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How authenticity led me here

How authenticity led me here with Zanthea Chulio

With Zanthea Chulio.

I quit my full-time professional role and set off on a solo one-way European adventure in August 2022. I wrote about my ethos here in the September edition of IAP2A’s Engagement Matters. Similar to this style, I am writing conversationally, personally, and based on first-hand experiences as inspiration to others in the field of Community Engagement.

My current situation is that I haven’t been home yet, am living abroad, and working remotely as a part-time freelancer with an international digital stakeholder engagement company improving communications between impacted communities and projects (a big YES from me).

The last 11 months have shown me what is capable when you trust yourself and listen to your heart. My life has a greater sense of fulfilment, peace, creativity, productivity, and happiness than before. Simply, something clicked for me. This post will outline my top 3 tips on how I got there (and still going) so you can have these ‘aha’ moments in your life.

Tip #1: Connecting with a holistic sense of wellbeing

We talk about community wellbeing in our profession but what does it actually mean to you? How do we effectively plan for and measure it on our projects if we don’t know what it is? As I travelled through different countries and continents, I started to look at my own life through the lens of how an activity or place impacted my body, mind and soul. A few months into the trip while in Berlin, I enrolled to be a certified holistic wellness coach with Health Mastery Institute and the answers materialised.

I came to realise that I couldn’t connect with well-being if I wasn’t well myself. I had to start with the micro, physical level (what I could control) to enact change in the macro (my purpose and legacy). I got discerning with what media I was consuming and surrounding myself with. I journaled my thoughts. I cleansed my body with juice fasts, a clean diet and coffee enemas. I got more in touch with nature, my soul’s journey and the seasons through Astrology. I gained awareness that everything is connected and I gave myself time to deeply integrate the lessons.

The quote by Socrates ‘to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom’ didn’t resonate with me for a long time. Maybe I wasn’t open to the process, or in the right mindset to understand its deeper meaning. It wasn’t until I went through my own personal and subsequently professional transformation, that these words became a lived truth.

Everyone’s purpose for setting out on their own adventure is unique yet the destination is the same. For me, it was a desire to break out of my daily routine and explore new cultures. My answer was travel. For you, it may be quitting a job, stopping a habit, changing careers, living in a new city, starting a family, ending toxic relationships, or a mixture of a few. Regardless of your motivations, the collective goal of inner wisdom and self-awareness lies in the expansion and growth when you take the leap of faith into the unfamiliar.

Tip #2: Identifying and aligning values

Your values system will be your compass when starting out on this journey. It requires you to reflect on areas of your life that align with those that aren’t. Your quest for holistic wellness is to consciously balance both sides from an authentic, empowered place. By identifying and prioritising your actions with what’s important and truly matters, outside and past influences or experiences causing misalignment no longer dictate your current or future realities. With these signposts, you gain clarity on your direction. It’s Pandora’s box to knowing thyself.

You could use Dr John D Martini’s result’s proven method of answering 13 key questions to determine your hierarchy of values. You have to sign up on his website to access the questionnaire but persevere, his video commentary and explanations will make this process so much easier.

Or, you could get out a notebook and pen and draw up a table with three columns. The columns are entitled ‘Areas I’m not authentic’, ‘How I can change this’ and ‘When I will achieve this by’. Alternatively, start by listing out the actions you do daily as that will give you an overview of your current values (either conscious or not). Which ones are non-negotiable? Which ones make you feel good/not good? Why?

Don’t miss this step. It’s foundational to bringing awareness of who you are, where you want to change and why.

Tip #3: Believing it will happen

Lastly, but by no means the least important, you must believe that living by your values and connecting with holistic wellness will show you the way forward. Your beliefs determine your perception and responses to life’s ups and downs. Some beliefs are picked up in childhood or as teenagers by well-meaning parents and teachers. They unconsciously pass on their beliefs to you. You have to get clear about what you believe so you can let go of the ones that aren’t yours as they are limiting your potential.

For example, you were advised to pick legal studies for your senior electives in years 11 and 12. You were pretty good at it but not passionate like you were about Art. But both your father and mother work as lawyers and they believe that this will be a good profession for you too. You end up enrolling in Law at University and continue to follow your passions in your spare time.

Soon, the joy and expansion you feel when doing your Art trumps studying at University. Even though it upsets your parents, you drop out of Law and work hard to bring your visions and abundance to life. You believe in your creativity over other’s opinions and this leads to opportunities and experiences that excite you. You are living in alignment with your values and beliefs.


I would be lying if I said I had it all worked out, but I am further along the journey than I was. I have a deeper awareness of myself thanks to these three tips (there are many more). It’s brought clarity to my purpose and I’ve matured my physical, emotional and mental states.

I have documented my experiences in Substack. I also offer a 30-minute call if you feel curious about holistic wellness coaching. I’ll be launching programs and group coaching services soon, sign up here to get notified when I do. Or follow me on LinkedIn.

Through self-actualisation and adopting holistic wellness approaches, you choose to consciously co-create and advocate well-being in your culture, in your profession and in your daily actions. This ripple effect will slowly but surely, erode the systems and processes blocking or hindering positive humanitarian outcomes.

I hope this has been a reminder of how important you are and that you can choose a legacy of authenticity and wellness. It is within your reach, even if it feels far away.

With love,