18. Oktober 2019
Emma is a true nomad. When we meet her in Marrakesh we can’t help noticing her little brown leather backpack, which looks as if it would fit her whole life would fit. She describes herself as ”wild and raw” – and that chimes precisely with our first impression. Our conversation with her is incredibly intense; we immediately feel inspired.
Born in the UK, Emma lived in Portugal for a while and is now at home in Marrakesh with her husband and three children in the riad they have renovated themselves. Our question of “How long do you plan to stay here?” is carefully avoided.
She works as a photographer and coach, holding Mindset for Creatives workshops in unusual locations like the middle of the desert. Although without formal photography qualifications, Emma’s images glow with intensity; she has a precise eye for details that tell a story and explore depths of emotion.
As a young adult she found it difficult to channel her own creativity in the right direction, often feeling overwhelmed by her own ideas and having problems setting priorities and goals. As time passed she learned to control her energy effectively and encountered the Mindset technique used by professionals such as top athletes. The technique helped Emma to bring order to her “creative chaos” and encouraged her to trust and listen to her inner voice.
This triggered a lifelong passion for the subject, which she is now introducing to others to enable them to make the most of their potential. Readers interested in exploring Mindset for themselves and finding out how to manage their creative energy and inspire their potential can check out Emma’s next workshop dates:
You were born in the UK and emigrated with your family of five – first to Portugal and then Morocco. Would you call yourself a modern nomad who is chasing her dreams?
I am an ordinary girl who decided to do extraordinary things. Don’t think, jump. That’s kind of my life motto. I philosophized a lot about travel when I was younger, and my questions were along the usual lines of ‘am I looking for something or am I running away’. There will always be people who find it more comfortable to put you in the ‘running away’ box. I can understand why, but that does not make it true. The truth is far more nuanced, more personal, more messy. There is push, pull, twist, breath in, breath out. Readjust. Here we are. Life on the road, life in a Riad. It’s perfect and romantic, it’s also really not. However, it shows that anything is possible.
You have chosen a quite unconventional life. Do you feel different from other people? In what way do you feel different?
I always felt like a freak. I looked like a freak. I the end, I just went with it. It started before I was old enough to drive, or vote, or even form an opinion about myself. This feeling about myself came from people who really had no right to put those words in my head. Today, sitting on my stunning rooftop in Marrakech, listening to the call to prayer, watching the sunset, it does not look so crazy. But all the way till I was living this dream, there were those trying to dissuade me.
With your many Instagram followers and also with your clients you speak openly about growing up with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). It seems you had a very hard time dealing with it as a child and adolescent. You said you lived the life of a misunderstood highly creative human being.
Even today, I am still in an ADHD shadow. I am trying to ignore the voice that says ‘I will not make a difference’ and ’I will not manage to achieve’. I am using everything I have learned in my long relationship with my chaotic mind to calm the waves, to wait out the storm, like a survival manual. I repeat to myself how I gained success from a life that given its natural trajectory would most likely have been a dismal failure.
Can you describe ADHD a bit more, what it feels like to you?
It is a shitty, double-edged sword in so many ways. You appear to have so much potential, buckets of energy, a million fantastic ideas. At the same time, like some sick joke your mind plays on you, you have next to no possibility of manifesting any of it, because you naturally suck at nearly everything that is required – especially in professional life.
That seems so unjust… How did you deal with it?
It took many tough years to change that narrative, to regain the self-respect that being different had knocked out of me. To quieten the undermining voices and to own and celebrate my unique creative story.
Can you describe to us that unique story?
It is a story of not agreeing to settle for the things I was supposed to want. Choosing visual richness over material riches. Of essentially wanting my heart to soar higher than what was on offer, and what is more, daring to believe it was possible. Adventure is my love language, but finding the words to write that story has taken time.
Is this the reason why you came to work with mindset?
Can you imagine how much research I have done into finding ways how to tame the chaotic creative mind that I am blessed with? I have studied every bit. Read medical texts about neurotransmitters, tried and tested a million theories and methods. Luckily, the upside to ADHD is an ability to absorb crazy amounts of information when hyper-focused.
In the end, the pillars of Nutrition, Exercise, and Meditation came out as the winners. Jointly called Mindset – so yes, you are right. I was not surprised to discover these were exactly the same elements that top athletes and business leaders are coached at.
Now you share your experiences and knowledge in workshops on the mindset technique, held for example in the desert in Marrakech. Your clients seek for new perspectives in their professional lives.
Correct, and I am totally evangelical about it, because I have seen first-hand that if you stick to it and get the foundations right the skies the limit. Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine.
That is such an achievement. You simply built your career out of it. When you think back, before you held your first workshop, what did that feel like?
Did you ever have a moment where you felt both excited and overwhelmed by the size of the challenge ahead? The last few years I became crystal clear on my passion for teaching creatives about mindset, but that was just the first step. Then I had to be coached myself, learn the tools and best practices to actually help and educate others.
When I was finally presenting my first workshop, in front of a scarily brilliant crowd of creative woman at Nomad Atelier that made me feel like I had finally arrived. It was such an ‘aha’ moment. I truly FELT myself glow because I did this scary awesome thing that I knew I was meant to be doing.
Especially as you were your own case study on the power of mindset!
I had to practice what I preached. All the clarity, all the conviction, all the focusing on my vision, all the self-talk, I had to use it ALL to get to that moment… and it freaking WORKED! I was so proud to be standing there talking my talk, knowing that for all those previous month and years I had walked the walk. It just took a big ol’ slice of ‘I can do it!’
When we photographed you for “The White Cube Art Project” in Marrakesch, you told us you felt free and at peace. You also said your motto is “Don’t think, jump. Can you elaborate on that?
It pretty much says it all. Be courageous, be visionary. If there was another word I’d like to add it would be ‘RAW’. It resonates with me it in all its definitions. I like to eat my fish raw, I try to live my life raw, uncluttered, uninhibited, uncensored. Occasionally I ‘roar’ at my children, too.
What would you tell your sixteen year old self?
Dear sixteen year old me, if I could reach back in time I would tell you to go LOVE your damn SELF. And screw which ever asshole just stamped on your feelings. To cherish your rawness, to dance with your wild but broken heart, because you have been blessed with a creative soul.
Is there a life advice that you can give our readers?
It is so freaking simple. You just have to start by putting one foot in front of the other. Whatever it is you want to change, or to overcome, or to aim for, you already have that power inside you today. If you want some help finding your power I have made you a free mini course called ‘Build Confidence and Take Back Control’, it’s a tough love butt kick aimed at showing you how powerful you already are. Just jump over to my new site and get it downloaded: https://emmalouisesophia.lpages.co/mindset/