How to live a happy life – In memory of Jan Fowler

(Blog courtesy of Debi Haden:

Yesterday I attended the celebration of the life of my wonderful client and friend Jan, who passed away last week. Although expected, I’m not sure we truly ever prepare for someone leaving us.  Jan asked me on her passing to promise to share our journey together and her thoughts on how to live a happy life, in the hope that it inspires you, the reader, to go out and live the life you really want. Her daughter Abby has given permission for her mother’s wishes to be carried out. So here goes…

18 months ago Jan approached me after attending one my mindfulness discovery days about working with her on a one to one basis. A question I always ask my groups is, ‘Are you living a happy life, doing the things that make your heart sing?, never had it felt so relevant than it did for Jan that day, she was to tell me at our first session.  Jan was undergoing treatment for cancer and had within the last year been given a terminal diagnosis.  As a life coach my work is very much about looking forward and helping people achieve their life goals, so this was a very different ask of me.  I had supported my father with his end of life care, but this was something quite different. It was really important that Jan was properly supported in what was to be the last part of her life journey.  After much deliberation we agreed to start working together to see how it went. Making that decision to say yes was the best decision I have taken as I got to spend time with the most amazing woman who taught me so much about life, the human spirit, courage, and myself.  I will be forever grateful and honoured that she chose me to support her.

We can never truly comprehend what it must feel like to be told you have a life limiting illness, why would we, our ultimate aim in life is to live a long and healthy life, and if we are lucky, get to live a happy and fulfilled life.  Jan was no different, she had so many things she wanted to achieve, things on her ‘bucket list’ that she would do at some point in the future, but like many of us, finding other things stealing her time and energy.  Understandably she carried a huge rucksack of emotions.  she certainly wasn’t ready to leave this life behind.  Sometimes angry for a life not lived, sometimes sad for the loss of not seeing her children and grandchildren flourish, and often regretful for the opportunities not yet experienced.

Those 18 months moved quickly from month to month, season to season, with good and bad days but always with a focus, to find peace within herself and to work on her alternative ‘bucket list’, those things that were stretching but achievable in the time she had left.  She got to see the Northern lights, cruise with her family, and feel the warmth of the sun on her skin in Cyprus with her daughter.  For me most importantly she got to leave her demons behind, those regrets from the past that filled her with guilt, and I believe, she lived these last 18 months for herself, doing what she wanted to do, when she wanted to do it, and most importantly she found her peace.

Of course, she had regrets, who wouldn’t at this time, however her biggest regret was that she had spent so much time and energy doing things because she thought she should, feeling guilty about what had gone before, and worrying about what others thought of her, instead of putting her energy into living the life she really wanted to live.

lessons on living a happy life…

So, as we come to the end of our journey together, the message we both have for you is this…

Don’t waste your energy on things you can’t change, it’s been and gone, find the learning and move on.

Stop worrying about what others think or feel about you, the most important opinion is your own, do right be yourself.

Find those things that make your heart sing, don’t settle, keep looking until you find your happiness

And most importantly,

Don’t wait for tomorrow because it might just never come…do things now, live your life as you want to, in the moment. You deserve to live a happy life!

To Jan, my wonderful, client and friend, the world will be a much duller place without you in it.  You brought a wonderful light and brightness wherever you went.  I will remember your wonderful rainbow of colours, your tenacity for life and your wonderful warm spirit.

With love



Jan was a member of my Rise & Shine group for women and took great comfort from the love and support she got from this.  If you would like to be a member please click through.

If you are finding life difficult right now, grieving the loss of someone, or facing your own health challenges and would like to find out how I can help you please contact me to arrange your free call.

Book your FREE 30 minute Clarity Call today and see how Debi can help you! Just click here to Discover more.

Body Confidence: Changing how we view body imperfections could change the world!

Have you stood in front of the mirror, sucked in your tummy, shifted from one angle to another, let it all out again, and then felt that horrible feeling of not wanting to go out because you feel fat and ugly?

This SUCKS! Surely it shouldn’t matter what we look like with or without clothes on?

Where has this thought process come from?

It is society trying to put us all into boxes, and not excepting us for who we really are.  We need to learn to be confident with the body we have and the way we look, and not try and become what other people think we should be!  We should all celebrate being unique!

Young girls today can’t get away from this issue and it is taking over their lives.  They see it on TV, on the internet, on advertisements boards, and in magazines.  Why must images of already beautiful women be airbrushed to something non-achievable?  It is not just teenagers that have been body confidence issues; girls as young as 5 years old have been reported to have body image hang-ups.  It’s shocking to know that girls this young are already worrying about how they look, and what people think about them!

After watching a documentary about Beyoncé, I was surprised to learn that she has body confidence issues too!  Did you know she wears big earrings to cover her ear lobes because she thinks they are fat?  To us this may seem silly!  How can ear lobes be fat?  Well I bet we all look at ourselves and see something that is different about our bodies; something that we see as abnormal, and that we absolutely hate!

It is refreshing to find out that celebrities (like Beyoncé) have issues with their bodies the same as other women, especially as many of us women strive to achieve the ideal body of that we are shown that models and celebrities have.  However, we are not given the true image of famous women, and they too have imperfections that they dislike about themselves.  At least we are not in the public eye being judged every second of every day for what we look like.  It’s enough just walking into a room full of people and feel their eyes are on you, could you imagine being judged by the world?

Even though I am not in the public eye, I felt that all eyes were on me for years, all because of my armpits!

After giving birth to my daughter I chose to breast feed her.  As she was my second child the hospital staff presumed I had breast fed before and didn’t offer me any help, and as my baby wasn’t latching on properly, my body began producing far too much milk.  Due to this, one morning I woke up and I couldn’t put my arms down, as my breasts were so full that the milk had then gone to my armpits!

After a desperate phone call to my health visitor she came to my house and helped me to express the milk – I have never known such relief!  This caused sagging skin in my armpits and I struggled with this for years, and always wore tops that covered these areas.

But now I have changed my perspective and when I look at my saggy armpits in the mirror I am able to see them as a beautiful reminder of doing something amazing for my child, and not as an ugly flaw in my body as I did before.

We shouldn’t see these things as abnormal, they are our own beautiful imperfections.  

 The bits that make us different to everyone else, and make us who we are.

Today I challenge you to turn what you think is your imperfection, into your perfection!

 Today I challenge you to compliment people, instead of knocking their confidence!

You have the power to change the way you look at yourself, and how someone else looks at their self.

Serena Fordham (Founder of Her Business Revolution and Glow Virtual Assistants) has unlocked this power by  compiling and publishing a book called ‘Stories of She’, which is in association with Inspired Women, who visit schools to help young girls overcome body confidence and self-esteem issues.

This book is made up of poems and stories written by 13 amazing women about these issues, and it is hoped that the women who read it will draw strength from it themselves, or empower them to support someone they know who is suffering through these issues.

As well as raising awareness of the Inspired Women project, the book also raises funds for two charities (Break and Nelson’s Journey).

Get your ‘Stories of She’ e-book here,  or order a paper copy here.

Written by Kerri Page, CEO at Glow Virtual Assistants

Kerri’s background is in small-medium size business, from administration to managing teams and their workloads. She’s handled high-profile contracts with prisons, hospitals and military bases and has been responsible for emergency call out contracts which required immediate responses.

Kerri now heads up our Property Division, managing holiday rentals, student lets and various properties for our clients.

Contact her through .