After an early life of neglect, Stacey Currie was a mother of three trapped in an abusive relationship by the age of 21. Faced with the prospect of changing her life or losing her children, stacey transformed herself into a successful speaker, author and official ambassador for both the Lighthouse and Brave Heart Foundations.
You had a very difficult early life. Can you give our readers a little bit of background to your story?
At the age of 2 months I was court ordered to live with my dad who was in the army (he was forced back home), he had no idea how to bring up children let alone be left alone to bring up two babies aged 2 months and 1 year old (my brother). I was bought up in housing commission with no rules or boundaries. At the age of 9 I was sexually assaulted by someone outside the family, at the age of 14 I was living in a shed, by 15 years old I was pregnant, at age 19 I was homeless with my 3 year old and 4 month old baby and at 21 years old I had 3 children and living in a domestic violent relationship.
How did you make the transition from your life at age 21, with three children and in a violent relationship, to where you are now?
Luckily for me I had a clear vision and a passion to keep me going. At the age of 8 I witnessed a man being hit and killed by a car; at that moment I decided I wanted to be a Funeral Director. When I was at rock bottom I realised I couldn’t get any lower other than death and that’s when I focused on making my dream become a reality. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have a passion. If I had not had my passion and the self belief to make it happen, I don’t know if I would have made it.
In the stages it took me from dreaming of my goal and the in between action I was taking, to have my dream come true I was forced to go through self development of myself that I never knew existed. I had to dig deep and find a self belief that was strong as steel, a vision so clear I could actually see it as if I was already living it, I had to rely on myself which made me find the answers I needed, I could go on forever on how I made the transition, it was not one thing I did but a hundred small steps that took me to where I am today. Discovering my clear passion was the first step.
Was the transition a gradual process or was they a defining moment, and if so, what was that moment?
My dream started when I was twenty one years old and living in a violent relationship. I was lost. I had no real friends, I was angry, I was lonely and my children were suffering. My self esteem was gone and I had really hit the bottom of the black hole. I also had three children aged five, two, and four months old to care for.
One night after yet another violent argument with my partner, I found myself at the Royal Children’s Hospital. My son had been admitted after being physically hurt. It was 2am and there I was, crammed into a little room with my three children, officers from the Department of Human Services, some Federal Police and a few staff from the hospital.
They questioned me for a very long time about the relationship I was living in, and how my son was hurt. I was grilled about why I was staying in this abusive relationship and why I was putting my children through it all.
After a couple of hours of this I was asked to leave the room. I sat out in the waiting room until eventually they called me back in. I was told that I had to get myself and my children out of the situation I was in. All the authorities who were represented in that room had discussed my situation and as of today I had two choices.
My first choice was that I could stay in the relationship and have my three children placed into foster care. I remember dropping to my knees begging them not to take my children from me. Then they offered the second choice.
If I took the second choice I could keep my children but I must change my life. The conditions were that, beginning immediately, I would be court ordered to not have anything to do with my violent partner for twelve weeks. In those twelve weeks, I would have to attend a domestic violence counsellor. I wanted desperately to keep my children but couldn’t see how I could possibly change my life.
That night I was forced to make the best choice of my whole life. That night the dream began.
You are now a successful public speaker and Author of the book, “The Rich get Richer, The Poor Can Too”. Can you give our readers one or two of your secrets to personal success?
First of all you need to be super duper clear about what it is you are aiming for. Once you know what you are aiming for you now need to be careful with whom you share your dreams with. Some people can take on other’s fears and then talk themselves into believing they can’t do it, I don’t tell anyone what I am doing, and I just do it and show them. I also stopped looking for people who had the answers, I realised after a few months it was ME who had the answers deep within, it was believing in myself that took me to almighty heights. Another secret was that from the very beginning I was never ever focused on the money, I had never had a lot of money so when I was paid $280 a week at my traineeship, I felt like the luckiest, richest girl on the planet.
As a successful businesswoman and mother of five, what do you think are the keys to creating a work/life balance?
For me it’s about being healthy first. I do boot camp three mornings a week at 6am and on the other days I either jog with my partner and toddlers in their pram or I walk with my girl friend along the beach. I eat healthy, don’t smoke or drink much alcohol, yes I know it sounds boring lol however for me to be on the ball and create an effective work, life balance my health MUST come first. Once I am feeling great inside and energised, I am able to make better decision with the business and also be a happier mum (most of the time ha ha).
When I am at work, it’s all about work and when I am at boot camp it’s all about me and my health and when I am at home it’s all about my children. What ever I am doing I try to be in that moment.
How on earth do you organise five children and still manage a career?
It takes a lot of action to run a business, raise five children, keep a partner happy and also keep fit. But I know that if I want to get everything I desire from life, I need to actually make it happen.
I wake up at 5am each morning and prepare that nights dinner so when I arrive home from work I start in the kitchen, cooking dinner and preparing lunches for the next day. Then I wash the school uniforms and get everything ready for the next morning. One of the tricks I use is to get the tasks I loathe out of the way first and do them as fast as I can. I don’t even think about it, I just do it. I know that if I work quickly I can spend more time with my children, so this keeps me moving. I don’t watch TV as I would prefer to spend the time talking and playing with my children.
