A mindful approach to life with Dee Brennan


In this episode of the Happiness Hive Podcast, Catherine chats with Wellbeing and Mindfulness Coach, Dee Brennan. Famous for having people meditating on rooftops, listen as Dee shares with us her ultimate life template and how she embodies her message of valuing her well-being the most so she has the energy she needs to stay resilient.

In this episode you’ll also hear:
– the value in holding space for others
– how Dee moves herself out of a funky energetic state
– why it important to ask yourself how you want to feel in each chapter of life
– how to process when you’re feeling triggered
– how to use your vision board to manage your energy… and so much more!

Join Catherine’s membership The Happiness Lounge here

Connect with Catherine here:

Connect with Dee Brennan here:

This podcast is produced by Nikki O’Brien from Quintessential Being




Read Full Transcript

I am, like I say this for every guest. But I'm really excited today to be chatting with the podcast guest
Dee Brennan. And I've only just met Dee Dee was a presenter at the recent Poppy business
conference, and I fell in love with her. straightaway. I just loved your energy D. And I want to share that
with as many people as I can. So welcome to the happiness hive podcast.
Thanks, Catherine and equally love your energy too.
And we were just doing a little pre podcast chat. And we realised that we've both got the same every
day. We've got little pink earrings on. He's got a gorgeous, gorgeous hot pink headband, which I love.
Is that your signature style?
Oh, look, I just like to add a little bit of colour. Yeah, I just think it just adds to the vibrancy. I don't want
to be boring.
Yeah, no, you're not boring. So little bit, I'm gonna get you to share a bit about you. But you're a well
being in mindfulness coach, tell our listeners, what's your well being in mindfulness coach,
if people would ask me, What do I do? I say, well, sometimes I go walking with people around the lake.
And we talk about what's going on for you. And sometimes I have people meditating on rooftops at
sunset, because I like to teach meditation. And it needs to be fun and exciting, because most people
think meditation is boring. Yeah. And so you know, if you know, you're gonna go to this event where
you've got fairy lights and candles, and it's sunset, and it's outside, it's just a little bit different. And it's
more like, I'm excited to do that. Yeah, for sometimes I do that. Sometimes I will do workplace
wellbeing. So I'll either take employees out for a walk and check in on them. So they feel cared for. And
we talk about their personal goals so that you don't have managers don't have to deal with their
personal stuff at work. And I've done talks on resilience to goal setting to creating your bucket list. And
yeah, so anything around, you know, feeling good, and taking care of yourself,
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oh, my gosh, you are just my soul sister that is and when I was, and I feel a bit mean doing that asking
you about, you know what he said well being mindfulness coach, because I'm the same, like, it's really
hard to put a label on what I do. And I resist a label, I resist that. It's about for me, it's really about
helping people to love life and live their best lives. And you know, there'll be healing from the past,
living in the present and creating their future. And I just signed with you d i love that element of things
that are a little bit different. A little bit fun, because life can be like life can be friggin boring. And yeah, if
we make if we let it.
So if I'm going to be the coach now, because
I do not I find that with a lot of my guests who are coaches, they let you spin it for a minute.
Yeah, let me spin it just for me, indulge me. If someone was to ask you the same question, though.
What would you say? If you've been
put on the spot, I really help people to fall madly, deeply in love with themselves and create a life that
they're excited to jump out of bed every day to live.
Okay, cool. And then you just sort of deliver what they need on the day, right? Yeah. Yeah.
Do you know what I wear a couple of different hats as well? Yeah, like I am, I guess, happiness is my
inroad. But that's not just all I do is just a really a leverage point. I do a lot of corporate coaching as
well. I work with senior executives in that leadership space. And it's really about how can they show up
and be the best that they can be? How can they do that in a work context that how can they show up in
life and be the best they can be in life?
Yeah, there is direct the same.
Same, same but different. Do you find this do you find this when you're doing your coaching as well, a
lot of my clients are stuck. Like they're all pretty. There's, they're pretty successful. In all honesty,
they're cheating some great things, but there's just often something that's holding them back and it's
like, how can I even be better than what I already am? How can I be in search of that personal
excellence and mastery? So it's, it's a whole range, you know?
