Remarkable Conversations Unfiltered – Jennifer Myers – Prison Advocate, Author, Speaker

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jennifer myers

Jennifer Myers is a Remarkable Woman living in the beachside community of La Jolla, CA. An author and speaker,  prison consultant and advocate, she co-founded a nonprofit to empower girls and women to make positive choices.

Jennifer’s story leaves a huge impression on all her listeners. Early in a dance/choreography career while living in Chicago, she became involved with a marijuana trafficking organization due to a romantic association. In 2003, as one thing lead to another, she found herself arrested for her involvement, and subsequently served 17 months of her three-year sentence in federal prison.

Jennifer described how this experience opened her eyes. She was shocked to meet so many women, mostly mothers, who were locked up for non-violent crimes. She became determined to speak about this experience and make a difference in the prison system. After her release in 2007, Jennifer worked hard to get back on her feet and began a consulting business to help advise women going into prison for the first time. She also wrote a memoir about her journey, published in 2013, titled Trafficking the Good Life.

Today, Jennifer co-runs her nonprofit, R.I.S.E. To Empower, and continues to consult with women going into prison as she empowers girls and women to make positive choices. She has spoken to youth in schools about her experience and, last year, helped produce the first TEDx inside a men’s prison in San Diego. She also recently spoke at TEDxWilmingtonWomen about reducing recidivism by empowering women inside prison before they are released.

Jennifer’s piece of advice to women is: Turn your adversity into a gift! Stay present to the moment, and give yourself the opportunity to follow the threads that are presented to you in life.

Connect With Jennifer

Jennifer would love to hear from you! Connect with her via her website, www.jennifermyers.co.

Click on the image below to watch our Remarkable Conversation Unfiltered:

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Remarkable Conversations Unfiltered – Madi Still

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image1Madi Still is a Remarkable Woman  – a self-proclaimed “life changer,” she founded Still PREP’n 24-7 to positively restore and empower people to meet their goals in life, business, and health. She is also a leading wellness coach in health and fitness, sustaining more than a quarter of a million dollars in business per year.

One of the most memorable parts of the interview was when Madi shared the loss of her first child at just two days old. She describes the crippling pain and how she was able to confront it and eventually allow herself to heal. Madi channeled that pain into two newfound passions: health and fitness and inspirational speaking. She said, “When we don’t confront the pain, it cripples us in so many other areas of our lives.”

Today, Madi is happily married, a mom to an eight-year-old son and living outside of Philadelphia, PA. She shares her powerful story and inspires women through trainings and public speaking at local business events, including her first appearance on the TEDx stage. She is also currently writing her first book, an autobiography and guide to being a modern “MomPreneur.”

Madi’s deep desire to impact as many lives as possible is what continues to drive her everyday. Her one piece of advice to women is: Know your truth and share it, because there’s power in vulnerability.

Connect With Madi

Madi would love to hear from you! Connect with her via her website at MadiStill.com.

The Element of Surprises

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Imagine if you could wonder again? If you could feel empowered to go after the thing that matters to you in life?

And how about sharing that experience with women who inspire, challenge, and push you to be your best? It can be just the therapy you need in work and life. And best of all, it can even be remarkably fun!

I like to find unique things to do and think of a way that I can incorporate a particular kind of engagement with my girlfriends or even if I am introducing a new friend to all of my close friends. Let me be frank I am over conversations that start “I hate my job” we all do at times I just don’t want to spend time talking about it unless I am asked to help with advice. Here is another one “ did you hear what Joy did?” we all gossip even when we try to make an effort that we aren’t going to do it again or making that effort to stop. I think it is human nature. I want authentic connection and engagement so let me share with you an example of what an evening is like for my girlfriends and me.

When I have this get together, I just want my friends to show up. I don’t want them thinking there is one more thing they have to do. Just have them just show up. I will ask all the ladies to join me in the living room with a fire going and candles along with wine and appetizers. I have a beautiful special box in the middle of the room.

The opening of the box starts our experience. It is such a fantastic experience to share with the women you care for. If you value your time their time, your friends can expect to enjoy each other’s company, get to know new people and leave with their gift, without the pressure of having to buy something new just to spend time with you. This is why I have Remarkable Gatherings. 

