creativity, carla coulson

Lessons from Creativity, the Generous Teacher

creativity, carla coulson

Hello Beautiful Ones, 

I’ve been absent for a while and am so excited to be back. 

Sometimes in life, we need to give ourselves the gift of time of being able to reconnect back to what is important to us and process what’s next.

I’ve had a lot of fun taking photos over the past months with some beautiful gals who the universe sent my way and the joy we shared reminded me of the power of photography and creativity in general. 

Here are some wisps of thoughts and feelings this experience gave me:

    • Opening myself to new ideas
    • Working with beauty
    • Looking at the environment in a new way when I couldn’t get what I wanted
    • Being allowed ‘to play’ 
    • The release of anxiety and stress 
    • Being lost in the flow, the process
    • Connecting to a story that I deeply care about 
    • Constantly asking myself ‘what if’?
    • Starting a love affair with my project and staying in that phase till it’s ready to share with the world
    • Entering the ‘process’ of creativity with trust and faith knowing that something will come 
    • Feeling the softening inside after a day of a shoot, the little ‘love rush’ for what was created. 
    • The pure joy of being in the moment 
    • Making mindful choices… Asking those inner questions 


If your life is feeling a little rocky, reach for something creative, give yourself the gift of communing with yourself, being fully in the present, and creating beauty. It’s an easy and fun way to reconnect to joy

Sending you much love,

Carla x

P. S. If you would like a little help reconnecting to something that sparks your joy, you can download my free Reawakening your Lust for life PDF here.

carla coulson, life lessons, self esteem, life the life you love, change your life,

Life Lessons I Wish I Knew At Sixteen

life lessons, carla coulson, self esteem, life the life you love, change your life,

Life lessons: That’s me in middle showing my undies with my two sisters.

Have you ever looked back through your journey to see the big life lessons that were dark moments at the time but ultimately brought light?

This may be a little too personal for some of you so please feel free to click off here.

When I was sixteen, I lived in Port Macquarie and in theory was having the time of my life. I had great friends, my first boyfriend, and a bike that I pedaled from one end of our town to the other; I felt as free as a bird.

In those days, I would creep into my brother’s bedroom when he was out (he was the only one with a full-length mirror), turn my back to the mirror, and angst about the width of my ankles. My bestie had long lean legs with pretzel thin ankles and mine weren’t shaping up anywhere near close to hers. When I was done with my ankles, I would turn around and with all my muscle power I could summon, I would try my best to create a gap between my legs like the glam girls with long legs at the beach. This was the beginning of many years of comparing myself to others.

On the odd time my mother would catch me, she would tell me that ‘One day you will realize how lucky you are to have strong legs that will carry you through life.’

Hey, I was sixteen as though I was going to listen to my mum!

Not long after my sixteenth birthday, my little world fell apart, my dad had a transfer in his job to Sydney and we were all wrenched out of our happy little ‘surfie’ lives in Port Macquarie.

My brothers and sisters were all at different ages; one stayed and the others were young enough to move on but when I hit Sydney my life stopped. I mean literally stopped. I reasoned, I already had lifelong friends in Port Macquarie, I had been to 3 schools by this stage and no longer wanted to try.


life lessons, Carla Coulson with family in Port MacQuarie Australia in 60s, self-esteem

Me in green in Port Macquarie with my family and grandparents before we left.

For the best part of the next 5 years I shut down, made no friends, didn’t have a boyfriend, refused to get involved with life, and skirted around its edges, doing the minimum I needed to get by. There were many life lessons headed my way.

Fortunately, in my twenties, I found a job I loved in marketing and slowly I found a world in the big city where I fitted. I met great people and started a new chapter of my life.

But something was always missing. My self-esteem by this time had taken a battering, the carefree years of a teenager were missing and I did the best I could to cobble together some sort of ‘mask’ that I was together on the outside but on the inside I was still that girl crying in the backseat of the car as my family drove away from my safe place.

I did a dangerous thing, I started to put my self-esteem in the care of others — men.

How I felt about myself was based on how men saw me, treated me, loved me, and then eventually left me.

My self-esteem plummeted from one failed relationship to another.

By the time I was 32, I had ‘wasted’ a good half of my adult life not knowing who I was and not feeling the power that you can feel when you believe in yourself. It seemed I needed to learn more life lessons than my sisters and brother who had moved more easily into this stage of their lives.

