067 Changing My Story, Interview with Joanna Hunter
Joanna Hunter was a successful business woman who never took time for herself – until she suffered massive organ failure and was told she likely wouldn’t survive. This led to an extreme reversal of behavior, as she began to explore the concepts of self love and self care. Her book, Get Selfish – The Way is Through is the culmination of what she learned.
REad the full interview transcript
Joanna: Hi this is Joanna Hunter and I am a spiritual, life ,and business coach ,and you are listening to Just Stay Curious.
Gillian: Alright dreamers, it's time to get curious. We are going to talk to Joanna Hunter today, an amazing woman. She is a spiritual life and business coach who lives in the magical Highlands of Scotland with her husband and three children. She's a published author of Get Selfish with another book coming out this weekend. She's also the founder of The Get Selfish Revolution where she shares how going through the self can help you create self-love and acceptance. Alright Joanna. I've told our listeners the tiniest bit about you.
But we are definitely curious to hear more. So if you could take one or two minutes and give us a bit more detail of how you got to this point in your life.
Joanna: I'm a spiritual life and business coach, so I have been one of these really fortunate people. I started in business when I was twenty three years of age and going through business was like a spiritual kind of awakening and a spiritual journey. I think many people who are self-employed, they go through that kind of journey.
And I wasn't a very good boss to myself.
That was one of my first major major Awakenings was realizing actually, I had a lot of employees at one stage and I was a really, I felt like I was a really good employer to those. But I wasn't a very good boss myself. I was a hard taskmaster to myself. I am literally about 11 years ago suffered a massive burnout. Through literally a lack of self care. And my burnout resulted in multiple organ failure and being rushed to hospital and being told to write my letters to my children. And they didn't think that I would make it. And so that was a huge kind of massive wake up call and I realized you know 3 days in to laying in the hospital bed I realized like this was the first three days of rest that I had had together in seven years. And I had been a real horrible boss and if I was going to survive this I was going to have to change radically. And so I went from this extreme of doing literally no self care whatsoever, in to massively self caring. I went from like one end of the spectrum where self care was like pff what's that? To this other like where I live every day. There was hours dedicated to self care. So yeah and that was literally how my process Get Selfish was born and a realization that I needed to get selfish because if I had kept going the way that I was going, there was really not going to be any body- anything less for anybody else. You know. And I was starting to fail myself, my body was failing literally because of my lack of self care.
Gillian: So if you can in your mind as much as you possibly can, go back to this low time in your life. Can you really get into that headspace of where you used to be and what were some of the thoughts that were running through your mind at this time.
Joanna: Well, I hope your podcast has got language warning. But I used to have a loop thought in my head and that loop thought was "life is shit" and that was before I understood the law of attraction.
And of course as I was telling the Universe that was the state of my life. The universe would reflect that back to me. So I was continuously basically shoveling a lot of shit. Everything was drama filled, everything was so difficult. Everything was really hard. You know and there was this all constant resistance. I was always, I'd get my businesses ahead ... I was exceptionally lucky in business, and also as well you know, it wasn't just luck it was down to hard work too, but at an age of 23 I started in business. And by the time I was 26 I owned four separate six figure businesses. So in three years I had basically built from scratch from nothing. Four separate six figure businesses. The problem was I worked in them all. So this is why I led to quite a massive burnout, after seven years of doing that. Everything was hustle like even with those businesses, there was this feeling of hustle. And one of the things that I say to people now obviously through having gone through so much of it and really got selfish and gone through all that what one of the things I say now is, Hustle is for people who don't know how to flow. It it really is true. And I didn't know how to flow in that state, so everything was.. I was met with resistance in everything that I did. So was everything felt like it was like kind of paddling upstream and everything felt like it was a trek up a hill . Yeah.
I just remember things being really really hard really difficult. There was very little joy in my life.
That was a huge thing.
And I think you know, I had lots and lots of warning signs that this big burnout was just around the corner but I just ignored every single one of them. And then obviously it happened. But I think a lot of it was that on paper my life looked really amazing. I mean I owned four six figure businesses, I had a really loving husband at that stage, I had two gorgeous children. We've since had another daughter. I travelled quite a lot with my work. I went to big fashion shows because it was boutiques that I had. So it looked very glamorous very very glamorous on paper. But the reality was that I was working 72 hours a week every week. I'd done so for seven years and the most time that I'd ever taken off in those seven years was one day, Christmas Day.