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Yeah, I think the word that comes to mind you said stuck the word stagnant. Yeah, yes. Yeah. It's like
they're at a bit of a standstill, and they don't feel like things are flowing.
Yes. Oh, you sit with the client this morning exactly this morning. It's about how can they bring much
more like slow and ease into their life? Life is just a bit tricky for them at the moment, and they navigate
that tricky
Yeah, I had a lady ring up this morning. And she she was inquiring about the coaching. And I just, you
know, chatted to her for about two minutes. And basically, she's just at this point where she's going. I've
got a business with 50 employees. And I'm thinking about selling the business. I don't even know if I
want this. Yeah. And I've got kids. And I don't want a business coach right now. I just want something
for me. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, yeah.
Have you always done? Have you always been in that space of wellness and mindfulness? Yeah,
look, that's it's just easy for me. Like, that's just, it's just come naturally, I've been doing it since. You
know, like, unofficially, since I was 16. I've I used to get off, I'd be on the phone to a friend and they'd
be feeling flat. And I just say, look, put your joggers on them coming around in five minutes, and I just
hang up on them. And I just turn up on their doorstep. I said, Let's go for a walk. And so it just, I mean,
back then I had no idea I was coaching, right? Yeah. So officially, in terms of my career, I started out as
a massage therapist, doing very much technical stuff, very much sports, working with pro athletes
travelling around the world with my massage table, real Type A's. And I really loved that. And I was
really into the technical when I started, because I thought that would give me kind of credibility. And
that's what I had to do that was kind of like that was a profession. And then things kind of, you know, as
they do evolve in yourself and your career, and I realised that it was actually the soft skills that I was
better at, and just holding space for people while they're on the table to think out loud. I say, and, and
yeah, things have happened in my life where I've needed to, you know, get help on certain things. So
for meditation, so I did some meditation for my own purposes and my own healing. And then I ended up
teaching that I knew that with the coaching side of stuff, I really enjoyed it. But I didn't actually know
what coaching was. And I went to this weekend workshop. And it was like a coaching personal
development course. And out of that, though, were selling this life coaching programme. And I thought,
well, I'm doing that already. But I just, I needed some more skills to be able to help people on the table,
because people were telling me everything when you phased out. Yeah, you could, like I have got
everyone's secrets. And I love it. Like my favourite thing. Oh, I love it when someone's you know, jumps
on the table, and they're crying after five minutes, you know? And I just needed some communication
skills, which is why I went down the coaching path to be able to help my clients better and then, you
know, and yeah, so I do a combination at all, I still practising in the clinic a couple of times a week. And
then the other days, I'm doing coaching,
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or I love that you have them, you know, half naked face down lying on the table, and you have all these
I love it. I'm probably one of the only ones in the clinic that have a closed door, and I have a closed
door views people tell me more. Whereas otherwise, it's curtains. And people don't share as much.
you're probably the same. But I find that people open up to me really, really easily. I think that's one of
my gifts. I think that's a superpower that I have. And you've probably got it too.
You do. I did that for you. When I when I had a coffee with you not long ago. Yeah, I just thought I'm
just gonna tell her everything I had, there was no holding back, I feel very safe in your presence. Yeah,
and that knew it wasn't gonna go anywhere else. And I just will just having conversation I didn't have to
hold back at all, I just felt at ease.
