We are all wild diamonds, shining our unique ‘Flairs of Zezzwah’, with our own story distinctly defining our radiant existence! Like a brilliant cut diamond, I shoot trajectories of light, colours, and energy in all directions. These trajectories represent my stories; the very paths, smooth streams, and rocky roads I have taken to arrive at this destination as ‘Adrianne Skye,’ a business and educational mentor.
A diamond is not created overnight but rather over time, a journey of extreme pressure and heat. Likewise, my story consists of incredible pressures, heat, and lengthy time that created the esteemed mentor I am today. In order to truly appreciate my brilliance, this is a fragment of my journey.
I was an effervescent child/teenager, challenging myself with alternative sports and school subjects that created a few frowns from friends at the time, such as trumpet and pedal prix. My soul was nurtured in year 12 with subjects Food/Hospitality, PE (surfing, snorkelling), to scrape myself into a Bachelor of Education (BEd) by half a point (seriously .5). I look back now, as year 12 becoming the greater ME. I loved working most nights at the local fish and chip shop, earning money, purchasing my first car before I was 16 years old. Spending weekends playing sport, at the river with family water skiing and usual parties/social life continued throughout university.
My passion for teaching and helping others emerged long before I graduated in 1999. I coached and umpired junior sports throughout high school and BEd. I was a passionate swimming and fitness instructor, holiday sports coach and babysitter! Yet time and time again throughout my BEd, I struggled to pass subjects, such as literacy and essay ladened topics. Nonetheless, I remained focused on my goal to be a schoolteacher. I always giggle. Every time it was essential to pass an exam, the divine would intervene, such as a minor car accident on the way to one and another, a false fire alarm shutting down our 200-student exam, resulting in a non-graded pass. In what way this was manifested, I will never know as I didn’t realise my visions at the time were a form of a powerful draw towards my goals.
Trajectory: I was driven and focused from a young age. I listened to my soul, even when I didn’t yet understand myself!
Commencing my teaching career in 2000 in the primary school public sector, country South Australia, I excelled with my desire to inspire children to love learning. At the same time, I sought to further challenge myself by purchasing my first house at 22 years, an old run down 1915 cottage. I passionately renovated (with loving help from my father) to flip on completion of my country teaching. I met beautiful friends, times I hold dear in my heart from the five years of country placement. Pinnacle, a quirky encounter with a ‘nicker nicker,’ aka stalker, who repeatedly stole underwear from my clothesline, peering for hours at me through my back windows, whilst sitting in the darkness. Initially I dismissed these noises as a local cat, but when the back fence fell in, the incongruous became the obvious. As creepy and horrible as the experience, there was also a silver lining. I met my soulmate, my now husband, the local policeman (so cliché) who was on the case to catch this stalker.
My tenacity in my teaching career rapidly moved me into leadership positions, including secondment as Project Officer, Learning Difficulties Support Team, head office in South Australia soon after meeting my future husband. This involved moving back to Adelaide with intrastate/interstate training and support for schools/students with learning difficulties. During this time, I co-authored and published a departmental assessment reporting resource which was rolled out into all Early childhood, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary South Australian government sites and authoring a draft mental health resource before change in government saw our funding sadly ceased. I am inspired to step beyond, pushing boundaries every possible way, introducing something innovative. I work ridiculously hard to pass what most deem normal, yet I always achieve what others thought impossible.
Trajectory: I am a natural born teacher with a lifelong passion for learning, and a soul urge to make a difference to education!
The ‘entrepreneurial mindset’ was always inside me. No surprise then, when pregnant with our first son in 2006, I left my executive career to fulfil my dream of ‘stay-at-home mumma bear.” I refused to remain working like the cartoon character ‘Sam Sheepdog’ off the famous Looney Tunes. I desired more! If I see people doing it one way, I ponder, “There could be another way of doing that,” and so off I go to pursue.
The vision was simple… start a business and raise a family! With no business experience, no business degree, a potential disaster resulted in the APEX of what made me the businesswoman I stand for today!
I was adamant we would succeed, refusing to live mediocre with no apologies for who I am. Am I restless, eclectic, or unhappy to keep changing careers? NO, I am the opposite. I am an absolute pocket rocket, addicted to evolving. My passion for adventure and change fuels my living spirit.
With hubby a pastry chef by trade, growing up in his family country bakery and my parents both self-employed as a hairdresser and in-home maintenance, we had seen first-hand the sacrifices made and subconsciously influenced, yet the harsh reality of business we were yet to learn.
