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Rebecca Hulse is an author, speaker and creative rebel at heart. She is a business coach on a mission to help creatives be successful without being exceedingly serious, guiding entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life and to apply the tools that actually fit their purposes. As someone who revels in shaking up the realities and limiting paradigms of her clients, Rebecca thrives in situations where the impossible transitions to possible.
As a former performing artist, and today’s contemporary voice for millennials, Rebecca completed her first “bucket list” by age 20. She is the personification of her motto, “impossible is temporary,” which is evident in her latest book, Rebellious Rituals. In Rebellious Rituals, Rebecca guides readers to change their daily-life experiences with indulgent self-care, frank acknowledgments, and explosive creativity.
You can learn more about Rebecca Hulse by visiting, https://rebeccahulse.com. For more about Rebellious Rituals visit, rebeccahulse.com/book. Follow Rebecca @rebeccahulse_legacy and @rebecca.hulse.coach.
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Toxic Positivity: Why Coaches Are Wrong About Self-Care | Rebecca Hulse
I am here with an author, speaker and creative rebel at heart. We’re going to talk a lot about that, but cool stuff about this amazing woman coming on. She completed her first bucket list item by age twenty. We’re going to talk about what that is. She encourages people to be selfish and her motto is, “Impossible is temporary,” which she talks about in her book Rebellious Rituals. Welcome to the show, Rebecca Hulse.
Thank you so much. I’m happy to be here.
You have a bucket list.
I had one.
Have you completely checked off every item on it?
I completed that entire bucket list by age twenty. The whole thing, not just one thing. It was 3 to 4 items but they were big.
First off, a bucket list is supposed to be surrounding death which is why I never liked them. All these things are you’re supposed to do before you die. Have you ever seen the movie The Bucket List?
I definitely have my own interpretation. Mine was a before 30 bucket list. I will have new targets in mind for sure.
The bucket list is for when you kick the bucket when you’re dead. Was there something going on health-wise or something like that before twenty?
No, but I was staring death in the face because my dad died when I was fifteen. I created this bucket list around a similar time. It was one of those things of like, “You got to live in and do all of this stuff. You got to create your life how you want to live it because otherwise, you don’t know when you’re going or when your body’s going to be like, ‘We’re done now.’” It was all about creating what’s important to me and where do I want to start making sure that I’m creating my life.
My dad died when I was 35 and I almost died, so you’re right, you don’t know. I applaud you because it sounds like you shifted the meaning of the bucket list before you kicked the bucket. I never liked that. I don’t have one.
I don’t have one anymore.
What do you have now because you said your targets are going to change? How old are you?
You’re two years away from 30. Which means are you creating a new list when you’re 30?
I don’t think so. Such harsh targets worked for me when I was younger but now, I’m much more interested in things like the different energies and possibilities I can have in my life, the quality of living I’m having and the freedom of choices. It’s more about I see something or I find an energy that I love having in my life and I’m like, “I’m more of that.” I live in a very safe country. It’s in New Zealand and we have the ability to travel freely within our own thing. My thing is every quarter. I’m taking a fancy-ass holiday with my lover and going all out. That is such a fun thing for me to do in my business. I bring my writing materials, write by hand, can’t read my own writing, then have to figure out how it’s going to turn into the next book later. It’s such a fun, creative experience. I was like, “This is what living is about.”
You’re taking a trip every quarter. Was that one of the things on your bucket list before twenty?
No. We have to dissolve the mystery here. It was simple. I wanted to be a professional dancer, travel the world and get paid for it, have my own business helping people and be with the love of my life. Simple list. I was like, “Thirty, that seems doable.” In my fifteen-year-old brain that was like, “That’s legit.”
You completed all these. That’s what’s impressive.
I found myself on a cruise ship before age twenty about to perform that night, there with my boyfriend, which they said was impossible for us to even get the same contract all throughout our dancing training. By day I was working on my business as a coach and I was like, “I’ve done the thing. What am I going to do now? I’ve got ten years to go.”
It was this moment and I was like, “I don’t have this figured out but it’s okay.” The university is like, “It’s okay. We’ll do that for you. Don’t worry. We’re going to throw some things in your path and it’s going to make life interesting for the next ten years.” It has. It’s done very well at that. That’s why I didn’t create another bucket list because I was like, “I didn’t like that moment of, ‘Now what?'”
“I don’t feel like letting myself down again by succeeding.”
The overachievers are feeling my pain. They’re like, “I get you.”
