My childhood was not the easiest of childhoods. In fact, my story had quite a rough start, and it created a lot of trauma that I carried with me for many years. Looking back, my life could have taken a very different direction, but I adopted a mentality early on which helped shape the course of my life, and that is that nobody was coming to rescue me.
I understood this even as a young 13-year old girl. I would tell myself that what happened to me would not beat me, it would not ruin my life, and I decided back then that I would be happy despite my life not having been ideal. This is a mentality I’ve taken on well into adulthood, and one I credit for helping me get to where I am today.
Life can be hard, we can all agree on that. But we all have the choice to do, act and be who we want to. When we decide to stop waiting for someone else to save us, and we take full ownership of our lives, we become our own heroes. When we make choices that are aligned with the goals we want to achieve, and we commit to making choices that push us forward despite our circumstances or what has happened to us, we become our own heroes. When we commit to doing the necessary hard work, when we use our minds to empower us, and when we decide that where we have been is not where will end up, we become our own heroes.
Join me in this powerful and raw episode where I share my story in the hopes of showing you that you too can become your own hero.
WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER
How everything starts with a choice
Why your brain is the determining factor
How to redirect our minds when things aren’t going our way
Why our power comes from when we look within and take action
FEATURED ON THE SHOW
Hello, hello, welcome to Happy Productive episode number 32. I’m Jennifer Dawn, a business coach and founder of the Best Planner Ever. The Happy Productive podcast is your go to resource for learning how to bring awareness into your productivity, your goals and your time management practices so you can set yourself up each and every day for as much love and happiness and joy as you can possibly handle, which I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty darn good to me.
Now today we’re going to be talking about being your own hero. I wanted to title this episode, nobody’s coming people, nobody’s come in to rescue you. That sounded a bit like a downer. But it is absolutely the truth. Nobody’s coming to rescue you. You are the hero of your own story. And this is really the topic that I wanted to dive into a little bit today.
Growing up as a little girl, for those of you who may have heard some of my story, and maybe some of you are new to the podcast, and you’ve never heard, heard any of my story. And so as a little girl I was, I was exposed to a father who was a sexual predator and experienced a lot of sexual, mental, emotional abuse. I have a mother who is highly highly toxic, a deep, deep narcissist. And growing up with a mother who is a toxic narcissist and a father who is a sexual predator. He wasn’t really even my biological father, I later in life, found my biological father, I didn’t my husband did, and he didn’t want anything to do with me. So that was a nice little whack upside the head as an adult.
But I’m not sharing these things because I need people to feel sorry for me, I share these things, because I want you to know that I didn’t have a perfect life, okay. I didn’t come from money, I didn’t come from privilege, I didn’t have people handing things to me on a silver platter from a very young age, I was exposed to poverty. I remember as a kid, you know, in the lunch line at school when you had to give your number for the free lunch. And I remember I would just skip lunch on so many days, because I was so embarrassed to be one of the you know, the poor kids who had to give their number for the free lunches.
My family moved so many times that by the time I was in seventh grade, we’d actually I counted it. I remember one day with my sister sitting around, and we were counting it and I had moved 13 times by the time I was in seventh grade. And I really just kind of stopped making friends because it was just pointless one new school after another after another. And I never once recall my parents ever, you know, saying, hey, sorry, we’re fucked up messes. And we’re kind of like, you know, dragging you guys along with this. I have three little sisters. You know, never once do I ever remember them taking ownership or responsibility or even showing any kind of sympathy for what they were really doing to us.
It was it was not very kind, I think of the way I treat my children today. And you know, and I’m so grateful for the example because my parents actually taught me so many things not to do as a parent. And that’s how I flipped it around and used it to actually move myself forward. And I think a big part of the reason why I do have such amazing relationships with my three children today because of the example that was set for me of what not to do as a parent.
But anyway, I digress. I came from all these things growing up in childhood, and they were very, very difficult. And I don’t even know exactly what it is that inside of me, said, you know what, I’m not gonna let this ruin me. I’m not gonna let this steal my joy. And I remember it. Even the age of 13 years old, I’d seen a news story on the news about a woman that had had far worse sexual abuse than I had. And I remember the story, it was very sad story and how her life had just gone in a very different direction. And it was just devastating. And I remember watching that news story. And first of all, being kind of shocked, because at 13 you don’t really know, you just know things are bad, but you don’t know exactly why. It’s like when you’re younger, bad things are happening. And you don’t know exactly why, you just don’t you just know you don’t like them.
