Former PR Queen Helping Women Leaders Tap Into The Power Of Self Belief To Find Their Purpose

Former Australian PR Queen turned author, Tory Archbold.

We all grow up watching superheroes on TV and in film, secretly wishing we had superpowers of our own to make us better, stronger, faster, and wiser. But perhaps we are looking in the wrong place for empowerment in those messages, because as former Australian PR maven-turned author, business coach and podcast host Tory Archbold has taught us, we already possess the powers we need within us.

Tory has spent her career working with the top celebs, public figures, designers and notable names in Australia and the US. She founded Torstar PR in 2000 and for two decades, this self-starter and entrepreneur who had no initial connections to the celebrity or fashion world (no nepo baby vibes here!) used her own grit, determination and a fierce sense of self belief to work with top retailers and brands such as Zara, Neiman Marcus, Nespresso, and Victoria’s Secret to name just a few.

When Zara opened its first Australian store in 2011 Torstar delivered one of most successful launches in retail history, attracting 22,000 people through its door on the first day and $1 million in sales. If there was a go-to PR agent in Australia, it was Tory Archbold.

But her high-flying career was certainly no indication of what was going on in her personal life behind the scenes. Tory is a survivor. As a single mom to a daughter, she dealt with an abusive partner for years which culminated in her getting authorities and the courts involved, which she talked about in an interview with Marie Claire magazine in 2019.

Enduring this ordeal wreaked havoc on her mind and body, leading to major health problems. Due to the increased amount of stress she was under, her appendix burst in 2013 and she was rushed to hospital where she had emergency surgery. After they surgery, doctors had her on life-support for 5 days and she contracted septicemia. Coming so close to the brink of death made Tory realize how lucky she was to be alive. It also made her recognize that something needed to change in her life.

She tapped into the same brand of self-belief that she employed to launch Torstar, but this time to enter into the next phase of her life and career. In 2019 Tory launched a platform called Powerful Steps, where she mentors other women business leaders to find their own self-belief on the road to success, which she describes is her hidden superpower.

In 2023 she is set to launch a new book called ‘Self-Belief is your Super Power: Unleash Your Life Purpose, Own Your Power, and Become a Magnet for Miracles‘ (April 11, 2023). She hosts a podcast series called Powerful Stories, and invites women to take her Masterclasses, workshops, programs and mentorship opportunities to heighten their leadership and careers.

We all love a good superhero story, and as it turns out, the real life super heroes may not wear capes, but they have resilience, self-belief, and purpose. We spoke with Tory on the eve of her book release in the United States to learn more about survival, entrepreneurship, and what happens when we tap into our secret super power.

You began your career in PR and were extremely successful. What were the biggest highs and lows in this industry for you? 

Meeting people who are connected to your values, knowing you are about to step into and create something extraordinary was a highlight. You attract career highlights through your value set. Mine is and always has been passion, integrity, delivery – it was a super attractor for partnerships we built with Fortune 500 companies, celebrities and influencers. That’s how I believe great brands are created and built – anchored to their values, truth, intent and purpose. The lows are when you get a truly amazing brand but the people behind the brand don’t match the values which makes for a tough working relationship.

You worked with some of the biggest names in Australian fashion and pop culture, as well as some major Hollywood celebs. While we only see the outside, was it all glitz and glam behind the scenes? 

I chose to work in an industry which had a 24/7 heartbeat. In my 20s and 30s there was no off switch as it was always game on due to high media, client and influencer demands. And yes, some of those demands were wild! When you work with passion and have the right systems in place  – anything is possible, until it’s not, because you realize you are placing everyone’s needs before your own and you burn out. I saw this happen with clients, celebrities and myself working multiple time zones with tight deadlines to bring campaigns into alignment so that the brand or business they represented could excel and deliver growth. 

We reached for the stars and crashed to the ground because we forgot to carve out time for our most important asset – our health. People who excel in this industry after burnout do so because they take time to re-shape what it is they truly want and create boundaries to propel forward in new and exciting ways. A tough lesson many learn because without our health, there is no wealth. I walked into my 40s with a more balanced approach placing what I value at the forefront of every decision.

