Episode 205 | January 28, 2020

Achieve Long Lasting Confidence with Jo Emerson

A Personal Note From Orion

I’ve enjoyed this interview so much. Every once in awhile, you meet somebody that just feels like you’re sisters from another mother, or at least, best friends. My guest was so easy to talk to, I think the reason is that she’s genuine authentic, kind, and sweet. This conversation is going to blow your mind. It was inspiring to me and I just enjoyed it so much.

Jo Emerson is the International Executive Coach of the Year, and confidence and human behavior expert. She is also the author of Flying For Beginners available on Amazon. Her most important job is being a mom to her three daughters. After six years as a single mother, she met her soulmate, Terry, in late 2016 and they married in April. They are blissfully happy together.

Today’s conversation is how to find confidence by being true to yourself, connect to the authentic person that you are, and show up to the world in your true colors. I love that. I love that journey and I love it when people discover it and they’re not afraid to step up and be who they want to be in the world, not what the world thought they should be or told them they should be. If you are just a step away from shining your true colors, then stay tuned because this conversation will give you joy, happiness, and confidence in who you are. If you forgot how awesome you are, this is a reminder.


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About Today’s Show

Flying For Beginners by Jo Emerson

Hey Jo, and welcome to Stellar Life podcast. It’s wonderful having you here.

Thank you so much, Orion. I’m so looking forward to this.

Me too. Let’s share a little bit about yourself and your passion. Before we get started, you said you came kicking and screaming into becoming who you are today, so can you just tell a little bit about it and how did you discover your passion?

Of course. I did come kicking and screaming to this. My passion is the work I do now which is plugging people back into who they really are, dropping the mask, finding their confidence, and finding their true authentic selves. I suppose the reason I say that I came kicking and screaming to this is because, for many years, I thought that if I tried harder, if I fought harder, if I was more perfect, if I applied more self-will to a situation that I would win, I’d get there, I’d reach that magical place of here I am, I’ve done it.

I had to reach a real rock bottom with all of that, surrender all of that self-will stuff, and plug into something a little kinder and gentler. It was through that experience that I discovered coaching. Then I discovered how to help other people plug into that wiser, gentler voice that they have inside them. Now, I get to do what I do globally. It’s amazing. I’m very lucky. The woman I was 10, 15 years ago is really different from the woman I am today.

What was the difference?

I think the core difference is that my life was driven by fear, until I was how old I’m going to be 48 this year, that is 47 now, 48 in July. If I go back 10 years to 37–38, my life was utterly driven by fear. I was afraid of how I was parenting. I thought I wasn’t doing it perfectly. I was afraid my body wasn’t good enough. I had an eating disorder.

I was afraid of what everybody thought of me. The second and third, checked every thought I had, everything I said. I’ve been thinking afterward, “Did they think that when I said this? What will they think of me?” It was just constant. Today, I would say that my baseline is love, wisdom, and peace, not fear anymore. That’s the difference.

Wow. It seems you were living in this recurring loop of, “What will they think about me? I’m not worthy,” and all that. How did you get out of that? What was the shift?

I had a lot of help, but I came to see that that’s all self-centered fear. When I’m in self-centered fear, that is worrying about what other people are thinking about me, I ended up worrying about me even more. It’s this vicious cycle. But the shift came. Ten years ago in a couple of months’ time, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I lost a friend to suicide within two weeks of each other.

It’s fun. At that point, I had three small children. They were one, two, and four. In that fear, about the fear hit of the breast cancer diagnosis and my friend Andy dying, it was weird. The drumbeat of fear just stopped for a moment and I was able to see something different. I got a glimmer of what was actually happening, which was that I was sleepwalking through my life and I was living a life based on what I thought other people wanted me to think, believe, do, wear, and act.

I don’t know why it took my own mortality and the death of a friend for me to see that but I have heard it frequently in my coaching practice now that that’s what happens. Facing mortality gave me a different perspective on my life and I realized I had to make changes. I’ve been waiting for the world to change. What I realized at that moment was I had to change. I had to change how I was thinking. I had to change the self-talk.

I also had to change my marriage, as in leave my marriage because it wasn’t working. That was one of the things that was causing a real struggle for me. He’s not a bad man. I need to say this. My ex-husband is a good man and he’s a great dad, but we were not happy together. I had to start making changes.

When I got through the breast cancer stuff and fine, I’ve been amazingly well ever since and I came to terms with Andy’s death, but deeper than that, I started to see how I was thinking was causing my experience of life. If I could start changing how I was thinking, my life was changing. That’s the shift. That was the shift from fear to love.

