Awaken the Possibilities


From Skiing, to Wheelchair, to Empowerment

Season 1, Ep. 26

Free Gift: Genuinely You TV Series:


In episode 26 of the new Awaken The Possibilities Podcast, Host Terry Wildemann interviews Gina Gardiner in "From Skiing, to Wheelchair, to Empowerment”. Awaken the Possibilities Podcast features successful entrepreneurs and intuitive leaders who offer insights on how to attract success in business and life.




About Gina Gardiner:

Gina Gardiner is a No1 International Bestselling Author, Motivational Speaker, Empowerment Coach and Transformational Leadership Trainer with well over 30 years of experience helping people experience happiness, success and fulfilment. She’s the founder of the Thrive Together Tribe membership and personal and spiritual development programme and The Enlightened Leadership Programme.


Gina has learned to walk twice as an adult. For over 20 years, she ran her award-winning school, for the most part from a wheelchair. The gift of this experience was the development of a unique approach to life and the development of transformational leadership. 


 Gina is passionate about supporting people to live a truly happy, successful and fulfilling life and supporting leaders to become the spiritual matriarchs and patriarchs who lead with integrity, compassion and the courage to do what is right rather than what is expedient.


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Instagram: georgina.gardiner





About Terry Wildemann:


Terry Wildemann is the owner of Intuitive Leadership® and a Business and Resilience Accelerator, Speaker and Certified Executive Coach.


Terry's specialty is working with tired, unhealthy, close-to-burned-out entrepreneurs and professionals and helps them leap off the stress hamster wheel. They evolve into unstoppable stress resilient intuitive leaders and practical business mystics. Terry’s timely message guides clients and students to integrate intuition, stress resilience, positive communications and leadership with grounded business systems to achieve success by positively serving and influencing others. Her leadership experience includes owning a manufacturing company, image consulting company, leadership and holistic education center.


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Terry Wildemann: Welcome everyone to this wonderful episode of awaken the possibilities. I'm your host, Terry will demand.


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Terry Wildemann: I love bringing spectacular guests to you that have phenomenal stories and tonight. Today tonight, whatever time it is that you are listening to this is no exception.


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Terry Wildemann: My guest today is going to share how her health issues have led to some phenomenal, phenomenal experiences. And I'll tell you this woman is a rock star. I loved speaking with her. We did a little 15 minute, which turned into I think an hour 90 minutes


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Terry Wildemann: Before the show with a few weeks ago and it was like I couldn't wait to bring her on. So allow me to introduce you to the amazing Gina gardener.


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Terry Wildemann: She is a number one international best selling author a motivational speaker empowerment coach and transformational leadership trainer.


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Terry Wildemann: With well over 30 years of experience, helping people experience happiness, success and fulfillment. She's the founder of the thrive together tribe membership and personal and spiritual development program and the enlightened leadership program.


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Terry Wildemann: Gina has had to learn to walk twice. Not once, twice as an adult for over 20 years. She ran her award winning school for the most part, from what wheelchair.


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Terry Wildemann: To give to this experience was the development of a unique approach to life and the development of transformational leadership.


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Terry Wildemann: Gina's passionate about supporting people to live a truly happy, successful and fulfilling life and supporting them leaders to become the spiritual matriarchs and patriarchs.


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Terry Wildemann: Who lead with integrity compassion and the courage to do what is right, rather than what is expedient. Welcome to the show. Gina


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Gina Gardiner: Thank you so much for having me on the show. I'm really looking forward to it. Well,


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Terry Wildemann: I am too because you are quite an extraordinary person and we share the love of leadership. We share the love of having people evolve.


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Terry Wildemann: We share the love of being able to work through things and look at them with blue sky perspective, instead of the cloud perspective. So, Gina, I would love for you to share with folks what you shared with me in terms of what got you to where you are right now.


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Gina Gardiner: Well, thank you. And it wasn't until I started work at the age of 21 that I really felt as if I'd found who I was.


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Gina Gardiner: And I started teaching. I was good at it and thoroughly enjoyed it and I was promoted to very quickly and so age 28 I became the deputy principal of the largest. And I think in America, the equivalent would be junior high school


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Gina Gardiner: And I was promoted to be the catalyst for change. I was the youngest bar to on star and the school was very much stuck in in the dark ages.


