“Writing is my therapy” were the words uttered by Pauline Harley as she excitedly told me of being accepted as a writer on Arianna Huffington’s new site ‘Thrive Global‘. Having overcome some pretty big obstacles in her life, it wasn’t a surprise to learn that a world-renowned entrepreneur found Pauline to be an inspiration. I have found throughout my time of knowing her – it was hard not to feel inspired by her.
And so, it began. Forty-eight minutes of Pauline’s passionate telling of stories of how trials and tribulations became triumphs that strengthened her beautiful soul. Starting with an illness called Crohn’s disease, which causes inflammation to the bowels and gives the feeling of food poisoning and endless discomfort, Pauline has had lots to contend with. Working in a highly stressful job during her twenties meant that her lifestyle was far from healthy. Long hours in meetings led to tiredness that felt remedied by alcohol, smoking and over-consumption in general. Such a lifestyle meant being overweight became an issue.
Fast forward to a couple of years ago when she was in the bank one day and her legs went from under her. Two weeks before the fall, she had had a massage which had evidently uncovered a weakness in her spine. It was six months later when Pauline found herself having a serious spine fusion surgery that she described as a time that she wanted to be taken away from the pain, for good. Having lost her mother previous to the surgery, it was the strength of such a bond that got her through the painful experience.
The list went on. I’ve never met a strong human being with an easy past and Pauline is no exception. Numerous miscarriages, removal of half her womb along with a vicious attack on her husband on what was supposed to be a celebratory night out, all followed what had already built a stronger Pauline – inside and out.
She has taken part in three body-building competitions in her life, the most recent being in September of this year. Her resilience and strength saw her totally transforming her body, losing over five stone and building a new mindset. As she puts it herself, “It’s all about mindset”. When getting to where you want, achieving goals and reaching your potential, Pauline vouches for this throughout. During the interview, it was also what seemed to have become the common denominator to her success to date.
The only thing as strong as Pauline’s resilience is the love for her family. Speaking of date nights with her partner and the pride she has for her son, it was obvious that she surrounds herself with those who lift her up. When speaking of the people one spends the most time with and how they influence us, Pauline and I agreed that we become like those we spend the most time with. This was based on a reflection of her past and a time when spending time with people who would share similar challenges was the norm for her. Those in tricky situations being around her impacted her own pain, adding to it rather than building the strong mindset she so prides herself on, today. Now, instead of feeling needy, Pauline knows her own intuition and self awareness and highlights how this drives her forward.
Before finishing the interview, Pauline highlighted once again how her mother had been the drive in her life. Although she has passed on, she looks to her for guidance along with the other strong forces in her life.
Having just completed the diploma in Life and Executive Coaching, Pauline is now working as a coach and offers a range of services through her website. She’s also available for speaking events, interviews and sharing her journey with others.
When asked how she would suggest that people going through challenging times feels stronger at a given time, her advice is to “face your own truth”. In doing so, it’s expected that you’ll deal with what’s happening head on and work towards the best outcome.