Incredible Women Series - Strength In The Face Of Adversity By Johanne Holman

Image Unsplash - ‘Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing!’

Image Unsplash - ‘Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing!’

Life really hasn’t been easy, but I probably haven’t been helping myself…

Me and my son Harrison.

Me and my son Harrison.

Do you take the learning out of an unfortunate situation or circumstance, or do you spend days, weeks, months, or even in my case potentially years dwelling on it and making it your story?!

This was totally me, until the turn of this year, when I finally recognised I wasn’t living my life, but a life for everybody else, it was no wonder I was waking every morning not feeling happy, not feeling ‘myself’.

This year has been a year of incredible learning for me and is most definitely fast becoming my best year yet. It’s taken me to the age of 46 (better late than never hey?), to discover and in fact actually uncover, all the unhealthy behaviours and patterns I have been ‘innocently’ carrying with me throughout this lifetime, bringing me the not so desired results and outcomes.

What I’ve learned is, whilst all the ‘stories’ were very much real and of course, painful, history kept repeating itself because I hadn’t recognised the lesson I was meant to be learning, nor had I realised the importance of self-love. There was no ‘Jo’ on my agenda, I had literally been living my life for everybody else. I had also identified that my ‘stories’ were also giving me a story to tell and that I was receiving affection and attention through telling them – something I was most obviously ‘needing’ and enjoying!!

The result and I’m sorry to sound a little bit like Henry VIII here... A marriage, a child, a divorce, a marriage, a child, divorce, a series of other toxic and unhealthy relationships, a lifetime of people-pleasing, emotional-related illnesses, including a number of months with Bell’s Palsy, money in, money out, money tight, unsupportive Fathers and a whole roller coast of change – house moves, school moves, friendship groups etc etc, and the list really could go on.

What I want to say simply is, life doesn’t have to be so hard, I now recognise I made it hard, the Universe was simply giving me my lessons, and it was me that wasn’t doing the learning, and the result of that was more and more of the same, which equalled more and more pain. If only somebody had been able to teach me that earlier in my life, life could have been so much simpler, but hey, it’s exciting the hell out of me now, so let’s focus on that.

It was only this year, I recognised the importance of self-love, and how it really isn’t selfish. I could never understand why I seemed to have this dislike to girls that had an air of confidence about themselves, I saw it as extreme vanity, something that I really didn’t like, but I now realise that all the things that I was uncomfortable with in others, were actually just insecurities in me... hard to hear but true!

I had become a massive people pleaser, I had pretty much lost my entire self, to the extent that I actually wouldn’t know what I liked / disliked, what I wanted/didn’t want, what was/wasn’t important, and most critically of all, what I would / wouldn’t accept, so it’s no surprise to me that things weren’t going to ‘plan’, I had no boundaries, no clear plan, I was bumbling along in this beautiful life, attributing my success to the job I held, and that was pretty much it, the rest was more down to chance, resulting in guilt, neglect and unhappiness. I really wasn’t happy.

My daughter Jessica

My daughter Jessica

At the turn of the year, when I finally decided (after 6 years of procrastination and total hesitation) to leave the Corporate treadmill, I went on a soul-searching journey, and thank goodness I did. The journey has been exciting and painful, challenging and rewarding, but most of all satisfying to see a glimpse of the inspiring and positive ‘Jo’ really starting to shine through.

If there is one thing I most want to achieve with my new business ‘inspiring ladies’ is to help Ladies find clarity and confidence. Confidence to believe in themselves and clarity to help them know what it is they would really like to do, helping them to create the life of their dreams, without wasting another single day.

In this year alone, I have been drawn to write, read, walk, reflect, draw, set clear and firm boundaries, challenge myself, all things that before I never found the time or courage to do previously, and that’s one promise I’ve totally made myself, even with two new businesses soon to launch, I will always from this day forward, ensure to keep balance in my life. Every day now, I will ensure that ‘Jo’ is on my todo list, as it really does make a difference.

Whilst I’m still very much on a journey of learning and growth, what I can genuinely say is every single day, without fail, I can not wait to start my day, life is genuinely getting better by the minute.

It takes courage and strength to make a change in your life, and whilst yes, I’ve been a little slow in making the move and taking the action, whether that be with leaving a relationship or changing a job, I can now say I did all of those things, and I’m genuinely feeling proud.

I used to beat myself up over all the things I should have done, could have done, but now I’m growing to love, accept and SHOW every single part of me, all the bits that I used to dislike, even despise and criticise, and it really is starting to change my life.

It really doesn’t matter where you started, or what cards you’ve been dealt along the way, I now know and understand, with a dream, clear vision, and a whole lot of determination, you can change your life.

Stop criticising yourself

Stop blaming yourself

Stop focusing on what you feel you ‘should’ be

Stop dwelling in the negative

Stop looking outside for answers

Start truly loving yourself, you are perfect, unique, whole and complete, just the way you are.

If all the things that happened to me, hadn’t have happened to me, I simply wouldn’t be me, nor would I be where I am today.. finally starting to love and truly appreciate my life.

If somebody had told me a year ago.. ‘this time next year, you’ll be launching two businesses, working from home on your terms, spending quality time with your beautiful family, living life around your three core ‘why’s’ Family Freedom and Happiness’, I’d have totally not seen it possible, but here I am doing exactly that.

Be brave, make a change, take control of your life, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.

My mantra - ‘See it. Believe it. See it.’ You can live the life of your dreams!

What started as two small, fairly simple ideas, have now become my big business dreams. There’s something out there for each and every single one of us, no matter what path we may have taken.

My new story is ‘I’m living a life I love’. Is there something needing to change to make that yours? Xxx

Much love,

Johanne xxx


Hi, I’m Johanne, I’m 46, I have 2+3 children - a reward and benefit of having a ‘blended’ family. I am an everyday Mum, working hard to create her dream life, and actually, I’m so pleased to say I feel like this is fast, after 46 years, becoming my best year yet, which is why I am delighted to be able to share my story!