We’re living through some challenging and worrying times right now. Many people facing financial stress, job-loss, homeschooling kids, fears about illness and the pandemic and uncertainty about the future.
Now more than ever we need to learn how to source our certainty from our internal state. Jacqui is a childhood friend of mine, who completed my NLP Certification a few years ago and now has written her own book to help others who are prone to worry.
Check out our interview below to find out some useful tips on how to cope with your worries and move forward.
Kylie: Hey there, everyone! I am so thrilled to share with you today probably one of my longest friends, Jacqueline Delarue, who is an author and the CEO of Worry Wart Australia. She has written this incredible book, WORRY: A Worry Warts Guide to Self Mastery, and has experience as an executive assistant for over 20 years.
Jac, I’m so proud and happy and thrilled and honored to have you here today to share you with my audience.
Jacqui: Thank you, Kylie. Yes, we have known each other for over 30 odd years, coming up to the big 4-0.
Kylie: It’s so cool. I saw a kindy picture of us just a little while back when I was sorting out photos. We had our experiences through school together and then a couple of years ago you’ve gone through my NLP Certification training. And now you’ve written this book, and are coaching people, and are helping people with their worries and moving on with their lives. How good is that?
Can you tell us a little bit more about your story and how you came to be here with this book and helping people as the CEO of your own company?
Jacqui: Yeah, sure. So, Kyles, I’ve probably hit the height of my worry, and that’s when I came to you to do the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) course with My Mind Coach, and yourself and our intimate little group of fellow colleagues, our cohort. That was awesome.
I actually found the tools in that mindset program really shifted some of my negative emotions that I was carrying around and helped me to loosen up my worry. I processed it for a little while and then I… I’m a self-published author, so I started writing the book about three years ago, I engaged a mentor to help me, and I actually never thought that I could do it. Like being an EA, I’m always behind the computer of somebody else’s diary and somebody else’s business, and I thought, “Who am I to say that I can write a book?”
So I just went through the process, ticked all the boxes, made the list of the chapters, started drawing the content. And because I am an overthinker and a perfectionist, we got to the end of the book and I just kept adding stuff, I just didn’t know when to stop, and I’m like, “How about we just add this?” And my coach and mentor Katrina from Becoming the Expert said, “Look, Jac, there’s no such thing as perfect. Can we just stop now?”
Kylie: Just get it out?
Jacqui: Yeah, just get it out.
Kylie: It’s great.
Jacqui: The fact that we’re during the pandemic and I thought worry was such a universal topic, I thought everyone needs to hear about this. Not everyone, like obviously executive assistants, but a lot of people can really benefit.
Kylie: Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think there’s a single person that’s kind of sailed through this without some kind of radical change or a change to someone that they love. It’s a huge global shift.
I know you work with a lot of office workers and executive assistants and virtual assistants, and kind of work with people that are very much supporting other people in big companies and things, and a lot of people that probably are used to going into offices and things and now they’ve got to work from home. It’s a huge shift to routine. They might have lost their job or have all sorts of uncertainty and worries, and this couldn’t come at a better time.
What are some of the things that you’ve seen with the people that you’re working with and the people that you’re coaching, some of the office workers and executive assistants? What are some of the worries that you’re seeing people face?
Jacqui: I see people worry about losing their job. They’re worried that they’re not going to be able to hold on to it. They get so worried and anxious about things that they start to not perform in their role effectively. They get paranoid. They start thinking, “Oh, did they say that about me?” And there’s all this sort of behavior going on.
There’s people kind of putting the elbows out to climb the ladder and to fight for their role and all of these other behaviors. And I guess there’s people who are worried about losing their home or losing the income that they’ve got, or thinking that the uncertainty is the end.
I feel like a lot of the work that I’ve been doing with yourself and others and on myself, like being an activated learner, I feel like the last 10 years of my journey, I’ve kind of felt like I was out on a limb, kind of like this little weirdo doing all this stuff to the point where I think my family thought I’ve lost the plot. They’re like, “Why is Jacqui doing these courses? Where is this leading to?”
