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Don’t Let Fear Tell You That You Can’t – Bron Stange –  Australia

Who are you?

I’m the founder of Bopo Women, Bron Stange a natural body-positive, feminist skincare brand. I’m also a former law student, eating disorder survivor, proud Aquarian, feminist, coffee addict and mum to the best dog that’s ever lived, my Cavoodle Nala. I’m also deeply passionate about the power that conscious business and spending has to change the world and love nothing more than seeing people do the work they were put on this earth to do.

What is your business?

Bopo Women is a natural body-positive, feminist skincare brand taking on the beauty industry with products that encourage self-care, self-love and feeling good in your skin. Our products have been created with therapeutic experience at the forefront and have been crafted to help women cultivate self-love and self-care rituals in their lives.

How long have you been in business?

Since September 2017.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

Being a business owner has been a completely unexpected, yet utterly magical, twist of fate in my life. To me, being a business owner means having a powerful tool to change the world and create new ways of relating to each other and ourselves. I became an entrepreneur as a result of my own painful experience with an eating disorder and wanting to do something to help women love our bodies. Creating feminist, body positive skincare was my way of changing the beauty industry and it’s harmful messaging from the inside.

Who has been your greatest influence in business and personal life and why?

I think the greatest influence in my business life so far has been Julie Parker of Beautiful You Coaching Academy and the Priestess Podcast. I admire so much how she’s created a beautifully aligned, authentic and social conscious business and platform and continues to constantly learn and evolve with absolute transparency and vulnerability. In my personal life, I don’t feel like I’m influenced by anyone in particular and am more inspired by all of the incredible women I meet bravely creating businesses and lives that are truly aligned with who they are.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Launching a skincare business with no experience in the industry and just a vision and determination. Just starting and seeing it all come to life has been incredible! Leaving behind a potential corporate law career and instead leaping into what my heart wanted to create is definitely the thing I’m most proud of so far.

What do you do to inspire women?

Through Bopo Women, I help women to question the harmful standards the beauty industry proliferates and reconnect with their bodies. Our products remind them of their own inherent beauty and that they are already enough.

What inspirational qualities do you possess?

This is a hard one! Maybe not caring about conventional wisdom, social norm and rules and just doing my own thing! I think I also have some extraordinary patience levels when it comes to my business thanks to my experience recovering from an eating disorder which really taught me how to sit with the uncomfortable.

Whats your advice for other women that may want to do what you do?

Don’t let fear tell you that you can’t. That you aren’t enough or that you don’t have the right degree, qualification or experience. If you have a vision and you feel really passionate about bringing it to life you can do it. However, I’d also say if you don’t have this kind of passion for your business it may be difficult to find the resilience and inner strength to get through the hard days and weeks. Knowing how much I believe that the world, and women, need Bopo Women, has gotten me through the periods of ambiguity and frustration and I know that belief will continue to do so.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to Inspiring Women Today?

Test everything. Keep trying different angles. Have patience and believe in your vision. Also, nothing is ever as good or as bad as you think. Stay grounded! I’d also say don’t assume that just because something worked for another business it will work for yours. While you can of course always learn from others, sometimes you need to trust your gut and go with what seems right for you and your business that might not align with conventional wisdom.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

Walks in nature and by the sea, drink tequila, find new amazing coffee places, yoga, shamefully binge watch reality tv, read about astrology and learn tarot, listen to podcasts, dream up new business ideas and cook delicious food.

What’s the best way for the our Inspiring Women Today members and blog guests to connect with you?

Website:  www.bopowomen.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/bopowomen

The GFC was the best and worst time for me – Julianne Davies – Australia

 

If you had asked me 10 years ago what I would be doing in 10 years the answer would not be working as a professional direct seller selling high end anti ageing skin care and devices. I probably would have told you I would be managing a team of sales professionals in one of the 5 star hotels in Brisbane.

You see I had enjoyed an amazing and exciting career in tourism and hospitality spanning over an 18-year period. I loved working in the industry, it was exciting and the travel opportunities were amazing.. however life changed and when my son was born I faced the difficult decision – what to do about my career?

What I could not get past was how I was going to manage the juggle of working full time with a baby. At the time my son was born life was chaotic – my husband had just bought into the family electrical contracting business, we had just sold our family home and were building a new one and my employer at the time advised that going part time was not an option.

What was I to do? I loved what I did but I really could not see how it was all going to work, my job was not a typical 9-5 tick and flick role, there were industry events to attend, usually after normal business hours, breakfast meetings with clients, wining and dining of prospective clients .. how would I do all of that AND be a mum to a baby that did not understand tender deadlines or the importance of maintaining KPI’s.

So I made the decision to leave my career, deciding that raising my child and supporting my husband was the right thing to do for now.. I say for now because I knew that this was never going to be enough long term.

During that time the best and worst thing happened to us and that thing was the GFC – the Global Financial Crisis. It was devastating for my husbands business; over night the phones stopped ringing and the work dried up. It was also at the same time my husband decided to enlist the services of a business coach. This was by far the best thing that happened because during the coaching sessions we found out about LEVERAGED INCOME. I had never heard of it before and remember writing it down to Google later.

It was during this research on leveraged income – where you do the work once and you get paid repeatedly for doing that one piece of  work – that I discovered Direct Selling, or MLM (Multi – Level – Marketing) after reading the book by Robert Kiyosaki Business Of The 21st Century.

