For a little while now, I have had an idea of creating a series of blog posts where I will be able to share with you stories of some the powerful women , who have been inspiriting me to better myself and show me how strong we really are. For the first edition of my new series I am interviewing a very special friend of mine - Kelsey Neal.
Hi Kelsey, thank you for talking time to speak to me today and sharing your story with me. Tell me about your life before cancer?
I should be the one Thanking you for inviting me…You are doing great things here and I can’t wait to watch it unfold. Our paths crossed for a reason and I love how this friendship is coming together.
Wow, life before cancer… if I am going to be honest looking back on it... I was generally happy, outgoing, had a good job, a lot of friends and a big loving family, life was really good. I do feel however now though I was coasting, settling and living a very comfortable life, which there is nothing wrong with this… you know? The “Go to College, graduate, get a certificate, work my way to the top of my career, chase debt, find a partner, get married, build a home, have babies, retire, live happily ever after”... BUT…. I never decided in between all of the chaos of life who I truly was, what I wanted do, who I wanted to be and how I was going to give back… until I got thyroid cancer. My eyes and mind opened up wide..and I had a whole new perspective and appreciation for myself and the world I was living in…Please note the way I describe my thoughts and experiences to you and my way of living is on me. We all have a choice everyday on what to do with the 24 hours we have, for me this wasn’t enough I was simply tired because I was uninspired.
How did you find out and how did it change your perspective on life?
It was a routine physical, trip to the doctor. My husband and I were having conversations about starting a family, so I went to have my health checked. During the exam my doctor felt my throat and noticed a lump on the right side. She stopped and checked it again, asked me to swallow.. And said “Do thyroid issues run in your family?”...I told her that I believed so, I didn’t have much knowledge about this. She suggested we complete a ultrasound and biopsy on the inflamed area. I immediately asked if this could be cancer. She responded with, “possibly but it also could be and inflamed lymph node. Let’s see what the ultrasound tells us first then we can go from there.” .. A week later I was asked to go back to the doctor and schedule FNA (fine needle aspiration) on the neck. The area was in fact cancerous. It was all pretty blurry but I do know this, it happened very quickly and it was spread into my chest and lymph nodes, there was a bit more than they anticipated… I was going in for a Total Thyroidectomy not even a few weeks later, surgery was about to happen and my life was about to change.
At what moment did you decide that you didn’t want to live your life as society expects it and create your own journey?
It was about 8-9 months post surgery.. I was back to work, full time… and exhausted. I was balancing life without this precious organ that controlled all of my hormones, moods, energy, weight, hair, metabolism, brain function.. You name it. I was struggling with medication to live and inside I was screaming to be more alive, I appeared normal on the outside. At times I wasn’t a nice person to be around and I felt dead to the world, I was tired and thyroid tired is very different and only someone who has a thyroid condition will understand this kind of tired. Although surgery went smooth and the scar healed nicely, I still had to experience radiation treatments and scans, and now I will continue to get check ups blood work for the rest of my life to balance my thyroidless body.
Little did I know, I would face emotional, physically and mental disruption to my day to day life and leave a lot of life behind. I didn't actually hide my fears and doubts about this experience, I was very open that I was tired, scared and miserable. I found Thyroid Community groups, Young Adults living with cancer and women who have faced struggles and trauma in their life. I was vulnerable on social media, I was ready for the back lash, but I was doing this for me, I was seeking support…I wanted to have a voice again, a place to share the struggle, the wins and the day to day life without a thyroid and I gave people including family and friends the choice to partake, watch or unfollow.
During my journey of changes... I was losing my hair, gaining weight and I couldn’t function at work, I just kept going and “faking it till I made it”.. Which by the way is crappy advice,face it till you make it if you ask me, you will learn so much about yourself and others when you are really honest what is happening… I had a small social media following on instagram of women who all had the same surgery around the same time as me. I watched them struggle too, and I decided… Enough was enough and I had to be the voice for my circle, that we are better than this illness and we are going to fight back and enjoy our lives to the fullest, no more pity parties. This is where it began.
I started to tell myself positive affirmations, surrounded myself with positive people, healthier environments and eliminating things that didn’t help me grow.. I started to take care of my mind and health from the inside and out. By fate and timing, I came across my company today Monat Global .. who supported my hair loss and hair thinning experience and personal growth. I am grateful everyday I said yes to this new change, because it opened more doors to what I was trying to accomplish, I was on a mission to be authentic myself , happier, have the confidence in my hair and health and perhaps help others, that is was working. Not long after starting my business I saw that there was a chance for more time, more income, and the opportunity to give back to others something so big, I didn’t know what was coming next but I leaped in anyways, it was a learning process and still is to this day, I love learning more and experiencing rejection, it simply redirects you to a new opportunity. Your setbacks and struggles bring your comebacks and joys...
For the first time in my life, I realized more that I needed to own up to the crap going on my life.. I was struggling in my job, my marriage was crumbling and I wasn’t ready for a family and to take the next step. I had to face these struggles to realize nobody was coming to save me, but me… and Thankfully my business and personal development allowed me to work through these challenges and grow as a person, so that I could have a better marriage, be a better human, close the chapter on my career that wasn’t fulfilling me anymore and make room for more…I was really starting to own my worth, build my platform and share the real story .. My dream of an entrepreneur was coming true. I was able to retire from my career and corporate job to solely focus on my business and my speaking projects. I am now mentoring woman from all over the world as a self worth influencer, I am locking arms with people so that they can recognize and face their own setbacks and begin believing they are capable and worthy of a truly wonderful life, no matter what they are faced with, the best is yet to come and anything is possible if you go all in.
What inspired your about choosing this career path?
