On Public Speaking and Hosting Tea Parties

IMG_3076 Last Saturday, I hosted my FIRST EVER coaching event, 'A Rad Bitch Tea Party' here at The Kitteh Palace. Holy Crapballs! I'd had such an amazingly exciting week in the lead up to the event - which in all honesty, was a good thing because I didn't even have the opportunity to get nervous about throwing an event, or wind myself up about what could go wrong!

In the week leading up to the event, I'd been interviewed by Jessica Nazarali for her 'Coach of the Week' feature over on her blog - eeee!

As if that wasn't excitement enough, on Friday morning, I had the incredible pleasure of speaking alongside Jess AND Gina DeVee on a Special Live Call about branding as a "New Coach". To put into perspective just how big a deal this was, it's pretty much the coaching world equivalent of having someone like Gala Darling offer to guest post on my blog. I was honestly FREAKING OUT about speaking to what turned out to be over 300 women, but I'm SO GLAD that I agreed to because I've had the opportunity to speak directly with some really incredible women about their dreams and their business aspirations as a result!

Luckily - given that I had all these exciting things happening in the lead up to my Tea Party, I happen to have some truly amazing friends who also happen to be a little bit nifty in the kitchen, because as much as I love baking, I would not have had the time to bake and prepare noms for the day!

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My buddy Lee from Cupcake Rivalry created the most stunning and totally badass cake especially for the day, and I'm not going to lie - It was at least 10 times more incredible than anything I would have been able to create for the day!

I only started to get the jitters about the actual event when my neighbour from directly below us let me know (about an hour before people were due to arrive) that he was having some mates around for a Jam Session at the same time as the Tea Party. I needn't have been nervous, as not only was the band good, they also provided the most perfect impromptu soundtrack to the afternoon!

My mum came around a little before the Rad Bitches were due to arrive, and helped me with a few finishing touches like setting the table in the living room, buying scones, welcoming people as they arrived, and filming the afternoon - THANKS MUM!

Once the Rad Bitches had arrived, we settled in with cups of hot chocolate. I talked a little about the events of the last year in particular, and the process I used for setting and achieving my goals, before we started sharing some of our goals for the year ahead: Travel, Parenting, Writing, Self-Employment, and Creativity were big themes which came up throughout the afternoon.

One of my personal favourite aspects of the day, was the intimacy of hosting a small-ish group of incredible like-minded, and yet uniquely individual women, and the safe supportive environment they helped create. I was so blown away by the depth of sharing, as well as the personal stories shared as the afternoon went on.

IMG_3118We took a break to enjoy the delicious cake (For the record, it was a 100% Vegan Friendly, Chocolate Mud and Vanilla cake), chat, doodle in notebooks, replenish our cups of tea or hot chocolate, and take a few selfies, before I invited my dear friend and client Jessi Anna to speak to the group.

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Jessi spoke so beautifully, and so generously shared her story, before talking about some of the profound changes she's implemented over the last few months, and the positive shifts that have occurred as a result. I'm so proud and grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with Jessi One on One, and especially grateful that she was willing to speak at the Tea Party!

One of the most inspiring moments, was during a conversation around limiting beliefs and perfectionism which led to possibly the biggest "Take Home Message" of the day:

IMG_3123I'd like to say a HUGE Thank You to the Rad Bitches who came along I really appreciate your incredible spirit and the overwhelmingly positive feedback. I'd also like to thank everyone who supported the event, but weren't able to make it on the day!

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I am already starting to plan the next event, and at this point I'm thinking that it will be held on Saturday the 21st of February, so check your planners and pencil in the date into your diary if you'd like to join us next time!

In the meantime, I'm going to do my best to get a copy of the recording to make available - either as a video, or have it transcribed into a blog post!

For now, please have an amazing week and stay awesome!

xx

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A Rad Bitch Tea Party: Live Event to Kick Off an Incredible New Year

IMG_3467I'm hosting A Tea Party in Melbourne, and you're all invited! WHEN: 10th January 2014

TIME: 2pm - 4pm

WHERE: Melbourne, Victoria (exact venue TBA)

TICKETS: $55 each through Eventbrite

ABOUT:

Join Kym Seletto, author of ‘A Rad Bitch’s How to Guide to Life’ and Master of Real Talk, for an afternoon filled with some of her favourite things: Coffee, Cakes, and Coaching!