Only when you drop the masks you’ll find your confidence and your authentic self. Click To Tweet

That’s amazing. I guess you had mentors along the way.

Oh, yeah, like 1000.

Can you share a little bit about that? Because awakening from my experience doesn’t happen in a day or it might happen in a day and you can feel really awakened for an hour and then you go back to your human self, your real life. I feel like awakening is graduate and not linear. What were some of your moments of awakening?

There’s been so many, Orion, I don’t even know where to start. I think probably the mentors I had along the way. I engaged a therapist for a time and then I worked with a coach for a time. I still have a coach today but those two women, way back, way back, were very formative in helping me to probably address my perfectionism, which I had used as both a sword and a shield. I’ve been hiding behind it but I also used it to keep people away and to attack people like, “Look. I am going to do this perfectly. You just watch me,” kind of thing.

It was a very funny, old relationship I had with getting everything perfect. I started to unpick things like that. You’re right. A spiritual awakening or an awakening is not linear. It’s almost like time stops. You can suddenly see more truth or new truth. Then, it might happen again. But I’m also aware that the “road to Damascus” moments (a biblical reference for those listeners who haven’t read the Bible; I haven’t read it all but I do know about that) are just moments and they have to be backed up with action.

A few people who’ve had experiences like these, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, or people who’ve had these total shits in their perspective and they can’t go back, most of us get glimmers and then we’re offered by life opportunities to build on those glimmers or life chucks a seed and it’s up to us to water it, feed it, and prune it. I suppose a couple of years into my trudging period as if it were a couple of years after I left my marriage and were still working through lots of old patterns, I was introduced to this concept that there might be something bigger than me in the world that might want to help me.

I’ve been quite bruised by religion growing up in my early 20s, so I was very anti of the idea of God. I am very anti with the idea of religion. I’d felt judged, I was, I had been judged and belittled by that system. Of course, what I’d done was throw the baby out with the bathwater. I didn’t need the bathwater (the religion), but I did need the baby. I needed to commit to something bigger than myself.

When I was introduced to this idea that that could be whatever I was comfortable with, things got a bit easier. Of course, my low self-esteem was so prevalent at the time that when someone said to me you can decide what God is, I just thought I can’t do that. Who am I to decide who God is? Even that was difficult for me because I was so lacking in self-esteem. But I did as I was told really and as was suggested. I said, “I suppose if there was a higher power, God, universe-type figure, I’d want it to be kind, fair, loving, always there, and supportive but wouldn’t let me take the piss.” I just came up with some ideas.

I was encouraged to try and plug into that, pray to that, meditate with that, see how it got on, how I got on with it. That was a massive shift because I realized I wasn’t alone. Of course, I realized that so much of our problem as human beings is this feeling that we’re separate. Of course, we’re not separate at all, we’re all part of the same system, we’re all made from the same atoms, and we’re all breathing the same air. That was a big awakening for me. There have been so many smaller moments along the way but that’s probably one of the most significant ones.

Live authentically and comfortably in your own way.

I like what you said about religion and don’t throw the baby with the bathwater because most religions use fear as their base to control the people. Also for me, on my self-development journey, I joined the New Age religions. When I say that, I say the major gurus that we put on a pedestal, all the self-development gurus. I’ve been through so many seminars and interacting with close proximity with some of those great mentors but when you come closer, sometimes you see that there is the person, the illusion of the person, the illusion of the organization, the illusion of what it’s like, and it’s all rainbows and unicorns.

But when you come close, you see that everybody’s flawed and a lot of those people, a lot of those leaders that lead those seminars are just flawed human beings. You can’t take the fact that they’re flawed or they did mistakes and just say, “I’m going to just not care about their method, not care about everything that I learned and helped me just because they are acting in such a way.” But you want to separate the guru from the method and take what you need, whether it’s organized religion. I do see those big, self-development gurus with all their major fans. They are becoming a little bit of cultish. When you’re in it, it becomes a little bit of cultish, clique, and just human.

I think the best gurus are those who trust that you have your own innate wisdom and all they want to do is plug you into that. That’s all I train. I’m not calling myself a guru here by any stretch, but when I have a client in front of me, I’m aware that that client is reliant upon me to help them navigate their journey. Sometimes, they will look upon me as someone who is a bit “further ahead” than them. That’s fine and that’s completely understandable. Of course, I should be. I’ve been doing this work for a long time, but I cannot allow my ego to get a hold of that and play around.

I feel like as human beings, the more a person becomes successful, the more thousands and thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions of millions are people cheering for them, it’s the hardest thing not to get a big ego. How can they not get a big ego? You get to be Mother Teresa. I think even Mother Teresa had a big ego.