Things got so bad, my life kept me up at night! I could no longer sleep at night, I would drag myself to work, work in a daze, and then an exhausted mess head to bed for another sleepless night. I started to take sleeping tablets and things just got worse. This went on for years.

I was lucky, my day of reckoning came and I decided to do something about how bad things had become and found my way to a great bunch (by this stage I needed a whole team!) of healers.

Over time, they taught me to value and love myself, to take care of myself, not give everything away to others as I had always done, and keep something for myself. I learnt my boundaries and stuck to them.

And then I had an appointment with The Indian Guru. By this stage I was done, I was sick of talking about me, I had re-learnt to sleep (after having wiped out my sleep memory with sleeping tablets) and I felt I could deal with this on my own. One of the kind people who had helped me so much insisted I see the Guru and in one session of 1 hour my life truly changed.

The Guru read my mind and not once did I open my mouth, I cried, he talked and he promised when I walked out of the room I would be different. He moved more energy than a nuclear bomb.

I didn’t even make it to my car before a stream worse than someone afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome hurled from my mouth. For the first time, I can remember I was truly angry, I sat in my car and yelled, screamed, and swore. All of a sudden, I could ‘see’. Twenty years of angst was gone, those boyfriends appeared weak, frail, and unworthy, and in that moment I couldn’t understand why I had wanted to be with them.

But most importantly, I could see me. I could see that the kindness was more important than the size of my ankles, I could see that the empathy I had for others was far more important than the gap (or no gap) between my legs, I could see that the goodness outweighed any physical faults and my intelligence was alive and well. My mother after all was right!

I now know, after spending the past 7 years working with women as a life coach, what happened. I literally had an energy/cathartic/mindset shift. A sort of fast-forwarding of life lessons all at once that allowed me to start seeing myself in my environment, how I behaved and reacted. It was like being projected outside of my body and becoming an observer in a situation that previously I had no perspective on.

From that day forward I have never compared myself to others, I have never looked outwards for my self-esteem but allowed it to be nurtured from inside.


life lessons, carla coulson, italian joy, Italian Joy inside cover

The inside cover of Italian Joy and the life I found.


If you, too, have low self-esteem, you can start doing the following:

    1. Honour your word, do what you say, and treat your word towards yourself impeccably. Your words are as powerful as spells. Cast only good ones.
    2. See the good in yourself, keep a journal of all the great things you do, and recognise the positive.
    3. Live in creative energy not competitive. When you are creative, you believe that there is enough space for you and you don’t need to compare yourself to others. Instead, you can support and be supported.
    4. Do what brings you joy, let it be enough, and pay attention to what you like. Follow the feel good, it will show you a lot about yourself.
    5. Pay attention to the people around you. Make sure you have a group of friends that love and support you for being you.


I realized, once I had healed my low self-esteem, how much it had held me back, how it had stopped me from living the life that was waiting for me, and the difference when your true power flows into your bones and sticks.

I couldn’t hang around my old life for much longer and some of you already know the end to this story but eventually, I hopped on a plane to find a new life as a photographer in Italy as told in Italian Joy. On the other side of low self-esteem was the most brilliant life waiting for me.

So dear friends, if you are 16, 20, 30, or 60, the age isn’t important! It’s never too late to turn those life lessons into gold, if you too feel you haven’t yet met the real you or tapped into your true self, you can watch my free training HERE.

Remember: kindness is more important than the width of your ankles and your mother was probably right!

Love and kisses.



Want to discover your life lessons? If you want to know how you can live more wholeheartedly, reconnect to your joy, creativity, and purpose, download my free Reawakening your Lust for life PDF here.

A Fresh Start, Energy, Burnout, and Autoimmunes

Dear Lovelies,

In Paris, we are experiencing a fresh start, a moment of excitement, hope, and good energy for what is next to come. Fresh starts require energy and that comes from our wellbeing so in today’s video I’m talking about energy, wellbeing, burnout, and autoimmunes and sharing my story on how I healed Lichen Sclerosus, Graves Disease, and Alopecia Areata naturally.

Over the years, I’ve blogged about this many times, and recently I had numerous people get in touch about their wellbeing so I thought it was time for a little update.


If you have any questions leave me a comment below and I will get back to you.

Love and light,
Carla x

P. S. If you would like a little help reconnecting to something that sparks your joy, you can download my free Reawakening your Lust for life PDF here.

