#254 - INNER STRENGTH WHEN YOU NEED IT, with Kirsten Pilatti


My reason for creating this podcast a few years ago was to inspire and help empower people like you to live your dream life. Whatever that means to you, through all of life’s seasons, successes, challenges and ups & downs.

My guest today helps deliver on that.

Kirsten Pilati, is the CEO of Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) and her story of finding her way to a purpose driven life is inspiring.

I’m so pleased to have partnered with Kirsten and BCNA to create our Dream Life Inner Strength Journal – specifically designed to assist people going through health challenges. Helping give strength and peace of mind when they need it most.

It feels great knowing that 15% of proceeds are being donated to help BCNA play their crucial role in supporting people affected by breast cancer. 

Listen in and discover how you too can harness learnings and purpose from personal adversity for greater communal good.

As always, I’d LOVE to hear what resonates with you from this episode and what you plan to implement after listening in. So please share and let’s keep the conversation going in the Dream Life Podcast Facebook Group here.    

Have a wonderful week-end… and remember, it all starts with a dream 💛


Dream Life Founder 


  • Buy our inspiring Inner Strength Journal here...
  • Join my Platinum Coaching Program - where in June the focus is on going deep to help you plan the second half of the year for you. Learn more here.
  • Learn more & register here for our FIJI REINVENT YOU RETREAT. Embark on a transformative journey guided by Kristina Karlsson, Sarah Pirie-Nally, Nicole Hatherly, and Shaynna Blaze.
  • Join my virtual book club GROW for May where we'll meet weekly on Zoom to discuss and squeeze the learnings from Robin Sharma's brilliant new book, The Wealth Money Can't Buy (which explores true wealth beyond financial success). Learn more here…



Hi there, and welcome back to another episode. Today is very special with another inspiring guest. Before I introduce her, I want to quickly explain how I got in contact with her and how we have now formed a partnership.

For a few years, I've been running Carmen's Fun Run here in Melbourne that supports the Breast Cancer Network Australia, known as BCNA. As I shared my running journey a little with all the people in my coaching program, some of the ladies in my coaching program started to join me, and it's now an annual thing we do together. It's so fun and so inspiring. A couple of years ago, I walked with one of the ladies in my coaching group who had cancer in her leg. She trained for a whole year to walk 5k.

I walked with her, and I will never forget when her young daughter met us close to the finish line, and they ran together over the finish line to finish our walk. It was a very touching and happy moment. I was also watching lots of other kids who didn't have a mom to run with over the finish line.

They were running for their moms who are no longer around. That touched me every year. And I had this urge to do something to support the incredible work that BCNA does. Also, in my previous business, there were a lot of people who came in to get a journal when they got diagnosed with cancer and lots of other challenges that people are facing. Often, a journal is a very nice companion to have through the journey.

That is a very tough journey. So I contacted BCNA, and we partnered on a journal called the Inner Strength Journal. So my guest today is Kirsten Pilati, who is the CEO of Breast Cancer Network Australia. Kirsten has spent almost two decades in the not-for-profit space in Australia, cultivating a deep understanding of the cancer sector through her roles at BCNA and at Cancer Council Victoria.

She is highly regarded in the industry for her passion and commitment to giving everyone affected by breast cancer a voice and reducing the disparity of care across the country. Kirsten values human connection and the stories that naturally emerge from engaging with people face to face. She often travels around Australia speaking to women and men about their personal experience of breast cancer so she can better advocate for them.

She has worked hard to shine a spotlight on important issues such as those facing individuals living with metastatic breast cancer, access to breast reconstruction, driving changes to the Australian healthcare system, and achieving equity of access to life-saving drugs through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

This is such an inspiring episode. I think you will love it.

Kristina Karlsson: Hi Kirsten, and welcome. I am so excited to have you here.

Kirsten Pilati: I am thrilled to be here too, and you have always been a big inspiration for me, so this is a bit of fangirling going on as well.

Kristina Karlsson: Thank you, thank you. You are so sweet. We have so much to talk about, but before we do, I'd love to ask you, did you have a dream as a child? Something you wanted to do, or have, or become?

Kirsten Pilati: I had a lot of dreams as a kid, and I think I feel very lucky that I had a role model of a mom who worked all of her life. So I was very clear that, you know, working and having a career was important, but I think my very first dream was to play netball for Australia.

And secretly, I still have that dream, but I don't think it's going to come true.

Kristina Karlsson: You never know.

Kirsten Pilati: I don't know much about netball, but I'm sure you can make it happen. Maybe there's a senior team playing masters in no time.

Kristina Karlsson: I love it. I love it. So we have an audience from all over the world. So I just wonder if you can start with just explaining a little bit about who you are and the journey that you've been on and the incredible work that you are doing.

Kirsten Pilati: So my name is Kirsten Pilati, and I'm the very, very proud CEO of Breast Cancer Network Australia. Our job is to make sure that all Australians, no matter where you are, where you live, who you are, receive the very best care, treatment, and support through and after a breast cancer experience. And so I feel very lucky.

