Happy Birthday to us!
Happy Birthday to us!
Smile Teachers is proud to be 1 year old.
I can’t believe it.
This last 12 months has flown by… it feels surreal to think that just a year ago I launched my own website built on Wix.
A website that took me 6 weeks of slaving away in my bedroom in between full-time teaching… I was up at 5:00am and creating content everyday until 8:00am. I would go to work for 6 hours and then come home and do it all again for 4-5 hours.
I was excited, inspired and most of all I had no fuckin idea what I was getting myself into.
I had help and guidance from a few people.
I found a mentor in Oscar Pellizon who was the catalyst that gave me the courage and motivation to give it ago.
I longed for the help of an inspiring role model, Mr Greg Mitchell, education consultant was walking his woolie white dog one day and after admiring him for some time I mustered up the courage to run over and say “Greg, I have this idea I want to change lives and I believe helping teachers is the best place to start”.
I continued to blurt out in a flurry “Let’s do retreats in Bali and give teachers the things they need to be happy and healthy”
Greg just looked in amazement and said “How do we do it?”
"I dunno I'll work it out!"
I sat there for hours and hours, planning, researching, listening, watching and crafting project after project, page after page, post after post, list after list…
I was riding this wave of energy and inspiration. I found something I was truly passionate about. This little baby of mine was growing organically and the small impact it was already having was pulling me forward.
Having Greg and Oscar to check-in with, share ideas with and reach out to when I was doubting myself was so remarkable, I am so grateful to both of them.
I would be lying if I said any of this was easy.
I have had moments where I sat in my chair and cried.
I have felt overwhelmed, anxious and like my head is spinning.
There have been times where I have had so much self-doubt and stress that it made me sick.
Some days I have woken up and thought about just quitting and throwing it all away.
I’ve had great supporters, horrible critics and a few con-artists.
Who have all taught me valuable lessons along the way.
I have learnt to listen to what feels good and to filter out what doesn’t serve me.
Most of all I have learnt so much about myself as a person.
I began to understand that this was never about money.
There have been times where I was so fixated on the outcome or result.
The dollars in the bank, the booking, the phone call, the next event…
I have at times been consumed by the “machine” that is business that I couldn’t stop myself from stressing over not doing enough, not being enough. The feelings rise up to tell me hey, wtf are you doing? Remember why you started this.
The penny has always dropped when I take time out to reflect.
I step back and feel into where I am at…
I connect back to purpose.
I envision my journey.
I embody my calling.
This whole journey started because I had struggled with my own mental health, I had been sidelined numerous times by burnout and anxiety.
I was fortunate to have been through the pain and suffering and to have come out on the other side, I have since been on a journey of self-transformation, where my mission has been to heal myself and to help others to do the same.
This journey has been something I cannot clearly put into words for once… there are too many crazy bits I can't explain just yet, like the times I have been seriously upset and drained and laying on the floor for hours...
Teacher messages " Thanks so much for that post yesterday, it was just what I needed. What you're doing is awesome. Good on you Shaun"
Running my own business has taken so much energy, courage, self-compassion, resilience, self-awareness, vunerability and patience all the things that I lacked for so long.
Ever since the seed was planted, it has been the greatest journey of growth.
I am grateful for all the times when I have been lying on the floor feeling wrecked, exhausted, unwell, hopeless, helpless, vunerable and insignifcant.
During these times I have learnt to surrender, to allow myself to feel all the feels, to sit with the darkness and to face the shadows and pain inside.
It takes a crack or break for the light to creep in and when the creeps in to your inner most being, that is where the healing takes place.
After many years of telling myself “you’re not okay and you should be okay. You’re not happy and you should be happy. This feeling is weak, you’re not good enough, nobody cares”
I learned to embrace the pain, the fear and the suffering and to use that as my motivation to change.
In those moments of struggle I think of all the other people out there who may be suffering as well, with no light, no guidance, no solutions…
I look outside firstly...
I imagine kids in third world countries with no hope, no love, no care around them.
