September 1, 2016
Light in the Darkness
Her slogan is ‘raw, real and damn inspiring’, and that is exactly what she is. After experiencing an horrific sequence of events most couldn’t even imagine, Bec McMillan has risen above her past and is now helping others see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Bec McMillan flicks her long blonde locks over her shoulder and tucks her feet beneath her on the couch where she’s perched, before fixing her gaze on me.
“Sit back, relax, because I’m about to take you on one hell of a journey,” she says.
And that she does.
From a troubled childhood and struggles with her mental health, to experiencing every parent’s worst nightmare, as Bec explains her life and the events that led to her starting her business Inspire – By Bec, I am left in awe by this woman’s strength and tenacity.
Growing up in western Sydney, Bec was just 14 years old when she was first diagnosed with depression and after falling in with the wrong crowd, began partying, making bad decisions and living an unhealthy lifestyle in an attempt to mask her pain.
It was during this time she had her first son Jaiden, and 13-and-a-half years ago they moved to the Sunshine Coast in pursuit of a better life. And while Bec still had her ups and downs over the years, things were starting to look up for her when she had her second son Jayce in 2012.
But what followed was to be the darkest three years of her life.
What I’ve learnt on this journey is, if you’re true to yourself, doors open up.”
At 80 days old, Jayce’s life was tragically taken in a co-sleeping accident that tore Bec’s world to shreds – and if that wasn’t enough, the grieving mother was hit with a tidal wave of tragedy that saw her struggle to stay afloat.
Her nana died. She fell pregnant with twins and after losing one, had no choice but to carry it for the duration of her pregnancy. Her father was diagnosed with liver cancer, and then her pop died. She had a nervous breakdown at seven months pregnant when she was told her dad had just three months to live, and during this time her new husband left her. Then, shortly before she gave birth to her son Chance, her dad passed away.
Consumed with grief, struggling as a single mum, and attempting to deal with a colicy baby while struck down with glandular fever, an exhausted Bec became suicidal and admitted herself into hospital, where she was diagnosed with postnatal depression, post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. She had hit rock bottom.
Fashion and glamour are a huge part of me, as well as spirituality, so basically my range of designs incorporate both factors. It’s feel-good fashion.”
Drowning in the depths of her despair, Bec realised she could either sink or swim – and her mind was made up when a friend sent her a link via Facebook asking for contributors to submit their stories to be published in a book titled The Inspiration Bible.
“Becoming a published co-author was the start of my journey of self-healing and self discovery,” says Bec. “It was like my inner compass telling me I needed to share what happened – that I could help people.
“It was probably one of the most frightening, ‘What have I done?’ moments of my life. I’d just told the world my deepest, darkest moments. But I truly believe being vulnerable is the highest form of courage, and that was vulnerability at its best.”
It’s okay not to be okay. Give yourself permission to be human; give yourself permission to make mistakes and give yourself permission to grow from them.”
It was after her story was published in 2014 that she started Inspire – By Bec, with the sole purpose of encouraging others through hard times.
“I just thought maybe I can help somehow, so I started sharing my thoughts, quotes, my secrets, my ‘aha’ moments, and my journey. I feel my purpose on planet Earth is to inspire others and to just get up and keep going,” says Bec.
“So what I do now is I delve into myself, I feel, I think, I create, I visualise, I ask myself the real questions – and then I work through it. And doing that is really hard, but what it does, is it gives me the tools to be able to help other people who are doing it tough.”
Bec began motivational speaking, promoting and presenting for charities such as Beyondblue, RACQ Careflight, SIDs and Kids, and the Cancer Council, and hosting the local Walk for William Tyrell. She is now also helping others cope with their own personal struggles by mentoring others around the globe via Skype.
“Inspirational speaking is probably the most courageous thing I’ve ever done in my life, but I absolutely love it,” she says.
Be grateful for the tough times and instead of saying, ‘Poor me’, ask yourself the questions, ‘What did I learn from this?’”
“It’s bloody tough sometimes, and it’s uncomfortable. I have days when I’m sucking my thumb in the corner, but when I come out of that, I’m like, ‘Okay, I learnt that and I learnt that, and now I need to share that’.
“The people I think I draw in are the people who want someone who knows the depth of pain. I find the most inspiring people are not always succeeders; I find people who are struggling inspiring, because they get through this life as well as doing it tough mentally. And from someone who knows what it feels like, I’m in awe of people doing it tough but who can find a way to smile or give something to others.”
While she’s made a name for herself for her role in the public domain, the presenting, hosting and mentoring is just one of the many facets of her business.
“I turned to crystals as one of my ways of dealing with things, and I’m really sensitive to energy,” Bec says when explaining how her jewellery line came about.
