I am jumping up and down excited today to bring you this amazing, amazing interview. I’ve been keeping this one under wraps for a while, but it’s finally time to share it with you.
Hayley Carr is a 9 x World Champion Martial Artist, Life, Health and Confidence Expert, who is passionate about helping people get the best out of themselves, and genuinely enjoy their life. Through her Live Peak Performance Workshops, Personal Coaching and Online TV show, she delivers world-class information to help people all around the world gain confidence, clarity and control, in a way that is unique, fun, and life-changing.
…and the best part? Hayley has fully recovery from CFS and kicked it right between the eyes. Retaining World Champion Martial Arts titles after CFS? Done. Living life fearlessly and seeing life as an ever-expanding journey? Done. Going after what she wants and not being afraid to get there? Done. Inspiring others to be the best they can possibly be? Done?
When Hayley sent this interview through to me, I had to read it through about six times- it’s so incredibly insightful and packed full of inspiration. It knocked the wind right out of me. Whether or not you have CFS, please share this with your nearest and dearest- you will definitely learn something new about yourself illness and your life in the words that follow. Hayley proves that when it comes to your health and your life, you are in the driving seat. Let me know what you take away from this- I’d love to hear from you.
Without much further ado, ladies and gentlemen, may I present the beautiful fire-cracker that is Miss Hayley Carr.
“You are here for a reason. This period of your life is temporary, and the lessons you get from learning how to heal yourself will serve you for the rest of your life. That is worth fighting for.” – Hayley Carr
Guest Interview with Hayley Carr
1) Describe yourself in three words.
Adventurous, Grateful, self-fulfilling. =)
2) What inspired you to create your website and business?
After suffering Chronic fatigue for so long, (or what felt like so long, when I thought I just had a flu and would be out for only a week!) and learning so many lessons that healed me along the way, I was so grateful to be able to use my body and function again.
I saw so many people who wanted help to do the same thing, and felt compelled to help them, but even more, I saw so many people who had no idea that their life was just… “bleh”… for lack of a better word. They weren’t enjoying themselves, weren’t necessarily doing anything about changing it, and had no idea that they could. They thought it was just how life was – mediocre. This made me really fired up!
During my time having Chronic Fatigue, I studied a modality called NLP. (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), which changed my entire view on life, and how our unconscious thought patterns affect the outcome of our lives. It totally blew me away and I can’t NOT share the information now, if you know what I mean!
3) I know that you too suffered from CFS for 2 years. How did you feel during that time? What was going in on your life before you became ill?
Chronic fatigue was such an interesting experience. In fact, you might think I’m crazy, but looking back now, it was the best experience of my life. It taught me so much about myself that I’ll never forget because it was so significant, and so intense.
Before I became ill, I was burning a candle that had many ends, at all ends. =)
It took 5 years of “signs” from my body before it finally went, “OK Hayles, you’re not listening, ***shut down mode!”
At the time I got sick, I had just quit my part-time job in an Architecture studio where I worked full-time hours, I was studying full-time at university, which required an all-nighter once a week to complete the work that was required, and I was training for World Karate Titles every night until roughly 2 or 3am. On the weekends, I was partying hard with my friends because I was so fearful of “missing out” and I felt like it was the only way I could relax, and in-between I survived off coffee and the odd sandwich or steak when time allowed. My life was a clusterf*ck of social events, and aspiring to accomplish things, which spiralled me further downward until my body said, “no more, babe!”.
During the time I was ill, I had no idea why. My life was like I said above, not great, but I had no idea how to change it or even if I could. I thought this was just how it was going to have to be if I was going to get to do everything I wanted. I felt Horrible! Like I was stuck in a drugged-out state and could not see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I was quite angry and depressed because of this too. All the doctors I saw, except one, told me that basically, I was going to have to get used to life being a little crappy. I’d never really be able to work properly again, or make money, or train karate, or really do anything like a normal person… geeeez imagine if I had listened!
4) What was the thing that really accelerated your healing? (Any juicy tips?!)
It definitely wasn’t just one thing, but using everything in combination was the key. Without writing you an essay here, I’d say my top 5 are:
Cultivating the act of deeply accepting yourself, right in this moment – warts and all. Treat your body like a vehicle, and your mind that hates your body, like the challenger to be “shooshed!”. The only way to make changes is by first accepting the situation and finding peace and gratitude within it.
2. Finding a supportive environment.
Find your tribe. Again, this can be done in combination with all the other steps, but once you find your peeps, you have more energy. They support you, uplift you, hold you accountable, and will catch you when you fall too. Sometimes this means doing a total friend-detox!
