In her book “Thriving, Not, Surviving” The author provides you with the route map to navigate a particular life, focusing on self-belief, relationships, managing change and finding your true purpose and achieving fulfillment.
In this episode of the Transform your mind to Transform your life radio show and podcast, Coach Myrna Young interviews Gina Gardiner, Author of the book , “Thriving Not Surviving – The 5 Secret Pathways To Happiness Success and Fulfilment”
- Gina is a Motivational Speaker, Empowerment and Relationship Coach and Transformational Leadership Trainer with well over 30 years of experience helping people experience happiness, success and fulfillment. She’s the founder of the Thrive Together Tribe membership and personal and spiritual development Program and The Enlightened Leadership Program.
- Gina has learned to walk twice as an adult. For over 20 years, she ran her award-winning school, for the most part from a wheelchair. The gift of this experience was the development of a unique approach to life and learning the tools on, Thriving, not just, surviving.
- In 2004 Gina left Headship school as the Principal and has since worked with countless individuals, couples, teams and organizations helping them to step into their potential, to learn the lessons from the past and to recognize that it is their choice to step into their power and live a fearless life. Gina is passionate about supporting people to live a truly happy, successful and fulfilling life, thriving, not just, surviving.
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What is the Difference between, Thriving, and, Surviving?
There’s a huge difference between, surviving, and thriving. Surviving, means to “continue to live or exist, especially in spite of danger or hardship.” Thriving, means to “prosper, be fortunate or successful, to grow or develop vigorously; to flourish.”
I really found myself moving on my career path very quickly. I was promoted to deputy principal of a large junior high school when I was 28. I was appointed to be the catalyst for change. I was the youngest on the staff and for the first six months. I was working directly with the principal because I was the deputy principal to strategically plan what we were going to do and start making the changes.
In the UK schools have a week off in February for the spring half term. I was really thrilled to be going skiing with the kids. I was a keen skier and went off to Italy for the ski trip. In those days it was very fashionable to have the longest skis possible and I got a new pair of skis for Christmas. I proceeded to wrap the extra 10 centimetres’ of the skis. We left for the ski lift after lunch the next day after arrival. It was an absolutely beautiful day, one of those days in the mountains where the sun was shining and everything was clean and crisp. I followed my friends to this new trail, when our lift turned a corner, I noticed the mountain was not as we expected. Instead of being on a lovely red run that went for three or four kilometres, we were on the Schindler slope, which was the most difficult black run called a mogul. A mogul is where the snow has been carved by the weather and they are often little cobblestones; but these were six-foot monsters and the only way to ski was to turn on the top of a mogul and slide down and then find a way through the moguls till the next one, and turn on either side a narrow piece. There was some powder snow, so I skied the first bird and then lost my nerve in terms of turning and ended up falling a long way in the powder snow. It took me about 20 minutes to retrieve my ski and then make my way down to where my friends were sitting. Each of them sitting on a mogul rather like an elf sitting on a toadstool!
I decided to sit on a mogul as well and the top of my mogul gave way and I starting to fall. The next thing I knew, I was coming to. I had lost consciousness. I’m told I fell about 150 to 200 feet down the mountain.
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We were traveling home the next morning, so I thought I’d rather go and see the medics in the UK instead of Italy. I had a terrible journey home. My mum took one look at me and she carted me off to the emergency at the hospital. They diagnosed with a bad concussion and that I had damaged a nerve in my neck. It took me three weeks to get back to school and two weeks later I was due to be the deputy leader on a skiing trip to Switzerland. I was given permission to go because we were taking a doctor with us. I was finding it more and more difficult to manage but I did manage until the very last evening when I said to a staff member, I’m going to have to go and lie down. I wasn’t laying on my bed for more than a few minutes when I discovered that I was paralyzed. So I’m lying on my bed, I can’t feel my one side, I didn’t want to frighten the children, their rooms were children down the corridor, and so I waited until one of the other adults arrived. I have to say it was the longest time in my life. I have no idea how long it was, I just know it felt like forever. When they did arrive all hell broke loose, an ambulance was called. I was carted off to Geneva Hospital and I was there for several days before being flown home and gradually my mobility returned; but I was never quite the same. By the end of May, I went back to school. I was doing school and sleep. I thought I’ve had six weeks to recuperate during the summer break but; two weeks later I had a phone call very early in the morning from my principal’s wife, she had just found him dead in bed, he had a massive heart attack and so far from being restful holiday I was suddenly acting principal.
I had to contact the staff, the parents and the local authority and prepare for September and so by the time September came, I had plans in place and by the following January I was appointed the permanent head master. I was determined that not only the children; but also the staff in my school would get the best learning environment that I could produce. That they would, thrive not just survive. I’ve been very unhappy at school, and I wanted something very different for my pupils, and also for the staff.
I was walking, but by 1987 my mobility was deteriorating, and I had to start using the wheelchair in school. I wasn’t at that point wheelchair-bound, I could walk into the classroom, I could walk into my office; but I couldn’t walk any distance. Any walking produced fatigue and pain and for the next few years I managed like that until in 1996, I sneezed and I felt something ping in my back. It was towards the end of the summer term, there’s something about the summer holidays for me, I’m not quite sure what I did.
I had a special chair in assembly and that where I could sit at standing height, and one day I went to get off the chair, and my legs wouldn’t hold me. I fell to the floor. So off to the hospital. It turned out that I had a huge ruptured disc. I was just, surviving. I had failed back surgery syndrome, so when I came around from the operation, if I put my left foot to the floor, then I just used to faint because of the pain. Surviving, was becoming tedious.