Kylie: What’s going on here?
Jacqui: And then it’s sort of like it’s almost landed and gone, “Well, I actually feel really comfortable with COVID. I feel really comfortable with the uncertainty. I’m actually the most comfortable I’ve ever felt with worry.” And I’m like, “Well, because I’ve dealt with it.”
Kylie: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s interesting, isn’t it? I always remember that quote from Wayne Dyer. Rest in peace, he’s passed now. But this idea that when life squeezes us, what’s inside is what comes out. There’s all these people that are being squeezed by life, and all of the stress, and all of the worry, and all of the intensity and things that they were kind of bottling up inside or dealing with secretly, or in private, or kind of in the privacy of their own mind, under stress that starts to come out as anxious behavior or being paranoid or getting stressed and yelling at your kids, that type of thing.
Kylie: Whereas if you can deal with it and you learn the tools of how to master yourself – and it’s never too late to do that – then you can cope with when life squeezes you and then be able to handle it.
We were talking just before we hit record, some people kind of really label themselves as “I have anxiety” or “I am an anxious person” and I love how you’ve kind of lightened it up just by going, “Oh, yeah, I’m a worry wart.” And that’s such a skill of yours to kind of lighten things up and bring some fun into it.
What are some of the strategies or ways that you’ve used for yourself and find are also useful for others to help them lighten up their worries?
Jacqui: Yeah, sure. And almost like calling my business Worry Wart and putting myself out there was like the biggest thing for me. I’m like, “Oh, my gosh.” But I think you’re right. As it’s so ridiculously comical, the name, I’m starting all of these interesting conversations with people going, “Oh, yeah, I worry. I’m a worry wart too.” So it’s actually about first acknowledging that you are a worry wart. That’s the first step.
And then, for me, the writing of the book… Obviously, unconsciously, your mind can imagine all of these outcomes that are so negative or so far-fetched, or you’re imagining a situation to be not how it was in that present moment, and you’re carrying all of these emotions with you. And as you keep going through life they just build and build and build, and it got to the point where I was like, “I’m 35 and I’m blowing up and I’m at work shaking.”
The stress of having kids and, you know, life a couple of years ago, everyone’s on this roundabout of keeping up with the Joneses, and mortgages are high, and houses to buy are high. My dear friend passed away at 33, our Kirsten, our dear friend. She was 33 and had kids the same age, so you’re sort of thinking, “Well, time’s running out.” All of this emotion blew up. That was probably at the height of my anxiety. I was just like going, “I don’t want to deal anymore.”
I’m sensitive. I’m an empath. I didn’t have a traumatic childhood, but my family kind of just go-go-go-push-push-push. And I think I’d kind of got into industries like finance and banking where people don’t talk about their emotions and I’ve buried and hidden all of this stuff for so many years, and I was just like, “I just have to let it out.”
So, writing down or acknowledging what your triggers are, whether it’s feeling a knot in the stomach, whether it’s trouble sleeping, whether you’re a worry wart who hears white noise, this inability to switch off from your overthinking brain. Just acknowledging all of those triggers.
Kylie: That’s huge. I think what you’ve kind of tapped in on there is so important, because I think there is a shift that’s kind of happening in our society of this kind of old way of doing things which is to just kind of squash down your emotions and do whatever it takes to make a dollar and keep your job and get the work done and like, “Don’t worry about what you’re feeling or what’s going on and just push through.”
Obviously having some grit and pushing through sometimes is a really useful skill and resource, but when it’s taken to the nth degree and taken to extremes, it really creates this hidden volcano of emotions that I think a lot of people are still dealing with at all levels and in all industries. And I think it’s very much a function of the kind of societies that we’ve grown up into or indoctrinated into. And it’s got to change. I think there’s an opportunity for us to change.
