Deb Johnstone hails from Australia by way of the UK. She and I met through the wonder of social media and realized we have similar missions in wanting to empower and inspire women to live large in midlife and beyond.
Deb is a mum, grandmother, and works as a transformational coach assisting women to transition midlife feeling empowered and free. She is currently releasing the second Women Reinventing MidLife Summit. Please welcome Deb Johnstone to the Share Your Story series.
KUELLIFE: What are you pursuing now, at this stage of your life, that surprises you or might appear to others as if it comes out of left field?
DEB: Ten years ago, as an employee, I would never have imagined that I would have my own coaching business and doing this for full time work. I started my own coaching practice eight years ago, because it was something that really inspired me, I wanted to make a difference and I wanted to see what would happen, and here I am. I’m also in a relationship now, something I really didn’t believe I would find in this phase of life after being single for so many years. It’s probably the best relationship I’ve ever had. However, changing both of these aspects of life took a lot of courage and being willing to be right out of my comfort zone. Ten years ago I was still living in a sleepy little seaside village called Port Douglas where we had a population of only 3,000 people.
KUELLIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?
DEB I am always up early and I don’t need an alarm to wake me. My day starts at 5am with lots of self care. Writing and releasing, mantra singing, breathing practice, meditation, gratitude and a lovely walk outdoors. Depending on what day of the week it is, I am either coaching clients or doing marketing activities which include: writing, recording videos, building newsletters etc. My start and finish times are a little different each day because my clients are in different parts of the world. Sometimes, I take a big break in the middle of the day. I like to finish my day with a Triyoga flow, dinner, and then I chill with Netflix. My current favourite is Friends and I tend to watch funny light hearted shows and movies because I love to laugh. I’m normally in bed before 10pm and read for a while before lights out.
KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?
“I struggle with is the inconsistency of income flow we have as entrepreneurs.”
DEB: I have to admit I struggle with letting go of my children. It is the one thing that has the potential to trigger me. I have two sons and two grandsons. I don’t believe I have ever been a clingy mum, I raised my sons to be very independent men and I love that they are so self sufficient. The girls say what wonderful partners they are. They live locally, both within an hour car ride and I find it difficult if I don’t see them for more than a couple of weeks.
Another thing I struggle with is the inconsistency of income flow we have as entrepreneurs. It all works out in the end, but it can be tough at times, because it plays with our survival instincts when we have a slow month. I am no different to any other entrepreneur in that way and I make sure I stay aware and create strategies to build a sense of certainty and security when I feel a bit stretched.
KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
DEB: I motivate myself with my self care routine each morning. Each day I feel ready to start because my state is high or in my busiest times I at least feel calm. I feel motivated to do my self care each day because I know how it makes me feel. Something I have also learned in the last couple of years mostly is to be clear on what my strengths and values are and what I enjoy doing and make sure there is plenty of this in each day. In any business though there are times when we need to do things that don’t relate to our strengths and we don’t enjoy doing. At times like this, I make sure I do those tasks I don’t like first and save the things I love as a reward afterwards.
KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
DEB: Don’t listen to the negative stories and learn to see aging as the valuable stage of life it is. Value your wisdom, because if you don’t others won’t either. We all have so much valuable knowledge at this stage of life that we see as normal and take for granted, but we can contribute so much because of it and that’s valuable. Also, it’s important we start putting ourselves first; if we haven’t already done so and look after ourselves. Our age is in our mind absolutely 100% and when we decide to feed our mind empowering stories and look after our body too, with diet, movement, and spiritual practices we can remain ageless. Make a decision to really get to know who you are now and give yourself the honour and respect that you deserve. And you do deserve it.
KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
DEB: Vulnerability is allowing myself to be truly seen, with all my emotions and fears. My family absolutely has the ability to make me vulnerable and I will show myself completely with my family in an effort to make sure we grow and stay connected as a family. I love them unconditionally with all my heart, there is nothing they could do to change that.
KUELLIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
DEB: Wow, that’s a hard one because there are more than three. I won’t talk about them all because some are private. First of all, my migration from the UK to Australia when I was 25 years old, it totally changed my life. This is where I met my husband and had kids; before this I was never going to have kids. Then of course having children, something that changes pretty much every mother’s life and where I learned the true meaning of unconditional love. The death of my beautiful mum when I was only 29 and pregnant with my second child had a huge effect on my life. I was devastated; this made me re-access my life and it put into motion a string of events that shaped my life from that moment forward. This was the beginning of my personal and spiritual development journey. And most recently, the death of my dear dad, one of the darkest years of my life where I felt totally lost. This, and the resulting reflection I did on the lives of my parents, inspired me to get to know myself again. Which moved my work focus to assisting midlife women to rediscover themselves and transition this phase, finding new purpose, feeling confident, empowered and free.
KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?
DEB: Wow Jack you ask challenging questions! I would love to say my mum and she did influence me massively with her beautiful ways. Everyone loved mum. She was kind and thoughtful and I like to think I am too. My mum’s influence has helped me be a good mum myself and be focused on my sons’ happiness. Really it has been my mum and my dad who have been my biggest influencers in life, both for different reasons, because if it hadn’t been for my dad I probably wouldn’t be in Australia. He had a dream to live here himself and spoke about it a lot. Dad was also determined and persistent and a conscientious hard worker. It’s those qualities that I learned from him and have given me the ability to be successful in business and a sought after employee previous to that.
KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?
DEB: Probably a couple of things “you deserve better” when I have been in a relationship with someone who hasn’t valued me. I have taken that on board and used it as a gauge in deciding what I do deserve and settling for nothing less. And, “You can do it’ when I was on the verge of changing my career, it helped me take the steps.
KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?
DEB: There is no one woman alone who inspires me, because I am inspired by so many women every single day. When a woman takes a stand for herself and makes a decision to change something in her life that isn’t working. When a woman has the courage to sit in her vulnerability to break though what has been holding her back. When she steps out of her comfort zone, starts to value herself, achieves her goals. The first time she decides to pick up the phone to make that first connection with me and tells her story for the first time. That’s what inspires me and keeps me on purpose.
KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?
DEB: Oooh I don’t know! Actually, yes I think I am. Losing my dad last year helped me grow up, but that doesn’t mean I don’t continue to grow. I intend to keep growing for the rest of my life.
KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?
“Saying no when I need to and not feeling like I have to do things just to keep other people happy.”
DEB: After burning out with adrenal fatigue five years ago, self care is my thing. I’ve always been an exerciser, but it wasn’t until I burned out that I fully realised the importance of the inner work. Daily I exercise, sing mantras, meditate, do gratitudes, write and release, and practice yoga. But other examples of my self care is stopping when I need to. Lying on the beach under my favourite tree and connecting with nature. Communicating when I am not happy about something. Allowing myself to feel the emotion when I feel sad. Saying no when I need to and not feeling like I have to do things just to keep other people happy.
KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
DEB: Probably to get back to the UK when our borders open so I can reconnect with my brother and his family, my uncle and aunt, extended family and friends. and spread my dad’s ashes. I haven’t been back for 11 years. Secondly, to take my little family to Bali for a holiday to celebrate my 60th. And, last but definitely not least, because I have been wanting to do this for some time, do a round the world trip to include South America, Cuba, New York, the UK, Scotland and Europe. All travel and family related so that gives you an idea of my values ☺