supporting and caring for my mother who is very unwell. That’s been a new experience of showing up, day in and day out, in ways I’ve never known before. It’s been emotional and has required digging deep.

At the same time, I’m working through a major life transition from leader and government employee of 30 years, to being a writer and life coach. I knew I needed to make this shift and then as I started, everything changed. This has involved all kinds of showing up – learning new skills, valuing my body of work, writing consistently and believing in myself in a new way. It’s taken place in an environment where I support my beautiful mother as the first priority.

In all this, I’ve had to focus on self-care too, learning how to be resilient and strong in this shifting landscape. I’ve had to learn to make time for myself – to rest, to swim, to plan a different future. And working with intuition has been important too even if it feels a vague thing to be doing at times.

I had one plan and circumstances delivered – and continue to deliver – a whole different scenario. It’s been a year of learning on all fronts – about myself and about what showing up and doing the work means. Certainly having the courage to be vulnerable and be seen has been a critical aspect of my learning and writing here. It’s also time to reflect on the need to be flexible in how we show up.

So with all this, here are some thoughts and resources on having the courage to show up and be seen.

Podcasts on what it means to show up

Scott Stabile on the Rawness of Real Life – on The Secret Library Podcast with Caroline Donahue

I love it that when I’m thinking about something like ‘showing up’ and writing about it, it pops up in my life in various ways. This podcast celebrates the release of Scott Stabile’s new book, ‘Big Love: The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart‘.

It’s a fabulous conversation and around the 17-minute mark, there’s an exchange on showing up and fear that really spoke to me. Scott says:

…what I found was that every day showing up at the computer was an exercise in just moving forward with your fear.

He talks about how fear is always showing up as well and how we need to learn to work with it. He suggests the best way to put fear in its rightful place is through action:

Action assuages fear.

There was also a valuable takeaway on how showing up means different things for each of us. We all have our own unique ways of working. Doing the work and sitting down to write or create is central to it, but we all do this in different ways. We need to honour our own process and the ways of showing up that work for us. It might be working every day at a certain time or in a stretch of intense time. Perhaps we write in a cafe, at home, at night or while we’re commuting and it might be dictating to a machine, hand-writing, typing or speaking to someone else. But it’s all valid and our own rhythms and processes, so let’s celebrate and not be so damn hard on ourselves.

Thanks to Caroline and Scott for a fabulous chat and I look forward to reading Big Love!

Show up as if you’re already where you want to be – Jen Carrington, Make It Happen podcast

This short (8:41) podcast is a pep-talk from creative coach, Jen Carrington, on her mantra of “showing up as if you’re already where you want to be in your creative work and life”. It looks at how to honour this in your work by shifting mindset, changing practices and modifying the stories you tell yourself and others. Self-care is an important factor too in “fuelling your hustle”. It’s a powerful burst of inspiration to help you show up in your life and work.

Who gets to decide if you’re a legitimate artist – Mark Nepo with Elizabeth Gilbert, Magic Lessons

Ths podcast shifted my thinking enormously about external validation and who or what I am waiting for to feel valid. It’s a soulful conversation on how we can limit ourselves with this waiting. It illustrates that embracing and expressing our creativity is the best way to move forward. Again, fear of rejection emerges as a key factor to challenge!

show up

Books and reading notes: My reading week

In line with showing up with reading more productively and my accountability here, I’m reading a few books concurrently. I haven’t finished any lately though am making progress on all. I’m reading:

Getting my own ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’ out into the world has been a big and satisfying priority!

I also received a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday recently so I’m looking forward to reading more via this device. It’s so lovely to read on, managing the eyestrain and screen impacts. It also means having access to books at reasonable prices including those of indie authors! Plus it’s better for the environment, easier to carry and helps with managing space in my library.

Book and blog notes on the courage to show up

In How do you show up? Teresa Cooley, Executive Director of the Center for Courage and Renewal talks about showing up in the light of recent and current natural disasters. She says:

The only thing we can control in the face of nature is how we show up. This kind of courage usually doesn’t take thinking about. It’s simply what we do. And every small and large spontaneously brave action tells us something precious about what humanity is capable of. It is that knowledge that helps us get up to face another day, no matter what it brings.

In The Vitamin Cocktail of Courage, Jane Bolton looks at varieties and elements of courage. She provides practical tips for how we can “supplement our personal reservoirs of courage” through action.

It seems action is a consistent theme! My favourite books on showing up, doing the work and courage are:

Steven Pressfield: The War of Art, Turning Pro and Do the Work

Brené Brown: Daring Greatly, Rising Strong

Elizabeth Gilbert: Big Magic

Stephen King: On Writing

Some of these feature in my special ‘36 Books‘ list so you can read more there.

And I think Scott Stabile’s ‘Big Love’ might join this list soon!

What are your favourite books and blog posts on the courage to show up and do the work?


