Don’t Just Survive. Thrive! A Conversation with Gina Gardiner

Here we are with another awesome guest. I know you will enjoy this recent talk I had with Gina Gardiner. Enjoy the interview!

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Debbie DiPietro:               Welcome to Courageously Go, where we will venture to places we’ve been afraid to go. Women of the world, we are going to start a movement, a movement towards courage. Hello everyone, this is Debbie DiPietro and I am your host for Courageously Go, and I’m so glad you’re here. Our mission is this: to facilitate a global conversation about courage. I believe that when we live from our hearts by choosing courage, the life of our dreams and a better world for all are truly possible, no matter our age or circumstances. We never need to feel stuck or alone.

Debbie DiPietro:               Our essential truths are as follows. I choose courage. I use my voice. I embrace the new. I welcome challenge. I continue to grow. I am a woman of action. I courageously go. If any of these statements ring true for you, you are most definitely in the right place. I invite you to visit my website at, where for the new year we have a new challenge going on, and it’s an online self-paced program where we get on and help each other do something new every day for three weeks. And so you can check that out on my website. On the top #Go Courses, and I invite you to join me. Use the code Courage for a $50 discount to get yourself enrolled. And I hope to have you all join me.

Debbie DiPietro:               So, I have a very special guest today, and I’m excited about introducing her to all of you. Her name is Gina Gardiner, and Gina, she is a number one international best-selling author, motivational speaker, empowerment and relationship coach, and transformational leadership trainer, with well over 30 years of experience helping people experience happiness, success, and fulfillment. She’s the founder of the Thrive Together Tribe Membership and Personal and Spiritual Development program.

Debbie DiPietro:               Gina has learned to walk twice as an adult. For over 20 years, she ran her award winning school, for the most part from a wheelchair. The gift of this experience was the development of a unique approach to life, and the development of leadership. In 2004, Gina left Headship and has since worked with countless individuals, couples, teams, and organizations helping them to step into their potential, to learn the lessons from the past, and to recognize that it is their choice to step into their power and live a fearless life.

Debbie DiPietro:               Gina is passionate about supporting people to live a truly happy, successful, and fulfilling life. Gina, welcome to Courageously Go.

Gina Gardiner:                  Thank you. I’m so pleased to be here and excited to be with you. Thank you very much, indeed.

Debbie DiPietro:               Well thank you for joining us, and it sounds like … I’ve never met you and I don’t know you well yet, but it sounds like you and I have a lot in common. We’re kind of on the same page here, so I’m excited to learn more about you and what you’re up to. So, with the new year, what are you excited about for 2019?

Gina Gardiner:                  2019 is all about developing the membership group, which is a place where people can be a part of like-minded group who want life to be better. There’s a structured program to help people step into their power, to be truly confident, and I’m really excited because for me this is about developing the spiritual matriarchs of tomorrow, or today really, and the world has never needed it more.

Gina Gardiner:                  So, my mission is to impact positively on a million people in the next five years, and that’s not all me doing it. It’s about like a stone going into a pond, rippling out, in exactly the same way that you are.

Gina Gardiner:                  We’re getting accreditation for a leadership strand to the Genuinely You Thrive program, and I’m really excited about expanding that and getting more and more people involved in taking charge of their lives, stepping into their power, being courageous. As you were talking about your core things, I thought my goodness me, that could be me talking. So, very excited about it.

Debbie DiPietro:               Well that sounds exciting. Tell us a little more. So, how long have you been doing this and how many people are involved in it now?

Gina Gardiner:                  Well, I’ve been involved in helping people step into their power for the last 30 years. The Thrive Tribe is new and it’s growing, and there are a number of people who have joined that. But it’s growing all the time. The plan is to grow that, and for people who go through the program to then act as mentors and supports for other people, both within the program and within their own communities and so on.

Gina Gardiner:                  So, it’s all about I think recognizing that collectively we are so much more powerful than we are when we try to do things on our own. And the research has shown that if you want to make a change in your life, your best shot is to surround yourself with people who have a similar agenda.

Debbie DiPietro:               I believe that. I think that’s right, and I’ve had to kind of learn that. I tend to, and I think many of us do, the perfectionist in us, we feel like we gotta take it on all ourselves, right? And I’m realizing that I’m stronger if I team up and work with other people. I think that’s right. And it sounds like you have quite a program.

Debbie DiPietro:               So, if someone wants to join, how would they do that and what could they expect? How would they get started?

