Who are you, what do you do, and what do you love about it?
I am Teniele Arnold – long-time creative, lover of business and coming up with ideas that I release into the world like doves! Most of the time I’m cringing as a truck pulls out and smashes my doves… but I take those feathers and build something new or just pretend it never happened and move on.
I manage multiple businesses, a family, and husband. Some days everything flows nicely and other days I’m clinging to the side of the boat for dear life. I wouldn’t have it any other way though.
I am a qualified bookkeeper; the job I thought I would never have in high school. (I always wanted to be an aromatherapist masseur or a dancer). I never wanted a boring desk job, but one day, while tending bar, I realised I needed a “grown-up job” and that I couldn’t possibly be a bar wench forever. I started off subcontracting and now I have a few main clients and I work part-time two days a week in the family business as accounts manager and assistant director.
I have a life long love of photography so starting a photography business was a no brainer.
I love photographing beautiful images for families, it really is precious. I have been lucky enough to collaborate with some amazing fellow business ladies in the past and have been published in Vintage Bride Magazine and several bridal blogs (I don’t even photograph weddings – go figure!)
About 3 years ago a stomach issue that had plagued me most my life – intermittently, which didn’t help to discover what it is, what’s causing it or how to fix it – flared up worse than ever before. Every hospital visit I was told I was fine and in perfect health!
I was made to feel like the biggest liar.
They told me I couldn’t possibly be in that much pain, my blood always came back ‘fine’, I was told there was nothing they could do. And on and on it went until the stomach illness decided to move from the back of the carriage to the front and so a roller coaster ride began with my health.
This lead me to mindset issues and limiting beliefs started coming up, and set off other health issues including a lot of inflammation in my body. I suddenly felt like I no longer knew who I was or what the hell I was doing. Not knowing when I would have an attack because that is how it feels, like a complete attack on my stomach and intestines for over 20 hours – you cannot sleep – and my entire body goes into exhaustion and recovery after it’s over.
It is the most pain I’ve ever experienced in my life.
It started to lead to fear within myself, worried about my family and ultimately in my businesses and I started pulling back from everything big time. It was time to focus on me.
But roller coasters can be thrilling right?
And after my initial downward spiral, and days of not wanting to get off the couch, days of feeling sorry for myself and asking why was this happening to feel complete and utterly like I had no purpose in life, I decided it was time to stop feeling sorry for myself. There are people doing amazing things and have far worse circumstances than me. I began working on my mindset, I took up meditation, yoga and like anything else in life I began a shitload of research, I just love researching so why would I not do that for my health? And I began to stand up for my health and not take no for an answer from the doctors and specialists.
As I began to know myself and body more and find a way to work on my health, I began getting back into my business more and had learned to face the fear and work with it rather than against it.
But the ride wasn’t all lows, from it came the highs.
From it my first book was born, and my creative side reinvoked.
Finding Your Happy Voice has been such a personal journey for me in my ways and I have met some amazing businesswomen who helped bring it to the world. It’s getting traction into the world now! Becoming bigger than I even dreamed. It’s a dove that got to fly free, so from the darkness I discovered myself again, I became completely in touch with my body and how to help heal it and it’s not over I am still on this health healing journey.
I discovered that I was putting too much pressure on having a “Life Purpose” that there isn’t any just one thing! That it’s more than ok to go out there and choose multiple paths, to flow where you feel called.
And what I love about running multiple businesses is that I can flow between my different talents. I love that I have diversity and different roles and I get to share these with those that come into contact with my businesses.
How does being a woman in business impact your life and how you manage your chronic illness or disability?
Definitely being in tune with myself. I cannot live without meditation daily in my life and truly listening in on my body, now I have that awareness I can pull myself up a lot quicker when I hear my body telling me to rest or eat better. I have a lower back injury and in the past I used to “push through and work harder! Nothing comes for free, you gotta work hard for it”. All those old outdated sayings are gone, baby! Now I stop, I am aware and listening to my body and I rest because my health comes first, I need to be the best me, to be able to be the best mum, wife, and business owner.
What is the advice you wish you were given (either business advice, illness advice, or both)?
Trust your gut, and don’t accept an answer just because a doctor gives it to you do your own research, follow what works for you and your body, always get third or even fourth opinions if you feel you need it.
Are you comfortable talking about your chronic illness or disability with the rest of the business world or have you found it has negatively impacted you in the past?
I am comfortable talking about my journey with my health issues when asked, but no one would probably really know that I spent the last two years trying to figure out what was causing my illness or that I even was suffering from an illness.
Where do you find support? For business, for life, for managing your illness or disability?
Family and of course now the #fullysickbusinesschick community. There are also small Facebook support groups I have joined on different stages when trying to work out what was wrong.
What does life look like for you in 5 years time?
Possibly not all smooth sailing. In 5 years my daughter will be entering the teens and I have been told it’s as bad as the 2/3-year-old stage, but hey, I’ll roll with the punches. Hopefully still creating, working more on the businesses than in the businesses, release another three books, and illness free!
What’s the one thing you’d want people to understand about who you are and how you operate as a fullysickbusinesschick?
I’ll kill you with kindness, while telling you yet again why you should bring meditation into your life! I’m dedicated to pursuing what lights me up and those around me. I have a big heart and get joy out of helping others, on the backflip I have learnt over the years to weed out the energy and advantage takers. If you don’t walk away feeling inspired, loved up and cared for from any of my business then did we actually meet?
Who do you look up to in your industry or in the world?
My Mum, constantly learning life lessons from her and she’s an amazing businesswoman.
The Dalia Lama (do I need to explain?)
Oprah, she’s pretty inspirational and I loved the series she did with Deepak Chopra.
What advice would you give to women starting in business who are also juggling multiple balls?
Listen to your body, mind and soul, get intimate with it in every way, because it actually has all the answers even when you don’t think so check-in and create that space you’ll soon find out.
What will you do after you’ve finished answering these questions?
Head out with my family to the local, and celebrate hubby and my 10-year wedding anniversary!
Teniele Arnold is a free spirit, unafraid to fail while constantly striving to reach her dreams and goals. Her professional career includes photographer, author, and bookkeeper and she consciously blends these with yoga, reading, and being a loving parent of two strong-willed children – Elliana and Kaden – and a soulmate to Ashley. Teniele believes life is always going to have ‘bumps’, but when you bring yourself back to the moment and get clear on your own truth, anything can be overcome. Writing a children’s book was a lifelong dream and ensuring it works to connect the readers and their families so they can forge together with presence, mindfulness, and find their inner ‘happy voice’ was an important part of the project. May you find ‘your happy voices’ and share them with your children.
Why are we doing this thing? Because there’s enough noise in the world telling women what we ‘should’ be doing.
We should parent more consciously, but not be helicopter parents. We should take care of our bodies, but not be vain. We should make boys pay, but demand equal rights. We should dress appropriately, but also be confident in our skin, wear what we want, but not be provocative, oh and please feel comfortable in the world’s skimpiest school bathers but then wear your jeans to the formal because last year the boys looked up the girls’ skirts and so you’ll have to be the ones to modify your behaviour. Yeah. No.
We are a mother and daughter writing team who launched a platform for women 14 – 104. Women who need to read stories of daring. Women who need to write them.
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