Social media interactions

On Instagram, there’s been plenty of people showing up around Kim Manganelli aka @journeyofawriter and her #showup100 hashtag project. The idea is to show up for 100 days before the end of the year and share pics of how you are doing this. If you are looking for an online community focused on showing up creatively – this is the place for you!

On Quiet Writing and Tarot Narratives

On Quiet Writing, I’ve been thrilled to launch my free ebook: 36 Books that Shaped my Story into the world. It’s been so lovely to hear from readers engaging with my story! It’s a journey of creative influence and how books are ways that shape and flag what’s calling us.

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram continue to be a way to practice intuition at this time of change. There have been plenty of messages about going with the flow and trusting our journey. Gabrielle Bernstein in ‘Spirit Junkie’ reminds us of the role of intuition and connection with spirit in our work and life:

Since my primary focus was to stay connected to spirit, everything else flowed. Each outward action I took was backed by strong intuition and inspiration. All I needed to do was commit to the belief that with spirit as my guide, everything was possible.

Share your thoughts:

Would love to hear your favourite books, posts and thoughts on the courage to show up! And all about how you are showing up in your life!

Have a fabulous creative weekend.

show up

Creative and Connected is a regular post (most Fridays) and links to recent previous posts are below. Or you can find them all here. There are so many rich resources to inspire you and I hope you enjoy them. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

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Keep in touch

Sign up + get your free ebook 36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence

Just pop your email in the box to the right or below and ’36 Books’ will be with you soon! It’s a 94-page reflection on the creative influence of what we read. It takes you on a journey through my own influences. Find out which 36 books influenced me and why!

You will also receive updates and opportunities from Quiet Writing and its passions. This includes coaching, writing, creativity, and other connections to help you show up and express your unique voice in the world.

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on tarot, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality type assessment.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #11 – on the special value of self-leadership

Creative and Connected #8 – ways to honour your unique life blend

creativity inspiration & influence

How to step up into our power – Pisces Full Moon Tarot Reading

September 8, 2017

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Now, feel just how you would choose to have your life feel and infuse it with light and power.

Pat Liles, from The Power Path

  Full Moon in Pisces

The Pisces Full Moon invites to step up into our power. This tarot reading reflects on how we can maximise our self-leadership at this time.

Here are some thoughts on this Full Moon in Pisces from Mystic Mamma to set the scene for the energies available to us:

Assimilating into the now, we welcome a watery *FULL MOON* in Pisces. She reminds us to go within and listen to the deep pulsing of our hearts.

Can we hear our unique beat? Can we find our way back to our place of self-recognition, our exhale into ourselves, into our fullness, into the moment as it is? Exactly as it is?

This Full Moon has powerful energies for shifting into our creative heart. It provides opportunities to break old habits and ways of thinking. It’s time to get back to what is important, sacred and wholehearted for each of us now.

Special Pisces Full Moon connections

I felt a special connection with this Full Moon. Being in the Sun sign of Virgo and on my birthday, it flagged particular personal significance. It also connects with the focus of Quiet Writing about being wholehearted and, in this, being of service.

Cathy Pagano highlights the Virgo aspects of this Full Moon period:

At this first Full Moon after the Leo Eclipse…we’re going to dive deep in the Collective Unconscious (Pisces Moon) to see those aspects of life which we’ve neglected and abandoned in favor of our patriarchal need to ‘get ahead’.

As we deal with our shadows, we can figure out how we can be of service (Virgo Sun) to our world.

But before we can be of service, we have to integrate our own body, soul and spirit.

That’s Virgo’s purpose: to integrate all of who we are so we can offer our talents and gifts to the world…

I felt shivers as I read this.

These words sum up my purpose here at Quiet Writing; that is it: “to integrate all of who we are so we can offer our talents and gifts to the world.

My focus here is on wholehearted self-leadership and these energies give us a special time to reflect on and step into our personal power. This includes an emphasis on how we can be of service to others in our work in the world.

This dramatic, transformational energy has been accumulating for a while now. But now we can step it up, with the combination of watery, creative Pisces and practical, efficient Virgo. It’s a perfect time to hone the passions of our true heart. A key part of this is leaving behind what no longer serves us, especially any negative habits of how we think about ourselves.

Pisces Full Moon tarot reading tools:

For my reading for the Pisces Full Moon, I worked with:

This Full Moon in Pisces tarot spread by Sam Roberts aka @escapingstars on Instagram:

Full Moon Pisces

Deck wise, I worked with the Sakki Sakki Tarot deck by Monicka Clio Sakki, my favourite tarot deck especially for questions around creativity.

