Get Unstuck Story #25 – Overcoming fear with humour

Get Unstuck Story #25 – Overcoming fear with humour

Desi Jagger's Blog

Get Unstuck Story #25 – Overcoming fears with humour

There is no easy way to hear “you’ve got a 7cm tumor on your ovary and we have no idea what it is.” Especially when you’re a 32-year-old girl who really wants to have children. Oh, and to live.


This is how 2018 began for me. I felt like I was trapped in a giant emotional washing machine. One minute I was getting splashed with horrifying diagnoses. The next I was drowning in fear. All strength was squeezed out of me. Occasionally small bubbles of hope would form, only to be crushed by what felt like the biggest injustice in the world.


I don’t want to burden you with the details. If you have been through something similar, you already know how it feels. And if you haven’t, I sincerely hope you never do. What I want to focus on is how I managed my fear – because the learning is valid for everyone.



I personified my problem


There was an unidentifiable object inside of me. It did not belong there. It was unwanted. And scary. “You will be called The Alien,” I informed it. It conceded. I asked all my family and friends to refer to it as The Alien. That felt much lighter than the dreaded c-word.


Giving it an identity allowed me to communicate with it. “Alien, I am bigger than you. And soon I am getting rid of you. Mua-ha-ha-ha!” I would proclaim, like a superhero that is about to save the day. Good communication is 2-way. Since I consider myself a good communicator, I thought it polite to ask The Alien a question:


“What message do you have for me?”


The Alien revealed all the things I had known yet had refused to act on. “You are impatient – you have all the time you need. You are indignant – remember life doesn’t owe you anything. A bit of gratitude would help.” I continue to learn from The Alien every day. Whilst unwelcome, it is a powerful teacher.


As I conversed with The Alien, new energy began to surface. Confidence. Empowerment. I realised I hold the power in this relationship. I choose how to see The Alien and how to respond to it. Humour, an unlikely energy also appeared. In the darkest of times, we began to joke about eliminating The Alien. There was even some laughter in between the worry and the tears. Humour made everything more bearable for me and my family.



I sketched my problem 


My surgeon had told me he would need to remove my left ovary in order to get The Alien out. I wasn’t about to just give up half of my potential babies, so decided to bargain with him. By sketching out alternative methods of Alien extraction:


For the untrained art connoisseurs, Sketch 1 = cut The Alien out with scissors; Sketch 2 = suck The Alien out with vacuum cleaner; Sketch 3 = call mothership to come and collect its Alien. All three options leave the ovaries intact.


As we sat in the doctor’s cabinet, he explained his plan for the surgery. I cried. I waited for him to finish because that is what polite people do and I am a polite person. Then I announced enthusiastically “I also have a plan!” I produced the piece of paper with the drawings.


The doctor burst out laughing. “This is brilliant, can I take a photo of it?” We all laughed in what was a highly unusual setting.


Whilst he loved the mothership option most, the surgeon stood by his plan. Partially because he is a surgeon and surgeons like to cut things out. And partially because my sketches were black and white and not colourful. I’ll keep that in mind next time I try to persuade an expert that my unqualified opinion is better than theirs.


After the surgery, the doctor called Mark and said these actual words “The Alien is out!” He continues to call it The Alien until this very day. So do all my doctors, nurses, friends, family, supporters and random people who for some reason end up knowing about it.



The humour didn’t save my ovary and didn’t make the tumour benign. It did, however, save my sanity. It nursed my broken heart. It inspired lightness and positivity in the people around me. That helped to keep my own faith up and to bounce out of the dips more quickly than slowly.



Get unstuck by putting a humorous spin on the situation. You will lighten up even the darkest of cases and you may even have a little fun in the process.

If you can’t move past negativity, let’s have a free sample coaching session. I’ll help you explore other perspectives.




Get Unstuck Story #24 – Staying positive in stressful times

Get Unstuck Story #24 – Staying positive in stressful times

Desi Jagger's Blog

Get Unstuck Story #24 – Staying positive in stressful times

Hospitals aren’t traditionally known as fun places. But why follow traditions that don’t serve you?

Before my checkup this morning, I took a long walk through Hyde Park with my husband Mark. I inhaled the fresh air. I watched the grass and imagined how green it would be if it wasn’t 6am and pitch black. We had a laugh. Oxygen definitely makes you high.