I had been first introduced to direct selling previously, but to be honest I thought that I was way too important with a real job to look at direct selling where you sold over priced products to your family and friends who really only bought from you once because they felt sorry for you.

Boy was I wrong! After doing some due diligence I realised that done well and choosing the right company, marketing the right products you can build a very successful business that requires no staff, no stock, can be built in any country where the distribution channel exists and could provide a lucrative income based on your individual efforts and the combined efforts of others AND it was the perfect business model for those seeking leveraged income.

I could not believe that I had dismissed this business model years previously because I was not open to new opportunities.. what an idiot.

Once I understood the model I then set out to partner with a direct selling business that ticked my boxes – I had to love the products, they had to be consumable – I wanted repeat business, they had to be unique and in demand – no use renting videos, look how that turned out for Block Buster, the company had to be rock solid and the financial rewards had to be there, I wanted to be well rewarded for my efforts and the sales team I was going to create.

Once I had decided on the company I then set out building a business, you see right from the get go I treated it like a business. I tracked my expenses and my income; I tested and measured my activities based on my results. Was it perfect – NO – is it rewarding – YES.

Now down the track I have a thriving and growing direct selling business. I successfully transferred all my existing and learnt some new sales and marketing skills, which I apply in my business today. I am still partnered with the same company I partnered with when I first joined the ranks of direct selling and to be honest life and business keeps getting better.

My greatest reward is helping men and women look and feel younger at every age but to also provide a partnership opportunity to create a new stream of income whether it be to by the extras in the weekly shop, or pay for the kids school fees or in my case replace my corporate salary working smarter not harder. Direct Selling is not for everyone but it is for me. My only regret is I had opened my eyes to the possibility sooner.

If you want to contact Julianne you can on the following:

Divorce is the end of the relationship, not the end of life – Revathi Mohan – India

 


I was born in a highly conservative family in a town called Tiruchengode (Tamilnadu, India). Like most of the girls in my community, I completed my Masters with Distinction. And of-course, it is a symbol of esteem to complete an Engineering Degree or a Master Degree – Strictly ‘No’ to the job.

Till then life for me was one and only my family, to get a good name to my family members – that too based on the subject score and the words from my teacher. Those days girls will not be appreciated and encouraged much if they achieved something other than academics. After 2 years of groom hunt – with the approval from the astrologer and the groom’s first circle (no doubt, to approach the people who only gave positive words about the guy just because astrologer gave positive remarks), I got married. It didn’t last even for 10 days.

I was born in a social circle where good girls must tolerate all the non-sense attitude of the groom’s house. Even though they disrespect us to the core out of insecurity and low self-esteem.  He verbally abused me. Within a week of marriage, tortured me to the core and also said, this is your final day – threatened me to get ready with the suicide note. I was petrified. I realized, his intention behind this marriage is not to live a happy life with me. I was shattered. I heard the worst statement I ever hear in my life- ‘Why do you smile at guest – are you trying to flatter them’ – so far I heard ‘Smile’ is the basic respect we give to the other human being. I was not allowed to talk with neither the guest nor anyone at his home.

I tried my best to make my parents to realize his attitude. I was clueless what I am going to do next. I am okay to go with the flow.  I took a decision and discussed with my family members that, I don’t deserve to live this kind of life, no matter what- I just want to come out of this.

The impact they left in 10 days remained for 3 years in my life- I was on medication for a year and therapy for couple of years.

I experienced the definition of Depression.

I was ashamed to meet my loved ones- It reminded their toxic words not to talk with anyone.

I used to cry for no reason when I see for paper and pen – that reminds he compelled me to write a suicide note

I got to fear for my favourite food and restaurant  – since he said he mix poison in that

I got fear to travel – since he tried to crash the car which my father complimented for my wedding just because I was not ready to write suicide note.

My hands shivered like anything. I just wake up in the mid of night and cried for no reason.  I could not hold a glass full of water to drink. I was scared of everything – even to cross the road without a companion was a biggest achievement.

Then I took a decision – I don’t want to give any reason to anyone to follow my instinct. All I could feel is , ”I don’t deserve to live this kind of worst life”

2013- I got married and applied for divorce.

Then I joined in college studied full time Masters in counselling Psychology.

It was absolute pain to sit in the classroom and listen how to handle the pain.  There are days I run out of the class and cry for no reason.

There are days I was unable to focus on any therapy.

I got absolutely very good friends during my college days who hug me everyday and say I am perfect

On 2013 my birthday I was a depressed patient in a hospital and at 2014 I was a psychologist intern at a hospital. I found a Year can do a lot to a person based on the choice they made.

I passed out in the year 2015 and I was the first student who got placed in my department

Placed at an reputed Engineering College as the first CounsellingPsychologist.

Yes, the two gentle men created a job for me.

2016-   Quit my job and started travelling just to explore about people and lifestyle.