I don’t know. I think if you are fully aware that what the source of your success really is (that is your spiritual connection), then your ego will stay in check. I know that when I’m coaching someone, it is my job to help them clear away all the clutter that stands between them and their inner truth, that is their God, their universe, or their source, whatever they want to call it, their sense of authenticity. That is my only job.

If I do that and I stick to that, I watch miracles happen every single day. If I get it wrong and start telling someone what I think or giving advice, obviously, I get bits of advice, but if I overdo that, it’s not such a miraculous experience. I think it’s possible but to keep your ego in check, but only if you are getting on your knees every morning, you’re doing your meditation, and you’re closing your day with a little check-in, “Does anything feel off? Anything I need to maybe look a bit deeper? Anything that I need to say sorry to?” Keeping myself spiritually fit means that my ego will not start running the show again because that’s fear. The ego is fear. I don’t want to live in fear anymore.

Nice. When I coach people and I learned different methods of coaching—I’ve been in lots of different methods—sometimes I just stop and listen to the person and I’ll just stop, I’ll ask God, creator, universe, like, “Give me the answer because I don’t want to work from my left brain.” If I’ll ask my left brain, it will come with answers because whatever you’re going to ask your mind, it will give you answers. If you ask your mind, “Why am I so smart?” it will give you an answer to that. If you ask your mind, “Why am I so stupid?” it will give you an answer to that.

The best gurus are those who trust and realize that you have your own innate wisdom and all they want to do is plug you into that. Click To Tweet

I don’t want to deal with the mind. I want to deal with the source. I just stop and I’m like, “Okay. Please, what will be the best way to assist that person right now?” Something will come down, like I’ll get a download and I’ll be guided. Like you said, it keeps you humble because you know that it’s not you, you’re just a vessel to help that consciousness move to the other person. That’s the best way to help someone heal, right?

Completely. It also empowers them because then, they’re tapping their own sense of wisdom and truth. Then you can say to them, “Where did you find that?” They say, “I don’t know. It came to me.” “Okay, if it came to you now, it can come to you again.” You can actually start giving people a real-life experience of accessing their own inner wisdom and then they’re off on their own lovely spiritual journey.

They don’t need you anymore and it’s great because you’re like, “Yes, I’ve done a good job. I’ve done the best for someone when I plug them back in.” That’s why I say about plugging people back into who they really are, it’s unplugging from fear and plugging into wisdom, love, or whatever other words we want to call it. We’re very lucky to do this job. We’re very lucky.

Definitely. You said before that you were a perfectionist. What are some ways to get out of perfectionism and feeling like you need to control everything in your life? For me, personally, now that I’m a new mom, I just feel like I want to control my baby’s well-being. I want to control how people behave around him. I want to make sure that everything is perfect for him. Even with the house, an organization, and where stuff is, I became a little bit of a perfectionist. It started in my pregnancy and now I’m like, “Who am I? I can’t recognize myself. What happened to me?” What are your thoughts about that and how can I personally let go a little bit?

Listen, my children are now 15, 12, and 11. I’m a decade away from that very scary time. I have to say, I don’t know about you, but I certainly had some serious postnatal anxiety after each of my children, particularly my first. It’s such a shock to the system becoming a mom. The sense of competition out there in the world is awful when it comes to parenting.

It’s awful. Even in my baby yoga class, the instructor is so opinionated about how things should be.

Right. This is what I did, the first thing was I threw away all the parenting books and I started trusting my instincts.

I like that because it gives me guilt. Because I have the parenting books and I don’t get a chance to read them, I don’t have time.

But I don’t think they care about you and your baby, they’re just trying to sell you a book. When your baby was born, he left inside you and have wisdom to raise him. There were no parenting books 200 years ago and funnily enough, most kids survived. Honestly, all I can tell you is what I did, I threw them all away. In fact, I had a big bonfire and I burnt them all. They were wrecking my head.

Because every book tells you something different.

Exactly what I was just about to say.

The feeling of fear isn’t something that you should repel, but something that you should embrace.

Do the cry method. Don’t do the cry method.

Seriously, come on. How come one system fits all babies, first of all? Because they’re humans, therefore, they’re different from each other. But also, this is the most powerful time of your life. You’ve just become a mom. If you start listening to your instincts about what your baby wants and needs, I tell you, the bond between the two of you will be off the scale.

