Strong Yet Feminine Profiles are a series of interviews, showcasing ambitious women who are striving to follow their passion. Many are working full time and pursuing their dream on the side, some have already taken the leap, and share their experiences (the good and the bad!).
Any career decision is difficult, but making a leap into a different field, in order to pursue a true passion, has to be one of the most inspiring stories. I know, for me, hearing stories like these were crucial to bolstering my confidence when considering my own change in direction.
Sally Lane Jewellery is designed for exactly such Strong Yet Feminine women…the fierceness of the edgy triangle jewellery is the perfect accessory to these confident, go get ‘em ladies...all power to you!
I got chatting to Jo about her business because she has become one of my most loyal customers. It took me over a year to realise that she was living the Strong Yet Feminine dream! In 2013 she pressed pause on a 13-year copywriting career to retrain as a personal performance coach, a neuro-linguistic programming practitioner, and a yoga teacher. She then travelled around Asia, writing various books, before resuming her writing and coaching services in 2016, ‘freeing women from the inside out’. Her latest article perfectly aligns with my views on the need for a balance of masculine and feminine in everyone (the very core of Strong Yet Feminine), and I couldn’t be happier to have my jewellery adorning this wonderful woman.
What happened in 2013 to make you take stock of your life and make several significant changes?
There was no one catastrophic event that took place; it was more of a gradual accumulation of experiences. To an outsider, I was doing great in London, working copywriting contracts for big corporations and so on, but I felt the dissonance inside. I couldn’t articulate it back then; I didn’t have the language I needed to talk about feminism, equality or social justice. But by 2012 I was drinking heavily and could no longer ignore the fact that my life felt like a lie. I got out of town as often as possible to find headspace. I started to re-educate myself, reading non-fiction voraciously. I learned that I had choices and didn’t have to let others take the lead. Most of all, I learned that I was in control of my thoughts and my life. Then coaching kind of found me, serendipitously, and things snowballed from there. Tiny course corrections, given time, will change your entire course beyond recognition.
Can you point to any other Strong Yet Feminine women as a source of inspiration for this?
Odd as it sounds, the women I envy are the women who inspire me. When I start to think she’s got what I want, I know she’s expressing a behaviour, habit or potential that’s unrealised in myself. It’s not that I want to copy her, but express that thing (whatever it is) in my own way. So I guess my heroes change throughout my life, depending on what’s going on for me. For a while, before I got sober, I followed Holly Whitaker of Hip Sobriety obsessively. She’d had the strength to do something I literally ached to do, and she was so vulnerable and real with it. Eventually she gave me the language I needed to address my own relationship with alcohol.
Have you always lived in Cornwall or was that part of the change?
I grew up in Birmingham then lived in London for 18 years, but held onto the vision that one day I’d have a flat overlooking the ocean. When you have faith in something, and you make those tiny course corrections towards it, the pieces will fall into place given time. It took me 40 years to get here, but I figure I had to do all the other stuff first before I could come home to my vision.
Many women I speak to know they want to make a change but find it difficult to make it happen. Where did you start?
My first instinct is to say leap and take the risk! But words like ‘leaping’ and ‘risk’ are all relative. What could feel like a giant leap of faith to one person will be a baby step to someone else – but don’t worry about anyone else, this is your change so make it work for you. Break the process right down into as many achievable steps as you need. It doesn’t matter how you get there, or how long it takes, just keep moving in the general direction of what you want. Take it moment by moment, which means it could be as simple as saying ‘no’ instead of ‘yes’ to something (or vice versa). Keep asking yourself what’s my next right step right now?
What advice would you give to women who sense they are not in the right place but don’t know how to make a change for the better?
We often know what we don’t want, but have no clue what we actually do want. So write down a list of everything that feels wrong about where you are and what you’re doing now. Then take each item on that list and look for the opposite experience. Now you have some new ideas to work with and explore.
What are you most important activities each day to maintain well-being?
Rest! Take unapologetic downtime whenever possible; this is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the past few years. You can have huge dreams, and you want to do it all now, but unless you recharge you’ll never get anywhere. We have to find ways to counter our culture’s dominant masculine energy. Slowing down doesn’t mean you’re giving up; it actually makes you stronger. Most of all, it makes space for your intuition and creativity to work its magic. Of course you can interpret ‘rest’ however you like, so long as you feel like you’re plugged in.
If you could only recommend one book/writer to inspire every day change what would it be?
Oh wow, just one? Books for me are like the women I admire, the right one seems to find me at just the right time. That said, from a timeless standpoint, Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love was a game changer for me. It taught me that I could have either a grievance or a miracle; I could not have both, so why not choose the one that made me feel good? Marianne’s work also taught me that I could let fear win or I could choose to walk with that fear without letting it take the lead.
What is next for Jo Murphy?
I’ve been working on a memoir for a while, which I hope to submit to agents this year, and I’m always looking for amazing women to work with. It’s funny, I thought I’d realised my dream when I got to Cornwall, but it feels like more of a milestone than an endpoint. I guess we’re always in transition in one way or another since I have an urge to travel again, but I’ll know when the time is right.