017: Action conquers fear – Sherry Davies-Selak



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In this episode:

In this episode of The Fearless Females Podcast your host Tegan Mathews interviews Sherry Davies-Selak who shares:

  • How taking action got her out of a near bankruptcy
  • Taking life one minute at a time
  • How to recognize your own greatness
  • When you are compelled to do something, there is no fear
  • Changing the language we have with children

Tegan’s Take Aways:

  1. When you are compelled to do something there is no fear
  2. There’s no point just talking about making a change, you have to take action
  3. You don’t have to ‘get’ how you help others, just be grateful that you do
  4. Don’t worry about the things you cant fix, just focus on the ones you can
  5. Have gratitude for how amazing your body is and how it just keeps on going regardless of what you feed it physically and mentally

About Sherry Davies-Selak

Sherry’s love of coaching and working with individuals started early. Always curious about why people do what they do she has spent her life studying and sharing the things she has learned. Her early career was as a photo journalist and she then moved into real estate and the marketing industries. In addition to her academic and other studies Sherry has owned and operated several businesses including a gourmet deli, a transport company, retail stores and personal development organisation.

Her most recent work in the last 12 years has been motivating, inspiring and educating others about human potential and leadership. She has been a board member for a Women’s Health organisation. She was chapter leader for a coaching organisation and part of the leadership team in WA before moving to Melbourne. She has taught business skills to inmates in a prison and worked for AusAid as a leadership coach with international recipients of the Australia Awards. She shares her wisdom with others through online coaching and in the community through workshops.

In addition to running her business, Sherry continues as a mentor and volunteers for several organisations. She is seen as a ‘go-to industry expert’ for human leadership and development.

Sherry is a passionate and experienced leadership coach gained from a wide range of experience in the personal leadership and human behaviour fields. She has a lifelong commitment to ongoing learning and educating in the areas of personal leadership, training, human behaviour, psychology and consulting. Sherry has coached individuals and groups to be the best leader they can be, sharing that leadership starts with the individual and extends out to their family, team, organisation and the world. Her clients have ranged from mining employees to CEO’s and PhD candidates to inmates in prisons. In addition, she has owned and operated several businesses over the last 20 years.

Contact Sherry Davies-Selak



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Show Notes: Episode 017: Action conquers fear – Sherry Davies-Selak

Sherry Davies-Selak’s Fearless Story

  • At the age of three my parents separated and my father took me away from my mother and my other siblings to go and live with my grandmother for the next ten years
  • My grandmother was a mean spirited woman who was verbally and emotionally abusive
  • Then at thirteen my parents got back together again and I was thrust back into a family I didn’t know and a lot of instability because although my grandmother was mean it was at least stable with the same school and friends
  • As a result I ran off the rails quite dramatically for a couple of years between the ages of fourteen and sixteen and got involved in drugs, alcohol, slept rough for a while, was promiscuous and just out of control – every mothers nightmare
  • At seventeen I became a mother myself which wasn’t what I wanted to do because there were others in my family that had done that and I didn’t want to be like them
  • I went on to have two more children, to the same father and then at thirty-one he became unwell physically and as a result of the medication he was on he became emotionally unwell also
  • After eight months of caring for him as well as my children we separated and I discovered there was over $300,000 of debt, I was in a shop that ran twelve hours a day, seven days a week and I had my three young children and I didn’t know how I was going to get through that but I did
  • I then had another relationship that lasted for fourteen years and ended only four years ago. After that I left Perth and moved to Melbourne. Just me and the dog, I drove across the big paddock (The Nullabor) and here we are