The other thing to remember with perfectionism is it is about fear and control. Perfectionism is literally fear and control doing a dance with each other. Fear, control, fear, control. I’m scared, I must control. I’m scared, I must control. When we trust in source, God, the universe, whatever we want to call it and there’s a flow, then we can trust the things that are going to pop up in our baby’s life that may “not to be perfect,” but might be great lessons for your baby. If baby doesn’t get a bottle at the right temperature for 20 minutes because baby is hungry and baby is screaming, I promise you that’s not the end of the world.

I just see myself the moment he cries, I sprint, I panic, “Ah, he cries.”

But you know what? He cries. He learns that, “Okay, mom gives me a cuddle when I cry and food will come eventually. I get a cuddle if I’m wet or if I just need a cuddle.” The thing with perfectionism is it’s one of those self-perpetuating nightmares that you can’t get out of unless you just wake up. The more you feed the perfectionism, the more the perfectionism becomes your master.

If you could let go of the idea that you’re going to do this perfectly, because let me tell you, by the time he is two or three, is going to kindergarten, and bumps his head or has to come up against another child he’s not that keen on, you will think, “Oh my God. His life is never going to be perfect.” It never was going to be perfect or maybe this mess of experiences is what the universe deems as perfection. Maybe it’s what he needs to learn his little lessons for his next stage. If he’s in any actual danger, your instincts will go nuts and you will know what to do.

I love that. It’s like Abraham Hicks, they talk about contrast. Without darkness, there is no light. We will never appreciate the light if we didn’t have the darkness. Like you said, experiencing the trauma you’ve experienced and facing your own mortality.

The first thing that ever happened to me.

I had a similar experience in a different way where I had a big trauma that put me on the path to becoming a coach, creating this podcast, and talking to you right now. We get those lessons and we don’t see them as gifts, but it’s a gift with the bow in the bottom. Sometimes, it takes a few years to turn it around, open it, and say, “Oh my God, that’s my greatest gift. This pain, this trauma, that’s my greatest gift.” It would be lovely to get these lessons without the pain. Sometimes, it takes the pain to learn a lesson.

I have to say every time with me. I never listen unless I’m in pain.

You can never outgive God /the universe. The more you give, the more the universe gives back to you. Click To Tweet

I know, me too. I don’t know.

I always have things get tricky and then I need to spend a bit more time on my knees. Going back to your little boy, if you trust in your version of God for yourself, absolutely trust in your version of God for him, because if we over manage our children’s lives, they hit adulthood unable to be an adult. You have to think of, “What’s my end goal here?”

I don’t know what yours is, but mine was to have three girls who can hit adulthood ready for the next stage of life. If I’m literally meeting all their needs, the second they’ve got them, they are never learning to wait, they’re never learning to do it for themselves, or they’re never learning that no is actually something that happens in the world. They’re just sat in an unreal place.

These experiences are okay. It’s the labels we put on them, good, bad, hungry, tired, sad, lonely. If we can just loosen the hold of our judgments on stuff and just think, “Okay, yeah. That’s what’s happening now,” and, “Yeah, I’d probably need to get him some food,” It’s okay. He’s not going to die. I do think in our culture, fear is all over us and it does it particularly well when we’re new moms. We need to unplug from that fear.

Thank you for that input, it made me very happy.

Now, you can get on.

Yeah. You had this awakening and suddenly, what other people think wasn’t that important. Then there was another journey for you to find your authentic self. What was that like?

That was part of the same process but it was a tributary, I suppose, an offshoot. That was me starting to notice that I had spent my life so terrified of what people might think of me, that I found it very difficult to say no. I presented a mask to the world and told everybody what I thought they wanted to hear. I was afraid that people might reject me.

I remember my self-esteem was so low that I couldn’t even admit to prancing a boy at school. My friends were busy having crushes left, right, and center and I was so afraid of what people might think that I couldn’t even admit to having a crush on someone. It’s crazy but that was my head. I had to start getting a bit braver and saying this is what I think and no, I can’t do that. I’m realizing that it was not my job to fix everyone.

It was my job to show up authentically in the world, speak my truth, and allow people to have their truth. That was it, really? But my default setting was to then fix and make everything better for everyone else. Now that’s childhood stuff, they’re patterns I learned. I did a lot of work on releasing that.

But the real shift came when I forgave a lot of the people who’d done a lot of the difficult things to me as a kid. I forgave and I let go. That does not mean I approve of what happened, but it does mean literally that I feel neutral. It’s just not part of my narrative anymore, all of that stuff, but I was probably living with a lot of unforgiveness.

For me, it was a part of my shift, too. The Landmark Forum was the first one that I did, they said call the person that hurt you. Forgive them, but also ask them for forgiveness. Calling my abusive ex—which I was terrified of, he was living in my mind and I was terrified of him—and then telling him, “I forgive you, please forgive me,” was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. You call without any expectations.

