Money and Life
(Financial Planning Association of Australia)
What’s the most important thing you should do to make a success of your life? CEO, author and mentor Kylie Travers tells us how she overcame big challenges to get where she is today.
The last few years have been an extraordinary journey for Kylie Travers. After leaving an abusive relationship and facing the future as a homeless single mother of two cherished daughters, she knows what it’s like to be at rock-bottom. Today, she’s a successful business owner, mother, speaker, author and mentor with a nomination for Young Australian of Year and 3 Plutus Awards under her belt. She’s been very generous in sharing her experiences and what works for her in making a success of her life.
Resilience and gratitude
I’ve overcome some big obstacles during the last few years, including a cancer diagnosis, multiple surgeries and supporting my daughter with learning disorders. And all this has come after leaving an abusive relationship and struggling to build a life as a single Mum. There have certainly been times when it seemed like the odds were stacked against me. But I’m lucky enough to have a lot of determination and courage to make the best of things. Friends and family have remarked on how resilient I am, and I do just seem to have this ability to find a way through my problems.
My resilience also comes from a gratitude practice that began around the time I was planning to leave my husband. I discovered a quote from Carl Jung that said “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” This meant so much to me that I had the words inscribed on a cuff I wear to remind me that I’m the one who determines my future. It helps me reframe my thinking and to be grateful for being who I am when times are hard.
Looking after number one
Staying in good shape, mentally and physically, is one of the most important things you can do when facing the kind of challenges I’ve encountered. Keeping that positive sense of what’s possible from life and the strength to reach out for it just wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t looked after myself. I’ve been to see a psychologist for extra support, and I’ve introduced meditation into my routine. Without meditation, I know how stressed and angry I can become and just 20 minutes every day makes all the difference. Exercise is important too and it’s easy for me to keep active because I walk all the time. I even ended up selling my car because I just don’t use it anymore.
It’s good to tune into what your body and mind are feeling and know when you need a change or some extra care to stop you becoming stressed or overwhelmed. I pay attention to the signs in myself and I know what works for me, but everyone needs different things. Get to know your warning signals and what you can do to relax and recharge when it’s all getting too much.
Having a reason
I don’t think I would be as determined as I am to make a success of my life if it weren’t for my two daughters. Knowing that making a better life for them is all down to me is the only motivation I really need to be strong and resourceful and make the right decisions for all three of us. And I’m also committed to being a good role model for them as well as the best Mum I can be. That means striking a balance between being there for them when I need to – by organising most of my business commitments around their school day – and fostering their independence. It takes a lot of energy to make it work and we all have to be flexible, but it’s more than worth it.