Bev du Toit | Cancer Survivor | Keynote Speaker

As an industrial theatre producer, workshop facilitator and speaker she has connected with audiences of all age groups. Bev’s industrial theatre production have played to thousands of South African children, giving the country’s youth valuable tools with which to overcome fears and face their future.

Bev was diagnosed with a Stage 3 ovarian cancer in 1996, after undergoing surgery and treatment she went into remission in 1997.

Bev co-developed the Cancer Coping Kit (English, Sotho, Zulu and Afrikaans), in conjunction with The Cancer Association of South Africa, which assists newly diagnosed patients and their families in coping with their illness. She received The Mariette Loots Cancer Winner Merit Award, for her Cancer Coping Kit. The annual Award is given to an individual to acknowledge their commitment and outstanding achievement, in positively promoting the quality of life for all cancer sufferers.

What drives you? | For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to know what makes people do what they do, why they think what they think, and why they react to situations, in the way that they do. My search for understanding has led to even more questions: Why am I here? What is the point of everything? And for me, the most profound question… Who am I?  I think it can be encapsulated in a search for meaning and as discover each answer, there is a new question.

Where do you think your ‘MAGIC’ comes from? | My curiosity and willingness to explore both internally and externally, in the search for answers to the questions that are important to me, combine nicely with my story telling ability and passion. I think the alchemy of all these elements contributes to my “magic”.

What is your LIFE-MISSION in one sentence? | To evolve consciously every day.

What do you think is often the difference between people who are good at what they do and people who are great at what they do? | Two words: Passion and practice.

What has been your learning experience? | The two most challenging experiences I have had are: Overcoming stage 3 ovarian cancer and immigrating to Seychelles and then losing my business there: Both of these experiences have been life changing: they allowed me to re-evaluate the definition of who I am, to gain a deeper understanding what is valuable to me and to strengthened my resilience.

What is one talent or strength of yours, which has been critical to your success? | My curiosity and openness to new ideas.

On a psychological or mind-set level, how do you use your mind and how do you think in a specific way to help you achieve your goals and realize your ambitions? | I live as consciously as I can from moment to moment. Being mindful of my thoughts, emotions, behaviour patterns and choices helps me stay present and engage with life in a more meaningful way. We operate the most sophisticated machine on the planet; our emotions, our senses and our minds are tools at our disposal, that can assist us in creating the life we desire. But how many of us are using the tools and how many of us are being used by the tools? If you are being controlled by your emotions and your thoughts, then you are not wielding the tools at your disposal. It is so exciting for me to witness people become more proficient at understanding how to use their emotions, how to direct their thoughts and engage their senses to have a more profound life experience.

What are the most important lessons you have learnt so far, in your career or life journey? | This could be anything from very simple small lessons to much larger bigger lessons. I believe that the inner journey is far more significant than any outer journey that can be taken. Being physical is a miraculous state that offers so many opportunities for growth, joy and change. When I was able to recognise, understand and direct the impact of my emotions, intellect and identity in my life experience, everything changed for me. Once my inner self became more important than the impact of the external world, real sustainable change happened for me.

How do you deal with self-doubt, fear or negativity? | Can you share a time in which you either doubted yourself the most or had great fears, yet faced up to them and conquered them?

What is the best advice you have ever received? | Accept what is! I have learnt to be grateful for every experience that I have been through (the ‘good’, the ‘bad’ and even the ‘ugly’), because every single experience has brought me to the point where I am right now and for me: “There is no better place to be”. As a result; I am able to live without regret, to forgive easily and to ride the difficult times with a lot more dignity and stability than I did before.

Would you consider yourself a happy person? If so, how do you cultivate your daily happiness? |  I consider myself one of the happiest people I know. This is not by accident; I have spent most of my life cultivating my happiness.  I believe that hidden within each of us is the ability to create the lives we are looking for: the happiness, the peace, the relationships, the success and the joy. When we focus inwards, instead of outwards, we give ourselves the possibility of finding the answers we are looking for. Through making new choices – we craft our lives. For me happiness is not dependant on what is happening to me or around me, happiness is a choice I make everyday.

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