Our guest today is Finnian Kelly. Finnian has 12 years of entrepreneurship experience. He’s started 7 companies and has had 3 successful exits, 2 acquisitions, 2 failures, and 2 he’s still busy with and running. He has won multiple awards for being an impact-driven leader. He’s here today to talk to us about the power of intentionality and what it means to go inwards and really feel your way through your intentions as you plan your career, your next step, your job, or your next freelance opportunity. Enjoy.  

You can find Finnian Kelly at:

  • financiallyhappy.com
  • @TheFinnianKelly 
  • FinnianKelly.com
  • linkedin.com/in/thefinniankelly/


Finnian: So I like to think of all freelancers, really, they’re all entrepreneurs. Every entrepreneur in some regard started as a freelancer, like, let’s face it, we were all offering something. And then we managed to realize that perhaps our skill sets were great at bringing other people involved into the vision, and then we grew into something bigger. 

So even just having that mindset that there’s potentially something more available to you, is part of the intentionality process. When I think about intentionality, I define it as it’s all about defining how you want to feel, and then taking deliberate action towards it. That combination of vision plus action. 

Now freelancers were intentional to make the decision to become a freelancer. There was a reason you were like, I want to feel free. I want to feel like I have a choice. I want to feel liberated from not having to work in a corporate day job. So there was a vision. And then they took some action. They went well, “I’m going to stop putting myself up for some services or some jobs. I’m going to promote myself a little bit. I’ve had to like quit my day job and move into this realm.” 

Now then what happens is sometimes what worked for us then is what holds us back. So we’re getting into this place. And now to keep that vision going, we start focusing on “I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that.” And we forget about the bigger vision. What’s the next vision from that? And we can get stuck into the minutiae and feeling like well, I’ve got to get this next job to be able to pay for these needs and we feel constricted so the freelancer suddenly becomes constricted from the life that they’ve created for themselves. 

So we need to step back and go back to that moment that you did when you decided to move from the corporate world perhaps it was corporate world or another small business into a freelancer. You had a vision and this needs to be a continuous process and go “Alright, where I’m at right now… Yes, it was my original vision. But is this still my vision? Or is this something more? Perhaps I’m not working with the clients that I really want to be working with. Perhaps I’m I don’t have as much freedom as I thought I’m actually working nonstop, and I’m always just catching my tail.” 

So getting connected to that big picture would be really, really wonderful, and I talk about that it’s not just a vision of materialistic objects, it’s all about feelings. Get connected to those feelings. That’s the fundamental thing of intentionality is how do you want to feel? 

And with the new year coming up, it’s a great time whenever this is shared, it’s going to be in the new year. And having that awareness of stepping back and going, “Okay, I’m where I’m at right now. What is it that I really want to be feeling? Perhaps I want to feel more inspiration with my work, perhaps I want to feel more proud. Perhaps I want to feel more fulfilled.” And get connected to those feelings and then start going, “Okay, I want those feelings, what are some potential pathways that I need to take in order to get there and that will help me line up the action that I need to take throughout that year.” So that’s where I’d be starting.

Katty: I’ve heard you say intentionality and really focusing on the end part, the inner journey of that versus being something extrinsic and influenced by other people–it really is that person’s personal goal, right?

Finnian: Yeah. Yeah, it really is. One of my keynotes is the only way out is in intentionality. And this idea that so often, we feel trapped or we’re not happy, and we’re always looking external. We’re looking for the external environment, and we’re going well, it’s because of this, this situation or because I don’t have enough money, or it’s because my partner isn’t giving me what I need. 

But really, all of those things if you rely on the external to make you feel good, you’re always basically out of control and you’re always at the victim or the circumstances of other people changing things. 