With a passion for quality food using locally grown ingredients, the decision was a bakery. Everything on the market was run-down. Concluding my creative flair and ability to budget, tweak and make magic, we started a new bakery, take-away only, in one of the busiest beachside suburbs in Adelaide. We opened doors three weeks before I birthed our first child and until the day prior, I worked in the business ensuring staff were trained, and systems were in place ready for maternity leave. I understand now my beautiful mother having kittens, whilst still supporting our dreams!
Maternity leave in the true sense never eventuated. Days after the birth of our son, I introduced him to the world of business and from that moment, we’ve never looked back as a family of entrepreneurs. My 2am rollover feeds were perfect to send that email and finalise the last payslip! I juggled business and ‘mumma bear’ demands, yet proud of how I entwined the two. We grew our family rapidly having two more sons over the next two years.
I attribute how close I am to our three sons, with everything completed in their presence. Ringside, they watched first-hand the hurdles jumped and mountains climbed throughout the turbulent first five of 11 years with our bakehouse. They viewed my ability to cope with the pressures logically, not allowing it to affect me emotionally. In life, choices with every situation presented. I can either sit, dwell, and cause anxiety to which is all consuming. Or, I can act in a positive manner to rectify, as the situation is still going to occur; the motion, the wheels are already going round, it’s happening regardless. However, outcomes are based on how the situation is handled.
My greatest challenge was, in fact, the first three months of our bakehouse in 2006. Not because I was a first-time mum with a new business. But simple fact, I lost $45K! HUGE OUCH, in which almost cost us our dreams forever! With the help of my parents, lawyers and a new accountant, we continued the business where I would sit for hours planning new product lines, tweaking the roster to save thousands in wages whilst taking the time playing with our sons. Culminating lessons concreted a rocky road for the next five years, shaping me as a holistic, soulful, future business mentor, additionally altering the way I would conduct business forever. I refuse to change my good heart and my moral compass, however, I learnt five pivotal lessons from this catastrophe in business.
Firstly, a solid business plan jointly created with a trustworthy and caring accountant is essential.
Secondly, it is imperative that leasing and legal agreements are viewed by commercial lawyers.
Thirdly, it is vital for conversations to be in writing, as when agreements are verbal, existence is void in court of law.
Fourthly, being fearless in business is critical in facing BIG, dominating personalities who bully young female entrepreneurs.
Lastly, STRATEGY is essential for a well-founded business for exponential growth, yet fused with SOUL, is grandiose!
Trajectory: I am realistic, speaking of the ‘taboo’ battles of self-employment. At some stage most have a point where they struggled. I just happened to hit a gazillion, but my lessons will not be in vain. I will pass these on by helping millions from the same heartache.
I worked business in an unorthodox manner the first year and even though I am told this is familiar with entrepreneurs, I do not wish these harsh lessons upon anyone. The reality that I couldn’t afford a business coach was clear in my execution. I was chartering waters before the revolution of affordable online, budget friendly coaching groups. It wasn’t luck, forging four more years ahead, through Global Financial Crisis, continually increasing rent due to poor lease agreements and local development shutting most cafes down nearby. I had created a successful bakery with 19 staff based on a solid foundation from lessons learnt and mentor advice.
Yet another lesson presented itself. Our lease ended in 2011 with no renewal option as our building was to be demolished for development. Believing my guides led me to this point, my soul knew the decision. To shut doors and walk away was not my vision, rather to roll the die again on a new bakehouse. Our plant and equipment finances were paid, second mortgage released, we had zero overheads. Our little family home (we called our ‘Prairie’) sat high on a large block, a no-brainer to subdivide. I weaved a way around the tight encumbrance, successfully subdividing in time, using the entire profits shop fitting in a neighbouring suburb, expanding the business into a bakehouse, café seating, outdoor dining, and coffee roastery.
Sheer determination and absolute persistence to succeed ensured I set the relocated bakehouse with strategy. Seeking legal advice on all three tenancies, thorough planning with my faithful accountant, hours mapping electrical/plumbing and a lot of soul executing the branding. Attention to detail, my own hand-painting and photography for a personal touch! New location, fresh new look, set up FEARLESSLY blending STRATEGY with SOUL proved successful from opening day. In leaps and bounds, reaching great heights for the following six years.
Trajectory: Business is one of my major ‘Flairs of Zezzwah’. It is ME, it is what I adore!
