Tag Archives: empowerment

Women on the edge: the fearless ask.

I am a woman on the edge, this much is true. I am on the edge of possibility, on the edge of no dream is too big and I’m taking the fearless leap.

In 106 days I will be having lunch with my mentor Oprah Winfrey in Los Angeles. I am not the only woman who will be there, we are a band of 30 or so, from all parts of the world but mostly North America. We have nothing, and everything, in common.
We are all big dreamers, we are all OWN Ambassadors and we are all believers that dreaming big makes fairy tales come true.

I’m going to LA with two new friends, we met at the Toronto Life Class, and a past coaching client of mine. We’ll be doing touristy things while in LA but, on the day of O YOU we’ll be just taking it all in. Learning lessons and sharing stories and sharing out why we all admire Oprah so much and how she has influenced our lives.

I think too, by that time, we will have had our lunch with Miss O…(honestly every time I write that I get giddy.)

Here’s what I’ve been doing today. I have been imagining what it will be like to sit in the same room, at the same table, at the same time with Oprah Winfrey. I’ve been picturing all of us sitting around that table, the conversation, the listening, the dialogue. I’ve also been wondering what the heck I’m going to say because part of me feels like I should be prepared with something other than “Um, um, um…” if I am offered an opportunity to speak.

I don’t know for sure what I want to say, I’d like things to be spontaneous but, maybe, just maybe I’ll ask her what her most fearless ask was, the biggest dream she ever dreamed…Yeah I think that’s it, that’s the question that women on the edge want to know.

What do you think? What would you ask Oprah if you had the chance?

And again, here’s me writing this story for you, sharing it out, grinning from ear to ear…this small town girl with big dreams never ever ever gave up and in 106 days one of the biggest will be coming true.

I wish that for you, I wish for you that all your dreams come true. I wish for you that every thing you stand for is honouring of your truth. I wish for you the belief that you are remarkable and brilliant and magnificent because you are: you really are.

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Lady in waiting? F*** that…Waiting for what?

 I’m showing my age and I don’t give a  bleep…

Here’s why.

In the 55 years, almost 56 now that I have been wandering around in this body women are still ladies in waiting.
I’m not talking about the medieval romantic image of a lady all dressed in her finery waiting to be saved by her great crusader: nope not that kinda lady in waiting. I’ m talking about the kind of waiting that includes pay equity, pension equality, financial equity, educational equity…yeah that…
For 56 years I have been listening to women, and men, say that we should be making an equal wage.

 I,and you too, have been reading about the disparity between men and women in their career options.

I, and you too perhaps, know women who work harder than most, who get up before sunrise and work all day for no financial gain at all…we call them mothers. In this day and age, in North America, the job of mother is still undervalued and not compensated for financially. In fact, women who make that sacrifice, and it is most definitely a sacrifice, will be penalized for taking time away from their careers by making less money, moving slower up the ladder and accumulating less pension benefits upon retirement. Geez…55 years later and I am still hearing the same sh** well fed up with it I am so I’ve decided to stop waiting for anybody else to make changes…
As a life coach I know for certain that life is all about choice. Some of it is stuff we take on from our family, our culture and our peers. Some of it is just passed down, from generation to generation, for no apparent reason but tradition. I grew up in a household where sexual abuse was part of the dynamic. I had choices when I had my kids and I chose to step away from that generational tradition.


Some things are easier to walk away from than others…not impossible but not easy. So here’s what I have come up with to get you thinking about change.
1. Money is not scarce or limited
2. You can make money and be rich and be a nice person, all at the same time.
3. You can do what you love and make a living doing it.
4. Join a network of like minded people to support your goals
5. Hire a life coach to help you stay focused and accountable
6.If money is tight, keep your job, sell stuff, and have a year of savings before you jump into your small business
7.According to John Carroll, personal factories, aka self- employed folks, are going to save the global economy
8. If not me then who, if not now then when?
9. Taking a page from my sources of inspiration, Oprah, Arlene Dickinson,J.K. Rowling…do what you love,never stray, be honest, speak your truth, be kind and stay focused and you will become successful
10. Success has many definitions, pick yours and do not apologize because you achieved your goal.
11. We women in the world, make up 53% of the world’s population yet we hold only 1% of the wealth. Well I am not going to let another 55 years slide by and not change that.
12. Helping millions make millions is a global initiative I have created to empower women around the world to step up and create change in their own lives. Give a woman a job feed her for a day, let a woman run her own small business feed her, and her entire community, for life…
Come join us…be part of the change that 2012 is bringing. No more waiting…

Lessons from a Dragon’s Den mother.

