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Your Resilience & the costliest disaster in history – key lessons for us all

10 years ago I like millions of others watched as waves often over 25 metres high smashed into Japan.

I cried as whole towns were destroyed.

Families displaced and thousand died or were missing somewhere under the mud, detritus and destruction.

Watching the ships washed into towns was something that has stuck with me for 10 years. Seeing dazed journalists who’ve covered the worse things on the planet, asking “How do they recover from this?” and genuinely wondering if it could be possible as they stood on what looked like an abandoned half finished parking lot with rods of iron twisted out of the ground and not much else, where days before had been homes, businesses, schools and life.

The earthquake that caused the tsunami was a magnitude 9 the most powerful in Japan since 1900. The quake shifted the earth on it’s axis and was the most costliest disaster in the world to date at $360 billion.

But worse than all nearly 20,000 people died, most were drown.

Why would I share such devasting facts?

Because due my secret love of NHK World – it’s a news station hidden amongst the other stations from around the world. (If you want an unbiased idea of what’s going on in your world, watch news stations that are based on every continent to really understand our planet and it’s people and how you fit into this world.)

It’s here I watched week after week as they told the stories of the towns and cities that were hit the worse. Every show made me feel good. How can a tragedy of this magnitude do that?

Because of the people and their stories.

Ichiyo Kanno

The people of Japan and the people that moved to the area teach us essential lesson on what it takes to be resilient in life. To overcome any adversity and achieve no matter what.

Here I want to share just a few stories to share how these stories could make you more resilient – and as I like to call it – bouncability.

The fisherman

A lot of the stories are shared with American Hollywood film star Ken Watanabe. In this episode he met an elderly fisherman (I didn’t catch his name – my apologies). When Ken first met him, he was living in a tiny cargo container because everything was gone. Ken asked why do you not leave?

And the man said “This is my home.” In the show he went back last year and we got to meet the same fisherman. Yes he looked older (who doesn’t after 10 years) but he looked like a new man. There in his waterproofs, knife in hand, turning fish on net beds to dry in the air, he shone with happiness.

He talked with candour about how hard it had been but about how it had never entered his mind not to return to fishing where he had always fished. Now people chose to buy from him instead of big shops because they knew fishing bought the man happiness.

What a wonderful story about faith and belief in what you should do.

Lessons to apply to your life

When you feel like you are up against it, respect your values. Your values may be similar to mine but they will be unique to you in some way. In my first book Fight the fear there is a detailed exercise that will take you about 1 hour to do it properly.

At the end of this exercise you will know what your core values are. By understanding these, whatever happens in life, you will keep going because what drives you is being honoured.

Fight the fear

Secondly this fisherman had faith. At the time of wanting to return how could he have possibly have known how many others would be so brave or confident to return and rebuild their devastated town?

He held out belief in those around him. He assumed that there would be market for what he sold  (Okay, that’s risky by any business coach’s standards! However I admire his absolute commitment and belief in his customers.) Your take aways here are;

  • Who can you rely on?
  • Who do you know will be there for you?
  • How do you know this?
  • What does this information do for you?
  • How can it make you more resilient?

Next meet the oyster fisherman’s wife, Ichiyo Kanno.

When the tsunami hit it destroyed the lower floor of her house (Ichiyo is not related to the first fisherman). The same day she set up a shelter for people to come and stay who had lost everything.

It quickly became a centre to go to for food, love and support, barrier free and open to all.

Ichiyo’s tragedy grew exponentially!

As if Ichiyo hadn’t suffered enough, it broke my heart to see her talk about how her husband, daughter and son in law died a few years later when their fishing boat capsized a few years later. Just as they were rebuilding their life and could fish again, it was suddenly all gone all over again!

How do you come back from that?
Yet when she meets Ken, she is all smiles and happiness to see him. I know many who put a “brave face on it” however that doesn’t seem to be Ichiyo’s way.

Her way is far braver.  

Love, as one writer who meets her puts it a genuine desire to live and be happy; a love of life. (1)

I felt like her love and joy for life were coming out of the screen at me. Now she has a guest house and feeds people from around the world. If I ever get to Japan, I want to go here!

How is this useful to you?

Any actions you take that are rooted in negative feelings will be difficult. While negative emotions are good to levy against to change what you do and get better results. Unless you can find the positive in your desires, what you need to overcome or adversity that you face, then it will be far harder to achieve. Always ask yourself if your fundamental desire for this is rooted in love?

