personality and story

inspiration & influence personality and story

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

August 4, 2017

Onlyness is that thing that only that one individual can bring to a situation. It includes the journey and passions of each human.

Nilofer Merchant

unique blend

Inspiring resources to keep you creative and connected – this week with a focus on ways to honour your unique blend or onlyness.

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on various social platforms on finding and honouring your unique blend of passions, skills and experience. A term for this, created by Nilofer Merchant, is ‘onlyness’. Whatever we call it, it’s about how you bring the threads of your unique personality, experience together so you can shine and have impact as only you can.

Finding my unique blend

I’ve been on a journey of transition over the past year, seeking to shift to a life focused around Life Coaching and Writing and feeling more wholehearted each day.

In going through this journey, I’ve really had to do think about the unique skills, knowledge and experience that I bring forward from my previous roles and experience. It’s so easy to leave pieces of ourselves behind as we seek to change. But all those pieces of who we are make up our uniqueness or onlyness in the world.

Nilofer asks in her 2012 TED Talk on this theme:

Who are you? What makes you so unbelievably special? What is it that calls you into this world and how can you bring it out so other people can see it. When we learn to stand in our onlyness, we actually celebrate the kickassness that we are. And that to me is the key. How do we unlock that part of us that is so kickass. And so incredibly different and our story to bring into the world. Because when we do that it will unlock that part of us to be more fully alive.

She further comments on her talk on her website saying:

It’s not that everyone will, but that anyone can contribute.

And until we celebrate onlyness, we are not honoring the person. And, until you unlock your onlyness, you are not fully alive. And, collectively, until we honor onlyness, we are limiting ourselves, our organizations and our economies.

So in the spirit of helping us all unlock that ‘kickassness’, here are some recent and favourite resources and references on this theme.

And I welcome your contributions in the comments or on Facebook or Instagram about your favourite resources for bringing our unique stories, onlyness and blend of life alive. Let’s share so we all can shine!

Podcasts on honouring your unique life blend

How to Turn Ideas into Impact with OnlynessNilofer Merchant on Jonathan Fields Good Life Project

The whole concept of bringing together the threads of our story is a central part of Quiet Writing and being wholehearted. In the Beautiful You Coaching Academy program that I have just finished, we worked through the concept of ‘onlyness’ and our unique blend of skills as a central thread in the course. And I’d been working through this with my coach as well before I started my life coaching program.

But I hadn’t really concentrated on the work of Nilofer Merchant until this week! I love Jonathan Field’s podcast, it’s always full of treasures and this one was a beautiful one to be brought to my attention. So I bring it to yours!

This conversation is all about our unique capacity to make a big impact to change the world. As the show notes point out, especially with social media and technological change,

….we’re living in times that, maybe for the first time ever, have made it possible for people who’ve been marginalized, disenfranchised and stripped of power to bring forth and build momentum around ideas that, in her words, are mighty enough to “dent the world.

Merchant believes that everyone can contribute and:

The fact that we don’t is society’s greatest problem and the greatest opportunity.

The TED Talk is awesome too, so I encourage you to listen and reflect on your onlyness and unique blend of skills.

Your Body of Work with Pam Slim – The Creative Giant Show with Charlie Gilkey

Pamela Slim is another fabulous champion of finding our unique blend of skills and body of work. Pam’s work focuses on identifying the special ingredients that thread together in our lives. She especially looks at how they have played out over the long term through our body of work.

Pam talks with Charlie Gilkey about transitions and how we find work that is significant for our unique blend of skills and the mode of life that serves this. This might be creative entrepreneurship or any way of building a business around values that are important to us.

Books and reading notes

My reading week

I’ve continued reading David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity on work and identity. This book also featured in Our Heart Always Knows the Way – a wholehearted story on Quiet Writing this week.

I’m also enjoying Jojo Moyes’ Paris for One. I love Jojo Moyes and have read pretty well all her books and this is a fun, relaxing read that has kept me quietly smiling.

I’ve also continued reading The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon, by Scott Baker as an audio book. As a result, I’ve started using dictation for my emails and other writing in a small way as I start to employ these skills. It’s been exciting and will let you know how this goes as it evolves.

body of work

Book notes on this week’s theme of onlyness and unique life blend:

Pamela Slim’s book, Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together, has been a go-to book for me as I’ve negotiated this time of transition. I’ve read it as an ebook and audiobook soaking it all in, then bought the hard copy book, because I need it right by me each day.  This book focuses on how you can tease out the threads that tie your story together – the values, the skills, the themes, the ingredients of you. It also identifies how you can use this skill and knowledge to find new ways to do your work in the world.

Nilofer Merchant also explores ideas around onlyness, your unique blend and how to use this to impact the world in her new book, The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World. This book will be released later this month and looks a fascinating read on finding our purpose and power and acting on it for change and impact.

11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra is an earlier book by Nilofer Merchant premised on the fact that “value creation in the 21st century starts with each of us”. I haven’t read this as yet but have downloaded as an ebook. It has 4.6/5 stars on Amazon with fabulous reviews so look forward to exploring this one.

The other book I would recommend on this theme is Steven Pressfield’s Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work This book is about how we find our power by turning professional and doing the work. He talks about shadow careers which are a metaphor for the real thing:

Sometimes, when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, we’ll pursue a shadow calling instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for a real career. Its shape is similar, its contours feel tantalisingly the same. But a shallow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us. (P13)

Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

Part of our unique blend of skills is how we connect with others. A Study of the Champagne Industry shows that women have stronger networks and profit from them.

I want to share with you this post from a member of the Quiet Writing community, Kerstin Pilz, on Tiny Buddha, How a 10 day silent retreat helped heal my grieving heart because it is such a beautiful wholehearted story.

In Guided Meditation and Tips for Spiritual Grounding, Nicole Cody reminds us about the power of being grounded as we go through challenging circumstances and provides practical tips for keeping well grounded.

I also enjoyed this piece on Forest Bathing: A Retreat to Nature can Boost Immunity and Mood by Allison Aubrey via Dave Stachowiak on Twitter.

Clearly, I am looking for ways to ground myself and connect with nature at this time! I’m going back to swimming tomorrow after an interrupted time with illness and minor surgery, so cannot wait for that. Swimming is very grounding for me.

On Quiet Writing and Tarot Narratives

On Quiet Writing, I have been exploring this theme in various ways of how we find the threads that bring our story together for more wholehearted living. I see a critical part of finding our whole heart as identifying the central pieces that connect our narrative. Sometimes these have become lost along the way in our life. Or they may have manifested as a shadow career, not quite hitting the mark of where we want to go. Or maybe we just haven’t pulled the pieces together in a way that we can see new options.

Here are some relevant posts on Quiet Writing on this theme:

The unique voice of what we love

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Our heart always know the way – a wholehearted story

Creative and Connected #4 – the wholehearted edition

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram have continued to be a rich source of inspiration and insight for my creative journey. Thanks for all the creative interactions. On honouring our unique life blend into action, in a recent post, Sharon Blackie in ‘If Women Rose Rooted’ reminds us:

”But sooner or later, no matter how cleverly we try to hide ourselves, to turn away from the truth, we are called to change. To wake up, and to see, and so to take responsibility. To reclaim our power, and to participate in the remaking of the world.” p83

Quotes on this theme

Just to finish, here a few fabulous quotes on this theme:

“Create your own style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.”
Anna Wintour

“Each of us is a unique strand in the intricate web of life and here to make a contribution.”
Deepak Chopra

“Behind every mask there is a face, and behind that a story.”
Marty Rubin

“To be oneself, simply oneself, is so amazing and utterly unique an experience that it’s hard to convince oneself so singular a thing happens to everybody.”
Simone de Beauvoir, Prime of Life

“Be uniquely you. Stand out. Shine. Be colorful. The world needs your prismatic soul!”
Amy Leigh Mercree

And here’s the beautiful orchids continuing to come out in my garden. Almost every flower is out now and it’s such a stunning display.