“One day I was doing it tough and I shoved my crystals all down my bra and in my pockets to try and shift my energy and my mood, and I saw a necklace and I thought, ‘That would look good on that’. And I just started creating crystal necklaces and wearing them.
Bec’s pendants and their meanings – choose one that suits your mood and outfit and clip it on to your base necklace.
Rose quartz: Addresses matters of the heart – whether you need it to be open, to heal, or to learn to love yourself.
Turquoise: Provides strength, wisdom and loyalty.
Amethyst: Helps instil peace, courage, patience and encourages healing.
Tiger eye: Gives strength, integrity, willpower and self-confidence, while keeping you grounded.
Red agate: Repels negative energy and offers strength and harmony.
Black agate: Provides protection and courage, while combating stress with its calming effect.
Green aventurine: Signals growth and improves wisdom and communication.
Opalite: Improves communication and creativity, helping you achieve success.
Malachite: Helps achieve emotional balance and releases negative energy.
Blue sun stone: Provides you with a clear mind, helping with leadership.
Gold sun stone: Boosts ambition and drive, helping you achieve success.
Lapis Lazuli: Symbolises wisdom and truth, promoting self-awareness.
Onyx: Stabilises energy.
White jade: Is calming and helps ground your energy.
“When I started getting compliments and my best friends started nicking them off me, I started designing. Fashion and glamour are a huge part of me, as well as spirituality, so basically my range of designs incorporate both factors. It’s feel-good fashion.”
Made from a selection of 12 crystal stones, the jewellery range started out as base necklaces of varying lengths with interchangeable pendants, but has since expanded to include bracelets. The range has been such a hit, Bec has just released a collection of new pendant designs, and she is also working on a high-end line made with AAA quality crystals, gold, rose gold and silver.
“I started with my signature range for the everyday person, as I want to accommodate all women, from teenagers to people aged 70 and over, and I want it to be affordable. My vision is to get on the runways with my high-end pieces, but I also wanted to keep the feel-good aspect.”
Continuing along that line, Bec – with the help of Josh Hodges and Dion Monkovitch – has also created a range of 20 essential oils to aid people with their moods.
“When I used to get upset, I’d put my essential oils on and they would calm me,” says Bec.
“Essential oils are very powerful in what they can do and they’ve been around for centuries, and their benefits are amazing health-wise too! It’s all about helping people feel better.”
While it might seem like a lot for one person to take on, Bec is passionate about each angle of her business and says she refuses to be pigeonholed into one genre.
“There are no limits to Inspire – By Bec because my business is me. Every aspect of my business is important to me and I never want to subject it to one core thing,” she explains.
“What I’ve learnt on this journey is, if you’re true to yourself, doors open up. Business is a roll of the dice. My challenge was – and I still have it sometimes – wondering if people will like me. Are people going to judge me because of my past, or are people going to respect me for the brain I have?”
Despite the hell she’s been through, Bec says she feels blessed to be alive and now helping others.
“I owe my survival to my son Jaiden (then 13, now aged 16), as he stepped up when others walked away – he made me really look at myself and value myself and forgive myself. I never knew my worth, my value or what it’s like to love myself, and going through all that, I was touched by a higher purpose.
“I feel lucky to be the one who has come out the other side and is now achieving all of these wonderful things. What about the people who live their lives stuck in that dark spot – those who don’t have that courage I’ve found within myself?”
On top of being a successful business woman and a loving mum, Bec is putting together her own book of inspiring stories, including her own, which she hopes to publish within the next 12 months.
“A wise woman knows that when things are getting shaken up or things aren’t running smoothly, some greatness is going to come out of it. I want to share those lessons.”
So having found her way out of the darkness, what is Bec’s ultimate advice for others who are struggling?
“It’s okay not to be okay. Give yourself permission to be human; give yourself permission to make mistakes and give yourself permission to grow from them. Be grateful for the tough times and instead of saying, ‘Poor me’, ask yourself the questions, ‘What did I learn from this?’ or ‘What did I gain from that?’. Because bad things happen in life, but that’s life and it’s about what you do with it.”
What are the elements of Inspire – By Bec?
Bec’s jewellery range uses real crystals to create feel-good fashion. Base necklaces can be created in a variety of crystal types and lengths, and with the release of her new line of pendants, there is a huge range of coloured crystals in various shapes to choose from.
Bec can be booked for hosting and presenting at events, as an inspirational speaker for corporate and charity events, and as a mentor for others who are struggling or looking for direction in their lives.
As a public persona with experience, she’s also available for modelling, acting for advertising, radio and emceeing.
Bec has a range of 20 essential oils – 10 men’s, 10 unisex – that aid in reducing stress and boosting various moods.
For more information about Inspire – By Bec and the many amazing facets of Bec McMillan’s uplifting business, or to book one of Bec’s services, visit inspirebybec.com or follow Inspire – By Bec on Facebook.