Jacqui: Yeah, and I agree with you there Kyles that a little bit of healthy stress is good. It pushes us out of our comfort zone and it encourages us to grow. But when you’re channeling it into something that’s negative and it’s having an impact on your physical well-being, if you’re noticing brain fog and losing weight and having panic attacks, they’re signs that you’re out of rapport with your unconscious mind and your body’s sort of saying, “Are you not listening to me? I’m going to give you all of these signals until you start listening.”
Kylie: Yeah, exactly. That’s so huge. We’re here in Australia, but in the States there’s a lot more kind of prescription meds around this kind of thing to just put a dampener on it and put a lid on it. Obviously, people get mental health medication here too, but it seems to be kind of quite a big thing over in the States. And, obviously, taking medication for your mental health if you need it and it’s prescribed is absolutely the right thing to do if it helps you get through your particular challenging time.
At the same time, I think there’s a real opportunity for people to start to work through some of that inner stuff and not necessarily just put a lid on it to cope but also have and learn the skills to start to cope with their emotions in healthy ways.
I guess writing things down and kind of just acknowledging that it’s there is the first step, really, isn’t it? It’s like, “Hey, I’m having trouble sleeping and I’m getting flustered or can’t sleep or losing weight or that type of thing.”
After that, what are some of the things that you’ve noticed in your coaching practice when you’re coaching some of these people that’s really helped them to kind of make some changes and some of the things that might really help people to move forward into self-mastery?
Jacqui: I guess the first step is acknowledging it. And then we go through and look in the past where they felt anger, sadness, guilt, hurt, fear and shame, and just let the client drop into that event and acknowledge, loosen it up a little bit, so that they can then move forward. Because we often carry around huge trauma or buried emotions – just loosening that up a bit.
When you were talking about the the US and kind of burying things, it’s like acknowledging the pain so that you can move forward into some pleasure and going, “Okay, well, let’s remove the anger or move out of anger towards something more positive like joy or courage or fun. Just giving people that choice.
Kylie: Yeah, some more choice. I think it’s really interesting. There’s this interesting kind of narrative around negative emotions and positive emotions and like, “Oh, you don’t want to have any negative emotions,” and that kind of toxic positivity maybe from the ‘80s of like, “Oh, you have to be happy all the time.” That again probably comes from a good place but can then almost create more worries because it’s like, “Well, I don’t feel happy. Should I be happy? Oh, my god! Why am I not happy?” and then creating even more worries.
I think that it’s so important just being able to go, “Oh, I’m actually quite worried right now and that’s okay.”
Jacqui: Yes, that’s okay.
Kylie: Right? That’s okay. And then bringing the acceptance to it and lightening it up and bringing some fun and laughter to it can really help to shift your state.
Jacqui: Yeah, exactly. I did the IIN health coaching course via correspondence, and I guess I was realizing many years ago that as a society we were blanketing our feelings with emotional eating. I remember doing your emotional eating course. And we do all these things like drink too much wine, take drugs, and do all of those things to hide or to mask and move away from ourselves. And I think we’re beautiful creatures.
The biomechanics of our body is so amazing. If we nourish it and really take that time to look after ourselves and listen to our body, we can really move away from our worries.
Kylie: Yeah, absolutely, for sure. It’s like that peace of understanding and going, “Oh, I’m okay as I am and I deserve to be looked after and I deserve to look after myself.” I think there can be sometimes that underlying worry of like, “Am I even good enough to look after myself? Am I kind of broken or not right somehow?” I think that can very much interfere with the ability that people have to just look after themselves.
When you’re stressed and you’re worried, self-care is so important. It’s so important to do what feels good and what nourishes you, and that’s okay.
What are some of the nourishing things that you’ve done or that you know that clients do and that’s really helped in a kind of practical way?
Jacqui: Yeah, sure. Even for me or what I recommend to my clients is to go and have a proper full blood test and just get everything checked out. Get some facts down and go, “Okay. How’s my thyroid? How’s my B12?” Just go and see a professional and get that sorted.
