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Facing Great Challenges

Doing It For The Kids.

Have you ever wondered what inspires people to undertake big physical challenges in their lives?

A group of 13 women and 1 man are about to undertake a 16 day challenge in the Northern Territory desert trekking the Larapinta Trail in aid of Camp Quality.

Camp Quality’s purpose is to create a better life for every child impacted by cancer in Australia. Right from diagnosis, throughout treatment and in remission or bereavement, Camp Quality’s programs support the whole family by building optimism and resilience.

Trekker Ellen Fleming has had a connection to Camp Quality through her husband Anthony who over the past four years has ridden in Camp Quality’s 1000K’s 4 Kids bike ride. In 2017, Ellen has decided it is now time for her to take a more hands on approach to fundraising so she registered for the trek. Upon speaking about her upcoming journey Ellen said, “I’m most excited to show people that you can do anything you set your mind to. And to show my kids how helping others does wonderful things.”

With its rugged landscape, the Larapinta Trail is one of the most spectacular multi day hiking experiences in the world. Situated in the heart of Central Australia, the Larapinta Trail extends over 223 kilometres along the back bone of the West McDonnell Ranges.

Donna George, a Fundraising Specialist from Camp Quality, is no stranger to these challenge events. The Larapinta Trail will be her fourth gruelling trek in aid of Camp Quality having previously tackled Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Kokoda track and the Sandakan Death March. “Our aim is to raise funds to continue the wonderful programs Camp Quality provides to local children living with cancer. We do that by challenging ourselves to show resilience and optimism in the face of great challenges – something the children of Camp Quality must do every day.”

This inspiring group departs Newcastle for the Northern Territory on the 18th of June and hope to raise $60,000 for local children living with cancer. They will be taking their motivation from the kids!

To follow their journey or to donate:


From Rock-Bottom to Rock Star!

Turn Your Business Dream Into Reality.

Q & A with Success Coach Julie Swan

A question was once posed to me… “If you were to take a woman who was at rock-bottom to a place of empowerment, what would you teach her? What would you want her to know?” Wow! What an incredibly powerful question. In that very moment, the past 13 years of my life flashed through my mind at lightening speed. Such a powerful, thought-provoking question stirred up many emotions. Joy, sadness, despair, conviction, confidence, determination and spirit – all rolled into one moment of thought. It was then, at that point that I realised how I could help other women. My story, experience and mindset needed to be shared.”

This story was to become my signature framework, the beginning of a quest to empower as many women as possible to uncover their strengths, to design and create their ideal business and life.

Julie Swan is a Success Coach that specialises in helping women to design, create and prepare their ideal business for launch. She runs her own graphic design business – Julie Swan Design, along with creating award-winning greeting card ranges for Australian-owned Company Koala Publishing. Her passion lies with helping women in all stages of their life to take that first step towards their dream of starting their own business, and fulfilling a desire to become more.

What inspired you to want to work with entrepreneurial women?

I am drawn to confident, inspirational women who want to make positive changes in their life and business, women who know what they want but aren’t sure how to take that first step. As a coach, we tend to be drawn to work with people that reflect our own experiences, and this is certainly true for me. I believe that I cannot take a client somewhere that I haven’t been myself. My experience and my story are my strengths, so I knew instantly that I could help women who were starting out on the same path that I walked, and that they would resonate with my signature style of coaching.

What part has mindset played in your success?

A huge part! Creating and nurturing a positive mindset is everything, it’s absolutely crucial to success. Simply put – our thoughts create our reality. My awareness around this has opened up my life to possibility and success. I have this little mantra that I live by…

What is it? Plan it. Achieve it. Celebrate!

I would repeat this to myself often when faced with a challenge, as I had a habit of chunking things up too big, which resulted in me not taking action. It was a bit like standing at the bottom of a mountain and looking up and thinking… HOW am I possibly going to climb THAT? So I developed this mantra to switch my mindset from doubt to possibility. It helps me break down the task, plan what I have to do, take the steps to achieve it, celebrate my win, and then move onto the next thing. That’s how I’ve learnt to get things done, one step at a time.

So what would you tell that woman to take her from rock-bottom to empowerment?
First, I would start by defining ‘rock-bottom’ as it has many interpretations for different women. For me it was divorce. For others it could be losing a job, a loved one, perhaps re-entering the workforce after having children and experiencing feelings of inadequacy. Maybe they have been stuck in the same job for many years, and want to take that leap of faith and start their own business. There are many shades of rock-bottom, however they all have one common denominator, and that is a feeling of wanting ‘more’.

What type of women do you work with?

My signature programme Design your Dream Business is a 3-month coaching intensive for entrepreneurial women who want to bring their business vision to life, and be ready to launch with clarity and confidence.

Typically, these women have:

  • A desire to create their dream business
  • Are at a stage in their life or job where they feel they want more
  • They may be lacking the confidence and direction on where to start
  • They have launched their new business and need confidence, structure and clarity to move to the next level.

What outcomes can these women expect from your coaching intensive?