And I think that you would be the same as well, I get that vibe from you as well day but. And that's the
beauty of being in that privilege space of holding space for others that just being there. And often, I'm
just a sounding board. For them. I don't tell them what to do. I'm just a sounding board. And they come
up with their own, you know, my grip a little bit of, you know, maybe you could try something in there,
but they come up with their own solutions just
yet. It's interesting. I was just thinking about, you know, that whole holding space. And like, I think we
underestimate the value of that. Yes. And, you know, so many people are just wanting to solve people's
problems. And I think they're being helpful. I know that I used to think I was being helpful until I did my
coaching course and then I realised that actually, it's not my job to give people Advice are fixed people,
I'm actually just there mostly just to hold that space for them so they can work it out themselves. And I
remember having a coaching session with this lady, and look, our coaching sessions were great. It was
just all about me. And I loved the fact that you're here and providing space for everyone else. And when
I had a session for me, it was great. This is all about me. It was just like, it was like a gift to myself. But
one day, she she seemed frustrated with me. And she said, Well, we've done this news, what do you
need for me? And I just felt this frustration. And I just said to her, I just need you to be there for me. I
got frustrated back at her. And then I thought, actually, that's what people want from me. Yeah. And it
was just such a good reminder that, you know, stop giving out advice. And just know that just giving
someone that hour of your time, stop giving advice, just just be there for them. And that was that was
really helpful coaching session.
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She's done a job. She don't want my kids get the chips with me. And if they're listening that may or may
not be listening, but I'm sure they won't mind me sharing. But if they would come and say, oh, man,
what do you reckon about? You know, what do you think I should do? I would say, Well, what do you
think you should do? And the guy? Ah, I don't know. But if you did know, what do you think you should
do? Yeah, man, it was just like, Oh, bloody hell. And then they'd come back and say, Actually, thank
you for not telling me what to do. Yeah, well, Dan kids. But it's hard. Sometimes I have to kind of do as
a coach, have your inside voice running and your outside voice.
I have to know when I've got my, my coaching hat on. And I have to know when to be a friend or a
family member. And so I have to the thing that I think I still kind of am in that coaching mode, but I just
changed my language. Yeah. So they think that I'm not coaching them. But I still am.
Now you're good? Because I often have. I have to whisper this in case my husband's listening. But it's
often about this is what I think I want to say to anyone actually comes out my mouth is sometimes
different. Yeah. Sorry, John, I love you. Love you love you around that. Tell me about your meditations.
I haven't been to one. But it's on my bucket list. Your meditations are on the rooftop.
Yeah, so in January and February, when it's nice and warm in Canberra, I run it on a rooftop. And it's
it's sunset. And so it's that time of year when everyone's still a little bit optimistic. And so what I do is we
get grounded with some really basic mindfulness. So like a bit of a mini meditation, from mindfulness.
And then I get people really relaxed. So we'll do some progressive relaxation. And then what I do is I
take them on a guided meditation of their future self, and get them to imagine what life would be like in
the future. And then we kind of embody that and try and get a sense of what that would feel like in your
body. So you're really embodying it. So that's what I do in January and February. It's on a Sunday night
in Canberra, and I've run it for five years now. And it has sold out every event.
Awesome. Can you save me a ticket for Well, I must admit, I didn't say it. But these businesses think
out loud wellness. So we've got the details in the show notes. And we'll recap that at the end there.
Keep an eye out. So in Canberra for all those international listeners, sorry, but you do online stuff, too,
don't you?
Yeah. So thanks to COVID that got me online. I was nervous before but hey, what else do you do? So
during COVID, I ran this because I wasn't sure how this online stuff was going to work. Right? I was a
bit nervous. And is it going to be good enough? So I did some free stuff initially. And on Friday night, for
my own entertainment as well. I would run this session was wonderful. Yeah. And so Friday night, I
would sometimes leave home and go to the clinic that I'd work out where I had Wi Fi and stronger Wi
Fi. And I would run these sessions where it was 30 minutes, I'd have a chat at the start. And then we'd
do a 15 minute meditation together and then I'd have a bit of a chat at the end. And it really got me and
so I do it with a glass of wine. And so I'd say you know, I get to enjoy a glass of wine, you get to enjoy
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guided meditation, and it really helped me build my confidence being online. And and what I loved
about that is that I got to connect with all these people from all over the world. So I had over 400 people
from seven different countries, and it was just great. Like I lived in Qatar for a couple of years, and I
have people from Cata on my meditations from London from New Zealand, I reconnected with an old
cousin. Yeah, it was just really, really fun.
Yeah, that's beautiful. And that's the sense I get from you to do that you do things that bring joy to you.