And I’ll give you a great example, my girlfriend’s mom just passed away in a tragic accident, and I know you’ve spoken a lot about grief and in those moments you really get tested. You really see, “Am I in line with what matters to me? Is the work that I’m doing important to me?” Now, this was a beautiful moment, we had a number of retreats that we’re about to do very high impactful, it was gonna be a lot of energy. And I straightaway went, well, we can’t do those retreats because I want to create space for what we’re doing. And she was like, “No, that’s exactly where I want to be right now. Like around a healing retreat that you’re running around people we love and we care about. That’s, that’s where we need to be.” 

And our life didn’t change. We’re dealing with a tragedy like we’re dealing with grief. That’s gonna be a very, very long journey. But there was no question about what should we change about our life. And that’s the power of intentionality like it’s complete alignment and confidence that yes, outside things can occur, but it doesn’t have to change the inside. And that’s just a little test and that’s where death can actually become a really great teacher and a great friend. And it’s why I like what the Buddhist talk about have a relationship with death regularly because it makes you sort of value your time a little bit more and also really check in am I doing if I only had a week to live or a year to live? Like how would I live? And if it’s not the same then perhaps we need to change some things.

Katty: It’s those moments when it does make you question, right? And I think what I’m hearing you say is just be certain and keep questioning yourself throughout it that don’t necessarily let those moments be the defining point to question, and just go inward and keep questioning. It is easier though, to blame the outside and not to take the time to really focus on working on the inside but boy is it powerful when that happens.

Finnian: It is and it’s funny, it’s easier in the short term, but I can tell you it’s not easier in the long term. Because continuously our life just feels out of control and we just feel like we can’t become happy or we just need this one thing and then once you realize that everything that has happened in your life you have contributed to you have been part of this. It’s very scary to start because then you can go into it easily go into a shame spiral. About what how could I do this? How could I allow this partner to abuse me? How could I have put myself in that situation where I injured myself? How could I have put myself in that position where I was taken advantage of. And in that moment we need to have compassion and drop in with ourselves and love ourselves because shame just compounds the issue. The ego is starting to feel like that it has an opportunity to go like it’s losing, you’re about to take control of it, and then it hits you with shame. 

But in that moment, if you realize, “Well if I put myself into that situation. That also means that I can get myself out of the situation.” Because that’s the power when you take extreme ownership, extreme responsibility, you realize that you actually have the ability to influence whatever thing in your life in whatever capacity it needs to be. And that becomes a very liberating process. And that’s, that’s what I want everyone to get connected with and realize like you don’t have to live this life like this. There’s an extraordinary life for you. And this is what I love about freelancers. They all had that moment, just like every entrepreneur, they all had that moment where they went, I don’t have to live this life anymore. There’s a different way, but then they forget that. You got to keep connected to that feeling and keep coming back to it. I love what you said like keep questioning, keep questioning and I’m not saying you have to build a team. Just question, “Is this my path right now? Is this who I want to work with? Am I doing work that matters? Am I providing enough for my family? Is there a way that I could actually uplevel the people I work with for the same amount of work and get actually high a lot of output for my family and my loved ones?”

Katty: It’s beautiful what you’re saying especially right now I mean we keep hearing about the great resignation and the change in the workforce and what the future of work is going to be looking like and so many people are taking that path of saying you know, “I want a little bit more flexibility. I want a little bit more freedom. I want to be able to kind of carve my own path for myself.” But what you said about the adversity and you know, people blaming themselves and putting themselves in that position of shame. I sometimes, come across this often is where you know, with creative work, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and people doing creative work for others, and then the feedback that may come back from others doesn’t quite lend the way they were expecting it to. Or people who are going through the interviewing process, and they go through multiple interviews and they do panel interviews and so on and so forth, but they don’t get the job at the end. And it’s so easy to then think, “Oh my gosh, I must have said something wrong”, or it’s that imposter syndrome piece that shows up. Anything you can share about that and how to kind of tame that beast and be comfortable in that uncomfortable moment when you get that feedback that you weren’t expecting?