Interviewed amazing personalities right from Mrs.India, Padma Bhushan Awardee( highest civilian award in India) Member of Parliament, Lawyers, Educational Institute Founder, Students, Spiritual Gurus , Road side sellers etc

Found the answer for ‘what matters the most and where the real happiness is’

2017-   I started to write snippets and blogs , then I wrote a book about parenting ‘ The Smile Syrup’

Now, Revathi, The Author – ‘The Smile Syrup’

Am sure now I am the reason behind the Smile of Millions

And now my parents are proud of me for the difference I am making in people’s life. Talking with strangers – listening to their problems- giving a clarity in their life and making an impact is a bliss. And it takes years and so many hardships to realise this thing.

I hate people call me victim or survivor. I don’t want people to pity me and I don’t want to play a safe victim game. I always want to be a person who tries hard to get what I deserve.

I realised it is my responsibility to change my identity. Of course yes, the person who could save me is only me. The choices I consider and the decision I chose matters a lot. Even though, my father is financially and socially secured I haven’t experienced this kind of bliss even before.

What I am now today is because of the kind of people I chose to be with  and the kind of life, I want to live and to the kind of person I wish to make the positive impact . I do counselling and make people really okay with my presence. I am happy and feel content that I make difference in their lives. Life is once, nobody deserves to live an unhappy life.

I realize, not all the men are cruel. I was compelled by someone to write a suicide note and I was inspired by someone to write my book ‘The Smile Syrup’.

2018-  I framed my own module and started a story telling session  for parents.

It’s my prudence and persistence makes me to reach the place where I am today.

One life changing statement in my life,

IF YOU DIDN’T GO BEHIND WHAT YOU WANT YOU NEVER GET WHAT YOU DESERVE.

Now I am proud to say, if you know me a year back – I say, ‘ sorry that’s not me- everyyear my growth is  strong and allow me to re-introduce myself’.

Mum Life – Work, Kids & Every In Between – Leanne Fuller – Australia

How did I come to work from home?

It is always an interesting journey when you become a mother and know that there is something more to life than working around the clock and trading time for money.

Naturally after the birth of my first daughter I looked for opportunities to work from home – I aligned with a network marketing company but I soon found that it wasn’t my true passion and within 5 months of Evie’s birth I had returned back to the workforce.

My personal life and career collided at lightning speed with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in my mother. I thought I had it all worked out with having my mum and sister looking after Evie while I went back to work. I felt torn working for money and in my career or giving up that freedom and flexibility to become a stay at home mum.

I tried unsuccessfully I might add at the time to be at home working a business I wasn’t truly passionate about and all the of demands of being a mum, sister and daughter. My mental health began to suffer and I felt like my identity was being stripped away. I was flailing around in every aspect of my life.

Soon after I returned back to nursing in hospitals and working night shift so that I could make money and still care for my daughter. This also naturally took a toll and we made a decision to send Evie to daycare. I got back into the groove and we found out we were expecting Audrey.

I worked up until 37.5 weeks pregnant because financially we needed the support of the money I was able to bring in.

Post pregnancy the days and nights blurred into one – but I knew importantly I didn’t want to repeat the history of my first post partum journey. I wanted to take control of my health – physically, mentally and financially. I lacked energy, ate almost everything I could get my hands on and lived off caffeine and sugar. I wasn’t turning up as the Mum or wife I wanted to be.

5 weeks after Audrey was born I contacted a good friend and asked her what she was doing.I had watched her journey for the best part of 2 years but knew I wanted a health solution.

So I started the cellular cleanse program I now can’t go a day without putting into my body. Within a week I had energy to burn, my body recalibrated from craving junk and processed foods I even went 21 days without a coffee.For anyone who knew me this was a miracle in itself. I started to sleep better and so did my baby.

It wasn’t just the physical transformation but the group of people who surrounded me – my sense of purpose soared.I was surrounded by positive and like minded people who pushed me to be the best version of myself and spiritually I also became a better person. I started to have faith and pray to God. On a personal level life was definitely not easy at the time post birth of Audrey and I am forever thankful for saying yes to putting myself first.

Naturally when I started to gain results I wanted to look at the business opportunity and knew that I was aligning with a company and products that I am truly passionate about.

I have a well balanced lifestyle with working my home business, spending quality time with my loved ones and have resumed nursing one day a week whilst I build up my business and a legacy I can be proud of developing for my children and generations to come.

About the Author

I am a Melbourne mum of 2 girls Evie 3 years,Audrey 7 months old and a stepson Dom who is 11.

I have always had a passion for caring for people and health and wellness. So it was natural for me to be drawn to my calling as a registered nurse in busy hospitals around Melbourne specialising in Emergency and Intensive Care.

However as with most careers although flexibility has always been an option it came at a cost to spending time with my children and husband.

You can contact Leanne on email at leannemh@hotmail.com or visit her FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/leannefullerhealthandwellnesscoach/

 

I’m So Glad I Did it My Way Because I’m Here To Tell The Story – Anni Diamond – Australia

This is not just another cancer story. 1 in 2 Australians will be faced with this disease.

How did I attract this disease? Well nearly 20 years ago my husband had an accident which left him with an acquired brain injury, which years later manifested into dementia. Years and years of grieving for a stranger and feeling total resentment for having my life ripped away from me took its toll on my body. Life as we knew it was gone. We had to find a new normal. Losing our income and having to make every decision on every topic, from finance, to meal planning, to entertainment, to raising a family, rehabilitating my husband, to generating income and everything in between wore my body down.

