You hear stories of people changing their lives after big events or trauma all the time.
Can we learn from others' stories without going through the same traumatic experience?
In this episode, I talk about one of the life-changing things that happened to me. I share my experience with cancer and how, although traumatic, it became a lot of blessings in so many ways. Join me in this episode as I talk about one of the most important journeys I have been through in my life.
01:08 The life-changing reasons why I made changes to my business
02:33 Getting clarity without having to go through a trauma
03:41 Anxiety-inducing waiting process
05:32 Be breast aware
06:13 The works
07:30 Get all the support
09:00 Resilience-building during cancer
10:24 Changes in the business
13:05 Mental clarity
14:31 Being mindful
Hi, I’m Ruth, a business coach specializing in helping freelancers and business owners adjust their mindset and their marketing so they can get fully booked with clients they LOVE to work with. I’ve helped hundreds of self-employed women achieve the time and money freedom they craved.
I’ve started this podcast because when I first went all in and left the corporate world to be a freelancer, I was grateful for any work that came my way. After over 20 years of freelancing and working for other people, I started to realize I’d created a glass ceiling for myself.
In 2017, I finally started listening to that voice that had been telling me for a long time that I wasn’t doing what I loved and fulfilling my true potential. It took a critical illness to give me that wake-up call. I don’t want the same to happen to you.
You can expect practical advice, inspiring stories, and a lot of aha moments as we uncover and kick to the curb all the obstacles you have been putting in your way.
I’m on a mission to inspire women to start and play bigger in business.
Free stuff: https://www.ruthgilbey.com/next-client
Ruth Gilbey 00:04
Hello and welcome to the inspiring women in business podcast. My name is Ruth Gilbey, and I'm a business and marketing coach. I'm on a mission to inspire women to start and play bigger in business. Now I started this podcast because when I first went all in and left the corporate world to be a freelancer, I was just grateful for any work that came my way. After over 20 years of freelancing and working for other people, I started to realize I'd created a glass ceiling myself. It was in 2017 when I finally started listening to that voice that had been telling me for a long time that I wasn't doing what I loved, and I wasn't fulfilling my true potential. It took a critical illness to give me that wake-up call. And I don't want the same thing to happen to you. You can expect practical advice, interviews, inspiring stories, and a lot of aha moments as we uncover and kick to the curb all the obstacles you've been putting in your way.
Ruth Gilbey 01:08
Hi, everyone, and welcome to today's episode. This is quite a difficult episode for me to record because I'm talking about one of the life-changing things that happened to me. When people ask me, why did I make so many changes to my business? Why did I train to be a coach? Why do I want to help other women grow their own businesses? I think about that, and I go back to where I was, in 2017, before I was diagnosed with breast cancer. What I learned through that process, being diagnosed and going through the treatment, that's part of my why. That's part of the reason why I made so many changes in my business.
Ruth Gilbey 01:55
I just want to say a massive caveat here that this is going to be quite a clumsy episode. I've recorded it a couple of times already. And I need just to get it down and get it out there now. And tell you all about it. It's quite hard for me to articulate everything because it's still a little bit messy in my head. But what I want the main purpose of this episode is through something I want to tell you about something that happened to me that was traumatic, and that was awful is one of the worst things that ever happened to me. It was like a slap in the face it was it was also a wake-up call. And in a lot of ways, it was a blessing.
Ruth Gilbey 02:33
So the reason why I'm doing this episode is to encourage you to step back and assess and get clarity. And I want you to be able to get that clarity without having to go through a traumatic experience. So if I can give you some key takeaways from this that can help you if you're feeling a bit for want of a better word busy in your business, not feeling like it's the business you want. If you feel like you can't grow it. If you feel like you want to make some changes in your business. And if you're feeling stressed, and you're overworked and just really, really busy in your business, then this is the episode for you to help you get some clarity. The other thing is the other reason why I'm recording this episode is to remind you to put your mental health and well-being first. I didn't for so many years, and I didn't spot the signs that I was seriously ill. And I think slowing down, if you can take anything from this episode, it's we need to slow down we need need to be in tune with ourselves to show up as the best versions of ourselves.