Have a fabulous creative weekend!


unique blend

Creative and Connected is a regular post each Friday and the previous posts are below. I hope you enjoy it. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

Feature image via

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free e-book on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

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 intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

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

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #7 – how to craft a successful life on your own terms

Creative and Connected #6 – how to be a creative entrepreneur

How to make the best of introvert strengths in an extraverted world

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

personality and story transition wholehearted stories work life

Our heart always knows the way – a wholehearted story

July 30, 2017


Frustrated in the quest to find work and a life you love? Don’t despair, the greatest truth is that our heart always knows the way. 

This is the first guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here.  

In essence, Quiet Writing celebrates wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity and I am keen for a community of voices to be telling their story of what wholehearted living means here in this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am thrilled to have my dear friend, Katherine Bell, as the first ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Katherine and I met through an online course, The Introvert Effect, created by Katherine Mackenzie-Smith. When I talked on a group phone call about my planned transition to a more wholehearted way of life, Katherine reached out to me afterwards, sensing a connection in our stories. We have been firm and amazingly synchronistically connected friends ever since, supporting each other and sharing a love of books and especially of David Whyte, who features in this story.

I hope you enjoy Katherine’s story, poem and exquisite photography. My sincere thanks to Katherine for her beautiful contribution to Quiet Writing.

Starting out on my journey towards wholehearted life and work  

This is not a romantic story. Certainly others found it inspiring to start with—a quest towards a better life is something we can all relate to … for a time. But when the initial 12 months I had planned (what was I thinking?) grew into 18, then 24 … then five years and there were no tangibles like an impressive job title, a book, or the usual manifestations we take as evidence that someone has a successful life … well, cue crickets chirping and tumbleweed rolling down the deserted street.  

Not long after my 39th birthday, with my life in a dire mess, I checked myself into a psychologist. I naively approached this as I would manage a work project, and estimated that I would be fixed before I turned 40. I was about to learn that inner work—deep inner work—is nowhere near linear. My biggest challenge was that I didn’t know what I wanted, despite recognising that I was desperately unhappy. I also felt that something was wrong with me, as the kind of prescribed life my partner of nearly 20 years had envisaged for us—and that everybody else seemed to want as well—was just not me. I felt like the Ugly Duckling, I simply didn’t belong.  

A beacon of hope 

It wasn’t until a friend passed a copy of David Whyte’s ‘Crossing the Unknown Sea—Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity to me around the same time that I recognised a voice like my own for the first time, and dared to hope that there was another way for work, relationship, life— a way that fit with me, instead of my feeble attempts to contort in ever-increasingly painful ways to fit with it. I can vividly recall the night I started to read it. I was in the bathtub (my Fortress of Solitude in those days) again feeling like the Ugly Duckling. But this time, the experience was akin to the duckling’s heart both leaping and aching when he looked up to see beautiful swans—his own kind—flying overhead. I recognised in David Whyte a kindred other who lived at depth, even though I did not quite know what living at depth was at that time.  


This simple, profound recognition was enough to start me on the journey of my own unknown sea. Here, finally, was someone else who had crossed that sea, I recognised his voice, and I knew I belonged in some way to that pilgrimage. Fast forward to the present day, and with a small, knowing smile I say that the recognition was of my own voice. The best gift of David Whyte’s words have not been their beauty, nor their inspiration (as profound as both are) but the validity, the permission, they gave to my own words, my own voice. There was nothing wrong with me after all, I was not a duckling, I was a swan. I had simply been surrounded with voices that did not recognise mine.  

With that first heart-leap of recognition, and the simple permission given by the Wonderful Mr Whyte, I took the plunge into the unknown sea towards work, life and relationship that was wholehearted. I tackled the problem in the only way I knew how to at the time, which was to leave my job, home, partner and city in the same week (not recommended) and take flight to the other side of the world for six weeks. My entire known life was in storage, ready to be dealt with when I got back.  

In this way I jumped into my own metaphorical boat with not a clue (thankfully) of the squally territory that lay ahead, or that I would feel at sea for several years. I say “feel at sea” as in reality we are never truly lost, or alone, it just feels that way, and part of our quest is to be able to endure the inevitable crises of discomfort, discouragement, or despair. It’s a riding out of the storm, knowing that it will eventually pass.  

Allowing our heart direction to emerge 

I think the trip was the only part of the plan that made sense, in hindsight. It gave me the relief and spaciousness I needed—both literally, staying in remote parts of the English countryside and roaming open fields, mountains, and wild clifftops in the rain, and metaphorically, in starting to thaw out from what had been a fraught existence, both at work and home, for long years at a stretch. I felt like I was emerging from a coma and needing to learn what was real again. This was in the smallest of ways to begin with, an almost imperceptible turning of my head and simple noticing of what elicited a positive reaction in me, like surprise at hearing the unfamiliar sound of my own laugh.    


It was a significant shock when I returned to Australia without a home, job, partner or any structure to my life and needed to take the first breath of my new life. I moved to a regional town near my family, embarking on a series of experiments to find work that worked for me. Work, for me, is of central importance, and my experiences with it not working have been as painful as any of my life’s challenges. David Whyte elevates work to the status of a marriage in his book “The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship” and I agree with it being given this priority. This is especially so for those who are creative types—there is no divorcing ourselves from our work, they are one and the same entity.  

In Crossing the Unknown Sea, David Whyte talks of “having a firm persuasion in our work” (p.5) and that has certainly been the crux of my quest, taking precedence over relationship for a time. I have grappled with finding work that is heartfelt and resonant, and what has looked like foolishness to others from a financial perspective has been a dogged determination to settle for nothing less. I certainly miss elements of my former lifestyle, but in resolutely setting my sail to my own course I can say I am at peace and happy.  

My golden rule is that as mine is the only head to hit my pillow each night, I’m best qualified to set that sail, as long as I am staying aligned to what is true for me. It has, however, been stressful in needing to hold out far longer than I envisaged, yet the alternative—the life I used to live and the work I used to do—is no more an option for me as running a race if I no longer had legs. As Whyte’s friend Brother David said to him “You are only half here, and half here will kill you after a while. You need something to which you can give your full powers” (p.132).  

Discovering my work  

The only idea I had about what my right kind of work looked like was that I wanted to write. Knowing that I wasn’t interested in writing fiction was at least a start. I stumbled through exploring writerly activities such as creating a blog, writing poetry, entering writing competitions, and applying for a writing scholarship. However, apart from the cathartic blog and poetry, it felt as though I was contorting myself again into a shape that wasn’t quite right. Thankfully, as Rumi says, “what you seek is seeking you”, and I soon had an opportunity presented to write for a research organisation, work which I found I truly loved. All my clumsy attempts and experiments had in fact been my apprenticeship to the kind of writing I love. In revisiting an earlier journal I discovered the prophetic words:  

“My work will be a melange of my heart – not just one thing, it will be a blend of all the things that make my heart glad: writing, thinking, researching; the alchemy of ideas”. 

Here was evidence that my heart had known all along, I had just not been in a place to hear it, let alone respond to it. 


The benefit of hindsight 

Hindsight shows us that all experiences—even the most painful—prepare us for our own particular work. Some experiences are definitive (like David Whyte’s influence on me, foundational stones to the structure of the work which only we can do) and some are transitional, forming the scaffolding we need to emerge ever so slowly until ready to stand and reveal our work to the world.    

If I could rewind the clock and give myself some advice to make the journey easier, it would centre on the following. 