I've actually been here since 2006 and, you know, I think if you stay long enough in a business, they make you the CEO. But one of the amazing things is I've been able to play a big part in every part of BCNA. I'm sure it drives most of my staff mad that I've been in most roles in the organization because they can't pull the wool over my eyes on anything, but what it has meant is a really, I have grown up in a network of women and men who've been affected by breast cancer, and they've taught me some pretty amazing life skills.

But also clearly I have as much passion. I hope that it's clear that I have as much passion today as I did when I came here in 2006. I never thought I'd be in health, to be honest. You know, I talked about my dream being a netballer. I finished school and went and became a Rotary Exchange student in Finland, in fact, which I loved.

And that made me really become a different person because I had to learn to be independent and fend for myself for that year. But I came back very clear that I wanted to work in sports marketing. I started over in Western Australia and in sports marketing. And I decided to leave and head to the east coast of Australia, where sport is really everything here in, in Melbourne, Victoria.

But I landed in health and, and from that, I learned about the power of advocacy, about being the voice for people affected by diseases, but also around How policy, how government can really make a very big difference for the way that health is delivered. So I guess that sport and health really are aligned, but I'd never really imagined I'd be leading an organization with a network of more than 200, 000 people who've been diagnosed with breast cancer and standing on the national stage being their voice is It never ceases to amaze me how lucky I am to be there on that stage and to have met some incredible people along the way.

Kristina Karlsson: I bet. And also how lucky they are to have such a passionate CEO. So my question is, how did you actually, what made you go into this? Because obviously that wasn't your plan. And did you have any kind of association anyone affected by breast cancer or was it something else?

Kirsten Pilati: Yeah, so I think the big thing about BCNA, and we call it BCNA, so it's Breast Cancer Network Australia, but the big thing about us is we're all about people. 

And how I really ended up here is because of people. So I met Lynne Swinburne, our founder who is an incredible woman who, is unable to take no for an answer, is able to maneuver to influence and to really be a powerful advocate for people affected by breast cancer. And I think when you meet inspirational people, you want to follow in their footsteps and you want to do what they do.

And she really led me into this position. But I also learned from some incredible people from the Cancer Council Todd Harper, one of my mentors. Who really told me about strategy and how do you think about what are the levers you can pull to be able to actually influence change? So I feel very lucky to have met lots of people along the way who've landed me here.

But of course, the inspiration is often. People in your life. So family members who've had breast cancer. I myself have not had breast cancer, but leading an organization of more than 200, 000 people with it. I feel like I've certainly learned since 2006 a lot about what it's like to be in the shoes, but I will never know the exact role that they play in the The shoes of someone diagnosed with breast cancer, but I can at least empathize with them and certainly be their voice.

Kristina Karlsson: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I, I don't have any close association either, but it's really impacted me when I did the comments run, which I will come to, but you travel extensively across Australia to understand the needs of those affected by breast cancer. Could you share? A story that profoundly impacted you and have shaped the PCMA's services.

Kirsten Pilati: So in 2017, we did a member survey of asking 13, 000 people to tell us their experiences of breast cancer, good and bad, because I think it's really important in life that we don't just look at what's not working, but let's look at what is working and really focus on that. So the survey helped us to identify some of the challenges that existed in a country.

So I traveled the country and I actually did three and a half thousand interviews, can you believe?  with people affected by breast cancer. And every story stays with me and at different moments in time, different stories will kind of resurface with me. But I do remember when I was over in Western Australia, a young woman, and I'll try not to get emotional, but it kind of is an emotional thing that we do at BCNA, but. 

She had found a lump, went and had it checked and was driving with two very small children in the back of her car and the phone rang. So she answered it and the doctor said that they had her results. And instead of checking where she was. Who she was with, anything, they just proceeded to tell her that she had a very aggressive form of breast cancer.

And you know, for anyone with kids, you know that you want to be in control of how you deliver messages. We know that people, that children understand about cancer today and that there is a lot of fear that comes to them losing their parents. So not only was she focused you know, trying to manage and process.

What is a very a moment in your life that people never forget. I will always be able to tell you the day they were told that they can remember a lot of detail in that lead up to, so one to be driving, then to be told you have breast cancer and then to have her two young children hear it at the same time.

It's devastating. And I think that's what BCNA is all about. We're not just about treating, you know, the tumor we're actually thinking, we're asking the system to. Step back and really understand what it's like for the person.  And you know, we can never give her that moment back and we can never allow her to be able to try and help the kids process it.

So that was very powerful to me. And also I, you know, I was very lucky to be welcomed onto country by some elders in Northern Territory, and I sat and yawned with some of our first peoples and, you know, the outcomes for breast cancer for people. who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander are far worse here in Australia than, than non Indigenous.

And so I wanted to understand what it was like for them. And a woman, an elder said to me, you know, I was diagnosed and they asked me to go back to the very hospital that they took my child from.  So just sit with that for a moment.  You know, where the, with all of our good intentions, we're saying. We want to save you.