There’s your bucket list. It’s done. We book-ended that part of the conversation. Moving on.
Mystery dissolved. Therefore, there’s no more buildup.
Everybody is envious. Rebecca is a success.
For anyone that’s had any level of excess, it doesn’t feel like it. Anytime this comes up in a conversation, I must break the veneer. I’m sorry. I have to break the illusion because toxic positivity is something that I am always coming out for on an attack. This is one of those things. It’s like, “When everything’s successful, you’ll feel great.” No, you will feel normal. You may have a moment of elation of joy or, “I did that.” You have those kinds of things but you won’t necessarily feel any different. That’s so important to know. You’re still going to be you even when the things that you’ve been dreaming of get achieved.
I love that phrase and I’ve heard it at other places but it’s never resonated as it did with me when you said toxic positivity. You see a lot of that floating around Instagram.
One of the rituals in my book is a legitimate direct attack on Instagram because I see that and I’m like, “I woke up like this,” and I was like, “You did not.” I was writing this book and everyone was either starting to become vulnerable and open about what was going on for them during their whole life changes or fake. I was like, “Come on. Now is not the time for this.” I sat down and I wrote, “I woke up like this.” I created a ritual for when you want to have that bright, bouncy golden light hitting your face style, your skin looks perfect moment but you’ve got to create that.
That does not happen overnight and when you had some sleep. For those of us that are caffeine addicted and adrenal pumping, I’m talking to myself here too, like stuff-infused, deadline overworked and wondering about our futures you do not wake up with that bushy sunshiny look and feel. I was like, “We want this. That’s obvious. That’s why it’s here on Instagram but that has to be created not just happen. What can we do?” I put together some of my favorite tools that make me feel my best energetically to help get yourself more into your body, more present and more of what we would deem that inner glow for real.
You can be selfish because you’re encouraging people to be selfish. Why do you encourage that? I’m asking this because of that toxic positivity you’re talking about. There’s a lot of people throwing out there this word selfish and be selfish. It’s part of that whole thing. I’m sure you’ve got it different.
First, the helpful martyr is over. That whole way of working. We know that doesn’t work and when you’re burnt out, you’re cranky, bitchy, cannot be generous with your time, attention and capacity. Everything goes into protecting your little issues and all of your don’t touch zones. This big, hard shell goes over into the, “I need to protect my problems here because I don’t have that much to give.” Whereas if you are being a self-sufficient person in terms of, you’re filling your own cup, get what you need from you which is an always giving source.
When you realize that you are the source of the things that you need, you become this self-sufficient energy which means when you’re out there in the world, you’re gracious, kind, forgiving and you will have a flexible point of view. If we look at the kind of people that we have in the world, we either have this kind, flexible, giving people or the shell-over, over-protective, stiff, inflexible points of view that shatter under any pressure. We have to be more flexible more now than ever and with a performing background with both of us, we know how annoying it is when you are stiff.
That’s a good analogy because when you’re on stage and you’re stiff, how does the crowd respond to you?
Your voice and body lock up. They can’t access you. There becomes this wall, whereas if you’re relaxed in your presence, you’re like, “I might fuck this up. I’m here with you as an audience. We’ve got this and we’ll go for this ride together.” You’re in, engaged and there for that show.
You have this transference of energy between you and the people that are listening to you then they become part of everything that you’re doing is incredible. I love how all that works and you get this because you’ve been on stage. There have been times where I have not brought all of me in the way that I should to the stage. You feel that because you feel this barrier between you and the people that are there for you or that you’re there for and that barrier was created by myself in that process. It’s such a good analogy. Thank you for that. That helps. I’ve never heard anyone but it’s great having the same sense of relation that we have to that thing.
There’s a big misconception. People always talk about giving your all when you’re on stage or when you’re doing something that’s for other people. You cannot do that unless you have all of you to give or you’ve got yourself to a place where you are fulfilled. When your body is tired, you can’t give as much. It’s a thing. For me, being selfish is the part of being self-sustainable and getting everything you need because it’s okay to have needs but you’ve got to be the one to fill them and that is the entire premise of this book.
Your bio has a description of Creative Rebel at Heart. Is that part of the book?
It’s what created the book.
How did you come up with that?
I’ve always loved the idea of being rebellious. I had great parents, so I didn’t have that much to rebel against as a kid. I was like, “What am I doing with all this fighting energy?” The whole idea of creative rebelling or being a creative rebel is we think that being creative is all about creating art, being someone that can come up with lots of different ideas but often I feel like that term gets misapplied because being creative is the ability to talk to ideas and being willing to bring them to life. A lot of your audience is entrepreneurs. I am a serial entrepreneur and it’s one of those things that for me being creative is more about talking to ideas, bringing them to life rather than needing to have a huge creative output in the arts.