Gillian: So what was it inside of you that kept you pushing forward through all of these warning signs, like what was the driving factor that pushed you towards burnout?
Joanna: So many different factors but I think really what it came down to was the absolute bull crap that I was telling myself on a daily near on hourly basis. Things like if I don't work then there's not going to be anybody else to do it so I have to do it. I have to do this and then I was very ambitious as well and things, but the ambition was... there wasn't aim and a point to ambition. But the thing was that it was... I never stopped and smelt the roses. I never stopped. Two years into my business, I won Young Entrepreneur of the Year and then the following year I won it again for another company that was giving a young entrepreneur of the year. I was winning so many awards I won an award that they only ever gave every 20 years. One of the big banks and it was sponsored by a really big accountancy firm and they gave me this award. It's only ever given every 10 years, and things. I won all of these awards and all these accolades but I never stopped and thought like wow we've done really well. I was always looking forward into the future to the other point the next point. So there was this feeling of never being satisfied. You were like, you think some businesses you know they would maybe win Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and they'd be like yay, this is really good and this is the pinnacle of my career.
If I won Young Entrepreneur of the Year I was looking at the next award and the next award that I could win.
Or the next thing that I did. So basically I started my first shop was miniscule it was tiny and I ended up with three stores at one stage and then I had a business partnership for a shoe shop. I had a 65 seater café. I had a spiritual events company, so you know it looks like you know. It was always the next thing. So I would create all this stuff. But while I was getting towards the tail end of that creation being completed, I was looking to the next step constantly. And then of course to keep it all running you know I needed to be there. For instance if I wasn't in my shops or I wasn't in my stores, the sales wouldn't be as good as when I was there. So then I told myself the story, like I need to be there because otherwise like I need to keep... It was like having like hundreds of plates spinning in the air all at the same time. I needed ... There wasn't anybody else that could make sure that those plates were spinning. And that was one of the stories I told myself. And of course we create our realities, we're so powerful, so that was also the reality of what I had to live.
So I had to live this reality where felt like I was spinning all these plates and literally going crazy trying to do it all, and feeling massively pressured. And then on top of it, you know on top of all that pressure I employed my brother, my mom, my husband, my sister in law. And at one stage two of my nieces, and another sister in law. So all of these other people were also in my businesses. On top of a that I had all these other employees who this was their income. This was like their main income away their family. So I had this tremendous pressure to make sure that I made the right decisions because if I didn't it would mean that all these people and especially my family members that I really cared about and I really loved, they would suffer because there wouldn't be money to pay their wages. So there was this enormous amount of pressure on myself. And I think really it came down to a complete and in fact, I don't even think I know. I know that it came down to complete and utter lack of self love like I had none for myself. And that's why it was kind of almost like punishment.
Gillian: I think everyone listening right now is in the process of trying to create their dream life. And a lot of times in that creation phase a lot of people come to that hustle. So through your experience of going through that, what is the one thing that people can do to prevent them selves burning out completely while they are in this building and creation process?
One of the things that I would really suggest, check your stories. What are you telling yourself. And if you're telling yourself stories that you don't like and a)you don't like them and b) you wouldn't want them to be true. So it might be like one of the stories that many many people tell themselves and I find it on my clients all the time this story, you have to work hard for money. We hear about this story. It's very ingrained in society. Very ingrained especially in kind of blue collar families and things like that: you have to work out for money. I mean if you tell your self that story, by telling yourself that story, believing that the story is true, you also have to live in the reality where that is true. Which means that money can't come to you easily. And that's a bit of a problem if you would like to create money with ease, joy, and flow, because you will be able to create money with ease, joy, flow. But there will be some aspect that will make that money hard because you also carry the belief that you have to work hard for money. One of the things that's really important is check your stories. You know what is it that you're telling yourself. Where is it. Where are you blocking energy from flowing to you. Are you saying stuff like oh that can't happen, or I always just get like really awkward people or awkward clients. If that's not the reality that you want please tell yourself about our story.
