Four months after having my first child – Lee – my appendix burst. I was in chaos already trying to adjust to having a new baby everything got turned upside down and it was all taken out of my hands. I ended up in hospital and had to start adapting again. Thankfully my parents lived close by and my mum would come and help me every day and when it came time to go back to work she stepped in.
My parents have always been like a god send.
I managed to work part time but after nearly dying from burst appendix I really started to re-evaluate my life. I decided I wanted to work in a more meaningful way that was supportive of others as well as myself. I felt drawn to social work. I can’t remember the time frame, but with my parents and husbands support I managed to do some extra training and signed up for some voluntary work with victims support and to counsel people with drug and alcohol addictions.
It paid off as I soon landed a job managing a hostel for teenagers in care. By this time I had two children and seemed to have found my flow. However, work started to get more demanding and things weren’t good at home with my husband. We parted after 14 years of marriage and I left my career to be there for the boys.
This led me to having to think of new ways of earning money while being around more for my family so I trained as a complementary health therapist and took up meditation. I started my own business and worked the hours that suited me more.
My boys have become very adaptable and confident young men, and I like to think that it is because of my ability to adapt and change to whatever was happening in life. I can’t say that anyone inspired me to be honest, however I’m a fan of people who take a stand for what they believe in like Gandhi and Mother Teresa, and follow their heart.
Fast forward to today, I’m in an other process of adapting, as is the whole world with the global pandemic we are all experiencing. The complementary health business I started 20 years ago has now been taken away and I’m re-inventing myself once again. I’ve always had a creative side to me and love photography. I’ve been using the isolation time to deepen my knowledge and play wth different ideas which is gathering a lot of interest and positive input.
It has led me to contribute to some Oracle Cards on the theme of Motherhood which found me photographing myself pretending to be pregnant. Things I didn’t think I would be doing at 56! Its was fun though. I’m also being asked to work on images for album covers, digital booklets and unique images for business’s. I’m amazed at how many opportunities are opening up to me.
At the moment I am working with a partially sighted lady to create a project and perhaps a campaign for the RNIB around looking at things differently. We hope to raise awareness of those who are partially sighted or blind through combing our images into something completely different than what they started as. It;s very exciting. This came out of her reading an article I’d written, and asking me to do some work on some of her photos, which led me to suggest that we do it to raise money for the RNIB.
If I was to give advice to any young women thinking of starting their own business I would say follow your heart, believe you can do it and doors will start to open. Whenever you set an intention or start something new then everything moves forward from there.
Everything I did was with no money. I just had a brave heart and a will to do something worthwhile and supportive of me and my family.
I believe that there are more opportunities for woman to succeed nowadays and that yes we can still feel intimidated at times but I think men do too. Roles seem to be changing and many women are in jobs of power. There is always the chance of success or opportunities to learn and grow, it’s about taking them with both hands and running with it.
I love how my latest venture is unfolding. I get the opportunity to create and do the things I love. I think the best decision I ever made was to step out of the rat race and create my own vision of what I want and to trust that it was possible.
Managing time has been a challenge for me at the moment since the pandemic I just seem to be working as and when I feel inspired. However I have set my days and times so having those in place has really helped me to gain balance again. I decided how many days and hours I want to work a week and stick to it. It has been liberating.
When I think about myself and my strengths and weaknesses I would say that I am great at visioning ideas and can the potential of where they could lead, however my struggle is seeing it through and having collaborators to support me. This seems to be getting addressed as I’m more willing to accept other peoples input and really enjoy collaborating with others. It becomes more synergistic and nurturing for me, plus I feel like I’m getting somewhere.
I’m a big fan of meditation and have sat several Vipassana courses which involves sitting in silence in meditation for 10 days. It gives me peace and has become part of who I am. When I’m not working I’m walking with friends, meditating, reading inspirational books like The Power Of Now Eckhart Tolle, or writing. I love the way my practise inspires me.
It helps me to gain clarity. When I need to make a decision I tend to write down the pro’s and cons, what purpose I want to achieve and steps I could take to get me there. I’m very methodical in that way.
I always trust in life and feel totally supported so I suppose my secret is to follow my instincts, listen to my heart, run things by friends then take the steps necessary. It keeps me motivated to keep going and not feel deflated. I love to see what it is possible to create from nothing.
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