I spent my high school years at a Queensland private same-sex school. At the time I heard people telling me that those years were ‘supposed to be’ the best of my life. For me, they were not.
I was bullied relentlessly by two girls and it became progressively worse.
It was a vicious cycle I couldn’t escape with my self-esteem rising over the Christmas holidays and plummeting during Term 1 each year. I was so desperate to be accepted I completely changed who I was and went against all of my values. I was miserable but there was a little light of hope – I knew I wanted to work towards supporting other young women.
I was determined to become a Psychologist. I completed my undergrad degree and was the only person to graduate at the expected time in our Masters of Psychology program (which was a combination of hard work and luck). I was finally able to practice so began my own brand, The Mindful Collective, to inspire mindful and compassionate change in young women and the young at heart.
What was the moment you realised you could dare? Was there a tipping point? A lightbulb moment?
My parents are very hard-working but also very risk averse. Being a health entrepreneur is… unusual and full of risk; however, I just felt it needed to happen. The ‘make it happen’ is part of my genetic makeup and it grew to become a driving force within me. I felt so passionate about evidence-based information that is fun, relatable and beautifully presented. There is so much misinformation out there in the psych and wellbeing space!
What did it feel like the first time you dared to stand in that power?
Oh, my goodness. It was incredibly nerve-wracking. I felt like an imposter faking it until I was making it. But I did make it! The more experience I have standing in that power the more I feel confident and comfortable being in that space. I must add that I’m so wonderfully supported by my friends and family. I have a few key people who are really in my corner and they love it when I dare!
What do you think the difference is between being brave and fearless?
I see bravery as conquering fear and persisting despite distress, rather than an absence of fear. Being fearless would be nice but bravery – that’s strength, determination and is character building.
Now that you dare, do you dare others? How?
Oh, I love daring others. I mentor other Psychologists heading into private practice who want to make their own helpful and daring mark on the landscape of Australia (and even the world). We call each other to chat about the challenges we face. We have found ‘head on planning’ to be the most helpful method but it always ends with that daring moment when we make it happen.
Daring often takes courage which means facing fear.
This is an interesting worldwide conversation to be adding right now. I was sexually assaulted by two men on separate occasions within the space of a few months while I was studying. I was subsequently pregnant and had a miscarriage all before my 18th birthday. It was difficult to continue studying. I felt so confused about relationships, sex and my self-worth afterwards until I started seeking help. Knowing that I wanted to work with women, I knew I needed to ‘slay’ this particular ‘dragon’ before I could help others because Australia has one of the highest rates of reported sexual assault in the world, at almost 92 people per 100,000 of the population, according to the United Nations. And let’s be real – many, like mine, are unreported.
If you were to talk to the person you were before you dared, what words of wisdom would you have for them?
There is one quote that summed up;
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer – Albert Camus (a French philosopher)
Is there a process you go through to tap into your daring self?
A question I frequently ask myself to get in the game is ‘Who do I need to be for me right now?’
I often find that by pausing and breathing slowly I make the best decision for me.
Amy Kate Isaacs
Amy studied her Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours) at the University of Queensland and completed her Masters of Psychology (Educational and Developmental) at the Queensland University of Technology. As a Psychologist, and Mindfulness and Wellbeing practitioner Amy Kate walks alongside women from all around Australia to empower them to change their minds and their lives. She also has a side-gig turning outstanding psychological research into useful, relatable and beautiful products and services – helping women integrate helpful habits into their lives. If you see Amy Kate out and about you will also meet little Evie, her outgoing Italian Greyhound and therapy-dog-in-training.
Why are we doing this thing? Because there’s enough noise in the world telling women what we ‘should’ be doing.
We should parent more consciously, but not be helicopter parents. We should take care of our bodies, but not be vain. We should make boys pay, but demand equal rights. We should dress appropriately, but also be confident in our skin, wear what we want, but not be provocative, oh and please feel comfortable in the world’s skimpiest school bathers but then wear your jeans to the formal because last year the boys looked up the girls’ skirts and so you’ll have to be the ones to modify your behaviour. Yeah. No.
We are a mother and daughter writing team who launched a platform for women 14 – 104. Women who need to read stories of daring. Women who need to write them.
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