Because of my dad’s work-related stress, I grew up walking on eggshells at home.

As a young girl, I learnt that my feelings were an inconvenience. In fact, even having feelings sometimes felt dangerous. And so, at a certain moment in my formative years, part of me decided that I needed to transform myself into a high-achieving-low-maintenance-machine to have value in the world.

This school photo is proof of my true commitment to contorting myself into this stifling ‘Little Miss Achiever’ identity. My hairstyle was no accident. I can vividly recall marching into the local barber and saying “chop it all off – I want it short, like a boy”.

Little Miss Achiever’s paradigm is pretty straight-forward: my achievements are the only proof that I matter.

Her golden rule is “never stop proving yourself”. She never feels like she has done enough, and because of this she never feels like she is enough.

Now that I understand her, I also understand why I felt like I was on a roller-coaster ride for the first decade of my career. When I was collecting gold stars working life was exhilarating, but when there were no gold stars, I plummeted.

It felt like the roller-coaster ride was getting faster and faster. I knew that the ride was making me sick, but I had no idea how to slow it down, let alone get off.

The thing that allowed me to take back control of my life was learning to both understand and appreciate Little Miss Achiever.  

Today, I have a deep sense of appreciation for all her hard work. She kept me safe as a child. Her drive fueled my academic performance, earning me a scholarship to university. Because of her, I have had a successful global leadership career and worked for some of the most prestigious brands in the world.

However, I also know that her paradigm puts me at very real risk of burnout. Whist her world view can generate tremendous thrust, it’s a heavily polluting fuel source. It’s not sustainable.

Little Miss Achiever will always be part of me, but today she is rarely in the driver’s seat. Today, I understand that she is way too young to even hold a driver’s license.

I now understand that I can never achieve my way to worthiness. It has taken me many years to get here and remembering my inherent enough-ness is a moment-by-moment practice.

‘Little Miss Achiever’ inspired me to pioneer the practice of self-fidelity. I define self-fidelity as: The practice of being true to your essential nature. It’s the vibrant inhabitation of all we have the potential to become. Our essential nature transcends all of our ‘parts’. It is not represented by any of the voices in our head.  

Our essential nature is enduring, sustainably powerful and our most precious gift. It encompasses virtues such as courage, compassion, creativity, connectedness and playfulness.

I wrote my book Self-Fidelity How Being True to Yourself Uplifts Your Working Life to share the practice of self-fidelity with others.

Today, every single one of my coaching clients has their own version of Little Miss Achiever – a part of them that measures their worthiness based on their compliance with their unique ‘golden rule’. Whether the rule is ‘always be available’, ‘never show weakness’, ‘put the needs of others first’ or ‘win at all costs’ these rules keep them stuck in unhealthy patterns of pleasing, striving, proving, self-protecting and competing.

Changing our relationship with our parts and de-coupling our sense of self-worth from our adherence to their externally referencing golden rules is truly transformative. As we learn to trust in our innate worthiness and reconnect with our essential nature, we uplift our working lives. Life is no longer an experience of day-by-day survival. We discover that it is possible to thrive.

The below passage is an extract from Self-Fidelity.  It is what I wished I could have said to that little girl in the photo:

The world you are growing up in is a masterclass on how you should be. But you don’t have to be a good student. You will be very, very tempted to join the hustle and to strive relentlessly to collect gold stars – first in the form of good grades and later in the form of fancy job titles, ‘top-talent’ accolades and big salary packages. However, clambering your way to the top won’t fulfill you. It will never get you anywhere close to feeling like you are enough. Instead, you can learn what it means to be true to yourself in life – and at work.”

Are you being true to yourself?

Use my new FREE Reflective Inquiry Tool to find out! This tool only takes 5 minutes to complete. It will guide you through a series of short, powerful questions that will take you right to the heart of what it means to be true to yourself. Even if you don’t put into practice any of the skills you will learn about, there is tremendous power in the experience of self-reflection. Simply thinking about these questions will yield new insights. After completion, you will receive a copy of my Guide To Self Fidelity. This guide will empower you cultivate the four foundational skill-sets of a self-fidelity practice:

Waking Up – Remembering you’re not your thoughts

Letting Be – Reconnecting to the truth of who you are

Letting Go – Releasing the things that weigh you down

Letting In – Restoring your vitality

Say Hello To Monday Morning!

If you would like regular bite-sizes self-fidelity practices delivered to your inbox every Monday morning, subscribe to my weekly blog Hello Monday Morning here. When you subscribe you will also get a FREE copy of the first two chapters of my book.

Read My Book

Visit my website for details about how to buy a copy of my book Self-Fidelity How Being True to Yourself Uplifts Your Working Life. My book offers a wide range of practical tools and ‘burning questions’ to illuminate and inspire your pathway to designing and embedding your own unique self-fidelity practice.


Cassandra Goodman is a Thrive Global Executive Coach, Facilitator and author who is guided by an aspiration to activate human potential at work.  Cassandra loves supporting leaders to create congruence between who they really are, and how they lead. She has three decades of business experience and has held many different senior leadership roles, including Global Director of Employee Experience at global healthcare company where she was responsible for activating the organisations’ purpose ‘Longer, Healthier, Happier Lives’ for their 86,000 employees across the world. Cassandra is the founder of The Centre For Self Fidelity and her first book Self-Fidelity was released late last year. Cassandra lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is married and has two young sons and can often be spotted cruising between uplifting conversations on her bright red pushbike.


  • Cassandra Goodman

    Coach, Facilitator, Activator, Author

    Thrive Global

    I inspire and enable leaders to activate more of their own potential, giving others permission to do the same. Leaders who are committed to activating human potential at work uplift psychological safety, trust, creativity, engagement, inclusion, well-being & performance. Those who work with me can expect to transform their relationship with themselves and with those they lead by reconnecting to the truth of why they are to cultivate trust from the inside out. MY EXPERIENCE... I have enjoyed a long and successful leadership career having spent over two decades leading teams both in Australia and overseas in large multi-national organisations, including GE, Origin Energy and Bupa. At Bupa, I held the role of Global Director of Employee Experience & Wellbeing and was responsible for the activation of Bupa’s purpose “Longer, Healthier, Happier Lives” for their 86,000 employees around the globe. Over the last few years I have worked with a range of organisations including; Holden, Mirvac, NSW Department of Transport, Only About Children, Goodstart Early Learning, SAP, RMIT, Procter & Gamble, AIG and Westfund as a coach, co-creator, facilitator, speaker and strategic advisor. In addition to running my own business, I am also a Thrive Global Executive Coach and Facilitator. HOW I SERVE & CREATE VALUE... THRIVING ORGANISATION CO-CREATION I co-create thriving organisations that activate human potential by; supporting leaders to reconnect to their essence, illuminating cultural norms, operationalising values, embedding well-being and building the capability to listen, learn and respond to feedback from employees and customers at scale. GAME-CHANGING LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS I co-create and deliver extraordinary leadership programs that empower leaders to reconnect to the truth of who they are and reconnect to those they serve. TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP COACHING I support leaders to restore trust in themselves to create sustainable high performance by stepping into their full potential and inspiring others to do the same. EMPLOYEE/CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE TRANSFORMATION I show organisations how to deliver great customer and commercial outcomes by underpinning them with great employee experiences - to create sustainable high performance. Learn more about my work and my book 'Self-Fidelity : How Being True to Yourself Uplifts Your Working Life' at