I opened my eyes after the procedure and, except for “How did it go?”, I had only one thing on my mind – “Where is my baked potato with vegetable ragout?” They make the best baked potatoes with vegetable ragout in the Royal Marsden hospital in London. You cannot imagine my shock and horror when they said “You’re fine, but there’s no baked potato.” I had to meditate to get over that.

Joke aside, jokes really help to keep positivity up. And fresh air helps with jokes.


Get unstuck by getting some fresh air. Inhale deep and fast. Enjoy the fresh perspective. If there’s a shortage of fresh air where you live, book your free coaching consultation with me here. I can’t promise fresh air but I’ll definitely bring some new perspectives.




Photo from Freepik

My Story #23 – What do you see?

My Story #23 – What do you see?

Desi Jagger's Blog

My Story #23 – What do you see?

Kayaking is one of my favourite things in life. I used to kayak fast and hard. The bigger the waves, the harder I would paddle and the more I would feel fulfilled.

Today is the first time I kayaked in a year (due to The Alien) and I took a different approach. I slowed down. I watched the jellyfish squeeze their blubbery tentacles to propel themselves forward. I felt the hot metal paddle under my fingers. I heard the echo of the open sea. I still love battling high waves and working hard, but changing pace allowed me to see a new perspective.


What are you not seeing right now?


Get unstuck by slowing down. What do you notice that wasn’t visible before? I have learnt how to slow down the hard way and I would be happy to make it easier for you. Book your free sample coaching session now and find out how.




My Story #22 – What are you waiting for?

My Story #22 – What are you waiting for?

Desi Jagger's Blog

My Story #22 – What are you waiting for?


Think of the last time you were waiting to hear whether you passed the test, got the promotion or were confirmed healthy by your doctor. How did you feel?


I used to have a terrible relationship with Waiting. I rushed and pushed and shouted angrily at it until it became this big bad monster hiding in the corner of the room. Waiting was terrible with me. It dominated my mind until I was stuck in a swamp of scenarios. Even my yoga time wasn’t immune. The rumination was so strong that sometimes I would roll out my mat only to realize I have already done my practice for that day.


“What if scenario A happens? What about scenarios B, C… Z? Worse yet, what if something that I haven’t even considered happens… a scenario outside of the alphabet?”


The advice I usually got was “Don’t think about it” or “Just be patient” or a completely unqualified “It’ll be fine.” None of these ever worked for me. I couldn’t simply stop thinking about the outcome. When there is a void in the mind, it immediately fills the gap with whatever it wants (unless we instruct it otherwise). The concept of patience was just as irritating as Waiting itself. It stepped on my values for action and progress.


In June 2017 I was diagnosed with The Alien (that’s how I call cancer) Since then I have had 84 medical tests, 5 operations & 3 rounds of chemo; all causing 15 nights of stress, 2.4 tons of tears, and 55,670 ‘what if’s’. That’s precisely 300 hours of Waiting, or as Google defines it:


“delaying action [or being a certain way] until a particular time or event”


I was married to Waiting. Waiting for test results, confirmations, possible solutions… Waiting until I got through treatment in order to resume my normal life. In a perverse way, Waiting was even more destructive than The Alien because it was eroding my present, in addition to threatening my future.

My relationship with Waiting was dysfunctional. And since I couldn’t fix it by “not thinking about it” or “just being patient” or unfounded trust that “it’ll be fine,” I made a radical choice.


I divorced Waiting.


I stopped “delaying doing and being until a particular time or event” and this transformed the quality of my daily life.


Midway through chemotherapy, I was scheduled for surgery and biopsies to determine whether there was anything left of The Alien. With Waiting no longer in my life, I asked myself two questions.


Question 1:

What do I already know?


My internal intellect comes in a bundle of mind, body and heart. Through meditation and coaching, I had learnt to distinguish the messages coming from each source. I did this with a simple, 10min exercise I used every time I got scared about the future (which, in the beginning, was every day). I asked my mind, body and heart what they knew about my condition – and I listened for the first answer that would show up. From this exercise, I realized that only my overactive mind was stuck in the scenarios swamp. I knew deep down that I was healthy and only my mind was afraid.


Question 2:

What do I choose to believe?


