Rocky Balboa sagely said: “You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” Brene Brown notes in her book Rising Strong “The physics of vulnerability is simple: If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall. This is a book about what it takes to get back up.”

One of my hopes and goals for this year is to grow: as a woman, a business-owner, a wife, a mentor. And growth can come from the strangest of quarters, as the last two weeks have shown. It seems my wish for advancement has already come true in the shape of an incredible business challenge which has brought me great humility, forced me to further professionalize and finesse my business and which has without a doubt made me better at what I do. Coming out of left field like a very black cosmic joke, this challenge – which made my stomach drop initially  – is actually a blessing in disguise. The adage that growth comes from outside your comfort zone has never been truer – and although the circumstances of my learning aren’t exactly what I invisaged when I asked the universe for all this growth and improvement – upon reflection they’re just what I need.
I don’t think I’d have the skills, strength or insight to welcome these challenges as the magical opportunities they are if I weren’t as focussed on self-care and keenly listening to my intuition as I have been of late. And so, to offer you friendly comfort and resilience on your own particular dance with the universe – especially when it changes beat, as it always will –  I present you the practices, people and objects which have built me up and allowed me to rise strong.

  • My coworking colleagues, most particularly Elle, Jacq and Leah. As a small business owner, I’m kindly supported by others who also run small businesses from the friendly hub of The CoWork Co. I suggest that coworking is critical for those who are self-employed: not only to keep you sane and engaged, but to keep you connected to reality. My dear colleagues witness my daily journey – we all help each other to grow.
  • Daily meditation with Headspace. Calming and returning me to my body (rather than the screens and constant information-filtering that is my norm), meditation allows me to reduce anxiety, feel present and sleep deeply. All critical factors when managing change and growth.
  • Walks by the creek in the morning. All that green, the water of the Merri Creek, the daily rhythm of other people – a great reality check. Obviously, exercise and movement is good for managing stress and burning energy too.
  • Yoga with Adriene. This perky, sweet online yogi’s mantra is #FindWhatFeelsGood. How could you not be sold on such a thing? I’m currently doing her 30 day Yoga Camp.


  • No more coffee except decaf. My little heart can’t handle it. I feel much clearer in the head without being caffeinated. Note that this doesn’t mean no coffee at all – if I want coffee at night I have Orzo (a toasted barley drink with lots of coffee qualities) from the Mediterranean Wholesaler.
  • Business planning and life planning with Leonie Dawson’s Shining Biz and Shining Life books. I’ve always been pretty focussed and organized, but I have the sense these tools are helping me send the universe some very clear signals about my intentions and desires.
  • Essential oil diffuser and chakra essential oils from Perfect Potion. It’s really made my home environment more peaceful, and the beautiful oil diffuser is much more effective than an oil burner.

Shot on location in Brunswick East.
Photographer Breeana Dunbar.
Iolanthe wears Uniqlo Ines de la Fressange dress, Country Road bracelet and Serious Women’s Business : Northside bracelet.