I just want to say it to give you a little note, listeners, if somebody’s listening and they are not ready to forgive yet, it’s still okay. Take your time until you are ready. I was there on the edge, just afraid to jump, but I was ready because I knew that it would give me the wings that I wanted. It will give me the freedom that I wanted.

I was ready, but I was so afraid to fly. I was so afraid to take responsibility from my part in engaging in this abusive relationship and not be a victim anymore because if I’m not a victim anymore, then I have wings and I can fly. That means a whole new world, a whole new possibility, a whole new me, and a shift in identity. It is so scary.

Focus more on improving yourself so that you can gain more confidence in your personal accomplishments.

For me, I called him and at first, he was yelling at me. He eventually ended up the conversation saying, “You were a good partner,” or something like that. I finished the conversation and I was crying, releasing, and shedding. It was probably one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done for myself because after that, I was able to date and I was able to put myself on the right path to become the person that I am today.

Now I am married to a wonderful man. He’s incredible. I have a little baby and I can’t be happier and more grateful. But sometimes, it takes those moments of forgiving, of leaping. Tony Robbins says, “Leap, and the net will appear.” Sometimes, the net doesn’t appear.

He’s right.

I don’t know, but you have to leap anyway.

The net sometimes appears later than we think it’s going to appear.

Exactly. That was my experience with forgiveness and how powerful forgiveness is.

It’s so powerful. I remember, the morning after I forgave, did a major piece of work on forgiveness. I won’t say who, he’s not found on them because they may be identified, but I did a major piece of work and I did the work of forgiveness. I don’t know if anything shifted but I’d done my best. I’d done my best to say the right words and to hand this all over.

The next day, I woke up and oh, my God, it feels like I am sat here, then there’s the whole of the universe, and then that person is on the other side of the universe. They are safe, I am safe, and there is no need to feel anything other than neutrality. It was unbelievable because they had lived in my head and had directed my thinking, held me back.

The fact that I’d allowed them into my head and given them so much headspace had held me back. Actually, they hadn’t, that I had created that and it was gone. I often will just send a little prayer up and send them love, I hope they’re well, and that’s okay.

The notes to your listeners, I really want to honor that because I was advised if I wasn’t willing to forgive, that I could pray for the willingness to be willing to forgive. If that wasn’t good enough, I pray for the willingness to be willing to be made willing to forgive. You just go back.

I studied Kabbalah and this is what our teacher said, “If you can’t find a desire, pray to have the desire.”

Because it’s just about willingness. We just have to be open to another way of thinking. Then the teachers come and the people who we need to help us come into our lives when the time is right. One thing I’ve realized, I am not in charge of the timing of these things. I just have to wake up, open myself up every day, stay open, and the rest comes. But forgiveness is so powerful. It’s difficult the first time you do it, but once you’ve done it, you’re like, “Oh, my gosh, this is magic.”

Also, another thing that I sense from the authentic you because you come across as very authentic. We were on video for a little bit before the conversation and I could see your eyes. I also watched some videos of you online and you do come across as very genuine and very real. One thing that you say a lot is how grateful you are for your life, how grateful you are for your profession, and how grateful you are, I guess, to be alive. Gratitude is so powerful.

It’s so powerful. I think when you’ve lived in the head that I lived in for those 37–38 years, when that stops, you’re like, “Oh, my God. I’m okay.” I don’t think I’m ever going to stop being grateful that is not my experience in life anymore. Of course, what also happens when you’re grateful is, as I’ve come to learn because I’ve studied some metaphysics—not a lot, but a bit—there’s some of the reading I’ve done around my profession, and some spiritual teaching, is when we’re grateful, we are operating on a completely different energy level to when we’re not. It’s really powerful.

Not only does it change my perspective at the moment. If I’m grateful, I’m grateful to be alive, my health, my children, my amazing husband, the career I do, the connections I get to make. I live in freedom today, all of that I’m grateful for. It changes my perspective of the day. The day is always going to start good because I don’t feel the way I used to. But it also brings more good stuff into your life because what you think then goes out to the universe and the universe goes, “All right, you want more of that to you,” and more good stuff comes in. It’s crazy.

This is one thing I’ve come to learn is that you can never outgive the universe. The more I give in gratitude, in helping people, in showing up authentically or buying a homeless guy a doughnut, or whatever I give, the universe gives back to me tenfold. You cannot outgive God or the universe, he will not allow it.

That is so powerful.