One of the turning points for you was experiencing a major health issue. How did you navigate through this time, and what were your biggest takeaways? 

It’s been a decade since a near death experience with septicemia after my appendix burst unexpectedly 72 hours before a flight to London for a client event. I lost 8 kilos in 5 days and coming through the other side recognized I needed help. It was the universe saying ‘wake-up’ it’s time to choose which direction you are going to move in.

I was at a health retreat in Thailand and was 100% burnt out. I had adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, and this Buddhist monk sat me down and he said, “You need to learn how to meditate.” And I said, “I’m too busy to meditate.” And he said, “No one is ever too busy.” He taught me to always find space for myself in the morning, a space that allows you to tap into your intuition and most importantly a space that sets you up for success. 

I remember questioning and pressuring him with “How am I going to do that? I’ve got a global business. I’ve got a young daughter. I’m a single mom. I’ve got stuff going on.” He was not buying into my excuses and simply said, “Who do you have a shower with every day?”, and I said, “Myself”, and he said, “That’s where you’re going to meditate.”

The power of what he taught me has delivered my greatest breakthrough moments but the catch is this  – you need to slow yourself down so that you can actually listen to the inner voice from within. Start saying no to what does not set your heart on fire to create space for what does.

Some of the best creative ideas, some of the best business ideas, and some of the best project connections have come from my morning shower ritual. When you get really focused on this morning ritual, tapping into your intuition because you’ve made the time to stop and listen to yourself, to what your intuition is going to tell you, you start your day in the most powerful way because you are ready to follow the signs, and the signposts you are being shown are powerful.  

I use the same shower ritual in the evening to end my day with gratitude. Thank you for bringing this person into my life. Thank you for that project opportunity. Thank you for that connection. Honestly, I have never looked back and the future has never looked brighter.

You’ve shared in a previous interview how treating people with kindness is a non-negotiable value for you as a businesswoman. Why is this important, and what were some moments throughout your career that underscores the value of treating people well?

Kindness costs nothing – it is the art of being friendly, generous, and considerate. You never know what the other person you are connecting with has experienced. I like to place myself in their shoes to understand how I can add value to their life.

We once had a major Hollywood star for an hour for a press junket to deliver results for a client and they pre-warned me she was difficult. I was the only one that bothered to find out why she felt that way and it turned out she had a lot going on that was keeping her up at night.  She was overwhelmed and she was on contract to deliver. My approach was simple when we met to activate the results the client was expecting. I asked “Are you OK?:  The answer was “No I’m not, can we just get on with it so I can go.” 

I responded “How about we cut our time together to 45 minutes and we just focus on the outcome that is going to make you look and feel good so you have an extra 15 minutes in your day for YOU”. It put a smile on her face and we both delivered. 

By learning how to be present and in the moment you will always have the opportunity to rise, it’s how you choose to rise by empowering others that will make what you have to offer different – think of it as empathetic disruptive leadership, the ability to shift people’s perception and mindset for the better. 

Your new book is about self belief and stepping into your power. How have you embodied this throughout your career, and what are you hoping to share with readers, especially other women? 

Women just want to be happy. Happy in love, happy in friendships and happy in their chosen career.  It’s that simple yet it’s not because it takes a lot of work to wake up with a happy heart and not to feel shackled in life.

I wrote this book so that women can feel empowered by their life decisions, to understand the power of their own story and how that translates into not being afraid to level up free of judgment. Through understanding and accepting who you are – the good, the bad and the ugly  – you can clearly see that challenges will always translate into opportunities and a happy heart is a magnet for miracles.

In my career I always believed I could do anything and never questioned that fact. I started my first business at 24 and second at 44. And each time people said, “don’t do it”. That’s why self belief is my superpower and when you read this book you will discover it is also yours. When you reframe your thinking, trust yourself and follow the signs of life you align with flow. 