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Gina Gardiner: And I enjoyed working with my principal, but by the fabric half term halfway through the year, we have a week's holiday.


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Gina Gardiner: And I was really pleased to get to the week's holiday and off I went skiing, which I was really keen to do. I was a good scare


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Gina Gardiner: But in those days the fashion was to have the longest skis possible and I've been convinced by the guy in the shop to buy a pair of skis that with 10 centimeters longer than I was used to


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Gina Gardiner: So I with my friends and we're all excellent skiers I found, for the most part, and week I was turning Charlie because it kept wrapping that extra 10 centimeters, round one another.


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Gina Gardiner: On the Thursday I had quite a bad fall. So I said to my friends. I'm not going to ski with you tomorrow morning. I'm going to go and get my confidence back because it was the last day of the holiday.


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Gina Gardiner: Join them for lunch. And they said, we've found this fabulous neuron come and join us. And so I did.


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Gina Gardiner: It was a beautiful day, the sort of day that you see in the mountains where the sun was shining and the snow was listening. It was just exquisite. So as we went up on the chairlift you saw you know the valley disappearing below. It was just a day of such beauty.


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Gina Gardiner: got off the chairlift followed them. We went round the corner. They stopped. I caught them up and it was pretty evident. We weren't where they thought there was supposed to be.


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Gina Gardiner: So instead of being or six kilometer read Ron, we were the top of the Schindler graphs which is the most difficult black Ron instantaneous on


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Gina Gardiner: Full of mobile now for the people who don't know what the Mowgli's it's where the snow is being carved out by the weather.


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Gina Gardiner: And they're often a couple of inches. But these were six foot monsters. It was a very steep very long, slow and the only way to negotiated and there was no other way back


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Gina Gardiner: Was to to ski. And then on top of a local turn and and slide down and then scale on and do that moving across the mountain I escaped the first third and then I had a quite a significant fall because I've left it too late to turn


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Gina Gardiner: And it took me about 20 minutes to retrieve my ski and to join my friends who were each sitting on a mobile rather lakanal sitting on a mushroom.


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Terry Wildemann: What a visualization


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Terry Wildemann: How many of them were there.


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Gina Gardiner: We were five all together.


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Gina Gardiner: And so I took my skis off and I sat on my mushroom my mogul and we were just chatting and that's to say it was a beautiful day. And suddenly the top of my mobile gateway.


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Gina Gardiner: And there was nowhere to land. So I just bounced and rotated and all I remember is hearing the screen and then sometime later I came to further down the mountain. I'm told by my friends and by other people who saw the fall. It was between 150 and 200 feet.


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Gina Gardiner: Fortunately, I didn't have my skis on because I think if I had had my skis on I probably would have done some critical damage.


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Gina Gardiner: And I think because I got knocked myself out. I was floppy and relaxed and that that helped me. It took them ages to get down to me. But the one good thing about it is with the ski the fall and then a ski and another fall i'd managed, most of the wrong. And so we


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Terry Wildemann: Were to do it.


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Gina Gardiner: And I have to tell you


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Gina Gardiner: I didn't want the blood wagon and they so they helped me back to the hotel had a horrendous night and then traveled home the next day, my mom took one look at me and I was carted off to accident and emergency and they told me that I've got a concussion and I trapped in there.


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Gina Gardiner: And it took me about three weeks to get back to school.


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Gina Gardiner: Fast forward about four or five weeks and I was the deputy leader on the barsky party with 150 children and so off we went. And I was allowed to go. We've got medics with us this time skiing in Switzerland.


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Gina Gardiner: And as the week went on, I became more and more like cozy made Modo. I was really struggling to stand up right and


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Gina Gardiner: I was finding it more and more difficult and by the last day. The end of the last day, we got back to the hotel and I said to my colleagues, I just got to go and lie down. I just, I've come on running on empty.


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Gina Gardiner: And so I went up to my room and I lay on my bed and within very, very few minutes I discovered that I was paralyzed on one side.


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Gina Gardiner: Now there were children milling about in the code or I didn't want to frighten them. And so I had to wait until an adult came to check on me. I've no idea how long it actually was. But it felt like an eternity.


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Gina Gardiner: And even as a parking about it. Now I can feel that sense of panic.


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Gina Gardiner: When you know the body that you rely on suddenly won't do what you want.