But the more I give, I don’t give in order to get back. I’m not thinking about getting back. It has to be freely given, but at the end of the day, you’re like, “Oh my God. I was not expecting that.” It’s just nuts the way it works. Focusing on giving, which I think gratitude sits underneath, if you’re feeling grateful, you just want to give. Then what happens? More good stuff comes into your life. It’s nuts. I love it.

It is so beautiful. It’s like in the law of attraction, whatever you focus on. If you’re focused on the darkness, you’ll get more darkness. If you focus on the light, you will attract more light. Gratitude actually has been scientifically proven to change your neurology. If you want to change the programming of your subconscious mind, just start with a little gratitude practice. My husband and I, we do that. When the baby was born and everything was chaotic, we stopped doing it for two weeks and now we’re back.

I think that’s fair enough, you’ve just become a mom.

A spiritual awakening is never linear. You discover more truths along the way, and sometimes the truths you discovered before, may become irrelevant today. Click To Tweet

It was like day, night, what’s going on? Plus he had some health scares when he was tiny. It was all chaotic. But everything’s good now, God bless. This is a practice we got from Harville Hendrix where we say, it’s usually about 10 that we say to each other, but at least 3 things that we appreciate about each other for the day like, “Oh, thank you for doing the dishes. I appreciate you for holding the baby while I was doing this and this and that. I appreciate you for just the little things.”

Because we are conditioned from prehistoric times to run away from the saber-toothed tiger, to look for danger, and to look for the glass half empty, but we can change this epigenetics. We can change this programming, look for the glass half-full, and look for what’s good, especially in relationships, it brings you back to why you love this person so much.

Instead of being in a place of criticism, anger, and resentment, you’re in a place of gratitude. You see the beautiful parts in him and you see the light in him. The more you see the light in him, the more he shows up into that manifestation of the way you see him.

Isn’t that crazy?

Yes. It’s beautiful.

It’s so beautiful. When I first started a gratitude practice, my marriage was over. I had a scarred left breast from the surgery, I was grieving my friend, and I was a single mom of three kids with no money to pay the mortgage. It was terrifying and yet I knew I was now free to follow my truth and my path, so I was also excited. I was encouraged to start a gratitude practice. Let me tell you, it was tough back then. I started with things like the sun. “The sun has shown today. I grew a basil plant and it didn’t die. My children have had three meals today.”

It was tiny stuff, but I was grateful for it. As soon as you start listing even small things, “I have got 10 fingers and 10 toes, I’m grateful for them,” then already there’s a shift because you’re like, “Hold on a minute. Life is not the disaster I’m telling myself it is. There is actually nothing to be afraid of right now. My fear is in the future based on stuff from the past and I’ve made up a story about that anyway.” Gratitude brings you into the moment often. That’s also powerful because, in the moment, there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of.

You do a lot of work around confidence. I guess confidence is very much linked to self-sabotaging thoughts, the way you see yourself, and the labels you put on yourself. Can you share with me and our listeners what are some ways to boost your confidence?

I’m into the deeper work with confidence. I’ve never been a believer in emotional sticking plasters of tips and techniques.

What are emotional sticking plasters?

Where people say, “Put on some red lipstick and you’ll feel more confident,” or getting loads of likes on Instagram on feeling a bit better about yourself. That’s an emotional sticking-plaster because how long does it last? Two minutes? Five minutes? Half a day, it’s gone.

Nobody remembers.

Right. Also for you, the feeling of being a bit better does not last. The lipstick is smudged off or you’re on a new day and now I need to go get more likes, they’re just emotional sticking plasters.

No more lipstick.

No more lipstick. I am much more interested in looking at the root of what is going on with the people, why they’re feeling the lack of confidence, what thoughts they’re believing in order that they can start flipping those. I’ve never been one for quick tips or quick confident boosts, etc. But this I will say, if we’ve all got a very critical voice in our heads that rants on and on and on, judging ourselves, judging other people, judging the world. And if I can give anybody any tips about confidence, it is about getting to know that voice, understanding what it is telling you, why it is driving you that way, and maybe learning to plug into something a bit wiser and a bit kinder within you, which is often the voice you might use to talk to a wounded child, for example, or someone who’s grieving.

When we can start changing the way we speak to us, as it’s catching all that horrible stuff we’re saying to ourselves, and choosing to actually say to ourselves something different, kinder, wiser, the opposite, we start feeling more confident.

Secondly, I would say focus on giving, not getting. It’s hugely important. If we feel we are contributing to the world, we feel more confident already.

A Course in Miracles

Thirdly, I would say start looking at the lens through which you are seeing the world. My husband and I are just working through A Course in Miracles at the moment, which is blowing our minds, it’s a whole deeper level of this stuff.

I keep getting references to the Course in Miracles in the last 20 years.

