Exploring the path to financial confidence with MyState Bank

MyState image

You might be thinking that self-discovery, personal transformation and banking don’t seem a likely combination, and we don’t blame you! Awake Academy is the first self-empowerment platform to partner with a financial institution. (and we’re pretty excited to be that partner!)

But supporting our customers to achieve their dreams, no matter how big or small, has always been central to our values and purpose.
It’s why we feel so firmly aligned with Awake Academy’s long term vision to cultivate happiness, connection and growth in humanity.

At MyState Bank, we believe financial wellness is a key part of the equation. We’re here to help break down some of the barriers that come with talking about money, and explore what can we do to help you feel safe, connected and supported in your growth.

Here’s why we believe financial health is a key part of your journey of discovery:

  • Lack of understanding around your finances can lead to feelings of pressure and anxiety, which can in turn impact your wellbeing
  • On the flip side, greater financial understanding can lead to experiencing more joy, peace, satisfaction and pride
  • Transforming your attitudes around finances can help build confidence, self-worth and feelings of empowerment
  • Even more simply put, financial empowerment puts you in a better position to achieve your goals

We’re a bank that places customers at our heart. We’ve been around for over 50 years, so we like to think we have picked up a few things along the way! It’s why we can’t wait to share with you all the knowledge, resources and support to help you realise your own dreams.

We’re really excited about the opportunity to help even more people advance their lives and look forward to exploring all the possibilities our partnership with Awake Academy will bring.


My Mirror normalises mental health

Girl watching laptop

The inspiration for My Mirror came from the Kintsugi philosophy that once repaired we can become stronger and more beautiful in the places we are broken. This philosophy gave birth to our strongest social aims: to build healthier and happier communities through the normalisation of mental health support; and to welcome more Australians to take responsibility for their wellbeing, find balance through personal development and start living the life they want to live.

Our highly accessible, affordable and holistic mental health solution is designed to give you the opportunity to reflect on your inner story and your strengths in order to rediscover connection, emotional resilience and joy.

My Mirror was created by healthcare professionals and a team who have had first-hand experience with the journey of personal development. We know it takes courage and honesty to confront your imperfections, overcome emotional hurdles and work towards your goals. So, we’ve worked hard to ensure that when you’re ready to take the responsibility to seek growth and own your own path forward you don’t have to wait days or weeks to talk to a professional. Our experienced online psychologists are readily available up to 21 hours of the day.

Our convenient, secure and purpose-built online service is accessible from anywhere in Australia and is designed to eliminate most geographical, financial and time-related accessibility barriers that often make it difficult to conveniently seek therapy. Our online model, which also offers you the opportunity to speak to a psychologist anonymously, is designed to help reduce stigma and make reaching out even easier.

Our psychologists are experienced in a range of specialties and work in-line with evidence-based strategies. They take a collaborative approach to therapy, working with you to build the tools you need to tap into your potential and become more productive.

Each of our registered psychologists has been individually selected by our team to ensure their values are aligned with our social goals and ethos, and more importantly that they’re passionate and skilled in their practice. They are committed to helping you strengthen your psychological resilience with honesty and acceptance, so you can rediscover your inner strength, develop stronger relationships and feel more fulfilled.

The real work in therapy happens in-between sessions. This is why My Mirror is excited to partner with the Awake Academy to complement the practices explored in the experience Layne Beachley offers.


3 productivity boosters


Covid-19 has been a challenging time for us all, filled with uncertainty, unprecedented change and an unpredictable future. What have you learned during this period? I have experienced shifts in my perspective and ways of thinking and living. Most notably, the pace at which I was running was unsustainable, and the only person who can give me permission to slow down and embrace life is me!

Here are three productivity hacks I have acquired during this “Corona-Coaster” period. Some days I feel amazing, and some days I feel really anxious. These are a few of the tools I rely on to keep me feeling productive, purposeful and positive. They boost my motivation and feelings of satisfaction at the end of each day.

1. Losing your shit? Take a break every 90 minutes

Suppose you get to the end of the day and the first thing you want to do is skull a bottle of wine, or do a shot of tequila, or cry in your pillow, or just scream at the top of your lungs. In that case, this is a clear indication of your failure to take enough breaks throughout the day. Overwork is overrated. It affects your ability to make sound decisions, makes you prone to cutting corners and even leaves you more susceptible to chronic diseases and dementia later in life.

Science has shown our brains function most effectively in 90minute increments, then it’s time to take a break. These breaks don’t need to be very long, only about 2-3 minutes! Just long enough to make a cuppa, or have a bathroom break or refill your water bottle. Long enough to distract your focus and give your subconscious mind time to discover solutions that are alluding your conscious effort. Taking a break helps clear and calm our mind, enhance our mood and improve productivity.

The alternative is to work through, push through, pound through, and at the end of the day, lose your shit, grab a bottle of something, numb the pain, wake up exhausted and do it again tomorrow!! Does that sound reasonable or sustainable? Take it from me, it is not! So, take a break every 90 minutes!