Tarot reading: 

So here’s the reading:

Full Moon in Pisces tarot

I smiled as the TWO OF SWORDS arrived first up around “What’s bubbling to the surface from the shadowy depths?” It also popped up for my New Moon in Leo/Solar Eclipse reading two weeks ago around what’s blocking me from growing. This card for me is all about thought and feeling, how they come together and feed each other. So I sensed that this reading is all about being at a crossroads and an opportunity to move through.

THE WORLD turning up around how I can better connect emotionally with the world was a lovely synergy. Expansion and how being wholehearted relates to service jumps out as key themes.

There are three Swords cards in all so a big focus on cut-through and words as thoughts, tools, and weapons. And I love that both the first and last cards feature blindfolds, being trapped in some way, possibly of our own doing. This suggests it’s time to break free and the KNIGHT OF SWORDS hints at this energy of riding, moving and being less risk-averse.

The FIVE OF COINS (PENTACLES) and SIX OF RODS (WANDS) are also cards I connect with strongly. They are indicators around how we choose to see the world and what we do with all our experiences, including the challenging ones.

As always, a fabulous tarot narrative with these initial clues – so let’s dive into the fuller reading.

Tarot reading – card by card:

So here are some deeper thoughts, card by card, in relation to the questions. I worked intuitively with the Sakki Sakki tarot guidebook Playing with Symbols and Jessa Crispin’s fabulous book The Creative Tarot. Then connected back with the key energies highlighted for this Full Moon via the Mystic Mamma post and aligned connections.

1 What is bubbling to the surface from the shadowy depths? TWO OF SWORDS

The key message for me with this card in this spot is about the ability to choose between options. This is especially about what we choose to think and feel. When it came up for the New Moon, my thoughts were about “how being guarded comes at a cost” (Sakki Sakki Guidebook p139). This theme continues for this reading.

It could be taking the blindfold off to be able to see more clearly. Or it could be choosing to keep it on to zone out from what’s distracting us, just as we might wear noise-cancelling headphones to concentrate. But having the strength to choose and stop second guessing all the time is important now. How much energy do we chew up about what we can’t change? What effort goes into worrying about what we are unable to influence?

So what’s bubbling up as a force is being more certain and less trapped in our thinking patterns. It signals being more in tune with our feelings.

2 How can I protect myself while still letting down my walls in order to FULLY feel? FIVE OF COINS (PENTACLES)

The FIVE OF COINS exactly captures that feeling of being unprotected. As Jessa Crispin puts it in The Creative Tarot:

You’ve been cast out. Excommunicated. That’s how this card feels, like you’re some kind of leper, and the people around you can’t wait to stick you on an island somewhere and forget about you. You feel lost and unprotected. (p161)

My sense of this card is around choosing to see the positives in any given situation. As the Sakki Sakki guidebook puts it: “Start seeing the full half of the glass, what you do have; and never underestimate your caring relationships and friendships.” (p158)

It is so easy when we have been cut adrift to feel the whole world is a loveless and lonely place. You might be making your own way, especially creatively, and independence has its virtues. But access the help of friends and supporters as you make your way. New connections and those special friends who’ve been there for you over time are of immense value now.  They are ways to protect yourself at this time of vulnerability and forging new roads.

3 What plans do I need to take risks on in order to release any blockages in my way? KNIGHT of SWORDS

The Knight of Swords arrives, brandishing his sword in a somewhat swashbuckling way, to remind me to just get on with it. He reminds me to be less risk-averse in my vulnerability and creativity. I need to follow through with my planned thoughts and actions.

Especially, I need to not fear being innovative and making new connections.

If you’re making a new way in a new world, what ideas are you coalescing? How are you bringing together those unique combinations only you can create? In what ways are you expressing your unique life blend, your onlyness?

Jessa Crispin reminds us:

Swords are words and thoughts, and the Knight of Swords knows how to use his words as weapons…It’s about using your ability to put thoughts and words into action, to sway others, and to encourge dissent. (p241)

It’s a good reminder to review how we are using our words in the context of being of service to others. How are we encouraging, offering support, also being that special friend to others? Where can we use our influence in the world for good and for positive outcomes, to make a difference?

4 What can I incorporate into my life in order to better connect emotionally with the world around me?   The WORLD

I like that THE WORLD came up for this one – a beautifully expansive perspective! In this context, this card speaks of having a sense of completion and mastery. It’s time to realise those lessons learned and take them forward. Gathering all the pieces, steps and parts together, it’s a moment to step up and contribute.

We can stay focused, FIVE OF COINS style, on what we lack, what we’re missing, how we’ve been shut out. Or we can take a look at how far we’ve come in this past year and realise the hard won victories and efforts. And we can celebrate them and see how we can take them forward to help others now.

So the way to better connect emotionally is through a heightened sense of contribution – yours and mine. What can we do with all this learning, this mastery, this completion? How can we apply it to benefit others?