  • There is no timeframe in matters of the heart, especially when needing to find a way back to life after being metaphorically dead as I was. It will take as long as it will take, even if you are just a little lost. Don’t try to plan and control it; it will only cause additional pain. I think one of the most important things is that any emotional or psychic recovery needs to be given the same credence as a physical injury. I have had to constantly adjust my expectations of the timeframe of recovery, likening it to having every bone, muscle, ligament broken and undergoing extensive rehabilitation, and learning to live again being more than a little changed.    
  • Be kind and patient … with yourself. I wish I had cut myself some slack along the way; I was really doing the best I knew how to at any given point, as feeble as that was. 
  • The truth is not that everything will be OK, it’s that it already is. Time and time again I have had to remind myself “all is well”. Even in the darkest moments, the truth is that everything is working for us when we are aligned to our hearts, not against us.   
  • It’s not a journey with a destination. I’m still not there, and I don’t think I ever will be. As David Whyte says, it’s a ‘continuing conversation’. The important thing is that we keep showing up, open-hearted, looking for the Hansel and Gretel trail that leads us ever homewards, crumbs as clues left behind by an engaged and benevolent Hand (whether we understand that to be our God, our Higher Self, or whatever language we use to give meaning and shape to our spirituality). 

From the time I first recognised David Whyte’s voice (and ultimately my own) in the bath all those years ago to now, I trust my little boat, metaphor for my heart, to carry me ever onwards. I have nothing to fear while I’m aligned to it. My only request is that after several years at stormy sea, I’m soon taken to safe harbour for a little respite, perhaps where I can feel the warmth of the sun of friendship and community on my face. Then, as it is now, all will be well.  


This reflective journey has led me back to a poem that I first started to write as I walked the clifftops in England all those years ago, with my own unknown sea stretched before me. Whilst not originally written with the intention of sharing it, it seems to fit so beautifully into my story that I offer it here.  



It turns out (in the end) that I am far
stronger than we all thought.

I chose to be brave at morning’s first light,
however grey and dim it appeared then.

Turning towards the east
to walk ever closer to the Ocean of Who Knows What,
throwing my face and caution
to the biting wind of my vulnerability,
stripped of all pretence and belief
for better, or for worse:
or at last, Ruined.

In angry defiance
—or quiet acceptance?—
I signed up, took the gamble,
declaring “See here?
This, this is my Mark,
my Consent,
my Line In The Sand
of how I will live and be in this world.
And if I die at this brutal hand
well …
at least I felt the sharp slap and bite of the wind,
the driving rain that hurt my eyes and became my tears,
and the aching weight of loss
after loss
—how will I bear it?—
but knowing at last,
This was Me
I had reached Land’s End,
And I refused to go into hiding again.

Standing on the cliff buffeted, yet
Resolute, watching
the cruel sea
Relentless against captive rocks,
I thought “Poor things, they’re just like me…
—pounded and near-drowned”.

Then pounded and near-drowned some more.

In years to come I will know that in
choosing to live
at risk of the Open Sea
I breathed
and dreamed
in this beautiful and vicious world
that sometimes despised,
sometimes loved me
(I never knew which it was).

crossing the unknown sea


About Katherine Bell 
Katherine Bell
Before turning to the quieter world of writing, editing and research, Katherine worked for 25 years in the corporate sector across multiple industries in senior administrative and strategic project roles. Making a tree-change from Sydney to regional NSW several years ago, Katherine is passionate about promoting research that translates into real-life outcomes. She is currently working on forming an alliance with other corporate escapees who share her passion for making the workplace more humane and sustainable, particularly for those who are introverted or highly sensitive. Co-founder of  The Edit Bureau she also assists academics in Australia and overseas with getting their work published.

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free ebook on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

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 intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

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

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #6 – how to be a creative entrepreneur

How to make the best of introvert strengths in an extraverted world

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Creative and Connected #4 – the wholehearted edition

inspiration & influence introversion personality and story wholehearted stories work life

How to make the best of introvert strengths in an extraverted world

July 22, 2017



I am an introvert, an INTJ in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator world and basically off the dial on introversion. Yet I have balanced this with a job that involves a huge amount of people interaction, talking in front of groups, leading and participating in many meetings with complex interactions. As a result, it’s not easy to make time to charge my batteries through time alone, even though it’s something I desperately need.

Learning to successfully negotiate this balance is an ongoing journey and finding the time for recharge is a challenge. I’m interested in working my introvert side, understanding its strengths and weaknesses, capitalising on it, identifying what I can bring to a situation. I want to make the best of my introvert abilities and work them rather than have them working, and sometimes exhausting, me.

Here are some key inspirations and influences on understanding your introvert strengths in the work sphere for greater impact and positive outcomes.

Leveraging the advantages of being an introvert at work – Penelope Trunk

This article from Penelope Trunk discusses how the world of work rewards and is basically set up around the needs of extraverts. Her article provides a balance to this by offering some tips for leveraging the advantages of introverts. These tips include:

  • working from the world of ideas
  • giving full attentiveness for a short, concentrated time
  • improving your self-knowledge of your type
  • teaching other people how best to interact with you as an introvert, and
  • learning about the job roles that would best suit you.

There are also some excellent references for further reading embedded in this insightful article.

Caring for your introvert – Jonathan Rauch

This classic 2003 article from The Atlantic is about understanding the orientations and needs of introverts. It looks at some common myths or assumptions about introverts and provides a balanced point of view. The article takes the perspective that introverts are misunderstood and dogged by stereotypes such as being shy. Rauch corrects this one by saying that “introverts are people who find other people tiring.”

Rauch has some good pointers for balancing time with people and finding time to charge again. His answers to a scan of issues about introverts (are they misunderstood? are they oppressed? what are the implications of extraverts dominating public life?) provide useful perspectives for introverts seeking to find points of strength and balance. I especially love the distinction between introverts who typically ‘think before talking’ vs extraverts who typically ‘think by talking’.

Top ten myths about introverts – Carl King

This article lists Carl’s top ten myths about introverts, in a similar vein and drawing on the book ‘The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World’ by Marti Olsen-Laney.  It captures these myths in a pithy way I could instantly recognise. The article concludes:

‘It can be terribly destructive for an Introvert to deny themselves in order to get along in an Extrovert-Dominant World.’

Suggestions for managing this include: understanding the myths, linking in with other introverts for support and the need for extroverts to respect the ways of introverts.

Extroverts, introverts, aspies and codies – Venkatesh (Venkat) Rao

This article is a fascinating summary of introvert and extravert issues but takes a step further into the realm of microeconomicss, transactions and social psychology. The article explores energy in the exchange from the introvert and extravert point of view. It also reviews:

  • how introverts and extraverts manage isolation vs physical contact
  • 1:1 encounters and their depth
  • weak-link social fields such as coffee shops
  • strong-link social fields such as family gatherings
  • relationships over time and relationships with strangers.

Venkat also looks at how the tension between extraverts and introverts plays out in the slang terms they use or might use for each other. For example, ‘aspies’ (a term used by extraverts for introverts and linked to Asberger’s Syndrome) and ‘codie’s ( a possible term as none exists and linked to co-dependency). Venkat concludes by saying that introversion is becoming far more visible, resulting in shifts in the landscape of social psychology.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain

The publication of  Quiet in 2012 was a significant milestone in the landscape of literature about introvert strengths and how to work them. This book changed my life as I read page after page of narrative that explained so clearly the way I operated in the world. Backed by extensive evidence, cutting edge research, neuroscience and stories of real people, ‘Quiet’ helped me make sense of so much. As a result, I better understood myself and especially my unique powers of negotiation and leadership. The practical strategies exemplified assisted me to work my specific strengths and also manage my energy far more effectively.