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Gina Gardiner: Eventually, somebody arrived, and then all hell broke loose and I was carted off to the local hospital and then transferred to Geneva University Hospital and I was there for about a week. And by the time I was flown home and I was beginning to get some movement back


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Gina Gardiner: So it took me until the end of May to get back to school.


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Gina Gardiner: And I wasn't right. I was doing school going home going to bed. And so I was so relieved to get to the end of the term and think I got six weeks. Now I can have six weeks rest and recuperation I'll get myself sorted out September.


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Gina Gardiner: 10 days in very early in the morning I received a phone call and my my principles wife was on the other end. And she was just hysterical. And she'd found john in bed and he died in his sleep for a massive we found out later a massive heart.


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Gina Gardiner: So, far from it being the RESTful holiday that I had hoped for. I helped arrange the funeral have to let the staff, the parents the local authority and then plan for September, because I was now acting head.


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Gina Gardiner: And I was appointed the permanent head in the in the January the following January so very young, very green but incredibly determined that I wanted the children and the staff to have the best learning opportunity that I could create and


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Terry Wildemann: When you say you were very young.


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I was


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Terry Wildemann: 29. It's a lot of responsibility at that age.


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Gina Gardiner: And I've been the Deputy for a year.


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Gina Gardiner: And so yeah, I was very green


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Gina Gardiner: very determined that I wanted everybody I've been very unhappy at school and I'd worked for two heads are principles prior to john who was a great principle, but my first two principles taught me how not to rather than how to and I was determined I wanted things to be and to be a really


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Gina Gardiner: Great learning environment.


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Gina Gardiner: And so my health wasn't great. But I made the decision that it didn't matter how I felt in the morning, I was going to go into school


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Gina Gardiner: And, you know, within a very short time of being in school. I was so busy and so interested in what I was doing that actually how I feel. First thing in the morning and still like that. It's like resurrection locket now.


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Gina Gardiner: That I would that was no decision, unless I was in hospital. I'm going to school.


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Gina Gardiner: Now, and I started to use a wheelchair to get around school in in 1987 didn't use it in my office all the classrooms, but I couldn't manage. It's quite a big site and I couldn't manage that and


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Gina Gardiner: And I managed between 1987 and 1996 by using a wheelchair to get around school but 1996 just before the summer holidays I sneezed and I felt something going my back.


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Gina Gardiner: I managed to get to the end of terms as couple of weeks before the end


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Gina Gardiner: And on the last day, I was taking the assembly and I got a chair. I could sit at standing height.


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Gina Gardiner: And and the children are just going out with their teachers and and I found that I couldn't actually put my weight through my legs.


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Gina Gardiner: And so went off to hospital and I discovered that I ruptured a disc woke up in the surgery to find that I've got failed back surgery syndrome. So if I put my left foot to the floor. I just use defend and


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Gina Gardiner: I became


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Gina Gardiner: A very good school. So by now. I had to be completely in a wheelchair. And what I discovered, of course, is I couldn't physically get into my classrooms. I've struggled to before to to spend time on my feet.


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Gina Gardiner: And and so over the period of time from 1987 I had developed and started to develop a way of


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Gina Gardiner: Empowering staff teachers and non teaching style and which didn't require me micromanaging them because they


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Gina Gardiner: Are taking total responsibility for their own performance and a shared responsibility for everybody else's now then took me 18 months to walk to the bottom of my very small garden and I was really pleased to get there by the Easter of not the next year, but the following me.


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Gina Gardiner: And then fast forward to the last day term summer turn school holidays and we have staff doing went out from you came back and I felt on well and I was sick, and I felt my back.


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Gina Gardiner: And I had dropped it in another disk again rushed off to hospital had an operation and again failed back surgery syndrome. And so having been able to walk to the end of my garden. I could not stand up.


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Gina Gardiner: And I was completely wheelchair bound them for many years and I continue to run my skin but the gift and it's been a huge gift in in my disability.


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Gina Gardiner: Is that not only did my own school do that as well. And we were on the best 100 schools list, not once, but twice during my tenure alignment extraordinarily proud of that.


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Gina Gardiner: But we thank you we became one of the first beacon schools so worked with dozens of other schools and hundreds of other teachers teaching them the same strategies principles and techniques.


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Gina Gardiner: I was invited to be an advisor for the government and I worked as a training facilitator for the National College of leadership and the London Institute.


