In this episode of the Happiness Hive Podcast, host Catherine Bowyer chats with Kindness Queen Sophie Bretag. Sophie teaches leaders and teams how to find their authenticity, guiding them to unapologetically lead from that place to create workplaces that are filled with kindness and psychological safety . As someone who lives with high functioning anxiety, Sophie embraces her whole-humanness to truly show people how they can be seen, heard and supported in workplaces and beyond.
In this episode you’ll also hear:
– why it is important to pay attention to the energy someone brings when you’re together
– how Sophie works with her high functioning anxiety to find mental calm and peace
– how finding colour in her life (and wardrobe) brought Sophie back to her unique essence
– why accepting yourself is an incremental, one-step-at-a-time process
– how Sophie landed herself a teaching role on the Insight Timer app
– what stepping into a more authentic life, online and beyond meant for her positive wellbeing and mental health and so much more!
Join her membership The Happiness Lounge here
This podcast is produced by Nikki O’Brien from Quintessential Being
Hi, welcome to the happiness hive Podcast. I'm Catherine Bowyer, and I am completely fascinated by people and what motivates them. I've spent the past three and a half decades specialising in mindset and human behaviour. And I've helped 1000s of people to create happy and amazing lives. And now I am super excited to be chatting with women from around the world who I have secret. And to be honest, not so secret crushes on their women who inspire me, I'm intrigued as to how they do life and what makes them tick. I want to find out the magic formula that makes them who they are. And at the end of the episode, I'd love for you to say, I'd like a little bit of what she's having. The conversations are real and raw. They're full of passion, inspiration and lots of fun, and nothing is off limits. So grab yourself a cuppa or Papa New Trekkie and go for a walk and join us for today's chat. There may just be that pool of wisdom you need to hear. So let's shimmy on over and get started. Yeah. So super excited to have this chat with Sophie Bretag. And I've met Sophie maybe. Oh, gosh, I think it hasn't even been six months. Yeah, I think I know, I met Sophie through a mutual business coach Tori Archibald, from the powerful steps and connected with so far we haven't met in person, but we have just connected online. And Sophie is one of the most oh my gosh, beautiful, vibrant, gorgeous, gorgeous women that you will ever meet. And something that sticks out for me, Sophie, and I'm gonna get you to talk about this in a in a minute. But you walk your talk like you are the queen of, I would say the queen of kindness, but the queen of authenticity, something that has really drawn me to you is that you are just authentically, I don't know if this is a thing, authentically real. That's probably not even a theme. But
I do love it. I mean, we talked it.
So I could talk forever and ever about you. But I want to talk with you. And I would love so if you could just give us a snapshot of who you are, and where you're at in this kind of window in life. Like this is all about you. So welcome. Welcome. I'm so excited. I'm so excited. I
am I have literally been so pumped all morning buying. Yes, I'm going to be jumping, jumping on and chatting to Katherine, like BOD help the world when we actually meet in person, because it's just gonna be rainbows and sunshine and glitter bombs. And I don't know, take this. Yeah, and orange, and it's just gonna be amazing. So thank you so much for having me, Catherine, because honestly, I feel exactly the same about you. So when you were describing me, I was like, yes, yes, yes, that's exactly why I adore you. And I find it. What I absolutely love is that you can kind of get to know someone's vibe, even through like an online forum where, you know, we may not have met face to face, but I feel like I mean, I've definitely known you in a past life. Let's be honest.
I know. You know, I would say I would say, I've got a sense that it's not just one past life,
I think yeah, I feel like there's definitely a connection there. And, and it's it goes beyond just an acquaintance, you know, where we've just been introduced and we've met it was like an immediate, you're my, you're my human. You I literally my type of human. So thank you so much for having me. So I'm just as excited to be here to ask me questions. So I will get on with that so that we can actually just stop giggling.
Yeah, before we actually get into that, because I do want to know about just where you're at in life that you said it that that connection, that instant connection that happened for you lots, like there are certain people in my life that that there is that it's almost a knowing. Yes. And I just get get you you get me and I think you mentioned that about that vibe.
