People Barbara Thanks and Admires

As a woman pursuing a career Barbara recognises that she owes a debt of gratitude to many individuals, both known personally to her and known only through their books and publications. “Life provides a series of ups and downs and sometimes only the help of another loving soul gets us through”.

She recognises both her headmistress at Faringdon Country Grammar School for Girls, Miss A.J. Towns, and one of her tutors, Alan Ness, at University College London where she read Physiology and achieved an Upper Second Honours Degree, as both, in their own way contributing to her developing strength of character and resolve. Always a little shy and self-effacing, at the age of 20 she was contemplating a future life as a teacher of junior children in Norfolk – not least because she had a boyfriend there. Both of them wrote highly and caringly of her in references which changed her way of thinking about herself.

But undoubtedly the most important person in her life, whom she thanks the most, is her first husband, Jim Page-Roberts, himself a prolific painter and sculptor, and writer ( As a working class girl working her way through University College London her life could have gone many different ways. Instead she met Jim, twice her age and already life-experienced, cultured, artistic, aristocratic, and with one over-riding quality that she learned from him and his mother– the ability to get on with everybody from cleaner to queen and every possible social and financial class in between.

Jumping forward some forty-odd years, and omitting much that was life-influencing along the way, she comes to Masha Malka ( They met at a training course in Accelerated Learning in Las Vegas. Masha is a young Russian woman married to Doran, relocated to USA and subsequently Spain, and at the time had one daughter, Veronica, and now another daughter and a son. Barbara and Masha found a common language in the desire to get people of all ages and inclinations to succeed in what they want to do, indeed first to find out who they are and what makes them tick – they are writing a motivation book for Baby-Boomers, as well as a joint effort for young people – The Success Manual. At a difficult transition period in Barbara’s life – the divorce with her second husband and the realisation that maybe she was less than perfect and even a ‘failure’ – Masha was the source of the mental positivity that came from knowledge and true caring.

And finally, Barbara is an avid reader, and is in the habit of extracting quotes from tomes and opinions that impress her. This is her absolute favourite, and the one she relies on to provide uplift during the darkest days and at the toughest moments of self-doubt.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous.

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It’s not in some of us: it’s in everyone.
And as we let our light shine,
We unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fears,
Our presence automatically liberates others.”

Used in Nelson Mandela’s Inaugural Speech, 1994

Written by: Marianne Williamson

Originally published: 1997

And this, in a completely different vein, comes a close second:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Used in Nelson Mandela’s Inaugural Speech, 1994

Warning by Jenny Joseph

Originally published: 1997

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