Kylie: Health check. Good idea. Yeah, sometimes it can just be like you might be deficient in some vitamin or something.
Jacqui: Because what I’ve noticed with people who are deep in worry, they actually start… What’s that called? Hypochondriacs? They actually make up in their mind that they’ve got something, because they go into that paranoia. So, just get the facts, go and see a health professional, see a nutritionist. Even someone locally, go and see one that you’ve been referred to, get a thorough health plan. Like we can eat all the foods from the different colors of the groups and all that sort of thing.
Yoga. I’m doing yoga and doing a program of cardio and strength and meditation too. You’ve got some beautiful guided meditations, I’ve popped a couple on my website.
Jacqui: And if you can’t sit still with yourself, just sit quietly for a little minute and just acknowledge the thoughts coming in, but try and sit in peace as much as you can. Or if you’re struggling with that, listen to a guided meditation.
Kylie: I think I recommended it just yesterday to a client of mine who’s like a super high-performing kind of person, and they would struggle to just to sit still for a few minutes. And I said, “Okay, you need a guided meditation. They’re so powerful.” It’s almost like meditation training wheels to just help you to guide you to sit quietly and follow the voice and get those thoughts.
Jacqui: I’ve got a question for you, Kyles. I’ve got clients who say to me, “Nope, I can’t meditate. Nope, it’s not for me. Nope, not doing it.” How do you get them to actually kind of stick with it? Because you know that there’s so many benefits. What does it do to the chemicals in the mind?
Kylie: It’s shifting so many things. Neurochemically, meditation changes the way that your brain operates, on what frequency that it operates, so whether it’s at like beta or alpha or delta when we’re at sleep. And so it’s kind of shifting the brain waves. But when we’re in that kind of super heightened state, then it can feel really difficult to meditate.
There’s that fun quote. I can’t remember who said it. I won’t bother trying to estimate who it is because I don’t know. But it’s this quote of, “If you don’t have time to meditate for one hour, you should meditate for two hours.” It’s like, if you’re really stressed you need to meditate more. And it’s like, “What? What are you even talking about? I don’t have time for that.”
But I think firstly it’s getting clear on what the attachment is or the idea of how meditation should be. When we think about how much stimulants are coming in to our senses all the time like visuals, ads, scrolling, like there’s so much information coming in all the time, meditation is just like a rest for your brain.
Jacqui: Yeah, that’s a great way.
Kylie: Just close your eyes and just take a rest from the inputs. And when we take a rest from the inputs then all of the inputs that are already there that haven’t been processed are like, “Look at me! Listen to me!” It almost can feel worse before it gets better when you start meditating. It’s like, “Oh, now I’ve stopped all of the outside inputs that were dampening all of those inside craziness. And now I’ve shut that down, now I can hear it all and it feels worse almost.
You know when you make like a bone broth soup and you boil the bones or whatever, and you start making soup, and there’s that scummy bit that comes across the top and you’ve got to scoop it off and stick it in the bin? That’s what it’s like with meditation.
It’s like when you start cooking your mind, all of the scum is going to come up to the top, all of the crap that you’ve been hiding or preventing yourself from seeing is going to rise up to the top. You just need to keep doing it and just like, “Oh, okay, there’s some thoughts. I’m just going to let them go and just scoop them off the top. And if a bit more comes up, I’m just going to let that go too and scoop that off.”
Jacqui: Yes, so good.
Kylie: Right? And it’s just that thing of like meditation doesn’t need to be perfect. You’re not going to get a super zen state at the start necessarily. You might if you’re really lucky, I guess, but most of the time it’s going to feel a little bit uncomfortable, because we’re totally dopamine-addicted these days as well. We have so many inputs and so much going on, it’s almost like we need it more than ever.
It’s like when you start an exercise routine or you start training weights or you start running for the first time, it’s like, “Oh, my god, I’m going to die! This is awful! Why am I even doing this?” And then your blood vessels dilate, it gets a little bit easier, and every day you’re doing it you get a bit stronger.