Everything Ichiyo does is rooted in love and it means that despite the very real loss that she must still feel every day, she feels loved, is loved and is given love.

Life is easier with love. And I know this sounds 60’s hippy theory but seriously in business, in teams, in colleges, in hospitals, anywhere in your world you need to achieve more;

  • To communicate with power.
  • To perform exceptionally.
  • To get the results you need for yourself, a team and/or an organisation,

Root the need, the goal, the ethos and vision in love. You will achieve more as a result – and it is likely to feel easier too.

Love in action in business;

I remember working with a team who had a member of staff that, well how do we say, basically, no one liked. They could offend everyone. They could argue about what colour the sun was. There was a lot of animosity to this person and it affected the team, their co – workers and the company as a whole.

Coaching is non judgemental with me. So it takes away guilt and blame. It meant for the first time everyone was actually listening to what this person felt. Not their poor actions or communication, but what they felt. And they realised that this person constantly felt threatened, not good enough and lacked confidence.

The lack of confidence really shocked everyone. But as they talked with me as their facilitator and coach, they were able to see this person in a whole new way. They saw how they were suffering and could see how their actions weren’t being done to offend or annoy people but because they held onto many negative ideas that weren’t serving them well.

Ichiyo teaches us to be mindful to what we hold on to. Can you say you do this?

  • If you consider people from a place of love, what might they be feeling?
  • What may be their reasons for acting as they do?

(It’s not always the case that things can improve, alas, some people just aren’t a good fit. However even then if you come from a place of love, they can move forward to get the goal that Ichiyo strives for; a genuine desire to live and be happy; a love of life.

And lastly meet 28 year old Barber, Itaru Kitayama

For Itaru, the tsunami hit 10 days after he grauated from highschool. Able to escape to university in Tokyo, he could live anyway he wished.

He chose to return. Around his own business as a barber in the town devastated by the tsunami he is a karate coach at his old  high school, coming 2nd in a national competition he really is free to live life anywhere in any way he wishes, and he chooses here.

He talked to Ken in the TV show about how he feels karate helps him and the students.  He said that through karate he wants to contribute to the area and give students confidence and possibilities. I adore his quote;

“I feel its not so much fun if you can see the finish line.”

Itaru Kitayama

Itaru beautifully sums up essential lessons for resilience and durability to ensure you get what you want to go.

1. A realisation that you are free to do something else – you get to choose – by believing you don’t, you take away your power. Becoming the victim will not help you, it will keep you stuck because you believe nothing can be done. Whether coaching a team or an individual, I’ve never seen this to be the case, there is always something you can do.

2. Contributing to others helps you. A study by the London School of economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measure of happiness and found the more people volunteered the happier they were. And just google the research and benefits of happiness on mindset, actions, success and even your likeliness to earn the amount you want and you will see that helping others is very very good for you.

Itaru does this in another way by returning to an area that many have been deserted. Helping to rebuild a vibrant society and communities that will thrive. Giving motivation and belief to others too.

3. Lastly by not needing to know the ultimate finish line Itaru can enjoy the journey. Sometimes I see incredibly successful people (often millionaires) who are still not happy, feeling like something is missing. This is often because they have become accustomed to an outdated belief that “I will be happy when…” or “It will be good when…” not actually noticing they’ve achieved everything they aimed to with bells on!

Above all else these stories and the many others I’ve watched about that awful day one decade ago give us key skills, attributes, beliefs, values and attitudes we need to bring to our own lives. If you want to feel like you can do anything and overcome anything, bring love, happiness and hope into your life.

Because as I like to say nothing stays the same.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, please do 3 things;

1. Share on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

2. A little Paypal love of this writer goes a long way too – it also gives me a dollop of love. And we all need that!

3. Let me know how my words impact on you and your life.

(1) https://visit-kesennuma.com/highlights/highlight-en-606/

Statistics on the tsunami from https://www.worldvision.org/disaster-relief-news-stories/2011-japan-earthquake-and-t sunami-facts

  • March 10, 2021

How to upset a dentist – oops!

It was not my plan to wake up in September and upset a dentist, but upset a dentist I did!