These strengths include:

  • thorough and detailed preparation
  • asking the right questions at the right time
  • active listening
  • ability to focus intensely and be in flow
  • working more slowly, carefully and deliberately
  • the ability to take strong positions and come across calmly and with reason


Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler

Jennifer Kahnweiler’s Quiet Influence was another game changer for me in understanding how you can have influence in quiet ways. It provides a response to the problem often experienced by introverts: “In every performance review, I’m told I need to speak up more.” I’ve experienced this and I knew it wasn’t the problem or the solution! This book helped me realise that I had strengths – quieter strengths – that I needed to recognise as such and deploy more effectively.

These influence strategies for making a quiet difference include:

  • taking quiet time
  • preparation
  • engaged listening
  • focused conversations
  • writing
  • thoughtful use of social media

Learning how to use these strategies more effectively made an enormous difference to my impact and influence. I felt better about myself as I was more in flow with my natural energies rather than trying to be more extraverted. Quiet influence is a far more empowering and instinctive place from which to work.

Unpack your introvert strengths

I was fascinated to read in Penelope Trunk’s article above that my type, INTJ, has the longest Wikipedia page:

‘Because the combination of being an introvert and being ideas-driven makes one very interested in learning about oneself. INTJ’s are an extreme case, but all introverts have this combination to some extent, and the self-knowledge will help you put yourself in situations where you’ll have the most positive impact.’

It’s true, I am an extreme case and this summary is a piece of evidence testifying to that, an addition to the INTJ genre. True to type,  I can’t tell you how energising I found the experience of researching and writing it.

But for everyone, self-knowledge helps you make the most of your natural strengths. I hope this article is useful in identifying and unpacking your strengths and working your introvert. Or that it helps in the all important perspective of better understanding the ways of those around you.

How do you work your introvert? I’d love to hear!

Note: This post was originally published on my blog Transcending in 2011 as ‘Working your Introvert’. It’s updated in July 2017 to reflect key additional influences since that time.

Feature image via and used with permission and thanks.


Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free e-book on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

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 intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

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

You might also enjoy:

Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

Being a vessel – or working with Introverted Intuition

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

creativity inspiration & influence personality and story writing

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

July 18, 2017

authentic heart

Knowing the authentic heart of you, the centrepiece, helps you to focus, prioritise and combine your unique threads so you can shine.

There are some central components of you that come together that are pivotal to how you want to work and shine. And there’s often that one piece that lights up the others from within and makes sense of them all.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the authentic heart lately, this unique core that coalesces all the others. It seems the energy is right for getting clear on what really matters: the piece that spins and drives all the others. The one that makes you shine and polishes everything else into a shiny constellation of stars and planets.

Sometimes it takes a little searching and reflecting.

The journey back 

About a year ago, I began a journey of transition back to a life that more fully reflects me. Work had taken over and important pieces of me were missing in action. I’m reading David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea right now. These words I read last night described how I felt when that time hit:

When you get to the bottom, you’ll find everything you’ve disowned and thrown away from yourself lying around on the ground. (P126)

I’ve talked about wholehearted and how this means so much to me. It’s about being whole and finding our meaning, whether it be in work or other contexts. For me, this time was the opposite. You could call it stress or burnout, but I reached a point where the person I was, day in, day out, was not what I wanted to be.

So I began the search to gather back the pieces that were missing.

Beacons of light and stepping stones

In the solitude spaces of my busy days, I searched for the authentic parts that were missing in action. My long commute became the kernel of the way back.

I listened to podcasts that kept my writing ambitions alive especially The Creative Penn. I’ve enjoyed this podcast for years as a beacon for the life I want. Its host, Joanna Penn is the role model who shows me it’s possible. I know I can achieve this – living a writing life, having a self-sustaining creative lifestyle. So when unable to do this immediately, I learned about this way of being and writing as much as I could, every day on my way to work. It was a practical way of keeping the dream alive.

Elizabeth Gilbert, her Big Magic book and Magic Lessons podcast were also lighthouses that helped me find my way. Driving through the national park where I live, heading to the train, I had moments of realisation that kept the trail bright. In one episode, there was a conversation about being on the runway for a long time which hit straight to my heart. I felt like I’ve been preparing forever. The reminder that ‘the action is here’ was poignant. I realised that the time for creativity is now.

My friend, Victoria Smith kept me going through this period via her course Softly Wild. It helped me connect pieces I had lost and discover new ones. I also reached out to Victoria for help with life coaching through a coaching series. It was time to identify the transition path back to my wholehearted self. Victoria had been through similar experiences. With her experience and skill, she could help light the way and hold my hand on the journey.

authentic heart

The authentic heart of me

I identified a path back about nine months ago. It involved transitioning to a self-sustaining creative lifestyle. It had as its core tenets: writing, life coaching, personality/Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certification and intuition skills via tarot.

I identified the key elements of learning as:

  • Beautiful You Life Coaching Academy course
  • Certification in personality type assessment (MBTI) via the Majors Personality Type Inventory based on Jung/Myers-Briggs theory
  • A deep dive into the intuitive art of tarot (via daily practice, study and Susannah Conway’s 78 Mirrors e-course)

And the central element and authentic heart of it all was writing. Quiet writing: my practice, my discipline and the sharing of this; the ability to produce books, blog posts and other pieces that reflected my heart. Writing as quiet influence, as voice, creating my story and sharing it.

In recent weeks, I’ve been circling back to writing as the authentic heart as I finish my Beautiful You Life Coaching course and refine my business focus. And coaching has helped me to define this. As part of completing our Beautiful You certification requirements, I chose to work with writing coach Caroline Donahue to make sure this authentic heart of Quiet Writing was not lost in transition.

Writing daily as my creative practice and working on larger creative non-fiction pieces and writing a novel is central to my business. If I’m not authentically and creatively me – writing day in and day out, showing up, making time for the longer pieces I have outlined or the ones there in my heart, it’s not genuine. I am only able to help others with their creative lives and careers through my own writing and coaching practice of living this every day.

Writing as creative practice

So as I further craft my coaching and writing business, its brand and focus, I know that writing is the authentic heart. It’s why my business name and website is Quiet Writing. The twin hemispheres of writing and coaching, joined by the thread of creativity, are at the centre. But writing is the heartbeat and leader. It’s about the process of becoming, of artistry, of being more wholehearted in the every day, crafting and creating ourselves and our lives. And if I am not doing that myself through my own creative practice, it’s a hollow story.

I’m always writing in my life in some way but recently, I’ve started showing up to writing more. I start the day with journaling via Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages now. It’s been calling to me for a while and I knew it was what I had to do. It’s a kind of first principle – the first lesson in Susan M. Tiberghien’s One Year to a Writing Life.

The first step towards a writing life – and its foundation – is journal writing. To write well takes practice….Your daily life calls you in a thousand directions; journal writing centers you.

It seems so obvious and so simple. And as Julia Cameron explains, it is:

Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.

The power of writing these three pages before doing anything else is immense. I’m connecting deeply, I’m resolving things, I’m writing poetry which I haven’t done for a while and I’m freeing myself up for other writing.

I’ve committed to Tarot Narratives each day on Instagram. This is writing centred around tarot and oracle and crafting a creative, intuitive message linked to a book or other influence. It’s a practice I was doing anyway each day so it made sense to share it to inspire others’ creativity. The synchronicity and creative connection have been amazing. It’s now a deep part of my creative practice, linking intuition and writing.

I’m writing two blog posts a week here and I’m working on guest blog posts as well. This practice of showing up here at Quiet Writing in a committed, deep way is helping creative flow. I feel I am hitting my writing stride more comfortably now. I’ve struggled with this: is it better to wait till inspiration strikes or commit to two days a week? Well, I’m doing both and seems to be working well for me right now. I am a writer so I need to be writing!

Working on guest blog posts is another way of honing my voice in areas close to my heart: personality, leadership, introvert strengths, intuition, self-leadership, creativity and being wholehearted. Writing for different audiences and contexts is stretching my writing muscles. I’m studying my readability, the headlines I choose and watching my tendency to overuse the passive voice so I can get my message across more clearly.

