Why we do what we do…
Julie Watson, founder of Stronger Than My Excuses has a story. Of overcoming adversity and later, finding her own inspiration. We hope her story will inspire you to tell yours.
From dialysis to start-up entrepreneur…
Inspiration is a strange concept. Sometimes we give it, and sometimes we need it. The funny thing is, the more you look for it, the harder it is to find. Here’s how I found my own inspiration from within.
8 years ago, I really needed inspiration. I had hit a low point in my life. I had lost my job, my financial situation was in tatters, and my relationship was on the rocks.
I read through countless motivational articles on my computer that I had saved for a moment just like this. That’s when I found an article called “Overcoming Adversity, So You Think You’ve Got It Bad”. This particular article struck a chord with me. It was powerful, it was passionate, it was heartfelt, it was… inspirational.
The author of this article…was me! A younger version of myself had penned this article years before when I was full of energy, enthusiasm, and hope. I wanted to become a writer. I wanted to become a speaker.
I had so many great ideas, but they never became a reality. I never seized the opportunities that were right in front of me and I allowed self-doubt to creep in. For so many years those words were locked away in an article that had never ventured past the ‘My documents’ folder on my computer. As long as they were trapped–so was I.
So, I decided to do something I hadn’t done before. I listened to my own words of wisdom, and I took action.
My name is Julie Watson, and I help people find their own inspiration and to inspire change in their family, their community and their world. Many people allow their excuses to take a stranglehold over their commitment and they find themselves giving up and maintaining the status quo.
Every day since I re-read my own article, I aim to make the woman who wrote it proud. I now have my own business as a marketing consultant as well as an incredible start-up business, Stronger Than My Excuses. My finances are in order, I’m fit and healthy, and as for my relationship… I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.
Everyone has a story to tell. Adversity, and our responses to it, form the fabric of our character. I want to share with you some of my personal experiences about adversity, and how I became Stronger than my excuses.
At the age of 26, I was diagnosed with chronic renal failure; my kidneys simply stopped working and ‘gave up’. I spent 5 long years hooked up to a Dialysis Machine every second day, which took 5 hours to clean my blood. I had over 2000 self-injected intravenous needles, over 32 admissions to hospital, took 30 tablets per day, and experienced regular seizures, surgeries, biopsies, chest cams, gut cams, and but cams. Although kidney failure didn’t take my life, it certainly went a long way to taking my social-life in my 20s.
Then came the news I’d been waiting for. I was offered a kidney from RPA. Someone’s donation gave me a chance at getting my life back and getting off that machine. I was relieved and excited that I would be ‘normal’ again. I remember vividly driving to Sydney to RPA with my family that day. We were all chatting away about the holidays we could now have and the places we would go, and no more dialysis machine in the middle of our living room. The operation was a complete success, but after just 12 days I received the shattering news that my body had rejected the kidney. As you can imagine, this was devastating. The experience was not only physically demanding, but it left me emotionally drained.
Living donors were not common back then, but Mum and Dad were both tested to see if their kidneys would be compatible. Dad’s was a perfect match and this time, the transplant worked. That operation was on Valentines Day, so my Mum had her Valentine in one theatre and her only daughter in the other. Dad’s kidney has been a healthy part of me for over 24 years and he’s still incredibly fit and healthy – albeit with only one kidney. I am forever grateful to my parents for my health today.
During the years of my treatment, I never considered myself to be ‘hard done by’. There were of course tough times, but I always worked hard to be a role model for my son. I ran a small business and stayed involved in the local community, contributing to the soccer club and surf club committees as much as I could. Balancing a normal life with having a serious medical condition was a challenge. At one stage, I was seeing a Nephrologist, Neurologist, Dermatologist, Cardiologist, and Physiotherapist. It’s a wonder I didn’t need to see a psychologist too! The point is that throughout this ordeal I always remained positive and played the hand that I was dealt.
Confident, not just positive…
It was years later that I realised that I needed more than just a positive attitude. I needed Confidence. Confidence takes courage. The courage to take risks and seize opportunities. I finally found out that confidence is a skill that can be learned, not something we are born with. It means getting beyond your comfort zone and pushing the limits of what you thought was possible.
8 years ago, when I finally read my article and took my own advice, I decided to upgrade my positivity with a good dose of confidence. I threw away my self-doubt and realised that inspiration could be found everywhere – even from within.
In 2015 I had a heart attack and had a stent inserted into one of my central arteries. In 2018 I was diagnosed with Diabetes. (During the establishment of my business in 2020, I had 5 weeks of radiotherapy treatment for a rogue skin cancer on my face).
In 2018 I decided to become a speaker and tell my story, but first I needed to build my credibility and profile. I made some short videos and held some talks for community and business groups but eventually, I made the decision to produce and host my own panel discussion TV Show for YouTube.
And so, STRONGER THAN MY EXCUSES ™® was born.
Why it’s so successful…
When I invited people to be guests on my shows, everyone said yes! I was surprised how many people wanted their voice to be heard on so many various topics. I realised almost everyone needed to build their personal or organisation’s profile.
Everyone has a story to tell.
Now, shows and series are all run by independent businesses, social enterprises, charities, and other organisations who want to collaborate to be more effective (with a panel discussion).
We have formulated a WebTV Show Production Kit that is an easy to use, tried and tested platform for making your own series of panel discussions to contribute to making an important difference in the world or offer innovative actions and ideas for business.
TED does talks, but Stronger Than My Excuses does panel discussions. Explore important issues, initiate intelligent and passionate discussion and, importantly, identify actions that will contribute toward change. In our first pilot series, I produced 16 shows on almost zero budget and we show people how we did this. It’s a ‘fill in the blanks’ type checklist.
The platform is already gaining momentum and hopes to become a worldwide platform. Whether for social or business purposes, having your own series increases your standing in your community as a leader who takes action, over making excuses.
Recent and upcoming shows include:
- Suicide Prevention…Breaking Stigma
- Save Our Town
- Mental health for Transitioning Athletes into retirement
- Domestic Violence
- Empowering Women…Back Yourself
- Small Business…Thriving, not just Surviving
- Isolation Will Kill Your Dreams…Get Out There and Network
- Procrastination…Making Action Plans
- Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
The businesses involved have been seen as industry leaders, building credibility and becoming the go-to business in their field.
Stronger Than My Excuses will give you a voice to educate others, inspire debate and encourage key influencers and the general public to participate in the process of change.
People are taking ACTION.
I draw inspiration from the success of others who have made the change towards action. I hope to see many other stories of people becoming Stronger Than Their Excuses.