Page 23 - TalkCare_Issue5_Online.qxp_OACP Talking Care Issue 4 July 2017
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as the permanent Headship January 1884. I was absolutely determined to do a good job. I wanted the children to be happy and confident learners and the staff to strive for excellence and for everyone to do their best.
Slowly my mobility deteriorated, forcing me to use a wheel chair, I went kicking a screaming! Worried about what others would think – what a waste of energy! They didn’t bat an eyelid.
A failed back surgery in 1996 to remove a disc in my back meant was unable to put my left foot to the floor without fainting because of the pain. I became a very good stork. I had several nerve bocks and other medical interventions to help. It took me 18 months to walk to the end of my very small garden. Two years on almost to the day, I ruptured a second disc. Yet again the surgery failed and I was left completely wheelchair bound.
At home I was incredibly dis­abled, I couldn’t make a cup of coffee if my carer had forgotten to leave a cup out or fill the kettle. At school, I could use my brain, my hands and my mouth. I could operate effectively as the Head, be doing something worthwhile and something I loved.
Although I could get around school, I was unable to access most of the classrooms, the wheelchair was too big. I had to find a different way to ensure excellence for my pupils and staff.
Necessity is the mother of invention. One of the gifts of my disability was the creation of a very different approach to helping people step into
their genuine power. This facilitated a unique and highly effective leadership programme, based on mutual respect and people taking ownership of their actions and words. It turned out to be incredibly successful. We achieved many accolades including being on the (HMI) ‘Best 100 Schools In England,’ list, twice during my leadership.
Work was great pain control, I became very good at switching my body off whilst I was working but it was taking its toll. I left Headship in 2004 because my health was deteriorating but I was not ready to sit at home and be limited by my health. I had an internal spinal stimulator fitted in September 2004. Since then progress has been very slow but I no longer use the wheelchair in the house or garden and can now walk short distances.
When I left Headship, I reinvented my professional life, published my first two books to give me credibility in the business world and expanded my coaching skills. In 2006 I had an experience which was to shift my thinking and expand my horizons exponentially. I was attending a Tony Robbins course at the EXCEL centre in London. There were 10,000 people on the course.
An integral part of the course was the Fire Walk. I was thrilled to achieve the walk over hot coals with help. I then watched the guy behind me (a double amputee) tip onto his hands and walk on his hands. It was a pivotal moment for me, I booked a flight to California to attend a course I had dismissed earlier in the day because I thought it would be too difficult to
manage by myself. Since then I have travelled widely to study and for pleasure. I am forever in that man’s debt!
The principles and the strategies developed during my Headship and through study are at the heart of the work I do with individuals, couples, teams and whole organisations. They are tried and tested and easy to incorporate into daily life.
For years, I rarely spoke about my disability, but during a conversation with a coach it became clear that it had been the elephant in the room. Realising that the story of my journey may be of value to others was the motivation for writing ‘Chariots On Fire.’ (https://genuinely­­94534­118). The title refers to my wheelchair. It could be seen as a thing of lack or an enabler, It is all about perception! Mine has given me independence and allowed me to travel widely for study and pleasure.
I believe disability is a metaphor for life. People carry their limiting beliefs such as I’m not worthy, not clever enough, too old or too poor with them consistently. I may have challenges with my mobility but I can wheel away (usually at high speed).
I have learned it is not the challenges which define us, but what we do with them. Focussing on what I can do rather than what I can’t and challenging any beliefs which limit me have made an incredibly positive difference to the quality of my life.
  Gina Gardiner is a Two-Time #1 International Best Selling author, Motivational speaker, Empowerment Coach, Transformational Leadership Trainer NLP Master Practitioner and Coach with well over 30 years experience of helping people achieve happiness and success.
 Gina has supported many, many individuals and couples to develop a greater sense of self–worth, the confidence to challenge and change limiting beliefs in order to become more loving towards themselves and others.
Gina believes that disability is a metaphor for life. She says “If you believe that you lack the time, money, expertise, if you fear you are not you are not good enough, pretty enough, that you are too old, too young, too fat or too short, too poor or too uneducated to achieve your dream the chances are you will fail.
The difference between these limiting beliefs and my disability is that I could wheel away in my electric wheel chair. Most people carry their limiting beliefs around with them into every situation and as a result live a life which is completely limited by those beliefs.
Life can be incredibly challenging, relationships, work, finances, health all vie for our attention. We are all pulled this way and that and there are times when it can feel overwhelming. The quality of our thinking makes an enormous difference to the quality of our lives. Being "mindful" and learning to focus on what you can do rather than what you can't will significantly improve the quality of your life.”
Gina has experienced incredible challenges and setbacks and understands just how difficult it is to pick yourself up and start again. She has a wealth of experience of working with children and adults from all walks of life and a real passion to make a positive difference. She cares deeply and has dedicated her life’s work to empowering others.
Her latest book, ‘Thriving Not Surviving – ‘The Five Secret Pathways To Happiness, Success and Fulfilment.’ shares the principles and lots of practical strategies which have helped her and her clients step into their true power. Thriving­Not­Surviving­Happiness­ Fulfilment/dp/
You can download a FREE digital copy www.genuinely­

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