With that, it also comes this deep sense of fight and that is always for possibilities and something different. I see something that annoys me like this whole Instagram thing of, “I woke up like this.” My thing is always, “What is here that’s a different possibility? Screw this. There’s got to be something better.” That is the sense of what a creative rebel is. It’s someone that is willing to have different ideas come to them, balls to bring them to life and see what’s out there that doesn’t work and make something better that does.
As you’re talking about the age of the martyrs is over, what’s the next step for Instagram? Do you think in order to be that real person? Real before was like showing yourself in your stories. I was almost looking at your feed is the movie and your story is behind the scenes but then you start to see people have been up for two hours already. They’re thinking, “It’s a great day but I should post something that makes me look vulnerable so let’s go mess up my pillows, bed and look like I’m getting up but I’ve already had coffee, breakfast and showered. Let’s mess up my hair, get back into bed and then take this photo like, ‘I’m waking up. It’s going to be such a tough day.’” I’ve seen those happen too now because if that somebody was creative in that realm saying, “I’m going to be vulnerable for real,” and then everyone else now is like, “I have to fake the vulnerability to be relevant at this point.”
I definitely don’t have a good answer to this because I get the content-based. If you’re in a business, content is part of what you have to create. I do get that. At the same time, I am either efficient or lazy. It’s up to you to decide. I love a good batch and amount of preparation. I’m either doing two things with my content. I’m either showing energy that is going on that has shown up, is coming through and blurting the words out. My natural form of expression is words in writing. That’s going to be my go-to. I’m either taking, finding an image that matches the energy of what I’m expressing or I’m thinking about who my people are and who is out there in my world that I’ve created online and what do they need to hear.
Your social media is a reflection of you, your life and world but remember people are there for themselves, entertainment, information, to get inspired and for whatever myriad of reasons you’ve brought people to your world. I’m always aware of that privilege and I hate wasting time. I want to make sure that anytime someone is interacting with me, it’s either a reflection of whatever energy is going on that I can use as the transformation. I never want to bleed and I’ve had a lot of things going on that could definitely have turned into bleeding on my people but I’ve chosen to keep what is going on for me and then share the moments of that can be transformable and applicable. The other side of that is content that can contribute and create more for my people.
You do see that a lot. That’s also like the martyr mindset, which is one of the most annoying things in the world. “You’re going through some shit. I get that. I would love to be there to support you as one of the followers, send good vibes and energy your way but come on now, what are you going to do to get out of it?” This was like the whole thing with even pivot and pivoting, which I’ve beaten to a dead horse perspective on this show before. Pivot is not like a continuous action word. It’s supposed to be past tense, you’ve gotten past whatever it is.
That’s like bleeding on your people too. At some point in time, you have to close that wound and allow it to heal, but it’s like constant bloodletting and they keep the wound open for the sake of getting more attention. People don’t want to see that. They want to support you through the issues that you’re having. They don’t want to support you in this endless martyrdom that you’ve thrown yourself into. For your own sake and people that are surrounding there to support you, you’ll push them away if you continue to draw out this process and keeping that wound open when they’re there to help you heal in the first place.
We come back to selfish with that you have to take your own space to do you. If you don’t heal in the public eye, put whatever content up that you need so that you can step back and go through your thing. If you are those types that by sharing everything, you then heal the process, that’s great. Remember to keep moving forward.
Nobody wants to see a rant anymore. That’s the stuff that takes you away. It’s like, “You’re going through some stuff but tell me what you’re doing about it.”
I did see a constructive rant about pens. It was a review of pens in Frankie Magazine. It’s my favorite thing that I read and this full rant about all these different pen reviews. I was like, “This piece of writing is glorious.” It was like either you get the big pen. No one buys this pen. It is either borrowed or given out at conferences or things like that. It is going to be a part of our history and culture that is studied a thousand years from now because this pen will still exist and they will wonder what the significance of it meant. If you can do a roundabout or something like that, then we want to hear it.
That’s not quite classified as bleeding on your people. Is there a specific crowd you wrote your book for to target? We seem to be bouncing around this like a theme at some point.