The Dentists email started fabulously with Marcus telling me how much he was enjoying my book but quickly took a negative turn as he pointed out that I’d been rather mean to his industry on page 46. On that page I talked about how unpleasant arrogant people can be and I compared it to sitting in the dentist chair. You know, arrogant people are a bit like dentists, you know you’re not going to enjoy the experience but someone how you’ve just got to get through it.

At the time of writing I carried out some research on “What is the worse place you have to go?” and the replies varied from;do you fear the dentist

  • My mother in laws
  • Work
  • Dentist
  • Hospital

The dentist featured the highest and resonated with a lot of people so seemed the natural choice to select. It also resonated with me because 30 years ago I’d had such a severe phobia of the dentist that I had to be sedated to even have a check and clean! I would pass out in the chair. Not a nice experience and thus because it resounded with me too it went in the book.

My book – Fight the fear is about the 12 biggest fears that impact on success and I share how to get what you want in life and overcome the obstacles and fears to build confidence and success. I have a habit of having a laugh with my coaching clients because it helps them look at tough situations, feelings and obstacles in their life that are usually causing negative emotions, actions and results. So I wanted to bring that style to my book as well as the strategies that I know work.

What do you say to someone you’ve upset and upset his whole profession?

Well I was honest. I did start by asking for a review (since no one ever gets around to writing those!) and then I found that I spent a good few minutes thinking about it.

Did I really hate dentists? What should I say to Marcus?

Marcus had got me thinking!

My Dentist (Miss Rasheed) rocks! She’s so patient and thanks to my Lupus et al sometimes its’ near on impossible to open my mouth wide enough or for long enough and yet she patiently helps me and always checks that my medication is not impacting on my teeth, she’s always kind and when my teeth crumbled thanks to the meds I thought Miss Rasheed was going to cry too at the unfairness of it all!

Okay years ago I went 3 years without a checkup because I didn’t’ get my fear under control (ironic I fix people’s fears for a living now right?) and while visiting the dentist is not on my top 100 days out list, I love the clean feel you get from a dentists clean and I love having a catch up with Miss Rasheed. It’s almost like a review of the last 6 months. You come out grinning because you’ve had a chat and realised you’ve done some pretty awesome things since you last saw her!

So Marcus was right but I wasn’t wrong. How can that be?

Well, while Marcus was very right to point out that “modern confidence building dentistry is as far from this as possible!” because it is. It’s most definitely not a man yanking your teeth out with pliers while his foot gains leverage on your chest. However I was right because factually it had rated highly as somewhere, with someone many of us hate to be.

Would I use that analogy if I was writing Fight the fear now?fake reality mandie holgate blog sept 2018

Probably, however I would have added that it is a perception of reality (that is not correct) that enables us to view dentists in this 18th century style instead of the 21st century carers they actually are. Which in all honesty is also something that happens with most fears – we create a version of reality that doesn’t serve us well and enables the fear (and thus damages our success) scary right? Possibly  worded like this the analogy for dentists would have proved more powerful so I commend Marcus for emailing me.

So what do you do when you are faced with assumptions that damage your life, your results and even a profession?


The mistake that most people make is they “tell” the other party their own view and communicate in a way that says “If you don’t think the same as me then you are wrong.” The powerful communications happen when you enable someone to view something differently for themselves so first of all challenge them. Respectfully. Powerful communication is a hot topic throughout Gight the fear so I can see why it appealed to Marcus so much.

Where’s the facts?rogue emotions trying to damage success

Once you’ve challenged them ask them to give you evidence that has enabled them to think like that. In my case I took time to consider “How do I think about dentists?” And was able to see that my own viewpoint is very different to the one of the 15 year old Mandie Holgate. When I ask a client to give me the proof that they are useless, or it won’t work, or they are scared to do something, usually they are able to see it’s not true. And they have plenty of evidence to prove they are more than capable of succeeding, it’s just the rogue emotions trying to overpower the facts! As your coach I enable my clients to learn to notice how they think and talk to themselves. By enabling them to really understand this they have tools for life. Is the dentist really painful? How long are you really in the chair? Creating the right questions helps people look at things in a different way. WARNING word your viewpoint and question in the wrong way and you will lose any chance of getting your view across and respected.