Gina Gardiner:                  If they go to the website, What people can find on there is a lot of free resources. They can download a digital free copy of the latest book, Thriving Not Surviving, The Five Secret Pathways. They can sign up for my free TV series, it’s 13 episodes.

Gina Gardiner:                  But if you’re interested in being a Thrive Tribe member, then there is the opportunity, there’s an application form to join that membership. And what you get for that is that there’s the Thriving Not Surviving program, which is nine months, which you can do at your own speed. But there are videos which we’ll drop into your inbox every week, there are activity books, a themed journal. There’s an interactive Facebook group to provide support every day that you need it. And then twice weekly, interactive group coaching sessions and visiting speakers.

Gina Gardiner:                  In the long term, I’d like to be gathering people together for face to face events where they can actually meet Thrive Tribe members. But the tribe are all over the place. Geography is no barrier to this. And so if people are interested in that, they can either sign up for a free consultation, or they can sign straight up into the Thrive Tribe group. But it’s all on the website,

Debbie DiPietro:               Okay, great, and I’ll be sure when this podcast is out, I’ll put together a blog post and certainly share all of your resources on my website as well on, and we’ll help you get the word out to people.

Gina Gardiner:                  Oh, I’d be so grateful. Thank you.

Debbie DiPietro:               Of course. Yeah, it sounds great. It sounds like my kind of thing, you know? I’m definitely going to look into it as well. That sounds wonderful. So, is this pretty much your full-time, is this what you have on your plate right now or are there other projects that you would like us to know about?

Gina Gardiner:                  Well, within the Genuinely You stable, there are a number of things designed to help people. So, there’s the personal empowerment plan, which is around managing and minimizing stress and anxiety, and if people are interested in that, then every Sunday evening, a video will drop, or a link to a video will drop into your inbox. It’ll have a strategy for you to use for the week, a strategy or a principle.

Gina Gardiner:                  There’s also the relationship bridge, which people can download, and that’s looking at the relationship you have with yourself. That’s so important, because every relationship you have with other people is a reflection of the relationship you have with you. So if you feel good about yourself and you truly love and respect yourself, then you’re not going to put up with being bullied or harassed. And so I think it’s really important that you start there. Start to be your own best friend, because most of the people you speak to, they wouldn’t treat their best friend as they treat themselves.

Debbie DiPietro:               Yeah, it’s interesting, Gina, my last week’s guest, we were actually having this similar conversation in that somehow self care gets lost. Especially I think for women, and primarily this is a show for women, and I think we are the nurturers and the care givers of the world, and it’s easy to put ourselves last, and really, what good is that? We need to prioritize self care, because if we’re all ragged and worn out, what good are we to ourselves or anyone around us? So, I think self care is so important. That seems to come up in a lot of our conversations on this show.

Gina Gardiner:                  And I think it’s so important. One of the things that I would say to clients or people I’m working with is if you have a jug full of water and you keep pouring the water out, then very quickly that jug is going to be empty. But if you fill that jug from a tap to the point of overflow, and you use the overflow, you’ll never run out.

Debbie DiPietro:               I like that. I like that analogy. That works, yeah, right? And that is so true. You know, sometimes I think we just need to … Maybe we can help each other, help remind each other just to maybe slow down or choose what’s most important, and give ourselves permission to let stuff go. That was another theme that came up recently in one of my … right? Let stuff go. We don’t have to take it all on, at least not all on at the same time.

Gina Gardiner:                  Oh, I think also that women, generally speaking, are often poor at asking for what they want, or what they need. They use the mind reading technique, which is overrated, that if I huff and I puff, or if I look miserable, then somebody will understand that I need some help, rather than saying, “Look, I’ve just come home from work. Let’s work together to get dinner. We can have dinner more quickly, and we’re all tired, but you know..

Debbie DiPietro:               Yeah.

Gina Gardiner:                  But they’ll bang pans about and they’ll huff and they’ll puff, because nobody thinks to go and help them, but they don’t actively ask.

Debbie DiPietro:               Yeah, you know what? It makes me think of a dynamic I have with my husband John, Gina. John and I, years ago, when we were a new couple, we established something together. Actually, John did. He’s like, “Okay, look Debbie, we men, we’re simple creatures. We can’t read your mind, so just tell me what you want.”

Debbie DiPietro:               So, like, okay, I can do that, John. So, that’s helped though. So if I need something, I just tell him what I need or what I want, and that really helps.