5 What wisdom and guidance is emerging from my old wounds? SIX OF RODS (WANDS)

The SIX OF RODS (WANDS) speaks of rising up especially against obstacles. Your new life is taking shape. All that learning from events and people that wounded or disappointed you is being transformed into wisdom. All that rich experience is being absorbed into the fabric of you, especially the grief-stricken and painful times.

As Jessa Crispin focuses our attention:

That’s the goal here: to use failures, near-misses, and lessons learned in battle, and focus on breaking through to something larger and bolder. (p172)

My favourite words about this card are from The Wild Unknown:

Where will you go with your new set of wings?

six of wands

6 In what ways will awareness of my Self manifest during this Full Moon? EIGHT of SWORDS

Ouch – the EIGHT of SWORDS! All of these swords at the end of the number sequence (8, 9, 10!) don’t always feel so great to receive. But there’s a powerful message here.

The image of the EIGHT of SWORDS shows a woman blindfolded (like the TWO OF SWORDS). She seems to be in a trap of her own making. It’s all in the mind it seems. This card here speaks to me of realising how my thoughts stop me from moving forward. What stories am I telling myself? How are feeling and thought interacting and where I am trapped in old habits of thinking?

The Sakki Sakki guidebook tells us directly:

The Eight of Swords is calling you to break out of restricting habits and thoughts, and to initiate your own well-being and advancement by heightening your awareness of your abilities and options. (p145)

So I need to stop waiting to be rescued and for someone to tell me what to do. In line with the TWO of SWORDS up front, I need to make decisions, be clear and cease the second-guessing. Be informed about options and act on them.

Moreover, it’s a message to save yourself and be self-sufficient, noting the support of others as per the FIVE OF COINS. Trust your judgement, listen within and pay attention to what you are telling yourself. Are you being kind and self-compassionate now as you make huge changes? Are you celebrating being more wholehearted?

Combine that KNIGHT OF SWORDS and SIX of SWORDS energy too. Find ways to create yourself anew and to be in service to others based on your learning.

Ways to step into our personal power

So are your thoughts also around how to step into our personal power, with a balance between self and service?

Here are some practical questions prompted by the Pisces Full Moon and reflections on my reading. They build on the recent Capricorn Full Moon reading around stepping up into our power, shedding what doesn’t help us. They also focus on how we can take our learning forward to support others.

Journal, reflect or brainstorm around these questions to help maximise your personal self-leadership at this time:

  • Where do you need to take the blindfolds off?
  • Alternatively, where is it helpful to turn a blind eye?
  • Where does being indecisive cause you grief and hold you back?
  • What is the reason for this indecision?
  • Where can you focus on seeing the glass half-full right now?
  • How are you honouring and calling on the special supporters in your life?
  • Where have you developed mastery and how can you share that?
  • What wounds or disappointments have you moved on from?
  • How can you celebrate and share the wisdom from this learning?
  • Where are your thoughts keeping you trapped? How can you change them?
  • What habits of thought need to be shaken now?
  • What are the underlying feelings keeping you stuck?
  • How can you acknowledge the feelings and move through?
  • Where are you waiting to be rescued or saved? Why?
  • Who is going to rescue you?
  • What can you do to be more self-sufficient at this time?

Special resources for this time:

Two special resources are waving their hands at this time.

Firstly, Brooke Castillo’s Self Coaching 101, which I featured in Tarot Narratives on Instagram recently, is stepping forward. This book is a great self-help guide to how our thoughts and feelings interact and cause us difficulty. It’s especially good for breaking old thinking/feeling cycles.

Secondly, I listened to the podcast, How to Stop Playing Small, on Hashtag Authentic yesterday. It’s Sara Tasker chatting with author and coach, Tara Mohr, of Playing Big fame. Here’s a key quote from the show notes:

A lot of us have some sort of sinking, subtle awareness that we’re playing small – even if we don’t know exactly what we mean by that. We have this feeling – I’m hiding, I’m holding back, I’m not using my gifts, I’m not really trusting my ideas.

It was such an awesome chat about how we second-guess and doubt ourselves, especially with language. As I wrote here today, I was much more aware of how I used words like, “I think…” “I guess…” and “It’s probably…”, undercutting my message. I then stopped myself and found another way. It was scary how many times this happened. Time to step up and stop that!

I’ve heard a lot about Tara’s book and I must read it. It’s clearly a book for now and for taking those blindfolds off and being more self-trusting.

Wisdom from the Six of Wands

And here is some final wisdom from The Six of Wands via the Art of Life Tarot because it made me laugh and focus on what we need right now!

Six of wands

Enthusiasm, seeing the glass half-full, being supported by our special new and old friends, playing our cards strongly in the world and trusting our visions. It sounds such a positive way forward and all this Full Moon energy is helping to make these big steps.

May you enjoy the unfolding of this time and may your wholehearted self-leadership help you be of service to others!

Fish feature image from and used with permission and thanks.