Yes, it is. So I will get it both ways. So I will get it immediately with someone that I connect with. Yeah, and it is it's a no Allah. In fact, I'm getting goosebumps. It's a deep seated core knowing that. You see me, for me, I see you for you. We accept who we are, and I'm full, but it isn't. We fully accept who we are as humans, but we also actually it's interesting. You mentioned Tori, that we met through Tori because when I chatted to her it was around energy. Yes and who I choose to And and it's the people who lift my vibration and my energy. So when I meet people who I connect with, I feel excited, I feel joyful. I feel happy. I feel energised, I feel like I can't get enough of them. And it's not in I want to drag it from them. It's just this knowing that there are human and we speak the same language, the same energetic language, as much as verbal. So, yes, I do get it. It's very rare that I have a very quick, deep connection with somebody. Yeah. Because obviously, I'm very picky about who I give my energy to. And so I will, I know straightaway if the person is my human or not, but I also know straight away if they're not my human, but it doesn't mean that I don't interact with them. Yes, still. Yes. I just don't have the feeling I have like with you.
Yeah. Do not I love Sophie, that you're talking about that the energy, because I'm, I'm 100% the same, and it's about I love being in people's energy, that high vibe, energy. I love being in the space. And I think that really sums up why I'm doing this podcast, the happiness webcast because the women who I'm chatting with, I love being in this space, and I just want to soak up and share with our listeners. What is the magic that makes them who they are? Because I know that being around the women Fill my cup. And like he was saying that energised ceiling. I want to be able to sprinkle that we talked before we started recording about the magic and just sprinkling magic. I think both you and I were sprinkly like sparkly, glittery, wrinkly humans. Yes. Yes, that you but I, I have found. I haven't always accepted that. I haven't always known that. But I've also felt that it hasn't been okay to
be. Yes. Yes. Do you feel that? Yes. Oh, my gosh, I feel that. Oh, I feel that so wholeheartedly that it's actually a physical reaction to that. Yes. Because you feel that perhaps if you show up as, like me a rainbow of colours. Yeah. Loud, I laugh loud. I feel like I'm hilarious. Some of the people probably might not think a family of other family might have other ideas. But I find life joyful. Yes. And so when you show up fully and wholly as yourself, there is this fear of, I need to dim my light a little bit. Because I'm so afraid of being too much, oh my god, that it's going to make other people uncomfortable or people aren't going to like me, or they're not going to resonate with me, they're not going to understand me. And so you almost feel like for my life maybe for you as well. Now we're on this topic. When you when you are a vibrant kind of personality, and you are very much a spiritual person as well. You know, everyone jokes about the woowoo. And you know, bringing that into our lives and it's a little bit weird and, you know, left of field to then embrace that. Yeah. And be that in everything that you do and turn up in that space holy as you it can be super scary. Super scary. God.
Do you know what when you said you think you've known me in a past lifetime? I think we've been the same person in the past because maybe it's described maybe maybe what you just said right there I can so resonate with that. It's about that feeling of needing to dull my sparkle to others to shine and it has taken me a long time to feel comfortable with that. I don't know if you can say that. Not I'll describe to the listeners. But I'm wearing these sparkly tracksuit pants. This oh my god I'm
obsessed with. I'm obsessed.
And I would not I would not his do not to me that represents almost that it's okay to own and be who I am. And not to hide that part of me. That's not the only part of me, but
it's a part. But it's a beautiful pan.