Please just write down what it is that you would like, what stories would you like to be true for your business. I told myself so many stories and then I came across The Law of Attraction. And I really thought it was the biggest load of bull crap that I had ever heard. Change your thoughts change your mind. You know I was like oh Jesus, give me a break here. You know, it was like you know it can't be that easy or like I have big problems and I need complex solutions. And of course it was that easy. And so I had nothing to lose. I was desperate and somebody had said stand on your head and paint peanut butter on the soles of your feet and chant this funky mantra. I've done it cause I was desperate. So I thought okay well I had nothing to lose, it's not going to cost me any money to do this let's go, right. And then my life started to change and I realized what I was changing was the stories that I told myself. I'll give you an example of one of the first stories that changed, was I checked in with myself and I checked my stories around me.
And one of the first stories that I realized that I was telling myself was that there was no way out of my shops. I had signed leases for the properties that the shops were at. I had signed stock agreements, because in the fashion industry that I was in, you had to buy stocks six to eight months in advance. So I had signed stock agreements with suppliers. So it wasn't a case of like oh tomorrow I can close the shop saying go away and do that. No it was so much forward planning, but I told myself that story that it was impossible to make. And I thought, did I want that story to be true, and at that stage I really was desperate. I really really wanted to leave that business and to work on something that really lit my soul up really really nurtured my soul and nurtured me while I healed.
And so I changed the story within two weeks a way was found. I mean you could have blown me over with a feather.
I was like what wow. I took a lot of convincing the Law of Attraction was real because it started working for me. Then I remember introducing it to my brother, my mom, and it started working for them ,but then I thought well we share genetics so now it's a genetic fluke. And about 30 friends and family later, I was like huh, there really was something in this.
And that's when I began to kind of really hard core study it. I mean like any classroom that would have me in there, I would just show up and I went to so many workshops, I listened to so many lectures, I read so many books on the subject, I've studied variations of what I believe or what I feel are variations of The Law of Attraction, like Kabbalah, the Hawaiian technique of ho'oponopono, and many other facets in quantum physics. I've just literally would devour this stuff because it's really really had began to change my life radically into a life that I couldn't recognize from the previous life. But it was a life that was supporting me, a life that was just wonderful.
Gillian: Joanna do you remember, was there one moment of clarity where it kind of like dawned on you that this change was not only possible but that it was happening.
Joanna: I think really the way was found with the shops it was a completely... you know, cause it came so left field.
And I actually ended up selling shops and I really really thought that wasn't even an option. And it just so left field and I just thought wow, you know, it really was... That was one of the moments. There were several moments. I know that my kind of real pinnacle moment was in the hospital where I would have that loop thought, when I arrived at the hospital I had that loop thought life is shit. And then, I remember really distinctly laying in that bed and just thinking this thing that there has gotta be more to life. And I really truly truly truly believe that that change of thought and that change of loop thought that I had saved my life because when I changed that thought, I opened myself up to the possibility that there was something more to life. But while I was telling the Universe the story of this kind blocked statement, there's nothing else that... I gave the universe nothing to work with when I said life is shit, there was nothing to work with. They could onnly deliver me that statement. But when I opened up the entire vastness of the universe the minute that I just said to the universe there has got to be more to life, cause I gave universe the elbow room to walk into my life and show me exactly that there was more to life. And really there is so much more to life than all the stress than the drama that I used to live on a daily basis.
Gillian: And now that you have this hindsight, you also know the person that you were then. Is there any thing that you think that you could say to that person that would make them understand.
Or do you think that you had to go to this.
Joanna: I'm glad that I went through it. I don't know that I would say I had to go through it. I'm sure there would have been other ways for me because I use this thing I call seven billion it. So I believe that are seven billion people on the planet, and that if half of those people have the same ways as me, then that's three and a half billion ways are not different from mine. But it still leaves three and a half billion... And I can't even conceptualize what a million looks like. So three and a half billion different ways from me to do something. So every time I think maybe something was beyond me I just think about those three and a half billion people that might have a different way to me. I'm glad that I went through what I went through. It's made me a stronger person. When I look in the mirror now I like who I am. In fact, I love who I am. And I'm able to say that without ego, I'm able to say that without it being narcissistic. I really truly truly like who I am. I've become my own best friend. I remember, you know one of the things that, I think this is one of the signs of lack of self-love is that you don't like to be on your own. And I never ever liked to be on my own.
