The Train Crash
Interview by Dr Marina Nani
Ania Jeffries, Award Winning Coach, Author of ‘Confidence in 24 hours, Step into your power’, Founder of Women Work, Mentor for the Princes Trust, Radio Broadcaster and Ambassador for Women of Contribution, is inspiring women to reach their full potential, to love and live the life they deserve. Ania's life purpose is to give you a voice, 'the self-belief and confidence to know that all and everything is possible.'
What is your Vision, Ania?
My vision is to show the world that all is possible with the right mindset, working with a likeminded community to build self belief and confidence. I am allowed to dream, think and play big. My mission is to give women a voice, to inspire them to leave an impactful legacy for the next generation by growing new collaborations of powerful women who are passionate about empowering other women and the next generation
What drove you where you are at present?
My pivotal experience was not just one experience. It was a culmination of 4 experiences that would actively change my life, force me to step out of my comfort zone, to look at myself in the mirror and ask myself who I was and more importantly, who I wanted to become for myself, my family and my children.
The Train Crash was the wake-up call. The shake-up of my world, of my haven of security but also the foundation of a beautiful new beginning, of a new me. The realisation too that life throws unexpected challenges your way. You need to find the strength, the belief within yourself to know that you will and can survive.
The Redundancy was the reaffirmation that fear is a wonderful driver which pushes you out of your comfort zone to take the first step to create positive change in your life, to follow a path that you have been afraid to take because it means you have to take risks, to dip your toes into unknown waters, to find the guts to actually live your life the way you know you really should.
We all have a voice which needs to be listened to and be heard and our children need to see and feel this too, and learn that their voice is important. Each and every one of us has the power within ourselves to paint big, beautiful, colourful pictures in our life...that is if we choose to. No one can make that decision for us. We are all strong, confident women who have the power to change the world and the world of the future generation.
An unexpected medical diagnosis was a reminder that one-minute life can be going swimmingly and then in the next breath it can be turned upside down, changed in a split second... when you least expect it. Such experiences can push you to action your bucket list, to step away from Brian Tracey's 'someday isle'. To motivate you to stop living in your shoebox of security, to cut some doors in the cardboard walls, to not be afraid to step through and experience a new adventure, one that you have been dreaming of for years. What's the worse that could happen? Nothing. As there is always a positive lesson in each one of these adventures. It’s never a failure. Always feedback.
What golden nuggets did you learn from this experience?
Each and every one of these pivotal experiences brought new emotions into my life, wonderful golden nuggets of self-reflection, personal and professional growth.
The Train Crash evoked huge emotions of fear, of insecurity, of making me realise that no matter how much others loved me, wanted to protect me they couldn’t always make everything ok. This was a situation where I would have to find my own inner strength to move forward. My family is at the hub of all I do and are always in the background to support me. I appreciate daily how lucky I am to have such support from my husband (the best rock ever), my children, our family. My twin (my other rock) lives in the same town as me. One brother lives fairly close by, the other abroad and, despite our differences sometimes, we are a close family. Distance creates no boundaries. I also understand how many do not have this network and I guess, deep down, this is why everything I now do, given my own personal journey, is focused on creating new networks of support, collaboration within the community.
Redundancy made me realize too that life is a choice of either fight or flight. I had a choice to either embrace the change that was hitting me/us as a family head on, fast and furious, like a brick wall or to just fight this change. It was going to happen regardless and I couldn’t stop it.. And I needed to show my kids that change happens every day. Do not fear it. Just embrace it. It is a wonderful opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, to do something new, to grow in greater self-belief and confidence. I also learned, most importantly, to be thankful for the opportunity of being offered a new lease of life whilst I had the energy to grab it. I still put out my gratitude to the universe on this front. At least now I can never say ''what if.." I chose to shut off the closed mindset (which I never thought I had!) and instead chose to adopt a 'bring it on' mentality which is a far more exciting, adventurous way to view the world.
Women Work opened my eyes to the fact that as a mum, I had always believed that as a parent my role was to inspire my kids. Our children taught me that in fact, they inspire me every day to Dream, Think and Play Big. To know and to truly believe that all is possible and that by following your own dreams you, in turn, inspire your kids and their friends to believe they can too. Some incredible women become invisible through the process of motherhood, through no fault of their own and find it hard to get back on track, to rebuild their confidence, their lives, new careers and businesses. They need to know they can get right back on track if they change their mindset and ask for help. The first step is always the hardest. I learned that if you don’t have the right support and network at home you need to find it in your friends, your colleagues, your community. Women Work brought this support to the community. Each and every one of us can achieve greatness and, as women, we need to work in collaboration and not competition, to change the world for the better for our children.
An unexpected family medical diagnosis was another reality check that I had already lived half my life. It takes a challenge for you to really understand what this means. One moment life is great and then it can change in a split second, in a breath. We forget very easily to selfcare (I still need to remind myself of this often and I need to). We all need to hit the pause button, to stop running on that treadmill. To stop talking and not dreaming about doing stuff but actually doing it! Otherwise, you will still be having that same conversation with yourself in 5/10 years time. Nothing will have changed and in the process, you will never inspire others, especially your kids, your family to follow their dreams.
What is your message to other women who are experiencing same challenges as you did?
Reflecting on all that life has thrown at me over the last years I would say never be afraid. It serves no purpose and will not help you. Just know that whatever life brings to you, it is what the universe has decided for you. Do not fight it, find the beauty within it and if you cannot, then ask others for help, always.
Never, Never, Never give up.
Look forwards never backward. The only difference between an old and a new attitude is perception. So change your attitude and in turn, you will change your perception.
Life is a gift from the universe. Sometimes you may not at first understand the situations that are thrown at you. You may initially immerse yourself in the negative but know that there will always be a wonderful message within. Just look for it. Reframe your thoughts. Simply focus on the now. Be kind, be grateful and repay the gratitude. Pay it forward.
Find some tools/strategies to help you deal with stress whether it's meditation, lighting a candle, having flowers in your house, walking, sitting and breathing in nature. Find a mantra that works for you, to help you through the difficult times. I always say to myself in moment of overwhelm “I can do this” and I always can. And if I need to, I always ask for help. There is no more hesitation here.
Don’t sweat the small stuff either. It’s a complete waste of your energy, your time and when you look back on this period in time you will think it pointless? Instead, show thankfulness and gratitude for what you have been given, even in the deepest darkest moments. This will help you through the darkness to the light, to allow you to live the life you deserve.
Share what you have learnt with others. Someone may need to hear you words. Surround yourself with women who believe in you, who will always be there for you through thick and thin, not just for the now.
Be true to yourself always. Know that you are beautiful, say this to yourself often, every day and really mean it because until you believe it, no one else will see the beauty within you. Above all do not be scared to show your vulnerability, never be ashamed. Just be authentic and you will become the brightest star in the sky. You may not always reach for the moon but know that you will always fall amongst the shining stars.
On reflection, what would you change about yourself?
I would have shared my emotions with others, expressed my fears earlier in the process, asked for help sooner. Not to feel that these were moments of weakness because I now know that they were moments of huge strength. I could have spared myself so much pain in the process.
I wish too that I had taken more time to reflect on my own behaviour and language, on the impact it had on others when I would say stuff without really thinking about the consequences for others. I now realise, having qualified as an NLP Practitioner and Coach, having witnessed that scene on the train, I now fully understand how powerful words and actions can build or destroy. I think we should all think on this one more, especially if we are wanting to inspire others, to be positive role models.