I think of people suffering in pain from illness and sickness with no cure or faith in survival.
I look at the damage and disgusting treatment of our environment and animals.
I picture teachers tired, stressed and burnout sitting in their cars crying because they want to do better, they want better for their students and they know they need to feel better to make it happen, but they just don’t know where to start.
I connect with teachers who are miserable, anxious, depressed and even suicidal because they don’t know where to start in managing their wellbeing.
I realise and acknowledge that this is not about me, it is about us, every one of us.
This is far more than about what I want, it’s about what we all need and deserve. This is what I believe and want for all human beings.
To feel loved.
To have a sense of belonging.
And to realise you are enough.
To have health, wealth and happiness in abundance.
To have access to all of the basic human needs.
For all people to have access to education, but for that education to be relevant and an integration of mind, body, spirit.
To preserve, protect and maintain our planet.
To collectively work together, to love each other and to make our world magnificent.
It is in my moments of greatest insecurity, vulnerability and uncertainty that I am drawn back to my vision and purpose.
I realise how volatile, fragile and unstable life can be, but with a strong purpose and aligned action anything is possible.
I think of the deep gratitude I have for being blessed with a full education and beautiful upbringing, I step in and embrace the fact that I am already abundant and have unlimited potential.
My vision has always been and always will be… to lead transformational experiences that make people’s lives better.
Whether it has been supporting and empowering teachers.
Engaging and inspiring students.
Developing and cocreating with principals.
Taking over and sparking whole schools.
I’ve loved and truly cherished the experience so far.
Because, I firmly believe the answers to solving many of the worlds biggest problems starts in the classroom. It starts with compassion and love for oneself and for others.
Schools are the most valuable asset on the planet… teachers are the craftsmen of our future.
Teachers are the most influential people on the planet.
We have connected directly with over 30 schools, 3000 students, 1200 teachers, hundreds of parents and travelled thousands of kilometres all over the world to spread our message and vision.
I sometimes forget just how far Smile has come in the last 12 months.
Amongst all the bumps, scrapes and bruises there has been so many golden moments.
These transformations no matter how big or small are what has kept me coming back for more.
The next step involves me growing even more and accepting that it’s okay to be vunerable and unsure of what’s next, to take my time and hold space to figure it all out.
My vision is scary… my dreams are crazy…
Being patient and trusting the process is my biggest test.
There are days where I look at where I am and yes questions do rise…
Why are you still single at 29?
Will you ever find love?
When will you buy a house and settle down?
Are you just wasting your time?
I look around at others and compare and contrast, but I don't stay there long, because I embody that I am on my own unique path and that everything happens exactly how it is meant to.
The truth is, I am happy, right now… and yes of course I want all of the above as well.
I do want love, a deep, real, exciting expansive love. However, right now I am loving myself and cultivating self-love.
I do want to belong and I feel that more and more with new connections.
I know that I am enough and this is consolidated more and more every day.
I am truly excited for what’s next…
Will we open the gates to more people from different walks of life?
Will we begin running retreats in other locations across the world?
Will we develop and build a whole new online interface?
Will we allow more access to thousands of people all over the world?
Will we co-create with some massive organisations in the personal growth space?
Will we integrate more expansive programs into education?
You’ll have to wait and see and come with us.
One thing is for sure… time to buckle up because it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
The next month I will travel over 40000km to lead experiences…
I will be on a plane for over 30 hours…
6 workshops, 1 retreat and a whole lot more.
All the while I am undertaking a whole new learning course and beginning to build a new website, plus teaching part-time 4 day a week.
There will be more obstacles.
There will be more fear.
There will be darkness.
There will be pain.
There will be success.
There will be failure.
There will be high’s.
There will be low’s.
There will be love.
I know you’ll be by my side.
Whether you’re up in my grill.
Supporting every move or watching from a distance while you’re in your own groove.
I know that your there, cheering me on.
Please keep on spreading the love.
I am grateful.
I am inspired.
I believe we are in this together.
Thank you for believing in me, in us, in my vision.