Bev Roberts tells how chronic illness lead her to becoming a well-being coach and writing a book to help other sufferers find hope.
1.What made you decide to do what you do?
Although chronic illness robbed me of a successful and lucrative career as an award-winning and board-certified executive, I retrained my brain through my love of learning by certifying as a well-being coach. I now work with business women to transform their well-being by “rewiring” for healthy habits and creating lasting change.
2.Why did you wait until you did to do it?
Deciding to change career in midlife was thrust upon me. In hindsight it was my earliest calling to work in the realm of well-being as straight out of school I trained as a radiographer.
I now understand that I am here to be an advocate for those with an invisible chronic illness, a champion for those who need a voice. Invisible because there is no outward manifestation and chronic because the internal imbalance is long term. Too many to mention however, it could be Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Lyme Disease with co-infections etc.
3.What are you hoping to accomplish?
My first step is publishing my book ‘Hope in a Dark Tunnel: your roadmap to well-being when navigating chronic illness’. Next, I have this big dream to speak out on multiple channels – talks to groups, TEDx talks, podcasts, radio and TV. I want this message to reach more people and create a significant impact to change the conversation we have about invisible chronic illness.
4.How did you make the change? What or who helped you?
Because I had lost my cognitive function I needed to find a way to retrain my brain. I explored some learning opportunities to help myself, and others, and I quickly realised that this might also help me build an income stream. As I’d spent more than twenty-five years in corporate mentoring and coaching people, the best fit for me was to retrain as a well-being coach.
I found a course that I was able to take that supported learning by repetition, it gave small chunks of information at a time and I could listen to video lectures at my own pace. Being able to take notes by hand supported the creation of new neural pathways for my brain.
Having an accountability buddy in my peer group to discuss content with and make meaning of was invaluable. I am proud to say that I passed each assessment and in twelve months I gained my certification as an integrative and holistic well-being coach.
5.How did your family and friends react?
Many were encouraging but most did not understand how unwell I was so thought it was a fleeting side journey out of corporate.
6.How has your life changed having gone down this path?
My life has changed for the better as I’m a human being not a “human doing” like I was before. I am on a mission to ensure others don’t have to go through what I went through; the merry-go-round of tests, doctors and the general feelings of doubt and invisibility. I want to help by serving those in need of hope and resilience to walk their path with courage and create awareness for those who care about them.
7.What advice do you have for women considering a similar life change?
Don’t waste another day or listen to another person’s view of what’s right for you. You know you best. Determine your purpose and pursue it to the end of your days.
8.What are you proud of and what keeps you inspired?
I feel proud of taking a stand against the dismissive and disrespectful treatment I experienced in the medical system and from the insurer. I feel proud of who I’ve become in my journey back to well-being by aligning to the real me. In so doing I can support my clients authentically. What keeps me inspired is my granddaughters as I see the world through their eyes – being curious, playful, in the moment and not deferring any emotion.
9.What do you love most about being the age you are?
The wisdom and freedom to do what I want and respectfully hold my boundaries. No is a complete sentence.
10.What do you hate most about being the age you are?
Nothing particularly as I’ve earned my wisdom in the university of life. Would I like a trimmer midriff? Certainly, however I don’t have the angst with my body I did when I was younger.
11.What do you know now that you wish you’d known in your twenties?
I wish I’d known every moment is precious and so fleeting, and realizing that immersing yourself in the present is what life is about.
12.What are the most important business and/or personal lessons you’ve learnt along the way?
My most important business lesson I learned is to prioritize and protect my health. As an entrepreneur you are your biggest asset and need to treat yourself accordingly. If you have money and not health there’s no point in my view. One of the biggest personal lessons I’ve learned is that I don’t need to control everything in my life. Previously, I had been over scheduled, overly busy, with very little time for spontaneity and time to be me.
13.Do you have a mantra that has guided you more than any other?
All is well and as it’s meant to be.
14.Which woman do you most admire and why?
There are several however, Audrey Hepburn was not only an elegant and stylish woman she was also a humanitarian. Even though she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, had fame and fortune, she dedicated her sage years to actively supporting those in need. I love her quote: “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
15.Is there anything people consistently misunderstand about you?
My passion and zeal for well-being may have been misunderstood. I have tempered my desire to support with whether someone has asked for input. If they haven’t, I have learned to hold my tongue.
16.How can Mutton Club readers find out more about what you do?
You may also like Jennifer Milius – Becoming An Author, Speaker & Coach, Finding Purpose Through Adversity – Louise Ennis, and Building Businesses In Midlife – Caroline Jackson.