And in a big shift last week, I’ve realised I have to make my longer creative projects a higher priority. For example, there’s the book I’ve nearly finished for Quiet Writing subscribers on the books that have influenced me; the novel that I want to write that was actually the genesis of all this; and the signature pieces for Quiet Writing that I have outlined, ready to be written and created. Through listening to this podcast and working with my writing coach, Caroline, I’ve committed to making the longer pieces a priority, like an appointment in my calendar.

So writing is my creative practice and I’m finally finding a place for it in my days as a priority.

authentic heart

Discovering our authentic centrepiece

There’s a lot of messages around right now about finding your authentic centrepiece. This week’s post from Nicole Cody is about reclaiming your dreams:

Inside, our dreams continue to burn. Ideas flicker, waiting for a breeze to fan the flame. Our long-neglected interests and hobbies need only a ray of sunshine and a little fresh air to spring back into being.

This week those dreams and longings begin to come back into focus. A little more of ourselves is restored. Our courage grows.

That’s exactly what it feels like for me as I refocus on writing as my centrepiece.

No matter what it is, keeping that light of you burning brightly as your authentic heart will help make sense of so much.

There are so many ways we can discover – or rediscover – our compass or centre around which everything else pivots.

Practical strategies for finding your authentic heart

Here are some practical strategies for finding that centrepiece and authentic heart:

1 Journaling, morning pages, dialoguing with the self

Make time for journaling, morning pages, dialoguing with yourself or any other form of writing to tap into your inner voice. That ability to hear your voice on the page and settle yourself is the source of so much wisdom. The solitude afforded is in itself is a valuable teacher.

2 Working with a Life Coach

As you can see from my story above, working with a Life Coach is such a valuable way to be supported in hearing your inner voice. A coach holds space for you, asks questions to enable reflection and suggests resources and options to explore to help make change. This is a gift of personal investment to enable powerful discovery and behaviour change in line with your goals.

3 Reflecting on the threads that reoccur in your body of work

Identifying the threads that reappear in your life’s work across its manifestations is a valuable way to reflect on your journey and story. As Pamela Slim defines in Body of Work:

Your body of work is everything you create, contribute, affect, and impact.

Taking this broader view of all your contributions and creations enable you to step back and see the passions that drive you. You can identify the common connections and from this, gain a new perspective on life, career and creativity options.

4 Thinking about your shadow career

As Steven Pressfield explains in Turning Pro, sometimes when we’re afraid of our real calling, we’ll follow a shadow career instead. This might mean living the writer’s lifestyle without actually writing or writing in a corporate context when you really want to be writing a novel. My work life in recent years has featured strategic policy writing, speech writing and writing for the media. I enjoyed this writing but it wasn’t the work I really wanted to be doing or the writing of my heart.

As Pressfield says:

If you’re dissatisfied with your current life, ask yourself what your current life is a metaphor for. That metaphor will point you to your true calling. (P13)

5 Thinking about the books you love as clues and evidence 

Think about the books you love as a form of evidence. Look at your bookshelves. What’s the predominant story and style? What’s the genre? Has it been lost along the way? What ignites your heart?

6 Brainstorming and visual maps to find the common threads

Mind-mapping, journaling, vision boards, Pinterest, brainstorming and writing lists are all valuable tools to get to the common threads of your work. Some are more right-brained and some are more left-brained. So mix it up so you can access different angles and see your work from a number of views to uncover the golden threads that connect.

7 Intuitive work such as tarot or oracle to tap into your inner voice

Tarot and oracle are great intuitive tools to tap into your wisdom and listen to your inner voice. Intuitive writing or any other stream of consciousness approach is another way to access your intuition. Regularly making time for the practice of intuition in whatever works for you helps tune into the heart of your creative energies.

8 Writing down what your ideal day looks and feels like

Writing what your ideal day looks like is excellent for insight into what you really want. I’ve done this a few times over the years and the core threads are pretty similar over time. Find out how you really want to spend your time. This helps you recognise it when you start to get glimpses or finally achieve a measure of success. You might have already achieved your ideal day in some respects that you can build on.

9 Tuning into what others are saying about you and your gifts

We get a lot of clues from what people say about us but often we are not fully listening or keeping track. What are others saying they appreciate about you? Your calmness, your ability to listen, your creativity, how they relate to your writing, your use of colour? Pay attention to feedback, keep a record and notice what is being reflected back as insight into your gifts and purpose.

What’s your authentic heart?

So what’s your authentic heart? The practice, the creative work, the combining principle, the thread that ties it all together?

That sense of cut-through to the new idea or recurring touchstone that will help shape everything. It may have already arrived or might be in the process of evolving. It might be an awareness, a piece around self-belief, maybe a forgotten love, that’s become buried in the busy layers of your day.

It’s about finding our passion, our fire and being open to it. It’s true all this integration can be a little tiring, so take a rest when you need to. Just stepping away and resting or exercising, can be clarifying and help the central narrative or missing piece fall into place in a practical way.

So I’d love to hear:

Where are you keeping a light in your heart?

What are the beacons in your day showing the way back to?

What are the shadows showing up and highlighting?

What’s the authentic heart and centrepiece for you?

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free ebook on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

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 including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

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

You might also enjoy:

Intuition, writing and work: eight ways intuition can guide your creativity

Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

6 Inspiring Podcasts for Creatives and Book Lovers

Creative and Connected #4 – the wholehearted edition

Feature image via and used with permission and thanks.

creativity inspiration & influence personality and story

Creative and Connected #4 – the wholehearted edition

July 7, 2017



Inspiring resources to keep you creative and connected and an exciting wholehearted Quiet Writing guest posting opportunity!

Here’s a round up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on various social platforms with a focus this week on being wholehearted in life and creativity.

One of the core concepts behind Quiet Writing is being wholehearted and having the self-leadership to connect with others and feel integrated within ourselves to achieve our creative goals.

This week, Creative and Connected explores this theme:

What is wholehearted? Why is it important? What are the factors in having a great life? How can we bring our whole selves to our careers and creative practices?

And there’s a special opportunity for you to share Your Wholehearted Story’ on Quiet Writing! Yes, I’m putting out a call for for guest bloggers – I’m looking for some special people to write for Quiet Writing about what being wholehearted means to you. More on this below but I’m very excited to be opening Quiet Writing up to our collective voices so we can share the living of a whole, creative and connected life in support of each other.

Podcasts on wholehearted living

The 3 Most Important Factors for Having a Great Life with Jonathan Fields

Jonathan Fields is a leader in helping people create meaningful, connected and happy lives. In this interview on Melyssa Griffin’s Pursuit with Purpose podcast, he shares his work across different careers including shifting from law into different directions that were more in line with his heart and what he wanted in life.

Key points for me were:

  • Jonathan’s core set of questions and metrics to consider when making a life change
  • The three areas of your life that determine whether or not you’ll have a fulfilled, happy life: connection, contribution and vitality – and suggestions for how to achieve these.

Elizabeth Dialto on The Wild Soul Woman

This fabulous podcast chat between Julie Parker and Elizabeth Dialto on The Priestess Podcast was so much fun. Elizabeth is the founder of Wild Soul Movement, author of Untame Yourself, and host of the popular Untame The Wild Soul Woman podcast.

This conversation is about how the Divine Feminine can mean all manner of things for women in being untamed including embracing less traditionally female archetypes. The podcast also explores some of the traditional roles that women play that can keep us in people pleasing mode and not embracing our fuller, wilder, more assertive soul within. Super enjoyable and an invitation to wholehearted divine feminine living!

Books and reading notes

Reading wise this week I started Tracy Chevalier’s At the Edge of the Orchard about a dysfunctional family of apple-growers in 19th century America.

