I BELIEVE the impact you will make, is how free you ARE.
Its those who are free that will change the entire planet.
These extraordinary people, (like you) know, they are not their stories. It empowers them to be fearless, and not afraid of failure – for their worth is not attached to their achievement, but to how much they can give.
These people live in a conscious state of flow – for they trust in the magic of the unfolding process of every creative endeavour.
They design a life of their own choosing. They know their truth is the potion for power, and it empowers them to lead from an authentic and sustainable space.
They accept themselves unconditionally – for they know it is the only way we can move forward and be visible, passionate, and effective in our roles.
They know this moment does not have to equal the last.
They have the time, the energy, and the emotional bandwidth to take the greatest care of themselves, the ones they love, and their communities. For they have experienced the collaborative power of community, self-leadership, and calling in support is non-negotiable.
These people are fierce. It’s like they have a superpower, or possess magic. But truthfully, they’re just deeply curious, willing to lean into the unknown, and get a little messy.
THE ONLY WAY TO DEAL WITH AN UNFREE WORLD IS TO BECOME SO FREE THAT YOUR VERY EXISTENCE IS AN ACT OF REBELLION. ~ ALBERT CAMUS
Back in the 2003, at 17 years old, I won my first double world Karate title, and graded to my black belt in record-breaking time for my club. I was in my final year of high school.
It was at this point I was first thrust in the spotlight as a leader of sorts… someone to listen to, copy, respect, and beat… and I found that I both loved and loathed the pressure.
I loved it because I thrived under pressure. I knew to stay at the top, I had to keep looking for inspiration and growth outside of my comfort zone and outside of my normal environment. It took me all around the world, and fighting against the boys. It also landed me in the world of personal growth. I loved being helpful & growing.
I loathed it, because I learned very quickly that no matter how hard I worked and how well I did, in order to continue being at my best, I had to disappoint others. Bosses who wanted me to work full time when all I wanted to do was train, friends and senseis whom I had to fight in the finals to win places in teams and titles against, and others who simply hated the fact that I was making it look easy, and were jealous of my success. (keyword: look. It takes a lot of hard work to make it look natural and easy!).
And work I did. In fact, what I thought at the time, was that the key to my success was the fact that I worked harder than anyone else. When I knew others were sleeping, I was training. And if I wanted to get further, I had to push harder than ever before. It wasn’t of course, but it felt real for me.
This mentality got me a lot of places. I won 9 Karate world titles during my time as a martial artist. I broke a couple of world records, and I graded to my third dan Black belt, again, in record time. I even won scholarships and awards during my university years for being gifted at getting everything done.
It was amazing to know that I had a pain threshold that was beyond an average person, and that I could push through my own mental exhaustion to levels of experience I thought were not humanly possible before. I loved that I could switch on my game and turn into a woman on a mission. People thought I was way taller in media than in real life.
BUT ALL OF THIS CAME WITH A HUGE DOWNSIDE. MAYBE YOU CAN RELATE:
- The higher I rose, the more people I had to disappoint.
- The more I won, the more I had to lose. The more stress and anxiety crept up on me in the night, preventing me from sleep and enjoyment. As soon as one tournament finished, I was back to training for the next one as soon as possible.
- I felt like I was totally alone in my pursuits, despite being constantly surrounded by peers and friends.
- I felt handcuffed by my success. Everything I had worked for up until that point made me feel obligated to keep going. How far could I take it? I didn’t want to start again – but there were things missing in my life I knew weren’t coming if I continued to live the way I was.
- I was painfully afraid to take ownership of my unique desires. I felt selfish and ungrateful for wanting more. So instead, I kept training, competing & winning because thats what I was good at. It’s what I had worked hard to do. Its what I thought I should do.
And aside from this, my beliefs were exhausting me.
THE PRESSURE I HAD PLACED ON MYSELF MADE THE FUTURE FEEL PREDICTABLE, PREDETERMINED AND CONSTRICTING.
I FOUND MYSELF ASKING… IS THIS IT?
UNTIL I BURNED OUT.
Eventually my body couldnt cope. I became so sick, I spent almost 3 years in bed, with what the doctors called, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was told I had the type of burnout, at 22, they only saw in 40-50 year old executives. Being the high achiever with ridiculous standards I am, I gave the disease six months to go away, and when it didn’t, I was forced to take stock. I was sick from 2008-2011.
In 2011 I returned to competition and won my ninth and final world karate title. It was supposed to be this massive comeback, electrifying, closure on my illness experience, and it was nothing like that at all. I felt… neutral.