Yeah, it's a path that I have kept very hidden for a whole variety of reasons. But it's now stepping into that you know what, baby, this is about? really embracing who I am. And that's I think what I think I know that you embrace who you are, like who you are. So
now I do. Yeah, yeah. So what's your journey been a journey? Yeah,
yeah. What is the journey So yeah,
lots of twists and turns. Yeah, lots of self doubt, a, you know, a mental mental health or mental illness that I've got. So I've got high functioning anxiety. So working through all the things that come with that being a high achiever, not wanting to wanting to win, wanting to succeed, but not wanting to be different and stand out while I do that. Yeah, yeah. So it's been, it's been a journey for sure. And I think it probably started. Probably not long after I had my second baby, my son, because I completely if I felt like I didn't know who I was, I didn't feel like I was living an authentic life, I felt like I was, I was wearing black all the time. You know, and I literally do not have black, like, I don't have any black in my watch, I have one I have a black leather jacket, maybe a black pair of jeans. That's it. I felt black grade myth. I felt like I was not living an authentic life. I didn't know what that authentic life looked like, felt like, I just knew that. I wasn't living it. Yes, I wasn't being it. I wasn't breathing it. I wasn't embracing it, whatever that was. And I didn't know at that time. And so it really started and it's super random. Because I, I had never spent much money on myself in regards to fashion. So I'm an OB shopper. I love shopping. I love buying things that other people don't have, which I suppose comes down to being you know, the individual, you know, owning my own space a bit like you. And so I did a fashion course, which wasn't just a fashion course it was actually more around your body shape, your face shape, the right, you know, length for necklaces, the right colours for your colour type. And I got diagnosed as a vibrant, and I was like, hallelujah.
Hallelujah. It used to be a stylist. I used to do that. I used to do that stuff. Well, I did. I Yeah, yeah, I
love that. And that's why you're stylin all the time. That's why you always look amazing. So I think that if, if you think never, nothing's ever random. And so you will always you will always be given the right path at the right time to discover what you need when you're ready. And when you're open to it. And so at that time, I had no idea who I was being diagnosed as this, you know, I can wear all the colours of the rainbow, I went, Yes, but the process to actually start wearing it, living it breathing it being it took probably, I reckon two years of, I'm going to throw a splash of this colour in, I'm going to throw a splash of that colour in, I'm going to you know, and I think that we expect to, and I think we brought up this way to be honest, too. You know, you're on a journey, you're born, you learn, you go to school, you do a trade, you do uni, you get a job, get married, whatever, you know, you have that very linear, yes, way of living our life as the acceptable way of living it. But life's not linear at all. And so, you know, what I have learned, what I've learned through the process of, and it sounds so simple to say I found colour in my life. I have, but I've found. But I found through a process of following the breadcrumbs. Meeting the people, right people at the right time. It's taken me on a journey that has been completely life changing. Like if I showed you a picture of me, I don't know, even maybe five years ago, you wouldn't even recognise who I am today. And yet, I'm living my most authentic life now, and I feel like I've you know, it's interesting, and I feel this deeply. I feel more now than ever that I fit in by not fitting in. Yes. Yeah. Because I'm living the way that the people not fit in, be comfortable, do not fit in. Yeah. And still live authentically and be who they are.
Ah, Sophie. And I just want to almost just take a little pause there because to me, that is so powerful, and I know why we're in that same tribe together. Yeah. And what I've heard you saying is that colour was the catalyst. Yeah, if you listen, and I would encourage the listeners to even go back through and listen to what Sophie was saying that the process of finding colour in her life so coming from this life of what was expected to actually adding that colour Doing it your way. And for me, that is the crux of life is about owning who we are. And not living life on other people's terms. But being life on our terms and accepting all the parts of us and allowing ourselves do not submit. It's about being comfortable and confident, to be who we are, regardless of whoever that is, whoever we choose. Yeah. And that just brings so much joy to my, I couldn't cry.
Because I can feel that because I can feel that I can feel your energy like that is it is a beautiful way to connect with people because it's it's this acceptance of not only ourselves, but acceptance of other people. Yeah. And it may not be easy to accept the things that we don't like about ourselves. It's not easy to accept the things we don't like about other people. But we can work on doing it incrementally, you know, and you don't have to like everybody, and you also are never going to like everything about yourself. Like there are things about me that I go, seriously. But the majority, the majority of things I love, and I can genuinely say that now.
Yeah. Oh, man, you would just it's just like talking to, you know, what I'm finding really beautiful here, Sophia, is that you're articulating some things that I feel, and it's beautiful to hear that mirrored back, because I've had a journey of not liking who I've been. And it's taken a very long time for me to actually say, You know what, I actually really, really like who I am. I really love who I am. I wouldn't have been able to say that. I don't think I couldn't even put a time mark on it when you're talking about linear, but there's certainly been in my recent years I'm coming into, I reckon the best is like a good bottle of wine.