How to Communicate and Influence Others

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“You have a story to tell, and someone needs to hear your story because only you can help that person.” This is an inspiring quote by motivational speaker Les Brown, and it’s something he said to a friend of mine named Ria Story. A motivational speaker herself, Ria is a remarkable woman I interviewed earlier this year for my Remarkable Women podcast.

Ria shared many quotes and nuggets of wisdom with me, but the most memorable involved helping people communicate and influence others. She described the great courage it took to overcome her own fear in sharing her painful past.

By pushing through that, Ria learned she could genuinely help others to share their own stories. She realized that she could be “that” person who started conversations and shared information effectively.

Today, Ria helps people from all walks of life to learn the skills that enable them to gain influence and use it for the most impact. We all have positions of influence, whether it is in our family, workplace, or social circles. Ria is passionate about helping others see and understand the potential they all have inside of them.

One of my favorite parts of our conversation was talking about authenticity. We both agreed that it is most freeing to be honest with others (and ourselves) about our mistakes. She believes that doing so actually helps us build influence and credibility with others.

As Ria says, “We all have weaknesses. We know it. Others know it. The question is, ‘Do they know that we know it?’” There’s strength that comes when we are our authentic selves and don’t cave in to the pressure of conforming to someone else’s ideals.

Another success tip Ria shared is to be intentional about your own personal growth and development. This will help you gain more leadership and influence with other people.

Intrigued? If you want to learn more, I encourage you to connect with Ria on LinkedIn. You can also read her latest book, Leadership Gems for Women, in which she shares 30 precious gems of leadership wisdom on characteristics of very successful women—and insight on how you can develop them yourself.

The Art of Intentionally Building Relationships

roberto-nickson-430885I always meet the most fascinating women through my Remarkable Women podcast. These are people I admire, and they are excellent examples of how I want to live my life. One such person is Eileen Scully, a Remarkable Woman living on the beautiful and peaceful Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  

Eileen is the founder of The Rising Tides, a global consulting firm focused on making the workplace a better environment for women. She is also the publisher of 52feminists.com, which publishes inspiring first-hand narratives by feminists from around the world and all eras and walks of life.

In our interview for my podcast, I was particularly struck by how much Eileen has been able to nurture and build relationships with some of the smartest people she could ever hope to know. In fact, in her 20+ years working in and around the research and advisory field, she has worked with and beside some great leaders—and she was lucky enough to be mentored by many of these individuals.

One of my favorite parts of our interview was hearing Eileen share her thoughts on the difference between a mentor and an advocate. Most of us probably haven’t even thought about the nuances here, but as Eileen explained, “it’s an entirely different mind shift” from one to the other.

Advocates allow for a two-way conversation, whereas mentors are usually a one-way-street. That’s why Eileen recommends that all women seek out a team of advocates who they trust and respect, and who will be brutally honest and share helpful feedback. Advocates are likely the ones who will share new opportunities or connections before you’d hear otherwise.

The best place to find these advocates is actually outside your own workplace or field. It was this team of advocates that proved most valuable to Eileen as she launched The Rising Tides. She describes her team as a “personal board of directors,” and she urges everyone to purposefully seek out their own team and start building those important relationships. 

Embracing the Stages of Life

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Have you ever stopped to think about the different stages of your life? We were all young once—we had our hopes and our whole lives ahead of us. Then we started pursuing our dreams, maybe settled down with a steady job and a family. What comes next?

My-Cherie Haley is someone who is intimately familiar with the stages of life. During my Remarkable Women podcast last year, she talked with me about the challenges she’s faced, and the insights she’s gained from acknowledging the different seasons of life.

My-Cherie seeks to live each day fully and bring her best to all she meets—something that definitely resonates with me. Also like me, she has a strong passion for inspiring others, particularly children. As the owner of a talent consulting agency and a professional model herself, she focuses on helping children and teens enter the modeling and acting world. She also coaches parents through the process. To top it off, she is a mom of two adorable children, earning a degree at St. Edwards University in Austin, and is involved in many community organizations.

Sounds like she has a lot on her plate, right? Well, one of the challenges My-Cherie related to me was that she loves to have a hand in everything, and that doesn’t often leave her time to focus on any one thing. She’s had to make tough choices.