The Risktakers Podcast with Nat Box

The Risktakers Podcast with Nat Box, Natalie Box, Risktakers Podcast, taking risks

Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won’t suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when the person looks back-she will hear her heart.

Paulo Coelho


Hello Lovely,

I recently had the joy of speaking to Natalie Box about taking risks in her podcast, The Risktakers Podcast, and the episode is now live on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

I thought you might enjoy it, especially if you are in need of a little risk-taking!

From Nat Box:

Let me introduce you to the incomparable Carla Coulson. This risk-taking QUEEN is an international photographer, author, and creative coach.

Carla’s stunning work has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Gourmet Traveller, and she’s published 8 books with Penguin. Carla is passionate about empowering women and encourages thousands through her brilliant creative mentoring course, YES, YES, YES.

In this episode, we have a beautiful conversation about:

      • The risk she took, packing up her life at 35 and moved to Italy
      • Why she’s not afraid of failure and how fear can help us move forward
      • The magical thing that happened after her publisher asked her to do something wild
      • That living our truest most beautiful and joy-filled life is simpler than we think
      • And we go behind the scenes of some of her most beautiful book collaborations.


If you’ve ever thought about taking risks in life, get inspired by subscribing to The Risktakers Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify and check out the episode below:


P. S. If you would like a little help reconnecting to something that sparks your joy, you can download my free Reawakening your Lust for life PDF here.

Susan Papazian Photography, Carla Coulson, Women In Focus, life of possibilities

Design A Life Full of Possibilities

Susan Papazian Photography, Carla Coulson, Women In Focus, a life of possibilities

Photo Copyright by Susan Papazian


Dear Lovelies, I’m so delighted to share with you this interview the lovely Susan Papazian did with me about a life of possibilities on her blog:


If anyone truly understands the power to change, to design a life full of possibilities, it’s Carla Coulson.


Carla says the biggest obstacle of her life was the first 35 years. Running a business that didn’t fuel her passion left her emotionally depleted and longing for adventure and connection. Who knew all those years ago saying YES to herself would lay the foundation to her stellar career as a Paris based photographer and publisher of 8 books with Penguin and hundreds of feature articles in magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Gourmet Traveller and Collezioni.

Today, Carla calls Paris her home and spends most of her time working as a creative life coach, helping women all around the world to reconnect to their creativity, passion, personal power and purpose. And it doesn’t always have to be grand and world-changing, Carla says. It just has to bring deep personal satisfaction to you.

Read on as Carla talks about love, joy and how creativity has given her the opportunity to connect with herself and the army of women who are also saying YES.

Over to you Carla…

Your job can be driven by results and outcomes. Your work is your legacy. How do we find value in our work, rather than in our job?

My advice is always do something that brings you joy or where you feel a sense of true purpose and deep satisfaction. There is a lot written about doing what you love and I have had the fortune to do that in both my photography and coaching careers, ultimately if you have a strong sense of creating something worthwhile, serving a group of people whose lives will be impacted by your work, that brings an immense satisfaction that never feels like a job. It’s like mainlining life, you feel like you have a reason for being on this planet and everything becomes clear. You have a deep sense of belonging, to yourself, to the community and to this glorious planet. Life feels good.

What were your obstacles, setbacks, triumphs or joys in your road to defining your work? 

I think the biggest obstacle for me was the first 35 years! Not having any true guidance or tools to understand what it was that I liked or how I could design a life and go make it happen. The idea that I could co-create my life, have a true purpose that I was deeply connected to, was foreign to me. Like many people I started figuring it out when big life problems started happening that I could no longer ignore. I thank the obstacles, the setbacks for pushing me out of my comfort zone, causing me sometimes to break down so I was forced to change how I did things. I now love adversity because I know there is a chance for growth.

The first greatest joy was when I said yes to myself and I said no to the way I was living and had the courage to walk away from a comfortable life to go find the right life for me. For the first time I started asking myself what was it that I liked or what could a new path look like? Then I allowed myself the luxury to go and check it out. The joys have been numerous, moving to Italy and Paris, becoming a photography, gaining self-love and self-esteem, realising you alway have space for new friends and love, life can begin again in a heartbeat, making a life being on the road, feeling alive and seeing other people’s lives influenced by that is an immeasurable joy. That we are all connected.


Read the rest of the interview at Susan Papazian’s Blog here.


You can check out Susan’s amazing work at her site and give her a follow on Instagram.

Carla x