Listen to me

Watch me

We have spent the last few weeks looking at how other people’s moods can affect our ability to be the best version of ourselves, today we start looking more at how we can be the one that sabotages our own success. If we let our negative experiences in our lives become our limiters as we move forward, then we will not achieve our full potential.  In fact, life can just become a struggle, if we are just dragging the past behind us, living with remorse, regrets, loss and all the other emotions that can get stuck within us. Life can be hard and if the knocks keep coming we can sometimes feel like, what’s the point and before we know it we have just given up. Our internal attitude has then become the silent mood hoover in our own lives and often we just don’t even realise it. We’re not depressive or down on others we have just lost the wind out of sails and we just end up just not living life to our full potential.

Let’s look at someone who didn’t give up but battled through life and health issues, and is an inspiration to all of us. Jen always dreamed of becoming a detective with the police force and from a child she was fascinated with all things connected with this, then going on to choose subjects at university to support her career dreams. The challenges of parents splitting up and then downward spiral of her mum’s health both emotionally and physically, after this was hard for Jen, but she never lost her dream.


As Jen was growing up she also started to find certain things difficult due to stiffness and pain in her joints; in particular, in her hips and knees and the normal childhood sports became challenging for her. It was put down as growing pains and then went undiagnosed for many years, this often-meant Jen felt the weaker version of everyone else but she kept pushing herself in all that she did. After university Jen went travelling this is when her health issues came to a head, by the time she got to Thailand, Jen couldn’t even straighten her right-hand flat or make it into a fist. Jen’s swollen fingers looked like they might have an infection, so she went to the doctor as soon as they landed in Australia. He took one look at them and said, “I know what it is and you’re not going to like it!” they referred her to a rheumatologist and was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, which causes inflammation of the joints in the spine and pelvis, as well as swelling in soft tissue.

It’s an auto-immune disease; the immune system mistakenly thinks there is a problem in the joints and sends white blood cells, attacking the healthy tissue and causing swelling, stiffness and pain. Jen also got diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and it was made clear that these weren’t problems that would go away. It was so bad Jen had to stay in Perth for 8 months with the support of our now husband and his best friend getting her condition under control. Even through it was full of many emotional and physical challenges for Jen, she didn’t give up and went on to have some amazing experiences on the rest of their trip. It would have been so easy to have given up and gone home but Jen stayed strong and pushed herself through the challenges, returning home a different person. Having grown so much through her experiences Jen was determined not to let her diagnosis affect her life negatively. However, when she applied to join the police, she was shocked to find that they instantly refused her, due to health conditions.


After all that Jen had been through and still being so young this might have pushed even the strongest person into a negative submission. But no, Jen just kept going and started applying for every job that even slightly interested her, which at the time were mostly admin jobs. Jen chose to go to a publishing house, starting off picking and packing book orders in the warehouse and doing general admin for the company. Even though Jen was still dealing with her health conditions she worked her way up to Group Production Manager, managing the design teams across all of the company’s different imprints.  Then after having an extra diagnosis of fibromyalgia it meant every day was a struggle and the work life balance got distorted so Jen took the brave decision to go freelance and started her company Fuzzy Flamingo. Jen adapted her home office to suit her needs, the desk raises and lowers enabling standing or sitting and her company continues to go from strength to strength. As well as now having two small children to care for and the ups and downs of life to contend with.

A final note from Jen is from C.S. Lewis: “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” I may have thought my dream was to be in the police, but in having that door closed I had several opened that are even better! Don’t give up if things aren’t working. Change directions and you might just find yourself looking at a better view.


What an inspiration Jen is to all of us, her drive and determination through many adversities shows great strength and something we should all strive to follow. If you would like to read about her life in more depth then please use this link to preview her book in full. No matter what life can throw at us it’s important to see that this is not the only direction we can follow and that adaption is the key to success. Trying and failing is another step closer to success, so never be afraid to admit when things aren’t right or aren’t working for you, as the time you waste will only stop you from finding your true path.  We can’t follow the path of others, we have to carve out our own way forward, sometimes we do come to a crossroads like Jen and have hard decisions to make, don’t get stuck at these points in your life, any direction is better than no direction. Life doesn’t come with a manual and in fact if it did it may be just like complex flat pack furniture too hard to decipher and many of the steps have to be repeated as you have gone off track with it. Like building furniture, once you have done one, the next one will be way easier and life is just the same, the more you try the better you will become, learning from taking the wrong direction and ultimately finding the right one for you. Don’t fear the process either as it will only make the instructions feel more like destructions, just relax and start listening to your gut, heart and inner instinct if we listen to ourselves it will help.

Next week we will look at more disruptive personal habits and patterns which can be limiting you, finding more solutions to help you to defuse them and help you get on your right path.


Thanks for dropping by Sara x

Read more about Jen’s story: http://bit.ly/BuyMOF4

You can also follow her journey @fuzzyflamimgodesign

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