We want to help you. But actually we're asking a woman to walk back into something that was the most traumatic thing in her life.  And, you know, they're the kinds of things that I want to bring to the surface to say to people, you know, we've got to build trust in the health system. We have to understand what it's like for every individual who's coming to this, this experience so differently.

How do we make sure that we sit in their shoes and deliver care, care, Not just the treatment, but the care element. And so that was some really powerful moments for me. And so I've certainly become a big advocate about what we need to do to have cultural awareness and to understand what it is like for our Aboriginal women and men with breast cancer walking through the door of hospitals.

You know, I don't think we can ever underestimate the trauma of our history for our first papers. Wow, two incredible stories there that I think our listeners will never forget. And thank you for sharing those.  So the way I came  across BCNA, well, I obviously heard about it for a long time. And in my first business, Kiki K, we used to have a lot of people coming in after just being diagnosed, not just with breast cancer.

It could be also depression, losing someone really close, divorce, lots and lots of different things, but definitely a lot of people who just got diagnosed with cancer  and with all the emotions and feelings and all the things that comes with that. A lot of people feel like they need to process themselves what I've heard from other people sharing with me.

And journaling is very much part of that because you can process, and this is something I'm very passionate about because it helped me through some really challenging times. And also helped so many other people. So I started running Carmen's Fun Run for myself. And then my, I always shared it with my dream life community.

So I have a coaching program and some of those women started to run. And then one of the ladies, which I, I just absolutely love this story. She she didn't have breast cancer, but she had cancer in her calf. And. For a whole year, she practiced to walk the 5k. And so I walked with her a couple of years ago and as I, some of the ladies run 5k, 10k and some walked and and I was, as I was standing there waiting for some of the people coming in for the 10k run, I.

Looked at all these kids running for their moms and I just got me so emotional and thinking I really want to do something that is meaningful in the small way that I can contribute and that's how I wanted to do it in a strength journal, which we now done a partnership with, which I'm so excited about because I feel like that.

It has so much potential in terms of helping people, not just with breast cancer, but with any kind of hard times. So I would love for you to share what you think journaling, what's kind of what that means for BCNA, but also for, for the patients and what you think journaling can help with the supporting them as part of this really difficult journey.

Kirsten Pilati: There's so many Aspects to that answer, actually. So when I began in with BCNA in 2006, we developed my journey kit  and it became very clear through that process that the women at the time in our network, but there are a small number of men who are diagnosed every year. And I think it's important to acknowledge them because they have a very different experience.

But for the women, actually journaling was a very important part of building their resilience,  being able to have a safe place to talk about how they were really feeling  and not needing to put on this brave  mask  so often expected of someone diagnosed with breast cancer. And so for me, journaling is a really safe place for them to be able to put down how they're really feeling.

And really, a diagnosis of breast cancer,  the person diagnosed has little control.  They're really being told to go to a million different appointments when they're first diagnosed or if they're living with metastatic, so that's treatable but incurable breast cancer. There's a lot for them to deal with and I think journaling helps.

Give you back that control, right? As does the information. We know that information empowers people to, to feel like that they're actually in charge of their own experience. And I, and I think journaling provides you with that, that space  as it does for the carers, right? So not only, and you know, for, for our staff, I think about just being on the road in Tasmania and there are hard stories, but you need to, place to be able to safely just really get out all of your thinking.

So I think journaling is so important for the person diagnosed. It's also important for them to make sure they never lose their questions. So we know that when you have chemotherapy you have this brain fog and The brain fog doesn't go when you stop your chemo. You actually need to rebuild your brain.

And so journaling allows that place to actually write down what's going on for you safely, but also as a prompt for the future, or to be able to look back and going, actually, those were dark days then.  And we never want to sugarcoat what goes on for a person diagnosed here at BCNA. And so the journals are a really safe place for people to do that.

They're very, they're very powerful. And, you know, I talked about my journey because it came up that people wanted that. And now the research,  Pretty much ticks off what women with breast cancer have known for a long time about the power of journaling, of art, of mindfulness, you know, they are all really important parts of rebuilding after a breast cancer diagnosis, or in fact, dealing with a terminal illness from breast cancer.

Kristina Karlsson: Yeah, amazing to have those resources and and I'm so pleased to be able to to put a little tiny part of that. So we'll link to that for anyone who wants to look, look at the journal and might need it, might need the journal themselves or as giving us a gift. Because I think sometimes when you have a friend diagnosed with something difficult, it's really hard to know what to do. And I think giving a journal is such a nice thing to kind of show that you care because it's something that they, you know, that they will actually be able to use and can make a big difference in, in the journey ahead of them. I want to pick up on that because I talked about this last night as I kind of decompressed from my ime in Tasmania.

It always surprises me. I don't know why. So, you know, 18 years of hearing stories about how many people lose friends over a breast cancer diagnosis. So women think that there were friends that they thought would step up, who never step up and, or cross the road or just can't bring themselves to talk. And it always surprises me.

And, and I think, okay, well, if you put yourself in the shoes of the friends. you know, let's try and understand why. And it's always more about them than it is the person diagnosed. But I think it's often that people just don't know what to do.  So small things like a journal, so practical, so powerful. You don't have to say anything.