Most Memorable Moment

  • I was thinking about this and there are moments that probably seemed negative at the time but then turned out to be highlights
  • I remember when my children’s father left and I was working in that shop twelve hours a day and I had to put both our family home and the business on the market to offload assets and get out of the debt
  • That was really hard because the land that the home was built on was the land I had grown up on and it was right next to a National park and it was my spiritual home so putting that on the market was agonising
  • But one of my highlight moments was the day the agent came and we had an offer and I remember the day they came and I signed it and handed it over to them. It stands out as a highlight for me because it was such a relief
  • Apart from the days my children were born that stands out as a highlight for me because for five months I had been treading water and that was the start of the turning point where I felt, “Yep, I’ve got this, I can do it”.
  • Even though other people thought it was insurmountable, and that I should go bankrupt, I knew that I could get out of that situation and I knew that I could do it

What’s something you’ve learned Sherry from a facing fears experience?

  • I’ve had some fantastic mentors and people I’ve followed over the years and yes, there have been lots of aha moments.
  • I was talking to one of Brian Tracy’s coaches one day and I had been doing coaching and workshops for several years and I think, like most of us, I had some insecurity around how our stuff is going to help other people.
  • I was talking to this coach and explaining that I have these people who follow me and I don’t get it, I’m just me and I’m no one special and yes I know what I do is good.
  • Someone once said to me that my gift was taking complex ideas and making them really simple for people to understand.
  • Anyway, I was talking to this coach and he asked if I had a mirror in my house and he said to go and stand in front of it and tell me what you see and I said, “I see me”.
  • The coach said, “No you don’t” and I thought, “This guy doesn’t know what he’s on about” and then he asked if I had ever seen myself on video and I said, “Yes” and he asked again, “What did you see?”
  • I explained that I saw myself and he again said, “No you don’t” and went on to say that what I see is a two dimensional representation of myself and what everyone else sees is the three dimensions.
  • In psychology they talk about the headless psychologist and that you only ever see yourself through your eyes and your perception and other people will see you through their perception but you will never see what they see because you aren’t them.
  • I realised that I didn’t have to ‘get it’ when other people say, “Thank you, that was really helpful”, I don’t have to understand how that was helpful.
  • So in those moments when you are having a conversation with someone and they are gushing and thanking you, I’ve been there when I’ve spoken to someone or worked with my coach and you get filled up with gratitude because you’ve had an aha moment.
  • After having that conversation with the Brian Tracy coach I realised I don’t need to get it, I just need to keep doing what I do.

A specific facing fear moment?

  • There are hundreds of those and often I think we don’t even realise we have been afraid.
  • About two and a half years ago I was in a Tony Robbins event in Sydney and half way through that event I called a cousin in Perth and said, “I’m going to move to Melbourne and I will be there by Christmas” which was only three months away.
  • I then got back from the event and told all of my friends that I was moving to Melbourne and they asked if I had a job or business contacts, which I didn’t but I just knew that was what I was meant to do.
  • There were moments when I doubted it but I just started taking action and getting ready and it all pretty much fell into place. I guess that was me being fearless because I was compelled that this [Melbourne] was where I was meant to be next.
  • Other people questioned it but I didn’t.

What does that certainty feel like Sherry?

  • I think there is an overcoming of fear when you are aware that there is a danger involved because fear is the awareness of danger.
  • Then there is a calmness, even when everyone else might be freaking out, you are calm and know it’s ok.
  • It is a calmness, a knowingness, I feel it in my gut, some people feel it in their heart or in their soul.
  • I guess it just felt solid. Yes, there were things I had to do to make it happen. It was a decision and it was in an instant, and when the words came out of my mouth, I knew that it was just so solid, it was a movable.

How did you make it happen?