Keep in touch

Sign up + get your copy of ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’

Just pop your email in the box to the right or below and ’36 Books’ will be with you soon! It’s a 94-page reflection on the creative influence of what we read. It takes you on a journey through my own influences. Find out which 36 books influenced me and why!

You will also receive updates and opportunities from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world.

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on tarot, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality type assessment.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

36 Books that Shaped my Story – Reading as Creative Influence

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Creative and Connected #8 – ways to honour your unique life blend

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How to know and honour your special creative influences

September 4, 2017

How we choose to pay attention, and relate to information and each other shapes who we become, shapes our creative destiny and, in turn, shapes our experience of the world.

Maria Popova, Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity

creative influenceHere are some thoughts and tips on honouring our special creative influences, connecting them with our passions and taking them forward into new unique endeavours.

Knowing and honouring our creative influences is how we connect with our legacy and passions and take them forward. A key theme in my ebook ‘36 Books that Shaped my Story‘ is an exploration of how creative influences shape us, our world and our own creations.

’36 Books’ goes through a personal journey of reviewing the books that have impacted me over the chronology of my life. I selected key books of influence and ordered them into a sequence. Then I revisited each book and honoured its wisdom and learning, reflecting on the narrative as it unfolded in my life.

The creative influence of what we love

I’ve always been acutely aware of creative influence and how each book I read makes some kind of impact on me. Perhaps it’s my INTJ personality and that mix of Introverted Intuition and Extraverted Thinking; or maybe it’s my language and literature background. But from a young age, I’ve always read deeply, kept notes and chronicled influences – whether it be music, the written word, images or art. Many of us seek ways to capture what influences us, what speaks to us, what leaves a lasting impression in ways that make sense for us.

Think of the musicians or writers, books or songs, that we love. Why of all the musicians and writers do some speak to us so directly and passionately? Why does Daphne Du Maurier – her books, where she lived, everything about her – capture my heart so much? When I hear The Cure’s ‘A Forest’, why do I get all shivery each time I even though I’ve listened to it many times? Why do I cry every time I hear ‘What a Wonderful World’? And why does the song, ‘Witchita Lineman’ do things to the top of my head that I can’t even explain?

And visually, why do artist Edward Hopper’s austere landscapes and solitary figures connect with me so intensely? Why do I feel like I exactly understand ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch? And why does the light in Ansel Adam’s photographs bring me tears?

I guess you could say I’m just sensitive. But all of us have had that feeling of reading, listening, seeing and engaging with all of our senses, witnessing something deep, visceral and connected with an artist, writer or place. Those influences stay with us and they gather, coalesce and merge into something unique within us, connecting with other aspects of our personality and passions.

Combinatorial creativity

In her fabulous Creative Mornings talk, Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity, Maria Popova explores the notion of creativity as a combination of influences. This is something I’ve long felt and honoured. So it was beautiful to read Popova’s piece articulating this and curating her own influences and thoughts on this concept.

Popova introduces us to the idea of florilegium, from the 14th century. These were:

compilations of excerpts from other writings, essentially mashing up selected passages and connecting dots from existing texts to illuminate a specific topic or doctrine or idea. The word comes from the Latin for “flower” and “gather.”

Popova provides examples of where knowledge or skill in one sphere influenced and sharpened another. For example, novelist Vladimir Nabokov was a butterfly collector which he believed helped with creating detail and precision in his writing.


There are a few concepts tied up in this idea of combinatorial creativity. One is that different areas of knowledge and influence can come together to impact on each other in new ways. Another is that nothing is completely new from the ground up, but more a consequence of influences coming together and how we integrate or collate them in our unique way. And a third is that all that connected knowledge and skill creates a body of mastery we can call on to connect the dots further into new creations.

Books, narrative and story connections

I explore this concept in my ‘36 Books‘ analysis of the books that have impacted me and my narrative:

And story is the shape the words make – the narrative we weave through the body of work that we create through career, our creative endeavours and our passions. This story is unique – no one has read the same books as you in the same way; no one has the same life experiences as you; and you are the only one to combine your passions and experiences in the way that you do.

I focus on books in my exploration but that becomes a filter of so much more. The books we choose to read at any time, their influence on us, the ones that make a huge personal impact and the interaction of this with our context and story, all play critical roles. It’s fascinating to step back and reflect on the books that really moved you and why; the ones you keep close by and why they are always there.

Sage Cohen, whose essay ‘Honor Your Lineage’ in ‘Fierce on the Page‘ ignited my ’36 Books’ journey, talks about books as teachers. Just as special teachers and mentors in our lives impact on us and leave a legacy we take forward, so books are special teachers whose messages we need to honour.

How do you honour your influences?

So how do you honour your influences? I am a big believer in acknowledging my influences and the impact of others on me. I think it’s important to take the time to acknowledge who has influenced and helped you.