Remove the stigma

You can’t always change people’s views or beliefs however you can help reduce the stigma thus eventually you can see it removed entirely. 11 years ago when I first spoke about trying to kill myself and my own depression people would tell me I was very brave to go on TV etc and talk so openly. I didn’t see it as brave, a firefighter running into a burning building is brave, talking about my past is not. For me it felt like the important thing to do. However now when I’m in the media and speaking up for mental health I rarely get that kind of comment. We are winning the war (all too slowly for my liking) on the barriers to discussing mental health and gaining mental health, and it’s the same for all stigmas.

Interestingly the book was originally aimed at people at work and we changed it to reflect WH Smith’s (the UK’s leading book stores) idea that we pitch the book to everyone. Every week I get messages from people telling me they have read my book and it’s helped them achieve more, overcome fears and their lack of confidence however closest to my heart is the messages that tell me that Fight the fear has helped people over come their phobias, mental health illnesses and emotional distress. I wish Mandie from 11 years ago had known going through hell would change thousands of peoples lives in the future, it may have helped her keep going!be part of the change you want to see mandie holgate blog

So if you want to change people’s mind, talk about it. Get in the press, talk on social media, talk about it on your website, guest blog, blog, tell the world. As the saying goes “be part of the change you want to see in life.” That takes confidence so check your own confidence levels too.


Many people don’t know that your 21st century dentistry is not just helping you with your teeth and gums. They can spot Diabetes, Leukaemia, Oral cancer, Pancreatic cancer, Heart disease and Kidney disease (and that’s just a few things they can help detect!). My own dentist was the one to spot that the Lupus and meds were causing Osteopenia. If you can speak up about what a dentist really can do for you then you can help people to reframe how they think and thus how they act.

This is the same for most assumptions. When a client says something to me and I realise its something they’ve said repeatedly I raise their awareness to their assumption and break it down until it is gone, thus enabling a more powerful thought to take it’s place. Reframing works well for this. So instead of “I hate the dentist, it’s so painful” this could change to “It’s only 10 minutes for 6 months of healthy teeth, a good trade off!”

The fact is whether we like it or not like just as your car needs a service and your gutters need cleaning, your teeth need looking after too. It’s something we have to do if we want to keep our teeth, so the outdated inaccurate viewpoint of the dentist has to go doesn’t it?

As my readers and clients know most fears are hidden, (that’s is why they get to have power over you for so long because you can’t fix what you can’t see) and thanks to Marcus I’ve had a look at what I think and realised that if I allowed that negative viewpoint of dentists to stick around then my next visit could start to be like the ones of my teen years – horrific! Because ultimately our brains are big muscles that need exercising regularly to stay healthy.change beliefs article dentist sept 2018

Thank you Marcus, you are doing an awesome job of challenging these views, It begs the question “If you could change people’s beliefs around something what is it and how would you do it?

(If you are looking to change the world, grow a business or just change someones behaviour at work I’m happy to have a chat about the power of coaching to get what you want.)

  • September 29, 2018

Blending Corporate and Personal Lives – 1st Of The Book PR

It all started with a passion for helping people to achieve their biggest and wildest dreams. And it grew into a realisation that I could write(because let’s face it if you want to succeed in the 21st century then you have to get your head around digital marketing) and then the next thing I know I’m being asked to write a book for the UK’s leading non fiction publishers. It is quite honestly the biggest ambition of my life.

To have Stephen Fry say I was a great writer made me grin for a week, okay so it still makes me grin. But to get that phone call saying “Mandie would you write a book for Pearson’s?” was the biggest, maddest, wildest dream of my life. 

And now the press are loving the story and here is the first of the articles. There will be many more, and so far every journalist has wanted to talk about the book and my journey in a different way. I could tell you about how I nearly died and wanted to sue the pharmaceutical company when I didn’t die and woke up the next day, I could tell you how I won an award sat on the sofa or was named one of the UK’s magazine’s Woman’s Own Inspirational Women of Year, I could tell you about The Business Womans Network, MP’s and international speakers loving my work or taking mangos to the home office, but hey let’s see what articles and pictures they print in the coming weeks.

Thank you must also go to Voom Media and Vanessa Moon (https://www.facebook.com/VoomMedia) I used to do all my own PR until this year, when I saw the awesomeness of this company and now work side by side with Voom Media and we haven’t falling a step out. Me and The Business Womans Network are in the press just as much as ever!

Well with a book getting 5 star reviews, the best views in London for our book launch, and endorsements with top names in business and the news my publishers have just announced I’ve just made Vanessa’s job that bit easier too!