Jacqui: Exactly. And it’s that whole concept that the mind and the body’s connected, and we work our body, why not work the muscles of the mind? And it takes practice. It takes practice to sit in stillness. For me, even one of my routines is to… with the nutritionist, she’s got me onto some adaptogens in naturopath medicine.
I’ve even been working with saffron from Magic Elixirs in Melbourne, and we’ve produced my own elixirs, which is totally naturopath standards. I’ve been trialing it for myself and I’ve had the best night’s sleep. I take it half an hour before bed and I’m getting like a really, really restful sleep.
Kylie: That’s so great. For people that don’t know what adaptogens are, how would you kind of explain how they’re working for you? Just a layman’s kind of example.
Jacqui: It’s basically like cortisol and adrenal glands. When you’re under heightened stress they can kind of disrupt and they can hold weight across the middle to keep you safe. And basically these adaptogens, naturally we produce them, but under stress they get affected. So you can take natural medicine a naturopath’s recommended in water or under your tongue, and it just basically kind of plays with the chemicals in your body to just alleviate.
There’s valerian which is like a flower which is a natural sleep remedy. Passion flower is another great one. And you can drink teas, like tulsi tea, lemon balm. They’re great for just calming the nervous system. But the funny thing is, you really need to remove the stress in your life. You can do all of these things, but if you’ve got one little thing to the side that’s kind of this melting pot of stress…
Kylie: A little monster of stress.
Jacqui: A little monster that’s chasing you, really have a look at that and see how you can start to move away from that. Because our ultimate goal is peace and freedom. And if we’re stuck and unhappy and not peaceful, it’s not cool.
Kylie: It’s not cool. You don’t need to live like that too, right? I think sometimes people don’t realize that they have a choice about it.
Jacqui: Totally, they’ve lost perspective.
Kylie: They’ve lost perspective. You have a choice. If there are stressful, awful things in your life, you don’t have to stay in that situation.
Jacqui: Exactly. I liken it to when horses wear those blinkers, and they’re running along, and they’re running along. It’s like when you’re deep in worry, you’ve lost total perspective, you’re blinded in your own thinking.
If you can undo the blinders, get some different perspectives, like the perceptual position exercise – first person, second person, third person, aerial view, stand on top of the mountain and go, “Who are these people? What’s the situation?” – then you realize you’ve got choice, and you get some clarity then.
Kylie: It’s so good. I’m so happy for you. It’s so good to see this transformation as well of you, Jac. It’s so cool. I’m super happy for you. You’re already making such a difference to so many people that are struggling with worry. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean didn’t mean to make you cry, but it’s really beautiful. It’s really beautiful.
Jacqui: Thanks, Kyles. Because you probably have seen me like at my worst.
Kylie: Oh, not at your worst.
Jacqui: Well, when I was going through the training.
Kylie: I see all sorts of people in all sorts of states. Human emotions are really… it’s a normal thing. And in order to help other people, you’ve got to be willing to face your own stuff, and you’ve done that.
Jacqui: Exactly. You can even cry if you need to. Honestly, just let it go. Let it go, go outside, scream, go and cry, go and talk to someone, go and acknowledge those emotions. And if you’re angry, have a look at that as well. Yeah, let it out.
Kylie: Let it out. Maybe not go and like let it out and break things or scream at someone, but let it out in a healthy way. Let it out in a boxing class, or let it out journaling out a letter to that person and then burning it, that type of thing, letting the emotions out.
Jacqui: Because my biggest message too – and it’s a bit out there – but it’s about acknowledging that when you’re living with pain and being at unease with yourself for so long, it does harbor dis-ease in the body, like cancers and other things, along with dietary things as well. It can be a massive contributor to some serious things that you know you can’t take back.
So I encourage everyone now to really have a look at that. Look at your lifestyle, emotions, acknowledge all of your worries, and just work through it as quickly as you can.
