Founder of MindGardener.com – Martina Sheehan

This year, Martina Sheehan and Susan Pearse are celebrating 10 years in business together.  They started their corporate consulting business reinvention in 2001 and have been successful in shaping the way businesses and leaders think over this time.  They are sought after facilitators, advisers and change agents and have an impressive client list throughout Australia.

It was through reinvention’s involvement with the Mind and Life Institute and His Holiness the Dalai Lama that the pair became enthralled with the science of neuroplasticity – the concept that the human brain constantly adapts and changes over time and that individuals can cultivate their minds to improve performance, increase happiness levels and ultimately change their lives.

Through their latest joint entrepreneurial endeavor, Mind Gardener®, they translate emerging research from brain science into a series of step-by-step guides designed to help people through various stages of their lives.  Mind Gardener Guides are sold throughout Australia and can be purchased online at www.mindgardener.com.  There are 4 Guides – The Living Happy Guide, The Clear Mind Guide, The Great Relationships Guide and The Bump to Baby Guide.

Mind Gardener has taken their business to the next level.  They have regular TV and radio appearances and guest speaking slots and continue to spread their word through regular columns.

Prior to working together, Martina enjoyed a varied career, spanning engineering, human resource management and strategic change consulting.

Describe yourself in 3 words: Calm, Balanced, Happy

What is your life motto? Let it unfold. There are so many twists and turns in life that you can never know whether something is good or bad until it plays out.

When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful? I don’t feel that I have ever pursued a career. I have always felt that I would have one, but I wouldn’t call myself ambitious. I think my success has come from being open to opportunities, rather than trying to force a particular path.  Especially considering I started my working life as a mechanical engineer and have ended up somewhere very different. So I am very glad I did not pursue my original career strongly!

How many hours did you dedicate to pursuing your dream? I don’t tend to force myself to do anything extra. But I do have the luxury of letting myself spend a fair bit of time reading about my interest areas and this knowledge really does help me to be better at what I do. I don’t have children so I probably have more discretionary hours than most people.

Describe how difficult the business really is? Our business is not difficult if you enjoy the ride; it is a ride of ups and downs. It would be difficult if you saw the downs as set backs to a particular plan. I tend to see then as learning’s that help to refine the offering and see what really works.

What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson? I have learnt (and I can’t remember the first time this really hit me) that every time I make something about me, things don’t go smoothly! When I set my own internal chatter aside and really listen to understand the other person, I can always see a clear path. The really amazing thing is it not only meets their needs, but I also get a better outcome than if I’d just stubbornly focused on myself!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date? Both my parents always say: “be happy”. Nothing is wiser than that.

In your mind, is formal training essential? I sometimes observe that the people with the most formal training are the least sensible. Too much training can make the brain rigid. However, the brain is like a naughty child, without a little bit of discipline, it will get out of control. So I believe you need a nice balance of discipline and freedom. Study something, but also observe the wonder all around you.

Do you think having a mentor is important? How would you go about getting one for this industry? The people I think of, as mentors for me are those who set me on a path to being more open to the world and its opportunities. They made sure I did not “settle down” too early. That was important to me; but everyone needs something different. I think that finding someone you respect for their wisdom and perspective is always valuable. I don’t tend to look for mentors, but I do learn different things from different people all the time.

What are some steps emerging talent can take to start/further their career? Look within. Don’t feel constrained to fit into a career path. When what you love matches up with what others seek, you can be of service and make a difference. That is a life well lived.

What kept you going when you felt like giving up? Two things: 1. That I’m not alone in this business  2. That people’s lives really are transformed through what we do.

Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time? Luck and being in the right place happen when you stop trying to make the world fit you, and instead go with the flow!

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