After my husband’s accident, I was forgotten. Suddenly it was all about him. All our friends would be asking how he was. No one thought to ask how I was. Probably a good thing that they didn’t, because I was slowly dying inside and if someone had asked me how I was, I would have let rip.

On the outside, it looked like I was coping, but on the inside I was screaming out for help. There’s no book that tells you how to navigate brain injury let alone dementia. Constantly living on adrenaline and emotions played havoc with my immune system until eventually my body couldn’t fight for its own life. On November 23, 2013 I was told I had Colorectal Cancer.

Stage IV with lung mets. I had to find a way to live with this inconvenient disease while I found ways to heal my body and look after my husband who was diagnosed with dementia one month before my diagnosis. I did not want mainstream intervention. I wanted adjunctive/alternative therapies.

I’m so glad I did it my way because I’m here to tell the story. I’ve seen many of my cancer buddies come and go. Many of my cancer buddies who chose conventional medicine, died before their time, not from the disease, but from the treatment. That was not going to be me. The mental gymnastics one goes through to stay sane and keep moving forward is unbelievable. I often ask myself how I have kept it all together.

Cancer is about living, not dying.

I researched, I interviewed doctors and practitioners from different corners of the globe all the while looking for answers. There are amazing therapies available and also tests that you can have (not in Australia) that can tell you exactly what will cause apoptosis or the cancer cells. Having all of this information was paramount to me getting on with the job of healing, keeping my family from falling apart with fear and running my small business. I needed to have income to pay for my treatments. Because I chose not to have the traditional poison that our current system offers, there is no Medicare rebate, nor does my private health fund “coff” up any funds. You are totally on your own with this and if the disease doesn’t kill you, the financial stress of the disease just might.

The saddest part of this disease is that if you buck the system and choose to do it the way I’ve done it, people use up all their money just to stay alive, and then when you kick it’s arse, you have nothing left except your health. No house, no super and no money in the bank. The stress of that alone, could set off cancer. I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars saving my bones.

Cancer has been a gift in many ways. It has taught me so much about myself and about others. Cancer is not a journey, it’s a marathon and you need to become a warrior.

This marathon you are running requires constant navigation. I treated this disease like I ran my business. I had a plan and executed it, but was prepared to tack into the wind and make changes when necessary. Having cancer set me on a different path. I was getting calls from strangers asking me what I was doing to be well. So I shared with those that wanted to listen.

Today, my small business looks very different from the business I had before the disease. I don’t have all the answers, but after 4 years of keeping myself healthy and well I certainly know a thing or two about this disease and more importantly, I know what I would do to prevent it in the first place.

I now offer electro lymphatic drainage and thermography in my business.

Sending healing hugs to all the readers.

Anni

About the Author

Anni Diamond is a mother, carer, business owner and cancer thriver. She lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Her life has been a roller coaster ride of business success and failures. From the first chain of health clubs in Australia with her husband in the 1980’s, to becoming the largest private provider of education in the country, making BRW’s list of top Australian exporters in the 90’s, having 13 local colleges and being a leader in education for overseas students. In 2015 Anni was inducted into the Australian Beauty Industry Hall of Fame. Anni is passionate about sharing her strategies for success, but more than this found her voice after a diagnosis of Stage IV colo rectal cancer. She was only offered palliative chemo and radiation, which she didn’t want. This led Anni on a new journey of searching for her own cure using adjunctive/alternative therapies and sharing that knowledge with those that are open to receiving it.

www.bodythermography.com.au

www.lymphaticdrainagegoldcoast.com.au

A Survivors Lesson on Resilience – Ria Story – USA

At 12 years old, the secret that I carried around with me was ugly, dark, and dirty. I was too ashamed to tell anyone my father would wait until we were at home alone and then he would make me dress up so he could take pictures of me. He would tell me that it wasn’t a sin because God had given me to him. He told me that no one else would understand.

It progressed as I got older. By the time I was 17 he was regularly having sex with me and would bargain with me for sexual favours in return for something like an outing with my friends. He said he wanted to give me an ultimate experience in life. An ultimate experience meant lots of things. One time it meant taking nude pictures of me riding my horse. One time it meant tying me up naked, putting a gag in my mouth, and beating me with a riding crop until I was black and blue.  One time it meant watching another man have sex with me. And, then they changed places. Life was almost not worth living – and I considered a razor blade and a tub of warm water to end it.

At 19, I met a knight in a shiny Camaro who helped me escape. I left home soon after meeting him, leaving behind the father who abused me and the mother who blamed me for it. I didn’t have a job, a car, or even a high school diploma. I had a few pillow cases stuffed with clothes, no money, and few options. After I left, I built a wall around what happened to me. To survive, I locked my past up tight behind that wall and threw away the key.

But, it’s not what happens to us in life that’s most important. It’s who we become because of it.

I started my career working as a waitress in a pizza restaurant. I was waiting tables and picking up the half eaten leftover pizza crusts off the floor for $2.13 an hour plus any tips the lunch buffet customers chose to leave. There’s nothing wrong with that. It was good work, and I was glad to get it. But, it didn’t take long to realise I didn’t want to stay there the rest of my life. I set my goals high and started working to achieve them. I worked my way through college and up through the ranks. At times, I was working two jobs and going to school full time. It took me ten years to graduate with my MBA. But, I did it, and I maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout my college career.