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The best explanation the doctors came up with is that during the fall I had bruised the spinal cord and with skiing the second time, that the spinal cord had been swollen and cut off the blood supply or whatever, and so a period of time I was paralyzed on one side; but I was back at school after the back operation very quickly. I already had my wheelchair, so the school was all set up for me to be operating from a wheelchair. I was still just, surviving. It took me 18 months to walk at the end of my quite small garden.
I ruptured another disk that summer. I could not stand at all now, if I stayed at home, I couldn’t do anything other than read or watch television. If my care giver didn’t fill the kettle, I couldn’t make myself a drink. So I decided to go back to school. I was back at school because my brain worked, my mouth worked, my hands worked. I had people who could lift things if I needed it and I could do what I loved and I was good at. Surviving was my intent. I was going to focus on what I could do to start, thriving, not just surviving.
In 2004 I was given an ultimatum by the neurologist you’ve got to stop working the 15 hours a day that you’re doing because my health was deteriorating. I made the very difficult decision that I was going to leave the school. I had to use an electric wheelchair. I had all of these Skills, these expertise, experience and I thought well. What am I going to do now?
I decided to focus on the development of leadership. Getting more women to the table. I looked at retail manufacturing, finance, Insurance, local government and a whole range of industries. The issues that they faced in terms of developing leadership, was no different in education, so I wrote my first couple of books and they became my credibility. I worked mainly in corporate field as an, executive coach. I was now, thriving. The recession in early 2008 hurt my business, because the corporations just slashed training and development. I was back to, surviving.
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I started to do some lecturing for the university and they would commission me out to go and work with smaller businesses, SME is anything up to about 8 million pound turnover. I would go and work with these companies, we’d sort out the problem, I’d go away and then a few months later I’d be invited back to sort out another problem, so I suggested in those businesses to hire me full time as an, executive coach.
Back to, thriving, using the principles that I used to build up my own organization and become one of the best 100 schools in England. I used the gift that my disability gave me and the gift that I had developed within my own organization to developing people’s empowerment, personal empowerment and leadership where they would take radical responsibility for their own performance and shared responsibility for the team, for the whole organization and it was incredibly successful.
So I setup genuinely you. I wrote the book, thriving not surviving, and that sent me on my mission. My mission now is to positively impact one million people and to do that through personal empowerment and enlightened leadership.
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How can people go from, Thriving, to, Surviving, when facing challenges?
It’s a bit serendipitous. You have a problem, you find a way to get over it, then something
else happens and you find another way to keep, surviving. When I came to write, thriving not surviving, and it was the second book that I’d written around looking at the strategies that I’d used to overcome my personal challenges and going from, surviving, to thriving. The first book
was called, Chariots on Fire, that was my story and the personal strategies that I used to overcome the difficulty of, surviving, but between 2009 and 2017, a lot of things changed.
I’ve done a lot of development work on myself and I’d worked with thousands of people and so I had moved my thinking.
Here are the Two areas to focus to start, Thriving, and stop, Surviving.
- Beliefs – our beliefs about ourselves become our reality. If you believe you’ll fail, the chances are you won’t even start. If you believe you’ll might fail, you’re going to make a set of decisions. If you believe I’m going to succeed, don’t quite know how but; I’m going to succeed, your beliefs about whether you’re enough or whether you are, too fat, too tall, too short, not rich enough, not educated enough, too old, too young, those beliefs absolutely determine what sort of quality of life you’re going to have.
- The second pathways is relationships. You want to be, thriving, in your relationships. Every relationship we have with other people is a mirror image of the relationship we have with ourselves. So if you don’t feel that you’re enough, if you listen to other people’s opinions rather than trusting your own, if you believe that you deserve to be treated badly because you don’t actually love and appreciate yourself, you’re going to put up with people treating you in a very different way, than if you actually have confidence and a good self-esteem. So the relationships we have with ourselves are incredibly important.
In a past episode Surviving R Kelly: the Mindset of a Predator,
The Lifetime series, Surviving R. Kelly, and the follow up Dateline episode, show a rich and famous R. Kelly feeding his sex machine with women of all ages. His preference seemed to be teenage girls as young as 12 years old; but women in their 30’s had the same experience. One said that she did unspeakable things in a Black room, was starved, had to ask before she went to the bathroom, was physically abused, and had to call Art. Kelly, Daddy.
So in this interview, Nicole and I explore the mindset of predator and how women of all ages can use their intuition to escape the lair of a predator.
These women who were a part of the, surviving R Kelly, documentary, had to learn to be strong minded. Similarly Gina had to learn to push past her flesh and fight to do the things she had always done, like lead a school. One of the victims in the, Surviving R. Kelly, interview, said just that. She said that, sexual predators, look for the, weak minded woman,. They usually go for the young, like teenagers because they are, weak minded women, but if they find you are weak minded as an adult, then you become a victim as well. She was one of the women in her 30’s who was a victim. So if you are a, weak minded woman, then you are not using your intuition, instead, you are looking for this person to fill the void in your life, and in, the mindset of a sexual predator, they are more than happy to accommodate.
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If you are interested in your personal and spiritual development, all of Gina’s programs are on her website which is genuinely- you. You will find all sorts of resources, lots of free stuff and also find her one-on-one coaching program and enlightened leadership program.
Leadership Coaching – Transform your Mind