In Fleur’s words…
Who/what inspires me: I’m inspired by people – their ideas, their resilience, their uniqueness. I am really inspired by people who are real and open and true and a little bit crazy-amazing – people who are doing the ‘thing’ that they love, and making a difference to the lives of people around them.
Motto: For life – do what you [email protected]*king love. For love – be all in, be vulnerable, be brave.
Best advice: There’s too much! Too many great things, I couldn’t possibly bring it down to one thing, I would be scared I would miss the most important one by default. Perhaps it would be to listen and take notice, so you don’t miss the daily magic in a world that is conspiring to bring you what you dream of.
Fleur Porter – Maintaining faith in the magic of love
Fleur Porter swings into her newly revamped office with her blonde hair bouncing, pops herself onto a couch, tucks her long limbs under her and gestures towards the light-filled space before her. “Doesn’t this rock?” she says. Fleur has created a new office for the launch of a new phase in her life-coaching business and is awash with enthusiasm about the New Year ahead. It’s a far cry from the scene 12 months ago when Fleur’s relationship was in tatters, her belief in love tested like never before. It wasn’t the first time men had let her down in spectacular fashion. And yet, despite the pain, the grief, the disbelief, Fleur has maintained an unwavering faith in love.
Fleur shares her sometimes deeply personal, often humorous, and always thought-provoking experiences on her blog ‘My Ego and Me’. Readers love the blog’s honesty – if someone else is experiencing such things, they think, perhaps their life is also normal. Yet readers are sometimes baffled. How does one retain a belief in love when they’ve had their heart trampled not once but three times?
If anyone is justified in losing their faith in people, it’s Fleur. She first fell in love as a uni student in Queensland where she was studying marine biology. When the then 21-year old visited the doctor complaining of tiredness and generally feeling unwell, she hadn’t once considered she could be pregnant. “When the doctor said congratulations I just lost my shit and started crying,” she says. At seven months pregnant, Fleur’s partner freaked and dumped her by fax. But Fleur had faith things would work out. She graduated university at 38 weeks pregnant and won an award for the highest-achieving student in her course. She used the $1000 prize to pay for a homebirth midwife. “I didn’t ever feel like having a baby would stop me,” she says. “It certainly wasn’t in my life plan to have four children – that was lack of planning – but I just trusted it would be ok.”
Sitting in her new office today, as a life coach with the benefit of hindsight, Fleur says she would have advised her younger self to treat the breakup as a gift. “It’s actually a gift if someone is honest enough to tell you that they can’t give you what you want or what you deserve,” she says. “It’s not what you want to hear but it’s honest. And I would have told myself to love myself more – to take all the time I needed to figure out who I was totally separate from anyone else. Because if you go into a relationship lost you attract lost people. And that rarely works out.”
“It’s actually a gift if someone is honest enough to tell you that they can’t give you what you want or what you deserve.”
Career passion unearthed
Back in Western Australia, it was four years before Fleur found love again. She met a farmhand while helping out on her family farm and the duo were besotted. Another 1.5 years later Fleur discovered she was pregnant again. So her partner moved to the farm, he proposed, they managed the business together and Fleur’s second daughter was born.
Always the high achiever, Fleur transformed the farming business into a multi-award winning eco-tourism business. She was swept up in a whirlwind of activity, restoring the farm’s environment and welcoming school groups, busloads of Japanese tourists, TAFE students, bird watchers, wildflower enthusiasts. Such was the business’s success that it won the WA State Environment Award for Small Business, and later the National Banksia Environment Award in the same category. Fleur found herself hobnobbing with the country’s movers and shakers at an awards ceremony in Sydney. “I absolutely loved that time,” Fleur says. “I really thought it was my dream.”
But family dynamics on the farm were strained between Fleur’s parents and her partner. And this baby was nothing like the first. “She never slept, she screamed, she cried,” Fleur remembers. “I was running the tourism business full time, I wasn’t sleeping. It was horrible, really hard. There are a couple of years there where I’m so vague on the details. I was just so tired. But I put on a brave face, greeted the tourists happily and pretended.” And then she fell pregnant again.
