Q & A with Karen Chaston

Kevin Peter of Moterwriter.com caught up with author Karen Chaston and got her to talk a little about her books A Journey To Becoming Your Own Best Friend and Beyond a Mother’s Worst Nightmare. This is what transpired in the tête-à-tête with the author.

Kevin Peter: What’s a typical day in the life of Karen Chaston like?

Karen Chaston: Well Peter, my days now are completely different to what they were a couple of years ago. Less than three years ago I was living a groundhog day existence, whereas now I am more aware about creating balance in your life, I spend a little time each day empowering all seven areas of my life – mentally, professionally, financially, socially, family, physically and spiritual. I have created daily rituals and systems

Even though each day is now very different from the day before a typical day work from home day is:

  • Morning – Walk with Sirius (my dog) on a nearby beach, listening to inspirational speakers on topics relating to any area of my life. Dancing, breathing, singing, writing in a gratitude journal. Eating a healthy breakfast, shower and dress.
  • By 8am at my desk – Work for a couple of hours – this could be writing for my next book or working or networking as I am also creating a business that “Inspires Women to empower themselves.” Basically working through the “to do list” I created the night before.
  • Take a 20 minute break – light snack maybe do something personal – talk to family or friends.
  • Work for another couple of hours.
  • Take 30 minutes for lunch, which includes preparing and eating my “blossom salad”.
  • Work for another couple of hours.
  • Take a 20 minute break – light snack maybe do something personal – talk to family or friends.
  • Work for another couple of hours.
  • Take a 20 minute break – light snack maybe do something personal – talk to family or friends.
  • Work for another couple of hours. Evaluate the day and create tomorrows to-do list
  • Have dinner with my husband and possibly friends.
  • Relax for a couple of hours
  • Mediate between 30 mins to an hour
  • Sleep

KP: Tell us a little about your background?

KC:  I am the third eldest of seven children (6 girls and a boy who is the youngest) born in Sydney, Australia to middle class catholic parents.

I unexpectedly became pregnant at 16 and chose to adopt my daughter out.

Moved to the Gold Coast (800kms north) at 19, and then married just before my 21st birthday. Had Ben, my first son at 24 and then twins Josh and Dan when I was 26.

Even though I loved being a wife and mother, I was always looking for something else and that is probably the main reason why I decided to study for my Masters of accounting degree when I was 38. Luckily my work life experience from working in a bank and then in an accounts department served as my under-grad.

Upon graduation, studied for my CPA professional qualification, then moved back to Sydney and quickly rose to become a CFO of a publicly listed company.

Four years later, Dan suddenly passed away at age 27. I quickly went back to work as I really did not know how to be a grieving mother, then a year later I was made redundant (laid off) – best thing that ever happened to me.

I then trained to be a BraveHeart Women Resonator, as I wanted to bring the community and programs to Australia.

KP: How did you become a writer and have you always wanted to write?

KC: My desire to create a book that brought together all the many training programs, books, audios and events I have experienced on my journey to becoming my own best friend.

I had always wanted to write my third book, (finalizing finishing touches at the moment). Though to be honest, I had to actually bust through a limiting belief in regards to me writing a paperback.

Yes I was very capable of writing a uni assignment and a business report, though I felt a paperback was beyond my grasp. I am glad I worked on this limiting belief, as I am very passionate about my writing and I’m sure there are many, many more books waiting to be birthed, so to speak.

KP: How would you describe your writing process?

KC: I begin with the end in mind. I come up with the idea, title (though this may change), create a general outline, which I then put into chapters. I research as required, though my first two books were non-fiction, so the majority of the content was factual.

I then write the content, normally in two hour blocks.

As I write, new content builds from the written word, inspirationally creating extra chapters. I then ask for feedback from some trusted friends.

Then I send the finalized chapter to the editor, after a bit of back and forth the chapter is in the completed folder.

The design process for the cover starts once the book is half completed.

KP: Just as your writing will inspire others, who are the writers that have inspired you?

KC:  Wow, there are so many. Presently, I mainly read & listen (mp3’s whilst driving) to non-fiction books by Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Seth Godin, Dr John Demartini and Louise Hay. Though recently I re-read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill,  this is probably my favorite book mainly because no matter how many times you read it you always learn something new.

As you grow, your interruption of the content grows!!

The most inspiration fiction books I’ve ever read are the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling; I love the escapism of these books.

KP: What do you think is the best way to influence others, through your actions and your deeds or through your words?

KC: I am a great believer that everyone should “walk your talk” so with this in mind it is all; your actions, your deeds and your words.

KP: Share with our readers a little something about your books, ‘A Journey To Becoming Your Own Best Friend’ andBeyond a Mother’s Worst Nightmare’.

KC:  I like to say that ‘Beyond a Mother’s Worst Nightmare’ is my WHY; I am who I am and do what I do now (even though I wrote this book second).

I also like to refer to ‘A Journey to Becoming Your Own Best Friend’ as my 32,000 word business card.