The only thing I knew about the future was that it was uncertain. No doctor, expert or crystal ball could guarantee me a specific outcome. Rather than being disheartened, this time I was excited to be able to choose. I decided to believe the best-case scenario. Inspired by Dr. Joe Dizpenza’s book You are the placebo, I did long, detailed visualizations of calmly walking to the hospital, having the surgery and celebrating the brilliant results. This practice reinforced my belief on confident days and got me out of the dumps on nervous days. The philosophy is that thoughts eventually translate to reality. By thinking positive thoughts, I was creating a positive future. Whilst this was not guaranteed, I could see with certainty how much calmer and more energetic I was becoming in that very moment.


In essence, I tapped into my subconscious (body and heart) and reinforced the positive truth I already knew with visions of a continuously positive future. This gave me peace of mind and eliminated the temptation to wait for external confirmation. I was liberated. I gained 2 weeks, 5 nights of deep sleep, 7 dinner parties with my London friends, 600 doses of laughter, trashy-magazine-reading-time and endless walks through Hyde Park.


My doctor called yesterday – great news, the biopsies were clean! My friends’ first reaction was “You must be relieved.” Yet I wasn’t. I was happy and calm but not surprised. After all, I already knew inside of me that I was healthy and I had continued reinforcing that belief. I was anticipating but not waiting for the confirmation.


What external confirmations are you waiting for?


Get unstuck by by connecting to what you already know, inside of you. If you would like a deeper, fully personalized experience, book your free sample coaching session.




My Story #21 – What facing my fear taught me about business

My Story #21 – What facing my fear taught me about business

Desi Jagger's Blog

My Story #21 – What facing my fear taught me about business

I was always afraid of cutting my hair short. Long, thick hair was my identity. Then the Alien (how I call cancer) arrived, and with it – chemotherapy.

I was terrified of losing my hair. I thought I would look awful, and worst of all – that I wouldn’t look like myself. I woke up in a pool of hair on 8 March and evaluated my options – a) remain stuck in a pool of tears and fallen hair; b) try to glue it back on or c) shave it and move on. Since we had run out of glue, and it was International Women’s Day and I chose to empower myself – if I was going to lose my hair, it was going to be on my terms.

I took my time to meditate and say goodbye to my hair and hello to my scalp, which I was going to meet for the first time. I allowed myself to grieve until I was at peace. Then I organized a Champagne & Shave party. In the middle of my parents’ garden, surrounded by friends and family, I confidently and happily parted with my hair.


The result surprised me. Not only did I still look like myself, I felt more powerful and courageous. I let my creativity shine… in the shape of a mohawk. This unexpected choice freed up a new energy in me. A badass punk, not-sorry, blind-courage, it’s-good-as-it-is energy. A refreshing breeze in a lifetime of being the overly-considerate-perfectionist-good-girl. It’s not that I became a totally different person. Rather, I added a new element to my character that I could dip into when I needed it.

The fear of losing my hair was so much bigger than the act itself. I had made hundreds of false assumptions, weaving them into terrifying stories in my head. I asked myself – what else do I fear? And what if reality isn’t nearly as bad? Here is a video of my experience – and the lessons learnt below.


I summoned my newly discovered punk energy and embraced a new way of running my business.


Every day, I focus on my single biggest priority. Everything else on my to-do list is a bonus. The satisfaction of completing what matters most gives me energy to work through most of the other items on my list. I inevitably drop some of the tasks and I when I notice that the world is still spinning, I chose not to worry about them.


What is your one big priority today?


I do most things imperfectly. I use the first take for my videos. I don’t double check emails, even the important ones. I share draft ideas and rough calculations. I trust myself to do things well the first time round or to adjust them later on. This saves me a lot of time and energy which I reinvest in the one thing I aspire to do perfectly – my coaching. This means I show up at my best and give 110%.


Where would you invest the time energy you save by letting go of perfection?


I ask for things directly and precisely. Recently I met a businesswoman to explore possible collaboration. She asked me whether I was looking for short-term opportunities or long-term partnerships. My first impulse was to say long-term partnerships because I was afraid of sounding selfish and un-collaborative. The truth was, my big contract was just coming to an end and I needed more clients. I explained this and said my priority right now was short-term opportunities. She appreciated my openness and clarity and we came up with a few ideas that served both of us.


