Personal Message from Karen Corban on International Women’s Day: 19 Lessons Learned in Facing and Overcoming Challenges

By Karen Corban | Business

Mar 08

Today I have a personal story to share with you written from my heart having just overcome a major challenge in my career. It’s also timely because it’s International Women’s Day and it’s a time for women all over the world to celebrate who they are and their gifts. To the wonderful men out there who support their women, THANK YOU!

Karen Corban
Universal Stars

How it all began…

It was 1992 and I was driving a 4 tonne truck along a country road on the way to Albury. At that time, I operated a very successful clothing business, which involved many hours spent behind the wheel of a truck, as I travelled from one small town to the next.

And as I drove, watching the world go by, I had plenty of time for thinking and contemplation.


I remember, at the time, feeling like I was at a personal cross roads, having recently sold another successful business I’d had for a number of years. And with all that time on my hands, my mind kept going back to a question one of my mentors had asked me… “What was my purpose? What was my passion?”

For a number of years prior to that day, I had been a passionate student of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and even travelled overseas to learn from the world’s leading trainers in the field. What I loved about NLP was how real and lasting the changes in my life had been when I applied the tools and technologies.

And I also loved how quickly it worked.

Having applied NLP in many areas of my life with great success, I knew I wanted to help more people have access to those same powerful tools. I also knew I loved people and had developed a skill of sales and marketing from my years in retail clothing and other businesses.

I remember the moment so clearly when all those ideas converged and, in flash, I had a definite sense of what I really wanted to do – bring the world’s best speakers in NLP to Australia and help promote them here. From that moment on, my vision was clear and I set about making a plan to bring one of my earliest mentors, Tad James, to Australia.

And from there, Universal Events was born.

I didn’t know it then, however, that moment of insight and connecting to my real passion and intuition would set in motion a series of truly amazing events…

From those humble beginnings, starting from nothing and working from a spare room in my Bondi Junction apartment, answering all the calls myself and then, as we grew, squeezing extra staff in around my dining room table (our salesperson even worked from the end of my kitchen surrounded by stock stacked on the shelves instead of food – LOL!), Universal Events would go on to work with more than 85 speakers – the best of the best – from around the world; we’d be named one of the fastest growing companies in Australia for three consecutive years and, most importantly, we would touch more than half a million people throughout Australia and New Zealand through our work providing business, investing and personal development education.

Along the way there have been some wonderful highs, some tough lows and always lots of hard work and commitment.

As just about any business owner will tell you – it’s not for the faint-hearted

Through it all, I have been very fortunate to work with a fantastic team of people, many of whom stayed with us for many, many years before moving on to continue their passion and fulfil their purpose in other ways. I am thankful to have stayed in touch with many of those wonderful people and am also very grateful for our current amazing team, who continue to deliver, day in and day out, our vision to help people live their passion and find their freedom. In fact, there are a number of people on our team today who I’ve worked with and known for up to 10 and 20 years (WOW, how time flies).

And when I go to our events, I am always so touched to re-connect with clients who have been coming to our events for a long time – some for decades.

I truly love meeting people who are new to personal education and it’s like watching the light get turned on. I am excited for them as I see them embark on their own personal journey towards success and freedom.

The transformations and success stories; new beginnings and deeply moving moments our community has shared with me over the years is both inspiring and humbling. So much so, that even when times are tough, I draw great strength and motivation from knowing what we do makes a difference, and I often think of individuals in our community who inspire me.

Just like in that moment, sitting in that truck almost 20 years ago when I trusted my intuition and it proved to be a turning point, I also feel like right now is a very important time to reach out to you and share some insights I have become really clear on as a result of dealing with a personal challenge I’ve been facing over the past few months.

I won’t go into the details of that specific challenge because I don’t believe it’s necessary. What I do believe is important are the lessons I have learned and I share them with you today in the hope they may be of some service to you.