I now spend my days inspiring women to become their own best friend, as when this happens, they start to realize that looking after everyone else and not themselves is not the ideal way to live their life and this is the reason why they always feel tired, exhausted, have little time, money and feel unfulfilled, like something is missing.

Though, my preferred forum for this is actually in a professional environment. The health of your business is directly linked to the health of your employees. I provide the solution so your employees are more passionate, energized, productive and collaborative, whilst providing a more conducive environment and profitable business.

KP: When and why did you decide you to write this book, ‘A Journey To Becoming Your Own Best Friend’?

KC: In July 2014, I was talking to a guy about my business and he suggested that I should consider writing a book as that would make me an authority in my field. I was convinced when he added … “and author is the first six words of authority.”

Then a lady taught me about self publishing, print on demand etc and before long I had written my first book. It all came very easily as I mentioned earlier it was a lot of my life trainings wrapped around my life story.

KP: Although your book ‘Beyond a Mother’s Worst Nightmare’ talks about the grieving process and ways to cope with it. I also felt it was a grand tribute to your exceptional son, from a mom who was obviously so proud of him.

KC: Yes I was proud of Dan though more so that he chose me to be his mom, just as I am with my other two sons, Ben and Josh.

Yes I would love to have Dan still in this realm, unfortunately this is not possible. Though now, I have love and gratitude for Dan passing as this awakened me so I could become the person I am today.

Daily I feel his presence, guiding and assisting me to become my own best friend.

KP: Do you feel that women are too critical of themselves because they scrutinize themselves with an outsider’s eye?

KC: Yes totally. When I speak, I take about how we compare our ‘back of house’ with everyone else’s ‘front of house’ and then wonder why we always fall short.

When we develop high self-esteem we come from the opposite focus where we only compare ourselves to ‘yesterday me’. This takes us away from competition, and wanting everyone to like us to a place where, we know, who we are and where we are going.

KP: If somebody wants to begin changing the way they think, how can they start?

KC: The key to a balanced life is to come from love and gratitude with everything.

Start writing down each morning three to five things you are most grateful for in your life. As you write use words that evoke your sense e.g. see, taste, touch, hear, feel and love. When you evoke your senses this allows the gratitude to flow into every cell of your body.

Before long your negative thoughts will quickly come into alignment; as you will begin to realize that your perceived negatives are your learning and growth phases in your life.

Also you’re welcome to get touch with me, as I know that I will be able to assist you in achieving your goal.

KP: Name three things you are most proud of having achieved in your life?

KC:

  1. Who I am today – I would not change anything in my life as I am a sum of all of my experiences and my knowing that I will never be given anything in life that I can’t handle.
  2. My knowing that I have everything inside of me (as does everyone) and there is only one person that is stopping me from achieving anything that I desire.
  3. My knowledge that we are all energetically connected and looking within, as opposed to going the blame game is the only way to live our lives (wish I’d known this in my 20’s)

KP: Were there any parts of your book ‘Beyond a Mother’s Worst Nightmare’ that you found hard to write about?

KC: Yes there was, many. As I mention in the book’s introduction, I initially started writing the book chronologically starting with Dan’s passing.

I could not get past the beginning, even though I had written a draft introduction.

Then, I decided to start writing the other chapters. These flowed easily and that was when I realized it may be best to have perceived chaos and mix them up.

There is no wrong or right way to grieve; therefore the book was to have no order.

There were many places; I was crying so much that I could hardly see to type.

Basically, the writing was a very cathartic for me.

KP: What is the legacy that you want your books to leave?

KC: I feel the legacy for Beyond a Mothers Worst Nightmare has actually been eloquently spoken by my Estelle, which I would like to paraphrase ………. ‘Karen, I loved reading your book. I have never had children, nor did I personally know Dan, though I have nieces and I’ve passed your book onto them, requesting that they learn from the underlying sentiment of this book. It’s the way we should live our lives each day. Don’t wait until you are mourning a loss of a loved one. This book highlights that there is a lesson in everything that happens in our life. Always look for the blessing and the lesson, they are always both there.”

KP: Would you like to say something about BraveHeart Women Global Community, to enlighten first-timers what this organization stands for?

KC:  BraveHeart Women is a global community that promises a joyous, high-spirited, collaborative space that nurtures personal, professional and global evolvement.

The global community offers the tools, courses, connection and collaborative energy essential for you to truly live a life where you can express your authentic self.

For more information please visit www.braveheartwomen.com where you can join for free. Please type Karen Chaston in ‘who invited you’ section.

KP: Reading anything at the moment?

KC: As I have been writing my third book, I have not had a lot of spare time to read especially as my business is in its growth stage. As a former CFO, I tend to spend the majority of my spare time reading and listening to anything to do with ‘sales and marketing’ training programs especially in regards to social media; a constantly moving target.

I am a great believer that investing in your education both personally and professionally reaps rewards exponentially. I love listening to educational and motivational cd’s whilst I am driving.

KP: And lastly, thank you for parting with your valuable time Karen Chaston and all the very best for your books.

KC: Thank you Kevin, I really appreciate you also parting with your valuable time and your best wishes. Be well until the next time we connect

Connect with her at – www.karenchaston.com.au

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