Interesting, the next phase, and I think you know, when we talk about life, not being linear, because as you know, I'm super passionate about living mindfully living in the moment. Yes, yes. Mental Health, being comfortable to be in the moment, even if those moments are super uncomfortable. Yes, yes.
And you know what, that's I think, where a lot of people stop they go, You know what, it's not comfortable. I'm going back to where I was. And my kind of encouragement for them is to have the courage to keep moving forward. Because you've right, yes, not always comfortable changes. Not always smooth. Not
at, you know, what changes change can be bloody
hard. Yeah, no,
I click to not beat around the change. And I was about to drop the F bomb there. But I won't do that to your listeners just yet. But you know, it is hard. Yeah. And it takes practice, and it takes consistency. And you don't get it right all the time. And you have to accept that you're not going to be perfect. You have to accept that you're going to make mistakes. But you know, what's been a game changer about that is when I'm practising, I practice with people who I know who are fully supportive of who I am as a human. They have my back. They energetically align with me. And so it's safe for me to be uncomfortable, or safer.
Yes, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You know, there's so many little pearls of wisdom in what you're saying there about the practicality of moving forward. I'm going to change tack a little bit. You've got this amazing thing that's happening at the moment that you have the exciting news about Insight Timer. Did you want to share like, like people are have se details so you can find out more about her as well. But do you want to share about what's happening? Because I think that's like, when you put that post up the other day, your energy just reached through my computer and just swamped my body with sparkles. So tell me tell me. Oh,
yes. Insights? Like how does how does one even the feeling of having something so perfectly aligned with who you are at your core level? And yet through the process that I I'm now an official meditation teacher on Insight Timer.
Oh, that's an absolutely.
Yeah, actually. It's a free app. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So people can download it. There's, I think 19 million subscribers. So this is what absolutely freaked me out. Because it's the number one free app in the world for stress, anxiety, and wellbeing. And so when I got Well, I actually, I actually had someone from Insight Timer contacted me last August, and I thought it was a spam. And I was like, and I was like, something from inside time. It's not gonna be messaging me what a lot anyway, so I googled it. I googled the person. I'm like, they're a real human. So I reckon we can probably go with this. Set up a meeting with them. We did a zoom call, fell in love with her. She's, she's another one of my humans. We were we were seeing, we were sitting on the computer going, Oh, no, I love you. I love you. I love you. It's like this amazing connection. And she said to me, so if we really want you as a teacher, and I went, I just couldn't even I didn't have any words. And it took me nine months. So it's almost like, it was almost like creating a baby. Yeah. We took the duration it was. Yeah. And it was and I feel like it has now you know, birth this new phase of my life. It's not just part of my career. It's my life, because my passion is to share kindness and mindfulness in the world, but also to help mental health. Yeah, and create mentally healthy workplaces or more mentally healthy workplaces. So this app is free to download. It's got over 100,000, free meditations and all sorts of tracks and we go to sleep to it every night the kids go to sleep to it, the kids meditate to it, not to me, they weren't interested in listening to me. So like, why you want them? Yeah, there was no joy there. But yeah, it's it's a great app. And I think when when something amazing happens sometimes when you and not used to any, in the past, have some stories around shining around showing up around being seen being judged. You know, am I good enough that imposter syndrome comes through. So it took me nine months to work through the process emotionally?
What did you do? What was some of the themes? Just a couple of things that you can think about? Because I know it would have been? Yes, it's an evolving process. But are there are a few things listed out? Yeah,
yeah. So I'm, I made sure that I, I began stepping into actually a more authentic life. So I began showing up even more online, I began interacting with people more in that space. So more in the well being mental health space. And then I started to be kinder with myself. And then I, you know, because I thought, why would somebody ask somebody to do something if they weren't genuinely interested in what they had to offer? And it was actually my husband as well, who kept saying to me, so if you need to do this, have you done it? And I'm like, no, no, but what if nobody listens to me? And he said, Who cares? Yeah, because what does it matter? Because he's, he's so logical. So we are polar opposites.
That's funny in itself as well.