Finnian: Yeah, I’ve definitely suffered with this myself. And I’ve worked with it over many, many years. And what I identified a lot of the time was why I was hurt was because I was actually seeking validation or I wasn’t doing it out of my own love. 

Like for example if I create something, I should be proud of myself, and then if the other person recognizes it great, but also if they don’t, it’s your creation it’s your love, your passion. And no one else should be able to take that away from you. 

It’s also why we’ve got to be careful of attaching to the highs. Because if we attached to the highs, like when that person gives you that validation and we just think we’re great. That means that we’re setting ourselves up for a moment where someone else could take that away from you by saying it’s not great. So I’ve actually learned as a speaker and someone who does transformational healing work in big retreats, one of the greatest things I have to do is when people recognize me, I appreciate it, I let it marinate but as soon as I get this good feeling. I actually have to go away and I sweep it off. I wash it off me because I know that if I get too attached to that, then I’m going to set myself up for a low in the little bit future when I don’t get that. Say, for example, I get off a keynote stage and I don’t get a standing ovation. I don’t get people sending me messages, then I’m going to feel like perhaps it was a massive failure. 

Now, sometimes people just receive things differently. And if we attach to how they sense feedback, we can really set ourselves up for failure. Great example: my first ever all Spanish audience for a keynote. Normally, I get so much engagement during the sessions, I feed off it there. I’m asking them a question they give me recognition, they will naturally say great things. This time I got crickets, and it was really really hard. It was challenging.  I saw myself start perspiring. I started judging myself and I’m like, “Whoa, is this any good?” And I started losing myself a little bit like I was losing my own ability. And I’ve managed to pull myself a little bit. We had a videographer there, and it wasn’t till I heard afterward, that I wasn’t involved in the videographer asking questions. I didn’t even ask him to do this. He just started going around and asking people about their experiences. And I watched those videos, and I just laughed at myself because here I was creating this mass story, which is stopping me from enjoying the moment, connecting actually having more impact. And if you heard that what people were saying, it was off the charts, it was wonderful, it was amazing. And I realized that I stopped myself from enjoying that day. That could have been a really enjoyable day for me. And it was an experience which I’ll only get that one time. You only get your first ever Spanish-speaking audience one time and I could have enjoyed it more if I’d stopped seeking external validation and just trusted in my own process. And that was an awakening moment for me. And I think that works really well for freelancers, I work with freelancers a lot. I’ve had to learn this to have a better relationship with freelancers that often, by me not saying much, it’s because actually trust the work is really good, and we’re just in an improvement process. So I actually realized I wouldn’t say anything positive. I just feel like I just have such trust in you. That was my thing. So I just like, “Oh, this could be better. Let’s do this. Let’s do that.” 

And I realized that some freelancers were taking that on as I wasn’t appreciative of their work. It was actually that I trusted them so much, it was just the way I give feedback. I still thought we were in an iterative and improving process. Now, luckily, over time, I’ve learned that a little bit better. And even though that’s my style, I don’t need to do that. I can change it. So now I’m very aware when I work with people saying,  “Wow, this is great. Thank you.” Asking, “Are you ready for insights or observations?” Help them let me know where they’re at in the process because sometimes they actually don’t want feedback. They just might want to say are we on the same page or, or anything. And I think that’s where freelancers can work with their customers a little bit better, and let them know. All right, what role do they need to play right now? Are they picking up minor area errors? Are they coaching, advising, critiquing? That would really, really help.

Katty: And not immediately go into their critiquing. You’re right. Well, it goes back to what you were saying before about intentionality is about again, going back into that inner, inner space and to self empower and not need that external validation to know that their work is good and really have faith and believe in their creative abilities. And by all means, not everybody thinks art is the same. Everybody looks at it very, very differently. And kind of just recognizing that, if somebody doesn’t like a piece of art, it’s not you. You are not your art. Although it may feel like it, you are not your business, I’m not my business, although it’s so much part of who we are.