’36 Books’ is a deep analysis of this around the books that have shaped my story.  This is something I did also on the post My Seven Stars many years ago which thanked the role models who started me on this journey. It was a feature also of my welcome post when I relaunched my blog as Quiet Writing nearly a year ago. My regular Creative and Connected series here acknowledges the influence of what I’ve listened to and read as well as engaged in via social media. It’s a deep value of mine to acknowledge your influences and their inspiration.

I also believe strongly in acknowledging other’s work you are referring to, drawing from or weaving into your own. Perhaps it’s my academic background with all those essays and bibliographies and references annotated. Though in the workplace too, I would always acknowledge the contribution and influence of others. I’d talk about the outcomes of projects as the collation of the team’s influence as much as any leadership on my part. Such is my antenna about valuing influence.

Tips for knowing, honouring and acknowledging your influences

So here are a few practical tips for knowing, honouring and acknowledging your influences:

1 Take the time to identify your influences: 

  • Pull the books off the shelves that are special influences, collect them and find ways to honour them by writing about them, connecting their messages and spending time listening to what they have brought to you.
  • Collect influences from different genres in your life (music, books, movies) and see how they connect to identify the common themes in your life.
  • Identify the people (eg famous figures, online connections, teachers, family, friends) who have had the most influence on you. Think about the impact and why it was important.

2 Thank your influencers:

  • Publicly or privately (or both), take the time to acknowledge and thank the people who have influenced you for their contribution to your journey.
  • We don’t always know when we are having an influence. Taking the time to tell others of their impact can be something that buoys their creativity for their next effort. It gives strength to their work and channels more energy for their contribution.
  • Sometimes we might not be able to thank people directly. But show gratitude for their work in some way such as acknowledging sources in a written piece. This allows others to learn from them and integrate it into their own creative journey.

3 Acknowledge influence and the source of ideas in your own work

  • If you quote someone else’s words or reference someone else’s thoughts, make sure it’s properly and correctly attributed.
  • Don’t claim others work as your own. Honour the creator by quoting and attributing their words correctly.
  • Don’t be afraid to mention who has influenced you because it’s all part of that rich combination of ideas and dots that brings new connections to life.

4 Wear your influences with pride and originality

  • Boy George was a judge on the ‘The Voice’ television program in Australia recently. He said to one of the contestants after their performance: “You need to wear your influences – they make you who you are.” As you connect the dots of your influences in new ways, wear them in ways only you can to create your unique work in the world.
  • Just as we can dress creatively, putting together different styles like modern and vintage, wear your unique influences confidently and proudly. Make your own Style Statement.
  • Look for connections, common themes and even the tension of opposites as sources of creativity. In this way, you can create your personal signature in how you work and present yourself.

5. Work through jealousy and envy 

  • A huge killer of combinatorial creativity is feeling jealous about the work of others that draws from similar influences. You have a great idea and then you see someone doing a very similar thing. You can feel gutted and overcome with envy.
  • Work through this so your unique perspective is not lost. You might have very similar sets of passions and influences to someone else. But the way they are blended with your unique personality and experiences will always be individual. So find your own way and have confidence in your unique remix and personal style.
  • You could connect with the person and celebrate their strengths. You could share their work, see how you can work together and find new ways to co-create from these shared influences. Acknowledge the envy and work from a sense of abundance, not limited thinking.

thank you

Have the courage to do your own work

At the end of the day, we also need to have the courage to do our own work. The best way we can take all those antecedents and influences forward is to honour them in new creations. Finding ways to identify our special perspective, our niche, our unique way of working is a creative act all of its own.

As Steven Pressfield reminds us in The War of Art:

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.

Sign up + get your copy of ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’

Just pop your email in the box to the right or below and ’36 Books’ will be with you soon! It’s a 94-page reflection on the creative influence of what we read. It takes you on a journey through my own influences. Find out which 36 books influenced me and why!

What are your creative influences?

Ok, so what or who has that visceral effect on you – book, song, movie, author, singer, artist? What has had a huge impact on you and how has it influenced you? Would love to hear!

You can share in the Comments or visit Quiet Writing on Instagram or Facebook.

Keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, books, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality type.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

36 Books that Shaped my Story – Reading as Creative Influence

The unique voice of what we love

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Creative and Connected #8 – ways to honour your unique life blend

Butterfly image from


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36 Books that Shaped my Story – Reading as Creative Influence

September 1, 2017

My free ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’ celebrates the books we love as our creative legacy and the clues they give as to what is emerging in our story.

The story of ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’

I’m so excited to be launching my ’36 Books’ ebook and sharing the story with you!

When I started working out what to include as a special gift and free ebook here, I wanted something that summed up the heart of Quiet Writing. I wanted to create something that sparked creativity, that shared generously and that provided a springboard for others for their own reflections on their lives and creativity.