The Tea Party will be a professionally catered event, in a gorgeous Melbourne location - yet to be announced.

There will be cakes, scones, tea - and obvs. coffee (duh, of course!), as well as a professional photographer to capture all of the fun of the afternoon.

Best of all, there will be the opportunity to spend an afternoon in amazing company getting to meet fellow Rad Bitches in person!

I'll also be talking about how I became a Rad Bitch in the first place, and why I decided to study Health and Wellness Coaching, before leading a group coaching session around creating actionable goals and intentions for creating your own Girl Boss life in 2015.

I'm also super excited to announce that we will have a special Guest Rad Bitch Speaker joining us!

Ticket price includes a bonus 30 Minute one-on-one Virtual Coffee Date with Kym after the event.

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Your ticket price includes: Delicious catering, The opportunity to meet likeminded Rad Bitches in a gorgeous setting, A Rad Bitch's How to Guide to Life Group Coaching Session, A Special Guest Rad Bitch Speaker on the day, as well as a Bonus 30 Minute Rad Bitch Virtual Coffee Date with Kym Seletto after the event.

On the Art of Not Being Seen and Comfort Zones

Kym Seletto Portrait 9-11-2014 035 - Hi Res*BONUS BLOG POST TIME! IT'S A LONG ONE, TOO - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED* Tonight I want to share some super personal things with you - things which have challenged me, made me ecstatically happy, left me shaking with rage, some that even made my Mum cry.

Anyone who has known me for any length of time - especially if they knew me as a kid, will tell you that I'm a pretty outgoing person, with a "Screw what anyone else thinks" attitude. For the most part, they'd be right on the money. I love getting up on stage and performing in front of an audience, I rock up to my Nannying job in Black Milk leggings covered in Monsters, and on one occasion in my early 20's I went out to party wearing a tiara created with my own hair. All of that said, I only enjoy being the centre of attention IF I'm doing so on MY TERMS.

What many people don't know, is that I'm actually absolutely TERRIFIED of being LOOKED AT.

You know that feeling when you rock up to a class or a meeting five minute after it started, and EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the room stops what they are doing, and STARES AT YOU? You get so nervous that you kick someones chair on your way passed, accidentally drop your pencil case as you take your seat, and you just KNOW that you're making so much noise while you're getting settled, that everyone is super annoyed with you. Your mind starts playing tricks on you as ridiculous thoughts race around your head.

"Oh crap, they're all still staring! Shit, why are they ALL staring at me? Is my dress tucked into the back of my undies? Do I have a booger hanging out of my nose? There's totally a booger hanging out of my nose, isn't there? I don't even have any tissues with me! Gah! Stop looking at me, dammit!"

This is exactly how my mind worked, pretty much all of the time, right through school, and it still does every now and then.

So from the minute I decided that it would be a good idea to hire a professional photographer and have a series of portraits taken for this blog, my stomach instantly started doing somersaults. One night, I bit the bullet, and sent off an enquiry email at about 1am. I barely slept and spent the next day exhausted, running on adrenaline as I got through my Buddy Coaching calls.

In the following days, I started to feel a little better about my decision and tried to step into a space of genuine excitement, by thinking about how this meant I absolutely HAD to get a hair cut, and that I could totally pick out some new outfits for the occasion! I shared the news of the impending photo shoot with a few friends, and my business coach with an air of nonchalance, as if this was the sort of thing I do every day. Really, I was telling them for an added level of accountability, so I couldn't back out!

As the day crept closer, that little voice inside my head started getting louder, and more specific, until it was practically SCREAMING my deepest insecurities at me.

"Just who do YOU think you are, hiring a professional photographer?"

"Really Kym? YOU'RE doing a photo shoot? In PUBLIC?!?! HAHAHAHA! This is a joke, right? What is the photographer going to think? As if he'll even want to shoot you!"

I did my very best to ignore that ridiculous voice, and replied to every email as we planned and nutted out the details of what I wanted. I told myself I was being ridiculous, I'd met Ben before at a friends wedding, he'd taken a photo of Jordan and me that happens to be my favourite one of us together. I knew he understood my style, and that he'd be able to take photos that would help me stand out from other Life Coaches.

When Ben first arrived, I felt slightly ridiculous posing in my lounge room, but we quickly figured each other out, I calmed heck down - Lucy the Hell Kitty and The Sassy Ms. Honey B even came out to play for the camera!