“I was freaked, it was already too much,” Fleur says. Not long after, the strain between Fleur’s father and her partner reached breaking point. Her dad told Fleur to tell her man he was fired from the family business. As her father’s golden child, Fleur never thought to argue with him. With no job on the farm, Fleur’s partner moved out and the relationship ended. Devastated, Fleur had a miscarriage at 16 weeks pregnant.
“…people are just amazing – funny and complicated and unique and divine and crazy…”
Looking for direction, Fleur embarked on a personal development course with the organisation she would later work with – Cre8. The experience was life changing and she came to realise the role she’d played in the downfall of her relationship. She discussed it with him. He reproposed and they were married within four months. He offered to try for another baby. It wasn’t long before that baby was born – a third girl for Fleur.
The Cre8 course also opened Fleur’s eyes to her true passion – people. “After I did (the course) I got real about what it was that lights me up,” she says. “I found my passion for people, and a system to guide them through, and every day I get to work with people and people are just amazing – funny and complicated and unique and divine and crazy and all searching for the same thing – the same thing I was. It’s got a lot to do with love. Love yourself, love the people around you, love what you do, love what happens, love life.” And so Fleur’s life coaching business was born.
Despite her newfound career passion, Fleur’s relationship continued to flounder. Fleur now realises she’d failed to set boundaries about what was and wasn’t ok. They broke up again. And three weeks later Fleur discovered she was pregnant with his child.
Growth from devastation
Sitting in her office today, Fleur says these failed relationships have been instrumental in her work as a relationship mentor. “To be a good mentor, at anything, I believe you need to know what it feels like to go through the middle of something and to experience the good and the bad – the whole range of possibilities,” she says. “Those experiences taught me how to love, they taught me what works and what doesn’t, and I can speak with conviction to my clients (including couples) about how important it is to be really committed to what you want – to have clarity, to commit to that, to do what you need to do to make things work. And at the core of my being, I am an idealist about love, so I will do my utmost for couples for their love success. There are these moments when something works or clicks or suddenly makes sense and I see them stop and look at each other in this way and I know I have done my job. And that’s magic to me.”
“There are these moments when something works or clicks or suddenly makes sense and I see them stop and look at each other in this way and I know I have done my job. And that’s magic to me.”
From rock bottom to life high
Later in Fleur’s fourth pregnancy she met an old friend and it wasn’t long before they had started a relationship. Fleur remembers thinking he must have been keen to have chosen her. “There were certainly easier options than me – newly separated, with three kids and pregnant,” she says. She threw herself into the relationship. She welcomed his three daughters into her home. They built a life she truly believed in. This was it. True love. So when Fleur discovered he’d been having an affair with their Swedish au pair, the devastation was complete.
Fleur believes the experience was about truly opening her eyes to the importance of utter honesty and openness in a relationship. “I don’t regret how I was, how much love I gave him,” she says. “I regret not listening, not seeing the signs, not having conversations about things that were going on. It’s just that whoever I believed him to be is not the truth of who he was.”
Fleur believes her biggest strengths – her implicit trust and faith in the world – have also been her downfall. “I’ve always had too much faith and trust without direction,” she says. “Trust and faith are important but you also have to have a path that you’re committed to. I think I’ve found that path now. I know I don’t want a half-arsed version of love. And I feel really excited about my business – about how I can now provide a strong foundation for my family myself and not have to look for someone else to do that.”
Fleur has found her feet as an individual. She’s ok with who she is without a man in her life. And she’s fired up about launching her group coaching program, The 8-Week Incubator: incubating people with purpose. “I think we make too many excuses for not being totally amazing,” Fleur says. “For me that has been relationships, or children – he doesn’t support me or I’m pregnant again! And I see all these people who have these amazing gifts but there’s all this stuff that stops them. They are missing out on what that gift is – and the world misses out on receiving it. So program is about helping people do what they love and how to make that work.”
“I think we make too many excuses for not being totally amazing.”