Ruth Gilbey 03:41
So I want to go back to I'll talk to you about my diagnosis. So in 2017, I was sat on the sofa, and I got a sort of tingle under my armpit, and I felt my breast and found a lump, and it was quite clearly a lump. And I then went to the doctors who then referred me, and I quickly had a mammogram. I couldn't believe it was almost like the next day I was booked him for a mammogram. I was there for hours when I went for the mammogram and called in for more and more scans. And I remember about 30 women going in for various scans. And quite tellingly, by the end, I was there for like three hours being called back in. They wanted to do different types of scans. They were taking biopsies. I was just wondering what on earth is going on. And then, by the end of the day, only me and one other woman actually left out of the 30 women. I'm not sure what that meant. But I was called in to say it's kind of they didn't know what was going on and they needed to send stuff off for a biopsy, and they would be in touch.
Ruth Gilbey 04:49
So then it was. I think I had to wait about a week, and I was called in again agonizing, kind of waiting a good hour or two for my appointment. Then I was called in and told that I had breast cancer—all a bit of a blur and all a bit of a whirlwind. I was thinking, Oh, my goodness, how is this happening to me? Then I had various scans. And because what had happened was actually my cancer had developed and my cancer was in five different places. Four of those places were in the breast, and one was under my armpit because it had gone to a node, I say, under my armpit had gone to a node for want of a better technical term.
Ruth Gilbey 05:32
And I was thinking, How on earth has this happened? How was it in five different places? And I was told because I'd probably been walking around with breast cancer for over 18 months. And this was quite telling. And again, if something you can take away from this episode is to be more breast aware, I wasn't breast aware there was now I look back, there were so many signs that I was like, unclear of. And I think it's like one in seven women are diagnosed with breast cancer. And early detection is so so key. The earlier you catch it, the less invasive the treatment is because mine had been there for quite some time.
Ruth Gilbey 06:13
They told me, I'm afraid you're having the works. Again, I don't want to terrify anyone. But I was like, Okay, what is the works, they were set, and they and I were told that I would have a year's worth of treatment. I would have eight rounds of chemotherapy over, and that would be like one a month that would take about eight months, then I would have 15 rounds of radiotherapy, which would be over an intensive three-week period. And then I would be booked in to have a mastectomy and a sense of what they call a sentinel node biopsy where they remove the note that had cancer in it. So that went on for at least a year.
Ruth Gilbey 06:53
And but what was interesting to me was that it was actually waiting for the diagnosis. That was the worst part that not knowing and being in limbo and fearing the worst once you almost get on once I got the news, I felt more in control. And I just wanted to get on with the treatment. I really wanted to just get on with the treatment. And I was less frightened. The more I got into it, and I got into a routine. I don't want to go into too much detail about the treatment. I want to talk to you about what happened to me, that clarity, and those light bulb moments I had during the treatment.
Ruth Gilbey 07:30
Now, my surgeon said to me. She's just this amazing woman that I still see. Take all the help Ruth and get all the support. And she told me about the different support groups that were at the hospital. She introduced me to a couple of amazing local Cancer Support charities as well that I just didn't even know these places existed that are just amazing. She told me about those. And she just said, get all the help you can. She also said swallow your pride and get help from your family and look at your life and make this as easy as possible for you to get through this treatment because it will be very intensive.
Ruth Gilbey 08:15
So suddenly, my life was turned upside down. And I had to change everything. And I had to do things that I hadn't done for such a long time, which was I had to swallow my pride, and I had to get help. And I had to get support. And it made me realize how I had never been that person who'd ever asked for help who'd ever asked and been honest about needing help and support. And during this treatment. And this is an episode for another time. I found why I ended up doing having counselling and support, and I did a mindfulness course. And I got lots of support. I tackled my mental health issues during my cancer treatment.
Ruth Gilbey 09:00
So, therefore, I built resilience through having cancer. If that makes any sense, I dealt with things that I'd never dealt with before. I have never permitted myself to get support, get help, or invest in counseling because I'd always thought I'm okay. I don't need to have counseling. I don't need to get support. And it was only through having the counseling. I've been putting up with all living with, you know, depression, really on and off for a few years depression and anxiety for quite a few years that I'd never dealt with because I had prevented myself from getting that help. So I took all the help, and people couldn't believe how I would be smiling through the treatment. And what a profound effect was getting support to having a support group having a community, speaking to a counselor, and having just this amazing support through the treatment, what that gave me what a difference it made to have that treatment, and what a difference it made for my life. And I decided from then on that I would never suffer in silence again. I would never put up with feeling like that ever again. So it was a big change for me.