You can just give that gift and listen. You don't have to have all the answers. And I think sometimes as friends, we put on these crazy expectations of ourselves. So that's why I think it's the most beautiful gift. And I'll also tell all the listeners that from the 200, 000 people, and I do feel like I've met.

Nearly every single one of them in the network, they all keep every single card they get given after a diagnosis.  The power of writing, the power of fewer words, just listening, never ever underestimate. The small, small gifts that you can give to someone going through a breast cancer diagnosis. Yeah, I think those small gestures, I remember when, so this is not a health issue, but it was a challenge losing my business.

And I remember a friend just putting food outside my door. And it was so beautiful. It was so, and a, and a handwritten card, which reminds me, actually, we should do some BCNA beautiful cards because we can all personalize them, which makes them feel really special. So I am going to add that to the discussion with your team.

Cause that's why I love hanging out with you. Cause it's like, we can always come up with beautiful and really meaningful things. So how we can.  And, you know, I think sometimes the card it's you know, it's always, you know, design is important, but it's often the message on the outside. And we, with a new way of doing things that we now print on demand, we can have so many different messages that actually resonates with that person giving as well as the receiver.

So I am going to follow that up later on. So for anyone listening, there will be cards coming soon.  So with journaling comes mindfulness and something that I actually journal every single day. I was talking about this on the podcast all the time. And I'm curious,  With the heaviness of your role and, and, you know, being a leader as well as hearing all these stories.

And I can only imagine the effect of, of supporting the team as well as the people affected. How is mindfulness playing part? And also I know from your outside world, you know, in terms of just not your role that you're a very active mom and got involved as a president of the junior footy club or whatever the club was.

That's the end.  So you've got lots going on. So from the outside world you will be one of those super moms who feed it all in. But I also know being one of those moms as well, that mindfulness  and quiet time and reflection and, and stillness is really important to be able to do it all. So I'd love for you to talk through that.

Just last weekend, I put an Instagram post cause I decided to, that I needed some time out. And I headed to the beautiful Springs of Mornington Peninsula. So anyone in Victoria will know the beautiful Springs down there. And I knew I needed time out. And I think knowing and understanding your body is just.

Really important to be in tune with that and just have that moment to sit and say, how am I really feeling? And to be vulnerable, to be able to share that with your loved ones is the first start, right? Cause if you don't, then you will crash and burn and then you'll be forced to have that quiet time. So I really do try and focus on making sure I understand how my body is feeling and listening to my body.

I've got a couple of daily practices I do because like all mums you can't have it all right? And so I think the biggest mistake women have done in the last, you know, 20 years is try to pretend we can have it all and we can't. I can't be at every school activity because I'm traveling. I can't watch my boys play basketball for every game and you have to learn to be okay with that and make those decisions.

But if you want to be there for everything, then you can't have the career. So at the same level, and you know, I think they're important community discussions, partnership, family discussions we have to have. But in terms of my kind of daily practice, I am always running out the door, screaming out the door, getting my kids.

To school, my partner works in breakfast radio. So he leaves at 4am. So there is only me in the morning. So we commit from a work perspective that I'll be there for the boys wherever I can. And I'm always running out the door, screaming at them to get out the door. So I don't want to make any, like, I don't want anyone to think I'm some kind of very calm woman because I'm not, but I do every morning transition from home to work. 

So I sit in my car and just give myself five minutes of no noise.  And just really make sure I am now coming in to connect with work because I need to be present at work. I need to be present for my staff. I need to be present for the women and men I'm advocating for or working with or hearing their stories.

And so just that mind shift of saying, I'm, I'm no longer mum. I'm now coming into BCNA has put me in good stead. And you know what? I can't even remember. I was trying to reflect  on before today, when or who told me I should do that. But whoever it was, I am eternally grateful because it is a practice that I actually do every day.

And it's been very important for me to transition. I'm not quite as good going back into the home because there are many things that happen at night in a work situation, but I am very dedicated to it in the morning, but also just, you know, having a long bath every now and then locking the door and putting a candle on and being alone is super important.

So in the journal, we encourage people to set an intention in the morning and do some reflection and at night, is that something that you've been able to resonate with using the journal? 

I think intentions are so important  and I've certainly seen how essential they are for our women to be a roadmap for them, through treatment, through the hard times. 

And, you know, there's this amazing image of. Sometimes we are fine to be able to see into the future and kind of go in a year, I'm going to do this and do that. But other times the day is so hard  and actually just getting up out of bed and doing one thing is.  So sometimes I do think we tend to make sure that we tend to kind of think intentions are very big picture.

So  I think being intentional is such an important part of a breast cancer experience. And I feel like I've learned a lot from the women and men on that. And. I try and be good with my intentions, particularly when I need to be with my family, being intentional and being with them, being with my boys, they're never going to be nine, they're never going to be 12 again.

