Interview: Nik and Eva Speakman
5:09pm Saturday 5th January 2008 in Interviews
THE Speakmans are no ordinary couple. How many people can boast that they resolve pop stars' problems with "time travel treatment" - using the actual car from the film Back To The Future?
And how many couples do you know spend their working days curing weird and wonderful phobias ranging from fear of foil to the Magic Roundabout music?
Celebrities swear by the couple's techniques and they have helped hundreds of people across East Lancashire overcome their angst.
They are also passionate supporters of the Duke Bar Burnley Wood NCH Children's Centre.
BEING mean to a couple like Nik and Eva Speakman would be rather like kicking a puppy.
The pair share the same exuberance and even on a grim winter's afternoon come bounding into the room of their 13th Century Grade II listed Stubley Hall near Rochdale, wide-eyed with enthusiasm.
Eva, 38, carries a large mug of herbal tea and some of their own recipe, rather-disgusting-looking, wheatgrass juice - "I like to keep myself hydrated" - while 45-year-old Nik exudes a pumped-up, glowing energy that is tangible.
But that's really as it should be, because this husband and wife team have taken it upon themselves to show the world that you - yes, YOU! - can have the life you aspire to.
After their Living TV show, A Life Coach Less Ordinary, proved so successful, the Speakmans have decided to put their philosophy of life into a book so we can all be as happy as they are.
Their mantra is, "If it's possible in the world, it's possible for you!", and you'd better believe, they believe it.
Eva says: "We have a fantastic life, fantastic home, fantastic relationship, fantastic children, fantastic cars. Every night we go over the day and the wonderful things that have happened."
Their fantastic life is featured in their book, Your Life Can Be Fantastic, Too!, complete with pictures of the happy couple together, of their baronial home and their collection of Lamborghinis and even a Bugatti!
Their philosophy apparently works for the serious tragedies of life. When Nik's father died recently, he regarded this as a reason to celebrate what a wonderful person his father had been, rather than grieving his loss.
And while this perma-optimism may sound rather galling when the rest of us are struggling through dark days of creaky public transport, overwork, tricky relationships and a seemingly ever-increasing number of bills to pay with a decreasing amount of cash, it is hard not to agree that a positive attitude is better than the alternative.
"It is hard," admits Eva. "But if you practise, positivity can become a habit. And it's a fantastic habit to have."
To be fair, their lives have not always been charmed. Eva grew up with an alcoholic father and Nik struggled as a child with a series of illnesses and faced life-changing surgery.
It is, perhaps, this that makes the National Children's Homes (NCH) charity so important to them.
Over Christmas the pair visited Duke Bar Burnley Wood Children's Centre that helps vulnerable children, young people and their families. Eva is even running the marathon to raise money for the charity this year.
Despite difficult childhoods, the couple individually decided not to let life beat them, triumphed over their adversities and then joined as a team.
"We don't accept failure," says Nik. "People make mistakes but they don't fail. If you think about a scientist, they will experiment over and over again to get the result they want, sometimes taking years, whereas a lot of people will just try for something and then when it doesn't work out as they planned, just give up."
The couple have also been credited with helping a lot of celebrities with their personal crises, among them actress Kym Ryder and singer Liz McClarnon.
Nik said: "It amazes us that so many celebrities have problems with confidence. They are playing a role and that is the confident person and then when they step out of that role they can struggle with the reality of just being themselves."
It's definitely not something this couple suffer from.
Their overwhelming positivity can grate I'm sure, but try not to sneer and instead take a few tips.
After all, they could just be right . . .
- Do you have an unusual phobia? Contact feature writer Caroline Dutton on 01254 298318 and Nik and Eva may be able to help as part of a forthcoming feature.