When Gabriella Goddard found a lump in her breast, it was a huge wake up call. Faced with her own immortality, she was forced to take a good hard look at her life. And that’s when she reconnected to her childhood dream of being a writer. She asked herself, “If not now … then when?
Gabriella took that wake up call to heart and was determined she was going to give up living life passively. She created a seven-day crash course that offered a new way for people to make powerful changes that really mattered in their lives without waiting for that wake up call.
I interviewed Gabriella to tell us more about her message she is conveying through her new book, Gulp!: The 7 Day Crash Course to Master Fear and Break Through Any Challenge to see if she could help others learn how to get more meaning out of life—before it’s too late.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Ms. Goddard. I understand that it wasn’t until you found a lump in your breast that you made an important shift in living your life. Can you tell us what your life was like before you found out?
A. Things were going really well for me at the time. I was finally getting my Executive Coaching business to a profitable place and I was attracting some amazing clients. For the first time in a long time, I felt that my life was finally on track. And then wham, out of the blue I found the lump. My world just stopped in its tracks.
Q: What thoughts went through your head when you found out you might have breast cancer?
A. The weird thing is that it didn’t really sink in at first. My more practical nature kicked in and I made an appointment to see the doctor. Part of me just didn’t believe that this could happen to me—after all I was still young. But when the doctor confirmed my findings, she looked really serious. And that’s when it started to dawn on me. I was referred to a specialist and he found not one, but two lumps, and he made further tests. Then the postal service went on strike and my results got lost in the post! That’s when it really hit me. I realized that part of me was in denial (and very thankful for the postal strike). That’s when I got really depressed. It was hard to get up every morning. For the first time in my life I faced my own mortality. And it was a real wake-up call.
Q: What important shifts in life did you make after you found out?
A. It’s crazy that we have to wait for these wake-up calls to make big decisions in life. Overnight I realized how important it was to do the things that really matter. That’s when I reconnected to my childhood dream of writing a book. That’s when I took a good hard look at my diet, fitness and lifestyle. That’s when I faced the fact that I was still single and the biological clock was slowing down. There’s nothing like a wake-up call to be a catalyst for turning ideas into action—not next year, or next month, but now. This year I decided to swim with the dolphins in Hawaii, and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing in August. And this mind set has been the biggest shift. So if you have a dream, a yearning, or a calling, then get started today and make it happen. You owe it to yourself.
Q: Are you cancer-free now?
A. Yes I am cancer-free thank goodness. But two people who are close to me aren’t. So it’s a constant reminder that the choice of life and death is never ours and that’s why we need to live our life to the fullest—every day!
Q: Your new book, Gulp!: The 7 Day Crash Course to Master Fear and Break Through Any Challenge, you show others how to face their fears, no matter what they are. Can you give us an example of where to start?
A. The first step is to ditch the denial. The sooner you face up to the reality of your situation the sooner you can move forward. So in “Day One: Dare and Defy,” I share practical ways for how you can come to terms with your situation, put a stake in the ground, and make a firm commitment.
The second step is to face your fears. One of the biggest fears is stepping unknown. Yet to move forward in life, you have to leave the safe shoreline behind. One of the best ways to overcome fear is to make it real—so gather information, facts and figures and go for “test runs.”
And the third step is to create an action plan and make small changes everyday. As St Francis of Assisi once said, “Start by doing what’s necessary, and then what’s possible, and very soon you’re doing the impossible.”
The seven-day road map in Gulp! coaches people through this process so that they can move through change faster and with less stress.
Q: How has your life improved since implementing the course yourself in respect to healing past wounds and looking forward to a happy future?
A. Gulp! has become a life philosophy for me. I used to be one of those people with loads of ideas, yet very actually made it into reality. Now I’m more aware about being true to myself and creating a life that truly fulfills me. So these days when I get an idea, the first thing I do is work through the seven-day road map. What I find is that my fear quickly dissolves and I feel energized and enthusiastic about taking action.
It’s amazing how subtle, yet profound, your shifts can be when you take action and make small steps everyday.
Q: What can you say to fellow breast cancer survivors that will help them understand that they have to give up living life passively and must take the bull by the horns?
A. My advice to breast cancer survivors is to use this experience as a catalyst for really creating a life that fulfills and nourishes you. When you’ve faced breast cancer, other challenges in your life fade in comparison. So take advantage of this. Write down what you want your life to look like at the end of the year. Identify what your biggest fears are. Put plans in place for how you can move forward step by step. And above all, believe in yourself and follow your heart.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Gabriella. Where can we find out more about you and your book?
A. Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. For more information about Gulp!, check out my website . Plus there’s loads of free stuff like downloads, podcasts, video clips, and motivational emails to keep you fired up and on track.
Gabriella Goddard is the founder of Goddard International Ltd., innovators in personal development Gabriella works as an Executive Coach and Speaker. Her clients include senior executives in FTSE100 companies, TV presenters, authors, journalists, and entrepreneurs. She is regularly featured in the media including International Herald Tribune, Weight Watchers Magazine, The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, BBC Online and on BBC Radio, Radio 5 Live, and Discovery Health channel.
Originally from New Zealand, Gabriella enjoyed an extensive career in international marketing and branding before making the “gulp!” decision to set up her own business. Gabriella lives a free-spirited life with bases in London, New York, and Spain.