Why I have Gwyneth Paltrow to thank for my career that I LOVE

by Polly N on February 5, 2013

I lived in London for 10 years and every morning I would trundle into central London to my job as Personal Assistant to the Vice President of Sony Playstation and other media companies after that “looking for my purpose in life.” Unlike ALL of my friends, after sixth form college I had absolutely no desire to go to University; I wanted to get out into the world and work. I have always been like that which I think I must get from my parents who have owned their own company and worked their butts off for the last 35 years. My first job was working as a PA to the director of a Financial Advisors. I didn’t love it but I was good at it as I am organised and I love a to do list. After that I fell into one PA job after another. Until I was diagnosed with cancer. (Hang on in there, I’m getting to the Gwyneth bit….)

"Thanks For Sharing" Premiere - Arrivals - 2012 Toronto International Film Festival

So aged 24, I get told I have cervical cancer and that I need keyhole surgery, radiotherapy and chemo. Not knowing of any other way to treat cancer, I go ahead with it and while I feel terrible for the best part of a year, the cancer was zapped and I eventually began to regain some normality of life. I return to my job at Sony and while I found settling back in okay, I had this nagging feeling that I could and should be doing more with my life. There’s nothing like staring cancer and possibly death in the face to make you reevaluate what you actually want out of your life.

I decided I wanted to travel and do as much as I could to live the life of my dreams. At that time I was interested in health but it hadn’t occurred to me that I could actually make a living from it! So when an opportunity arose through a friend called James who’s sister Gael had worked as an assistant to Gwyneth Paltrow (at least I think this was the connection from memory), I immediately started dreaming of a life on the road and movie sets. And who wouldn’t want to work for her? She’s an incredible actress, she’s inspiring, she’s stunning, she has a beautiful family and just seems like a very down to earth and genuine person. I spoke with Chris Martin’s PA who arranged a convenient time for me to have a phone interview with Gwyneth and on that day I rushed home from work and sat waiting unpatiently for my phone to ring. (Needless to say, I REALLY thought that THIS phone call could change my life forever. Who knew where it would take me or what I would end up doing?! Yes my imagination did get the better of me!) And then the phone rings. It’s Chris’s PA who apologised that Gwyneth now couldn’t make the call and that it would have to be rescheduled. DAMN IT! I was sooo ready! “Oh well” I thought, and consoled myself that everything happens for a reason. Hmmm.

I think it was a day or two later I get a text around 6.30pm from Chris’s PA who asks if it is okay for Gwyneth to call me for the interview. I was super keen to do it as I wanted to “get it done” in the best possible way. Only problem was, I was on a first date with a guy I had met a few weeks prior and I had drunk waaaay too many Pina Colada’s! I quickly explained to him the situation and rushed to the loo as I didn’t want to be needing to go while I was on the phone! So there I am with my pants down and my phone rings. Yep, its Gwyneth! So I quickly finish up, pull up my pants and my trousers and run outside of the bar. (Thankfully all I needed was a pee. Phew!) So there I am, standing on the side of Regent Street, with buses whizzing past me, very tipsy, trying to convince her to give me a job. Hmmm, Im not convinced I did a great job! I am MUCH better at falling over than interviewing when I’m drunk! Needless to say I didn’t get the job although I was told I reached the final 2 candidates. I was GUTTED. I cried. I sulked and then I got over it. But at least I did get a boyfriend out of it so the evening wasn’t a complete disaster!

But now when I look back, I am glad I didn’t get the job as if I had have gone to work for her, I don’t think I would be here today writing books, giving raw food workshops and sharing my message of health prevention with the world which is what I was born to do through my coaching practice. For TEN years I longed to know what my purpose was and hoped that one day I would wake up and have an epiphany which is literally how it works for some people. But for me, I needed a bigger whack round the head to work out what it was, and I needed it twice apparently! Congratulations – you have cancer. Now go out into the world and inspire, motivate and educate others how to prevent them from developing illness; teach them to live a life they love and share your passion for life. So thank you Gwyneth for not giving the drunk girl the job! ;o)

So there are a few morals to this story;

1. Don’t agree to have a phone interview when you have drunk far too many Pina Colada’s.

2. Don’t go the toilet just before a Hollywood actor or actress is about to call you.

3. Know that whatever path life takes you down, that you are right where you need to be at that point in time (and sometimes that is a dark, shitty place but embrace it. The more you resist, the more painful it becomes.)

4. You don’t need to wait for a job with a Hollywood actress to change your life. You can do it anytime anywhere. All it takes is a decision to do something different.

Tell me in the comments below if you have had a similar experience or what the catalyst was for changing your life. And as always, please share this so others can enjoy. Thank you

P.S. I have spaces in my coaching practice right now and am offering discounted prices for February only.



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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Louie Matthews February 5, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Hi Polly, it’s Louie, your old waitress friend and Henry’s wife! I loved reading your Gwyneth story and it really resounded with me. After 10 years working as a magazine journalist, I knew I wanted to do something different and had this weird feeling I was supposed to be a midwife even though I was terrified of blood! So last year, I took the enormous (in my mind!) step of applying to be a Maternity Support Worker. For much less money, I started working in a hospital, looking after newborn babies and their mums. And guess what? I love it! I have even – to a certain extent – overcome my blood fear. I now take blood and today I watched a birth – stitching and all – at the action end and felt nothing but excitement and elation! I still don’t know if I’ll go on to study midwifery but I’m enjoying every minute of what I’m doing now. I wouldn’t say it was a lightening strike epiphany – I waited six months for the job to be advertised and another three until I could start and all the while, I kept trying to talk myself out of it – but now, I’m so glad I stuck with my gut instinct. So I know how you feel, Polly – I’d advise anyone in a similar situation to take a leap of faith! PS. Henry says hi! xxxx


Claire February 6, 2013 at 11:10 am

I’m still awaiting my epiphany… I don’t believe everyone is here to fulfil a purpose and if you don’t find it you some how fail. But believe do things the things you are passionate about. I’m still learning about ‘me’ which makes it difficult to truly know what I want to do. But I’m going to try (as you can get really bogged down by society pressures) to have fun while finding out.


Rachael February 6, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Ha I love this Polly!!!
Seriously, sometimes its those lightbulb moments that just seem to stick!
I always find they come when I give up thinking about it. I’m a real over thinker and spend so much time thinking and not so much time doing that when I give up and just go with the flow it all works!!

Needless to say I’m glad Gwynnie didn’t give you the job either!



Lisa July 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I really enjoyed reading that! Keep doing what you are doing xx


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