I wrote it. When I was imagining who I was writing it to, it was either my former self as a performing artist that was completely stressed out had that shell over my head and all the wrong tools. I tell this story of how I would go upstairs in my flat with my boyfriend and roommates. I would meditate and then I would come downstairs, see one tiny thing wrong and it would burst my bubble. For example, the kitchen bench was a mess. I’m talking that level of perfectionism was needed in my world at the time. I would have to march my ass back upstairs, meditate again, create that thin veneer and hope that it would hold throughout the day. I was like, “This is bullshit. There should be better tools than this.” It’s not that meditation is wrong. It’s that I was wrong for meditation.
I wanted tools that were better for the inconsistent at heart for the person with that creative, crazy brain that goes off in a million different directions that need something that is impatient like, “Hello to the fellow squirrels. It is okay.” There are a couple of rituals in here for you. There’s one called Squirrel. There are rituals in here for when you feel weird, cranky, something feels out of reach, you’re working from home, have writer’s block, don’t want to go to work and you need a screen break. I put these two together. Everything is going to shit and great. Put those two back to back for a sense of humor. I made the rituals for real moments and that was important to me.
We need to read this and by we, I’m talking to everybody that’s reading. You mentioned something about the tools to where you don’t have to be consistent or undisciplined about it too and you were wrong for the meditation. Why doesn’t self-care in your perspective has to be consistent?
We’re different every day. We haven’t had the same day twice ever. What’s required each day is going to be different. I am a huge advocate of what I call following the energy. It’s in choosing what’s required in your day based on what has the most lightness, you get an energetic hit or what matches your target for that day. The way I wrote this book was that you could literally open it up to a page or scroll through the index and choose whatever match where you’re at now and do that. If you did that once a week or every day, if you decide to look in one go and then completely forgot about it for the rest of your life. What I wanted to create was that you had a resource and a best friend that had your back. The people that know me say that it sounds like my voice in their back pocket. I wanted you to have energetic friends that had your back and to help you change whatever you’re not okay with living with anymore.
That’s an interesting approach because every coach that I’ve ever spoken with is always like, “Consistency, discipline. You do this every day. You do this rhythm every week.” I’ve never fallen into that either. Even with working out, I stay healthy but there are times to where I’ll miss a day, even if I’ll do 3 to 4 days a week which is my ritual and discipline. Readers, this is going to shock you. I haven’t worked out in weeks. It’s the first time I’ve done that in five years.
It became like a conscious choice of mine too. I hired a fitness coach and I’m going into this other level now to increase my knowledge because I felt like I hit a plateau in my own self-care when it came to my physical body around nutrition and fitness. It’s like, “I’m maintaining this but what does it matter if I’m not still moving forward?” That’s where I had an issue around me personally. It’s like, “What’s the purpose in continuing my discipline if there’s no forward movement? I don’t see myself getting more fit.”
That’s like what’s your body asking for right now to you.
I felt legit rested to where my muscles felt amazing. The best they felt in five years. It was because I felt like I caught up. I’ve heard about, “Take a month off.” It’s like a refocus and a reset because I recognize the same thing. “I was so disciplined, but why does my self-care have to be what everybody else says it’s supposed to be?”
The key question here is, “Why does what I do have to match with what other people do?” We’re all different. We all have different requirements, talents, capacities and ways of doing things. We have to get better at creating what we need and recognizing that. If this book or your choices can help you to explore that and to get more of a sense of knowing yourself, then our job here is done.
Even with this fitness coach, he’s like, “We’re going to set up plan A, B, C, D, and E for your workouts. That way, whatever you’re feeling for that day is fantastic.” I travel so much. It’s like, “You’re already better off than everybody else because you’re already mixing it up. You’re going to have a different gym with different equipment wherever you travel to. It’s perfect.” I’m like, “I’ve been doing the same thing for five years.” He was like, “I know. That’s why you’re on a plateau because it’s what somebody else told you you’re supposed to do. We’re going to mix it up. Whatever you’re feeling like, that’s what you’re going to do. There are still parameters but whatever you’re feeling that day, go for it. If your arms are hurting a little more that day, make it a leg day. That’s cool. It doesn’t matter. If your head’s feeling a little warped that day, maybe make it like an energy-building day in your core or sacral center. Let’s mix it up. Do what you need to do for the day. You are awesome.”
The most successful people respond differently to challenges. They don’t see them as roadblocks. They see them as stepping stones. Now you’ve had that inverse in your life to where it’s like, “I completed everything and I’m only twenty.” How do you continue to grow? What are the roadblocks that you’re facing? I almost subconsciously place those roadblocks in my life so that I continue to grow. Almost like this, the reason I hired a coach. That’s a roadblock. I put it there because I was stuck.