It had become a new normal for me. Sure, I felt really proud of myself, but I wasn’t lit up the way I was years ago. I knew in my heart it was the last time I would compete. I knew I could no longer pretend that I was happy doing something that felt like an obligation to me. I was starving for some more adventure, spirit, spontinatiety and challenge in whatever was next.
I finally started being OK with disappointing people. I started being OK with wanting more. Turns out, the only people I cared about disappointing were never disappointed. They admired my courage.
I made a tough decision to end a great relationship with someone who I loved and respected.
I said no to competing again in that years world titles, and even training for it – and suddenly my entire year opened up. For the first time ever, I didn’t know what I was doing the following Wednesday night – for all my adult life the answer had been, “training”.
And then, once I gave myself the scary gift of all that free time, I received the opportunity to travel to New York and attend a conference. I decided it was time to put rubber to the road. I booked a 3-week ticket to go to New York and Mexico, and never really returned. I was gonna test out this “location independence” thing.
I spent the next nine months traipsing the globe on my own. I ran my business from 16 different cities and 11 different countries. I met some of the most incredible people in the coaching world today, lived on peoples couches in London, swam with whale sharks in Mexico, got a tattoo on my back that says “freedom” on Independence day in New York, taught at a retreat in Costa Rica, climbed a mountain in Morocco, fell down said mountain, Rode a camel across the Sahara, and got completey lost in Cuba.
I’M NOT GOING TO PRETEND THAT BECAUSE I HAVE A FANCY WEBSITE AND SOME COOL STORIES I HAVE LIFE FIGURED OUT.
I see life as a big game. I believe in play. And one of my highest values is failing… spectacularly.
I felt depressed a few years back because I was too tired to keep travelling all the time. I had settled in a beautiful part of the world – Byron Bay – but I thought travel was my purpose. And I coudn’t live it any more. I went to a doctor to see what I could do, and instead of prescribing me medication… he asked me what I meant by the fact that travel is my purpose.
I said to him, “When I travel, everything just flows. I’m fully alive, All of my senses are heightened – I see things I would never usually notice. I’m happy. I smell all the smells, I hear all the sounds, taste all the tastes, and I feel completely alive”
What he said to me was the piece of the puzzle that made everyting else make sense.
“Hayley, those things don’t happen when you travel because travel is your purpose… they happen because when you travel, you’re fully in the present moment.”
He prescribed me, mindfulness. I spent the next 18 months working 1:1 with a mindfulness teacher who changed my life.
Moment by moment.
Learning to be present out of the ring has completely uplevelled my life. These days I’m just as happy out on the grass barefoot with a cup of tea staring at the trees, as I was strolling the cobblestone roads of Italy and riding a scooter through Bali.
Its not about never feeling fear, and alwyas being happy. It’s about understanding your full range, going there, fearlessly, being unafraid to fail and making it work for you.
I often put myself in the way of my greatest fears, just to feel that sweet sensation of being awkward, scared, sweaty, and totally alive.
I believe that your greatest strength is your softness. Your vulnerability to bring your whole self to your life. To fully accept that you will be messy and awkward until you make it look like art – and to speak your dreams into life. To design the life you were gifted to align with what you believe, what you desire, and what makes you feel alive.
And when you start being unapologetic about what you truly want, your life will certainly change.
THE LESSONS I LEARNED THROUGH MARTIAL ARTS, ILLNESS, AND SOLO TRAVEL HAVE IMPACTED MY LIFE DEEPLY.
Today, I live in a secluded country town in the South west of Victora, Australia (at the end of the Great Ocean Road) with the love of my life. Our next impossible dream is to buy a big block of land and live off-grid somewhere warm – we’re currently making it happen.
I still disappoint people, regularly. Only today, I see it as a necessity, not a problem.
And to tell you the truth, I am far more proud of myself for the things I have said no to, than the things I have achieved – because the things I’ve said no to, (like competing in a world cup because I felt like I should, staying in a relationship that wasn’t a hell yes for the both of us, and waiting ten years to be richer so I could start running my business the way I actually wanted to) have all placed me here.
I am most happy when I do not know what the future holds – because it means I’m in a place where there is only space for miracles, and hell-yes’s.
I want you to see
how much choice you have.
I’m not the type of coach who will hold your hand, make you accountable, with a set program full of pretty PDF’s to fill in. I’m here to help you transform. To completely re-invent the way you show up – so you can have what you want without losing what you’ve worked for, and create whatever you want, the way you want it.