And so really, I try and do that when I'm transitioning between work and play. But I do think intentions are such an important part of helping people navigate any trickiness in life. Yeah, absolutely. And I think also as part of the, part of the journal, we encourage people to think about what they are grateful for, because even in the most challenging time, even to like get through the day in one piece for some of them will be something to be grateful for.

So how do you see gratitude? What kind of part is that playing do you think for someone who's going through a really challenging time? Because it's been, it's something that I do every day. And even in the hardest of time, it's. Always something to be grateful for.  Yeah, it's definitely the greatest lesson this job has taught me is gratitude  and noticing the small things.

And I think it is such an important tool in boasting your mental health.  And just last night when I was flying back from Hobart, I looked out the window and there was this incredible sunset.  And I just thought, wow, I wonder if other people on this plane have noticed that sunset.  And so,  you know, it is the small things to be grateful for that we, you know, starting a small list of things you're grateful for can change your mindset in a big way 

Moment from that glass half, half empty to the half full.  I remember there's for those outside of Victoria, cause I know not everyone's into AFL, but there's a, a very famous Geelong footballer called Jimmy Bartell. And he came and spoke to our team. And every day he writes down the end of every day, three things he's been grateful for and that he's noticed in that day.

And I think when it comes from a man, it really had an amazing cut through to here is this champion and he absolutely knows that he has become a champion because he's changed his mindset. And that's what I think gratitude can do. And people don't realize the power of it. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It's, it's so powerful.

There's a lot of quotes. I love quotes because they, they helped me so much in every aspect. And every Monday now I have a short Monday morning motivation episode on my podcast. around a quote. And there's one quote in the journal, which I think is really powerful. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

What do you think that quote means to someone dealing with a very challenging health situation?  I love all the different quotes and how different quotes resonate with you and have different interpretation, given what you're coming to it from, and I know that it really begins by saying being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult,  and I think that that is exactly What we need to be doing really challenging our mindset. 

Are we walking into this  as a victim or are we walking into this as a person who is going to navigate, call out when it's difficult, not be this whole, Oh my God, I'm strong. I can never be not strong. That's a very big challenge for people dealing with cancer. But I think what it does do is really help you to shift your mindset and go, okay, what is it?

How is it that I want to present today? How do I want to show up?  And it's the one thing you can control. You can't control how someone responds to you. You can't control how someone might judge you or think you're doing making a bad decision, but you can control how you show up. And that for me is why I love that.

I really love it. And also like you can feel the cactus. Don't you reckon?  I was thinking that as I was reading it.  Yeah. I think it's such a good one. And you know, you know, for anyone who's listening and is not challenged by a health challenge, it could be relating to obviously any challenge. And you know, I think it's also worth mentioning here for anyone who's going, just got the diagnosed or going through really challenging, that's not a quote at that time. But it's often when we, when we get a little bit of a perspective. And so I am a big follower of Dr. Joe Dispenza and I often look at his testimonials. So a lot of people go to him when they have no other place to go. And so it's all about meditation and changing your mind. And a lot of these people talking about how they changed their mind and then they're grateful for what they've done.

What they went through because they completely changed their life. They became a new person and that's a really interesting way, but I think that's, that's not in the middle of it. It's kind of a little bit later on when you can, when you work on your mindset and work on your health and, and you're getting through it, then the positives out of something very, very challenging can, can be profound.

Yesterday at our, one of our forums, a woman living with terminal breast cancer, so. She's living well right now and she's responding to treatment, which is the amazing thing about the access to the latest treatment. But I said to her, what brings you joy? And she said, you know, I would never, ever, ever want to be diagnosed with metastatic disease.

You know, it's terrible. It's shit. But I have brought forward things that were on my bucket list.  Because of it. And she is now composing for ABC classic, a amazing piece of music. And she knows she would have kept pushing that back,  but actually what happened was she changed her mind and said, I'm, I'm going to do the things that I, that are really important to me today, because who knows about tomorrow  and how magical to have that ability to take a terminal cancer diagnosis.

And create something amazing. That's a legacy, not just for her, but her family. Like it's very inspirational and more times than not, the women and men diagnosed really do flip their mindset. And. Reprioritize their life. They realize that no one's, you know, there's a great, there's a great meme going around at the moment that no one's going to remember how many extra hours you did at work, but everyone's going to remember how you made them feel  or how much time you spent with your family.

So, you know, I think there's some. Really important life lessons on that.  Absolutely. I do a an exercise in my coaching program and often on my workshops as well to work out if we get to live a long life. And even, I always feel like even if we do get to live a long life, I feel like life is short,  how many months you have to live.

Just to kind of, if you, if you get to a certain age that you believe you will get to or want to get to, and it just, it's, some people feel so that's a bit morbid and a bit looking at the, the hard way, but it's kind of, it's a reality. And it's a reminder to take those dreams that we all have within us and hopefully written down in a journal somewhere to just take action.