Tracy Chevalier is a favourite author of mine. Her specialty is historical fiction and she has a wonderful way of taking a historical story and building on it with a fictional narrative. She is especially strong on creating a sense of place. ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ is probably her most famous book but my favourite is ‘Remarkable Creatures’ set in Lyme Regis in Dorset and based on the real life story of pioneering fossil hunter, Mary Anning.

Tracy Chevalier announced on Twitter this week that Remarkable Creatures is currently being made into a movie.

This is so exciting! When I read Remarkable Creatures it just begged to be made into a movie – it’s so evocative and visual and such a fabulous story. Plus if you love Lyme Regis, Dorset and fossils as I do, it’s just pure heaven. It’s a story of discovery, self-belief and strength, especially of female strength and courage, in the face of opposition.

Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

There have been some interesting blog posts on wholehearted living, being clear, moving through and understanding your personality type and its influence recently:

The only 3 things you need to live a good life explains Jonathan Field’s concept of how the joy of living can be seen in terms of three simple buckets: connection, contribution, and vitality. It’s easy to focus on and check in with, clear and remarkably helpful.

In Why your introversion doesn’t dictate your career path over on The Introvert Effect, Rebecca McFarland explains how being an introvert doesn’t limit you with your career paths and ways of working. You just need to learn to work it differently. Rebecca shares some fabulous tips for managing career and roles outside your comfortable energy zone.

In a great post on The Leadership Styles of Every Myers-Briggs® Personality Type, Susan Storm explores each MBTI type around the strengths and weaknesses of its unique leadership style. The key message?

Any type can be a leader, but every type is going to do it a little bit differently.

Insightful, thorough and grounded in practical experience, it’s a valuable reference for understanding leadership and personality type.

A post that spoke to me deeply this week was Nicole Cody’s Small Steps and a Pep Talk for Hard Days. It seems I’m not alone in finding this year to be a challenging one. Sometimes it’s hard to see that we are making progress. This post is a great reminder to pause and reflect on how far we’ve come. This is also a theme that popped up for me this week in my Tarot Narrative intuitive messages.

My own post on 10 Amazing Life Lessons from Swimming in the Sea was also really positively received in all sorts of ways which was so heartening. I loved writing this post on the many things that swimming in the sea has taught me this year. It’s been such a valuable learning experience in exercise, connection with community and feeling more whole through vitality and being coached by inspirational fit women buddies, Jeanette Buchanan and Samantha Wheatley.

sea swimming

An invitation to guest post on Quiet Writing on ‘My Wholehearted Story’

And now to an exciting opportunity to guest post on Quiet Writing!

Quiet Writing celebrates wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity.

But what does wholehearted mean to me – and you?

It’s a word I found coming out of my mouth in a negative sense firstly. About a year ago, I found myself saying, “I am just not feeling wholehearted any more.” And this sense started a deep search and a time of transition to a more wholehearted way of creating and living that is expressing itself in many ways. This is through Quiet Writing here, in my writing, in learning to be a Life Coach, in becoming certified in personality type assessment and in working more with intuitive tools such as tarot and oracle. And it’s also expressed in my developing work in coaching to support others who want to feel more creative and connected. And I am so loving all of this!

In the early stages of this transition journey, I listened to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast “Who gets to decide if you’re a legitimate artist?‘ with poet, teacher, storyteller and artist, Mark Nepo. In discussing how to help Cecilia, a poet who has become marooned with writing because of not feeling good enough, being rejected and not being able to get into an MFA program, Mark offers her the word ‘wholehearted’ as advice and reads his beautiful poem:

Breaking Surface

Let no one keep you from your journey,
no rabbi or priest, no mother
who wants you to dig for treasures
she misplaced, no father
who won’t let one life be enough,
no lover who measures their worth
by what you might give up,
no voice that tells you in the night
it can’t be done.

Let nothing dissuade you
from seeing what you see
or feeling the winds that make you
want to dance alone
or go where no one
has yet to go.

You are the only explorer.
Your heart, the unreadable compass.
Your soul, the shore of a promise
too great to be ignored.

I listened to Mark reading this poem on the podcast again today and cried (again). It touches me so deeply and is what Quiet Writing is all about: letting no one keep us from our journey and being the creative explorer of our hearts.

So I’ve decided it’s time to hear more voices around wholehearted living and what it means to us here at Quiet Writing.

I am offering you the opportunity to consider guest posting here at Quiet Writing on ‘My Wholehearted Story’. Initially, I have six places on offer for 2017 – one per month to be featured here so that we can learn from each others’ journeys of the heart in this space.

I am hoping that we can also consider a regular or one-off publication or online magazine as well. I feel that there is a wealth of wholehearted stories to tap into to support us all, as source that we can add to and connect with over time.


What is ‘My Wholehearted Story’?

So here’s a summary of what I am thinking and what I am looking for:

What is wholehearted?

  • bringing your whole self to career and creative practice
  • not leaving parts of you, especially the creative, poetic, spiritual aspects, at the door, any door
  • being whole, being authentic, being light, being present
  • self-care and care of and connection with others
  • yin and yang, dark and light, strength and weakness, shadow explorations
  • living our unique passions, gifts and influences
  • being our body of work in the world

How does it connect with Quiet Writing?

Quiet Writing focuses on the core values of being

creative, intuitive, flowing, poetic and connected

It’s about the strength that comes from working steadily without fanfare in writing and other spheres to coalesce, create, influence and connect. And it’s about honouring the process as much as the product; the being, becoming and journey, as much as the arrival. It’s about the artistry behind closed doors and how it merges and weaves into that of everyday life.

This beautiful quote, from Irene Claremont de Castillejo, in the frontispiece to The Heart Aroused by David Whyte captures the feeling for me around this more soulful kind of living:

Only a few achieve the colossal task of holding together, without being split asunder, the clarity of their vision alongside an ability to take their place in a materialistic world. They are the modern heroes….Artists at least have a form within which they can hold their own conflicting opposites together. But there are some who have no recognised artistic form to serve this purpose, they are the artists of the living. To my mind these last are the supreme heroes in our soulless society.”

What might you write about?

I’m interested in the ways that you have strived to build all or any of these values – creative, flowing, intuitive, poetic and connected – into living more wholeheartedly. And how you have worked and written and created quietly to make this happen, behind the scenes, as a form of the art of the living.

I’m interested in guest blog posts and writing around these types of questions:

  • What makes you feel wholehearted and what does it mean to you?
  • What have your learnings been about being whole in heart and mind?
  • What tools, tips, practices, do you have for others?
  • Which intuitive tools, exercise, learning, skills or courses have made a significant difference for you?
  • How have you worked your strengths and weaknesses to blend and find wholeness?
  • What have been the challenges, the shadow journeys and how have you overcome them?
  • What fears have you faced and wrangled on the way and what have you learnt from this?
  • Which passions and loves come together to make you feel whole?
  • What have been the features of connecting to feeling more whole: rhythms, women’s voices, cycles, the journeys of others?
  • What have been your key influences: which book or other inspiration helped make sense of all this for you?
  • What aspects of your identity or personality journey have you worked through eg introversion, extraversion, understanding of your personality/MBTI type, your artistic or poetic self?
  • Which critical learnings about an aspect of your personality made all the difference in feeling whole and comfortable in your uniqueness?
  • What symbols, archetypes or natural cycles work for you and how do you work with them?
  • How have you practised self-leadership to feel more wholehearted?

As you can see, there are so many ways of looking at this concept of wholeheartedness and what makes us sing and be able to do our unique work in the world. I’d love to hear your story!

You would need to contribute:

  • a 2000 word (maximum) blog post draft to me a week in advance of an agreed date for publication
  • any suggested accompanying images and photos that you would like to include
  • a bio and accompanying photo

What are the benefits?