Kym Seletto Portrait 9-11-2014 011 - Hi ResThings were going swimmingly, and then we decided to take my new bike out to the park where I go to sit and read on sunny days.

Well it turned out, that THIS was a particularly sunny Sunday afternoon, so just about every man and his dog was out and about. We wandered slowly by crowded cafes and distracted traffic at busy intersections, before I posed on park benches or leaned on quaint little bridges, thoughtfully watching ducks and geese go about their business.

Of course I was laughing at how silly we must have looked. But inside, I was registering every single person who looked at me, trying to quiet that voice in my which was scolding me for being so ostentatious and flamboyant, and ignoring the thought that everyone was judging me.

We rounded out the shoot with a few more shots back at The Kitteh Palace, and with me feeling super proud of myself for actually DOING the shoot at all, and especially for the fact that I had FUN!

The next day, Ben sent through all of the proofs for me to choose from. This freaked me right the hell out. So much so, that I procrastinated getting back to him for about a week. I ummed-and-ahhed for days, tearing apart and scrutinising my appearance in every photo, before FINALLY deciding on 10 images.

I almost dreaded getting the final high resolution images back from him, knowing that I would have to start sharing them!

I've essentially had the first half of this post drafted in my head and ready to go ever since the photo shoot, although I was still tossing up whether or not to actually share it.

There have been a number of really significant events this week, which have convinced me that I HAVE to share these photos, as well as the following stories.

For those of you who don't know, when I was a little girl, I had a hemangioma or Strawberry Mark, which at its' peak covered about 90% of my face, neck and along my sternum. While Strawberry Marks are not uncommon, mine was at the time, one of the most severe known cases in the country, as it affected so much of my face, as well as my airways, and my throat. Due to the internal swelling, I wasn't able to swallow food, or breathe through my nose, so for the first few years, I lived with a feeding tube into my belly.

Even as a toddler, I rocked a pink bike!

Given that my parents were the first of all of their friends to get pregnant, there was a LOT of anticipation and excitement about my birth - so it turned out that we had a massive group of family and the kind of friends you think of as "Family" who considered me "their" baby, too.

There were plenty of ups and downs along the way, but ultimately, I was a really happy little kid. I was proud of my Strawberry Marks and thought they were pretty. I have vivid memories of standing in front of the bathroom mirror when I was tall enough, finding the flowers in the pink lumpy shapes on my cheeks, thinking to myself just how cool they were. Seriously, how lucky was I to have pictures on my cheeks just like My Little Ponies had pictures on their rumps, or Care Bears had on their tummies?

All of that said, I was born smack-bang in the middle of the 80's, and at the height of AIDS hysteria. People were afraid of anything they didn't understand (and still are), and my Mum once told me a story of some guy dragging his kid off a carousel in a shopping centre and telling her off for taking me out in public, as if I posed a danger to his kid.

I can remember a photographic assistant at the Children's Hospital admonishing Mum for letting my sister and I look at the photos in MY medical records, as if photos of my own birth mark were too graphic for us to look at, or something?

I can't even imagine how difficult that must have been for my Mum (Who for the record is extremely humble, unassuming, and nowhere near as outlandish as I am), or for my Dad - but they NEVER hid me away from anyone. Every year, Mum and I would line up with everyone else at K-Mart for our annual Pixie Photo session. Every year, she would order a deluxe package with blown up portraits, laminated calendars with magnets glued on the back for both sets of grandparents, and all of their friends. I'm actually pretty sure she still has a calendar from 1990 on her fridge.

As I started to grow, I turned out to be that kid who'd be out on the dance floor at every party - rocking out to whichever band was playing - on my own half the time, but having a blast. I was out there, doing my thing, dancing to blues guitar and singing along to words I didn't even know yet, and not giving a shit who cared. Not once did Mum or Dad try to stop me, no matter how uncomfortable they might have felt.

Now the reason I'm sharing all of this, is because during the week, I've come across two articles, written by two different mothers whose daughters were also born with Strawberry Marks.

The first article, by Beth Seaver appeared on xoJane, was titled 'My Kid Has a Big Red Dot on Her Face, Here's How Not to Be a Dick'. Naturally, it warmed my heart and it made me so unbelievably happy to read, so I posted it on my personal Facebook, knowing that Mum would read it. As fate may have it, I was catching up with my parents, as well as all of Mums siblings and a few of my cousins that night for family dinner, so the article came up in conversation. We all agreed it was amazing, and I highly recommend reading it. Mum found herself agreeing with many of the points raised in this article, and today she told me that no matter how challenging or unfair things felt at different times when I was in and out of hospital, she always came home feeling lucky knowing that I was relatively healthy, and that I was going to be fine.

