'If you want small changes in your life, work on your attitude. But if you want big and primary changes, work on your paradigm.'- Stephen Covey

When was the last time you had a major paradigm shift? Was the trigger small but the shift mega? Or did you get slapped about the face with it? How did the shift change your life?

This story's about paradigm shifts, being grateful for what you do and don't have, what has and hasn't happened to you, being courageous through sharing stories which helps us both inspire and be inspired. And I'm using a personal story to demonstrate my point.

I left home and school at a ridiculously young age because there was some serious stuff going on at home. Without going into detail, as a result, I started making my way in the world loathing myself, making decisions at a time I'm eternally grateful for that there were no camera phones to constantly record my silly mistakes.

My 17th birthday truly changed my life when my grandma bought me a modelling course. I was royally annoyed because I wanted clothes.  On the actual day of my birthday, I picked up my first modelling job for FAYREFORM. Considering my journey so far with my body, the irony was bizarre. I was well-paid for a day's work to model and smile in my undies with strange props, props that didn’t actually go together. 

I mean, I had a badminton racquet slung over my shoulder, a shuttlecock in hand and a hat plonked on my head. Ummm...isn’t badminton... an indoor sport?

Unaware at the time, though, I’d experienced firsthand a PARADIGM shift about my body, particularly my breasts. I walked onto set not thinking much of myself and left 10 hours later thinking maybe my body and me could be friends, after all. 

“You believe today's paradigm are not going to change.... Ask the caveman then if his paradigms changed or not. Think for yourself, you lose. Think for coming generations you win.” 
 Sameh Elsayed

Same body. Different attitude. I absolutely do not deny that receiving money for something I effortlessly grew was quite possibly one of the biggest game-changers of my life. Able to do body modelling and being fearless in pushing myself in the business, I'd started nailing jobs partially because of my cup size (they were 10C).  


Then about 1990, I strutted into a casting for an L&P TVC. The art director said, “We need to see your body. We need to know you’re not shy.”

Ha! How could I be shy when I was so disconnected from my body?

I shrugged my shoulders, stripped down to my sensible lingerie and I put my hands out. “Ta-dah. There’s the front…” I turned around. “And here’s the back.” 

I got the L&P job. It felt amazing to be paid for doing the job of flicking my hair around as I rolled through the surf in a bikini with a really hot guy. 

I made pretty reasonable money out of my modelling and body work, though. But way better, I was starting to have fun in my body again. 

In 1997, I fell pregnant ballooning up 21 kilos. I was heavier than a small All Black, my breasts like two footballs going up to a 16G. The only time I liked breasts that big were for Sunday roast. 

I was at an all-time low. My bra so big, I could use it as a parachute to save myself if I'd been thrown out of a plane. 

Then my son breaststroked his way into the world. No joking. It was a big thing to put humpty back together again. I wondered how on earth would my tiny baby feed? But feed he did. Easily. Other anxious mums I knew got mastitis, or their milk wasn’t enough while I was effortlessly going with the flow. I kept my mouth shut about how easy it was for us. Another PARADIGM SHIFT for me. Because my body and breasts play an important part of the story that lead me to where I am today.

In August '14, I was invited to the GOODNESS GRACIOUS event as one of seven guest speakers to share some of my  personal story with hundreds of women. The topic was how getting through challenges can be where you find your greatest strength


A few women approached me sharing their own tales of abuse. One woman’s eyes welled up as she told me her story. She’d never told a soul. Inspiring others is why I did it. 

It was also where I met KARIN HOREN, a fellow speaker and amazing woman who won her battle with breast cancer when it struck her at 26. Oh, and then it came back a second time at 40. She’s now heading the PADDLE FOR HOPE charity.  Her story of her journey with her body humbled me. 

My story on abuse humbled her. She invited me to be an ambassador for PADDLE FOR HOPE. We’re both super-excited for this collaboration

It was also where I met and fell in love with CHRISTINE who I invited on to my SCOUT books. I asked CHRISTINE what she does for a living. Talking about what she does, her eyes lit up. Hint: she works with women who've suffered breast cancer.


HAVE COURAGE. SHARE YOUR STORY. Once we’re COURAGEOUS enough to share our experiences, it opens up our compassion for each other. We become humbled by what others go through and seek out ways to get through the challenges of life, collectively. 

BE GRATEFUL FOR YOU WHAT YOU HAVE. AND EQUALLY FOR WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE. When you understand what you don’t want, you can start to work towards and shifting your focus to what you do want. Warning: it takes hard work, though. And only becomes easier with practice.

STUDY YOUR OWN PARADIGM SHIFTS. I could’ve fast-tracked to a happier life sooner had I even known the words PARADIGM SHIFT let alone what it meant. Take a look at your own PARADIGM SHIFTs and what positives came out from them. I can’t help but notice that before the paradigm shift, my views were often leaning toward negatives, but after it, more positive. Or for me, the pain before the paradigm shift dissipates after the paradigm shift. You’ll be amazed at how good understanding makes you feel.  

LIFE IS A CRAZY SEE-SAW. GET USED TO IT. Just as night works with day - darkness works with brightness, so too does up work with down. The sooner we embrace and understand this, the HAPPIER and more BALANCED we become. 


TEDx Talks are amazing. Check out TedXAucklandASCENDING – on Youtube including a woman who not only beat breast cancer, but turned her lessons from darkness into evolving by light by setting up a health and wellness studio in Ponsonby, REBECCA WADEY.  

In the meantime, Here’s BRENE BROWN’S definition of the word COURAGE

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart." Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences -- good and bad.” Here's her full TedxTalk

Thanks for joining me! If you pick up any info here which could be useful to someone, share it. 

Until next time,