How clear are your stakeholders about your needs?


Leveraging this new punk energy brought simplicity and flow into my work and life. I do fewer things that matter more. I am satisfied and proud with the progress of my business. And I look forward a lot more often than I look back.


What fears are holding you back?


Get unstuck by facing your fear. You might just discover you are capable of much more than you think. Coaching is great for this! You can book your free coaching consultation here.




My Story #20 – Top 9 lessons from 2017

My Story #20 – Top 9 lessons from 2017

Desi Jagger's Blog

My Story #20 – Top 9 lessons from 2017

There is a special energy towards the end of the year: holiday cheer, reward for the year just gone and the hopes for the year ahead. In the midst of all this excitement, I like to pause and reflect on my life and business over the past 12 months. So I paused. I reflected. Here’s what came up:

(This is a summary of the lessons. If you’re curious about the how and why, just reply to this email and I would be happy to share.)


Lesson # 1 – Focus on one thing at a time

At the beginning of the year, I made the tough decision to let go of training (more than half of my business at the time) and focus entirely on coaching. This enabled me to build a website in a week and to answer the question “what do you do?” in less than 3 hours.


Lesson # 2 – I can get used to anything

Working without a team, in the absolute silence of my home used to feel like a nightmare. Now it’s a routine I quite enjoy. After all, homo sapiens outlived all other human species thanks to our adaptability. Therefore, it is safe to assume I won’t suddenly undo millions of years of human evolution.


Lesson # 3 – Gratitude journals work

There has been a lot of hype about writing down the things you’re grateful for every day. I don’t believe hype so I tested out the gratitude journal. It worked for me. At the very least, it distracted me from thinking about negative stuff.


Lesson # 4 – Almost everything is outside of my control

The weather on my holiday, the delayed flight, what people say and do. Most things in this world truly are outside of my control. My mind is an exception. My mind is the master story teller, twisting and turning tales into tears, laughter, longing… The good news is that I am the editor so I get to choose what gets released and what gets canned.


Lesson # 5 – Health – physical and mental – trumps all other priorities

As a solopreneur, I am the CEO, operations director, brand manager, finance guru and coach all at once. This means that when the CEO gets sick, so do the operations director, the brand manager, the finance guru and the coach. This means there is no one to do the work and earn the money. There are few other things which could have such a drastic and instant effect on my business.


Lesson # 6 – It’s ok for relationships to end

I used to find it really hard to let go of people – friends, colleagues, even acquaintances. I believed the end of relationships was a failure on my part. I tried to fix them at all cost and the cost proved to be too high. My attention was divided amongst many, I was exhausted and had no energy for myself. Then I began to let go of people, mentally acknowledging the purpose we had served in each other’s lives and thanking them for our experience together. I felt light, focused, calm.


Lesson # 7 – Meditation doesn’t need to take hours

It can be a minute or three. To be effective, however, it needs to be performed daily. Meditation carried me through some very rocky times this year. The key was that I started meditating before I needed it. By the time the challenges hit me, I had developed a habit and it was easy to lean on it. I had a small set of meditations and voices that I already knew worked for me. Meditation was an investment in myself that didn’t pay off for a long time – but when it did it was totally worth it.


Lesson # 8 – “You want too much”

My coaching supervisor tells the truth directly, sans sugarcoating. I have a tendency to want things to be exactly like I imagine them, to happen precisely when I want them to and for everything and everyone (myself mainly) to be perfect. Oh, and this applies to all the one hundred things I take on at once. It has taken me a long time to see that I want too much. Now I try to be grateful for what I have and focus on the immediate next step. It’s work in progress.


Lesson # 9 – I am not an alien

Halfway through the year, I joined a mastermind group via my Fizzle community. The team is made up of solopreneurs just like me. They helped me stay motivated, kept me accountable, shared brilliant ideas and solutions. But there was a huge intangible benefit as well. Listening to their struggles, I realized I am not lazy or inadequate and my challenges are not unique. Now I am a little gentler on myself.


Looking through these lessons, I realized there is a recurring theme – focus. Focus on one business stream, focus on a few important relationships, focus on a few key projects, focus on my health. I’m curious, where in your life do you need to be more focused?


Share your top lessons from 2017 here.