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Jules Sebastian on turning ‘negatives’ into positives

Jules Sebastian on turning ‘negatives’ into positives

Often what we perceive to be our flaws are often our greatest gift. In this edited extract from Jules Sebastian’s new book Tea & Honesty, she explains how turning negatives into positives is as simple as learning to turn on your light. What a fabulous lesson for our children.

By Jules Sebastian, Tea & Honesty. 

While sitting down for a tea, poolside on the iconic Hamilton Island, Australian television presenter Catriona Rowntree uncovered another layer of the identity journey for me.

Catriona joined me for a special edition of Tea With Jules that was filmed at one of Australia’s finest resorts, Qualia. Both Catriona and I were guests for Race Week, where every August, spectators and yachties from around the globe sail to this tropical paradise for Australia’s largest offshore keelboat regatta.

I was there to interview guests for Tea With Jules and Catriona was there hosting events. Catriona is one of those people who instantly put you at ease. She is friendly, down-to-earth and loves a chat. She is a very trusted face in our country and has been on our television screens for decades. I was excited to hear her story about discovering her greater purpose and how she has followed her passion for communicating into a longstanding career on television.

“You’ll never amount to anything”

She shared how a headmistress in her teen years once told her, ‘You will never amount to anything because you cannot physically stop talking.’ It was true! She loved to talk. From the time she could string a sentence together, her family testifies to the fact that she would share a story with anyone who would listen.

But contrary to the headmistress’ perspective, she thankfully surrounded herself with people who saw her potential, who believed in her and who encouraged her to use her gift of the gab. Instead of looking at her quirky chatterbox ways as a stumbling block, people around her saw it as a passion, and she went on to become one of Australia’s most recognised, longstanding and loved television presenters.

I have a lot of respect for Catriona.

I learned from our chat not to shy away from my flaws.

I learned not to look for negatives when it comes to who you are, as there is already so much negativity in the world, and instead to share who you are with others. I was reminded of the importance of being open in life and not to bury the very things that make you unique.

Negatives into positives is a matter of perspective

If you dig a little deeper into your setbacks, you may see that what others perceive as a negative could actually be your offering to the planet.

So, here’s the deal… The same advice that I have for cheering on and supporting your kids, and your loved ones, needs to be turned on yourself. Turning on your light—following what lights you up in life—can manifest itself in many different ways.


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Don’t disregard your passion for plants as a boring hobby that nobody needs to know about. Your care for the environment may just lead you to inspire others to take better care of our earth.

What about that amazing photograph you took of your mum on the last family holiday? Don’t discount how it made your dad feel when you framed the photo for Christmas.

What about the way you set up your house to invite people into it for a lovely dinner? It could be the first home-cooked meal they’ve had for a while—what a gift! And don’t shy away from speaking up when someone hands you a floral dress—it may just lead you to helping other people discover what looks best on them also.

Whatever you love, do that

Whoever you are, whatever you love—do that!

Jules Sebastian on turning negatives into positives

Stylist Jules Sebastian is known for her quick wit, almost as much as she is for her sharp fashion eye and long-term marriage to muso Guy Sebastian.

If you love to go for long walks along unknown paths, sit and witness the sunrise and watch the surfers, or read a mountain of romantic novels, then you go ahead! All your interests add to the wonderful world of you and build into your identity. It is your choice who you are and who you want to become.

Your identity isn’t just one thing; you are the sum of all its parts.

Never forget that you are wonderful as you are and can offer this world something special. Your identity is yours and yours alone. You can stand on your own two feet confidently and not hide in someone else’s shadow or opinion of what they think you should be.

Whatever path you choose—it’s yours. Whatever light you discover within—turn it on. Now, go forth and be nothing short of exactly who you are!

Text from Tea & Honesty by Jules Sebastian. Murdoch Books RRP $32.99.

Let’s help our kids turn negatives into positives from this moment on!