'Barry is unique in his ability to combine a deep understanding of leadership with an approach devoid of egotism'
Stephanie Hilborne OBE
The Wildlife Trusts
'Lead Like Mary will inspire a whole new generation of leaders'
The Scout Association
'Lead Like Mary is full of wisdom and easy to grasp'
In October 2015 I was diagnosed with the early stages of Parkinson's Disease
There was no real surprise in this diagnosis, I guess we already knew and had been doing some research on line. The symptoms had been there a while- deteriorating handwriting, a shuffle when walking (Jakkie calls it my Poirot walk!), and a lack of movement in my left arm.
Although the diagnosis came as no surprise, I still struggled to come to terms with it. Suddenly, I had a label. I have previously balked at telling people, but have now decided that was a ridiculous approach
The important decision Jakkie & I faced, was what to do next. I had a choice. Become a victim and surrender myself to inevitable decline, or address the challenges head on, taking control and doing all I can to slow or even reverse any deterioration over a long period of time.
With Jakkie's support and energy (I think this would be far harder on your own) there was only one option. Research provides compelling and clear evidence, that with a single minded focus on exercise, health, diet, stress reduction, work life balance and mental attitude, deterioration can be significantly delayed and controlled.
Since the diagnosis I have lost two and a half stones, radically changed my approach to exercise, with gym work, yoga, walking and dancing. I've changed a lifetime of eating habits, and have significantly reduced my client work and travelling, with a resultant reduction in stress levels. I am also working hard every day on focussing on a positive mental attitude
In my experience so far, this is showing signs of working. I certainly feel fitter, healthier and more balanced than I have for years. I'm realistic about the future but know that the more you take control the more chance you have of shaping that future. I have occasional bad days - we all do, but the direction of travel is positive.
If anyone is facing similar challenges and wants to chat, I'd be happy to do so.