I had a very successful career in the healthcare field, spending several years in upper management, including working as the Director of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs for a large healthcare organisation.

In 2013 at a conference, I heard motivational speaker Les Brown say, “You have a story to tell and someone needs to hear your story.” I knew I had a story. I just didn’t want to tell it. I wasn’t sure I could. For more than 20 years the bonds of shame, fear, and pain had kept me silent.

Mark Twain said, “The two greatest days in your life are the day you are born and the day you discover why.” On August 14, 2013, I found my “why” and shared my story publicly for the first time.

We all experience pain, grief and loss at some point in life. Resilience is learning not just to survive, but thrive. Resilience is rising from the ashes of what happens to us in life and becoming more brilliant because of the flames. Resilience is the difference between “I didn’t die” and “I learned to live again.”

We can’t always control what happens in life but we can control what we think, feel, and what we do about what happens in life. As Viktor Frankl said, “When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Overcoming adversity in life is a journey. And, if a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, don’t just take the first step and stop. Take a step forward each and every day. It’s important to move forward consistently and it’s important to realise joy comes from within, regardless of our situation. Joy is not a product of our circumstances, it’s a choice we make.

I left my corporate career in 2014 to pursue my calling full time. 10 books, a TEDx talk, and several years later, I work with organisations and individuals who want to develop resilience and increase influence in life and leadership.

I don’t share my story so anyone will feel sorry for me. I share my story so everyone can say, “If she can do it, I can do it.” We can take what life hands us and be bitter about it or better because of it. Your life story isn’t about what happens to you. It’s about what you do and who you become from that moment on. What matters is the rest of your story.

About the Author

Like many, Ria faced adversity in life. Raised on an isolated farm in Alabama, she was sexually abused by her father from age 12 – 19. Desperate to escape, she left home at 19 without a job, a car, or even a high school diploma. Ria learned to be resilient, not only surviving, but thriving. She worked her way through college, earning her MBA with a cumulative 4.0 GPA, and had a successful career in the corporate world of administrative healthcare.

Ria’s background includes more than 10 years in administrative healthcare with several years in management including Director of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs for a large healthcare organisation. Ria’s responsibilities included oversight of thousands of organisational policies, organisational compliance with all State and Federal regulations, and responsibility for several million dollars in Medicare appeals.

Today, Ria is a resilience and leadership speaker and author of 10 books. Ria was selected three times to speak on stage at International John Maxwell Certification Events. Motivational speaker Les Brown also invited Ria to share the stage with him in Los Angeles, CA. Ria and her husband, Mack Story, co-founded Top Story Leadership. Ria works with organisations who want to develop resilience and increase influence in life and leadership.

Get in touch:

Email: ria@riastory.com

Website: RiaStory.com

LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com/In/RiaStory

Twitter: @Ria_Story

Instagram: Ria.Story

Tired of Living by Everyone Else’s Rules – Marva Johnson-Jones – London

You’re tired of living by everyone else’s rules, of having to hide who you truly are, of pretending you don’t want something more out of life. Yeah, I’ve been there. At some point, you have to take control of your life and forge your own path.

Alone

It should have been shocking, but for me it was normal. I stood in the background, watching my great aunt bark orders at her male employees. The men stood around obediently, seemingly inhaling her every word. I thought all women were in charge of the world like that, why wouldn’t they be?

My great aunt was my sole guardian after my mother abandoned me and moved to another country. I was treated like a precious doll, and showered with all the things money could buy. The lazy days under my great aunt’s orange tree in Jamaica would have been idyllic if I hadn’t been so lonely. For all the toys I had, I was friendless, kept safely inside the walls of my great aunt’s compound like a jewel to be kept under lock and key.

My absentee father would enter my life on occasions, treating me like a temporary fix he needed to get out of his system. He’d show up and we’d be inseparable, and then he’d vanish just as quickly as he appeared. I wanted for nothing but it was hard to find something stable and solid to hold onto.

At aged 9 I was whisked away from one gilded cage to another when I was put on a plane to a foreign country, my mother, by now a stranger met me at the airport. I arrived in London into my mum’s upturned life, where she’d nestled herself
comfortably in an abusive relationship. Seeing my mother as the passive object of her husband’s rage was such a change from watching my great aunt take full control of a group of men who worked for her. But some things remained the same. Loneliness. The culture shock. There were many tears, but no one noticed, as I trudged my way through a very isolated and lonely childhood.

Invisible

“What is your problem?” My husband lobbed the question at me like a weapon, his voice accusatory, and his demeanour wavering somewhere in between exasperation and apathy. He made sweeping gestures at our beautiful home, fully equipped with tennis courts, a swimming pool, and many other vestiges of privilege. I looked at my husband, and realised that he’d become a stranger I no longer recognised.

But I was no stranger to gilded cages. Despite a lifetime of being locked up by someone else’s whims, I’d never become very adept at being a dutiful prisoner. My husband viewed me as his trophy, and I was expected to comply. To live my
life in his own image.

Anything I’d put my heart and soul into was disposable and readily discarded like trash. It was as if my aspirations didn’t exist at all, outside of being a wife and mother, along with the chief organiser of the family’s social calendar. We seemed like the perfect family on the outside, but everything was different on the inside. Hard as I tried, I just couldn’t play this role any longer. I wanted something more. I needed something more. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but I knew I had to find it. The distractions that I was using to hide my unhappiness were becoming weary. Spending money on useless things that were never opened when they
were delivered, alcohol, smoking, planning the next holiday even before I finished the current one. Ultimately, I saw what I could become if I didn’t take more responsibility for my own life.