  • I know there are two schools of thought when it comes to setting goals. One of those is to tell everyone that you are doing it so that you are accountable and then there is the other which is just get on and do it.
  • I studied psychology at university and the brain can’t differentiate between what’s real and what isn’t so if you continue to go around telling people what you are going to do, the brain thinks you’ve already done it and you may not actually do it.
  • So with the Melbourne move, although I blurted it out, it wasn’t the speaking that did it, it was the doing.
  • As soon as I got home I started taking steps towards making it happen. I researched where I wanted to live, how much it would cost to get my furniture there, who I knew that I could ask about the area, what the demographic was, how far it was from the city etc
  • I had committed to be on the board of a women’s committee and so I started a mastermind group that would then fund the trip back each month for that meeting.
  • It was very systematic. What did I have to do now to make that happen? So that it’s as seamless as possible for me because I know this is what I have to do, I just don’t know the how.
  • There’s a difference between what you want to do and what you are compelled to do and the fears around what you want to do are more than when you feel compelled to do something.
  • When I am compelled to do something I just start doing it and I make a list of everything I need to do. Actually, I write one thing on a post-it note and put it on a window or white board and then I can move them around into the order I need to do them and add to them anytime.
  • So the next thing I have to do is always at the top, like a post-it note tree. Breaking it down into do-able steps.
  • When you are compelled to do something, there is less fear because you have made the decision and your heart and soul is behind you. That’s a big part of breaking down fear is to decide that it’s going to be different. Then lay out your plan, which has to be flexible so the post it notes are an awesome idea.

What are your beliefs Sherry around the ‘souls journey’?

  • Lots of people talk about the souls journey and what you’re here for and look, I’ve had spiritual shops, I teach meditation and I still teach and do meditation, I live a spiritual and a practical life as well.
  • I don’t know if your soul has a predestined “this is what you’ve got to do while you’re here” or not but I do know that there are things that come along that you just have to do.
  • There are things I wanted to do like I wanted to go to university and so once I decided that I had to put steps in place and yes I did it and I did it successfully but did it feel as seamless as moving to Melbourne in three months? No!
  • When the children’s father left and I had all the debt and the shop and the kids, I was just getting through the next minute and not long after he left we had road-works out the front of the shop so our takings dropped by 80% and then we had threebreak-inss in as many weeks and got held up too.
  • Some of those days, I just wanted to get through the next minute and I knew I would be ok. In saying that, I still had, “this is what I have to do today’ and that was my focus.
  • But that was a lot harder than moving to Melbourne which all fell into place and I didn’t have any of the having to get through the next minute.

What’s one thing you’ve learnt from all of this Sherry?

  • That it all comes together. As I get older it sees to accelerate but as I go through things now, because I have such a great toolkit of things to support me, I know that it will all be ok.
  • I don’t know how but as long as I’m taking steps, I will work that out along the way.

What are you passionate about today?

  • At the moment I am doing a bit of contract work helping people who are just starting out a new business which I really love because I get to help them take their idea and turn it into a solid form.
  • And I’m just really passionate about helping people to realise the greatness within themselves. We all have it, we just forget it at times. We forget how extraordinary we are.

How do you remind people how great they are?

  • One of the best books I’ve ever read was, “The greatest salesman in the world” and it has the God memorandum in there and I remember the first time I read about how he talks about the body and the functions it does just to keep you alive, moving, breathing, and walking and I was like, “Wow, that’s me”.
  • I think we forget how great we are and then when you think about what your mind and body does for you and how you can steer them in any direction you like, it’s amazing.
  • You can abuse your body by sitting on the couch and filling it with food, drugs and alcohol and it will still do its best to keep you alive.
  • The same with your mind, you can fill it up with whatever you like really and it will do its best to give you what you want. I just think that’s extraordinary.
  • Something you touched on there…it will give you what you want. So if you focus on the negative, it will think that’s what you want and it will give you more of that.
  • Our bodies are just amazing things and I know when I was in a self-destructive phase of my life and I was abusing my body with alcohol, drugs, all the wrong foods, and not enough sleep and it just kept on going.
  • This body has carried me through my life and it may have a few aches and pains but it has got me to here and birthed three beautiful beings as well.
  • There’s a lot of media these days on the body and everyone wants to be beautiful but if I chose one word for my body it would be strong. It’s overcome pretty much everything that I’ve thrown at it.
  • Well, you don’t look like you’re turning fifty soon. Thank you!
  • Someone said to me once, when they had heard my story in a workshop or a coaching session and they said, “You don’t wear your story on your face”.
  • I think it’s because, like I said, I have this great toolkit now and I can just work through stuff pretty quickly and if I am wearing it on my face then it’s because I am holding onto it and I haven’t learnt how to let it go.