But also sharing that joy with others, as well has to be found. Yeah, that you kind of embody Yes. I was
talking with a business coach around just some stuff for me for next year. And there was some things
that just made my shoulder kind of cringe like it was just like, No, that does not bring me joy. I've got to
do what brings is my passion. I worked with a guy, our gosh, probably 100 years ago. And he was a
school unit. And he ran this. Yeah, but he just ran the same programme over and over and over and
over and over and over again. And it was almost like you could just switch him on, switch him off. And
he would just say he was just robotic about things. And people loved it, because he had new people all
the time. And I went, Oh, that's a really good business model. But I run something twice. And then I'm
less like, oh, actually not I need more variety. I need to do something that sparks my joy and sparks my
passion. I can't just do something for the sake of doing it.
Yeah, this is two things that pops up. I mean, you know, yourself, right? Yeah. So you know what
sounds exciting. And you can feel it in your body. Because you're connected to your body. There's so
many people that are in their head, they don't, they don't know what feels good, or they don't notice the
cringe. I've got a really good retention rate in terms of people that are coming back for my programmes.
And I want it to be exciting for them. So I can't teach the same stuff all the time. Because otherwise,
they're going to get bored. And I really like these people. And I want to give them something else.
And I grow in it. But I've grown and evolved. And I'm not the same person I was even a couple of years
ago, and the way that what I'm presenting has grown and evolved as well. And that's what I love
coaching. I really love love coaching. Because that's in the moment with the clients about what's going
on for them. That's real time stuff. Yeah, for me, there's no, I personally curate all of my coaching
programmes. So there's no two that are the same ever, ever, ever. Because it really depends on what's
going on for the person. Yeah.
How I'm curious, like, you said that you're not the same person. You were like, even two years ago,
what do you reckon is changed?
Oh, gosh, I've got I've let go of a lot of those limitations that I had placed on myself, like I've had more
birthdays as well. But I've let go of a lot of stuff that wasn't well, was it important, a lot of those old
patterns that were just getting in the way, you know, some of those imposter syndrome has been a big
thing, big patent in my life. Sort of knowing that I'm good at what I do at one level, but on the inside, it's
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kind of like a really, really, somebody's got to find out. Yeah, interesting. Yeah. Yeah. So and I've been
really just stripping back the layers, and I'm really comfortable and confident with who I am. I haven't
been that growing up. Even as a younger adult, middle aged adult, I feel really comfortable in my skin.
Yeah. And is that because you're doing more work on yourself? Or is it?
Yeah, yeah, I think I've certainly I do a lot of work on myself. And I think I just stopped giving a shit
about the things that I used to place a lot of importance. Like I used to be very self critical. And it's just
like, really, Catherine. That's not Yeah, that's not very nice. It's not nice to yourself, or helpful. Yeah,
you changed. Have
you changed? Well, hey, I'm talking about you. Excuse me, just flicking this back on you. Okay, which
is interesting, because like, I were both in Canberra, and we move in similar circles. But it's only until
recently that we've actually been in the same room. I've seen your stuff pop up from time to time. And
most people, including me, would have this perception that, you know, you're really comfortable in your
own skin. And that imposter syndrome wouldn't exist, right? And I'm sure that most people would think
the same with me because I've been doing this for a long time as well, but it still pops up. And, and I
remember listening to someone who you know, like, is in the media. She's got millions of followers and
she was talking about impostor syndrome and all So excited, because so even she feels that like this is
just gonna be here and
that's okay. Yeah, do you know what for me, I have done a lot of work. So I am more comfortable with
who I am. And I guess some of that old patterning and conditioning. In this lifetime, I actually believe
that it's probably come in from other lifetimes as well. But there's probably another conversation, that
conditioning around, it's not okay to be successful. So a little bit and some of the listeners will know the
backstory, my mum died when I was 12. And it was almost this feeling and I'm sure it was never ever
said to me, but it's not okay to be happy. It's not okay to be sad. It's not okay to talk about your
emotions, you just kind of got to get on with life. So that was the message that little 12 year old took
away from it that I just need to get on with life. So I became very capable, very competent, very
independent. But on the inside day, it was just like, holy shit. I have no idea what I'm doing. Script like,
no, it's just like, I've just, I don't even know how to do life. I don't know how to do womanhood. I don't
know how to do motherhood, the first baby I held was my daughter. And I was just like, holy shit what I
do with this baby, I was kind of always second guessing myself. And then, more recently, in the, you
know, after a lot of work, it's kind of like, you know what, I'm actually doing life. Okay. And when I'm
comfortable to be me, then I'm not being an impostor, because I can't fake being me. Yeah. So I think
I've learned to be a lot more vulnerable. And to go, do you know what? I don't know. I don't have it all
together. Yeah, I can work together. But I don't have everything together.