Gina Gardiner:                  And for me, it’s fair. I think it’s unfair to expect other people to actually be able to tell what’s going on in your head. It’s very difficult isn’t it, because I mean, most of the time we don’t even know what’s going on in our own heads, let alone somebody else’s.

Debbie DiPietro:               That’s true.

Gina Gardiner:                  But to do it with no victim, no whine, no edge to the voice, but just simply say, “It would be really helpful if you could help me with this now please,” rather than making a big drama of it.

Debbie DiPietro:               Yeah, I struggled with that. I’m so much better now, but I’ll be honest, when I was younger, I really struggled with that. I’ve always been very sensitive, and I would get my feelings hurt, especially with my husband or boyfriend, or a friend. I’d get my feelings hurt. Maybe they said something or they didn’t read my mind and they didn’t do what I really wanted them to do. And I’d get all pouty and I’d cause all this drama for myself. And for years I struggled with that. I really did.

Gina Gardiner:                  I think it’s an incredibly common thing for the people to struggle with. And I think you talk about being courageous, and sometimes it’s about being prepared to step out of your comfort zone and do something differently, because if you always approach things in the same way, you’re going to get the same result. And you’ve found the hard way, that over time, that by changing the way that you dealt with it, that you got a better result.

Gina Gardiner:                  But many people don’t just take a step back and recognize that there’s a pattern of behavior going on. You trigger something because somebody’s said something or done something in a particular way, that triggers the other person, and you end up with this very destructive dance going on. It could be avoided by just being honest and saying, “When you do that, it makes me feel uncomfortable … or when you don’t do that, then I feel as if you’re abandoning me or whatever.”

Gina Gardiner:                  And just having that word, but with no victim, no whine, no edge, no anger, but just stating it as a fact.

Debbie DiPietro:               Yeah, exactly. And I find it, for myself, I’ve found it really empowering, when I finally came to the realization that I can control how I react to situations. It may be out of my control how someone else, how they behave or what the world deals to me. That is out of my control, but what is in my control is how I, Debbie DiPietro react to that person or to that situation. And that is tremendously powerful.

Gina Gardiner:                  I think you’re absolutely right, and the other thing that I’d like to add to that, and I think that’s an incredibly important principle, but the other is that you own your own emotional state. And if you make it somebody else’s responsibility to make you happy, or to stop you being angry, then you’re handing your power over to that person, and you have to put up with what they give you.

Gina Gardiner:                  But if you take responsibility for your own emotional state, you can choose to be happy, or not, nobody can make you angry or upset or feel rejected unless you choose that. And I think the two of those principles together can make a lasting and significant difference to people’s quality of life for the better.

Debbie DiPietro:               Oh, I agree. Yeah. We not give our power away, and I think that’s really definitely something to remember.

Debbie DiPietro:               While we have some time, I always like to learn a little bit about the background and personal story of our guest, because it’s interesting, Gina, and I’ve never met you before, but it sounds like you have an interesting … like when you started all of this. And maybe if you wouldn’t mind going back and sharing. I always like to hear about the why. So, why, how did you get started? And you know, reading your bio, you started off in a wheelchair, so maybe share with us a little bit about your past and how you got started.

Gina Gardiner:                  I was a teacher. As a teenager, was overweight, full of eczema, no confidence. When I became a teacher, I realized that I’d finally found something I was very good at and that I loved. I was promoted very quickly, and I became the vice principal of a very large school very early. I was only 28 then. And I was appointed to be the catalyst for change. We’d had a couple of turns of working very hard, and I went off skiing.

Gina Gardiner:                  Now, many of your listeners may be familiar with moguls, but I’d had a bad fall on the Thursday, and I’d said to the people I was skiing with, “I’m going to have a gentle morning. I’ll meet you for lunch.” And they said, “Well, we found a new run,” when we met at lunchtime, “Come with us.”

Gina Gardiner:                  We were in Italy, in  and they took the wrong turning at the top of the chairlift, and we suddenly found ourselves on the Schindlergrat, which is the most difficult black run. And it was full of six foot moguls, very steep, very long. Now, I’d done black runs before, but I skied about a third of the way down and met the people I was skiing with. We were all sitting on a mogul. They were having a smoke, I don’t smoke, and the mogul gave way. I fell about 200 feet, knocked myself out, and life’s never quite been the same since. I did get back to school, and then a few weeks later, I was skiing with the school district ski party and I became paralyzed down one side.