And I remember journaling maybe about six years ago and I was sitting journaling one day, and I remember this just popped into my head this idea of being on your own. And by that time I actually really enjoyed my own company. It was like one are my favorite things right, to give space and time on my own, you know was awesome. But I remember thinking you know like back when I was younger and especially when I had the businesses and stuff, like I hated being on my own. And then I had this total epiphany that of course I hated to be on my own because I was hanging out with somebody who I actually hated. I didn't like myself at all. And of course it was torturous to hang out for an hour, to be on your own was somebody who you don't even like. And it was so huge, so mind blowing. And I remember you know like journaling, and thinking you know, like now I totally love having space to myself, like I love sitting on you know I love being on my own. And it's equally as good it's when there's friends and family there there's still really cool and I love that too.
You know I now cherish the space that I have with myself, but of course I'm now hanging out with somebody who I absolutely love and adore, and that is the difference. And so you know it was a huge epiphany.
That was a huge epiphany realizing like oh okay well no wonder I didn't like to be on my own, because it was just kind of hanging with someone I don't even really like. And now that's a completely different story. I love being on my own now. So I think it's I think it's one of these funny things. But I do think it's one of the signs of where you can improve your relationship with yourself.
Gillian: Alright Joanna, It's time for our daily insights the Q and A part of the show sound good.
Gillian: Why do you think self-love is important.
Joanna: I think our primary relationship is what underpins the relationship with absolutely everything that we come in contact with.
With all of our other relationships, with the universe, or relationship with money, our relationship with our communities, society, everything... the planet. And if you're having a crappy relationship with yourself that will be reflected out to you and you will not have great relationships with the planet. With a society with everything and so I really truly believe that the path to peace, global peace, has to be with yourself. And that's what the whole Get Selfish message is about. It's about going through the self and realizing that you are responsible, but you make a difference because if everybody took that personal responsibility to learn to love themselves, the need for wars, the need for all the things that we often complain outside of ourselves, they'll begin to just naturally disappear as a byproduct of more people discovering self-love.
Gillian: What is the best advice you ever received.
Joanna: It was actually with the beautiful Babel Moore, who's in the spirit world now. She's the author of a Cosmic Ordering for Beginners, which is one of my favorite Law of Attraction books, and I was sitting in her class and I had asked her question, I can't even tell you what the question is now because I can't remember, but I do remember her response to it. She said Joanna, what makes you think that you would be happier with more if you can't be happy with what you have. And in that moment I realized that lack was not my problem, that I didn't have the things that I wanted that wasn't my problem ... my problem was a lack of gratitude. And I think that statement when she said that to me, I came.. I remember coming home from that workshop and just really working gratitude like I had never worked that before. Like really really integrating gratitude into my daily daily life.
And that made such a huge difference, made all the difference.
Gillian: What is a self care habit that you practice regularly?
Joanna: Taking time for myself. Checking in with myself. So not only do I check my stories that I tell myself, but I also check in with myself regularly. I often ask myself like I'm like hey Joanna, how are you doing today. Then I listen to the answer and if the answers like hey I'm not feeling that great, then I'll ask myself what do I need. It could be that I just, like it happened a few days ago and I checked in with myself and I told myself like I was feeling really really starting to feel a bit run down. I asked myself what did I need. I told myself I needed a walk in the forest, and that's what I did. I took my little doglet out to the forest and it was awesome. It was so nice. And I just, I even sat on a log for about 10 minutes and totally just really chilled and I came back and I felt so energized and so centered again. And I think it's so important just to check in with yourself, to have a conversation with yourself. It's not something that we're ever taught as children, it's not something... many people would probably think it's odd to ask yourself how you're doing and what do you need. But when I know that I fill my vessel up, then I can serve from a place of abundance instead of serving from a place of sacrifice of scarcity.
Gillian: Do you have a favorite quote.
Joanna: Yes my favorite quote is a beautiful cliche which is by Gandhi. And it is, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." And I think that it really sums up the Get Selfish message, which is for you to be that change that you wish to see in the world. So it starts with you, you know a really really starts with you. So if you want peace then you know don't march for it, don't go there, don't do it all outside, start with yourself. Create peace inside you, first and foremost. And then there is one more peaceful person on the planet of seven billion. And your light will shine even brighter and other people will go, ooh, what's up person up to? And then they'll look and then they'll see what path and footsteps that you took, and you may inspire others to do the same. And then you started a peaceful movement. So it's just really being willing to be the change you wish to see in the world.
Gillian: Can you share with us a resource or an app to help with our own self care practice.