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And no one does not. I have this saying everyone's a little bit fucked up. Yeah. And, and that's not in a
nasty way. That's just everyone's got shit going on. Yeah, everyone. Yeah, there's always something
that we're having to work on or work through, or, and isn't that a relief?
Yeah, you know, I think so too. And one of the things I really try to do, do I innately do it? I'm not sure.
It's just keeping things real. Like I don't, I don't share every little thing that's going on in my life, but I'm
trying to keep it pretty real. And that's the beauty of this podcast is about chatting with women, about
how they do life. Yeah. And it's not about all sunshine and unicorns all the time. But I don't let myself
stay in that state that I was in as a young teenager, I can develop strategies where I can get out of it.
And I go to people, I get help around that. So what do you do when you're in a bit of a funk?
A bit of a funk? Okay. Well, there's usually a reason why I'm in a bit of a funk. And it's, it's probably
because I've been trying to do too much and haven't had enough time for myself, you know, that kind of
sense of overwhelm is that you know, like funk. I mean, my funks don't last long. And I do believe it's
because I'm pretty good at looking after myself. And so, you know, I have to do daily meditation and
movement. Otherwise, I just don't feel. I don't feel right. Yeah, just I just don't I just don't, I can't bring
my A game.
Have you always been like that? Or have you morphed into that? Or is that just a natural?
Look, I always did sport at school. And so and then, you know, after school, I got into aerobics. So I
always had that movement component. And so I know that I feel better. Yeah, not just in my body, but
in my whole being, I know that I feel better. And so, you know, I'm pretty conscious about you know,
like, my word this year is energy, like just recognising. You know, what's, what's my energy? Like? Is it
what do I need? Because for what we do, right, you've got to be, you've got to be on you've got to be
present. You've got to be clear. And I have to be practising what I preach. Otherwise, I just can't it just
doesn't come across. So what was the question? I
can't remember. I bet what you do when you're in a funk? Oh, yeah. I know. I think what I asked you
was Yeah, have you always been like that? Yeah. And
before that, you said, I look, there's still times where I might fall off the waggon. It's rare and it doesn't
last long. And the reason it doesn't last long is because I am talking about this stuff all the time. And
when I talk about it, I'm reinforcing it myself, that that's what I'm doing. And I just, you know, it's so top
of mind that He, I have I just live and breathe it now because, you know, I spend so much of my day
talking about it.
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So I live and breathe it. It to me, it has just become a habit. I haven't always been like this, but I've
developed from my daily practice, and that's evolved over the years as well. But it's just embedded into
almost everything I do. And sure I have days where I'm just like, really, I do not ever want to, like face
the day, I go for a walk every morning, as well. And I just don't sit in that pity party for nearly as long. I
still have pity parties. I still dislike Oh, but I don't stay there long. But the thing I do do is I acknowledge
when I'm in that when I'm not feeling great. And I allow myself not to feel great. Then I move through it.
And I'll also do something like, I'll acknowledge how I'm feeling and I'll go okay, well, I'm feeling this
way. Because something happened. Yeah. And that's a normal feeling to have when that things
happened. Yeah. And then I'll generally send a text message to a sister. I've got three of them. Yeah.
