What’s your story, what sparked your interest in this field?
I began working in palliative care simply as a way to fund my singer/songwriter aspirations. It led to being a large part of my life’s work, particularly in how the regrets of the dying people I cared for transformed my own life.
Is there a career highlight you’d like to share?
Being offered a book deal with my dream publishing house, for my memoir The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. This was after it had been rejected by 25 publishers. It all happened in the same 24 hours as I became a first-time mother (at 45).
What mistakes have you learnt from? How do you change your struggles into strengths?
Never losing sight of the core of your business, regardless of how amazing your support team is.
I check in with myself regularly. If a struggle has potential for positive growth and outcomes, I push through. But by checking in, sometimes I see that whatever I’m struggling with actually needs surrendering from my business and life.
What mantra do you live by?
Let yourself be surprised. I even wrote a song called that.
What advice would you give to other writers and entrepreneurial women?
Keep asking yourself if what you’re doing is taking you closer to joy or further from it. We have to push through our own resistance and that’s great if it’s leading to joy. But if not, why waste your precious time and energy when there is something better waiting that will.
What are you working on right now? Can you share some details?
My first novel, after publishing three non-fiction books. It’s about three friends and the journeys they share. I love it! It has been such a delightful process, as I committed to it being a pleasure from the start or not doing it at all.
Can you share 3 key takeaways from your bestselling book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying?
In-light-of the Covid-19 pandemic …
- Time is a precious and irreplaceable gift.
- Bring as much consciousness as possible into the decisions you make, big or small.
- Courage is always rewarded, not always in ways we think, but always nevertheless.
What’s been your biggest entrepreneurial/business challenge?
Holding the space for such a large audience, while also living with physical disabilities and being a single mum. Additionally, it was very tricky financially for a while as an author who only gets paid twice a year. But now I’m paid to speak and sell online programs too. So those extra income streams support us too.
How has the current situation changed or impacted the way you work?
Not really. Like everyone, I’ve tightened our budget. But I’ve always lived quite simply so in a way, I just feel like society has slowed down to my pace!
What do you do for encouragement or to keep you motivated?
I remember that I’m going to die one day and every day I wake up is a blessing to be honoured. Sometimes that includes being motivated. Sometimes it means deep rest. Either way, the decisions around that are always as conscious as possible, meaning I am present for my life.
What inspires you to get out of bed every day? -Do you follow a certain morning routine or daily schedule to maximise productivity and wellbeing?
Commitment to my solitary, nurturing time gets me up early each day, before my little girl (who is 8) gets out of bed. Before she is up for school I have already meditated, juiced and swum for 40 minutes (even through winter in an outdoor unheated pool!). Those first couple of hours make such a difference to my wellbeing and manageability of life.
How do you balance work, family/friends and your wellbeing?
I have created strong boundaries around my capabilities and limits. So, I say no a lot. But I say yes plenty too, just only to the things that most sustain my joy. I also make sure I leave space to breathe in between my responsibilities.
On Sustainability / Environmental practices / Inclusivity…
What 3 key things do you think your industry needs to do to become more environmentally aware, inclusive and diverse?
Supporting independent bookstores more than the major online stores. (Without independent bookstores, the world would be so dull.)
Marketing to the audience’s intelligence rather than their fears.
What sustainable systems or environmentally aware activities do you personally practice and what practices do you follow as an independent business?
I live simply on all levels, in respect of the planet and my own energy. I buy quality clothing that lasts for years. I don’t shop for clothing unless necessary and only buy something if I love it. If I only like something, but not love it, it doesn’t come home from the store with me. I also limit the amount of coat hangers I use to ensure I don’t accumulate excess, which also guarantees creativity in mixing and matching my clothing.
I grow some of my own vegetables, reducing transport upon the planet, and I choose my bike over the car wherever possible.
In business, I maintain simple systems and don’t get caught up in how everyone else is living. Success is not so if you’re treading heavily on the planet in the process.
If you could travel in time what advice would you give your 20year old self.
You are allowed to enjoy your life. Be kind to yourself. Set and maintain strong boundaries. Treat your body with love and respect. And never lose hope.
What Podcasts or other sources do you listen to, gather inspiration or learn from?
A variety of podcasts, depending on the mood. Sometimes it’s business related or financial. Sometimes it’s for specific inspiration or is health related. But those easiest on my senses are just great conversations. One of my favourites in that regard is Good Life Project, which I also enjoyed being a guest on some years ago.
What meetups, entrepreneurial/literally events and accelerators do you recommend that have helped you and your career grow?
I’m in about a dozen or so online groups with like-minded people. But generally, I’m a pretty solitary person and tend to depend most on my inner guidance as the career support and accelerator. If I remain connected to my own truth and guidance, and don’t be swayed by what others are doing, then I find life tends to give me support in the form of shortcuts and surprises anyway. It also allows my work to then be unique and untainted.