Lessons will always be dealt. I could easily write another 10 chapters on these, and maybe one day I will. But for now, there is one final lesson that stays with me, knocking me for six, scarring me to the point that’s inexplainable. Even now reflecting, my breath quickens, tummy turns, and tears fall. Our baby boy at the age of three was diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder that is not only a lifelong diagnosis, but incurable. At the time we were informed by a specialist it was degenerative and he would be lucky to live to eight years old, however six weeks after initial diagnosis with further testing, we received confirmation that his condition was isolated. In a nutshell, he produces too much collagen, with no way of stopping it, potentially and fatally affecting his heart, bones, hearing, eyesight, and general health. My baby, his cheeky smile wondering what rocked his mumma bear, still to this day has no great understanding of the pain endured during those first few months of diagnosis.
My BUSINESS and my BOYS kept me sane whilst inside I collapsed. Berating myself silently, reviewing my pregnancy step-by-step had me for the first time challenging my guides with a, “Why”? Contrary, I’d smile and cheerfully waltz into my business, managing like no internal battle was occurring. I was in the routine of being the strong, reliable boss that everyone counted on, as what I had dreamt and verbally visualised always came to fruition. I was their mentor. I ensured staff looked after their health/wellbeing; they didn’t require my burdens. Business kept my mind stable and in time, I healed the turbulence through mindfulness in nature. However, the rocking of our world caused me to ask myself if there was more for me in this world? Yes, there was!
Nurturing our adventurous spirits, I put my heart into renovating, flipping houses, subdividing properties, and launching a second business, Extract Black Coffee Roasting Co., whilst ‘hands-on manager’ to 30-plus employees in the booming bakehouse and coffee roastery.
The majority has not occurred solo. My partner in crime, pit-crew support, hubby and soulmate, has been part of my whirlwind life since 2003. Labelled by friends as a powerhouse couple, we emphasise daily focus on our relationship essential for harmonious business and family life fusion. We refuse to allow mistakes, failures, and differences, to fracture our amazing partnership and love. Yin and Yang: the perfect blend of feminine and masculine! True blue ‘brains and braun’ partnership, I adore how my visions are harnessed, standing 100 percent by my side with my often-exotic ideas.
The finale of our business journey does not rest here. An incredible pull to travel thrust another life-changing decision to sell everything stable in our life. In early 2017, selling our bakehouse for half a million dollars, purchasing a caravan, we hit the road (sons 10, eight, and seven years at the time), an unforgettable family trek ‘half lap’ of Australia. With zero experience of owning a caravan, we took off without planning or preparation. We were guided by our souls the whole 20,000km. Through the centre of Australia, zigzagging for eight weeks to Darwin, across the top west, Kimberley’s, Broome, Cape Leveque and back down through the western centre, Karijini, Newman, Perth, finishing with the Nullarbor to arrive back in Adelaide for the summer. Station stays, immersing in local culture and breathing the energy of the dreamtime, calmed us, allowing us to hear our souls clearly.
The feeling of freedom and our love of nature inspired the purchase of our dream property with million-dollar views, Totoka Urban Farm in stunning Adelaide Hills. Calm farm life is not the vision. Rather an urban farm running multiple streams of income, wholesale coffee, plants, chickens, workshops, teenpreneur businesses to name a few.
Trajectory: Life hasn’t been all mermaids and angels. Finding emotional equanimity often means releasing things from your life that hold you back.
With an accomplished background in educational leadership, learning/behavioural difficulties, physical/outdoor education, Masters in Educational Cognitive Psychology, Graduate Certificates in Learning Difficulties and Mental Health, I again felt a sense of needing to make a greater difference in the world.
Passionate about nature, incredibly evident in our sons, with their inquisitive, connected spirits, I decided to return to teaching at the end of 2019. It had been 13 years since I had been ‘in the system,’ however I was quickly offered a contract for 2020 in a local ‘bush’ school and life was as if I had never left the teaching sector.
Since two of our three sons were diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia, I had experienced another side of mainstream education as a parent, with times of lifeschooling/deschooling our boys essential for their wellbeing. The advocacy required still for a large portion in the schooling sector is underestimated.
I watched the demise of our eldest son’s confidence from year three through seven caused from the subliminal messages the system gave him. He believed he was ‘dumb,’ briefly questioning his own existence. Our trek of Oz was critical, a sabbatical to reset his self-efficacy. It was a reboot for us all. A time to ground ourselves, abundance of shoes off with earthing moments.
My belief that the system was crushing the inner child was evident. Our social experiment of zero homework in the primary years for our family upheld. Concentration required for six hours of schooling, working harder than most decoding stodgy worksheets, meant coming home to more work was NEVER an option. Rather swimming, nature, reading to the boys, cuddling in front of the fire, nurturing their voice, triumphed. As parents, we feel responsible to nurture, love, guide and create safe spaces for our children. I am proud to be all of this!
