When you are at a point where you know something is wrong, that you are stuck, and you think you have spent years getting on the right path, but then you find you need a time out like I did over the past few days, I took the time out, and the Universe provided so much for me to follow…a leadership retreat scheduled weeks before, a free reiki clinic at a nearby (20+ miles away) holistic venue, and I went to both, and I was back on my path with many surprises. Things change, life changes, we change, and we do need a refresher. While I read Wayne Dyer’s THE POWER OF INTENTION when it was published in 2004, I found it actually before I had the reiki session on Saturday. It caught my eye from across the shop because it was on the SALE book shelf. There was no hesitation, there was no comparison shopping, I knew this had my name on it. I spent yesterday reading it and notes totaled almost 20 pages. I really needed the refresher, and I am back on the path. WHEN IT IS TIME TO REFRESH, PAY ATTENTION, AND KEEP ON YOUR PATH WHATEVER IT MAY BE!
Yep, you read that right. AGELESS WOMEN OF WISDOM is emerging as AGELESS WOMEN EMERGING from the cocoon. Slowly, so very slowly. Change is hard. And there is no rush. We have no knowledge that I know of how caterpillars are feeling when they begin to feel different. They may like being caterpillars, they may not like it and yearn for a change. They experience many changes in their short lives, caterpillar, cocoon, chrysalis, and then WOW a butterfly. We as women know what change can feel like…
We have our dark moments, dark days, dark years, and sometimes dark lives. But a way is being made for each of us since the day of our birth and we may have no idea, but then suddenly one day, no matter if you are in your twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, or older, we wake up feeling that there has to be more, we are ready for a change. By then, we may have someone to share that feeling with, but we may not. Women participating in conversation is in our nature, it nurtures us and begins a sense of community. SHARING WISDOM across the generations is the driving force behind AGELESS WOMEN OF WISDOM.
AGELESS WOMEN OF WISDOM is poking its caterpillar head out through AGELESS WOMEN EMERGING and is edging its way around its world as it is. It knows change is coming, and it knows that no matter what the change will mean, they are ready. And there have been leaders who have experienced change before. It has been rumored in their own little worlds by those who became the leaders as they became butterflies that everyone in their world–no matter if they are a caterpillar, a cocoon or a butterfly–can choose new actions, new paths, and they can even fly. The choices are sometimes voluntary and sometimes they are not but they are choices made by those who see a new landscape, new opportunities and new options. And guess, what the environment will be for them is their choice!
Put color in your life, just like a butterfly, and begin to feel what changes you are craving because AGELESS WOMEN OF WISDOM will appear in the coming weeks!
Servant leadership, B Corporations, and courage to be different! Empower Excellence, LLC and Ageless Women. LLC is beginning the process to become a B Corporation with the concept of servant leadership. Approaching our fourth month as a registered company the State of Ohio, Ageless Women of Wisdom welcomed the departure of one of the partners which already has us in a changed legal structure. Moving forward, it is with all intent that we achieve B Corporation Certification. A B Corporation is not a plaque on the wall, it is practice in action. We will share those practices as the company develops, and Empower Excellence will also take that route forward. It is a major practice for us to not just be a leader in our field but to be the listener in our field. Listening builds and accelerates trust. Both companies are in the process of building leaders for the future. It is a promise today that Empower Excellence and Ageless Women of Wisdom will define and be responsible to our customers, our employees, our communities, our environment, and the global village. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps form a community of leaders and drive a global movement of people using business as a force for good. we are beginning with servant leadership!
Sometimes I do not wait for an invitation to speak my mind. But I have to express myself in order to be an active player and help shape the conversation and the events of the day. My words and thoughts are powerful, and it is up to me to live them in what I am doing with Empower Excellence, LLC and Ageless Women of Wisdom, LLC. Great things are coming!