Firstly, and most importantly my clients gain clarity around who they are, what they want, what they value and where their strengths lie. From this point, they are in a position to design their business vision around their established goals. Through the coaching process, my clients develop a 7-step plan to design their unique business offering. This includes identifying their ideal client or customer, how to market and sell their services in a way that feels comfortable to them, along with how to package and brand their services professionally. My clients have a definable outcome at the end of our coaching intensive: they are ready to launch their business with clarity and confidence.

And lastly, what do you want to be known for?

Oh! That’s a great question. In my personal life… a Mum that nurtures and inspires her children, a wife that loves and supports, and a friend that is dependable and a little bit crazy! In my business, I would like to be known for my ability to stand with confidence and serve women from a place of experience, passion and tangibility. I want my clients to walk away with more than inspiration – I want them to engage with my coaching services and workshops, and be clear around the steps needed to start or grow their business. I want to be known for achieving amazing results for each and every one of my clients… consider it done!


5 Ways to Conquer Self Doubt

The Female’s Guide to Self Validation

You want to start a new health and fitness plan, create a new business or apply for a role on the kids school committee. Everyone around you is saying ‘Go for it! You can do it!’, yet you still hold back. You take the safe option. You are not convinced.

We listen to our own head. And it’s trained to be negative. We need others to encourage and validate us, (which isn’t a bad thing), but wouldn’t it be great if we could find this power within ourselves?

Without even realising it, women often call on their inner strengths and abilities when challenging situations arise; identifying and tapping into these qualities can help women perform well any time they’re faced with new experiences or when they are exiting their comfort zones.

There are many strategies that women can use to maximise their assets. One of the most powerful is learning to source stillness within themselves in any new exciting, challenging or difficult situation.

Tania’s background as a professional actor has given her a unique insight into how to do this. “Combining acting methodologies with human resource strategies results in another form of mindfulness that is really more about awareness of self.”

Tania’s Tips for Conquering Self Doubt

  • Acknowledge the positive qualities others can quickly identify in you but you are not so sure of yourself.
  • Recognise the qualities you love about yourself and those you would like to spend more time developing.
  • Learn how to source stillness within to tap into your resources even in chaotic, challenging or anxiety inducing situations.
  • Acknowledge how and when you have called on inherent abilities in past tricky or difficult situations.
  • Rely on your own internal validation and take on board any other external validation as an extra added bonus.

Want to learn more? Tania is running workshops to share these strategies with other women. As part of the workshop, participants will receive a take home workbook with activities to remind them of the strategies they can implement in times of self-doubt. The workbook contains a series of links to webinars and also check-ins with Tania.


Who Run’s the World?

Are you strong enough for life’s challenges?

For so many years there was stigma and misinformation in regards to women doing weight training. The thought was that if women used weights, they would start to ‘bulk up’ and look like men. Combined with the fact many gyms were very male dominated, and it’s easy to understand why most women didn’t want to train using weights.

How things have changed. CrossFit has shown people that women can not only be athletic and strong, but look fantastic as well.

It’s an interesting change from when I started training, but now as a coach of a few women, it’s great to see how willing they are to learn how to use weights properly, and to ask for help. Women are more willing to leave the ego at the door. As a coach, that’s exactly what I’m looking for.

The problem still remains though that not enough women do weight or resistance training as it is more commonly called. I believe the intimidation factor of a gym and the sheer percentage of men still make many women hesitant. This is part of the reason I run a Women’s Only Corporate class on Saturday mornings. Not only is it a great community of like minded people, but everyone trains together doing similar things without judgement. Women’s only gyms are great for this as well and their popularity has skyrocketed.

As we get older we run into more health issues, many of them due to poor nutrition or a lack of exercise; even worse is when we invest time in the wrong exercise. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with running, swimming or walking. The problem with these though is that to make them more difficult, generally requires more time. Sure you can add some weight or resistance, but you’re fairly limited.

Resistance training however offers variety over a short period of training time and a lot is beneficial over long term. As we get older (basically starting around age 35-40) muscles begin to waste away. Bone density begins to drop. Injury tolerance decreases. All of these are issues for women who generally speaking, aren’t doing physically labour intensive work day to day. The solution is resistance training with progressive overload, which is the process of slowly adding more weight and getting stronger. Simply, women need to push to get stronger, otherwise they’ll be getting weaker.

This is a philosophy for life, not just training: if you’re not getting stronger, you’re getting weaker.

Health problems like obesity, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and osteoporosis are all preventable in women if they spend more time doing resistance training. Add to this improvements in posture, mobility and confidence and you can start to see why I have so much belief that all people, but especially women, should be doing 3 hard resistance training sessions per week at least.

My goal is to get deskbound workers into consistent resistance training, teaching them the principles and techniques that are beneficial to their day to day life but also used by the strongest and most dedicated athletes. This doesn’t mean I train clients doing technically complex exercises, but instead teach and relentlessly focus on the basics that provide everyone with the greatest reward for the least effort. Women with their honesty and willingness to learn are proving to be top clients for not only myself but many other coaches.

I imagine that over the next 10 years, women will start to apply the beliefs I have surrounding resistance training and reverse the upward trend of common long term health problems.

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Marco is the Coach and Owner of PEAK Strength & Nutrition. His aim is to help those in the Corporate Workforce optimise their health, work efficiency and mindset so that they can achieve their full potential.