The benefits for you are:

  • being featured as a creative and connected voice in the Quiet Writing community
  • the opportunity to share your work, business, writing and learning
  • the opportunity to flex your writing muscles in new ways
  • the chance to reflect on your journey and experience in being wholehearted and share this
  • increased connection with like-minded others
  • the possibility of inclusion in a regular or one-off online publication if there is sufficient interest

The benefits for the Quiet Writing community are:

  • our voices coming together to celebrate being creative, flowing, intuitive, poetic and connected
  • sharing journeys to living more wholeheartedly so we can help each other to shine
  • feeling more connected with a community of like-minded people around creative living and blending this with career and other aspects of life
  • the opportunity for publishing as a collective of voices to help inspire others in wholehearted creative living

If you’re interested?

Initially, I have six guest blogging spots available for each remaining month of 2017. But I’m hoping that the response will be such that we can consider an ongoing ‘My Wholehearted Story’ feature each month or more regularly as well other ways to showcase our stories together.

If you are interested in one of these initial guest blogging spots, please contact me as soon as possible at with your immediate thoughts on what you would like to focus on for your piece.

I’ll provide more details on specifics following this but I’d love your initial thoughts and a sense of response.

Or feel free to provide any thoughts on the concept of ‘My Wholehearted Story’ in the comments or via email. I’d love to hear your thoughts and can’t wait to receive your responses!


Creative and Connected is a regular post each Friday – previous posts below. I hope you enjoy it. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

Have a fabulous creative weekend!

Underwater swimming image via

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free ebook on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

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 including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

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

You might also enjoy:

6 Inspiring Podcasts for Creatives and Book Lovers

Creative and Connected #3 – on self-care

Creative and Connected #2

Creative and Connected #1

Personality, story and Introverted Intuition

Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

inspiration & influence personality and story transcending

10 amazing life lessons from swimming in the sea

July 4, 2017

sea swimming

This year I started swimming in the sea. I swim two or three times a week, about a kilometre each time. It’s coming into winter in Sydney and I’m still swimming.

The greatest surprise is how much I love it. Getting stronger and fitter was a goal I set to work on with two coaches this year as part of my coaching training and development. I’m supporting my mum who is not well as my primary life focus at present. Ensuring I balance this priority with my own self-care, well-being and fitness at this time is an important goal.

The other big surprise is how much I’ve learned from it. Like walking, swimming is a meditative practice and swimming in the sea adds other dimensions of weather conditions, sea creatures and a natural underwater world to explore as you exercise. There’s time to reflect on life  as you stroke and watch the sand patterns, the fish moving and the seaweed swaying.

So here’s some learning I’ve gathered from my experiences of swimming in the sea.

10 amazing life lessons from swimming in the sea

1 You don’t have to see clearly to keep moving

Some days the water is cloudy and you can’t see well. Sure, it’s a bit off-putting but you can still exercise, keep moving and achieve the same goals. Not being able to see clearly can be challenging but it’s also something to work through and learn from. You could give up on account of not being able to see clearly but knowing where you’re eventually heading is enough to keep you moving forward. And you can develop resilience in managing the not-so-perfect conditions as well. Let’s face it – everything’s not always going to be crystal clear.

2 You can adjust your stroke to the conditions

Each day is different but you can adjust, mixing up the strokes so that you can manage the environment. When it gets choppy, breaststroke is a gentler way to ride the waves. If you need to get through some challenging currents, you might need to switch to freestyle and stroke more strongly, digging deeper. That ability to mix up your responses, dialling up and down, emphasising and de-emphasising helps you stay the distance.You can modulate your stroke, powering up and powering down, depending on the conditions. That way you can still make headway without losing too much energy in the process.

3 Breathing deeply and rhythmically is the best solution to feeling challenged

Sometimes the water’s choppy, other times your equipment proves challenging and you take in water; other times, something’s just worrying you and you feel rattled and you don’t move as smoothly through the water. But you can stop and sort the issues out, then restart, breathing deeply and rhythmically. It’s so calming and soon you’re stroking and moving with grace again. It seems that deep, rhythmic breathing is potentially the best and simplest way to tackle most situations that are troubling.

4 Getting all your equipment right helps immensely

You set out all positive but sometimes your equipment lets you down. A leaky swim mask can be so frustrating and you have to keep stopping. Without the right wetsuit, you’ll find swimming in cold water very difficult. You learn from others and from experience and the days you get all the equipment right, you swim so much better and so much more comfortably. It’s partly preparation and partly experience, but it makes all the difference when you get all the aspects working together. It’s a good reminder about the value of setting out in an organised fashion, putting in the research and listening to and learning from others.

5 Learning the names of things (like sea creatures) enriches our experience

Sage Cohen in her book, ‘Fierce on the Page‘, talks about poet Galway Kinnell’s advice to younger poets: “Learn the names of things.” Sage goes on to explain:

When we learn the vocabulary of any topic – insects, dinosaurs, solar systems, or bath towels, for example – we transcend time, space, and form, and we get to experience particular realms through the specificity of language. The names of things are the keys that unlock such raptures. (page 98)

So I’m identifying and learning the names of what I’m seeing as I swim like: magpie morwong, shovel nose ray, catfish, whiting, nudibranch, flathead, bream and sting ray. I research afterwards so I know what I’ve seen. It helps me really look at the fish and the other creatures carefully. Staying curious and learning the details provides so many resources you can use in other contexts, like writing, plus it’s so much fun.

6 Facing our fears is often as simple as just moving and doing it

Once I would never go beyond my depths in water because of a fear of things, like, well, deep water. But I was missing out on so much and the fear was out of proportion to the risk. Now I swim in deep water and I swim with tiny baby Port Jackson sharks sitting on the bottom of the sand. They’ve come into the bay to grow and I swim over them looking in wonder at their beautiful colours. So now I swim comfortably in deeper waters between boats anchored and I look down at baby sharks and it’s so empowering. It’s true, just doing what we fear can be the best way to face our fears, assessing and managing any risks but watching our tendency to overstate them.

7 Solitary activities can be more fun with the support of a friendly team

There’s no way I would do this by myself. Even though swimming is mostly a solitary activity, I swim with a group. Different locals turn up each time; there’s a core of people and we swim together. We share experiences and tips and laugh together about how crazy we are to swim in winter. We support each other and have coffee together after when it’s freezing. It makes it so much easier and more enjoyable and I learn from them. It’s a reminder that even doing solitary activities, like coaching and writing, can be so more fun when we’re supported by a friendly community. Finding ways to form groups around independent working, creativity or exercising is so valuable and will help keep us going for the long haul.

8 You can zig-zag and still get to your destination so don’t be too hard on yourself

Swimming in the sea is different to other swimming I’ve done. There’s no chlorine (yay!) and you need to learn to work with different currents and waves each day. And sometimes it gets all so interesting looking at everything under the water, you lose your direction. But it’s okay to zig-zag a bit. Over time, you get better at navigating via the tracks in the sand and keeping your line. So don’t be too hard on yourself for not swimming perfectly straight occasionally. It’s all fine – you’ll still get there and maybe learn or see something new in the process.

sea swimming

9 Exercise can be the best kind of meditation (Swimming with fish is the best!)

We start and end our swim near a reef with beautiful fish. Most days you can see hundreds of fish of so many different varieties. You can swim through them and above them – tiny silver fleeting fish, black and white and yellow magpie morwongs, little bright blue fish, zebra striped ones. And there’s seaweed and rocks for them to move amongst. It’s a backdrop of waving beauty and there’s light making stunning rainbow patterns on the deep sandy bottom.

To start and end the swim this way is a kind of meditative asana, like the beginning and close of a yoga class. The body begins to exercise, the mind begins to still, and then comes to rest at the end as you climb out of the water feeling like a different being. It’s important to remember that exercise can be a form of meditation – walking, yoga, swimming – and this kind of break in your week is so very needed.