“Servant Leadership” is a new buzzword phrase lately. Have you heard of it? If you have not, there are plenty of books out there about it. I am not here to give you a book list. I am not here to load you down with definitions. I feel that I have been a servant leader for most of my life: I am a servant first in whatever I do, and the leadership flows. It is a way of life for many, including me, and I can think of no other way to live and to make life better for others.
Servant Leadership is more than volunteering. I can remember my parents being totally involved in everything that had to do with volunteering at our local Catholic church. But that started and stopped their involvement; and then our home life was totally dysfunctional. That is not unusual. But it is not Servant Leadership, and, perhaps, that is what influenced me. I am also not going to list all of the servant leadership I have been involved in. It is not for me to tell you what is right for you by telling you all of the opportunities I found throughout my life.
As it turned out, my career has been all about service–that is who I am. And over the years, I realized my mission and passion–helping others to create a great money relationship for themselves and their families. Everything that Spirit put in my way walked me to today. But there is a bigger question I want to put out today. How do you walk as a Servant Leader and support your own money relationship.
As the buzzword phrase, “Servant Leadership” confuses many. Are we not, as we have been taught being in business, being entrepreneurs, supposed to make lots and lots of money. Years of abundance teaching, movies, and books leave us thinking that the dollar is the almighty goal. Well, for me, that is not true. Yes, I have goals that I am still working toward. But they are goals that will make my money relationship better, they will make my family’s life better, they will make my communities better. Yes, I did say “communities”. I have many years left to live and they will be lived in different places. As I work toward those goals as a servant leader, Spirit expects that I take care of my primary responsibility which allows me to do everything else. I must take care of me. I must, first, serve me so that I may serve others. The money and the leadership flows as I do that….
On Facebook…Empower Excellence “It’s Your Money” LIVE and More!
Seven months ago, I relocated to Oberlin, Ohio, with the intention of making The Empower Excellence Experience: Personal Sustainability a reality. As an experienced entrepreneur, I knew that it would not happen overnight. The move was first on the priority list, and it was a successful move. Getting acclimated to the community was next, and I did not get to do all I wanted to do in that respect, but I have plenty of time to continue that. My next step was to get involved with the Oberlin Business Partnership, the equivalent of a local Chamber of Commerce/Main Street. It was my way to learn the business community in one way, and I did. I was tapped to help with a new major project by the Executive Director about two months after my move. I had the ability to create blocks of volunteerism, and I did. I learned a lot about the dedication of the Executive Director. I made great strides towards the launch of the project, but I learned that the timing for me was not to the advantage of the Executive Director. She was ambitious and took on a lot of projects, but there was no management path for me as a volunteer. My time was dwindling as the Summer moved on, and my business was gelling in the new format. Now the time of the Executive Director was pressured because the project was only a little over a month off at the time, and my time was gone! The discussion occurred earlier in the Summer that she appeared to be overwhelmed. Initiatives I had taken were left unfinished on her end as the Director. And then she became ill and was not working from the Oberlin location. But no one bothered to tell me. One of the major initiatives at the beginning came alive, and I was trying to reach her so that she could take advantage of it, but she was not available. She was out ill. Being overwhelmed leads to illness. Period.
It was at this time that, because of my business commitments, I could not even attend the event. My calendar was full with no more time for meetings. The responsibility was mine to be honest and let the other volunteers take this on without me, and that was what I did. The email to the Executive Director was brief and to the point: my business and family had to come first. No response. More requests for my time followed, so I asked the question if she had received my letter withdrawing from the project. She “thought” I was only unavailable for that day. So I clarified, and there was no further response. There was a small thank you, and that was it.
Do I have regrets about any of this? Will this hurt me and my business in my new community? “No” is the answer to both questions. It will hurt me only if I allow it to hurt me.