I could have discovered it had I looked in the mirror and really looked myself in the eye, but this sort of logic and reason didn’t come so easily when I, in essence had lost all sense of who I was. It was that moment when I returned home, with the children for the summer holiday, when I put the key in the lock of our front door and realised that I couldn’t go back to. I weighed my options, and it wasn’t an easy decision, but I finally decided to take charge of my own life. Putting the key into the door of our home where there were no guards, or maids, or drivers, or anyone but me and the children, flooded my body with an odd sense relief. It wasn’t an easy journey, but it was my first step toward the redemption I’d been seeking my whole life.

Empowered

Sitting in my home in London, I thought about my children, now grown, to whom I’d managed to give the stable and loving childhood I’d so desperately wanted for myself. Weaving my way through my journey into single motherhood and self discovery finally led to my conquering the loneliness beast that had been such a fixture throughout my life. I’d finally stopped engaging in the futility of trying to fit in and started living my life on my own terms, in pursuit of my own passions, and living in joy every day of my life, even on the gloomy, rainy days we have in London. I discovered my own brand of sunshine.

We are all here to be the masters of our own lives. I’m here to help you overcome the negative patterns that are holding you back, to stop looking outside yourself to find your happy place, and learn to find it within.

If you’re ready to conquer a lifetime of ingrained fears and boldly pursue your passion and purpose without hesitation, without holding anything back, without seeking anyone else’s validation, and without worrying about all the things that
could go wrong, I’m here to show you how to make it happen, to reconnect you with yourself, that person you were meant to be before you were forced by society, your parents, or anyone else into being something you’re not for someone else’s benefit. I’m here to help you discover the joys of just being you with no qualms and no apologies. This is your moment, take it!

About the Author

Marva Johnson-Jones is the founder of Acuity Rapid Results Coaching based in the UK. You can contact Marva on email acuitylife@icloud.com
or by Mobile/Whatsapp: 07738115942 – Marva is currently offering a powerful, free 45 minutes Personal Empowerment and
Self-rediscovery coaching session. Book yours today. Please quote Ref#NTblog in the subject line of your email.

Our Motivations Change As We Move Through Life – Jan Cavelle – UK

Our motivations tend to change as we move through life. As a teenager, I was typically full of ideologies, ambitions and plans both for myself and the world around me. I harangued anyone who would listen about various social and political injustices. I fully indulged in those traditionally rebel years. I messed around, failed to get myself a decent education or launch into any career.

Underneath all that angst, was a mother in wolf’s clothing. I passionately wanted children. I wanted to do the whole stay at home Mum bit, with beautifully turned out, happy children eating wholesome food, much of which I had grown myself. The reality of that one didn’t take long to set in, with the sleepless nights, the barely heated baked beans on toast both on plate and down fronts of aforesaid children, the garden neglected. The actuality of life as a Mum is a wake-up call for most of us.

Even so, those of us who become parents, tend to spend the next couple of decades focussing every scrap of energy into our children’s needs.  For me, initially, the challenges were simply day to day.  I had been able to drift into marriage and motherhood cocooned in the security of a partner and a trust fund. But life has a habit of sending us wake up calls and when the trust fund I had went bust overnight and my marriage broke up shortly afterwards, I was left absolutely penniless, totally alone with two small children to support. I was not the first woman that has happened to nor will I be the last.

I was soon living on government support but failing to make ends meet. So with very limited skills, I set up an “office” under the stairs at home where I could watch the children play at the same time and started selling goods from a variety of local manufacturers to interior designers.  

It was really hard; hard being broke; hard working with two small children around. But I managed over the next few years to build a small business which enabled life to become near to the perfect vision I had of motherhood. It was a happy, innocent time in many ways.

By the time the children were in their teens, I was buying the furniture I was selling from one other small company. One Friday, the man who owned it rang my doorbell and announced he was shutting up shop that weekend. Panicking, I asked him in, agreed a deal I could pay him when I could, and by Monday had two small businesses. I amalgamated the two. There were a lot of touch and go moments, but eventually it became successful. With a lot of hard work, I built it up to the size where we were selling my own furniture designs worldwide. Over a hectic few years, I had become something I didn’t set out to be – an entrepreneur and businesswoman.   

It was great in some ways, especially initially. But as success came, so I became very depressed.   There were expectations on me to become a person I had not set out to be. It took me very far from my original values and authenticity. When we allow the noise, the sheer hectic pace of the lives we lead to drown out our values or to lead us into living lives that do not fit with them, we have a recipe for great unhappiness and dis-ease. And sure enough, that is what happened.  Increasingly, I became physically ill and more and more depressed as well, yet there was never any time to deal with either issue. I tried hard to make it work, but we all need a reason to get up in the morning that goes a lot deeper than you “ought” or “should”. Breaking point came finally, one illness too many, and the business and I parted company.  