3. Listening to your intuition and your body.
Your body knows the answer to all of your big questions long before your brain does. This is why we get sick. This is why we get skin issues, or headaches. Your body is telling you something, and if you listen, you can respond and make the “problem” go away. Same with your intuition. It doesn’t always make sense though, and that’s OK.
Recognise the difference between what you need and what you want, and Do what your body is asking you to do. This is what you need. For example, sometimes, what you want is to go out and see your friends, but what you need is to chill out and enjoy your own company, relaxing for the night. Other times, what you want is to stay home and hide under the blankets and be cranky, but what you need, is to go out and be social. When you understand when your body is telling you what you need to do, you don’t need to think any more =)
4. Back Yourself.
Set goals and protect them like they are your little babies and you’re a mumma bear! If someone is saying things that don’t quite match up with where you want to go, you don’t have to listen. I give you permission right now to tell them to “shove it” if you need to. That sounds harsh, I know, but on this journey of healing, remember, only YOU know your body, NOBODY else. Everyone is different. What works for some, won’t work for all. It gets me so fired up that doctors tell people that there is no cure to this mystery illness, when clearly there is. Follow your gut. This is the same with your goals, too.
5. Never ever ever EVER give up.
I remember in the very early days of my being sick, my Chiropractor said to me, “Hayley, when this is over, you will look back and see it as the best experience of your life, for what it will teach you”… I thought she was nuts.
She was right.
You are here for a reason. This period of your life is temporary, and the lessons you get from learning how to heal yourself will serve you for the rest of your life. That is worth fighting for.
5) You’ve also won 9 Karate World Titles (Yep, you read right my lovelies! Wow!) – how in the world did you get to that stage from CFS?!
I have competed in world competitions every 2 years since I was 14, sometimes multiple divisions and multiple tournaments, so it was only the 9th that was after my CFS.
To be honest, I feel better than I ever have since I healed my body, so I came back stronger than I had ever been. I had to deal with the blow to my ego of not being able to compete in one of the world tournaments early on when dealing with my illness, and I was still very sick 6 months before the last one I competed in.
At first, I could only do 5 minutes of the 2 hour class. I’d then sit down and go to sleep up the back. So I started amping up everything I was doing to get well. For example, I was having 2 teaspoons of greens, I started having 2 teaspoons, 5 times per day. Absolutely smashing my body with nutrients. I meditated twice daily, went for walks outside even when I was tired just to clear my head, I started having colonics, and I only put the best nutrients I could afford into my body. I got really strict, but it’s important that you know it wasn’t from a place of fear, it was because I believed I deserved to get well.
It was more of a mental challenge though. I had a really hard time dealing with being hit in the face when I came back to training. For some reason, whenever anyone came near my face I’d break down into uncontrollable sobbing – it was so embarrassing! – but I had to learn to be extremely patient with myself, and accept that this was where I was. My ego was going wild, comparing me to everyone else I was training with, and how good they were getting, and how “crap” I was compared to when I stopped training… that doesn’t help.
I made getting better my sole purpose. I made bargains with the universe, and every day I asked myself, “where can I get energy from?”, as opposed to my previous mantra, “why am I so darn tired? When is this going to end?”. It was commitment and a sacrifice, and I told myself I’d be grateful just to be able to compete again, and I think it was coming from this place of non-resistance that I was able to heal much faster.
6) How do you make sure you recover from intense physical exercise?
The best advice I have ever been given around recovery, is that “no is a full sentence”.
In the past during times of intense physical training in preparation for a tournament, I’d still do everything I’d normally do, and then some. I’d still go out drinking and partying just as much as before, still agree to late nights and early mornings, all the social events, and despite being exhausted, I thought it was better to sacrifice my body to do all these things and not miss out on “having a life”.
But the life I was living was not the life I really wanted to live, it was more of circumstance, and what I thought I “should” be doing.
Nowadays, I don’t feel like I am ever missing out. When you come from a place of self-love, and acceptance of where you are in your journey, in your training and otherwise, rather than a fear of not being good enough, you can easily say no to things that don’t align with you and your goals.
The best recovery is rest when you need it. Above all else. It’s OK to say no, and you never have to justify why.
7) Do you ever think about your past history of CFS? How do you focus on the present and the future?