However, how was I to make a difference in returning to teaching?
Reality soon dawned that I even if I worked back up to principal level, I could only positively affect a limited number of children at school, yet still only a standalone entity. My visions started appearing thick and fast as COVID hit the world from left field.
Trajectory: When challenged, I believe the universe is testing my desires, forcing to review an alternative way.
COVID was our family’s review! Multiple events drastically occurred in a short space of time that sent shockwaves through all of us, but nothing we couldn’t shake off with change.
What was to emerge was two new businesses in our household. Our eldest son at 13 years, launched DIEZ-IGN, turning him into an internet sensation saving bees, bugs, and wildlife with his eco-friendly homes he handmade! His creative mind flowed freely, as did mine!
In late 2020, I launched my business mentoring trading as ‘Adrianne Skye.’ I spent six months intensive coaching ‘online presence’ to rid my fear of being stalked, learning the complexities of the online business world as I was a bricks and mortar guru! Mentoring exceeded expectations as the unique and beautiful souls I am now friends with is heart-warming from this journey. With determination to make a difference clearer than ever, I was onward and upward, launching late 2021 my educational mentoring trading as ‘Gratefully Natured.’
I love teaching too much to officially retire my registration… just yet! In 2021 I was one of the few teachers in Australia to commence Aboriginal languages in a public school. Gratefully mentored by local Aboriginal Elder Uncle Tamaru, introducing ‘Kaurna’ at our sons’ school. Kaurna is another passion; our urban farm is located in Kaurna country, four generations of my family were born in Kaurna country and my soul is calm when I am teaching mother nature and father sky.
With ‘Gratefully Natured’ hitting the ground running, my educational dream is alive spreading my expression ‘Flairs of Zezzwah,’ and passion for life schooling immersed in nature and entrepreneurial enterprise. I am passionate to rid the negative labels of learning disabilities. Dyslexia exhibits amazing FLAIRS such as creativity, big dreams, and entrepreneurs. Zezzwah is a funky new word I made up to explain ‘unique me’ in a universal language of it’s own! We ALL POSSESS our own ‘FLAIRS of ZEZZWAH’ but if I also make a stand, becoming the voice for all parents struggling with resistant systems stifling children’s creativity, then I will fulfil my vision.
Trajectory: Truly ask myself, “What will make me happy?” and look within.
Together with hubby, we work on all our businesses in between supporting our three sons with their incredible swimming achievements at the state and national level. I mentor our eldest with his business, our middle son’s flairs in music, piano and performing, and our youngest son’s flairs in sport and creative design. Of course, primary to all of this is nurturing my relationship with my soulmate.
With no defining moment where I learnt to pivot in business, I believe this mentality to be my inner strong work ethic, viewing things from all angles, analytical individual, looking at my own actions that, “…cause an equal and opposite reaction,” (Isaac Newton). Isaac Newton’s laws of motion are related to physics, however in society it’s labelled as ‘trade-offs.’ I stand to Newton’s theory as our universe is a powerful field of energy that we cannot see with our human eyes. Call it manifestation, positive thinking or aspirational thoughts, I truly believe my calming and empowering messages embody the version of my future self. I visualise every moment of my day, executing pieces of my plan to achieve my visions.
What is my end vision one may ask?
To continue to make a difference in this world. Firstly, for more peace and self-love, and secondly, love for nature and others. We cannot truly love another human until we love ourselves. For some to love themselves, is to start or expand a dream business, explore a hobby or spend time in nature. Since I don’t leave any stone unturned, I shall never die wondering like the old saying, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” My approach to my mentoring is unique. My purpose is to awaken and connect spiritually and be assertive in mentoring others to be FEARLESS in business, as I bring energy of an adventurous explorer in life!
My mentoring focuses on all the areas where I had made my biggest and most costly mistakes to prevent this from happening to anyone else. I’ve become the mentor I longed for; funny, energetic, motivating and with quintessential advice learnt first-hand! With ALL my experiences, I will never doubt anyone’s desires… in fact I will walk by their side (cracking bad jokes) the whole journey to dream destinations, as my passion for sharing success is greater than the individual outcome itself!
Trajectory: I create possibilities as I am a creator!
Believing we shine like wild diamonds focussing on unique ‘Flairs of Zezzwah’, not weaknesses, creates intrinsic happiness. It is truly special finding peace within and often that ‘bliss’ point of happiness emerges when listening to soul’s desires with an abundance mindset.
Stay shining wild diamond!