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Gina Gardiner: Not all at the same time, but that brought an income into school and we had a very poor budget, but also kept everything cutting edge from a


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Terry Wildemann: Very nice.


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Gina Gardiner: So now we're 2004 and I go to see my neurologist in May and he gives me an ultimatum.


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Gina Gardiner: And the ultimatum is stopped doing the 1415 hour day that you're doing five and a half days a week because work was great pain control or you'll be completely housebound and you won't be able to drive and I had an adapted car and with hand tools and electric wheelchair so


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Gina Gardiner: That was a huge wake up call.


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Terry Wildemann: Wow.


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Gina Gardiner: Um, so I made a very difficult decision that I was going to leave headship of being a principal


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Gina Gardiner: And about to the same time in the later on in the year I had an internal spine stimulator fitted now in the UK going for early retirement.


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Gina Gardiner: In the teaching profession normally takes about six months, right, so where the summer holidays and my application I timed it because I thought I'll go at Christmas.


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Gina Gardiner: And so I timed it that my application should go in immediately before the bank holiday.


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Gina Gardiner: So,


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Terry Wildemann: Can you describe what a bank holiday is because some people don't know what


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Gina Gardiner: Your Labor Day. It's a day where people have time off from work. So we historically have the last Monday in August of


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Gina Gardiner: So my application went in on the Thursday and by the Tuesday I had a letter saying who retired.


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Gina Gardiner: I had planned that of what I was going to do. And it didn't involve retiring. A week after the application have gone in and so he created with them that I would that I would retire at the end of October, went into have a spinal stimulator fitted and had terrible


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Gina Gardiner: Complications and I actually came out of school in November.


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Gina Gardiner: Uncle


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Gina Gardiner: What now I'm not ready for daytime TV. I mean, even


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Gina Gardiner: Even after the spinal operations. I was back at school, four days.


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Terry Wildemann: Later, sure, sure.


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Gina Gardiner: Because if I was at home all I could do is read or watch telly. I couldn't make a cup of tea. If somebody hadn't filled the cattle and left.


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Gina Gardiner: And so I was used to being busy. I was used to being involved in something that I loved. And I did well.


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Gina Gardiner: And so there in November. I am left with, what do I do now.


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Gina Gardiner: So I decided to do it a research project because my belief was that leadership was the same whether you were in local government or finance or retail or manufacturing


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Gina Gardiner: Health and so I did my first or did you receive research project and fan, of course, the same issues face whatever industry you're in, because you're talking


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Gina Gardiner: And I wrote my first couple of books to be my calling card and to start with. I worked mainly in corporates. There were some life coaching and some relationship coaching.


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Gina Gardiner: And I did that, until the last session. And then in a week, all of my contracts win. And so I had to reinvent myself yet again.


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Gina Gardiner: By this time, I was doing some work for Essex University Business School, and they would commissioned me to go out and to work with businesses.


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Gina Gardiner: To do some training or some troubleshooting and I kept being invited back. And so I started to work with companies on a consistent basis and always with the senior decision makers and I still do that today.


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Terry Wildemann: Excellent. And how for how many years have you been doing that.


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Gina Gardiner: I've been doing that since 2000 and the very beginning of 2009


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Terry Wildemann: Very nice. And that 2009 was when the everything fell apart financially. So you were very fortunate


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Gina Gardiner: Well, within one week contracts which I'd had that was supposed to last all year just disappear.


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Terry Wildemann: Disappear and I know I closed my center in


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Terry Wildemann: 2009 I remember that very clearly.


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Terry Wildemann: Now, it was an intense time


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Gina Gardiner: But I had a growing sense that I my purpose was something more that there was so many people unhappy.


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Gina Gardiner: So many people stressed and I worked with not only leaders who are stressed, but leaders of the people who would you been part of an organization where


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Gina Gardiner: The leaders were failing toxic and so I set up to you and have since written a couple more books and the whole


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Gina Gardiner: The whole purpose of that is to raise the quality of leadership in people's lives. You are the leader in your own life. You're the common denominator, but also to raise the quality of leadership in organizations. And so what


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Gina Gardiner: is excellent. I


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Terry Wildemann: So I'm curious, Gina


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Terry Wildemann: Would you say that your disability.


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Terry Wildemann: Was actually a gift.


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Gina Gardiner: I would say that yes


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Terry Wildemann: Okay, and what way.


