How did the founder of The Liberators International discover his own inner-voice?

Uncovering your inner-voice Peter Sharp
Peter Sharp speaking at TEDxPerth

Self-described as a ‘peacemaker’, Peter brings members of the public together through social actions–like dancing on a train–to show us that we’re not bound by the stories and expectations of our society, our family or our friends. In fact quite the opposite.

The message is: we can, and will, create our own unique story. A story true to our inner-calling, a story which both fulfills us and inspires the rest of humanity to do the same.

I had to know what Peter’s journey was before founding The Liberators International, and how he’d discovered his own inner-voice. We dive right into his early years and the things which needed to happen before he could start blazing his own path in life.

This episode is packed full of the good stuff.

Show Highlights and Takeaways


  • Being teased in childhood happens quite a lot. Knowing that you are full and amazing already takes the charge out of what other people say because you know what they’re saying isn’t true.
  • Our differences are part of the unique people we are. Embracing our differences is an empowering thing to do.

Where Do You Feel Humanity Is at Now?

  • Peter: I feel humanity is at a crossroad. We are being called to collectively rethink how we do things, or to put our heads under the sand and keep doing what we’re doing.
  • I feel that more and more of us are waking up to another path, to change the story that the Earth is on right now.
  • Much of humanity is emotionally and mentally consumed in maintaining yesterday’s story: “I need to keep working because I want to provide my family with the best future possible.”
  • We are just figuring out that we live on a finite planet. You can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet.
  • We’re a bit stuck as a race because we’re surrounded by the messages of yesterday’s story – which is about gaining material wealth and success.
  • More of us are realising that we need to help the Earth.
  • A forest doesn’t grow excessively in a few places and not at all in others, it grows together as one forest.

How Did The Liberators Start? What Needed to Happen Before You Started Dancing on the Train?

  • Peter: I first needed to truly discover myself.
  • I didn’t know what I wanted to do or what I wanted to become. I just knew I wanted to discover my passion. I knew ‘passion’ existed but I wasn’t exactly sure of what it was. I wanted to feel excited to get up in the morning and start working.
  • I moved to Barcelona and spent a month and a half in complete silence. I discovered that in my own space I was able to find myself. I slowly started to quieten my mind.
  • I realised in my own country with my own friends and family there were all of these social expectations, “How’s the job going? How’s the Uni degree going?” And it’s so easy to get lost in that.
  • “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself not the life others expected of me.” –The biggest regret of the dying. I heard those words in the silence and knew that I didn’t want to get to the end of life and realise I was living someone else’s dream.
  • I looked around and saw almost everybody focused primarily on earning money. I didn’t see enough inspiring role models who were standing up for what they truly believed in that wasn’t just about making money. So I started creating these actions.

How Did It Feel When Your Inner-Voice Was Coming Through?

  • Peter: It felt like a distant telephone call. In that silence I was able to hear that call. I was able to pickup that phone and start listening to what my true-self was wanting and not feeling satisfied with.
  • I realised I wanted to wake up in the morning and love what I do. So I started meeting with other passionate people. I wanted to find out how they found their passion and turned it into a reality they were getting payed for.

Finding Mentors

  • Peter: Part of my evolution has been having mentors in my life. I was looking to create a life where I had the freedom of time to create what I wanted to create and not come home at the end of 8hours and not have any energy left.
  • My idea of success was having enough money to do what you wanted to do but also having the free-time to go and do whatever you wanted to do.
  • I think mentors are everywhere in this world and subconsciously looking to pass their knowledge on.

What It Takes to Follow Your Path

  • Peter: It takes courage to dare to create the life you want to live.
  • It’s easy to follow the expectation of what you should do, and follow someone else’s path.
  • I believe the most underused resource on the planet is the human resource. It’s operating way below its potential at the moment.
  • One of the hardest parts is going through not knowing what you’re capable of and trying to find it while not having your own answers, and everyone else is running around you with their own answers about what’s possible and what’s not.
  • Ben: You can’t sit someone down and say, “let’s discover your infinite potential today.” I feel it’s a naturally evolving process that every individual comes to in their own time.

Why Did You Go Away From Home and Travel?

  • Peter: I realised I studied something that was expected of me. I studied to become an accountant. I realised I was living the life of expectation – to get a safe job and do something that people trusted.
  • What I found fascinating and terrifying at the same time was that all through university I thought I was on the right path. But what I realised being away from home and having a snapshot of my own inner-voice, I realised that wasn’t me. I didn’t want to become an accountant.
  • I was telling everyone I was going to become and accountant and yet that wasn’t even me. As a consequence of that it put my entire life into question. If I thought that was my future, what are my other assumptions that are based on expectation? What parts of me are actually me and what parts are expected of me?
  • That was part of the motivation to get away from Australia to uncover the truth of who I really am without the expectations from friends and family. I wanted to re-discover and re-create myself.

How Did It Feel to Follow Your Path?

  • Peter: At first it was incredibly terrifying to listen to that voice, to dare to even listen to the voice that’s putting my entire life into question. And that’s why I think so many of us don’t do it.
  • But in the Netherlands I had experienced just a little bit of that inner-voice – and there’s nothing to compare it to.
  • When you do start walking your path there are little energetic releases which you can feel in your body and you can just keep going and going, working on your passion.