I think it might be time. I’ve had that book by my bedside for eight years and it took that long to actually be ready for it.

I kept looking at it and going, “No, too much. I haven’t got the time. Too much, too weighty, and no pictures in this book. It’s too heavy.” Then suddenly, we were ready. It’s just really timing. I said earlier on it, it’s not up to me to decide the timing. But the frame through which we view the world, if I see the world as a scary place, my experience of it will be scary. If I start seeing the world as a benevolent place, gratitude is a great place to start with that as we’ve just talked about, I will have a very different experience of life.

The other thing, a big one is stop comparing yourself to other people. That is the worst thing we can do for confidence. You’ve just become a mom, your baby is four months old. It is so tempting when we’re moms to think, “Oh, her baby is crawling already. My baby hasn’t even sat up yet. There must be something that they make.”

Not only that. I’ve been watching because I’m a new mom, my family’s abroad, I don’t have family nearby. I’m trying to figure it out on my own. I’ve been watching all those YouTube vloggers and they show up, of course, perfect makeup, their baby sleeps at the right time, everything is perfect in their world. They have all their schedules. They manage to do this, then do that, and do that. I did find myself shrinking comparing myself to other people, like how can they do all that. But you’re right. It’s a different journey for everyone, it’s a different baby for everyone.

But also, they probably got a nanny that you’re not seeing because otherwise, how on earth had they done that? Really, the reality of having a small baby is not what they’re presenting. No. Sorry, I interrupted you but I was like…

No, of course. So, I’m doing my best not to compare myself to other moms, but because I’m a new mom, sometimes I do feel insecure. Am I doing the right thing? You’re right, I am learning to trust my instinct as the day goes by and my bond with my baby is just very deep. Plus, I’ve been waiting for this baby for so long. My journey of conceiving and giving birth was so difficult. After that, I just want to be with my baby. I just want to take care of him and I don’t need to be this supermom because when you’re a supermom, something’s gotta give, you can’t do it all.

Yeah. I have not seen these people online but I would argue that if you have time to put on makeup and make videos, then you’re probably not being a super mom. You’re being a super vlogger because the focus when your baby is four-month-old should be your baby, not your audience. I’m being quite tough, but come on.

How did you transition from that and managing your own business?

When my babies were little, I didn’t work for the first year of all of my baby’s lives. I would do little bits of an evening when they were sleeping and their dad was home, but my focus was them each time. People would be like, “Oh, my God, but what if you fall off the career ladder and what if you can’t go back?” I was just like, “I’m going to cross that bridge when I come to it because the focus now is the baby. It has to be the baby.” This is not a judgment, by the way, of people who are working because everyone, if you have to work, work, but please don’t try and make other moms feel that they’re doing a worse job than you.

I’m a part of Strategic Coach by Dan Sullivan. Pre-mastermind, we gathered and I met this woman who had four children. After every child was a week old, she just came back to work.

Wow. I couldn’t get out of bed after a week alone. I was floored. Amazing physical strength.

But again, you have to choose your own people you want to model. If something doesn’t resonate with the way this person does it even though on paper, it looks amazing, but it doesn’t align with your heart and the way you want to be your act in the world, then don’t.

Completely. That’s an incredible achievement to be up and back at work after a week because for me (and I can only speak for my own experience), physically there was no way that was going to happen, but emotionally, I couldn’t have been ripped away from my baby at that stage. By the time they were coming up to one-year-old and we’re able to point at the fridge themselves if they wanted a drink or grab stuff for themselves, they were interestingly showing more natural signs of independence, at that point, my head starts coming above the parapet and I started to think, “Yeah, it’s time to get back and do some work.”

They were able to go off to, I’d say a child reminder for a couple of mornings a week and I could do a bit more work. I just built up their childcare slowly, increased on their journey towards school, and it did more work. Then I had another one so I’d to hold it back again and I juggled it. They seemed very happy, well-adjusted girls.

I bet. They have a great mom.

Thank you. I love them dearly, but I’m a better mom because I’ve worked but I’ve worked with balance. I have had to work so hard at balance because I know I’ve got two jobs. I have got the job of being a mother which is my number one job and I’ve got the job of being a coach which comes a very close second. I spread my time between the two. But if one of my kids is ill, I do cancel my client appointments because my kids have to come first.

You cannot control life’s timing. The best you can do is wake up and open yourself up every day. When you stay open, the rest will freely follow. Click To Tweet

That’s what’s worked for me. I’ve worked it out along the way. I’ve been very lucky. I’ve worked for myself so I’ve been able to set my own agenda with that. If you’ve got a boss saying you’ve got to come back 4½ days a week or you’re going to lose your job, that’s a different situation. We are all different, but your baby will tell you, your instincts, you’ll know.