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Gina Gardiner: I'd like to think that I would have developed the same approach to empowering other people and giving them the responsibility to be the leaders of their own lives and that and the arbiters of of what quality.


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Gina Gardiner: And


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Gina Gardiner: But I'm honest enough to know that I'd probably been to interfering that either.


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Gina Gardiner: Now, that's fine. I just said, Go get on with it when I was able to do is to create within the organization, a shared language. So when we talked about excellence. Everybody knew what excellence look like in the context of this all that


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Gina Gardiner: That I set up a train. It didn't start off as a structured sequential training program serendipity, and each of the levels of the training program were created out of


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Gina Gardiner: A need, but I think perhaps the biggest thing for me is my nickname before all of this was Tigger. I had endless energy genius to bounce about and I think that what the disability did is it made me take a step or sit back


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Gina Gardiner: It'd be quiet. To start to use my inner voice My intuition and I I honestly think I'd have been too busy and too noisy to have ever heard it.


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Terry Wildemann: Isn't that fascinating how


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Terry Wildemann: Listening to your intuition has helped you move forward.


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Gina Gardiner: I think it's been hugely instrumental. I mean,


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Gina Gardiner: So many levels, you know, is this the right person to come and join me and I was very clear sort of person is this the right thing to do. And there were times that I was a maverick. So they introduced for example the literacy hour in the UK.


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Gina Gardiner: And I it was doing


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Gina Gardiner: Everything opposite to what I believed in. And so my intuition said, Don't do it. It also said don't just don't just not do it. So I applied for formal this application.


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Gina Gardiner: Now, people said to me what you're doing that for. And I said, because it's the right thing to do.


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Gina Gardiner: So I invited the authorities into say look at what we're doing. We've just had an action which said it's exemplary. Why would we do what you're suggesting interesting utilities later they turned it on the head, and they started doing what we were doing anyway.


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Terry Wildemann: There you go.


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Gina Gardiner: That inner voice said it's not right. You need to do something different. And you need to do something, formally, in order to ensure that the school.


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Gina Gardiner: And that was done to my unit in


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Gina Gardiner: My intuition that inner voice that just kept that


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Gina Gardiner: That little nag going


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Terry Wildemann: I congratulations for listening to her because as you know intuition is key to successful leadership.


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Gina Gardiner: I believe it is


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Terry Wildemann: It truly, truly is. So I'm curious.


00:23:12.750 --> 00:23:20.400

Terry Wildemann: There are a few questions that I'd love to ask my guests. And the first one is, what is your favorite word


00:23:22.410 --> 00:23:23.370

Gina Gardiner: Empowerment


00:23:24.420 --> 00:23:25.830

Terry Wildemann: Why is that so important to


00:23:26.280 --> 00:23:39.870

Gina Gardiner: It because it encapsulates everything that I do that I'm about it. It's if you cut my arm off. It's a bit of, I don't know, Brighton rock as a reference that you don't understand that if you go to the seaside at Brighton or any CSI case.


00:23:40.080 --> 00:23:47.100

Gina Gardiner: You pay they have sticks of of of peppermint sweet and then written through the


00:23:47.220 --> 00:23:49.380

Gina Gardiner: It'll say, Brighton rock or Clapton walk


00:23:49.710 --> 00:24:00.420

Gina Gardiner: And so I think the, the purpose of empowering others to step into their genuine cow is who I am and it's what I do.


00:24:00.840 --> 00:24:07.590

Terry Wildemann: Nice nice nice nice and what is your personal definition of success.


00:24:10.470 --> 00:24:21.210

Gina Gardiner: To make a positive difference to other people's lives and to do that in a way where there's no dependency model that they truly are able to fly.


00:24:22.020 --> 00:24:23.700

Gina Gardiner: Nice. I can do that.


00:24:24.270 --> 00:24:34.260

Gina Gardiner: Whether I'm talking about an individual or a couple or team or a whole organization and specifically with leaders that I can empower them.


00:24:35.040 --> 00:24:39.570

Gina Gardiner: To recognize and to nurture the potential of others and empower them.


00:24:40.050 --> 00:24:41.820

Gina Gardiner: Then I truly don't know about.


00:24:42.750 --> 00:24:52.290

Terry Wildemann: Nice. Very, very nice. I love it. Absolutely love it. And I'm curious, what is your absolute best advice for entrepreneurs and leaders.


