Hi all, how you been? Here I am with another inspired interview with a lady I had the privilege to meet at the Professional Speaker Association (PSA) and who has inspired me beyond belief, she is one amazing woman who has not let ill health stop her from anything ... in fact I think it's made her a much tougher and kick-arse woman then ever. Read on...
Describe your personal situation (i.e., disability, illness, caring responsibilities, as much as your comfortable with) and your business?
I live in a fabulous apartment in Leeds near Roundhay Park. Although I am classed as "terminally ill" by the medics, you wouldn't know it and I am keeping really well and enjoy working and socialising in equal measure.
My work is my speaking business. I use the name Nina Joy (Joy is my middle name) because I like it! I speak on two major topics - Who has got the remote control - to your life? which covers how to cope with massive challenge or change. The other is on Mind Body and Business, how to be healthy and deliver peak performance.
What motivated you to start your business?
After over 25 years in corporate life (working in financial services), I had the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy. I grabbed this with both hands, thinking that it was time to go freelance and do my own thing. Throughout my career I had delivered presentations, enjoyed connecting with people, and was told that I was rather good at it. So in 2011 my speaking business was born
How do you balance your personal needs with your business/work?
I make sure that I have play time as well as work time. I make it a priority to do things for me, and have a pretty healthy daily regime. Most weeks I will have a treat, maybe a massage or healing session. My ideal way to wind down is to spend time with friends and family and that's what I do evenings and weekends. Plus I love to sleep! I always make sure I have enough rest.
What is the toughest thing you have had to deal with in life/business and what got you through?
My toughest time was in the summer of 2012. Not only did I find out that I had breast cancer, but that it had spread to my lymph, lungs, liver and bones. This means it's classed as incurable. I was devastated. It seemed that my life was at an end, and all the plans I had wouldn't be fulfilled. However, I decided to take on this challenge and see what I could achieve, despite the awful prognosis. I have taken charge of my own health. I have learned a lot about cancer, and have undertaken a range of therapies, from the cutting edge through to the alternative. Now, almost two years on, although I still have cancer, I am well and carrying on living my life to the full, and building my business.
What is the most “WHAM BAM” exciting thing in life/business that has happened and how did you celebrate?
I suppose the most exciting thing is that I am alive, when the doctors thought that I wouldn't be! I celebrate by making sure every day I do the things I enjoy, and make being happy a priority. I can't take life for granted, and I don't. I feel so proud of what I've achieved - it is devastating to hear that you are "incurable". I wouldn't want anyone to feel as I did - hopeless and helpless. So I have written a book The Adventures of a Cancer Maverick to share what I have learned with other "Incurables". I want to show that there are many things you can do for yourself outside orthodox medicine, and that it is possible to live, and even to thrive, with cancer.
Which business/person has inspired you and why?
My initial inspiration came from my parents. My dad was in sales, and we used to talk about PMA (positive mental attitude to the uninitiated) over the dinner table. I remember him teaching me "you can if you think you can, and if you think you can't then you're probably right!" My mum was an incredibly energetic vibrant lady, and she had absolute confidence and unshakable belief in me. If ever I waver, I imagine her looking at me with those twinkly brown eyes, telling me " you can do it, I know you can".
The business people I admire would be Richard Branson, and Anita Roddick. I like that they remained very human, don't really care too much what others think, and believe that success doesn't have to be at the expense of others. They are both a force for good in the world.
Do you have any life/business tips you could give my readers?
Decide to be happy. Now. Do the things you love, that make your heart sing. And then do them some more.
Make yourself a priority - it is only when you are fulfilled and happy that you then have enough to take care of others.
Look for the good - in people, in life, in each day. You will find it by the bucket load.
Don't take life too seriously. A playful approach is a lot more fun