Article written and published online by The Courier newspaper, 16th March 2022

To read the article direct from the newspaper, CLICK HERE 

winter walking with friends
Winter hillwalking with friends

When Gillian Fowler experienced a life-changing accident, she never could have imagined it would set her on a path to help others with challenges in their own lives.

In an exclusive interview with The Courier, Gillian tells us:

  • About the accident that led her to create coaching company, Usana Mindset
  • How she helps people struggling with physical and mental challenges
  • The top ways to help yourself and change your mindset today

‘I always kept believing there had to be a way forward.’

Gillian, 44, helps people across Scotland to work through physical and mental trauma. And she can help you understand the blocks preventing you from reaching your full potential.

She created her company, Usana Mindset, after conquering her own challenges.

“I’m a glass half full person so it’s always been important for me to look forward, not back,” she explains.

In 2008, she had a horse-riding accident which resulted in breaking her back and a lengthy recovery.

Gillian Fowler

“There was short-term paralysis, several major surgeries and it was a bit of a bumpy journey over the years,” Gillian, from Stonehaven, explains.

“But I think going through my own traumatic personal experience really tested me to the max, because you’re faced with not knowing what’s happening.”

Having been extremely active before her accident, Gillian had to work hard physically and mentally, to ensure she could get back to the activities she loved and the life she wanted to live.

She says: “I’m a great believer in the power of the outdoors and I was very sporty before my accident. I have regained some of that, but it took around six years to get back out hill walking.

“My ‘new normal’ is nothing like what it was before, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fantastic in its own way. That’s why it’s been so important to me to help others.”

Despite the challenges she’s faced, Gillian’s perseverance has enabled her to get back into nature, even scaling Mount Kilimanjaro in 2016 alongside the surgeon and physiotherapist who helped her on the road to recovery, and further overseas adventures since.

Navigating life’s challenges

Using her own personal experience, Gillian is now dedicated to helping others with whatever problems they are experiencing in their own lives.  She first founded BackStrong some years ago to help those with walking spinal injuries, and to which Usana Mindset was borne.

Through Usana Mindset, Gillian is able to help with a variety of challenges, such as stress and anxietyexam worries, managing relationships, and concerns about work, to name just a few.

Gillian continues: “First we have a discovery call. They tell me why they’ve reached out to me, what’s on their mind, the areas they want to focus on.

“Sometimes clients come without knowing exactly what it is, it’s just they’re not happy with life, so there’s not always a direct focus.

“There are always great insights on the discovery call, so even if they decide not to continue, they’ve gained something helpful and impactful from it.”

Building confidence

Gillian then works with a client to decide the best course of action. Treatment options involve one-to-one coaching and mentoring.

She can also provide neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) – a technique to separate emotions from an upsetting or triggering event.

Gillian continues: “I am passionate about helping clients to gain clarity and to build their confidence, get rid of those self-limiting beliefs and allow them to flourish.

“It’s important clients can then continue on their journey by themselves having gained insights, learnt techniques and tools so they can manage all that’s ahead.  It’s important to help all thrive and not rely on me every week or fortnight or month for a session. I want to make sure they’re equipped for life.

“I don’t want them to be feel reliant on anyone, I want them to be the best version of themselves and have the confidence in themselves.”

Summit of Toubkal, 2015
Summit of Toubkal
Top tips to a new you

Gillian’s support can be transformational, so what is her advice for changing your mindset and improving your life?

  • Become fully aware of what you can control in your life and parts you can’t have any impact on. “This is not an easy switch, it takes time,” Gillian says. “We don’t know what’s coming and you can’t look into the future and keep worrying about what will be. Learn to be present yet mindful about the future.”
  • Try to focus on the now and what you can do to make a situation better or calmer. She advises: “Ask yourself, ‘what can I control and influence? What can improve the situation, perhaps speaking to others and getting some help?’”
  • Gillian also recommends staying off or taking a break from social media, taking time away from your phone and considering how frequently you’re consuming media.
Kili summit with guide
At summit of Kilimanjaro

Gillian concludes: “We can all pave our own path forward, we can all flourish; we just need to allow ourselves to learn how to do it.

“And we can learn how to gain that clarity, build confidence and transform our lives.

“You have the opportunity to open your mind to any possibility. Whatever has happened or is happening, don’t let that dictate how your future is going to be.”

For more information about how Gillian could help you with your own transformation, visit her website or email

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