For example, before she founded her consulting business, she worked as an artist hand-dying silk scarves. She felt like a failure when she thought about leaving that business to start her own agency. But ultimately, she realized that all of us have different roles at different times in our lives, and it’s okay to move on to something new.

Her advice: Follow your intuition. If there’s something you’re passionate about, do it. Believe that you are valuable and that you have something valuable to share with the world.

Now that My-Cherie has reached the stage in her life where she’s once again ready for that something new, she wants to focus on what she loves—and that’s working with remarkable women, doing either consulting or public speaking. For her, that clarity of focus comes from taking time for herself—Zen time, as she calls it—to think about and pray on the opportunities ahead.

My-Cherie says (and I agree) that, as women, we must learn to take care of ourselves first so that we’re mentally and physically strong to take care of our families. It’s crazy to me how women sometimes associate this mentality with selfishness. We need to break that cycle and set an example for our children and other women. If we take care of number one, then number two, three, and four will be all the better for it.

 

Be Your Own Self-Authority

Be Your Own Self Authority

What is “self-authority”? If there was a dictionary definition (and I checked—there isn’t), I think it would say something like: “Being in alignment with your true self.” For me, self-authority is the ability to take charge of my life—to go after my dreams and goals fiercely and confidently.

Earlier this year, I interviewed a woman named Cindy Battino for my Remarkable Women podcast, and she shared her wisdom and experience on being your own self-authority. Cindy is a life coach, speaker, and author who helps people to find happiness in their lives. Her business, Transformational Healing, provides clients with the resources to learn essential relationship and life skills.

Cindy was kind enough to share her own journey with me. She talked about how she realized that she had everything—a house on a huge plot of land with lots of beautiful animals—and yet she still felt she needed more. She stepped back and asked herself: “What am I looking for? Do I really need all this?” What Cindy realized is something I myself have also concluded: If “everything” is still not enough, then maybe we are focusing on the wrong things!

Cindy says there’s a healthy way to go after dreams in life, and it starts with knowing the difference between your real needs and your wants. Once you figure this out, you’re able to know what “enough” really looks like.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Constantly looking around at what everyone else has and comparing ourselves to others. Trying to fill a nameless void with the mysterious “something else.” Wouldn’t it be so much easier to define what is enough, or what equates to happiness, in our own lives? To not worry about what other people have, what they look like, what they think, what they do for a living?

We can all do this! It’s simple: Stop listening to the “white noise” of other people’s judgments, and you’ll become your own self-authority. Decide that you are enough. I promise you’ll be happier, satisfied, and more thankful for it!

Everything is an Opportunity

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Do you remember that 2008 movie, Yes Man? It’s about a down-on-his-luck loan officer (played by Jim Carrey) who promises to say “yes” to every opportunity that presents itself – no matter how silly or outlandish. Of course, Carl takes this promise to the extreme and all sorts of hijinks ensue before he ultimately realizes that he can, in fact, say “no” when he needs to.

But the overarching message of the film is a good one: When you open your mind to possibilities, everything is an opportunity.

I’m only using the movie plot as an illustration; I actually got the idea to write about this topic from a remarkable woman named Marcy Lambert-Pellegrino, whom I recently interviewed for my Remarkable Women podcast.

Marcy is the epitome of someone who sees everything as an opportunity. She owns two companies, hosts a podcast, is in the midst of writing a children’s book, and even has a TV show in the works!

In my discussion with her, Marcy mentioned how her recent move to Florida from New York City had been a challenge. She was used to the fast-paced, creative world of NYC, where new ideas and projects lit a fire under her on a regular basis. She said she missed the energy that came from collaborating frequently with other creative people.

Fortunately, Marcy is passionate about choosing a positive mindset, about having her own perspective and owning it. In fact, as a creative empath, she helps people to do that through her Facebook group (Love, Light, Energy), as well as through her businesses. This is what helped her to push through the slump that came with moving – by connecting with people all over the country who shared her same energy, and by seeing the opportunity in a difficult situation.

Next time you’re faced with something like this, follow Marcy’s sage advice. Look for the opportunity – even when you think it can’t be there. Opportunities present themselves in the unlikeliest of ways. We may find a new friendship, a key lesson, or an important insight or idea. If we expect the opportunity, we will usually find it!

