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Bif Naked, who received an honorary doctorate from UFV last spring, returned to talk to students

As an author, survivor of cancer and heart surgery, political activist, and general humanitarian, Bif has become a well-sought-after motivational speaker and attracted a crowd of both students and community members to the Abbotsford campus gym on March 26.

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By Jeff Hughes (Contributor) – Email

Print Edition: April 2, 2014

Education and community involvement were at the top of Bif Naked’s must-do list.  (Image:  UFV/ flickr)

Education and community involvement were at the top of Bif Naked’s must-do list. (Image: UFV/ flickr)

Canadian punk rock star and honorary doctorate holder Bif Naked returned to UFV as part of the President’s Leadership Lecture Series this spring.

As an author, survivor of cancer and heart surgery, political activist, and general humanitarian, Bif has become a well-sought-after motivational speaker and attracted a crowd of both students and community members to the Abbotsford campus gym on March 26.

Engaged to speak on positivity and leadership, her talk centred on the theme of “if you believe, you can achieve.” Which isn’t to say that if you merely believe in a thing that it will come to pass. She told the audience that we need to work toward fulfilling our goals and not give up, closely following the examples of those we view as leaders in our lives.

She pointed out that if “you can fake it until you make it, your skills will catch up to you,” meaning that if we believe we can do something, or have a dream, we can work toward it as a goal by making it a primary focus in our lives, even if our skill levels at a particular thing are not yet high enough to meet that goal. She cited her song “I Love Myself Today” as an example of something she had to fake at the time it was written but became reality with time and practice.

Although she said she doesn’t view herself as a leader, she could be seen filling that role, standing as an example to those who have suffered from cancer, been affected by women’s rights issues, or even those who aspire to a musical career.

This was reaffirmed during the question and answer period when one woman asked her about eating disorders.

Bif responded by discussing her experience confronting her own one while working as an active touring musician.

“I went through my entire 20s without realizing I had an eating disorder,” she said.

During that time Bif slept an average of three hours a night and ate small amounts of food. She said she was so thin that, at one photo shoot, she had to wear size negative zero clothing.

Stressing the importance of education in becoming community leaders as well as maintaining strong family ties if possible, Bif mentioned her father telling her as she grew up that university, the military, or missionary work would help bring maturity. She went on to note her parents’ pivotal role in shaping who she is.

“My greatest accomplishment besides my honorary doctorate has been supporting my parents,” she said, adding, “they taught me to be socially conscious and socially vocal.”

With students and members of the community clinging to the motivational words, Bif’s talk inspired the audience to become leaders in our families and communities, and to succeed in our life goals no matter what they are.

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