2. Overwhelmed / procrastinating – timebox your day!

I am the Queen of Procrastination and often struggle to prioritize my tasks. I’m easily distracted, I have several to-do lists, an open-door policy and a hyperactive phone. My dance card is full, yet I often arrive at the end of the day and ask myself “What have I accomplished today?” Not one single project has been completed, fuelling my sense of overwhelm and belief that I need to work 12-hour days. Have you ever heard of timeboxing? Grab a calendar that has time slots in it, write down all the things you want to do today, according to the time it’s going to take, then you do it!

For example, I have the luxury of scheduling my day according to the surf forecast. Today, it was going to be best around mid-morning, so I time-boxed a surf from 10.30-12. When the clock hit 12pm, my fun in the water was up, and it signalled time to get back to the office to complete the remainder of my tasks assigned for the day. Timebox the most essential items of the day in your calendar & do your best to stick to the schedule you have set yourself. James Martin suggests ‘To Do Lists’ are killing our productivity because how often do we tick off everything on our to-do lists? Of course, we get the joy of ticking things off sometimes, but when you don’t tick things off, you’re actually saying “it’s okay if I don’t get stuff done” which fuels your procrastination!

Now I’ve started time boxing, I get to the end of the day feeling more productive because I’ve done everything on my timebox list (not my ‘to-do’ list)! Phone calls, meetings, dinner and leisure time, timeboxing has been a game-changer for me. Structure creates freedom, and by putting this little timebox tip into your day, you may be amazed by how much more productive you feel at the end of every day! I no longer feel like I have let myself down because I have fulfilled everything I said I was going to do! Forget the ‘to do lists’, start timeboxing!

3. Easily distracted? Follow the 10 minute rule!

When you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, what happens? If you’re anything like me, when I get distracted, I start scrolling through my social media, think about what I’m going to eat or when I’m going to go surfing. Basically, I entertain myself with thoughts and activities that make me feel good at the moment because we want to feel good most of the time. Introducing the 10-minute rule.

Say, for example, you want to quit smoking. While you’re working, you’re thinking about having a cigarette break in 10 minutes, until you remember you want to quit. Enter the internal debate. “I really want a cigarette, but I really want to quit! But I really want a cigarette, but I really want to quit”. “No! I just want to have a cigarette because it’s the only time I get for myself”!! Put an end to the debate by setting your stopwatch for 10 minutes. Complete the task at hand and when the watch alarm sounds, ask yourself “Do I still want that cigarette?”. If the craving still exists, go and have it. 9 times out of 10 you will find the cravings have dissipated, if not gone completely.

Unhealthy habits are the result of poor choices. Choose to apply the 10-minute rule. It is an effective way to enhance your discipline and your overall wellbeing. This rule has prevented me from succumbing to my distractions while helping me maintain my sense of purpose and boosted my motivation to finish the job, especially if it’s been timeboxed!

Avoid the nightly meltdown by working for 90 minutes, then take a break for a couple of minutes to clear your mind.
Timebox your day to free yourself of the endless To-Do list and the procrastination that accompanies the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Not enjoying your current task? Craving something that isn’t good for you? Set the stopwatch for 10mins, do something meaningful with the time and experience a dramatic shift of discipline.

These tools have helped increase my productivity, happiness and overall sense of wellbeing. I trust they will do the same for you.
Give it a go and let me know how it works for you.

This link will provide you an in-depth guide to timeboxing.


3 ways to boost your happiness


We can all use a healthy daily dose of happiness. Here are a few of my favourite ways to beat loneliness, remain positive and boost my general feelings of happiness.

1. Feeling isolated? Technology is your friend!

Have you been feeling isolated during lockdown? We are naturally social creatures, and while we have to recognise the physical distancing rules, I really miss social interaction with my friends and my family. One way we have managed to overcome this is to schedule drinks with our neighbours once a week, over the fence. Fortunately, we love our neighbours! Another option is to host a happy hour facetime chat. We have thoroughly enjoyed interactions and conversations with friends from all around the world, and it’s a great way to maintain a sense of connection and communication. It’s impressive how pandemics or challenges bring things into perspective for us. Taking the time to reach out to people for a happy hour catch up has been a great way to remain in contact and keep the overwhelming feelings of isolation or loneliness at bay.

2. Drowning in negative vibes? Switch off!

Our news sources are invested in delivering bad news because this provides them with more eyeballs than good news. When have you ever seen a broadcast start with a good news story? If you’re drowning in negative vibes, then it’s time to stop watching the news. Avoid the Corona-dose – an overdose of watching horrible news. Pick your news source and only watch it once or twice a day; otherwise, you’re going to become overwhelmed by what’s being reported to you. Similar to your diet, choose what you want to consume and enjoy it in moderation.

If you’re working from home, feeling isolated or drowning in negativity, there are many simple ways to lift the vibe and improve your mood. Light a candle, burn some incense, use a diffuser with a scent you love, apply essential oil to your pulse points that lift your spirits, play some music or watch a comedy. Look for things that make you laugh! If you are in a dark place that you can’t find a way out of, a call to a trusted friend or mental health support service is the best course of action.