And they just give me that validation, like, oh, yeah, that must suck, or something. And they might even
ask me, I mean, they're not coaches, but they might even ask me, what do you need date? What do
you need to do today? You know, can you look after yourself? Or, you know, it's just really, it's a really
lovely relationship I have. So I just, you know, I have someone acknowledge it for me. And then I just
go, Well, I know, I'm not going to feel like this forever. So if I just need to ride this day out? That's what
I'm going to do. Yeah. But I know that it's not going to last forever.
Yeah, yeah, I do a little thing on top of that, as well as like, I do that. And then I sometimes go, what do
I want to be feeling instead of the way that I am? I'm actually forcing myself to go, Well, what do I want
instead of this? You know, if I'm feeling angry about something, why am I feeling angry? That's really
interesting. And I really liked what you said there that a lot of the feelings are really normal, like making
them don't Yeah, actually, I feel angry because that you know what the person did or didn't do. But
what do I want to be feeling instead of angry? I actually want to just feel nothing.
Yeah, and that's exactly. And I think, sometimes people think we have to jump to a stronger, feeling
happy on the vibe. But just if you can get yourself back to a neutral feeling. That's the goal. You can't
rush it.
Yeah, I have got to that. I'm just Gosh, my whole life's flashing in front of my eyes when you're sitting.
And there was some instances that I was just really hating on people for what they had done and my
reaction to what they had done. And then it was just like, that's not a nice feeling. Why am I feeling
this? What do I want to be feeling instead, and it took me one of these instances took many, many
years for me to get over. But I got to this place of just neutrality. That was a beautiful place to be in,
because I wasn't in that, hating on them. And that anger and that, you know, all those really toxic
negative feelings. I just got to this neutrality, didn't need to love them didn't even need to acknowledge
them. But I needed to not be in that negative space. That took a lot of work.
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And I think that's a really helpful thing to say for a lot of people because we work in this kind of
happiness, wellness space, right. And I think the perception can be that we're Hi vibe all the time. Yeah.
And look, we are a lot of the time. Yeah, yeah. But we both experience all those emotions, imposter
syndrome. You know, we're triggered occasionally by people. And we can get annoyed. And all those,
you know, we experienced them all. And we're not high vibe all the time, because that can be
Yeah. But what I've learned, though, is the strategies to be able to move out of that negativity. And one
of the things I've shifted over the years as well is, people don't trigger me. I get triggered by people. I
Yeah. So it's a subtle difference. It's more about my responses to what's happening. So I'm owning that
I'm being triggered. And when I'm triggered by something, what I do is I've learned to go what's
happening within me. Why is that triggering me? Why is that triggering me? What what is it? Is it a
pattern? Is it an old pattern? Is it a? Because really what it's indicating is that part of me still need some
work and some heels. And when
I'm triggered, I go Ah, damn, I've been triggered again. It's like, this is my stuff.
Yeah, yep. And I do that in the coaching when people in the leadership space when they come to me
and they say, are selling so did this and I've got a team member who's like, not pulling their weight and
bla bla bla. So it's like, Oh, that's interesting. What's that bringing up in? You know, like, What do you
mean? Let's say that why is that triggering you? Why am I reacting the way that you're reacting? Yeah.
And then it becomes about them. And when they do work on themselves, it's just like, ah, yeah, okay.
The common stuff that pops up common stuff is that people have expectations of others. And they're
very judgmental of others. And then that somebody's not doing something well enough, or they haven't
done it. Yeah, a whole lot of stuff around that. And then I say to them, and do you judge yourself in any
way? Ah, yes. Interesting. Interesting. So I try. And it's not that I get them to ignore the thing that's
happening. But I really try and get them to have a look within and to say, well, what is it about me?
What am I bringing to the party around?
And that sucks, doesn't it when you're on your own crowd.
I'm going to change tack a little bit when we got together for coffee the other day. And I said that the
podcast is about how women do life. And you said, I have a really great structure and format for how I
do life. And I said, don't tell me because I want to wait for the podcast. And we sort of talk through
some of that. But can you go into that in a little bit more detail about how you
do life? Yep. All right. So I have a system, a system