On Wednesday, following on from my posting 'How Not to Be a Dick', I was tagged in a Facebook post by Mia Freedman's blog MamaMia, (although the article was originally published on The Huffington Post). To say that the experience of reading the article was a stark reminder of exactly why I NEVER read any thing on MamaMia, would be an understatement. I felt physically ill for having read it, and it brought up some very painful memories.

Before I post the link to this article, I want to make it EXTREMELY CLEAR that I am NOT attacking the author of this article for the choices she made. I'm absolutely certain that she felt that she was making the very best decision she could - with the information available to her at the time. I want to acknowledge how courageous she must be to speak publicly about what was an extremely difficult and painful decision for her to make at the time - especially when she must have known how her decisions would come across to an audience who have never been faced with the situation she was.

Now, as full disclosure, I DID undergo cosmetic surgery as a child. I had a facelift in 1991 at age 6 (when elective cosmetic surgery was still relatively new), and about a year later I had laser treatment under a General Anaesthesia (I woke up screaming afterwards, and was sick for the rest of the afternoon). I want to stress that my Strawberry Marks had mostly disappeared by this time, and that deciding to put me through both of these procedures was very difficult for my parents - especially considering that I was well and truly OVER the whole hospital thing by that point.

I can only speak to my own experiences here, but the article I'm about to link to paints an extremely vivd picture of what I felt when I underwent a "test patch" without anaesthetic. It was by FAR one of the most traumatic and physically painful experiences of my life so far. From being on the receiving end of laser treatment, I felt that the sensation was a metric f*ck-tonne more painful than a flick with an elastic band, and I'm beyond furious that the same comparison that my parents and I were told of, was then fed to these parents across the world, a whole FIVE YEARS LATER.

I'm furious that they were advised that the procedure would be beneficial on an infant from the age of 13 months old.

And I felt physically ill at the thought that the procedure was REPEATED again and again, WITHOUT ANAESTHETIC.

I'm angry that procedures like this are being sold to concerned parents who want to protect their children from potential bullying or cruelty - as if removing a birthmark (one which generally disappears by its own nature) is an appropriate way to go about that.

You can read the second article, 'To My Daughter, About Your Birthmark Removal' written by Dawn Weber, here as it was published on MamaMia, or here as it originally appeared on HuffPo.

I don't want to go into the other issues this article raised for me - although there are MANY - including how f*cked up I find it that girls like me were sent messages that something about our physical appearance that we were either proud or unaware of, was inherently wrong and needed to be corrected or removed.

Ultimately what I've learned from reading both of these posts, is just how important it is for me to show up, allow myself to be seen, and LOOKED AT - even on days when I feel like I look kinda crappy - let alone on days when I feel totally amazing, and I'm posing for professional photos.

I'm not conventionally "pretty", but I'm ok with that.

I regularly take and post "No Make Up Selfies" on social media - sometimes with bed hair, often while I'm still in my pyjamas.

I'm still learning to think of myself as beautiful, no matter how many times I hear other people tell me I am, but I'm getting better.

I'm unique, and I love that what makes me stand out these days is not my wrinkles, or the few reddish spots on my face, it's my personality, and the confidence in who I am and what I can do because of the experiences I've had.

It's important for me to be seen, so that parents facing these decisions either now, or in the future can see just how amazing us Strawberry Marked Girls grow up to be.

It's important for me to show up and share my stories, so that girls with Strawberry Marks know that they're not alone, and there are more of us who've been through similar experiences to you. I want for all of you to know that you are beautiful exactly how you are, and please don't you EVER let anyone treat you as if you are less deserving of the wonderful things this world has to offer.

Don't ever settle, compromise, or allow anyone to ignore your voice.

Kym Seletto Portrait 9-11-2014 066 - Hi ResI want to thank Ben Gunzburg of BENSHOOTSPEOPLE for the amazing portraits he took, and for helping me to feel so relaxed during our session. It was a lot of fun, and I totally look forward to working with him again in the future.