What Needed to Happen Before You Started Dancing on the Train? (revisited)

  • Peter: Before standing up on the train I needed to go through some massive transformations.
  • I hitchhiked 1,500km from Croatia to Spain in a business suit – one day in a business suit and one day in normal clothing.
  • I had never thought that that was ever going to be possible for me. This was in countries I had never travelled to before.
  • I took the risk and many crazy things happened along the way. I was pushed to many of my limits. I really had to put my faith in humanity. And I came back from that trip having turned the impossible into the possible. This realisation quite literally turbo-charged my entire existence.
  • I realised that what my thoughts were telling me was impossible, my actions were still able to do. This again put my entire life into question because all the things I thought were impossible in my life were now no longer sealed off as impossible things.
  • There was also a fear-driven part of my inner voice telling me it was a bad idea to go on the trip, but I knew I’d been in situations before where I’d been just as afraid and still gotten through to the other side.
  • More often than not you’ve got the skills to get yourself through.

How Did You Take Action Despite Your Fears?

  • Peter: I tried not to get lost in the grand scheme of things and the unknown elements. Let’s stick to what we do know. I broke it down into smaller steps and the things I knew how to do.
  • Ben: So one step at a time. I think this is an important point for me to remember. They’re your steps, they’re not someone else’s steps.
  • We’ve all heard stories of how people hitchhike or do these crazy things and think we have to do it like that too. But you were just breaking it down into your comfortable steps.
  • Peter: That really helped me dissipate the fear a little bit.

What Was the First Social Action?

  • Peter: We decided to brighten people’s day by welcoming tourists who were arriving on the airport bus in Barcelona. When the bus came we got really excited and congratulated them and gave them free maps, clothing, hugs and high-fives.
  • They were so shocked when they realised we didn’t want anything from them. I saw their authentic smiles and the relief in their eyes.
  • I realised this is really powerful. And I can’t believe how under explored it is to give to members of the public in a positive way without expecting anything from them.
  • There is a lot to be explored there. And that’s a lot of what I do now – exploring the potential of the public space and creating love and unity in those spaces.
  • It was love. The moment I saw their reactions I knew this is what I wanted to do.

Travelling Through India – Reciprocity Experiment

  • Peter: Travelling with a mission or purpose changed my whole way of travelling.
  • I wanted to give myself another challenge before I went home. I wanted to explore the idea of reciprocity. I wanted to selflessly give to others and see what happened.
  • I offered to help banana sellers for a full day without expecting anything in return. More often than not they would invite me back to their homes at the end of the day to stay with them and share a meal with their family.
  • I was reflecting on what had happened in Spain, and the social movement I had started. It’s interesting that when you move away from your life geographically you can see the bigger picture of your life.
  • I realised I had been being myself in Spain – creating actions and experiences – and humanity came flocking in and wanted to help it flourish. That was something incredibly special. I realised this is why I’ve been put on this planet.

Returning to the World of Expectations

  • Peter: I knew when I returned to Australia I would be faced with the expectations of my family and friends. Expectations of what they feel will be the best for you. But sometimes them wanting the best for you is hugely under selling your potential.
  • Ben: Often the words of our parents and siblings carry the most weight and power. So the expectations which can come flooding back are immensely powerful and can really shake you around.
  • Peter: And that’s why it’s so important to uncover your inner-voice. Because if you have access to your inner-voice, no matter what people are telling you, it’s not going to waver you because you now know why you’re here.
  • It was really hard coming home. I wanted to write a book about my experiences in India and my parents wanted me to get a job, my friends were asking when I was going to get serious with life.
  • They couldn’t see the future in what I was doing – creating social acts of kindness. But that’s part of what inspired me, to show my family and friends what we can do when we shift the paradigm of the public space.
  • The Earth needs us to send inspiring messages to each other, to inspire each other to believe we have what it takes to re-write the collective story. And that’s part of what I’m doing with these actions. I’m sending out ripples throughout all of humanity. To show people we’ve got the skills to step in a different direction.

Have There Been Moments of Doubt and Uncertainty About Living Your Passion?

  • Absolutely. There’s no path to follow. But the inner-voice is hugely powerful.

Finding the Belief to Follow Your Passion

  • Peter: If you find a way to start living parts of your passion and you notice other people also want to see you get that passion going – that’s a sign your onto something. But you’ve got to dare to stand up and say, “hey, this is what I’m passionate about.”
  • Go find other people who support your passion or at least living their own passion. Try not to take too much advice from people who aren’t already living their passions.
  • Try not to get too caught up with how quickly things start happening or not happening.
  • Ben: We can so easily squash our passions with our own expectations, wanting it to produce an outcome in a certain amount of time. But if it’s something we like to do, then give it the space. Give yourself the space to explore it and to investigate.
  • Peter: Make the choice to become an indispensable person. Where what you provide is so unique and so you that it can’t be replaced.Ben: I feel that happens so naturally if you’re taking action on your path. You don’t have to try and be indispensable, you already are.

What’s the Biggest Thing You’ve Learned in Life So Far?

  • You are loved, perfect, whole and complete – as you are. It’s given me the confidence to follow my own path because I knew I was whole, complete and worthy of love.
  • That’s a fundamental thing. To love yourself is so massive. If you’re not loving yourself and feeling complete in who you are then you’re constantly chasing other things for approval and trying to do things to get accepted and feel whole, when really the answer is already there.

What Piece of Advice Would You Like to Give Your 16year-Old Self?

  • Don’t be afraid of making more mistakes. You’re doing the right thing. Keep following your heart and spreading love and keep staying passionate and following what gets you energised. You’re going to get through this.

Mentioned in this Episode