#GIRLBOSS – Inspiration for the creatives, the wannabe self employed and those who have yet to figure out what the f*** to do


I’ve always found those kids who are like “I’m going to be a doctor!” (at age 4) fascinating. But in the way that you find another species, like, interesting, but certainly not you. In my formative years I wanted to be a cowboy (this one hasn’t entirely gone away, you should see my boot collection), a lawyer (so I could win arguments and wear a powersuit), an artist, a fashion designer, an oil rig geologist, a seismologist, a dolphin trainer (later I realised how horrible this would be) and I used to torment my mom saying I just wanted to be a trophy wife with really big hair. How was I ever going to know what to do?

From the age of 15 jobs have included – host in a cowboy bar, professional present wrapper, personal Christmas shopper, extra on the Vikings, fancy canapé waitress, candle shop merchandiser, aquarist. Internships have also included sorting through trays of dead insects floating in alcohol and sitting by a river scrubbing rocks in the rain (that one actually wasn’t so bad).

So where I’m going with this is – the path to discovering what you want to do/should do/would completely light you up to do – doesn’t have to be a straight one. It can be higgledy piggldy with lots of stops and starts.

Since I’ve often studied and worked in jobs that were alien to my friends and family, it has helped along the way to learn from other odd balls, entrepreneurs and for want of a better word, self help people. So here I’ve listed my top 5 people (books and otherwise) that have been an absolute inspiration. They’ve helped me realise that though my life of “making up my job as I go along” can be a little tough at times, overall being able to do EVERYTHING I wanted to do, as apposed to just one aspect of what interests me, is unbelievably fulfilling.

Last week myself and the bank manager finally settled on a “job description” for me.

I’m an author, private chef and freelance marine scientist.

Maybe someday I’ll even be a cowboy.

So without further ado and in chronological order.

Kimi Werner

I’ve harped on about Kimi a million times at this point, now go check out her Instagram, website and TV show on National Geographic. If I ever meet her poor thing is going to be overwhelmed by fangirl Finn. I listened to Kimi’s Tedx Talk while I was doing the insect tray sorting internship (lovely people, but I am just NOT a bug person) and wondering what crimes I had committed in a past live to be saddled with college debt, back living at home and doing insect sorting for €50 a week. Listening (and then re-watching) Kimi’s talk opened my eye to the idea that you could be more then one thing (it was a bit of a duh moment). She’s a champion spearfisherwoman, a trained chef and a successful artist. Of course she is also a world traveller and generally an advocate for the ocean. She made me realise that my passions for science, marine conservation, writing, food and fitness didnt all have to be put in little separate boxes. Thanks to her I started Fins Fit Food. Fins – a play on my name, the fins on a fish and the fins of a surfboard. Fit – my belief that fitness should be fun, rewarding and where possible outdoors. Food – a love for good food that was affordable sustainable and healthy but without being obessive and bland!

Paul Carter – Don’t Tell Mom I Work on the Rigs She Thinks I’m a Piano Player in a Whore House

Oh God this book. The best stumbled upon item of my life I think. The link to Easons here. Don’t Tell Mom… documents the life of Paul Carter as he grows up in and moves around the world with the oil industry. I’ve never laughed so hard as I did with this book, people on planes, trains and buses hated me solidly for a week. What I took away from this book was the real role with the punches attitude and again the idea that you dont have to tick just one box. Paul had a successful (and fascinating) career in the oil industry, but is also a best selling author and had a successful side-career in advertising. For a long time in college I thought if something was difficult for me (think geophysics) then it was what I should be doing. As apposed to realising that if it was easy (read – also enjoyable) then I was probably good at it (duh). From reading Don’t Tell Mom…. I learned to follow my interests and follow what came naturally. This was a big turning point on to writing, cooking and baking.

Jen Sincero – You are a Badass

Oh what a book! I’ve recommended this to so many people and even given away my physical copy. Link to it here. At different times of my life when I really feel I’m doing a spectacular job at messing it up, I listen to the audiobook while cleaning my house. By the end I feel less sorry for myself and my house is clean. Double win (also a recommended by mom – when in shit form, clean the house, that way in good form you have a clean house to enjoy). I would recommend this book especially for those who have not yet figured out what they would like to do and maybe are still in the pit of considering themselves not “smart enough, rich enough” etc to get into gear. Jen Sincero will give you a (mild enough) kick up the ass.

Liz Gilbert – Big Magic

I have given this book to three people now!! I’m going to have to buy more copies. Link to it here.  To all the wonderful creative people out there be you artist, entrepreneur or just anyone with an idea that you want to bring forth into the world this is the book for you. Often I find the most difficult part of “creative living” as Liz calls it, it trying to dust yourself off after the hard knocks of a bad review, cancelled job, failed whatever. This book brought the soul back into me and I think it will be something I return to again and again in hard times. I have already seen its positive results in the lives of everyone I’ve thrown it at. It is also wonderful for whose whom fear holds them back. I dont suffer to much from the fear of starting things, I will brightly take 10,000 no’s and keep asking (what I hate is criticism…)but this book is amazing for fearful folk who might be putting off starting something or have created something and fear putting it out into the world. Gilbert gives simple steps to say “ok fear you’re along for the ride but we are still doing this”.

Sophia Amoruso – #GIRLBOSS

Last but certainly not least. Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS. This is my current read and dear god don’t I love it (I was actually reading it this morning wearing the matcha facemask from last weeks blog, find that here). Sophia has a fascinating story, she built the mega MEGA successful Nasty Gal from an eBay store in her bed, she’s a best selling author and there’s now a Netflix series (also called Girl Boss) about her life and how she started Nasty Gal. This girl is just awesome. She built an empire in 7 years by being herself, working hard, knowing her strengths and weakness and surrounding herself with passionate likeminded people. For those just starting out seeing how she was the buyer, stylist, model, make up artist, photographer, seller, social media person etc etc in her own business will make you feel less jack of all trades and more badass go getter (least it did for me). But mostly I love that her attitude and personality just shine through everything. I remember getting ready for a job interview once and I was so uncomfortable as I was in a dress and lipstick (it was actually for an air hostess job, I had been unemployed for quite a while and was grasping at straws) and realise what was wrong. I was not a dress to interviews girl. I was not a red lipstick in the daytime girl. This may sound superficial, but it was the simplest way of seeing. This. Is. Not. Me. The following month I interviewed for a job wearing trousers and boots. I was offered a job as a shark aquarist. That was me! I would recommend #GIRLBOSS for women and men because really what it teaches you is, be yourself, know your weaknesses and play to your strengths.

Folks I love hearing about amazing inspiring people so if you’ve got any recommendations please leave them below.

On a moi moi moi note, my book Finn’s World as well as being full of tasty food also has lots of my own little tid bits on how to live a happy, healthy and fulfilling life. For a limited time it’s available from Dubray for just €9.99 (link here)and when purchased online you’re in with a chance to win a weekend surf trip for two to beautiful Donegal!



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