A little over two months ago I returned to Perth.

There had been talk of WA closing its border to the east – I did not believe it however, rescheduled my flight to a few weeks earlier than Easter, just in case. The Saturday evening before I packed to leave Sydney, I knew that I faced an uncertain time ahead. 

I do not have many material belongings. For a little over five years, I have had no lease or fixed address – developing a unique model where I rented apartments or houses of friends/referrals from friends while they were overseas while I had been consulting.  I suppose it made it easy to leave.   My life packed into three suitcases: the largest my seasonal clothes, the mid-size usually filled with shoes and the smallest carry on either books, laptop or warm layers for the plane.  For everything else there is Visa and my iphone.

Over the past five or so years, I had managed to turn all aspects of my life into some form of revenue stream in the form of side projects – either book, wine or property – even my yoga practice.  While it was an extension of my creativity and passion, and it didn’t feel like “work” – I found my resources stretched – it took a toll financially and to some extent, socially as I was both creator and executor which required a significant time commitment.  What happened to the party girl?  Cash had been diverted to projects, and any down time spent trying to restore energy expended on business instead of party times. A dear friend and fellow hustler agreed: we had commercialised our social energy, or “sluttiness” as he referred to it.

On the face of it, on the socials, accolades glowed, although, no one really knew the slippery slope of my journey. How could I share the extent to which 2018, even part of 2019 had pushed me beyond my limits in the pursuit of my goals and living my dreams?

I had reached the limits of what I could achieve alone: the love and support from my close friends and family ensured that I did not end up sleeping under a bridge during the challenges that were 2018. That year, I learned a lot about business and understood how successful people could walk away or be driven to that point.  Thankfully for me, there was always a family dinner or money for a coffee at my favourite local cafe each morning to be grateful for – which made me feel like I had a whole lot more than anyone sleeping on the street. It also reminded me that we are all pilgrims walking this path: it is not a question of race, treat everyone with kindness – how many times have you stopped to ask the homeless person on the street their journey before they started living that way?

By mid 2019 (a little over six months earlier) I had returned from Italy, following my intuition to visit a dear friend who was unwell and passed later that year, went to my local cafe – my usual morning ritual and work space – yet that morning was different – I no longer wanted the hustle or to live from a suitcase as I had for the past five years.

I wanted stability: a job that I could grow with, take everything I had learned in business and add value to the organisation.  I said that with conviction to the universe and scrolled through Seek – something I had not done for years. Contemplating my next move, someone had asked me what my dream job would be and in my heart, I knew that it was still returning to work in some form of international relations for the Australian government. My power to manifest (both good and bad) is sometimes so great, that I saw the job advertised that day and immediately knew it was mine.

And it proves we never walk alone. I will always love and respect the kindness and generosity of someone who had the power to transform me during the precious moments we shared.  His energy inspired me throughout 2019 and his words changed me, understanding my position where I could not find words to reveal the truth, and maybe the reason I never judged his own ability to be honest with me, he said, here is your life plan:

  1. Main employment
  2. Make 50% of your main gig on your side gigs
  3. Live off 50% you make from side gigs
  4. Save and invest everything from your main gig
  5. Work to scale your side gig, and
  6. Be financially independent.

The same man challenged me to cut my list of 20 projects to 5 to hone my focus and confront my health issues – this meant training to build strength, preparing mentally and physically to face it head on.

Business, like what I expect marriage to be or any other goal worth achieving, requires commitment – some say sacrifice but to me that suggests going without and I believe that we are always provided for, according to our needs. And while I made some choices in business that I may do differently now – perhaps charging too little and working too much for my first client; investing more of my cash flow into my personal development [and finding a cure to a medical condition] than my business or property investments to generate greater cash flow and growth and being stretched across too many projects that were start up phase, I stayed true to the pact that I made with myself when I started [inspired by entrepreneur Phil DiBella’s book] what is the worst that could happen if you take the risk? The worst would be selling property to sustain business and I did not let that happen.

In many ways,  leaving the suitcase felt like I had left a part of myself in Sydney – a reason to go back.   Or maybe that is only what I wanted to believe and the suitcase represented what I no longer needed.


  • Belinda Coniglio

    Creative leader | Consultant | Lawyer

    Ideas and Impact

    Belinda is a consultant who combined her cross disciplinary experience in law, international relations for the Australian government and marketing and communications to work in technology and transformation. In 2019, she launched her book, Six for Santiago, a story about personal transformation.  She is currently engaged in a change project for the Australian government.  Her speaking engagements include transformation and creative  and cross disciplinary leadership in the global economy.