60 min­utes with Heather Yel­land

Re­porter Mar­jorie Cook tack­les all the tough ques­tions with busi­ness and life coach, Heather Yel­land.


’’So why are you here?’’

Why in­deed Heather Yel­land? It is 5pm on a Fri­day, the sun is shin­ing and I’m not with friends at the pub be­cause I’ve de­lib­er­ately by­passed them to spend them with you.

Crikey, but I’m sur­rounded by high achiev­ers! You should see the shoes on some of them other women!

I di­gress. I am pon­der­ing a deep ex­is­ten­tial ques­tion, yet other chal­lenges flood my brain. Why have I never ever stayed awake long enough to fin­ish any­thing writ­ten by Richard Dawkins? Why can I only breathe to one side when I am swim­ming? Why don’t I wear high heels? Has any­one no­ticed my gym shoes? Will any­one miss me at the pub? Oh my god, what if they don’t miss me? Oops. Di­gressed again.

I won’t tell you all that hap­pened dur­ing Yel­land’s Be Your Best course, be­cause she in­tends com­ing back to Wanaka in 2017 and you will have a chance to find out for your­self.

The first 60 min­utes were the hard­est. Not that they were a bad 60 min­utes. It was just a re­ally tough ques­tion for af­ter work on a Fri­day. Why we here? In Wanaka? Any­where?

I was there be­cause course fa­cil­i­ta­tor Danielle Ni­chol­son, an en­thu­si­as­tic en­dorser of Yel­land’s Green Su­per Camps in Aus­tralia, had in­vited me. Yel­land won Aus­tralia’s award for most Trusted Busi­ness Leader in 2015, so I was cu­ri­ous.

Yel­land is a born en­ter­tainer and pretty smart. She leads from the heart. She’s funny.

She – and this is from me who never par­tic­u­larly thinks about what other peo­ple are wear­ing – was wear­ing a black and white dress cov­ered in repet­i­tive swirling geo­met­ric de­signs, just like some­thing out of a mind­ful­ness colour­ing book for grown ups. I briefly imag­ined what I could do with my colour­ing in pen­cils if she stood still long enough.

She ended up colour­ing her own self in pretty quickly. Yel­land is a ‘‘fish slap­ping nut­case’’. That’s a love ex­pres­sion, by the way, and she said it about her­self.

Her ‘‘why’’ is pres­ence and true to her word, for two days, she was very present.

‘‘Ask why, why, why, why. No ther­apy, no story, just an­swer the ques­tion,’’ she de­manded dur­ing our group’s first hour to­gether.

So we bud­died up and tor­tured our com­pan­ions with ‘‘but why’’ un­til we sounded like three year olds.

What’s my why? Be­cause I be­long. It’s so easy to an­swer the ques­tion, now I know my why.

At the end of the first evening Yel­land set some home­work for dis­cus­sion the next day.

‘‘How . . .’’ she said.

Have courage, dear read­ers. Go to Yel­land’s course. She has lots of ques­tions and you will find the an­swers are al­ready in your heart.

A school hol­i­day ad­ven­ture camp in Aus­tralia for teens, fo­cus­ing on life skills, emo­tional in­tel­li­gence and aca­demic re­sults. About 40 Cen­tral Otago chil­dren have at­tended a camp. Go to green­su­per­camp.com.au.


Heather Yel­land, left, with Wanaka jour­nal­ist Mar­jorie Cook.

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