Finnian: Yeah, and perhaps the journey, you’re putting your artwork and then them not liking it, actually that is the art. The being able to receive that feedback, and then go all right we can go a complete 180 and then getting to that place like, “I think there’s magic in that as well. There’s there’s a skillset in that dynamic”. 

Katty: You know, you go to a museum and you see an incredible piece of art hanging on the wall that somebody paid millions of dollars for. And the next person looks at that piece and says, “What is that? I don’t get it. I don’t like it.” Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

One thing I wanted to ask you was the change that we’ve had in work. My company has been remote for 11 years. So the remote workspace is not a new thing for me or for my team. But I know that it is for a lot of people and for people who have traditionally been used to getting their validation from the person sitting next to them in their cubby or the person walking behind them and saying, “Hey, good job. You’re doing great.” And now they’re in this for some in a vacuum. Can you talk a little bit about self-motivation and kind of self-empowerment? And again, all goes back to that piece of just really looking inward. What tools or experiences can you share with people about motivating themselves and just lifting themselves?

Finnian: Yeah, so whenever situations change we’ve gone from a physical to a remote place. We need to understand that we still want the same feeling and we can create that feeling in a different environment. We just have to be intentional about it. 

I’ve run a remote company for years as well. They go, “How do you get the connection?” And I’m like, we have an insane connection. It is amazing when someone gets sick, the only person they hear from is a team member who sends a care package to the other side of the world, not a family member. So we’ve seen the direct evidence of the connection in teams, but it just doesn’t happen by default. It happens by design. You have to be very aware of okay, “What are our needs?” We need to have little catch-ups. We need to have a little sharing chats. 

And that’s what I would really encourage anyone who’s gone from that place is remember okay, what were the things I really enjoyed about that environment? What is it about how I felt and then how can I recreate that in a digital world in another way? So for example, if you receive validation from a person next to you, perhaps you have a little group that you just agree to that we share things with and it’s like a little cheering group. It’s a little validating Whatsapp group for example. I have that with my friends where it’s a celebration to just help ourselves being motivated. So that would be one thing I’d really focused on. 

And, then another thing, and I keep going back to these feelings but if you can get connected to an intention in the morning it is amazing what can happen. I’ve seen this. People pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to help them just connect with an intention in the morning because it’s a power move. You wake up in the morning and you smile. And I always say smile for 17 seconds at a minimum and naturally, you’ll start releasing hormones that will make you feel more joy more happy. And then get connected to an intention. 

We have the Seven Principles of Intentionality which you can connect to but it could just be my intention today is love. My intention is to feel joy, to feel pride, whatever it is, and you just get connected to the intention. And then you start seeing yourself going through that day. Feeling that level, that feeling that intention that you’ve set. And then through the day, why this intention is the magic is because every moment you have an opportunity to move closer to their intention or away from that attention. Something happens, you get triggered. And if your moment is what I want love today, you’re going to go well, “I’m not going to just suddenly react and yell at that person. Perhaps I’m going to take a breath, perhaps I’m going to respond in a way that’s going to lead me towards love, rather than trying to prove that I’m right. So I’m just going to go in and give a hug.” And then you feel a little bit more of an intention. And just that one act is going to drive all these other acts throughout the day and you’re going to get to the end of the day and where you went, “Wow I didn’t really need to plan today.” Because you didn’t, because you had a guiding force pushing you in the right direction. 

So I see that as the most powerful, motivating force you could do. Just getting connected to that morning intention and at the end of the day, reflecting on how you went against that intention. And it’s not a moment to shame yourself. It’s just like I learned some things and if I had my opportunity tomorrow, how would I do it differently? And by that, you’re just uncovering your potentially subconscious programs, which are holding you back. You’re uncovering where things in your life aren’t leading to that intention and then you get to program yourself for tomorrow to have another opportunity and I guarantee if you come up against that same situation. Once you’ve reflected on it, you will do it differently. And that’s where we really change. So it doesn’t take much to self-motivate. You just got to wake up with the intention.

