How An Eating Disorder, A Breakup & Cancer Led Me To My Purpose


By Laura Yates


If you had said to me 10 years ago, that in 2014 I would have started a business as a coach and mentor, I would have sworn that you had the wrong girl! It sounds like a cliché that everything happens for a reason, but if it wasn’t for the journey I’ve been on over the past decade, I’d have never reached this point or chosen the career I have.

This time ten years ago, I was heavily immersed in the world of theater, music and performing. I was always an introvert (and still am), but despite this, I will admit that I had a slight ego. I wanted the fame, accolades, and all that came with the industry. I suppose I was naive but at that young age, we all are. There were so many extreme highs and crashing lows. What seemed exciting at first evolved into a spiral of chaos. Everything was so uncertain and I was craving a sense stability and structure. So, at the age of 23, I decided to move away from that world. I was scared of rejection and failure so sacrificing my passion for music and singing in favor of protecting myself seemed like the wisest thing to do.

For the next few of years, I had a number of jobs, some of which were quirkier than others! I was a TV extra, I sold makeovers to people on Oxford Street, I worked at events, as a receptionist, and gradually worked my way into freelance writing and working as a personal assistant for a reputable company in central London. Despite not having a degree (which at the time was more important on a resume than what it is now), I think I did quite well to land some of the jobs I did. When I look back I can acknowledge now that I’d honed some important and diverse skills that would serve me well in my future professional career. Though at this point I didn’t see the potential that presented. I was deeply unsatisfied. I felt empty and no job I did was fulfilling me. There was a void.

Things weren’t great in my personal life either. The chaos of the past few years had taken its toll and I’d spiraled into an eating disorder – a relationship that crept up on me in a matter of months but one I contended with for the next 8 years. I became detached from friends and numb to experiences. I didn’t know who I was and therefore I couldn’t ‘fix’ this intense sense of dissatisfaction because I didn’t know what I wanted. My confidence was at an all time low.

Fast-forward to December 2010 and everything quite literally came crashing down. However I know now that the extreme chain of events had to happen in this way to force me to make a change. My relationship at the time was in pieces, my eating disorder was at its worst, and my father was diagnosed with cancer. My boyfriend couldn’t handle the extremity of the situation and so I had to leave the apartment we shared. My dad was ill and of course, there my mum was trying to take care of my dad and I. I knew everything had to change and from that point on things slowly but surely improved and a whole new perspective was born.

The following 2 years weren’t easy, but they were far better. A journey back to recovery to rediscovering myself, I suppose. My dad got better and his determination and resilience was a huge inspiration to me. My mum’s unfaltering strength showed me what I wanted to be like as a woman, a wife and one day, a mother. The timing wasn’t coincidence – that happened when it did to force me to look at how precious life is.


On my journey I found a compassion for helping others, I softened, I become sensitive (in a positive way), I began to look at things rationally, I rekindled my friendships and I dug deep to start to find my authentic inner confidence. All this took work but throughout the process, I became more and more fascinated by human behavior, personal development and a spiritual way of living. I became obsessed with learning about people who had gone through tough times and adversity, and used their experiences to help and serve others. I was deeply inspired. I didn’t crave the huge house, the big bank account, the accolades anymore; I craved inner peace and contentment.

When I properly got my head together, the next year was all about figuring out a way I could combine my passion for helping others and my passion for business. I knew I had an affinity for people and I was already running a business as a virtual assistant so I had skills there too. Through all the research I was doing, I was introduced to the world of coaching and mentoring. I was immediately hooked and knew this is what I wanted to do. After a year of deliberation and asking myself  “Can I really do this?” I decided that I’d come to far to not go 100% for what I really want. So I got to work on making it happen including training, working with my own coach and business mentor, setting up a website, coaching people for free to get experience, and ultimately, telling my story.

There is so much meaning in your message and when you live your truth, it’s astounding how many people that it resonates with. There’s no feeling in the world like knowing you have helped someone create a shift or breakthrough in their own life. That is my passion. That is what I want.

As for the lessons, they keep on coming! Recently I went through a difficult break-up but what I’ve learned from this has proved invaluable in ensuring I keep my self-worth at the core of everything I do. Finding my authentic confidence has also been huge for me. When people ask me how to feel more confident, my insights and advice are not relying on external sources. It has to come from you and this involves a great deal of self-care and from a practical standpoint, a commitment to get good at what you want to feel confident in!

It’s also about observing when you feel you lack confidence and taking action on that instead of just assuming that that’s the way it’s always going to be. Ultimately, when you feel like you are living your purpose, with that comes a huge sense of inner confidence. In life, with whatever you do, fear comes up probably every day and it’s breaking through those fear barriers little by little to keep striving forwards. With that comes confidence.

Another important step forward for me has been revisiting my passion for music. Not as a career but to simply to enjoy it for what it is. When you deprive yourself of what you love, this manifests into an underwhelming feeling like everything is a struggle. Doing the things you love is crucial to confidence because they make you you. When you can be yourself and immerse yourself into what you love, this shines through.

I think the twists and turns in life are fascinating. And even the really bad experiences can be channeled to create something positive and meaningful. It’s led me to be able to help others go for what they love and do what lights them up. And that is ultimately, what brings you true confidence and contentment.



Laura Yates is a coach and mentor from the UK who works in the areas of confidence, relationships and careers. She believes that when you give yourself permission to step towards what you love, amazing things happen.

Visit her website and her Facebook Page.




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