In today’s fast-paced world, it’s of paramount importance that we’re able to manage our professional wellbeing – but sometimes, it’s easier said than done. Gillian McMichael shares how facing adversity head on enabled her to launch her company, while sharing her top tips on how others can manage their wellbeing.
Hi Gillian, tell me about yourself and your passion for wellbeing?
I'm an ICF Master Coach, a Chopra Centre Meditation and mindfulness teacher, Ayurveda, Perfect Health Teacher and Reiki Healer. I have been working in this industry now and for the last twenty years, working with my own private clients and also with a wide range of Global Corporate organisations through my business Full Circle Global. I have coached over 10,000 clients over the last twenty years and have supported them to overcome their barriers to success and come back home to their true selves.
What inspired you to follow a career that helps people with their wellbeing?
I've always been passionate about wellness. From a very young age, I was interested in exercise and dance, and I did a lot of that as a young girl growing up. I've always been a member of a gym and I've always run outside. I have always found that wellness, or keeping myself fit and healthy, is something that I need in my life. There have been times in my life when I have drifted from a regular self-care routine and one of those times, in particular, was when I got divorced over twelve years ago. I was lost and I knew I needed to change my focus from the physical to the emotional, mental and spiritual sides of wellness. That’s when I found meditation – over this time I trained to become a meditation teacher, reiki healer and a perfect health teacher and I found that combination, along with my coaching, to be a very powerful way to not only help myself with my own wellness but also to help my clients with theirs.
What advice would you give to those struggling with their professional wellbeing?
Keep things simple:
- Get outside in nature on a regular basis for walks. These can be ten, fifteen or twenty minutes long, thirty minutes maximum, to find some quietness within.
- Learn to meditate. Perhaps start off with some breath work, just learning how to breathe correctly. Or do some guided meditations, to begin with and then learn to meditate properly later on.
- Listen to what your body needs. If you're tired, sleep. If you're hungry, eat. But try to be careful to not use food, alcohol or other things as a way to escape from what you are feeling.
So, eat well, sleep well, reduce alcohol consumption, get some exercise, do some mindful movements e.g. yoga, walking in nature, Pilates, stretching and learn to meditate.
What have your greatest career achievements been?
My greatest career achievements really have been in terms of the success of my business. I've been in business since 2003 but in 2009-10 I lost everything due to the recession and a very messy divorce. It left me with nothing apart from my six-year-old son and a few suitcases. I lost my home, car, career, job, business – everything and my marriage. So I had to start again. So for me, the biggest career achievement was rebuilding, recreating and being more successful after the loss of everything. But alongside that, I had the opportunity to find myself.
Likewise, what have been your greatest challenges
My greatest challenge has been around my critical companion – that voice in the head that tells you that you are no good, not worthy enough, the narratives that I've had all my life. In my book, Coming Home: A Guide to Being Your True Self, I explain how I was bullied as a child all the way into my adult life and how that had such a severe impact on how I viewed myself and how I experienced myself. I felt like I was an outsider, and I didn't belong. So, for me, learning to tame that voice and to be honest, getting rid of my critical companion was one of my biggest challenges – and I would say that I am a work in progress and will always be on this challenge.
Tell me about your book Coming Home: A Guide to Being Your True Self. What message does it aim to convey?
Coming Home: A Guide to Being Your True Self is really about my journey of self-discovery and coming back home to my true self. Through the chapters of the book, I teach valuable lessons that I learned through my ten-year journey of coming home to myself after losing everything.
I had lost myself through the different roles that I had been playing over the years, as a result of that trauma I experienced being bullied and through several major life changes too. It really made me stop and evaluate what I was doing. So, I posed myself three questions: ‘Who am I?’, ‘What do I want?’, and then finally, ‘What is my purpose?’.
So, Coming Home is a self-help stroke semi-memoir book which takes you on your own journey of self-discovery. I've used my own transformational experiences to demonstrate the powerful effect of what happens when you forgive yourself and break free of past conditioning. I take the reader through each stage of a self-healing process that will help them return home to their true selves. By the end of the book, if they do the exercises provided, they will have meaning, and purpose in their life, and find true agency in themselves. The reader will be able to identify and let go of self-limiting beliefs, discover their gifts and talents, understand the importance of self-care and learn to live intentionally, purposefully and joyfully.
What would you say has been the secret to your success?
Gosh, that's a good question! The secret to my success I think is a mixture of determination, belief, optimism, hope and finally, acceptance of who I am.
With acceptance comes inner peace. You stop trying to be somebody else or trying to be liked. So, when you accept yourself fully for who you are, the whole of you, warts and all, you can let go of those roles you’ve played, the past conditioning and all you have to do is focus on being you. When you get to that point then life becomes easier, and things start to flow because at the end of the day, you're being you and you no longer are in conflict with yourself.