And I think that what, that's often what happens with, with the story you just said, yeah. But for those people who are not like that to kind of just be reminded that, you know, one day will be our last day. And we don't know, thankfully when that would happen. So, making the most of every day. And I think that's so, especially I think in today's world and probably in, in the past as well, it's just like, we just, the days are so full and we've got so much to do and, and I think it doesn't help with all the technology and the news and all the things that are happening in the world kind of helps us feeling a bit more overwhelmed, but it's important. And that's why I think journaling is such a great way of putting perspective in and disconnecting from the world. So I think it also makes us a bit more accountable to ourselves, right?

Cause there's nothing between us in the journal except the truth.  And that's the, that's the power I think in journaling when particularly if you're doing it and letting everything flow.  Because the power of it is you become more accountable. I'm going to tell you a little story about one of my dreams was to move to Melbourne.

And so I, when I was 13, I came here to Melbourne to visit my uncle and I went home and I said to my parents, I'm going to live there one day, like some kind of little. Upstart. And then I realized that that's what I wanted to do. And so I started seeing a life coach and she wanted me to journal about what it looked like.

What did my life look like in Melbourne? What did my job look like? What did my house look like? So I journaled  all those things. And, you know, I worked with her for a year and came to Melbourne. It wasn't until maybe three or four years. And I was moving home that I found my journal and I read it again.

And the scariest thing was.  My job looked exactly as I had written, because I'd written in a lot of detail about what the office looked like, what the vibe felt like, what my job entailed. And it was scary. And I had at that time in documenting it, in journaling it, I'd made myself accountable to only me about what I was going to deliver for my own life.

So. You've just reminded me of that story. I'm like, Oh, amazing. Oh, I love, love that because we're in the coaching program that I run in January. We we plan out the year and then we create a life vision that I encourage people to actually read every day morning and night ideally, and the journal about it and, and have exactly what you did because the, the and it's funny In May in my program, I am running a workshop about the power of our subconscious mind, because the more we journal, the more we have an inner relationship with ourselves, the more likely we are to make it happen.

And it's not like people, you know, the law of attraction and people don't kind of roll their eyes, but it's basically really It's, it's reality because basically when you are so clear on what you want and where you are so clear on, on, you know, the vibe you want the, the house, you want the people who want to work with the kind of work you want to do and how you want to show up eventually that becomes part of who you are.

And because of that. Automatically, you will look for jobs like that. Automatically, you will surround yourself with people like that. So one of the things I always want to be around people who dream big because I want to dream big. So I want to be around people like Richard Branson, who I think is like the biggest dreamer that I've ever come across.

And it's so, so important to actually write about it, journal about it, and living that dream before it happens in the, in the best. possible way. And that was so powerful. Thank you so much for sharing that.  So the part of the proceeds from the journal goes to you guys for the amazing work that you do.

So can you share with our listeners a little bit what you do with the money that comes in to support the people who, who needs it? 

Kirsten Pilati: Yeah. And so Breast Cancer Network Australia, we, we began in 1998 and a small group of women kind of said enough is enough. And we've got to put the people diagnosed at the center.

So we really began as an advocacy organization where we wanted the system to do better. And over time we've evolved. So really there's three areas and where the money that, you know, You will help us rise through the journal. We'll go into one is around being the voice for people affected. And we know that even if someone never reaches out to BCNA, we can still have an impact on them.

You know, just recently, a new drug was listed on the pharmaceutical benefits game, which mean people will not have to pay for it. Yet the woman who helped us become part of the campaign had paid 200, 000 for this drug. And so our advocacy means that we're not having this two tiered healthcare system. But actually there is access for all and equity for all.

Then we've got the connection piece and that's really, we know the power of connection. You know, we've talked a bit about that today, but there is no greater  opportunity for BCNA than when you see a woman meet another woman who has, maybe their lives are completely different.  But their one connection is their breast cancer experience and you see them become friends for life and that connection of saying, here's stuff that I wish I'd known passing on to you.

And so peer to peer connection of, you know, men living with breast cancer, those living with metastatic disease, connecting them together is really powerful. And then the third area is around information and support. And that is, we know that information is power and it can help people take control. And so.

Making sure that we can deliver the right information, right time to those people diagnosed. It means they can ask the right questions. If they're not happy with their treating team, they can go, okay, what is it that I need to do to maybe get a second opinion and give them strength in being able to do that?

And so Having those three areas of the organization really helps us to make sure that we deliver on our purpose to make sure that everyone receives the best care, treatment and support. So I am very grateful to you for helping us to do that. We are almost 100 percent funded by community and people giving back to us.

And I think often people think of breast cancer and think there's so much money and they get so much, but most of it is in research but in our area as well is funded by the community who care. And so we are really grateful for that. And I think anyone who, But as the journal can know that not only will it help them,  it will also really help us to make sure we can be there to support those affected by breast cancer.

Kristina Karlsson: That's amazing. Well, I'm so grateful that we can play a tiny part because I think  as an individual and especially if you're not connected to it, you often think, what can I do? So I'm, I would love for you to share some of the things. So So obviously you do a fun run with Carmen's muesli every year, which we've been part of, and absolutely love because I, I love the experience.