Gina Gardiner:                  It took me three or four months to get back to school, and that summer, my principal suddenly died and I found myself as acting … we call it head teacher in the UK, but I found myself as acting principal, and I was appointed in the January as the principal of the school. I was only 29, and one of the things that I made a decision very early on is that I wanted the children and the staff at school to have the very best possible experience, both educationally, but also I’d been very unhappy at school. One of the things that I was determined is that I wanted a school where people were valued and where aggression was not tolerated, and that the children could learn in a very warm and nurturing environment, but also the teachers.

Gina Gardiner:                  Now, I had two lots of spinal surgery, both of which resulted in failed back surgery syndrome, one in ’96 and one in ’98, and both times I was in a wheelchair. I was wheelchair bound from 1998 until 2004. I had an internal spinal stimulator. Progress has been incredibly slow, but my mobility now is the best it’s been since 1996. I don’t use the wheelchair in the house or the garden, but I do still need to use the wheelchair if I go outside.

Gina Gardiner:                  Now the gift of that was I couldn’t physically get into my classrooms, and so I had to find a way of empowering people without maybe being behind them, to get them to take responsibility for their performance and shared responsibility for the performance of the other teachers and for the children learning. It was very successful. The school was on the best 100 schools list in England twice during my tenure. And the principles of that, developing leadership, are what I use now when I work with whole organizations and teams. And the principles of helping individuals step into their power, to lead their own lives is what I use with all of my individual clients and couples.

Gina Gardiner:                  And they’re strategies that are simple to use, that are easy to incorporate into daily life, and they work. I know they work because they’ve worked for me, and I’ve now used them with hundreds of people and they’ve worked for them.

Gina Gardiner:                  Now, when I left Headship in 2004, partly because of my health, I then started to work for myself as a coach and as a trainer and a facilitator. And what I found was that I had this burning need, this burning feel that my purpose was to help more people. And over the years, that’s been sort of rumbling away, and finally I listened to it two years ago, and that’s how Genuinely You was born.

Gina Gardiner:                  I just believe it is absolutely my purpose to share this technology, if you like, with people. I don’t think we’ve lived at a time when people have been more unhappy. In the UK, 50% plus of the prescriptions which are written, the medical prescriptions are for antidepressants.

Debbie DiPietro:               Let’s make sure I have … I’m getting a warning from our producer here, we have a few minutes left. Let’s be sure people know how to find you. So for our listeners, what is your website again?

Gina Gardiner:                  It’s, so And there’s also a free App called Genuinely You that people can put onto their phones and then they can access the websites through the App as well. You can find all of the resources through, and all of my books are on Amazon as well. But you can find them on the website as well.

Debbie DiPietro:               Okay, well you’re just a pleasure. It’s been a pleasure talking with you and learning more about what you do, Gina. We have a couple minutes left, so maybe one last piece of advice or something you would like to share with our audience before we need to sign off.

Gina Gardiner:                  I would say to everybody that everything you do or say is a choice. How you do it, when you do it, if you do it at all is a choice. And even not actively choosing is a choice. Every choice has consequences, and very often, just letting things fester, not actively taking the choice to take control of your life and to step into your power is the choice that has the most far reaching consequences for you and for your loved ones.

Gina Gardiner:                  And so I would say to all of the listeners, you know, today’s the beginning of the rest of your life. It’s your choice, if there are things in your life that you don’t like, then it’s your choice either to change them or to change the way you react to them, and that there’s plenty of help out there from you and from me and from other people, but take control.

Debbie DiPietro:               I think that’s a great note to end on. Gina, thank you for joining us here on Courageously Go. You’ve been a wonderful, terrific guest and I wish you all the best. I’d like to stay in touch with you.

Gina Gardiner:                  I’d love to, and thank you very much. And thank you for your listeners for listening. I really appreciate it.

Debbie DiPietro:               All right, thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

Gina Gardiner:                  Thanks.

Debbie DiPietro:               All right, everyone out there, thank you for joining me and Gina here today on Courageously Go. My name is Debbie DiPietro, and if you like this show, please share with others and download our shows. You can visit our website, I have a special challenge for the new year, it is called Courageously Go With the New. And as Gina and I were just talking about, it’s important for our brains to try new things and get out of our routines and out of our comfort zones.

Debbie DiPietro:               So, you can learn more about that program on my website. And so, until next time, ladies, remember this: It’s our time to shine, let’s make it so, and Courageously Go!

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