Katty: And smile for 17 seconds. Love that. For sure. Thank you. You know what I really like what you’re saying, I’m going to emphasize it. An intention that is tight. It’s a feeling. It’s not an intention of, “Oh, I’m going to get my project out today.” No, it’s not your to-do list. It’s an intention that’s going to come from your heart and it’s that’s an emotion and it’s set in your feelings and you allow that to be your guide all day. Love that very much.

Finnian: And the reason why that is is because if you get too focused on your to-do list, stuff could happen that day, and something could happen. Like it could be a new job opportunity came through or something happened to a family member, we had to drop everything. And then you could look at the end of the day and because you didn’t achieve that to-do list, you could feel like a failure. And however, actually, you might have had the greatest day because you might have shown up in every circumstance with love. Or you might have just been such a good inspirer because that was your intention you wanted to inspire throughout the day, and that is more powerful. You can get caught in the to-dos and you can not go anywhere. You’ve got to connect the to-dos of the feeling but allow it to be flexible that life can change and it can play out in a different way than what you imagined.

Katty: I really really liked that. I will embrace that myself. For sure. Thank you. One final question because I know you also talk very much about financial freedom and being financially happy and you yourself were an incredibly successful entrepreneur with multiple businesses and so on and so forth. Can you just briefly, because we’re talking about the creatives out there and the freelancers out there talk a little bit about that intentionality and define financial happiness and how that kind of comes together for someone who has to be managing their finances from literally from contract to contract?

Finnian: So I’m glad you brought that in because I see there’s something which holds back a lot of creators. I think it holds back spiritual people as well, this relationship with money. And we often think we have a story, “I’m creative or artistic or I’m spiritual. It’s wrong for me to ask for money or it’s evil if I earn good amounts of money.” And I just want you to just allow yourself to just go, perhaps there’s a story running, which isn’t working for you right now. And if you go to my website for financially happy, there’s a quiz on there, so it’s financiallyhappy.com And there’s a 12 money saboteurs quiz, which is the archetype of your money story. And you’re going to uncover that you’ve got – we’ve rate the three top money saboteurs and these are personas which are in your things like the dependent, the compensator, the gambler, the hoarder, and you’re going to start seeing how this is showing up in your life and directly into interacting with you with how money shows up in your life as well. So that would be a great starting point to just even uncover a little bit about what’s happening for you. 

Now with the freelance world is often we can do the same amount of work with a different customer or a different value proposition and get a lot more money in return. And there’s no shame in that. There’s certain people who value paying a lot of money because they’re getting value extraction back. And part of our journey is to identify what is the work that we want to be doing? How do you want it to be translated into my life? There’s a reason why you’ve gone into the freelance world. It was to get more choice, more freedom, it really connected to what it is that you need from that and then start looking at ways that it’s going to make that easier. 

Perhaps you just need to position the value a little bit differently. Perhaps you need to go after a different demographic of clients. Perhaps you have to change the fee structure that you’re doing it more on project-based work rather than hours-based. And suddenly then you start getting more connected to it. And you start feeling the energy flowing through from you providing energy, through your service or your creation, then feeling that energy that translates to their life and then sending energy back to you in a monetary form. And then we have this circular form of money. And once you get connected to that, you start realizing that you can be really abundant and only you were holding yourself back from actually earning more money.

Everyone has the same opportunity out there especially now that the wonderful thing about technology in the freelance world. We all have the same opportunity, it’s just that some people are capitalizing more than others and I believe it all starts with you getting to value yourself. If you don’t value yourself, no one else can value you. We’ve seen it. Part of this with any positioning is like yeah, I’m confident in my ability of the value I can add, and naturally, then people are willing to pay more money for you for that service. Now, eventually, you get called out if you’re positioning your value more than it actually is. Eventually, you get called out but there’s a part of it where you honor the value of putting into the world and then other people will honor it as well.