Ruth Gilbey 10:24
Another change for me that happened and that I'd been a very, very busy Freelancer for quite some years, always tight and never saying no to work, taking on more and more work thinking, this is the last contract that I'll take. And then I'll make some changes in my business. And I'd always wanted to change my business, I'd always wanted to grow it, I had dreams of possibly having an agency, and I was a digital marketer. And I dreamt of having an agency and growing an agency, and building a business that wasn't just about me. And I kept dreaming of it and never doing anything actually about it. And what happened during my treatment was that I actually started almost to build an agency, I worked with a series of contractors who helped me with my ongoing contracts, and all my clients were wonderful. They were happy for me to work with other people who told them about the situation. And my business started to be. I could see actually how I could then grow my business because I wasn't trying to do it all myself. So I got support, I learned about outsourcing. And I started to learn how to grow my business. And also, because I wasn't so busy in my business,
Ruth Gilbey 11:39
I got a lot of clarity about where I wanted my business to go. So what do I want to leave you with? At the end of this episode, if there's one thing or a few things you can take away from this episode, you are enough right now. You know enough. And you can make any changes you want in your business right now. You can do it right now. Even if it's just small, incremental changes, it doesn't have to be massive. The things that I've spoken to you about, they took even though these were big things for me, these significant changes in my business. I still, it was like tweaks. I kept tweaking and changing things. And it's this has been going on for me over the last few years. That was the catalyst, the diagnosis, and having to step back from my business and slow down. But I keep making more and more changes towards what I want and more steps towards what I actually want.
Ruth Gilbey 12:35
The other thing that I would say to you is, don't put off your dreams. And don't let anyone tell you you can't do something, including yourself. We put limitations. We put obstacles to the things that we want to do. We have excuses for the things that we want to do. And I've said this in other episodes and get help, get support, work with a coach, work through that. And really get clear on what you would like your life and business to look like.
Ruth Gilbey 13:05
I read something recently that the enemy of mental clarity is overthinking. You almost have to simplify things and do less to get that clarity, not do more. But as human beings, we are so wired to keep being busy. Also, during my treatment, I did a mindfulness course. It was over kind of six weeks, and it was at a cancer support charity. And I met this wonderful woman called Anna Zannides. And she sat down. I thought, right. How is she going to teach me how to cope with my emotions through my cancer treatment. And I don't think it was very early stages. It was like I was the only kind of one or two. I'd only had one or two cycles of chemotherapy when I went and saw her, and I was like, she's going to teach me how to kind of block my emotions. She's going to show me how to sort of cope with it. But instead, she taught me how being mindful is about being present and not run from trauma and that we all have trauma. Because at that point, when I went to that mindfulness course, I was feeling unlucky and sorry for myself. And when she actually reframed in, she said everybody goes through trauma, and we have to kind of honour that trauma and face our fears and face our emotions. And let the feelings out. Let us feel things and honour them.
Ruth Gilbey 14:31
That was a big change because I'd always kind of run for my feelings or just be busy and not face them. Whereas being mindful is being aware of them and being present. So another thing to leave you is is that to get emotional clarity, you can't run from your emotions, but rather deal or address them and a way to deal or address them because it can seem really scary to deal with all your emotions in one go is kind of like deal with them. One by One, we'll deal with them one at a time. If we sweep them under the carpet, it becomes bigger and bigger. When I didn't deal with my emotions, they would build up. And I believe we need to honor and address them. But equally ask, what is this teaching me? How would I rather feel? Is there another way? Sometimes it starts with a break or a walk or a having cup of tea to give yourself space to get that clarity. I hope you found this episode helpful. I hope you can find some clarity, and you can step back from what you're doing and honor your feelings and be curious about how you're feeling about things by being busy. We don't all know how we're feeling about something, and we don't get clarity. Thanks very much.
Ruth Gilbey 15:47
Thanks for listening and subscribing to the inspiring women in business podcast. I hope you enjoyed it. And if you did, I would love it if you would leave a review. Now, if I've whet your appetite to learn more about how to play bigger in business and how to challenge your own beliefs around what's possible, then why not join my free Facebook group called the inspiring women in business Facebook group. When you join, you'll receive some free gifts from me, showing you how to make those first steps into leveling up your mindset and business.