This experience was not for the faint of heart. I became involved early and learned early on what I wanted from living in Oberlin. My active participation in the business community, my historical pattern of involvement, has changed. This is small town, and I love it. However, I am looking for balance. I have had a lifelong history of volunteerism, as a leader and a follower. I do not need that for my personal satisfaction or credentials. I am still involved in other ways in the community; that will continue. I have a role that will fit in with my life not with the needs of the others and their organizations. I am not the paid employee; I do want and need clear management as a volunteer, and I have the experience to discern when that management and leadership is missing. I know who I am. Period.
So what does this have to do with Sustainability? Everything. Know who you are and what it takes to create and maintain Sustainability in your life. Accept no less than that. When it is not working, whether it is volunteerism or other areas of your life, change it. And change it quickly. Your life and your time are precious. Put your ego aside, admit that something is not working, and move on in a path correction mode. One sure sign that a correction needs to occur is when you are feeling overwhelmed. That is not being sustainable and will lead to failure of whatever progress you may have made in your life. You will become distracted, you will eat poorly, you will begin to neglect what is yours to protect, and you will find fatigue in your thinking, in your sleeping, and in your health. Take the time to look at the situation and listen to your heart and your head: you will know what you need to do, and it is up to you to do it! So, in the words of Nike, “Just do it!”
It is a new dawn and a new day, and I am letting go of all the rules I ever grew up with today. All of the “shoulds”, “should nots”, “musts”, “must nots” will be broken today. Yes, they will. Have you ever heard of Skunk Works? “Going Skunk”? Many IT gurus like Steve Jobs believed in it and practiced it. Sending teams out in to the “desert” to test ideas. Yes, the team believed in the mission, the goals, and the cause; but there were no rules.
I am skunking it today as I am an entrepreneur, but I am going out into the desert without rules of the entrepreneur in my pocket. For many years, I was part of the public sector establishment; then for many more years, I was part of the financial sector establishment. But I was bristling to become an entrepreneur to create a friendlier money scene for clients; and I did it. I have recurring clients; I have a great reputation. I have established a regional networking organization. All of these things will go on through licensing arrangements, and selective coaching arrangements on my time schedule. But the “skunking”?
I am very accomplished in the public sector, in the private sector, and now the entrepreneurial sector. It is now time for me to go full circle following the examples of two mentors who molded my professional character. They both evolved from one location in Northeast Ohio; they both were in very different worlds; but they both really cared about people. They cared enough to follow a dream to make a county in Ohio a better place for the folks living there.
Today, I am talking with board members of a very respected local group that is involved with creating leaders. There are organizations like it throughout the country. I was a founding member of a similar group elsewhere in Northeast Ohio. I am going full circle back to the same county from where my mentors came. I am going out into the desert for an entrepreneur; many would say, a “J O B”? What are you thinking? This would not be a J O B, this would be a natural evolution to be what I am truly…a leader. I would be able to use everything I have ever learned in my professional life. Do I want this? Yes, if it is meant to be. Many know that I truly believe that we all have a passion and a mission…this may be out in the desert, but life is alive in the desert. You just have to believe and nurture it a little more. It is amazing what love and joy can do, even in a desert.
Thank you, Michael Beckwith, for this wisdom. for I have been consumed with facts from my past 40 years, and more, for the last several days. It is truly amazing to me how simple things that occurred in my 20’s are now returning to me in full force. How can people who crossed your path in the past now play such a strong role in my path today. It would be amazing if we knew then what we know now and if we would have been any different then towards the folks who remain with us forever…except we do not know that when we first meet them. I am glad I treated them with kindness then…
what is even more unnerving is that so many of these folks have transitioned…
But today is NOW. Yes, they remain with me; but, they are now looking out from their current existence at what I am doing, and where I am going. The people who crossed my path and left an impression then and are making an even greater impression now are influencing decisions I am making. Let’s just mention a few.
My father, Stanley J., had a vision of Lorain County, and I was lucky to have been taken there on day trips when I was very young. Lorain, Ohio’s main street left an impression on my father, partially because of his short time working in the steel mills of Cleveland. We would go on a sunny day for a road trip, fid places to eat ethnic food, and have a good day there. Lorain was a great town then, and it is still a great town today. Stanley J. liked ethnic places!