One of my favourite shows on television is Dragon’s Den on CBC. I think the reason I enjoy it most is because of the lessons I learn from both the panel and the entrepreneurs who are selected to pitch to them. Arlene Dickinson, the sole woman on the panel of five, has just had her new book Persuasion published. I picked it up right away and, quite frankly, have had a difficult time putting it down. I’ve also read Robert Herjavec’s book Driven and it’s a good read but Persuasion speaks to me in a different fashion: it’s probably a woman to woman conversation that I’m liking about it. The book is very honest and frank and helpful.

What I have found most interesting, thus far, is that Ms. Dickinson, like so many other women, struggled, and continues to struggle, with obstacles in her life that could, if she allowed it, stop her success. This is a quote directly from the book…” A negative internal monologue can be so compelling that you block out anything that contradicts it. For instance, for the first half of my life, I told myself  I just wasn’t very smart. There was evidence to the contrary, I’d figured out how to support myself at 16, and as a young mom strapped for cash, I’d learned how to do everything from growing vegetables to shingling a roof. But I ignored facts that didn’t fit my theory.

Why? Well, strange as it seems to me now, I was pretty attached to my poor self-image. Feeling bad about myself didn’t make me happy, but it was comfortable. It gave me the perfect excuse not to try things that scared me, like going to university.And, there was another benefit. I didn’t have to experience the discomfort of trying. Let’s face it, attempting something new when you’re not confident of success is really hard work. ..”

Here’s what I know for sure, if you have a bazillion dollars or fifty cents in your pocket you will, at some point in your life, experience the discomfort of uncertainty. The “not knowing” in a situation can immobilize a person, no matter what their status is. The difference between those who move forward and those who don’t, in my humble opinion, is a choice to accept failure. Yup, you might fail, and that’s ok. Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. ( misquote from Alfred Tennyson “’tis better to have loved and lost”)

I am going to go see Arlene Dickinson tomorrow at the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce. She’ll be the keynote speaker. I’m taking my book with me and perhaps she’ll sign it. Either way, I am loving the lessons I’m learning from the Den Mother.

And, a confession, I’m kinda petrified of walking into a room where I  will probably not know one single person but, taking my lessons from the Den Mother, I am going anyway and facing fearless.

Now go be fearless!

Zoomer women facing fearless

Today I am going to write about myself. I don’t like to do that very much because there are so many people in the world that are much  more interesting than me however I want to share some of my story. I want to do this so that you too will come to realize that, no matter what, you can be that person you know you are but are hiding from everybody else.

First the messy stuff: I’m a survivor of abuse, I’m a mom who sometimes made a huge mess of teaching my kids life lessons, I’m a wife who can be tough to live with sometimes, I’m a bossy sister at times and once in a while my friends think I’ve gone awol. I’ve been diagnosed, and then mis-diagnosed, with Parkinson’s disease, that took six years to be uncovered. I’ve owned a few businesses, the last one I had I was very unceremoniously tossed out of when my partners found out I had Parkinson’s disease. I went back to school after that mess and spent two years getting my certification to be a life coach. I graduated on September 11, 2008. I trained for, and completed in the top 20%, the weekend to end breast cancer 60km walk in Toronto the year I turned 50. One of my best friends was murdered by her husband, a retired police officer, two years ago. She was shot in the head, point blank, he came up behind her and shot her four times. He will serve about 6 years in jail, we mourn her still.

I’ve taken all of those lessons and looked at what it was that I needed to learn. Gratitude, compassion, growth, kindness, patience, love, joy, living in the moment, they’re all on that list but the biggest one I have taken from all of this messiness is this: Know your power, know your strength, have the courage to do what you know you are meant to be doing and never ever ever let anybody tell you you’re not good enough.

I am an advocate for women, zoomer women to be exact, who are in transition. I’ve recently auditioned for my own cable tv show, that’s going to happen, I pitched to do a night school course, life coaching 101, that’s going to happen, I have been asked to be a contributing writer for an online community that Zoomers mag is starting up and I’m a contributing writer for Toronto Entrepreneur magazine. None of this would have been possible if I had stopped believing in myself when everybody else did.

As your advocate I’ll teach you the skills you need to become your best self, no matter what anybody else has told you. Look, if I can do it anybody can. I’m facing fearless despite the odds and you will too if you make the choice to work through it. I’m here to help all you have to do is ask.

Now go be fearless, Jan