What is something in your future plan that scares you?

  • Moving to South America to teach English!
  • Moving across a country was daunting enough but moving to another country where I don’t know anyone, that scares me a bit.
  • I don’t know how and I don’t know when but I just feel like that’s my next calling.
  • I guess it will unfold in its own way and in its own time.
  • Or I could be in South America dancing the tango with some gorgeous man!

Five Fast Fun Fearless Facts about Sherry Davies-Selak

  1. Who inspires you? You probably hear this all the time but Oprah inspires me because she absolutely knows what she’s here for now. Everyone says she is in the entertainment industry but she’s an educator. Plus, her belief in herself, despite all her critics. She also gave me the permission to say, “Yes I have been abused but I’m not telling you the details”.
  2. Favourite thing to do each day? Chat with friends and walk my dog Lionel.
  3. What’s something that still scares you? South America
  4. Favourite technique or app or book? Books = Fearless Living by Rhonda Britten was fundamental in changing my life, Brandon Bayes, Tony Robbins. Apps = Focus Booster – it lets me set 50 minute sprints on my computer and it shuts everything else down and it will give me a five-minute warning.
  5. If you could wave a magic wand and fix one thing in the world right now, what would it be and why? I would get rid of mainstream media. It just fuels fears and insecurities on every level. So, I would keep amazing podcasts, YouTube channels and TED talks, topics that actually make people feel good.

Tell us more Sherry about re-languaging?

  • When I worked for DHS in the child protection services, one of the things I had to do was attend the protective behaviours program so that you might be able to identify through behaviours if there is risky behaviour going on.
  • When I attended this program in 2010 they were still talking about good touch/bad touch and I know that, as a sexually abused child, I was too young to have any language around it and I know that a lot of offenders will groom children.
  • There was a study done in Romania around children who don’t get touched at all, they just get fed and clothed and that’s it and they don’t thrive in the same capacity as those who are hugged.
  • As humans we seek connection and we need touch and hugs to thrive.
  • So when you are talking good touch/bad touch and you have been abused as a child and it started from a very young age before you had a language around it and you were touched and it felt good, because touch does feel good.
  • Then when they learn about the good touch/bad touch they are confused and think that if that touch is bad and it felt good to me then I must be bad.
  • And that creates the shame and the guilt because we have to make sense of it somehow.
  • So we need to re-language that into public and private touch. If someone wouldn’t touch you in that way in public then it is bad.
  • This is about changing the silence and understanding the difference between what would be done in public and what is being kept a secret.
  • It’s in the secrets that the perpetrators are protected and the shame and guilt is born for the victim.
  • Lets change the language for the next generation to public and private touch and base it on appropriateness and it’s easy enough to give them references about what is public and what is private for example when you go to the toilet, that is private space.

Final Question

If you could turn back time what’s the one piece of advice you wish you could give your fourteen-year-old self?

  • You are enough!
  • You’re ok.
  • My fourteen-year-old self was so out of control I think that would have been the one – that you don’t need to self destruct.
  • I don’t know how I would have got her to hear that though.

Where can people reach out to you?


Facebook – inner.rhythm

A Gift for Listeners From Sherry Davies-Selak

A thirty-minute discovery session with Sherry Davies-Selak to uncover your hidden leadership potential and to recognise the greatness that is within you

By entering your name & email address we agree we won’t share your details with anyone! Sherry Davies-Selak will contact you with the details of your appointment plus you may receive the occasional emails from Sherry Davies-Selak and inner-rhythm. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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