I am far from alone in the millions who put aside their dreams to have children and do so happily and willingly. But from 50, our priorities change again. While some might have their lives revolving around grandchildren, many more revert to questioning life, trying to find a purpose and a recipe for happiness while there is still time, or simply focussing on a much more health conscious existence in order to stave off the inevitable deteriorations as we get older.

Now re-invented as me, I feel more successful now, doing a mix of coaching, writing and speaking, than I ever did running an international business. Following your authentic self, whatever that is, at whatever stage of life you are at, is the deep down essential rule to follow.

About the Author

Jan Cavelle is a successful Entrepreneur, Writer and a sales and Business Coach for Women based in the UK. Jan has nearly 40 years’ experience in sole trading and small businesses. This experience ranges from such diverse areas as music management, catering, freelance sales, furniture design and manufacture. You can contact Jan by email on jan@jancavelle.co.uk or visit her website – http://jancavelle.co.uk/

The Rise through Special Needs – Motherhood

We all have those moments in life that knock us to our knees, life is full of them. What matters most is that we learn how to rise afterwards and see the gifts we have unlocked in the process.

One of the most pivotal times in life, was the moment I sat across from the team of doctors who delivered devastating news about my youngest daughter Chiara. News that no parent would ever want associated with their beautiful precious child.

Chiara was 5 months old when we were booked in for the brain MRI at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Two days later, our life changed in an instant. Her MRI results were in and doctors revealed she had a severe brain injury. At this stage the cause was a possible stroke she had in utero. Stroke in utero? I didn’t even know that was possible. Chiara would not be able to walk, talk and would require many operations, interventions and need 24/7 care for the rest of her life.

They spoke of a shorter life expectancy and many secondary concerns associated with her diagnosis. Microcephaly, Bilateral Perisylvian Polymicrogyria, Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and Global Developmental Delay. The odds were well and truly stacked up against her.

Within a flash, my entire motherhood experience flipped on its head. I was in so much shock and it took me a long time to come to terms with Chiara’s diagnosis. It’s so bizarre because she looked like any other healthy baby, but things for her would soon unfold very differently.

Then next few months were a blur, EEG tests for seizures, early intervention programs, post-natal depression and also reviewing medical letters – that would leave me sobbing on the kitchen floor. Life catapulted us into a reality that was so fast-paced and all I could do was try to keep my head above water and love her fiercely, as I did Grace. A mother’s love can move mountains.

Once the shock wore off, we were on a mission to help Chiara reach her full potential. Our quest for healing and miracles sent us off on adventures, both locally and overseas to access the latest neurological therapies. Fast forward to today Chiara is almost 4 years old, doing well and defying the odds in her own unique way. This kid, she blows me away. With all her physical limitations, she still manages to pull of the most incredible smile. Not to mention her big sister Grace who has the most incredible connection with Chiara. Makes me the proudest mum in the world!

So motherhood sure has kept me busy. I had to close down the yoga business given all the care, therapies and hospital appointments we needed to attend. So recently I created a website Miracle Mama offering soulful support for special needs Mama’s.

As a passionate advocate for health and wellness, special needs and self-care, I wanted to create something to help serve the special needs sistahood, who in turn helped me find my own footing in the post-diagnosis life. I wanted to create a community for other mama’s to share their experience – it can be a very isolating experience and even your closest friends may not understand what you are going through.

The stress of raising a medically fragile child isn’t going to go away. What is in our control is how we deal with that stress and we can do that far better when we’re honouring and valuing our own self-care practices.

I can stand tall in saying that my life has been blessed three times over. The first in a soul mate of my husband Mauro, the second with a beautiful spirited daughter Grace and the third with a courageous and angelic daughter Chiara.

It’s funny like that life – sometimes the most amazing blessings are found within your biggest challenges.

About the Author

And for me, my greatest life blessings have been given to me during my motherhood journey. Motherhood in a nutshell: magical, mystical and lovingly miraculous.

Natalie Roberts-Mazzeo is a passionate writer, coach and speaker, and the founder of Miracle Mama. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and two beautiful daughters. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Estella’s Brilliant Bus – Estella Pyfrom – USA

Estella’s Brilliant Bus – Estella Pyfrom – USA

My name is Estella Pyfrom. I am the CEO and Founder of Estella’s Brilliant Bus (not for profit organization). I am the second oldest of six daughters and one son. My father, Roy L. Mims, was a migrant worker, a crew leader and a camp manager for many years. As a kid my family and I traveled for nineteen (19) years, transporting migrant workers from Florida to New York, by driving trucks and buses to the camps. As a village kid, I was inspired to give back to my village (my community)

As an adult, I worked very hard in my community and was a dedicated wife and mother to my children and to many other children in my neighborhood circle.

After raising four children and teaching them how to stay out of trouble, my accomplishment that I am proudest of is the Creation and founding of Estella’s Brilliant Bus. … AWESOME because we are mobile and virtual and can learn anywhere in the world. We’re a learning center without walls… no boundaries. The learning center travels to communities where service is needed. We will make a difference…one child at a time and/or one family at a time.

I believe that by forming alliances with agencies in communities who have similar missions and who have been awarded grants, have grant funds to provide services can form partnerships to serve hard to reach individuals and all will benefit from the union. The learning center travels to communities where service is needed. Estella will continue to seek financial assistance and continue to collaborative community stakeholders provide resources to help improve the quality of life for children and families who are in need of our services. We will make a difference…one child at a time and/or one family at a time.