Yeah. Like, if you looked at two humans, that could be, like, more different, you would, you wouldn't probably find a couple of like, we, he is logical. He is his police officer. So he's very analytical. He's very, like, he can be quite gruff. You know, I'm, you know, all the all of what I am. But it works really well for me, and then it Yeah, it is, it is. And we accept each other's differences, too. So I think, you know, in that, that helps. But yeah, so I just it the process was, it was a lot of self discovery, a lot of time sitting and meditating on it, and, and really working through the uncomfortable feelings of showing up as being seen as the fear of failure. Yeah, if I'm honest, yes. Yeah. What if I put it out and nobody listens? What if I put it out? And nobody likes it? What if people judge me? Yeah. What if my voice sounds really weird? I mean, who likes listening to themselves back anyway? What if it's not good enough? You know, there was all of that that I had to sit with. Yeah, it was a process.
Do you know what Sophie like I a lot of the women that I interact with and work with that, you know, that's self doubt. imposters syndrome thing. You know, that fear of failure. The thing I love, like there's so much that I love what you were saying there but you were started to be kinder to yourself, like you're the kindness queen. You're a beautiful time. Gorgeous, gorgeous soul. Thank you. Good. I really loved hearing that you were kinder to yourself because we can be our own worst critics that we're putting pressure on ourselves to be this unrealistic fucking Yes, ever that we would that we robot eight robots. And that's not and I love that you were saying that you really went within what is my biggest? I think it's my overarching life motto is to be the change that you want to see in the world.
Love that that's one of my hashtags I use on every single post because I truly believe it.
Yes. And it's Totally agree if we want to be different. It's about we need to start with ourselves. And it's you, right? It's not this easy process, but it's a continual process. And look what
Yes, it never stops. It never stops. But I think that six you know, once you get past the hole, it's almost like having uncomfortable uncomfortable conversations. If I think of it and put my human resources hat on. Yes. When you're having an uncomfortable conversation with someone or people, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Yeah. So the more time that you sit with yourself and your own uncomfortable feelings on whatever it is you're trying to work through. I'm not saying it gets super easy, but it certainly gets more easeful. Yes, and the process is quicker each time when you sit with your feelings. Yeah,
and one thing for me anyway, yeah, same for me. same to me. And I, I think you've probably have the same belief pattern that we're here. having a human experience, we're souls having a human experience, and life is a lesson. It's a series of lessons for us. It means happening life, it's one of the things I asked myself is what can I learn from this? How can I read through it? And why am I actually why am I? Why am I feeling these feelings? Yes, like not good enough. Not enough. Not enough. You know, that old pattern coming from that? What can I learn? What can I take away from this? What do I need to know? And it's almost like, you know, the metaphor of the onion and peeling back the layers. That for me, it's very true, because we kind of get one layer and there's all that fat now, there's more that we got.
You're like, god dammit. I thought I got through. There it is. You're so right, though. Actually. Someone says I'll come over here. It was the other day. And they were talking about like the metaphor of the onion. But he was saying I can't remember who it was. I have to google search it after just it was it was very clever. Yeah, it was almost like we peel back the layers of the onion. But what are you left with and it makes you cry, and it stinks along the way. But what if we all start as a particular light and as the as your life goes on, you're actually putting on the layers and love of and he was utilising the metaphor of paper mache so you know when you were a kid and you made a balloon, your paper mache it anyway, he was saying the same thing about a lot so that when you start unpeeling those layers of the paper mache you're left with the shining light.
Love it at the level of oh my gosh, yeah. Love, love. Love it, too. I was also thinking because that onion layer. Do you know?
Yeah, but I used to smile. Yeah, yeah.
I love the one about the lotus and I've got a little Lotus here. I love that gorgeous little lotus, how beautiful it is. It needs to grow in swampy, muddy, murky stone to be beautiful. And for me, that's almost a metaphor of the beauty comes from, you know that what we kind of term some of that murkiness
that I was gonna say the ship.