Joanna: I love the app called Hey Universe. So I think it's Apple iPhone. So I know for definite it's available for that. I don't know if it's available for Android. But it is just, it's super simple app. It's so basic, but it's so good. All you do is you just program in a kind of hey universe thing, and you program in the time and it will pop up on your phone so you can have lots of reminders. So I have little reminder's that pop up on my phone for things that I am manifesting. I have little reminders that pop up on my phone to remember joy. I have a little reminder that tells me to take a dance break and it always just makes me smile and it makes me feel really good. And it's great to have those little things that pop up that just tell me to be mindful.
Gillian: What book are you reading right now.
Joanna: I can't remember the title of it. That's handy isn't it. I'm reading a couple of books at the moment actually, but the first one is Pam Grout's new book which is Thank and Grow Rich, I think that's the title.
And it's really good actually I'm really really enjoying it.
I'm only about a third of the way through but it's really really good, and the other book that is on my bedside table at the moment is The Violet Flame by Elizabeth Profit which is really really a lovely little book. I've read that many times. But I do go back to that quite often.
Gillian: Awesome. And I do have an offer for anyone listening, they can get a free audio version of any book they want by going to juststaycurious.com/freebook.
Joanna I have one last question for you today, what is the one thing that you're most passionate about.
Joanna: I think it's really spreading the Get Selfish message. It's something that I absolutely love and adore because I know that it's so life changing, and I have so many clients now that have gone through- Get Selfish is seven steps, and I've got so many clients that have gone through those seven steps, and they look back and they can't even recognize the person that they used to be. They can't recognize their lives because they changed so much and their lives are so much fuller and richer and happier and they just have this inner joy that they just didn't have before. Or never even experienced before. And I love that, I love the message behind it. And. I love the fact that I've been able to break it down to a simple seven step process so that anybody can do it. There's nothing complicated to it. And one of the things that so many of my clients say to me is that, I can't believe how simple it was to change my life so radically, and I love that.
Gillian: Joanna, thank you for sharing your message with us today. Can you give our dreamers a last parting message, share the best way we can find you, And then we'll say goodbye.
Joanna: Ok, so you can find me JoannaHunter.com and I'm also at GetSelfishBook.com. The book that I have is available on Amazon. It's called Get Selfish: The Way Is Through. And then also as well this weekend, I have another book coming out which is a gratitude journal which is my number one tool for shifting your life because gratitude is so important. When we remember gratitude the universe just really reflects that back to us.
And our lives just become richer and more wonderful as a result.
Gillian: And where can people find your new book.
Joanna: They will be able to get that on Amazon or most online book retailers will stock that book.
Gillian: Awesome, Joanna, our listeners can find links to everything of value we've mentioned in today's episode by going to juststaycurious.com, click on the podcast tab and finding you in the archives, or just entering Joanna Hunter in search bar, and the show notes will pop right up. Joanna, thank you for being so generous with your time and story as always, Just stay curious.
Joanna: Thank you for having me.
Why do you think self love is important?
I think our primary relationship is what underpins the relationship with absolutely everything we come in contact with. With all of our other relationships, with the universe, or relationship with money, our relationship with our communities, society, everything... the planet. And if you're having a crappy relationship with yourself that will be reflected out to you and you will not have great relationships with the planet.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
What is the best advice you have ever received?
“What makes you think that you will be happier with more, if you can’t be happy with what you have?” And in that moment I realized that lack was not my problem, that I didn't have the things that I wanted that wasn't my problem ... my problem was a lack of gratitude.
What is a self care habit that you practice regularly?
Taking time with myself, checking the stories I tell myself and ask how I am doing and what do I need?
Can you share with us a resource or an app that we can use to help our own self care practice grow?
“Hey, Universe!” It reminds you throughout the day to remember joy, manifest, take a dance break. Just little things to tell me to be mindful.
What book are you reading right now?
What is the one thing that you are most passionate about?
Spreading the Get Selfish message. I know that it is life changing.
I've got so many clients that have gone through those seven steps, and they look back and they can't even recognize the person that they used to be. They can't recognize their lives because they changed so much and their lives are so much fuller and richer and happier and they just have this inner joy that they just didn't have before.
About This Guest:
Joanna Hunter is a Spiritual Life and Business Coach, who lives in the magical Highlands of Scotland, with her husband and 3 children. She's a published author of Get Selfish- The Way is Through and she is a Law of attraction expert. Joanna is also the founder of the Get Selfish Revolution - going through the self to create self love and acceptance.
Connect with this guest:
Online Free community: www.facebook.com/groups/freedomhunter