Katty: You beautifully wrapped it up but bringing it back to intentionality is really being clear about who is the client, how do I want to be living my life on a day-to-day basis, and put a plan together for it and be intentional.

Finnian: Yeah, and there needs to be unconditional trust as well. Self-trust. It’s actually more than that, it’s in the universe, it’s in source energy and whatever it is. And just know that if you get really connected to what you want in life to these feelings, and then you take action towards it, it’s going to happen for you. Now in the short term evidence might show you otherwise. Like you might be like “Oh, I’m making this abundant manifestation I’m calling you all these opportunities and things.” And then the next day, you don’t get any new calls, because you’ve got bills coming through. And that’s the moment that matters. In that moment you have to get so connected to the manifestation that you did yesterday. Otherwise, you lose it. Now, the outcome of that day is not the outcome of the manifestation the day before. It’s from the unconscious manifestation you were doing two months before where you’re saying that I don’t have enough. It’s hard to get business, all of those things. That’s what’s happening. There’s always a lag so you have to be able to get connected. Even though in the short term, the evidence might be telling you otherwise. And that’s where it all happens.


Katty: When you do that when you’re in the mode for manifestation and just really putting it out there. Are you meditating in doing that? Are you journaling? What is your process to just be still?

Finnian: Yeah, so what I do first is I always start with gratitude. And I get connected to the feelings that I want to feel, this is fundamental. If you can’t feel what you’re wanting to bring in, then that means you don’t have it and you have lack and actually in your manifestation, you’re going to just attract more of it. So if I want to bring more abundance in or if I want to bring more clients in, there’s an element of me that believes that I don’t have enough right now. But there’s part of me which also knows that I have that in front of me like I can be so grateful for the clients I have right now and get connected to those feelings. I can get so grateful for the amount of money I do have right now and the choice I have. So I get that gratitude pumping through me first. So I’m in a state of having oxytocin flowing through me. I have serotonin. I feel really really wonderful. You know, that gratitude feeling you have that warm feeling in your heart. I breathe in and out of my heart because that’s the place where manifestation occurs. That doesn’t happen in the head. The head is all about fear. It’s all about the future, past. It’s like telling me why I can’t do that. So I drop into my heart. And then I start feeling those feelings that I want to bring more in because it’s activated in me already. And then I start just playing with it and I start to see how that would be possible. 

Now the key with a manifestation is you want to be as detailed as you can, but you still got to believe it. As soon as you start going on. If you hear a story, that’s not possible, you’ve gone too detailed. You need to open it up and as you get more practice with each day, you can get more and more detailed because you’ll build more and more trust and you’ll start seeing signs and that’s the fundamental thing for me. It’s all about the feelings and just playing with it and then trusting that it’s going to happen. 

Finnian: And I also journal. I also journal as well in the morning. I also will write out things. I will write out my best day. “I am having such a great day. This person called me. I got another opportunity I got a review sent to me.” And I just start playing with things like that all in like that it’s happened in present tense. I’m not hoping this has happened and I’ll just free write. And that’s a regular practice.

Katty: Oh, I see. You’re not journaling about the day before. You’re putting it out there as to what your day is going to be like. 

Finnian: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, “this felt so good, this is amazing, this opportunity came to me. I crushed this podcast.” Just whatever it was. And then how do you think you’re going to show up for the day? You’re going to show up in a way that’s going to lead to that. 

Katty: Fantastic. Well, I think this is a beautiful place to leave it at and allow people to just take a moment, sit down and write how their future day is going to look like and it comes from the heart. Thank you, Finnian for taking the time to be here. Wishing you all the best in your next travels. Tell people where they can find you.

Finnian: Wonderful, thanks Katty. So, my Instagram is TheFinnianKelly and my website is FinnianKelly.com you can get everything from there and there’s lots of resources. Just start the journey, that’s all you need to do to honor this. Just take one action, I would say you’re one breath away from intentionality because that’s a chance to change from reaction to response.