And I kept coming back to books – sharing books that made a difference to me, sharing how they influenced me and shaped my life, reflecting on how this can be a source of growth.

Words are at the heart of Quiet Writing – the words we read, the words we write, the words we say to ourselves or another person such as a trusted friend or coach as we form our vision and process our journey. The words we listen to as we read, as we engage with another fully and the words we want to write.

And story is the shape the words make – the narrative we weave through the body of work that we create through career, our creative endeavours and our passions. This story is unique – no one has read the same books as you in the same way; no one has the same life experiences as you; and you are the only one to combine your passions and experiences in the way that you do.

Gathering special books around us

I’ve always gathered special books around me as a sort of altar, a source of strength, a connection to influence, like a wise chorus of silent voices surrounding me. So when I read Sage Cohen’s piece, ‘Honor you lineage’ in her book, Fierce on the Page, it rang special bells of resonance. In her beautiful piece, Sage explains:

I have always been magnetically drawn to the books I need as teachers. Recently I cleared a shelf and, with great reverence, placed on it the books I most love – the ones that have shaped me in the way that water shapes stones, almost imperceptibly over time.

She invites us to gather the books we most love around us and to sit with them and appreciate how they have influenced our vision and sense of direction, especially in our writing life.

And importantly, she flags that in the light and strength of these books and words, the heart of what we want to write is lingering:

I wonder if that’s really all our writing asks of us: to know what we love, to listen, and to give ourselves over to what presents itself.

So that’s what I did – I gathered the special books that have shaped me over time and spent time with each of them, honouring what they have brought to me. And it became a fascinating and deep exercise. Choosing them, remembering what they have given me, unpacking and unravelling it a little more, organising it into a continuum and seeing how it fitted in the context of my life – was an insightful joy. And I learnt so much about myself and the recurring themes in my life.

It became a deep excavation and navigation of what I love and how it drives me.

And that is the heart of Quiet Writing – it’s about gathering the threads of our lives, finding the connecting pieces and weaving them together.

I communicate this heart and this spirit, through writing and life coaching, the twin hearts of Quiet Writing, so we can work with it in a supportive way to shine. For when we find those connecting pieces, those values, those desires, those long held passions and values, they can help us negotiate the next phase more successfully and work out what we really want to do and feel.

What to expect in ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’

So what can you expect in ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’? It starts with a personal essay about the rationale and process and draws the threads of the experiment and experience together into key themes.

The second part then tracks through each of the 36 books individually and shows how they appeared in the context of my life and the legacy and influence they have provided. There are also suggestions as to why you might want to read each book.

Taken overall, the book shows how the books you love can be:

  • a source of writing inspiration
  • a narrative for your life
  • a timeline for reflection
  • prompts for memoir
  • a way of gathering evidence about your body of work over time
  • a way of understanding what you really love
  • a way of noticing the key themes of your life, and
  • the key to the influences that are your guiding light.

I think will find it a valuable read about the value of books and reading as creative influence and as a way of finding clues to help you enrich your quiet writing life.

How to get your copy of ’36 Books’

So if you already a Quiet Writing subscriber, the link will already be with you in your inbox via the ‘Beach Notes’ monthly message I have sent out.

If you are not already a subscriber, make sure you sign up to connect and receive ’36 Books’. Just sign up to the right or bottom on this page and the ebook will be with you in no time.

You will also receive my regular ‘Beach Notes’ newsletter full of inspiration about books, writing, story, narrative, voice, personality and all things quiet writing to inspire you. You will also be the first to know about Quiet Writing life coaching, guest posting and e-course opportunities when they are available.

I hope you enjoy ’36 Books’. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on and share our thoughts on reading, books, creativity, influence, story, narrative and writing. These are all fabulous inspirations central to Quiet Writing and the community here.

I can’t wait to hear your feedback – happy reading and reflection!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

How to read for more creativity, pleasure and productivity

Being ‘Fierce on the Page’ – a book review

On the art and love of reading

How to craft a successful life on your own terms

Quiet Writing

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Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

May 15, 2017

quiet light quote

As a proud introvert, I am keen to promote quiet voices speaking in the world.

I’m sharing a piece here that was originally published in Issue 1 of The Introvert Effect Magazine in February this year.

Just because you are quiet by nature, it doesn’t meant you can’t speak out and influence. You might do this a little differently to what feels like mainstream approaches. And it can take a little while to learn how your skills can best be played out.

My piece is an account of how I learned to understand and work the gifts of introversion. I hope you enjoy it and I welcome your thoughts especially if you have had similar experiences.

The second issue of The Introvert Effect Magazine – the Energy Issue – is out and is available here. The magazine is by introverts for introverts and this issue has some great tips for managing energy as an introvert.