10 You can be meditative, mindful and let thoughts go as you crystallise new perspectives

These ten lessons I’ve learned from swimming in the sea I gathered together whilst swimming in the sea. And like any meditative exercise, it’s a combination of being mindful and letting thoughts go as well as crystallising significant reflections. Just as you coalesce thoughts as you step out on a walk, you can gather random intuitive pieces and frame them into new shapes. For example, a blog post to share with others. Meditative exercise can help us rest the mind and also help thoughts come together into new realisations. These perspectives can be so valuable in gathering our thoughts, managing uncertainty and being resilient. And with this strength, we can be of assistance to others.

Thought pieces

This post is dedicated to two amazing, fit women who are life coaches trained by the Beautiful You Coaching AcademySamantha Jayne Wheatley and Jeanette Buchanan. I have had the pleasure of being coached gently by both these inspirational women. They have taught me by example and through their coaching, about the power of being healthy, of getting out and moving. And of the value of self-love and self-care in this activity and how it can be of benefit to others.

I am so grateful. Love you both xx

When you start creating for and in honor of those that have made a difference to you, your work changes.

Seth Godin, Dedicating the merit

sea swimming

Feature and fish image from and used with permission and thanks.

Bottom image from a beautiful local swimming day recently.

Keep in touch

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 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. Free ebook on the books that have shaped my creativity coming soon for subscribers only!

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

You might also enjoy:

Moving, stillness and navigating challenging times

Creative and connected – on self-care

coaching intuition personality and story

Personality, story and Introverted Intuition

June 19, 2017

Knowing your personality type is a way to explore your deeper story. Here’s a brief overview of personality and Introverted Intuition as a starting point.


As an INTJ Myers-Briggs MBTI® type, Introverted Intuition is my dominant function and preference. I wrote about this function recently on a guest post on Life Reaction.

It’s certainly a mysterious one though and it’s taken me time to really trust and learn from it. Becoming certified in personality type assessment via the Majors Personality Type InventoryTM  based on Jung/Myers-Briggs theory has enabled me to dive more deeply into the way it works. 

This training has helped me to understand that personality is a story, a life story, that can help us to weave and find our way in the world. It provides a framework that helps us understand our dominant preferences or gifts, why we love what we love and how we can work these gifts to shine brighter.

As well, it can provide an insight into the less developed aspects of our personality that we might illuminate to feel more whole. It can also help us to understand individual differences in orientations and why other people such as our partners and work colleagues may operate so differently to us in some ways. 

The landscape of personality

So where does ‘Introverted Intuition’ fit into the landscape of personality?

It’s a deep and complex topic but here’s a brief overview. I look forward to continuing to explore these areas of personality in future posts here and elsewhere including in my coaching interactions.

For context, The Myers and Briggs Foundation provides the following key advice:

The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives.  The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.

Carl Jung’s theory of personality identified eight functions – four are Perceiving functions and four are Judging functions. The functions are used differently depending on whether they are expressed in the internal world or the external world.

The summary overview below is based on Mary McGuiness’s excellent book ’You’ve Got Personality’ including her keywords for the functions.

The four Perceiving functions are:

Extraverted Sensing – abbreviated as Se – Sensory Experience

Introverted Sensing – Si – Sensory Memory

Extraverted Intuition – Ne – Exploring possibilities

Introverted Intuition – Ni – Visionary insight

The four Judging functions are:

Extraverted Thinking – Te – Logical outcomes

Introverted Thinking – Ti – Internal analysis

Extraverted Feeling – Fe – Harmonizing people

Introverted Feeling – Fi – Universal values

Further work by Isabel Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs based on Jung’s work added the fourth dimension into the picture – Judging and Perceiving. From this work, the four pairs of preferences were developed that form the basis of the 16 x four letter MBTI® type references we know today:

Extraversion vs Introversion (E/I)

Sensing vs Intuition (S/N)

Thinking vs Feeling (T/F)

Judging vs Perceiving (J/P)

Each type has a Dominant, Auxiliary, Tertiary and Inferior function and these are dynamic frameworks within which our personality plays out and which we can use as points of orientation.

For my type, INTJ (Introverted, Intuition, Thinking, Judging), for example, Intuition is introverted and Thinking is extraverted. As I and other people of my type prefer introversion (I), Intuition is the Dominant function and Thinking is the Auxiliary function. INTJ types typically use Intuition to make sense of the world from an inner, reflective and symbolic perspective and use Thinking (logic) in the outer world to organise, frame and structure things.

In terms of the eight Jungian functions, people are able to develop all but some are more instinctive for each type than others. Understanding your type and your preferred functions helps you make sense of the way you perceive and organise the world, internally and externally.

You can read more MBTI® personality basics here.

Personality types and functions

So what does all this mean for understanding Introverted Intuition and whether it applies to you?

As I say in the Life Reaction article:

If you identify as an INTJ or INFJ (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®) personality type, Introverted Intuition is typically your dominant function; if you identify as an ENTJ or ENFJ, it’s your auxiliary function; for ISFP and ISTP types, it’s the tertiary function and for ESFP and ESTP types, it’s the inferior function. It plays out in a lesser way for other types. You can read more here. And if you don’t know your type, it’s not a huge issue; if the words ‘Introverted Intuition’ speak to you, chances are they are natural preferences for you or areas on your radar for development.

So if you don’t know about personality types or know your type, trust your intuition and if it feels like something you’d like to know more about, read the article!

If you do know your personality type and you’re not sure how the functions work in terms of your type, Angelina Bennet has a fabulous analogy in ‘Shadows of Type’. She describes them in terms of a car analogy: the dominant function is the driver of the car; the auxiliary function is the passenger in the front helping with navigation; the tertiary function is the teenager in the back; and the inferior function is like the baby in the car seat occasionally screaming for attention especially from the driver!

So Introverted Intuition, for example, could be playing out in all sort of ways in your personality and life even if it’s not the dominant piece, just as all functions in your particular type have the potential to do.

A deeper dive into your personality type with a coach or person with certification in the area can help you work through the rich detail. This helps you know how to apply this valuable knowledge in a practical way.

Personality, story and life coaching

I’m loving exploring personality and story in the context of life coaching. Working with pro bono clients now, it’s amazing how personality type weaves its way into the conversation implicitly or explicitly.

With my training and professional background, it’s something I can bring to life coaching quietly or overtly. I love the framework for personal growth it provides.

Understanding our personality is a key to gaining insight into our story and working with our gifts. It’s a way of knowing what we can develop to be more wholehearted, calling on our less developed preferences.

Knowing your personality type is a way to find your deeper story.  It’s a fascinating journey to go deeper into its threads and mysteries.

And as Isabel Briggs Myers has said:

It is up to each person to recognize his or her true preferences.

So personality is a story you write with the natural preferences you have been given.

I’m developing my personality offerings including identifying your type via the Majors Personality InventoryTM, and linking them with my Life Coaching offerings, so sign up to Quiet Writing via email to keep informed.

But for starters, head on over to Life Reaction and read about how Introverted Intuition has helped me pull the threads together and write my personality story.

Happy reading and welcome any questions and thoughts on personality, story and Introverted Intuition.


Thought pieces

As well as my Life Reaction piece, you can read more about the fascinating world of Introverted Intuition here:

Introverted Intuition (Ni) – Dr A J Drenth (Personality Junkie)

The Magic and Mystery of Introverted Intuition – Susan Storm (Psychology Junkie)

Introverted Intuiting (Ni) Explained – Michael T Robinson (Career Planner)

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free ebook on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

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, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

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

You might also enjoy:

Being a vessel or working with introverted intuition

Overwhelm, intuition and thinking

Intuition, writing and work: eight ways intuition can guide your creativity

6 Inspiring Podcasts for Creatives and Book Lovers