As you get to know new people, you will find that we each hold our own story of tragedy and sorrow, we each have experienced challenges and trials that have helped shape us into the people we have become (or are becoming). Some stories are longer and more intense than others and some are shorter and more gentle but we each have our own. At the end of each story though, isn’t about what had happened, it’s what we chose to learn, what we chose to make of it all, what we chose to become from it. I recently met a beautiful woman through a Facebook Group named Kylie Travers, she has quite the story to tell, facing many challenges in the past several years, challenges that could have sent her spiraling down but instead she took her obstacles and used them to propel herself to a multiple international award-winning CEO, author, speaker and charity ambassador. When I reached out to her to guest post for www.dofivethingsaday.com, to share her story with all of us, she didn’t come back with a list of all of her challenges, she came back with a focus on action steps on how she became who she was meant to be. It reminded me of how strong we can be, on how if we choose to control and shape our perception then we can make anything possible.
The past few years have been some of the worst and some of the most successful years of my life. I have gone from a homeless single mother of two to multiple international award winning CEO, author, speaker and charity ambassador, in under 4 years. During this time I also overcame Borderline Personality Disorder, started a new relationship, had paralysis issues for 7 months, a cancer scare, a few surgeries, moved across the country and helped my daughters overcome their learning disorders which were classed as extreme.
Despite facing multiple obstacles, I have a life better than anything I could ever have imagined. Instead of focusing on ‘my story’ (which if you want to know more details about, you can find on my site), I want to focus on what I did to turn my obstacles into opportunities.
1.) Have an attitude of gratitude
As hard as it is when you face issues in your life, being grateful changes your perspective. Find something to be grateful for every day. I keep a gratitude diary where I write in it 3 things I am grateful for every day. Keeping an attitude of gratitude helps maintain a more positive outlook on life, which assists in problem solving the issues you face.
A week after my daughters and I left their dad (my ex husband), we were robbed of everything in our new home, including my underwear. At first, I broke down. It felt like too much to handle with what I had already faced leaving an abusive relationship, being stalked and assaulted.
I managed to pull myself together then wrote a gratitude list outing what I could be grateful for in that situation, what lessons I could learn from it and what opportunities might come as a result of being robbed. I managed to come up with quite a few things including the fact we were not home when it happened, it was only stuff and we had insurance, I hated everything I owned because it was remnants of my marriage, now I was able to replace it with insurance money instead of having to save up my own money and replace things as I could etc. As you can see, once I got into that frame of mind it became easier.
2.) Use affirmations and positive quotes
I used to roll my eyes when people suggested it, until I found myself crumpled in a heap on the bathroom floor sobbing my eyes out and the only thing that seemed to calm me down was repeating my favorite quote “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” by Carl Jung. I needed to believe that was true. I needed to know that despite being at rock bottom – abused, robbed and homeless, I could change my life.
I had my favourite quotes stamped on some bracelets for my wrists. I wrote quotes that inspired me in permanent marker on my mirrors (it wipes off with window cleaner) and I kept them as screen-savers on my devices. These constant reminders helped shape my thinking.
3.) Be clear on where you want to go
I have always had goals, but in this situation I got more strategic about it. I worked out my core values, created a personal mission statement, set goals in 7 key areas of my life (family, finances, career/business, travel, health, personal development and organisation), then using those goals I create a vision board.
I would spend time every day envisioning what my life would be like, looking at my vision board and actively taking steps to get me closer to my goals. All the planning in the world will do nothing if you don’t take action. Get clear on where you want to be, write your plan and go after it with pure determination.
I allocated at least 20 minutes a day to meditation, which I still do. It relaxes you, makes it easier to think and I notice it on days I don’t meditate. I struggle, have less energy and can’t think as clear if I don’t meditate in the morning. Not all mediation is about sitting there and saying ‘Om’. Find the method that works for you and implement it into your daily routine.
5.) Take care of yourself
I allowed myself to get too busy and overwhelmed running a business, doing public speaking, rushing from event to event, taking my kids to school, therapy and extra curricular activities. I said yes to everything anyone asked me to do and in the end my body decided I couldn’t continue. One morning I was getting ready and my back seized up. I thought I had aggravated an old spinal injury and asked my very new boyfriend to take my kids to school, assuming I would be ok the next day. I was unable to walk properly for 7 months. If I stood up or spoke at an event it required nerve blockers, pain killers and resulted in 4 days in bed after the event with excruciating pain and paralysis.
During this time a test came back positive for the cancer my mother died from. After a surgery it turns out I have a rare condition that presents itself the same way and I have to have annual surgery. I had surgical treatments for my spine and the whole year was stressful. My new boyfriend was my carer and immediately a dad to my kids instead of us being able to get to know each other slowly.
By not taking care of myself, I nearly ruined us financially (he was now unable to work as he had to care for me, and I barely worked because of the pain and issues) and nearly destroyed the relationship completely. I was unable to be the mum I had been and that broke my heart, seeing my kids play and having them be sad I couldn’t do things with them anymore.
Put yourself first. Exercise, eat right, get enough sleep, ask for help when you need it, outsource the cleaning or anything else you can to free up your time. Life is too short, don’t make it harder on yourself by overwhelming yourself.
You can achieve anything you put your mind to. How have you turned obstacles into opportunities?
Kylie Travers went from homeless single mum of two daughters because of domestic violence to multiple international award winning CEO, author, speaker, marketing specialist and charity advocate in the space of a couple of years. Through all her work she focuses on sharing practical advice on ways to make and save money, turn your obstacles into opportunities, practice gratitude, travel and create opportunities to improve your life and excel in the areas you want to.
Her areas of expertise are marketing, social media, blogging, finance and travel. Her company specialises in digital marketing with influencer programs, marketing strategies, training and consultations. Personally, Kylie likes to focus on public speaking, freelance writing or consults around finance, travel, lifestyle or blogging, along with being actively involved in charities that help end homelessness and domestic violence.
As a result, she has been the recipient of many awards, including The Plutus Foundation Service Award for 2015, Finalist Young Australian Of The Year, ACT, 2015 and winning Best International Personal Finance Blog twice, among other awards.
You can find out more about here at http://www.kylietravers.com.au
*all images used in this post of ownership of Kylie Travers.