Read more from William Mata at the Harlow Star here. Thanks for the story William!

To buy your copy visit Amazon or http://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/books

  • December 5, 2016

Smashing Glass Ceilings (or How To Get Where You Want To)

This post is dedicated to 2 truly beautiful and inspirational business women who I met this week, who both spoke about Glass ceilings. Personally I never speak of them as I won’t entertain phrases or words or ideas that I know could undermine my success. But we all think and feel differently so I understand the power those Glass Ceilings can have.

Here is my quick top tip guide to Smashing those Glass Ceilings and getting rid of them for good;

Firstly one business woman pointed out to me that she does not have the time to do all that she truly wants to. I say to this, work out what can be dropped. In an ideal world there would not be dust in the corner of the room, or pre packaged veg used served for tea. But no one looks back on their death bed and says “I wish I’d washed more floors” work out what can be dropped from your daily to do list. If you don’t do this, ask yourself this question “If I don’t remove some things from my daily to do list what am I agreeing to?” and a hint here, its less success.

Success needs space, so create some.

Glass ceilings get smashed when you clearly see every last detail of your big goal. From how many hours you work, to what you spend your money on, to how much money you put away in savings. A great goal puts cracks in your glass ceiling before you even get started. So visualise your ultimate goal in every detail.

Take small actions, to get there. As I say at the start of my 6 week online course”How do you eat a mountain of cheese?”

The same way you would eat anything….1  mouthful at a time, so break your goals down into bite size chunks and keep them that small. That glass ceiling gets reinforced and a lot tougher to break when you set yourself up to fail, so keep those chunks small.

When things get tough, and lets be honest we all have those times. Accept that something has to give. Ask yourself what are my true values here and my primary core goals that have to be maintained and then let the little things that aren’t important slip. Again ask yourself “If I don’t do this, what am I agreeing to?” and the answer is likely to be a bucket of added stress. Your glass ceiling just loves some added stress!

When things get tough accept that you need to refocus your attention and divert from your big goals. Your big goals still exist and you can still be working towards them, but it may be the case that you have to decide to direct your primary actions on other areas, allowing a small action towards your ultimate goal will stop you from feeling bitter, guilty and a ton of other negative emotions that will cause procrastination and make you suffer further. So ask yourself “What small action will I continue to take towards my ultimate goal as I deal with these pressing issues?”

Don’t worry about what other people are achieving. You are not on their path way to success, you are on yours. One woman’s version of success will be CEO of her own international corporation while another’s will be a Breakfast bar business that is part time. Both if they get their ulitmate goals are successful. So don’t let your glass ceiling get a layer of toughened glass by trying to be something that doesn’t match up to what are your core values and beliefs about a happy successful life.

When you really feel like you can’t achieve and that glass ceiling is crushing down on you. Write down everything you’ve ever achieved. Don’t say you haven’t because you have. You successfully got dressed, fed yourself, possibly others, been to work, drove a car.
There’s things you’ve achieved and I’m not even been near you today! So list them all. If you are being heavily critical of yourself, ask your friends, your colleagues, your loved ones, your social media friends. You will be surprised how many people you have motivated, inspired, supported and helped. So remember every success. Every last one. A few pictures of those occasions are very useful to. These will power you on to know that you’ve been through tough times before and a bad day does not define you.

Know, absolutely know, that no matter what happens today you are awesome. I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t go out everyday with a secret in your head (You don’t have to tell a single person!) that says I’m awesome, then why should anyone else believe it?

Your past, your experiences, your beliefs can all undermine that belief that you are awesome so look to all those times when you have truly rocked, when you achieved, when you came through adversity. And then lastly….

Keep people around you that will motivate, inspire and support you and remind you how awesomely saucesome you are! There will always be people that want to rain on your parade, outnumber them with the ones that believe in you and that will lead you to……

Smashing that glass ceiling in one of 2 ways;

Either with an all mighty big bang that smashes it to smithereens so that its disintegrated with nothing left. Its a big way to do it so ask yourself how you normally like to tackle things because the other way is…..

With little tiny taps, you will be able to slowly but surely break down the negativity and the issues that have created your glass ceiling so that it slowly cracks and those cracks will all join together until you find little chinks and a beautiful clear sky above.

I do hope that helps….Its just a starter, but just remember you’re awesome!


  • January 9, 2014