I love the, the focus it gets for me to run or walk. And so that's kind of a self. interest one. I love the that the little fee that you guys chart then supports something. And it's also an incredible, like, I feel, I felt so energetic. We launched the journal last time, but before that I always walked away feeling so inspired, so grateful.

So I'd love for you to share some of the events that you do that people or other things that people can do to support you. I mean, I love the Carmen's Fun Run as well, because it's that sense of community, and I think if we learn anything through COVID, it's that community is so much more than maybe we had given credit to it for before COVID, when it was taken away from us is when you realize that.

That's what it actually means. So that sense of community is so important. And previously we've done events called the field of women, which is having 10, 000 people stand on the MCG in the shape of the pink lady. And  you can't actually describe what that's like to someone until they're there. And that's because.

It's that sense of having all of those people together with a shared experience, whether you've been diagnosed, you're a carer or a friend, you go, wow, we, we're all in this together. We are not alone. And a lot of our activities really do try and forge that sense of connection and community. That's so important.

And in May we have the pink bun campaign. So more than 500 Baker's Delights across the country will sell their pink buns. A hundred percent of the money comes to us. They've been doing it for 20 years. We'll raise in three weeks, 2 million cause every small bun makes a really big difference. And that's really how we try and philosophize about our partnerships.

Small steps can make a really big impact for people. And so to everyone listening, go out and buy a pink bun and. Say thank you to the bakeries who've been supporting us for such a long time. And then of course people donate to us. They might do a head shave, they might hold a dinner party, or they might just regularly donate to us.

And it's important for me that people are doing something that's right for them. And so as an organization, we have to find different ways to help people connect in different ways. And when I was in Tassie, I went and met one of our major donors, who is a woman who,  She gave to us cause she was a nurse and she saw the power of the work that we did to help her do her job better.

And, you know, that's the thing about BCNA. Everyone has, usually met someone who's been affected by breast cancer and they can see the very tangible work that we do to help someone navigate their way through a, you know, really tricky time. Yeah, absolutely.  Wow. So amazing. So for anyone listening, lots to do regardless where you are in the world.

So I'm going to ask a couple of shorter questions in a minute, but I just wanted to ask you, what message of hope and empowerment would you like to leave for. anyone listening today who may be affected by breast cancer or any other difficult challenge they're facing right now.  It's so important that the lessons we learn in breast cancer can be translated.

And, you know, I feel really proud of the fact that breast cancer has led lots of other cancer organizations, but also led lots of other health organizations around empowerment and that what You know, that really, that mindset of what is it that you can do today that can make the difference, that can change the way you're thinking.

But I think for me, if The message I would give to people is you're not alone  and, you know, often people feel like they are, even in breast cancer, which kind of lots of people will say, Oh my God, everyone talks about breast cancer. It hasn't always been that way, but as I've traveled the country, particularly people who were diagnosed during COVID, who were literally having their treatment without any support, without anyone else.

You know, it's hard to believe that they are people who've never met someone else with breast cancer and that sense of connection and knowing you're not alone can take away a lot of fear that can exist in our minds and that horrendous voices that we hear can really help to kind, to take some level of control to know you're not alone.

It's really important.  Yeah. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. That power of community and regardless of what it is, I feel like even like non health related thing, it's like, you want to be around those people who are doing Or going through what you are going through. So that could be chasing dreams and goals or starting a new business or a new fitness challenge, whatever that is.

I think just being around with like minded people just helps you through the challenge that you know, even if it's a positive challenge, it could be really hard. So love that. We also, we have a psychologist that comes with us on the road and, there's lots of different ones, but Dr. Charlotte Topman talks, we have a podcast called what you don't know until you do.

And she talks about getting rid of the friends that you don't need. And, you know, sometimes we try and hold on to people that aren't going to really be. the best people for us. So I think doing it, we do a wardrobe refresh every now and then. Sometimes it's worth doing a friendship refresh to make sure you're around the right people.

Kristina Karlsson: I agree. I agree. The power of community that we have in our Dream Life community in the coaching program is unbelievable because if someone feels a little bit off track, which happens to all of us in, you know, seasons of life, when you see other people achieve It's just, you just get inspired. And if you see people are struggling, you might be the strong one.

And it's a very, very powerful to give as well. And it's such a beautiful way of of helping each other. And every Monday I go live in my coaching program and I'm just like, this is unbelievable. So exciting. So love, love the power of community in regardless, in, in regardless of what it is. So I'm going to ask you three really quick questions.

One is, do you have a morning ritual?

Getting the Children out on time is very important, but also  getting them to school, like just get to school and then I can start my day. But I definitely taking that moment to transition and really in my mind change from being a mom to being a work colleague, to being an advocate, to being someone who cares for my team that that that matters.

And, you know, interestingly, sometimes when you're just running late and you don't do it, my day changes. So I know the power of it. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I have a very long morning ritual and and sometimes it's shorter, but if I don't do it, I feel it the whole day. And the, the way of the, the way I always encourage people to think about their morning ritual is, is if you set yourself up and this is often requires to get up a little bit earlier, but I love my morning ritual so much that I'm really happy to go to bed earlier. So I still get the good sleep, but up early and regardless of how your day pans out, sometimes it doesn't go to plan or sometimes it's not a good one. If you have a great start,  I feel like you have. You know, you still had a really good day and that's the power of a, of a morning ritual, or in your case, setting the intentions.