There are days when I’m drowning in negative vibes, so I turn off the news, put on some happy music, and dance around the office or the house. Or I pick up the phone and call some friends who make me laugh. One of my secret recipes is watching animated kids films that make me laugh out loud, such as Toy Story, Madagascar 3, Despicable Me and Bolt. Changing my environment shifts my perspective.

3. Feeling stressed? Get moving!

There is a fine line between healthy and unhealthy stress. Pushing to make a deadline, preparing for a big event or studying for an exam can easily tip us over the edge, so we need to pay attention to our feelings and behaviours. If you are thriving despite your workload, engaged with your colleagues/family and motivated most of the time, this indicates you are managing your stress effectively. If, however, you are keeping it together at work but exploding when you get home, relying on stimulants to get through the day and sedatives to sleep at night or fail to have enough energy for the fun things in life, you are in an unhealthy stress pattern. Many studies demonstrate that exercise is our bodies natural anti-depressant. A recent study took people with mild to moderate depression and treated half the group purely by exercise three times per week for 20 mins, and the other half of the group had treatment solely by anti-depressant medication. At both the 6 and 12-month mark, it was the exercise group that exceeded in their wellbeing scores during to the endorphins and bliss chemicals released during exercise. Regular exercise, carried out at least 4 times a week, offers incredible benefits that can improve nearly every aspect of your health from the inside out. So, get off the couch, get outdoors and get moving. It’s never too late to start building your strength and physical fitness.

Over time, discomfort, sadness, negativity and unhappiness can become a habit, so shining a light on how you feel is the quickest way to take control of your life and ownership of your actions.

Loneliness and isolation can be negated simply by picking up the phone. If you find yourself getting wound up by the news, turn it off and watch something uplifting. Stress is a silent assassin, so keep a check on your emotions and take the time to exercise every day. Your mind, body and soul will love you for it.

Speaking of action, write down five things that make you happy and commit to doing one of them each day for the next 5 days. Record your feelings of happiness out of 10 following the completion of each activity and tag me with your results (@laynebeachley)

And, if you are into reading medical journals, here is a link to one of the studies of the benefits of exercise for the clinically depressed.



15 minutes that changed my life


I was one of the very few athletes who put a stake in the ground and lived by it. I verbalise my goals because I like to hold myself accountable, and I choose to layer it with responsibility.

Expectations arise the minute you verbalise a goal.

As a 16-year-old, I declared I wanted to become a world champion. At 22 years of age, I was No.2 in the world. Working four different jobs, about 60 to 70 hours a week, earning $8000 a year from my primary sponsor. At the time, women’s surfing lacked sufficient economic or industry support, making it an even more significant challenge to aspire to become a world champion.

The 15 minutes that changed my life happened one night while working at the Old Manly Boatshed. My shift started at about 6.30pm and finished at 3am. I was picking up glasses, delivering drinks and pouring beers to earn a living.

One of my employers, who had an enormous amount of respect and empathy for me, pulled me aside after work one night. He said, “I see how hard you’re working, I know how much you really want to win a world title. I believe in you, and I know you don’t have time to earn the extra amount that you need to afford your round-the-world air ticket, so here’s a $3000 cheque. Go for it.” I see you. I hear you. I believe in you.

It was a catalyst moment. A stepping stone for me to be able to fulfil my dreams. To travel, compete and gain the experience I needed, to become not only a one-time world champion but a seven-time world champion.

We go through life aspiring to achieve something great, but when people recognise ability, passion, enthusiasm and tenacity – when people realise it in you – that is very reassuring.

The measure of success is how you trounce disappointment. It’s not what you endure, it’s how you overcome it. I’ve always been surrounded by great people who have picked me up, dusted me off and pushed me back out into the world.

Our thoughts and attitudes can hold us back. The greatest obstacle to our success is our self-imposed limitations and misconceptions, or our unwillingness to budge. We’ve all got to be held responsible for our lives. We’ve all got to take responsibility for the choices we make, our values, the people we surround themselves with, and the experiences we have.

I wasn’t born a world champion. I wasn’t born with the ability to become one either. When I sit on the beachfront looking at the corner at Manly, I reflect on being the only girl in the water. When I started to infringe on the northern end of the beach, I encountered harassment, intimidation, threats, and often kicked out of the water with tears in my eyes, my tail firmly tucked between my legs. They said things like “You’re a girl, you’re not allowed out here”. But I broke down those barriers because I had the tenacity and the clarity of vision to stand up and fight for what I believed in. Why? Because I craved success more than I feared failure.

My passion for becoming the best surfer in the world prevented any dream-thief who didn’t have the courage and the conviction to set a goal, let alone the determination to achieve it, tell me that I wasn’t capable of doing something. There are many people out there who will tell you that you can’t. What you must do is turn around and say, watch me.

Our values govern our behaviours. When you’re clear on your own values, you live a life according to your own purpose. You’re no longer a rudderless boat. You’re no longer waiting for other people’s opinions or decisions to determine which direction you head in.
What is driving you? Who is supporting you verses sabotaging you? Do you fear failure? Do you fear success? Taking the time to answer these questions will empower you to take control of your life and your tribe.

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