Beautiful, Remarkable People

the-most-beautiful-people-we-have-known-are-those-who-have-known-defeatThere is no doubt about it. Life is hard. All kinds of daily struggles exist: health, finances, family relationships, natural disasters, etc. Sure, there is a range in degree, but for the most part, I’ve seen that everyone is dealing with SOMETHING.

The amazing thing to me is how different people respond to those struggles. Some complain about the mildest issues, and others shore up their courage and strength to weather the toughest storms.

It’s those people who struggle, dig deep, endure and thrive who are the most beautiful! They are truly remarkable women. Sometimes they don’t even realize how beautiful they are because of it. They inspire us all to step up. To care more deeply and linger a little longer.

If you know someone who’s gone through a personal struggle and come out on the other side, make sure to let them know how remarkable they are. Sometimes we don’t see that in ourselves and need someone else to point it out for us. You could send them a card out of the blue or a thoughtful gift, or just take them out for coffee. But make sure to let them know how beautiful and remarkable they are – from the inside out!

Remarkable Women Staying Healthy

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I talk a lot about being remarkable – about doing remarkable things and going for your dreams. I think we all know that drive, passion, and perseverance are essential ingredients to this type of success. But what we often forget about – myself included – is the importance of healthy living.

There’s an old saying that goes, “Without your health, you have nothing.” It may sound trite, but trust me, it’s true. It can be so easy to get caught up in our lives and ignore our health. But all the accomplishments in the world don’t matter if you’re not well enough to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

As remarkable women, we must make time for ourselves. Here are a few necessary ways I recommend incorporating health into your lifestyle:

Workspace
I’ve learned that shaping a workspace to meet our physical and physiological needs really does matter. You want a workspace that connects with your personal goals both in terms of career and a healthy lifestyle. I personally love signs of all sizes and tend to gravitate toward those with inspirational messages.

Aside from adding inspiration, you can make your workspace healthier with a few simple modifications. For instance, replace your chair with a balance ball, get a personal water cooler to remind yourself to drink eight glasses a day, or use an ergonomic keyboard.

Diet & Nutrition

When it comes to diet and nutrition, remember that you’re not aiming for perfection. There are many ways you can improve your eating habits without starving yourself or crash dieting.

For one, take time to enjoy your food; really chew every bite, and don’t eat in rushed or stressful situations. To avoid unhealthy snacking or microwaving frozen dinners, plan out nutritious meals ahead of time. If it helps, use a meal delivery service like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh.

Focus on quality of ingredients and eat organic foods whenever possible. Don’t have time to get to the grocery store? Take advantage of online grocery delivery – whatever you need to do to avoid ordering unhealthy takeout. Supplement your diet with probiotics to improve your digestion. 

If you’d like direction and support to make these changes, consider a 30 days to Healthy Living Program that one of our Remarkable Women leads.

Fitness

This is going to be a tough one to hear, but you can’t ignore physical fitness. If you don’t already, make a cardio workout part of your daily routine. A 30-minute workout is all you need to keep your heart healthy and strong. I’m not saying you have to join a fancy gym or get a personal trainer. Just find something that is convenient and enjoyable for you, whether that means going for a run in your neighborhood, swimming at the community pool, or buying a treadmill for your home.

The key to good fitness is consistency. Make it routine. This has been a tough pill for me to swallow; it’s so easy to dismiss my daily workout for any number of reasons. But I’ve realized that on the days I work out, I feel happier, I feel accomplished, and I sleep better at night.

Mental Health

Health is not just about our physical well-being. As much as we try to plan ahead and juggle all the balls of business, family, and relationships, life can still get out of control with unforeseen changes or inherently busy seasons. That’s normal. But when it feels unbalanced, we can often lose a sense of peace and perspective.

I’ve come to learn how important it is to enjoy “me time”. Giving yourself a time out is very important. That is why I don’t feel like it is selfish to take that short trip to treat myself – or do whatever it is I want to do in order to feel refreshed.

When life gets out of balance, you may also want to seek out those friendships that are fulfilling. Schedule a coffee date or long-distance phone call. Be honest about how you are feeling. Good friends tend to always have the perfect thing to say at just the right moment.

What are your go-to tips for staying healthy?