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connectiondeathempowermentenlightenmentgriefillnessmental illnesspeace and contentmentpurposeself beliefself discoverysuicideuncategorizedworkwork satisfaction

In my darkest moment I learned to fly

I wear my scars like a badge of honour; a testament to the strength, courage and determination I had to find to become the person I am today. Because it was out of my brokenness, my tears, pain and trauma, I realised how strong my spirit really was. It is hard to know where to start with a story like mine. Over a three year period, life unrelentingly threw me challenge after challenge. I took my eighty-day old baby boy’s life in an unsafe bed sharing accident. My nana died. I fell pregnant with twins and lost one. I found out my dad had cancer. I got married...

bullyingcompassiondivorceeducationempowermentfamilyInjury and disabilitypurposeself beliefself discoveryuncategorizedworkwork satisfaction

Finding my voice ignited my dreams

My childhood in Singapore was a fairly average one until I turned 9 years old and my parents divorced. It was when I was placed into my mother’s custody that my life took a big turn for the worse. My mom was a woman who loved bad company and was emotionally abusive by nature and made the next 7 years of my life a torment. She decided to live at her friend’s place and I was made to take refuge there with her. Due to the bad company my mom indulged in, I suffered other forms...

abuseacceptanceaddictiondivorceempowermentfamilyfinancial lossgratitudehappinesslearningparentingpeace and contentmentrelationshipsuncategorized

Freeing myself from guilt and regret

I was raised in a strict Catholic family and my childhood was spent going to school, church and working on our small farm. When I was 16 I went to my very first disco and fell madly in love with a charming boy. But as my parents forbade me from seeing him again, that meeting was our first and last, until I finished school and started working as a teacher. With my new freedom I started dating the boy from the disco and the crazy love I felt was as strong as ever. We married, much to my family's dismay, and soon after I began to understand why...

acceptanceChallengesempowermenthealthillnessInjury and disabilitylearningpurposeself beliefuncategorizedunderstanding

Finding my purpose in an unlikely place

In the 38 years, I have been on this planet, I have had many truly amazing days. I have also had many days when I just did not want to get out of bed in the morning. For the last eight years, I have wanted to have more doona days (staying in bed with the doona) then I have ever had before. That is because eight years ago I was diagnosed with a rare brain disease called Intracranial Hypertension, or IH for short. This is a condition that has no...

discriminationeducationempowermentlimiting beliefssexualityuncategorizedunderstanding

Opening up about crossdressing

I’ve always been a crossdresser. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t sneaking in my mom’s closet or buying my own clothes or shoes when I had my own money. For most of my life I thought it was just crossdressing but a few years ago I released it was more than that and started to identify as transgender. When I started to dress fully, I maintained a double life and I still do. I like being able...

Challengesdeathempowermentfreedomhappinesslearningpurposeuncategorizedworkwork satisfaction

Be bold, ambitious and work hard

My name is Elena Shkarubo and I'm Founder and CEO of the global MeetnGreetMe service. During my life I've been through many difficult situations when I needed to take action and make a decision. I lived in Minsk, Belarus and had a well-paid high-profile position at an international bank but then I decided to quit that job and go to Moscow to enroll onto an MBA programme. I made a speech about this at TEDx and shared that it all happened after I lost my brother. This...

Challengescompassiondeathempowermentfeargratitudehappinesshealthhumilitykindnessloveself belieftrustuncategorizedunderstanding

The gift of saving a life

I can’t quite remember when I started thinking about donating my kidney; it was probably some 10 years ago. From when I first became aware of the possibility I remember thinking, wow wouldn’t that be an awesome thing to do. I have always been a healthy person and believed that I could do it. I lost a close friend to a brain tumour over ten years ago and I promised myself I would do something in honour of him. Well, time passed by and life got in...

empowermentuncategorizedwork satisfaction

Life begins after 40 years in local government

So it was about three in the afternoon on a Tuesday and I was sitting in the spa pool at the gym. In the past this was about the time when stress levels would start to rise. In my local government days Tuesday was staff briefing day. The senior management team had met in the morning and I had to get an ‘all staff’ briefing note out by the end of the day. The problem was that I often needed colleagues in other departments to provide me with information. As all comms people will know that is easier said than done. I was convinced that many worked in an alternate reality where even using the name and rank of the Chief Executive provoked a mere raise of an eyebrow and an indifferent response. I had the added pressure of a line manager who would use the flimsiest of excuses to berate me and the rest of the comms team. This ranged from a  216;typo’, to the failure to get out the staff briefing on time regardless of the reason and everything in between. So Tuesday


The day I became grateful for my insurance policy

I was only 20 when I married, and I had no formal qualifications and no big career plans. My husband was an optometrist and together we created an optometry practice, which was very successful. We had two sons very soon after marriage, so my primary role was to support my husband in his business with marketing and administration and look after our small children. After being married for 7 years we grew apart and we both moved on in separate directions. At the end of that relationship I realised I had nurtured someone else’s career and business and not taken care of my own, which made it financially difficult for me to move forward. I soon met a lovely man and re-married and we had a beautiful little girl. He had just started a small law practice. I was great at marketing small businesses, so I began assisting my husband in his business with marketing and administration. While working in the firm it occurred to me that I had fallen into the same trap that I had been in