Shining a quiet light 

I’ve always been aware of a sense of feeling a little different, a bit quieter, slightly outside the mainstream. Not necessarily in a bad way, but enough to feel at a distance from what was happening at times and to not say as much as I wanted.

As a young adult, I was drawn to the work of Carl Jung, to his visions, dreams and insights and to his writing on symbols, synchronicity and personality.

I found some of his Collected Works volumes with images of mandalas that I would gaze into as if they held something secret.

I became a teacher of adult literacy and then over time, a leader in adult education, heading up large work groups, honing the vision for my teams and business area, delivering educational programs that made a difference and developing the people that worked with me.

I’ve always been interested in personal development and creativity, mine and other people’s. Learning to me is paramount and even if the terrain is tough, there’s knowledge, experience and strength from that. I incorporated and shared these lessons in my work as a leader and in more personal writing on my blog.

With all of this, it wasn’t until I worked through my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type with a coach that I began to truly understand myself and the key to how I work.

I identified as an INTJ personality type – Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging – with a very strong preference for the I – Introverted.

I remember a single moment in the debriefing conversation when my coach said to me:

“Do you ever close the door?”

I can remember my stunned silence.

It seemed so obvious and still does. But the words were like a permission slip that I clearly needed to be authentic in my work in the world.

Leadership in our 24/7 world, filled with social media and electronic devices, implies always being available and accessible. These simple words about closing the door as my source of power and learning to respect this, ironically, opened the door to so much.

After that, I did start to close the door briefly and found it so valuable in getting peace and focus. I still do whatever I can to breathe, to collect my thoughts, to envision, to put the pieces together in a mind-map, to research, to craft words and to prepare for the next interaction.

A few years later, I read Susan Cain’s ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’. It was another watershed time and I understood myself more deeply as the words unfolded.

These words from Susan Cain spoke to me:

Everyone shines, given the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight, for others, a lamplit desk.

It’s true: I shine most brightly from the light of my desk or from the shade of trees at the beach where I sit writing, feet in the sand, staring out into the water and sunlight. All the incandescent ideas and visions flow from that inward space.

It’s not better than a Broadway stage, it’s just different. But it has taken me years to realise it’s just as significant a power as the brighter magic of a more extraverted and colourful performance. And it’s also taken me time to have confidence in this quiet strength as a source of expression and wisdom.

I’ve been told in my professional life, as I’m sure many introverts have, to “speak up more” and also to consider “voice coaching”.

There are times when this might be helpful and to some extent there’s truth in there. However, I gained the ability to speak up and influence more effectively through learning to work my introvert by sharpening up my practices of how I prepare, strategise, listen and write.

From this base, I can speak to large groups without undue stress and have impact in challenging negotiation contexts.

I can follow the flow of discussion in a meeting that meanders and then sum up the main ideas into a distilled message for future action.

I can listen in a very focused way and ask the right questions to help others move ahead. I can use my strategic writing ability to bring diverse ideas together to influence an outcome or argue for a position.

I have always had these skills to some degree. Over time, I have had to learn to recognise them as assets and to deploy them more appropriately and with confidence.

The linchpin has been the awareness of knowing the symbolic and practical power of the closed door and the lamplit desk, working from the wellspring of private moments however I can find them.

And it’s not that other people are not involved or important.

Connecting with critical others, listening to others’ ideas, engaging with creative communities and working with coaches and mentors are all part of the rich mix of input.

But it’s the quiet moment of distilling all of this knowledge and experience to its essence that is the vital catalyst for action.

We are all on a hero’s (or heroine’s) journey.

As Steven Pressfield says in ‘Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work’:

In the hero’s journey, the wanderer returns home after years of exile, struggling, and suffering. He brings a gift for the people. That gift arises from what the hero has seen, what he has endured, what he has learned. But the gift is not that raw material alone. It is the ore refined into gold by the hero/ wanderer/ artist’s skilled and loving hands.

You are that artist.

For the introvert, this important work of refining, distilling and reworking is more likely to happen if we can find space in our days.

And if there are silent walks along the beach, or elsewhere, collecting thoughts like shells.

And if we remember that the gentle light of ideas can be just as radiant as any stage performance, illuminating dark corners with presence.

The next step in my personal journey is to take this learning forward. As an INTJ, my dominant function is Introverted Intuition and I’m activating this power now with more awareness.

I’m combining my passions for learning, teaching, writing, Carl Jung’s ideas and MBTI tools to support people to harness their particular brand of brilliance to express their voice in the world.

Learning to work our introvert strengths to deploy our gifts ensures that the unique voice of what we love, who we are and what we have learned is not drowned out.

We can never know the difference our influence can make or the impact we can have on another’s life journey.

Recognising our abilities, crafting the raw material of our lives and then communicating the gold we find can be the greatest offering, enabling others to likewise shine.

shine a quiet light

Keep in touch

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Background photo for featured image from and used with permission and thanks.