But most of all, I want to thank my parents (and I know that my Mum will have been crying through this entire post) because reading these articles has reminded me to be grateful every day for just how f*cking incredible they were, and still are. I want them to know that they were not just doing "what mums and dads do", they were doing what OUTSTANDING Mums and Dads do.

I want my Lil Sis to know how amazing she is, and how much I still appreciate those two years when she would ditch her friends on the playground if they didn't want to include me in their games.

Thank you to everyone who's read this post, sincerely. There is a huge part of my soul that has been poured out and into these words tonight.

xx

I Made A Thing

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It's been a really interesting couple of weeks here at The Kitteh Palace, as always, I've been pretty busy, and to be completely honest with you, at times things have felt just a little hectic. There have been a couple of nights when I've crashed into my armchair after work, given up on the idea of cooking dinner. Having battled extreme fatigue levels, anxiety and depression at various times during my life, I'm now extremely aware of my needs, and the importance of incorporating self care in my day to day life, so I've been working at holding the ship steady, while zipping along.

The very night that I published my 'About' page on this blog, I received a phone call from a friend who I used to work with when I was about 20. Back when we worked together, I was pretty much at the messiest time in my life. I was working at three different, physically demanding jobs, being under-paid, attempting but failing my teaching degree, dealing with full-blown insomnia, and partying WAY too many nights a week. I had also gone from one ridiculous boy situation, to another, even MORE ridiculous boy situation - which went on for the next five-or-so years (Yes, I'm serious. Like I said, MESSY).

Now, the interesting thing here, is that even at that time, despite the mess I was creating around me - and despite of our age difference (she was in her 30's at the time), I often found myself supporting my friend in the very same way I do for clients now! Talking with my boyfriend after I hung up the phone, took me back to those days, and somehow in spite of the hangovers and sleep deprivation - the memories of our personal struggles, and the pain I was trying to numb were super vivid. I sat with them for a few minutes, before realising that memories like these are EXACTLY why I believe in the work I'm doing.

I honestly believe that we're given this decade known as our 20's to try shit out, fall down, destroy some stuff, and learn what works and what doesn't, (and even as I'm typing this, I'm worried it will come out sounding super dull and boring) so that by the time we hit our 30's, we have enough of an idea of what serves us (As well as what doesn't!) so we can seriously kick arse and really make the most of our time here.

And believe me, I know just how challenging this shit can be to sift through. But what happens if we get to the end of our 20's, or even to the end of our 30's, 40's or even the end of our 50's, not having learned these lessons? Do we just keep on repeating the same patterns, living out the same (in my case, destructive) behaviours? I truly get that sometimes, all you need is someone to hug you while you cry it out, and others you really need to hear is, "Harden the fuck up, and sort your shit out already!" from someone who genuinely gets you.

I want to tell you, that even though over the last two weeks, I've had moments where I've bordered on overwhelm with my workload, not only does it feel worthwhile when I know that I'm working with Rad Bitches and Girl Bosses so that they don't keep living out the same stories over and over. It feels worthwhile when I remember that I now know and understand my limits, and that the work I'm doing is challenging me in ways I genuinely enjoy. I'm growing, and I'm learning every day, and the challenges are nowhere near as overwhelming - let alone soul crushing, as the ones I used to go into battle against every day.

IMG_3738In light of all of this, I sat down and wrote an ebook, which you can download for FREE!

 

I've included some of my most favourite pieces of wisdom, which have helped me get through some of the most challenging times in my life!

I'm sharing this with you all, in the hope that if you’ve come across this little book at a time when you’re feeling stuck, or maybe even find yourself screaming, “LIFE, WHY YOU BE SO HARD FOR???” that you’ll be able to flip through it, and know that you’re not alone!

I'd love to know what you think of it!

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In other news, Jess and I have been working hard behind the scenes to put my first coaching package together; I've been completing my course work; joining in on practical coaching sessions with my classmates; as well as participating in a new project with the amazing Elle Roberts (stay tuned, I'll be announcing the details of this in the coming weeks!).

I sat my Level 1 Health and Wellness Coaching certification exam yesterday, before Jordan and I headed into the city for an Art Gallery and Bagel Date to celebrate.

We visited ACCA, the NGV International, and Anna Schwartz, before walking down to the (still essentially abandoned) Docklands precinct for the exhibition opening at D11.

Thanks again for stopping by, and than you to everyone who has shared their support and words of encouragement over the last few weeks and months. I really appreciate your thoughts!

Until next time,

xx

Kym