A three times Breast Cancer Survivor who became a coach, creator and a founder, tells The Business Woman Today about her challenges with cancer changing her outlook on her career and life in general. Jacqueline is the founder of Aurate Limited, and a coach specialising in inner transformation for outer success, achieving results that are closer to alchemy than therapy. She expands on her path of life slightly shifting and refocusing on helping people, and her childhood having impacts on her journey. Like her dad’s love for music, which helped reconnect her with music to heal, whilst having cancer.
“I’ve never stopped the inner work of recognising my patterns, reactions and reflection. Along with all the treatments I had, I believe it helped save my life.”
How did you battle through breast cancer? How did you get through the low points?
When I first had breast cancer in 2010 my reaction was similar to most people’s; shock initially, then varying degrees of ‘I will fight this’ and battle. Luckily, I had several surgeries and recovered in about a year. I went on with my busy, stressful life and learned nothing. I found out that the one thing more shocking about being told you have cancer is being told you have it again. This happened to me in 2014 – but this time, my instincts were different.
I knew that I’d been given a second chance to change things and that I must look deep inside myself for those answers. I had started working with a coach a few months earlier, and because of various circumstances, I felt that I was on the verge of a breakdown. Instead of pausing the coaching, I felt that it was the key to my survival and so, instead of fighting this time, I decided to collaborate with my body, listen to the cancer, and figure out what it was trying to tell me. Working with my coach, using ‘mindfulness’ and meditation, journaling and various other tools, I worked on years of emotional trauma which I felt was stored in my body. This was very hard at first but I eventually started to feel better. It’s this kind of inner work that led me to become a coach too, and I’ve never stopped the inner work of recognising my patterns, reactions and reflection. Along with all the treatments I had, I believe it helped save my life.
However, just last year I was diagnosed with a third instance of cancer and am currently undergoing treatment again. The tools I have learned are helping me cope with some very challenging effects physically, and I’m going deeper than ever before with the inner work. It isn’t easy and it’s definitely helping. One of my favourite sayings is this, ‘It will all be alright in the end. If it isn’t alright, it isn’t the end.’ If we look beyond our human timeframe and agenda, I believe this to be an eternal truth.
You specialise in achieving results that are closer to alchemy than therapy. What is the importance of Alchemy?
I use the term ‘alchemy’ to describe results that are greater than the sum of the parts. It’s easy to understand that if you have a headache take an aspirin, it feels better. Alchemy was before chemistry, a mixture of science and magic with human chemistry. We are not just mechanical, we are alchemical. There are many complex reasons for why we are the way we are and understanding that can be about finding the right approach to tailor for that individual. Therapy covers a lot of complex modalities too and in my experience, it takes many approaches to find the right mix. Sometimes my approach is a mixture of practical, emotional and spiritual concepts that consider the individual’s upbringing, programming and belief systems.
How have your experiences with coaching changed over the years?
As I continue to work on myself, the greater my self-awareness is, the more I perceive with my clients and the more people trust one’s intuition shows the way. There are so many ways to approach a problem and I do believe that when the student is ready, the right ‘master’ appears. This is true for my continued journey and continues to be true for my clients too.
My coaching has evolved providing sales leaders and their B2B sales teams with coaching programmes that support and nourish them on this road to self-awareness so they can improve their results, relationships and reputation. It’s the next step to help more people.
What inspired you to focus on helping non-sales people to win in their new businesses?
Before I started coaching I took a step back from direct selling. Most of my career is in selling IT solutions, I was a woman selling in a very male-dominated, stressful world and it took its toll on me. Having gone through my journey, I reflected a lot on where many of my issues were amplified and what I knew the most about. This led me to want to address some of the challenges that sales professionals face today and create a coaching approach that fits into that schedule and culture. I wanted to provide an upgrade to being better for ourselves and each other at the same time. Importantly, with greater self-awareness, we show up in a much more emotionally intelligent way for our clients too. This is highly valuable when in a selling situation.
How would you describe your childhood and the effect it had on your life?
I was brought up in a loving family that was shattered by divorce, as many are at an early age. My Mum found religion when I was 11 and we became Jehovah’s Witnesses. I learned a lot about ‘selling’ by preaching door to door, and when my marriage failed and I had to find a job that paid enough to support myself and my daughter, communicating well was a skill that I could use. I found roles within sales as they paid the most. Dealing with an enormous change in belief systems when I left that faith in my twenties, has laid the groundwork for understanding myself and others in my coaching. I find that life wastes nothing and our experiences are what teach us lessons for ourselves and to help others too. It rarely seems like a blessing at the time but healing takes many forms.
What initiated your love for music and how has that impacted your life?
My Dad was a musician and there was always music playing in the house. I loved music and found it to be very healing when I reconnected with my creativity during the second time I had cancer. Learning how to create songs and write lyrics opened me up, literally, to an energy that was very needed and missing in my life. It led me to write a charity song for cancer charities and to eventually coach musicians in business skills.
How would you define a successful outcome from your sessions with clients?
When there is a moment, within a conversation with clients, when they are silent, when an idea, a change of perspective descends, a release of self-judgement or the grip of doubt I know they’ve evolved. When I have guided someone to self-realisation that changes how they see themselves, their circumstances, or the world in general, that is a moment of deep satisfaction and joy for me. Those are the moments that matter and can change everything. That’s what I call being of service which is what each of us is called to do in our unique way. As my own coach often said “First and foremost, we are Human Beings, not Human Doings. How we can BE and understand ourselves better with compassion, forgiveness and empathy is a great basis for DOing the right things.”