I am proud to say we have served more than 100,000 underserved children over the past four years and have not charged them any money.

During the first year after we started this Brilliant Bus Movement Business, my husband became of victims of a triage visit at a local hospital which landed him in ICU for two months that required me to be with him (in ICU) for 24 hours in order to help keep him alive. In spite of all of our assistance at the hospital, he survived 4 cases of CODE Blue and 26 pints of blood transfusion. Luckily he survived four times resuscitation. Thank God he is still here… well and alive. In August of 2013 both my husband and I were victims of an automobile accident, when a texting driver t-bowed us as we were driving out of our development. Yes, they ran the red light. As result of that accident, my husband was 98%paralyzes and had to have and emergency spinal surgery. As for me, I got away with only one broken hip, and injured knee and ankle and a battered face to the point that my children could not recognized me. But to God be the Glory, WE ARE BOTH ALIVE TODAY.

When I look back over her past and begin to think of what attributes to my success in life, all I could think of is the “no failure” options that was instilled in me as a child by my father. . My dad made all of us believe that if you could dream, … dream Big, and work hard to make your dreams become realities… Failure was not an option.

During the past four years we have been very celebrated for our hard work: PLEASE NOTE:

FEATURED: NBC News Network… Prime Time with Brian Williams and other associated networks
All Local TV and Radio Stations
Jet Magazine
5000 Points of Light–Ranked – 4998 around the world- Hosted by President and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House
CNN Hero- 2013– Top 10 around the world –Ordinary People doing extraordinary things around the world
Woman of Worth — Top 10 around the world–L’O Real of Paris
Who’s Who Global–Directory – dedication, hard work and for making a difference
ESSENCE Magazine – 2014
MV Magazine
Success Magazine
Her Life Magazine
O-Oprah Magazine -January -2015
O-Oprah Magazine- This I know for Sure —Special Column
Oprah-The Life You Want Tour- Toyota Standing Ovation- Florida VIP
Wells Fargo Community Award
Florida A & M Alumni Association -PBC-
Community Service- From Local to National
Legacy Award — by Dexter Bridgeman–Legacy Palm Beach Magazine
Living Legends Award- Human Symphony – National
Community Service Award – Alpha Kappa Alpha
Community Service Award – Alpha Kappa Alpha
Community Service Award – Alpha Phi Alpha
Community Service – Citizenship Awards – Zeta Phi Beta
Community Partners Award – Delta Lambda Chapter – Alpha Phi Alpha Chapter
Woman of Excellence – Delta Sigma Theta
Spirit Award–Delta Sigma Theta
NBA – Pro player Philanthropy Award
African American Achiever Award
National Education Award
Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award – Palm Beach State College-2014
Microsoft Youth Spark Award – Grant
Microsoft – National-Global – Super Bowl Commercial and Award
Office Depot Adopt-A-Teacher
Comcast-Comcast Community Service Award Grant
Dr. Oz Show
Woman of Excellence – Humanitarian Award
John Maxwell Leadership Award
Diamond Award for Community Service – National Coalition of 100 Black Women
Citizenship Award – Omega Psi Phi Fraternity
FEA -Martin Luther king Jr Award- Outstanding Leadership Award
Professional-Influential Business Professional
Most Powerful 25 Women- In Palm Beach County – Dexter Bridgeman
OCR REAP Grant
Dream Forward Award for courage, persistence and sacrifice while making dreams become a reality. Jason Hall
Dream forward Award for making a difference in the lives of many by Dr. Norma C. Pearson
Excellence and Generous Commitment to Student Award- Belle Glade, Elementary School.
The Shero Award by: Anne Harvey Missionary Society –Outstanding Service
The Steve Binko Award for Educational Innovation and Justice …The Scribe’s Institute
Cultured Pearls Award- Presenter by Alpha Kappa Alpha
Rainbow Push Philanthropic Foundation of the Year Award ‘Jessie Jackson
Legends. Trailblazers and Rising Stars Award for Community Service by Payne Chapel
Key to the City… Columbus Georgia. Honorable Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor- Columbus Georgia
Proclamation. Columbus Georgia. Honorable Teresa Pike Tomlinson,
ESTELLA PYFROM declaration –July 16, 2016
RESOLUTIONS: Representative Carolyn Hugley, District 136, Georgia House of Representatives…Outstanding Public Service
National Association for Professional Women
Continental Who’s Who Recipient of the Year -2016
We will continue to collaborate with partnering organization to grow our business around the world, making a difference in the lives of children who need us the most.
I have successfully completed and published my first book, The Legacy of A Humble Black Woman. I am most proud to say that if I can do this at age 80, so can you, soooooo…… what are you waiting on? Let’s get ROLLING.

For more information about Estella a Brilliant Bus Movement and how to donate to our nonprofit organization, you may visit:
Website: estellasbrilliantbus.org
Email: estella@brilliantbus.org
Phone: 561-985-1889

A special thank you to all of our supporters who continue to support us for many years such as Microsoft and Office Depot.

Nikki Taylor personally thanks Estella Pyfrom for sharing her inspiring story today with us on Inspiring Women Today by Nikki Taylor.  Should you too wish to share your very own inspirational journey/story please email nikki@inspiringwomentoday.biz and our editorial guidelines will be sent to you.

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