The best bit of advice I was ever given about parenting was this, and it was my GP who said it to me as I was going through all the breast cancer stuff, I was crying all over him in his surgery, and he thought I was crying about the breast cancer diagnosis, but what I was actually crying about was the fact about my failing marriage. He was comforting me about the diagnosis. I said to him, “It’s not that, it’s not that. My marriage is a mess and I want to get out, but how could I do that to my children? How could I leave my marriage? That would destroy them.”

He, a real family man, a very committed loving family man looked at me and said, “Jo, your children need a happy mom much more than they need a married mom.” I have never forgotten that. My husband now says to me, “As long as you’re happy, my darling, we’re all happy,” because he sees that in our home, and I think in lots of homes, the mom is the linchpin. If mom’s well, fed, loved, and nurtured, she’s good at pumping all of that out.

Oh, don’t say the word pumping, my chest hurt.

Oh, yeah. But he’s right, my GP was right, my girls are happy because I’m happy and that was a real learning for me.

That’s beautiful, that really touched my heart. Thank you for sharing that. Oh, my God, I love talking to you, but our time is coming to an end. Before we say goodbye for now, I have two questions for you. One is what are your three top tips to living a stellar life and the second one is where can people find you? I know you have courses, books, and all that stuff.

My three top tips for leading a stellar life. Now, this is off the top of my head, I did not know this question was coming. Number one, find something bigger than you that you can put your faith in. Find a faith in something. I don’t know what that is but find it and do what you can to develop some kind of a relationship with that. That’s number one. Number two, drop your mask and show up to the world with your real self as much as you can, as much as you’re able. Number three, trust in the process of life, just trust in the process. It’s so much easier when we let go and trust, it really is.

Your second question was where people can find me and what I’ve got on offer. You can find me at jo-emerson.com. On my website, you’ll find a free ebook, you’ll find a little free coaching app that you can do, so many blogs. I’ve written a blog a month for the last eight years so you do the math. There’s a lot of resources.

Also, I wrote a book a couple of years ago called Flying For Beginners: A Proven System for Lasting Self-Confidence. That, you can get on Amazon. It’s £8 here in the UK, I don’t know what that translates to over your side of things but it is available in the States. I’ve got an online course you can do as well. Again, that’s £29, I don’t know what the conversion is. All my work, all my products, those two products are all about plugging you back into your authentic self and unplugging you from that fearful voice. That’s all. Find me on Instagram as well. I’m all over Instagram all the time. I’ve even started making videos now which I’m very proud of.

Very nice. Thank you so much, Jo. This was a pleasure.

A real pleasure, too. Thank you for having me.

Thank you and thank you, listeners. Remember to put your faith in something bigger than you, drop your mask and show up as your real self, and trust in the process of life. This is Orion, until next time.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

{✓} Live authentically and comfortably in your own way. Don’t pretend to be someone your not and don’t become something that society dictates you be.
{✓} Don’t get driven by fear. Instead, lean in and do it anyway. By then you will realize that the feeling of fear isn’t something that you should repel, but something that you should embrace.
{✓} Self-check regularly. Spend a good amount of alone time where you can assess your overall state. Focus primarily on your mental and emotional areas.
{✓} Stop comparing yourself to others. Focus more on improving yourself so that you can gain more confidence in your personal accomplishments.
{✓} Stay humble and always keep your ego in check. Confidence is different from arrogance.
{✓} Enhance your creativity. Find an outlet outside of work that can exercise your right brain where you get to be more imaginative, holistic, and free-flowing.
{✓} Refrain from being a perfectionist. Nobody and nothing is perfect, and we all have to suck at something first before we become an expert at it. Appreciate the small victories and take baby steps in the beginning. 
{✓} Let go of anything that is holding you down. Toxic jobs, people, and situations shouldn’t have space in your growth and in your journey to self-transformation.
{✓} Nourish your spirit and have faith in something that is bigger than you. Believing and a god or the universe can help you have more profound thoughts and understanding of how the world works. 
{✓} Grab a copy of Jo Emerson’s book, Flying For Beginners: A Proven System for Lasting Self-Confidence.

Links and Resources

About Jo Emerson

Jo Emerson is the International Executive Coach of the Year and a Confidence & Human Behaviour Expert. She’s also the author of Flying for Beginners, available on Amazon. Her most important job is being a mum to her 3 daughters. After 6-years as a single mother she met her soulmate, Terry in late 2016 and they married in April. They are blissfully happy together.

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