Kylie: Totally. It’s really interesting at this point in our lives as well and with the pandemic. Obviously, this is a serious situation, and obviously some people are and have and can get very sick. And obviously we need to take the right precautions and isolate and that type of thing. But I think there’s also this issue that lots of people might be doing all the right things but just kind of tearing themselves up with worry about this.
My mum even said the other day, “Oh, I can’t come and visit you because I was thinking what if I break down, then I’m not isolating, and then I’d have to see someone.”
I think this situation is exacerbating worries that people might have hidden under the surface and definitely you know needing to face.
Jacqui: Definitely. People are worried that they might not see their family in interstate. I’ve heard of people living in Ireland who were quite happy living and working over there, they’ve been there for 10 years, but all of a sudden the fact that they can’t, they’re like, “I’ve never felt so homesick in my whole life.”
So, yeah, it’s just that uncertainty, the lack of freedom. And I can totally resonate with everyone on that.
Kylie: It’s stressful. Some of our human needs is to connect with our loved ones and to be able to hug people.
Jacqui: Hug and release that oxytocin and the beautiful hormones that get released when we feel.
Kylie: Hug each other. Yeah, exactly. It’s like there’s never been a better time for worry warts to learn how to master themselves and find that certainty within.
I know you work very much in your private coaching practice with people that have been office workers or exec assistants or virtual assistants, like a lot of virtual assistants probably are experiencing a lot more work than they maybe ever have before because everyone’s kind of working remotely.
But if someone is wanting to get your book or is kind of really resonating with this message and really kind of feeling themselves as a bit of a worry wart, how can they find you and get your book and maybe discover more about how to work with you?
Jacqui: Yeah, sure. You can go onto my website www.worrywart.com.au. It’s a hard one to forget. Just think worry wart. And then click Free Discovery Session or click The Worry Book, and it will take you to the right place. Yeah, I’m excited.
Kylie: I’m excited to share you with all of the worry warts out there that need some support, because it is an important thing to acknowledge your worries.
Sometimes people are like, “Oh, no, I’ll be all right.” Or sometimes people who are worriers probably don’t necessarily think about looking after themselves as much as they think about looking after everybody else.
I just really want to share with everybody that if you are a worrier and you have worries, it’s okay to get help for yourself, and you’re worth getting help for yourself, and it’s important.
Jacqui: Don’t be shy. Come forward.
Kylie: Don’t be shy. There’s nothing wrong with you, there’s nothing wrong with being worried, but you don’t have to live with that constant worry. You can do things to shift the way that your mind is working and just feel better about life.
Jacqui: Exactly. If you’ve been living with it for 40 years and in pain, do you really want to live with it for another 40? Seriously, guys, come on.
Kylie: Yeah, your life is now. Let’s do this. You might even start your own company.
Jacqui: Yeah, exactly.
Kylie: You also have been doing some kind of keynote speaking for organizations. So if someone has a company and they’re kind of concerned their office workers might be a bit worried or that type of thing, they could get you to come in and speak on worries and how to alleviate worries?
Jacqui: I’m speaking internationally with a couple of key big global organizations and two summits in October, one in Sydney and one in London.
Kylie: That’s so exciting! I’m so happy that you’re out there spreading the word and helping people to alleviate their worries and move on with their lives. It’s such a great opportunity. All of this whole situation, I think there’s an opportunity for us to make changes and make the best of it, and learning how to master your worries is certainly one of the biggest things that you can do right now.
Amazing! Well, thank you so much for sharing your time with me. I appreciate it.
Jacqui: Thank you, Kyles, and thank you so much again. I love what my neighbor says, “It’s just a moment in time” and “Always act from a place of love and kindness.”
Kylie: What an important thing to know. So good. Thanks, Jac.
Jacqui: Thanks, Kyles. Love you.
Go to worrywart.com.au if you want to find out more to get Jac’s book, book her to speak, or book in for a free discovery call to clear out your worries.