And we really feel it if we don't.  There's a great army it's an American video where the guy talks about if you only do one thing, it's make your bed. You've already made that one achievement. I really, I think that's very inspirational, actually. One small thing can make you feel a sense of achievement.

And often it's like, there's a great quote, you don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. It's a Zig Ziglar quote that I've probably quote a million times on this podcast, but it's so true because if you just start with something and you feel like the momentum has started and you just want to then go to the next thing.

So I think you know, making a bed as simple as it sounds is incredibly powerful. Yeah, totally.  I don't think I did this morning. So. I'll have to do it before I go to bed.  It's a Friday. It's a Friday.  So, I have a book club called Grow. We are very interested in personal growth and, and any books, you know, about wellness and health.

Is there one non fiction book that had, A big impact on you or one of your favorites.  I've got two, which is never, that's always a sign of someone not following instructions. No, I love that. We can, we know our listeners love that too, because they often buy the books. I hear that all the time. I love it. So no, feel free.

Well, there's two really that have made a big change in, in my life. And one is Julia Baer's Phosphorine.  That is because Orr, I do think Orr is really incredible and a very powerful. mindset. And you know, I know there was a research when they gave people, they said every day you have to do a selfie and it's out in nature and how at the beginning people had their face mostly in the frame.

Of the selfie and then as time spent, they spent time with nature,  they started to really bring into focus of the picture, the environment around them and they were hardly in it. And I think Phosphorance really helped me to kind of understand what was going on in my life of noticing the moon noticing the roses. And so it really helped me to go, Oh, that's what's going on for me right now. So I loved that.  And the other one I loved was any ordinary day by Leigh Sales,  because that is what happens to people in our network at Breast Cancer Network Australia. And in fact, Stuart Diver who is on our board is also featured in the book who tragically lost his first wife to the thread bow slide last slide. 

But he himself was the sole survivor and became a overnight media magnet, really. And then sadly, he lost his second wife to breast cancer. And so Stuart has been very connected to BCNA. And I love Lee's book, how it really shows that You know what, when you wake up in the morning, you may not know what that day is going to bring.

And so what are the reflections that we can take from people who've not had that extraordinary thing happen on a day? What is it? What are the lessons we can learn from them? And I feel very lucky that every day I'm amongst people who have.  Learned those hard lessons and feel fortunate, actually, that I can kind of learn from them.

And I loved that about Lisa's book, just the way, I mean, the way she writes is she's just a magnificent woman that I want to become friends with, even though I've never met her. But I just think the power of the way she tells the story, we can, how lucky it is that we don't have to have that tragedy happen to us to be able to learn and kind of reflect on, are we, are we being true to ourselves?

Are we?  learning about what's important in our lives.  I'm going to link to both of those books because I'm sure a lot of people will love to read them. So thank you so much for sharing. The last question that I have, knowing what you know now, very wise and with lots of experience, what kind of advice would you give to your younger self?

So say when you're in your late teen or early twenties. 

There's a lot I would tell myself, but I think what I have learned probably more in recent years  is that we're often very quick to assume what's going on for someone else and that the way they might be acting or reacting you can make some assumptions for and my kind of advice is ask about what their intent is first before you assume you know what their intent is.

Kristina Karlsson: Love that.  That's a really, really good  way of ending this incredible conversation. First, I just want to say, you're amazing on what you're doing is absolutely incredible. And I'm so pleased that you took an hour out of your very full schedule and also very important schedule to share this, because I think this is such a, An incredible inspiration for people to support you guys, but also to think about what they can do in their own life and for the people diagnosed around them.

So thank you. Thank you so much for coming here, but also for everything that you do. And I'm just so grateful to have been able to partner with you guys and for us as a new start started business, be able to support in a very small way, but hopefully. As we become a global business can support you in a much bigger way.

And I'm really, truly grateful. And yeah, I'm so thankful to you. It's been a joy and I don't think we have enough time often to stop and kind of reflect and ask these questions of ourselves. Right. So I have got so much out of it. Personally as well. And, you know, I said to you that I was fangirling you from afar for a long time.

And so now to have had this time together has been special. But also, I know the power of small partnerships. growing over time. And just like the people listening, a small gift can make a big difference to someone affected by breast cancer. And so I reckon we've got lots of cool things to come. So thank you so much.

Kristina Karlsson: Thank you. Thank you. And I will of course link to the Inner Strength Journal for anyone who wants to support this DNA and also give a gift to anyone who might need it. So thank you.  Wow, that was so inspiring and wow, what a woman. I hope you are inspired to support whoever you may have in your network and maybe send them an inner strength journal, which will benefit BCNA to do all the amazing work they are doing.

I will link to it or just head over to the dreamlifestore. com.  As always, I'll be back on Monday with a new Monday morning motivation podcast. I will see you then.



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.