Sure there will be speed humps, but how boring would life be if it was picture perfect as it leaves out the opportunity to learn, grow, evolve and add value to the lives of others because you have walked the same path they might be struggling with.  The best decision you can make is to step outside of your comfort zone to find your power zone.

In your Powerful Stories podcast, you get to hear some incredible professional and personal stories from your guests. What are some moments, or stories, that made your jaw drop? 

We interview change-makers, leaders and celebrities – it’s a good mix and these two recent interviews stand out.

Carmella Galasso who shared that she was an immigrant’s daughter trying to navigate the finance industry and work out how she got there in her early thirties. Her direct report told her “you know, if you have a child, it’ll end your career?” She naively said, okay and put off having kids for another 10 years’. I was literally left speechless. She took direction from a man who was not her husband and yes she was highly successful in her career but it was one of her greatest life lessons.

I also love the passion and tenacity of guests like Emily Tisch Sussman who interviewed Hillary Clinton when she was pregnant. She was so persistent in making that interview happen and they kept moving the date and said, “I’m sorry, can you push back a week? “And she said, “If I push back a week, I will be interviewing her from my hospital bed. I am 10 months pregnant.” She went into that interview worried that she was going to go into labor. It ended up being a career pivot as the interview went viral and it placed her at the forefront of interviewing other political powerhouse women like Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris.

Why do you think so many women are reluctant to embody self-belief and be their own biggest cheerleader? 

Women fear judgment. When they take the time to understand the power of their personal story they become aware that someone, somewhere in the world has walked that same path and all of a sudden the fear of being seen, heard and stepping up to shine a light for others feels more possible. They start seeing where they can add value and become fearless because they see the VALUE they can share with others versus the fear of what people will think.

As your daughter watches your career, what kind of messages and lessons do you hope she remembers the most? 

Always believe in the power of what you can create and nothing is impossible.  View each challenge as a possibility and never be afraid to make mistakes as they are life’s greatest lessons.

How are mindfulness and spiritual practices part of your work today, and how would you encourage others to incorporate this into their busy work lives?

There is always more work that we can do on ourselves, in fact it should be a never ending journey that leads to evolution.  The secret sauce is to surround yourself with those who are by your side, cheering you on in the purest form and allow you the space to just be you.

Here are 5 powerful steps to consider that will allow you to create the space to understand who you truly are and what you want from life. 

1) If you’re feeling stuck – create a positive mantra to counter the painful thoughts  – the more you rinse and repeat the power of where you want to go your energy will shift away from the negative situation you may find yourself in.

2) Invest in doing your ‘own work’. This means understanding what patterns you need to break to get to the next level in life. You will find when you invest in working on YOU and understand your trigger points you will feel a sense of freedom to walk away from what no longer serves you by creating space for new and exciting opportunities to find you.

3) Be gentle with yourself. Don’t expect an overnight miracle to happen because it won’t find you until you’re ready.

4) If you’re in a situation which is causing you pain, accept that the other person may not apologize. That’s OK.  Remember that’s their story, not yours.  You cannot ‘fix’ someone but you do have the ability to ‘fix yourself’.  Forgive the experience and walk away to embrace other opportunities.  You don’t need to sizzle in a shit pit for one more moment of life.

5) Engage in self-care. A happy heart is a magnet for miracles. If you want to attract miracles make the time to receive them. Take time out in nature, go for a run, book a massage and switch your phone off.  The secret whispers of life will find you and you will be grateful you took the time to stop and listen to thrive.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? And if you could look back at yourself 10 years ago, what would you tell yourself? 

I love a good manifestation so this question lights me up. I see myself with a happy heart, living between the USA and Australia  adding value to the lives of millions of women around the world, helping them identify and step into their life’s purpose to shine a light for others because they believe in their own powerful brand. And ten years ago…you were on track!

You can pre-order a copy of ‘Self-Belief is your Super Power’ on Amazon, Bookshop, Indiebound, Barnes and noble, and Target. Listen to the Powerful Stories podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Amazon Music. Learn more about Tory’s Powerful Steps organization by clicking HERE. You can also follow Tory on Instagram and Facebook.

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