00:24:53.910 --> 00:25:03.870

Gina Gardiner: You are the common denominator that you take into every moment of every day. So your mindset, the quality of your thoughts is really important.


00:25:05.190 --> 00:25:18.090

Gina Gardiner: 95% of our thinking is habitual though if you think I will fail. It's a completely and utterly Dundee, and most people who believe that they will fail. Don't even get started.


00:25:19.320 --> 00:25:30.840

Gina Gardiner: If you believe you might fail, you're going to make very different decisions to the belief, I will succeed. That doesn't mean you're going to know how you're going to do every bit of it to start with.


00:25:31.350 --> 00:25:41.760

Gina Gardiner: But if you go into something with the mindset that I will succeed and I got the resilience determination and persistence to do what needs to succeed.


00:25:42.540 --> 00:25:52.140

Gina Gardiner: Then, just as the I will fail is a daunting. I will succeed and I will do what it takes to get there.


00:25:52.650 --> 00:26:02.850

Gina Gardiner: Is a mindset that makes it much, much more likely that you will succeed and succeed in a sustained way. And the other thing I'd say is that


00:26:03.720 --> 00:26:15.390

Gina Gardiner: You the relationship you have with you is absolutely imperative, because every relationship you have is a is a reflection of the relationship you have with yourself.


00:26:16.110 --> 00:26:24.660

Gina Gardiner: And so it makes sense to you know be your own best friend, you know, have high standards, but don't beat yourself up, you know,


00:26:26.220 --> 00:26:31.650

Gina Gardiner: And I suppose. The last thing was that if you're waiting for it to be perfect. You're wait forever.


00:26:32.040 --> 00:26:33.360

Terry Wildemann: So we'll wait for our


00:26:33.900 --> 00:26:37.830

Gina Gardiner: Be good enough and then work on refining it once you get going.


00:26:38.820 --> 00:26:45.030

Terry Wildemann: Okay, so when you hear me say the words awaken the possibilities, what comes up for you.


00:26:45.600 --> 00:26:55.110

Gina Gardiner: Well, for me, it's, it's just like the sunshine coming in for me awaken the possibilities is the difference between having a door locked and bolted


00:26:55.830 --> 00:27:13.380

Gina Gardiner: And having a door ajar, and being prepared to be open to what's on the other side of that door having the courage to Pete brand and to take a step out of your comfort zone because, you know, the possibilities are endless. And the only thing that's going to get in the way issue.


00:27:14.640 --> 00:27:19.650

Terry Wildemann: Nice. Thank you so very, very much. Gina, tell me where can people get ahold of you.


00:27:19.860 --> 00:27:29.700

Gina Gardiner: So they can get a hold of me on the websites genuinely on the dash hyphen and would that's genuinely hyphen or


00:27:30.330 --> 00:27:45.060

Gina Gardiner: If you're interested in leadership, go to enlightened leadership code. I'm on LinkedIn. You can find me on LinkedIn. You can find me genuinely you on Facebook and or you can email me at Gina at genuinely hyphen


00:27:46.170 --> 00:27:54.120

Terry Wildemann: Or Gina, I just want to thank you so much for sharing your story today with your waking the possibilities. Audience It truly is a testament


00:27:54.630 --> 00:28:03.420

Terry Wildemann: To focus determination and listening to intuition, your leadership is spectacular. And I'm sure the influence


00:28:03.750 --> 00:28:12.630

Terry Wildemann: That you had over those teachers in those children is absolutely amazing. And it what it is probably propelling them at this very moment.


00:28:12.960 --> 00:28:25.260

Terry Wildemann: In everything that they do. So again, thank you so very, very much for being here and to my waking the possibilities audience, I'm Terry will demand you know where to find me at intuitive leadership calm.


00:28:25.620 --> 00:28:37.230

Terry Wildemann: And you can watch this show and all of our other shows at awaken the You can also find us on iTunes SoundCloud and on a cast.


00:28:37.590 --> 00:28:46.980

Terry Wildemann: If you go to wake in the possibilities, you will see, I think we have 10 different platforms that you can listen to and you can watch the video on YouTube.


00:28:47.370 --> 00:29:00.540

Terry Wildemann: So we look forward to bringing you more guests that are absolutely fantastic that help you awaken the possibilities in business and life I'm Terry. Well done, and I look forward to seeing you next time.

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