19 Things I’ve Learned About Dealing With Challenges in Life and Business:

  1. Know that there will be obstacles and when they present themselves, also know you will get through them. Because when something happens that knocks you down, it’s what you do next that counts.
  2. Every time you face a challenge you are also being given a gift of growth and learning – the challenges are inevitable; whether you get the gifts that come with them is optional (and up to you).
  3. Relationships end. And when they do, try to remember and be grateful for all the things those relationships have meant to you and taught you. Let go. Release any negative feelings and know that everything has a season.
  4. Stay true. Even if someone else is airing information about you that is untrue, refrain from being drawn into matching their negative energy with yours. It serves no-one. Their dirty laundry doesn’t need to be your dirty laundry. Stay true to your values. Trust that your actions will speak louder than your words and dig deeper into your passion and your truth and turn that negative energy into motivation towards your true purpose.
  5. What you Focus on Expands. Notice your thoughts because what you focus on you attract more of. In my opinion love is really all there is. Even in business. When you act from fear, the very thing you fear comes about. When you act from love wonderful things can happen – are you up for the challenge to give this a go?
  6. Get into action. You can analyse “why” something happened forever and get stuck in a rut, or you can get up off the mat, find your core truth and start taking action – even if it is just a small action to start with. It’s the meaning you attach to what happens that counts.
  7. Trust your intuition. When faced with big challenges and difficult decisions, trust your intuition. And if it doesn’t seem clear at first. Ask. Ask for clarity. Find ways to access your intuition. Develop it. Get to know how it presents itself in your life. And then trust it. Stand in your power and act… even if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else at the time. You will be amazed by what can happen next.
  8. Follow your passion. As a business owner you spend a lot of time working and thinking about how to grow or expand the business. It will be so much easier if you are passionate about your chosen field.
  9. Build Your Support Team. The people around you – your friends, your colleagues, your team, your network – are one of the greatest joys and gifts you will ever have. Build a great team and support network. Take the time to prioritise them in your busy day. Stay in touch. Say Thank You. Be straight with them. They will be with you in the tough times; they will give you wise counsel; they will have your back and they will be there to clink Champagne glasses with you in the good times too.
  10. Change can be challenging. You’ll have days when you are confused, hurt and angry. Ask yourself empowering questions such as, “How can this be easy and what can I put in the place to make this a smooth experience?” Remember Focus on What You Want.
  11. You have an inner strength and are more powerful than you may, at times, believe and capable of more than you imagine. Remember that!
  12. Be kind to yourself and to others. Practise tolerance and compassion.
  13. Remember to have fun. The dawn always comes. Choose to see the funny side of situations. A good laugh or friendly smile can do wonders.
  14. Choose to feel happy and choose peaceful thoughts. We choose our thoughts and responses to everything that happens in our lives.
  15. Write down 5 things you are grateful for each morning and notice the difference this makes to your day and your life.
  16. Give back. Making a contribution is one of the most profound ways I have found of overcoming a challenge. Look for the place where your passion and purpose intersect. Make a difference. It will help you rise above every challenge if you know what you are doing has a purpose. If you make the world your focus it puts your particular problem or challenge into perspective.
  17. Remember your problem is not all pervasive, permanent or personal. That’s right, it won’t last and not about all aspects of your life and it is not personal. You see, we are not our behaviours, who we are is much more than that.
  18. Never, ever give up. So many times I thought throughout my career: Is this worth it? Guess what…it is. If you are on purpose then it’s worth it.
  19. Engage a top coach, they will help to guide you if you have challenging decisions to make. This will be worth the investment in more ways than one and can be a great sounding board.

I hope sharing my thoughts and learnings with you will assist you. I would love to hear your feedback at [email protected]

And, I would like to take this opportunity to Thank YOU each and every one of you for being part of the Universal Events Community.

Having navigated a personally challenging time, I feel a sense of invigoration and optimism that is much like those early days when we were creating something magical at Universal Events, and I am excited by the year ahead and the plans we have for bringing some incredible events and learning opportunities to you.

I am truly grateful to the amazing speakers and trainers we work with today. The results they are achieving for those who attend our trainings is remarkable and I am proud to work with each of them. As we prepare to mark our 19th Birthday in business next month, I look forward to the wonderful things we will be creating together into the future.

To our wonderful team a huge thank you for your hard work and dedication in carrying our the Universal Events mission.

If you are facing your own challenges right now, I hope this message will be of some help to you. I trust you will rise up stronger and happier and more intent on your purpose than ever.

Last but not least remember to celebrate life, celebrate who you are, celebrate small wins and larger wins. Take time out to nourish your soul, get a massage, remember to tell those close to you that you love them, and treasure the moments that make up your life.

To Your Health, Wealth and Happiness,


About the Author

A visionary entrepreneur, Karen founded Universal Stars (formerly Universal Events) in 1994. Her mission is to inspire people and companies to grow, through bringing them live events featuring more than 100 of the world’s top speakers on business and success. A graduate of UNSW (Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology), her passion is to educate and inspire people to be the best they can be. Karen delights her clients with her unique blend of enthusiasm, inspiration, charm, care, wisdom and generosity.

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