Many years later, newly married and living in Columbus, I worked with the Ohio Board of Regents. The most memorable people I worked with were Dr. Max J. Lerner and Dwight Diller, a cousin by marriage to Phyllis Diller. Max and Dwight worked together at Lorain County Community College where Max was the first President beginning in 1963. He was a forward thinker for Lorain County, and he brought Dwight with him to be part of the development of two-year campuses in Ohio at the Regents. I loved Dwight’s stories and Max’s quiet leadership style, more at home in Lorain than in the state government scene in Columbus. Also with this group came Karen Pritts Parker, a graduate of Lorain County Community College, as an Administrative Assistant. From what I know and have been able to ascertain with the help of the internet, Karen died at the age of 39 in Arizona, Dwight cannot be found on the internet, and Max died in 2013. But they all created a picture of Lorain County that remains with me today: leadership, education, humor, and simple beauty of a soul.
Not long after my time with the Board of Regents, with life interrupting in the form of family and the pursuit of my own education, I met J. Leonard Camera, Chairman of the Ohio House of Representatives Commerce and Labor Committee, Representative from the City of Lorain. Many look at this as my beginning in politics. But it was so far from that; I did not even now what party I was registered in. I simply applied for a “government” job, was hired, and thus began a long time in government and politics. But back to “Lenny”. He was no more than 5 feet tall, but a powerhouse labor leader from a labor town called “Lorain”. He had a dozen children–and they all left their own mark in Lorain County–and his wife, Laverne, who he called “Queenie”. And he still loved her after all of their years together. Lenny taught me about politics in Lorain, about family, and about the labor movement.
And then, I left Lorain County for Northeast Ohio, with my soon to be ex-husband. There are no mistakes. So much growth occurred in that time of my life. 1983, with a newly minted degree from Lake Erie College, two little boys, a new mortgage, a new car payment, and a divorce decree from a man who would some day become “Santa Claus”. Enough of that.
In 1983, I began an 8-year term as District Administrator for then Congressman Dennis E. Eckart, from Euclid, but whom I met in Columbus while on Lorain’s J. Leonard Camera’s House Commerce and Labor Committee staff. In 1985-1986, upon the request of the Congressman, I began the exploration of my becoming a part of Leadership Cleveland which led to the creation with Marguerite Krueger, Jim Capitan, and Gus Gehring of Leadership Lake County through the tutelage of the then executive director of Leadership Lorain County, which had just recently started their own Leadership Program. Once again, Lorain County played a mentoring role for me…while forgotten for several years.
And then in 1997, as a bank manager for then Bank One, Cleveland, I was recruited to Lorain County for a position with Premier Bank & Trust. Moving to Vermilion, I was living in the Lorain County area for the first time. While I stayed there for 7 years, moving to Cuyahoga County when my mother was terminal in a nursing home, my involvement began but was not very deep. But there I was in Lorain County, very different than when my father introduced me on our road trips to Lorain, so very different.
But the pull of Lorain County was still there. This time it was Oberlin, Ohio, and its community, its love of local food, and First Church. I loved what Oberlin was doing through the College and the Oberlin Project focused on Sustainability. I explored living there, but it was not to be until now.
I have found my intended landlord, I am back as a member of First Church, and I was ready to settle in to Oberlin to write, run my virtual coaching business, and be a part of the local community, quietly and liberally. Now it was just waiting until February of 2017 when my lease would be up on my current home. It was a plan, and God laughed and said “Oh, yeah?”
Yes, I am moving to Oberlin. Yes, I will continue my business albeit in a different format, but my attorney began working on that weeks ago long before God made his plan known….I was meant to be an active member of the Lorain County community. Now we will see how Max, Dwight, Karen, Lenny, and many more will influence my life moving forward…It took a lot of time, but they have had the time to look down and say “It is time, Jan”.