I’m here to serve you – from where you are in this moment, every moment – so you can move forward as fast as we can allow it. That requires telling you what you need to hear – not what you want me to say. It requires me sometimes even saying things to you nobody else has ever been willing to say. It requires me to be so present with you, and listen so deeply, that I can cut through your stories and help you make sense of why you’re not taking action, and to see you at your absolute potential – and hold you to that – nothing less.
It also means that you, in turn, will learn the value of complete vulnerability and ownership of every part of yourself – so you can maximise it, and benefit from bringing your whole self to the table in everything you do. Whatever that happens to be next.
I tailor make every client experience for the person in front of me. We go on adventures, meet online, and everything in between.
If being one of my clients sounds (nothing short of) exhilarating for you, the best way to find out more is to simply have an experience with me.
Book in here, tell me about yourself, and lets have a powerful conversation.
If you want to know more about working with me and what it looks like, you can find that here.
I have led many interesting lives
9-times World Karate Champion
Interior Architect & Designer
Film, Theatre & TV actress, and Occasional Wedding Singer
Chronic fatigue sufferer who healed herself
Gypsy-adventurer & Solo world traveller
Transformational Coach & Inspirational Speaker
Each journey holds a delicate lesson that has shaped what I do with my life today. And of course, none of them are me at all. They are just stories. Identities I adorned myself with, to give my life meaning and structure, and love.
We all do that. What stories are you holding? What can you learn from them, so you can let go?
When you think about the future, do you think it can get better? Do you feel that? or do you worry about it not being what you hope, because you have high expectations – and not as much drive to do things the same way as you used to?
HERE ARE SOME OF my favourite lessons:
From being a world karate champion 9 times over...
Anything is possible. Even when you’re against all the odds. Go for what you want, with everything you’ve got. Because you’ve always got 70% more than what you think you have. (Even if you’re not a man with big muscles, because it’s rarely about size or strength.)
From graduating with a 5-year Interior Architecture degree, landing the dream job, and leaving it in the middle of a recession...
If it’s not a hell Yes, it’s a No. I built up a career rearranging the structure of entire buildings to make them stronger and more beautiful. When I left, I didn’t need to know the next step. I just knew it was time, and the when I took the first step, the next one showed up. Run towards your fears. They are indicators of freedom.
From being bedridden WITH Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for almost 3 years...
You can heal yourself and change your life whenever you choose. I was told by doctors my body would never heal. But I did, completely. Sometimes, the only way out is through. So friend, don’t let anyone dictate the prognosis of your life. Every illness is a message that holds a lesson. Pay attention.
From travelling for 9 months around the world by accident, on intuition...
The life you crave is so much closer than you think. Start by getting clear, and taking the tiniest steps you’ve ever taken that are only a hell yes. You’ll find yourself living the dream in a heartbeat. Its all about knowing what to say yes to, and what to say no to. And by the way, it’s possible to run a business from your laptop (13 countries and counting). Start before you’re ready. Pack light and get going.
From my existential meltdown before I was 30...
Revel in the unknown. What’s meant to be will not pass you by, so be here. With this. You’ll always find what you’re looking for, because your thoughts are your prayers. All we ever have is here and now, in this moment. Cherish your days, with love, not fear.
From ASSERTING MY BOUNDARIES WITH A STALKER
Growth doesn’t have to be painful. You will never miss out on the lessons you need – and the same patterns will continue to repeat unless you learn, and act on what you know (I used to call this one, “from being in an abusive relationship”… but I honestly do not feel like a victim any more). It’s only painful when you ignore what life is showing you.
FROM FOLLOWING MY HEART ACROSS AUSTRALIA FOR LOVE
The moment you surrender, you stop swimming against the current. Life begins to flow in the most delicious ways when you choose to call in a hell yes, or a no attitude when it comes to love. Open up. Trust the magic of clarity, and let go of anything but right now being perfect.. Love comes again.
A 9 -Time World Karate Champion, NLP Trainer and Transformational Coach, Hayley Carr is in the business of happiness. Her mission is to provide inspirational, actionable and deeply transformational coaching, education, and resources which guide motivated, passionate leaders to live their best life, lead with love, become self-actualised, fulfil their potential, and make a positive difference to the the world around them. She believes in the power of flow and fun for sustainable, joy-filled success. Always with a cup of tea in hand, you’ll find this Aussie at www.hayleycarr.tv where she shares thought-provoking and helpful free coaching every week on Bold living, Fierce Love, & Vibrant Leadership through her online show, Hayley Carr TV.