By asking myself every day these 3 questions,
- Where can I get more energy from right now? (sometimes, the answer is rest, sometimes, the answer is to go out and move your body.). This keeps me in the moment,
- What’s next for me in my life? (This helps me cultivate a positive visualisation of the future)
- What is the next logical step to get there? (This helps me take action)
- And for one bonus, what am I grateful for right now? (This helps you see the beauty in all that has passed.)
(Seriously, how amazing is this lady?! Wow! – Katie xx)
8) What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your health?
Affirming my boundaries, and having ‘me-time’.
In my work, I get to help people all day, and I absolutely love it. I see a lot of people doing work like me however, and not enjoying it, because they feel like they have to hustle hard and sell their soul for cash. For my health, and for yours, I can’t run my business when it runs me, and I am not asserting my boundaries as to when and how I will work.
It’s the same with sleep. My boyfriend used to need far less sleep than me, and would go to bed really late at night. I used to go to bed when he did, so I could hang out with him, and, (again) not miss out. Sometimes that meant that I would only get 5 or 6 hours per night, which made me consistently exhausted.
When I am feeling energetic and alive, everyone benefits.
Me-time is the second non-negotiable. When I have some time to myself every day, I feel grounded, and sane again. I really notice when I haven’t had it for a while, so now, it’s a non-negotiable. Sometimes that means it has to be 5 minutes of meditation on the loo, other times its a few hours laying on the grass in a park, or writing at a cafe.
If you know what your non-negotiables are, you know the key to living the good life. The next step is to actually make sure you include them in your day!
9) How has fear appeared in your life and what do you do when it does?
Oh yeaaaah I love this question.
I used to be afraid of fear. Literally. It wasn’t the fear itself that was a problem, as much as the fact that I was afraid. (An ego thing, I guess!)
I used to avoid being afraid of things, because it really annoyed me when I couldn’t do something.
Now, I love when I experience fear. Not the creepy guy down the dark alleyway kinda fear, I mean the fear that makes you feel like you’d be the biggest legend on earth if you could overcome it.
I believe the things we fear are our unique, individual challenges that we are born to overcome. Why else would we all be afraid of different things?
Once we overcome these fears, we realise there was nothing to be afraid of in the first place, perhaps it was even a matter of being focused on the wrong thing!
I have spent the last 5 years busting my own fears, and helping others bust theirs, and I can honestly say from experience, that every time you bust through a fear, you have exactly the same experience in your body. The first time you do it, it’s hard. Every time after that, you can see the pattern repeating itself, and although the fear doesn’t always subside by simply observing it, it becomes a lot less significant, and more part of a system.
When you recognise where you are in the system, it’s exciting because you know where you’re going!
10) What do you do or say to yourself if you’re having an ‘off’ day?
I have worked really hard to re-frame how I think about “off-days” now. Here’s how I see it:
I don’t have “off” days any more. I used to say I was “having an off day” all the time, and honestly, some days you do feel like sh*t, and everything goes wrong, but when you cultivate a positive mindset that everything is going to be OK, and it’s just working out with a different outcome to how you planned, you realise there is no such thing as an “off” day. It’s just that you have forgotten it’s all fine, and you’re here right now.
One of the elements for change in the unconscious mind is the conversation we have with ourselves. When people used to ask me how I was, I’d say, “Yeah, I’m OK, I’m really tired, I’ve been sick, I have Chronic Fatigue… etc”. One day I started answering that question by saying, “I’m getting better every day” and it became very much like an affirmation to me. My Mantra. As soon as I heard the words come out of my mouth, even if I was feeling really tired, It felt better.
So, in answer to your question, on days where I feel like the proverbial has hit the fan, I take a deep breath, and have a little pep-talk with myself. “It’s all good Hayley, you’re OK. You’re safe”, and then I go back and ask myself the 4 questions from above.
11) What projects are you working on at the moment?
At the moment, I have a number of projects going. I’m playing solo-traveller and experiencing working with location-independence, which is a dream come true! Right now, as I’m typing, I’m in Havana, in Cuba, and tomorrow, I’m headed to Mexico, where I’ll be finishing my new website.
In July this year I will be running a live workshop in Peak Performance in Sydney, where I teach people everything they need to start living as the biggest expression of themselves, and bust through fears. Afterwards, I will be focusing on turning this into an online, video-based training so the information can be accessed by more people in more places.
12) Any other words of support and encouragement to share with my readers.
You are amazing. Stay focused on what you want, and never let anything get in the way. You can be as unrealistic as you like, as long as you are willing to give yourself the time, and the love to achieve it. You are supported, and you are safe to take care of yourself. I’m sending you all my love and support… =)