A great leader knows that success requires a HUGE amount of commitment. When I arrive at work it’s all about ticking off my list of “things to be done”! Small steps will eventually lead you to your goal but first you must make a commitment and stick to it.
Make time every morning to plan in advance
Each day, take a clean sheet of paper and make a list of what you will take action on that day to move you towards conquering your top goal. Make a list of ten tasks each morning. At the top of the list, put the task you really do not want to do, the one which always ends up in the too hard basket. This is probably the one which you have used for far too long as an excuse as to why you haven’t been able to achieve your goal. If you get that task done first, the other tasks will seem simple and you will start to get excited
Set deadlines for each task
Every task needs a deadline. Commit yourself to ensuring you complete your task within your deadline. Stick to it and be tough with yourself, then reward yourself for a job well done when you accomplish it within the deadline.
Take away all interruptions
Are you one of those people who can’t seem to get anything done in time? Do you lose time making phone calls and answering emails? Begin your focused day with your phone off, email off, internet off (unless you are using it solely for your task). This is a must. I tested myself with this and could not believe the amount of time I wasted on email, phone and internet. Now when I am focused I stay 100% focused. Of course you do need to attend to emails and phone calls, so block a time out in the day that will be for this purpose. Then turn everything off again and get back to your task. Set aside days where you have nothing that will interrupt you all day.
The key to your success is your 100% commitment. Don’t be surprised if you only half commit and only end up with half the results achieved.
What advice can you give for women, who may be going through what you went through, that might help them move forward with their lives?
- If you have many past issues that you have not dealt with I most certainly recommend finding a great counsellor to talk to and stick to it, most people give up when they don’t see results within two sessions. I went for two years every single Tuesday and Saturday.
- Discover something that you are passionate about and do something about making it happen such as; traineeship, apprenticeship, online studying etc
- Self belief will either make or break you- who you are today is not who you have to settle for being forever. Once people see you walking your talk, they will start believing you too, but you MUST believe in yourself first.
- Want positive? Be positive- If you desire a future of your dreams you MUST retrain your mind to think positive thoughts. It is hard at the beginning to retrain your mind to constantly think positively, however it is possible to do a little each day to change the way you think. Whenever you think of something negative, acknowledge it, write it down then replace it with a positive thought. At the end of the day take a look at the list. Count how many negative thoughts you had that day. After a couple of weeks it will become a habit to grab that negative thought as it comes along and quickly turn it to a positive thought. Choose only to see the good in life.
- Negative people – move away, far away – imagine the difference if everyone around you got excited for you and supported your dreams. You will notice a huge difference in your self belief when you are surrounded by like-minded people.
What are your top 5 tips for women to succeed in business?
- Be passionate about it
- Don’t focus on the money
- STOP searching for other people to get you there, no one will get you there; YOU have enough inside you right now to make your dreams come true
- Realise that 90% of business success will come down to how strong your mindset it. Building a business is not rocket science, it’s the mindset that will be the key to your success
- Your own self belief is what will drive you to succeed
You are also the Ambassador for two charities, the Lighthouse Foundation and Brave Heart Foundation. Do you think the average Australian does enough to help those less fortunate? And if not, what would be your ideal?
This is a tough question because there are so many people doing amazing things for those less fortunate that go unnoticed. I do believe not enough people help those less fortunate not because they don’t want to but not knowing what they can do or not having money themselves, thinking only money will help, when a lot of foundations would love to see some more behind the scenes help and support.
When I was a young mum I had no idea my behaviours of my life was affecting my children’s well being and setting them up for future child hood issues. I would love to see A LOT more housing available for teenage parents where they are educated on how to nurture their babies, the effects of domestic violence, how to get a job etc. Once I was educated I was able to help myself.
Once I left the domestic violence relationship both of my boys had serious anger issues, they both wanted to commit suicide, both suffered anxiety, my 13 year old son was on drugs, drinking alcohol and getting in trouble with the police. I didn’t have many avenues of help unless it cost me a few thousand dollars which I didn’t have; we most certainly need more long term help and support in this area that is affordable for the people who need it most; uneducated parents trying to help their out of control children.
What are your plans for the future (3-5 years)?
I have my next book coming out in 2013 titled “Break The TOXIC Cycles”, it’s about breaking the toxic cycles that have come though from childhood and are now being past on to the next generation.
I have visions to set up my own foundation helping teenage parents and children who have been raised with uneducated parents. I want to help “Break the Toxic Cycles”.
I have a few more “secret” plans but I can’t share just yet – sorry!!
All I want is to have happy children, a work life that I love, a foundation to help and support uneducated parents, and my health to be on top. Anything above that is icing on the cake J..
Thank you for letting me share my story, and I hope I have inspired you to live the life of your dreams. Stacey xxx