Funny enough, throughout my years in school.. I was very social, outgoing and always wanted to be center of attention, that hasn’t changed lol…. whether it was musicals, singing competitions, social events, pep rallies, morning announcements.. I wanted the microphone and stage. I admired Motivational Speakers, thinking “they were so brave for sharing their stories, passions and giving to others a piece of hope …” … I honestly, never thought I would be one, cause I felt I didn’t have a story growing up. Plot twist: CANCER. A blessing in disguise. Something that knocked me off my feet so that I could get back up and truly get to work.
What is your current goal in life?
Good Question.. I think it’s just all about intentions. Waking up every day and living in gratitude, telling yourself what you currently have and listing off the good things that happened that day. When you have gratitude in the little things in life, your passions and goals start to align with your day to day purpose and the intentions become real rather than a “wondering and waiting game”. It’s about intentions and action.
My current goals? More Connections, meet new people there are so many cool people out there, hear their stories, lift eachother up, love on the people in my business, help others strive towards their own goals and dreams, avoid negativity when possible, travel and just have fun!… go outside everyday, ride my bike,read more books, walk my dog, have dinner with Brandon, call my family, make plans, listen to my favorite music really loud in the car and sing out loud while the next person at the red light is staring me.. I truly, believe when you stop caring what others think about you and when you slow down and be open to change … You can be happier in your heart and give more to life, nobody is ever too busy it’s a matter of priorities..make time to do what you love. It’s not going to be easy, but your not meant for an easy life.. It's about embracing the hard and making your hopes, goals and dreams non-negotiable. (words of the wise from a great leader of mine)
Tell me more about monat, how did you find out about it and how did it helps you grow within your career?
Divine timing… a friend of a friend, invited me to an event.. Naturally, I went because I get FOMO (fear of missing out).. And here I am two years later, having a blast in my business and locking arms with some amazing people doing some incredible things. I didn’t think it would be where it is today, but I never gave up on it. I am excited about the future now.
Monat is currently the fastest growing hair care company in the Network Marketing Industry, we are a social influencing opportunity with something you already do everyday. It's a company of family, gratitude, community, culture, values and healthy living from the inside out. It’s purposeful naturally based non toxic hair care products with an experience for change, confidence, savings and a perspective on how you take care of yourself and others. It’s a healthy hair revolution that I am proud to be apart of. We are selling more shampoo than any other company in the hair care world and I think that it’s pretty wild that I am apart of this beauty innovation, an industry I never saw myself in. But, it’s not rocket science.. It’s just shampoo while making an impact. Both my passions and why aligned with the company's philosophy and values and this was important to me when working alongside the company. We all want to be influencers in some way, and this opportunity provided me with the abundance to grow, give and live in gratitude.
It helped me with my hair growth, my daily beauty routine and how I view healthy living. I believed in it and I decided to talk about it as I didn’t want anyone to miss out on the experiences for growth and opportunity for more (we all recommend things we love and we want the best for others). So, I give people the choice to invest in themselves and I will continue to grow and flourish with a beautiful company that helps me with my Entrepreneur career, passions and time for life. Something we all want more of. Something like this may not be for you and that's totally ok, but if you never try anything new… you will never know what something can bring forth into your life. Old ways won't open new doors!
What's your favourite part being a motivational speaker?
The rush of course! The feelings of being nervous and then going all in and pouring into others your message… I love the faces in the audience, seeing the feelings come to life... negative or positive. I love meeting people after and connecting, I love the seeing tears, when someone feels something important to them or when they realize it’s time to make a change..…. It’s like when a chef cooks a beautiful meal, they watch for the reaction and it’s so satisfying..
What is your favourite part about your life now?
That I get to be who I always was supposed to be and everyday when I stop and think about it, I smile. I am a woman of strength, kindness, gratitude and sparkle. Never justifying to anyone those traits. This is me and I am proud of the journey and choices I’ve made in life to get here. My life is full of ups and downs, sad moments, happy times, challenges, mistakes, achievements, experiences, moments of good and bad… I wouldn’t trade any of it. I have one life and I intend to use it to my fullest potential. You have to believe, embrace, not compare, decide, love what you do and just go all in.
Looking back,I had a great childhood, I have a loving big family, I am surrounded by great people, I have a supportive husband who cheers me on. I have a dog who loves us unconditionally. I had great experiences growing up, my time in school, University, my career and in my previous job. I have a great company now that recognizes me and stands behind vision and I get to travel the world, something I didn’t think I would ever do. I am loved, I am worthy… I am grateful, everyday. That’s a lot of favorites, I know, but what’s not to love about being alive.
What advice do you give other young women are there who don’t feel like they are making the most out of life?
Ever heard this? Well here's my version…
“Please keep looking. Look for your passions, your love, your courage, your goals, your dreams, your happiness, yourself. Keep looking. Explore yourself, invest in you. Take care of you first, so that You can give to others… Everyday you get to decide what you want to have, do, be and give to the Universe. Nobody is coming to save you and if you need help, reach out. You are entirely up to you. Give yourself the credit that it deserves, tell yourself the good things about your qualities, listen to your heart more, make time for your passions, give yourself attention and love… it’s all going to pay off when you decide your worth it. Until then, keep going.
If you want to move forward and grow, you have to take risks,get uncomfortable, show up, open doors, close doors behind you, if it’s not your door at least you can say you tried right?… You have to decide, commit and stop procrastinating, the time is now. Meet as many people as you can, find your tribe who will cheer you on and help you grow. Give them love right back, say hello you never know where it can lead you. You are wasting precious time watching others make big moves and following their dreams… You have a voice, use it.. You have a story, share it. You have dreams, believe in them.
Thank you so much for this opportunity.
“Gratitude is the memory of the heart”
If you'd like to nominate anyone to put one of my POWERFUL WOMEN please DM me on Instagram or email me on email@example.com