I’m now looking more for energetic growth aimed to contribute and to be more in the world. First, you don’t need to put a block in place because everything that you’ve subconsciously put in place when you ask for something greater is going to show up and be like, “Remember me? You put me in places that you wouldn’t get further in this, be more visible and make our money.” All of those energetic things are there. I don’t ever worry about the roadblocks because they’ll show up, but I also know that I’m the one that puts them there so I can completely destroy and uncreate them. I have no problem with that and I also know myself well enough to know that if I am bored, I will destroy everything I’m creating.
If I don’t have enough projects going on, everything will feel sluggish. If I don’t fill my life with interesting conversations and a lack of mundane and gets too filled with the admin side of things, then I’m going to need to have a lot more of the free-spirited things that are so important to me show up because otherwise, I’m going to drown myself in things that are not my forte. Therefore, I never feel like I’m running out of challenges, but I’m always looking for what is my next version of greater than yesterday.
You’ve been talking about your subconscious being that thing that puts those mechanisms, the roadblocks in yourself, so you don’t make more money or go to the next level. There’s a coach of mine that calls that affectionately the safe place of suffering. We keep ourselves there because we put these roadblocks in place, but you say that you can destroy them and create new ones. Do we create the new ones? We create them to keep us safe in that place of suffering. Can we also create the roadblocks to help us level up in a positive way? Is there a way to do that?
I get that but that also starts to dip a toe into toxic positivity because God forbid it’s easy and we have a little bit of ease during glory.
Why should it have to be hard?
For a lot of us, let’s say my demographic or your audience’s demographic, we are starting to wrangle with like, “We are the adults in the situation, the leader here and the one that needs to make the executive choice.” At the Farmer’s Market, I was with my lover and the lady selling the eggs was like, “Who wears the pants?” It was like, “I do and I handed over the money.” I was like, “That’s funny.” It was such an instantaneous moment of, “It’s me.” My lover was like, “It is.” It’s this thing of when you start getting used to being the leader like, “Is it hard at first?” Yes. We need to get over the idea that things are easy at first and that they’re not worth pursuing if you didn’t get them perfect on the first go but they do get easier. That addiction to looking for harder sometimes isn’t helping us. We need to be willing to handle whatever shows up but not predicting it or looking for it.
Then we’ll create situations that are difficult in our minds. It’s a fake scenario out of some story we’ve told ourselves that it’s supposed to be hard. There’s a difference between working hard and enforcing something too. That’s the realm that I refuse to cross into anymore. It’s forcing something to make it happen because then you are fighting against yourself. Will some things be hard? Sure. Now I see hard as more like not difficult to accomplish but complex with a lot of moving pieces versus, “It’s difficult to get past this because I would prefer the easier stuff than the faster stuff.” It almost seems like that stuff is bigger stuff too.
It’s this thing of when you’re looking at things from that perspective is you’re becoming a greater leader, organizer and mover by willing to go, “What is the overall of this and what am I going to need to do to move these different things for it?” It’s a great skill to have and it’s something that anyone that desires to can develop. It’s important to say that leadership is learned, chosen and developed. It’s not innate.
There’s not a naturalism that occurs with leadership.
The people that you say are natural leaders are the ones that got told that they were from birth and then became awful.
I don’t think I’m awful, but that’s the thing. Even when you’re young, you get labeled as such. It becomes leadership is a choice at some point in time. Even if you’re told that when you’re young or at some point, maybe when you got promoted in a job, “You’re a leader now.” You still had to accept that new job role and say, “Sure, I’ll take it.” It was still a choice. People can identify that potential in you. I fully believe in that because I see that in people all around my team and me. There’s amazing potential that so many in this world have, but it’s still your choice to step into that. If it’s not something you want to do, it’s also okay.
It’s also the thing of no matter how many times people tell you, you’re the one that’s going to have to own it and acknowledge it in you in order to be able to hear it. With everything that’s been going on. My mum died and I have been taking over as matriarch of the family. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve heard from someone else, “You’re doing a great job.” I need it to be like, “It’s okay. I’m the one that is doing everything I know needs to be done that is doing a good job.” It’s not until I started to own it in myself that it stopped being annoying hearing it from other people.
Rebecca, where can everybody find you?
Thank you so much for being on. This has been a lovely, energetic discussion.
My pleasure. I’ve had so much fun being here. This has been awesome.
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