Gabriella Goddard is Managing Director of Goddard International Ltd, innovators in personal and spiritual development. She is a leading executive coach and her international clients include corporate professionals, entrepreneurs, authors, performers and high-profile media personalities. Gabriella has presented at The Vitality Show and other events, and has been featured in The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Times and other national media including radio and television. Originally from New Zealand, she has lived and worked in Japan, France, Mexico, Brazil and the US before settling in London, UK.
Visit Gabriella's website at www.gulptime.com.
What inspired you to write Gulp!?
I’d wanted to write a book ever since I was about seven years old when I wrote the school play. But for some reason my life took me down a different path, one of science and marketing and the pursuit of a “proper” career. In 2004, when I found a lump in my left breast, it was a real turning point. When you stare the possibility of death in the face, it can be a wake up call. That’s when I decided to write a book, and so I started to write. Gulp! was the fruit of my labour. They say that as a writer you write about what you’ve been through or what you’re going through – getting a book deal with Penguin and writing my first book as an unknown author was indeed my big Gulp!
Can you explain the theory behind the book?
The philosophy of Gulp! is simple – challenges are good. They force us to face our demons and find the confidence to step outside our comfort zone. This is the only way that we can grow and develop. In Gulp! I provide a seven day plan for how you can master your fear and break through the challenges that crop up in your life. It guides people who are on the brink of making big life changes, by helping them to find the clarity, inner courage, inspiration and focus they need to make their change happen.
The seven days are:
Dare & Defy your challenge
Breakdown & Breakthrough your fear
Centre & Connect yourself
Imagine & Invent a brighter future
Prepare & Plan your way forward
Focus & Flow in the moment
Gulp! & Go and make life happen
What has been your biggest Gulp! challenge?
I try to set myself a Gulp! challenge every month. This month I celebrated my birthday and decided to do something daring. I’d always dreamed of swimming with the dolphins, but given that I can’t swim and I’m scared of deep water, I’d never found the courage to do it. This year I was visiting New Zealand and found myself down at a lovely village called Akaroa in the South Island. It was a beautiful day. I decided that this was the day to swim with the dolphins. So I joined a tour and before I could back out, I found myself heading out to the open sea. Once I got in the water, yes it was very scary to be in the middle of the deep green ocean and yes it was cold even though I had a wet suit on, but the sight of four wild Hector dolphins playing around me has to be the most incredible experience of my life.
Is there one reader’s story in particular that stands out in your mind?
Like me, Linda had always dreamed of writing a book. In fact she had already written it in her head about four years ago – it was a children’s book about a lonely Christmas tree. After reading Gulp!, she became inspired to turn her idea into a reality. She sat down and wrote out the story and then badgered her friend into doing the illustrations. She told me that seeing her story come to life was a very emotional moment. After being stored in her head for so long, she could finally see it live and breathe. What’s more, she’s testing the story out at her local school and gets a real buzz when the teacher tells her that her that it is the one the children request the most! She is now half way through finishing her book and will start pitching to publishers next month. Plus she’s submitted a short children’s story for a BBC radio competition and she’s already penning a number of other short children’s stories. Reading Gulp! was a real catalyst for giving her the confidence that she could write brilliant children’s stories and the inner courage that she needed to make it happen.
What advice would you give to anyone keen to make a change in their life but who needs the motivation to give it a go?
My best advice is this:
1. Make it real. Whatever it is that you want to do, you need to make it real so that you can truly believe it’s possible and that it can happen. For example, if you want to write a book then mock up the cover of your book and put it on your book shelf. Or if you want to start a new business, mock up some business cards. Or if you want to move to a new country, then decorate one of your rooms to look and feel like this new country.
2. Defy your demons. When you step outside your comfort zone, it’s only natural that fear will crop up. When it does, use the adrenaline rush that comes with it to propel you forward rather than hold you back. As soon as you feel fear bubbling up, ask yourself “what’s the worst that can happen?” And turn the fear into defiance. The only person stopping you is you.
3. Stay focused. Where your thoughts go, your energy flows. So once you are clear on what you want to do, then stay focused. Set weekly action items and put a deadline in place. Have something to remind yourself about your goals – for example, set a reminder on your mobile phone, buy a postcard and pin it to your wall or carry a pebble or an object in your pocket or handbag.
Who do you think would most benefit from reading Gulp!?
People who would most benefit from reading Gulp! are people who have reached a set of crossroads in their life and are unsure about which way to head. Or maybe they’ve had a challenge thrust upon them like an illness, redundancy or divorce. Or maybe they’re just feeling stuck in a rut and frustrated and want to bring more adventure into their life. By working through my seven day plan, they will be able to break through their fear and make positive changes – fast!
If you could use one sentence to sum up the Gulp! theory, what would it be?
This is your life and you’ve got one chance to live it – so be bold, be brave, gulp and make life happen.