Yeah. As we were going through, and it just really quickly, we had some shitty financial stuff happening. Feels like 100 years ago now. But somebody said to me, Catherine, when you're going through shit, just keep going. Don't get stuck. And that's why it's really visual. Like don't get stuck in the crack. Yeah, do whatever doesn't matter how big or how small it is. Do something to move forward. I
love that because yes, so one thing that I have really, that has worked really well for me and maybe it will for some of your listeners as well is you don't need to see the path 5000 metres ahead. Yeah, you might know that it's going to be okay. You might have that knowing you might not know that it's going to be okay. But taking one step in the direction of where you think you want to head and for what feels right for you. In a knowing intuitive, grounded way, then you will get to the next place. It may not be your forever place. It might just be your next stepping stone over the ship.
Yeah. Did I love that too? I love that. And what does the future sosi look like? What's future Sophie?
Goodness. So we're moving to Cannes actually.
So you're in South? Yes. Even do all that stuff. So we'll have all the details in the show notes. But you're in South Australia. You in Adelaide? It? Yes. Yes, we're
in the Adelaide yet, but yes, a huge life change for us coming up. And you know, when you talk about that whole, stepping into your power, stepping into who you truly are, then making the changes in your life that feel uncomfortable or you don't know where you're going to lead, are often the most exciting and the best ones that you could possibly do. So we literally had no plan. We sold our house at the beginning of the year. Moving to Cannes, no plan. Oh, my, my husband's got a job. I'm going to I can still work remotely. Thanks a lot for my job. Yeah. So for me, this is going to be more mindfulness. I'm putting out a programme on Insight Timer, actually, which will be on heart centred leadership.
Nice. Nice. Yep.
Yeah. So just a change of lifestyle for us to the tropics.
Yeah, I do know that just sounds absolutely beautiful. What I was going to say is that you do work in the corporate space as well, you do I do that? Yes. You do some beautiful women's circles and workshops and I am when you're going to Cannes when he moving? Yeah,
probably both know why? Because I can't get enough of you. Let's be honest. We will be moving in December. So we're here for another six or five or six months meet the children and I so come in spring when it's beautiful, beautiful weather or come up to Cannes and I'll be doing some circles and workshops up there because Rihanna who I'm doing the women's circle with here she's actually going to come and do some up there with me. And my Reiki healer shaman, she's going to come up and do some retreats up there as well. So oh
my gosh, we will keep absolute so when we do our listeners find you whether they
want Instagram so my businesses matter leaders. So loving kindness, yes, your latest with loving kindness. So Instagram and I'm on LinkedIn under my name. So Sophie Bri tag on LinkedIn. And then my website is just met a leaders.com. So hunt me down.
Awesome. We'll and we'll have all the details for everybody as well. And I can't get enough of you. I'm really back. I thank you so much. And I could have I could have you know, maybe we'll need to revisit this because there were so many you know, just beautiful pearls of wisdom that have just organically unfolded through this conversation. This was no script it was this was not a conversation. That is not my intention at all. And I'm just like I am just so in love with you. I'm just
lit up talking to you. Like I feel like I'm actually getting quite I'm actually getting quite hot. Yeah, I'm feeling like the energy you know, the excitement and the energy is just beautiful between us. So thank you so much.
Isn't that beautiful? But that you're in Adelaide, I'm in Canberra, but the that intimacy in that connection energy goes way beyond the physical doubt, I think for people to you know, not underestimate the both the positive and the negative like we're putting energy. We've connected in our little love bubble. Love bubble bubble of rainbow lovers. Yeah. But you know what this equally, we can get trapped in that icky murky negative. Not loves bubble. So yeah, I think my parting words would be for people just to be mindful of where they're at and what they're kind of emitting, but I'm loving this have a beautiful, beautiful day and oodles of happiness.
So much back to you, Catherine. Thank you so much. Lots of love.
Thank you for listening. Have you enjoyed the episode, you can spread the love by sharing it with a friend so she can have a little bit of what we had today. Don't forget to rate and review so we can get it into as many hearts and ears as possible. You can keep the conversation going on my happiness hive socials. And if you'd like some more high vibe happiness in your life, come and join me in our community of inspired and motivated women at the happiness lounge. This is my online membership club and your central hub for everything you will need to be truly happy and bounce out of bed every day living and loving your best and most beautiful life. To find out more pop over to the happiness hive website and click on the link working with Catherine. Until next time, Big hugs and happiness