Rise & Shine Interview: Erin O'Brien

As I have said before, one of my favourite things about blogging is connecting with others.  Erin and I connected randomly on Twitter. Erin O’Brien lives in Sydney, Australia and is Chief Encouragement Officer at Activate28. She helps women who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed, and who want more *flow* and ease in their workday. I'm so glad I met her. Soon after she emailed me the following virtue card along with the message:

"When you mentioned that perseverance is a core theme for your life, I decided to attach the virtue card of perseverance. The third sentence reminds me of your website … and I imagine other sentences would resonate with you on the journey you’ve been on. "

Click on the image to get a set of your own virtue cards.
Click on the image to get a set of your own virtue cards.

I love this card and the work that Erin does so I naturally I had to ask her to take part in the "Profiles of Perseverance" series.   Thank you, Erin, for taking part and for speaking from your heart! You are awesome! Check out here interview below.

Erin Speaks From Her Heart:

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Who did you receive it from?

“80% out the door is better than 100% in the drawer”. I heard this from one of my business mentors the day before I started Activate28. Being a recovering perfectionist, this advice has been the mantra I’ve used every day since starting my business. My website is a great example of “80% out the door …” If I waited til it was 100% ready to launch, it wouldn’t have been launched yet!

How important is mentorship in terms of your success?

(c) Erin O'Brien
(c) Erin O'Brien

It’s essential! In terms of professional mentors, I have an awesome mastermind group as well as action buddies. In my personal life, I have a coach (well, two actually!), a great support network and a fantastic bunch of friends.

The thing I appreciate most about my mentors is having a safe space to ‘think out loud’. Any advice or guidance they give is a bonus.

What has been the best moment in your life so far?

I don’t know a single moment that’s been my ‘best’. It sounds cliché, but I have many moments every day that feel like ‘best’ moments, whether I’m swimming in an ocean pool at sunset, or eating perfectly cooked purple sweet potato. I often think “Life can’t get better than this, can it?”

What tips would you have for living a healthy life?

Having protein with breakfast has been life-changing for me. My blood sugar and mood stay steady throughout the morning, and I can think more clearly.

How do you motivate yourself to persist despite setbacks?

I remember that every challenge is a ‘teachable moment’ and that every setback is a chance to grow my character (such as my resilience, assertiveness, trust or humility).

What has been your biggest setback? How did you deal with it? What did you learn from it?

I had a big setback in mid-2012. I was six months into my business, and out of the blue one day, my intuition told me I was heading in the wrong direction. That was fine – I trust my intuition. Problem was, though, when I asked my intuition “What should I do instead?” I got no response.

This went on for weeks, and then months. It was really tough, because it felt like I went through a drought – I kept trying different things but nothing seemed to fall into place.

During this time, I leaned into my support networks. Big-time! In the past, I would’ve been too independent or proud to ask for help, but this time I knew I had to. When my confidence was at its lowest, I emailed a bunch of my friends and said “I need your help. I feel lost and need a boost in self-esteem. What do you see in me? Please give me examples of times when I have shone brightest. I need to be reminded of my positive qualities”

Their responses were beautiful. They really uplifted me. I’m so glad I had the courage and humility to ask for their help.

How do you deal with critics?

My “inner critic” is by far my worst critic! I’m so much more harsh on myself than others are on me! So how do I deal with my inner critic? I befriend her ;) I say “Thank you for visiting, but I’m going to listen to my wise self today”.

As for criticism from others, I take a deep breath and ask myself if there’s some wisdom in what they’re saying. (If I get defensive, I know that there’s usually an glimpse of truth in what they’ve said!).

And for people who are critical of my work or my opinions, I’ve learned to say “Take what you like and leave the rest”.

How important is social support in overcoming obstacles?

As I mentioned earlier, my friends and support networks are really important to me. Having a safe space to think out loud is essential.

What advice would you give others about goal setting?

“Just say hello”. This means asking yourself “What’s the first teeny-tiny action that I can take towards this goal?” Don’t worry about all the steps involved. Just think about the first step and do it.

What life lesson have you learned that you would like to pass along to others?

Whatever ‘weakness’ we have, there is a virtue (positive quality) that will help us. For example, if I notice myself going into perfectionism, I ask myself “What would moderation would look like right now?” When I’m feeling scared, I tap into my courage and trust.  And if I know that my motivation is starting to fizzle on one of my goals, I think “What support do I need so I can use perseverance to finish this?”

Reframing my weaknesses as opportunities to grow my character is really helpful for me. Rather than focus on my character ‘defects’ (e.g. “How can I stop being so rushed?”), I focus on developing the virtue ("How can I start being more peaceful?”).

Thanks, Erin, for sharing your "random" thoughts and speaking from your heart! We really do think alike, and it's wonderful to connect with such a like-minded soul. Keep writing, inspiring, and sharing!

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!