But I remember seeing her story and feeling like wow, so many of the things that happened to her happened to me too. And I just remember this resolve at 13 and thinking, I’m not going to let this ruin my life. I’m not going to let this ruin my life. And I don’t know what, I don’t know what flipped that switch in me. I really don’t. But I did somehow thank god mentally I was able to flip the switch and the switch was, you know, I’m not going to let this beat me. And I don’t care that bad things have happened. I don’t care that my life hasn’t been ideal. I’m going to go out there and I’m going to live and I’m going to be happy despite these things that happened in my life.
And, and it’s not that I look back, and it’s not that I would ever wish these things on anybody, I never would, I would never wish these things on anybody. However, when I look back, I am grateful because they, they made me tough. They made me mentally tough. Okay. It’s not that I didn’t feel I did. It’s not that I didn’t carry this abuse in this trauma with me for many years into adulthood. I did. It’s not that I didn’t have to go back and do the hard work to heal these things. I did. But I am grateful for my life because it made me the person I am today. It allowed me to have experiences which I can now carry into my, my business and I can use to help heal others. It made me mentally tough.
And when things get hard in life, and they always do, it gave me the ability to like dig in and to push through and to direct my mind, okay? This is one of the most important things here people is that we need to cultivate the ability of being able to direct our mind when things don’t go our way. And often they won’t. And are we going to you know, let our mind wreak havoc on our lives and sit around and be victims and feel sorry for ourselves and whine and complain and poor me poor me and use our minds to you know, make justifications of why my life isn’t the way that I want it to be?
Or are we going to direct our minds and start asking power questions, or looking for solutions, finding ways to get up off our asses and start taking action and moving forward in the right direction. Like this is all coming from the power of our minds and whether or not we make the choice, the choice that we have is we can either direct our minds and use it to move ourselves forward. Or we can just let our minds go wherever they need to go and create these emotional states, which put us in places where we don’t want to take action where we’re sad, we’re depressed, we’re ruled by our emotions.
And the thing is, it all starts with a choice, it all starts with a choice. I had a choice at age 13, to be able to say, you know what, those bad things happen to me too. So now I have a great excuse for why I can go out in the world and I can be a failure and I can waste my life. Or I had the choice that I can say, you know what, this isn’t going to beat me and I’m still going to go out into the world. And I’m going to do really, really good things.
One of the saving graces of my childhood was my grandparents. And so I spent nine months with my family with my parents and three months with my grandparents every summer because the parents would basically dump us at their house, which was actually was just the best thing ever. Summers with my grandparents were the thing that saved me truly, because my grandparents were such an amazing example of humanity. They were just good, good people. And they worked hard for what they had. And they didn’t waste it.
And my grandfather had a huge garden out back. And so he would grow all these amazing fruits and vegetables. And my grandmother was you know, she knew how to can and she knew how to make her own bread. And she was always preparing, you know, these really healthy meals for us. I remember that she would slip zucchini into the ground beef that she would make. I don’t even think was ground beef. I think it was ground turkey that she would make our tacos out of okay, and so I always remember seeing these little flecks of green and I would be angry as a kid. I’m like, dang it, you know, she’s slipping vegetables into my tacos. And as a kid, I didn’t really fully appreciate it.
Now I do the same thing to my children. I’ve even taken it a step further, I don’t even give them the meat anymore. We do black bean tacos, and I slip all kinds of vegetables into them. And I just I smile because she cared so much about us. She loved us so much that she was you know, always trying to like slip greens and slip goodness, you know, into our bodies. And so it chokes me up a little bit. I’m so grateful for the example, that my grandparents, you know, set for me of work ethic and not pissing away your money and taking care of your body and your health and all of these things.
And they really were my heroes. They were my heroes. And I wanted to be just like them, and I would take them with me when I had to go back into, you know, a wave for the summer and I had to go back into my home. I didn’t really like very much but I would take pieces of my grandparents with me and I wanted to be just like them and I would work hard just the way that I saw them working hard. And here’s the difference. My parents worked hard too, they did. I remember them always having more than one job as I was growing up. I had three little sisters It was my job to take care of them because my parents were working so many long hours and so it’s not that they weren’t working hard.
But they pissed away their money, they were moving us from place to place to place they could never seem to get ahead. Whereas my grandparents worked hard too, but they saved their money, they did smart things with it, they, you know, prepared meals at home, they didn’t go out and like waste their money. I never once remember my grandmother ever going out on just like a frivolous shopping spree and coming home with just bobs and hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of crap, which I remember my mother doing time and time again, just wasting their hard earned money.
And so I’m so grateful again, for those experiences, because you have two different examples of working hard. My grandparents working hard and actually getting ahead, my parents working hard and going nowhere, and constantly always having to just be in that survival mode. So anyway, thank God, I had this great example. But I learned I really wanted my grandparents right, I wanted them to rescue me. I wanted to live with my grandparents all the time. And I was never able to do that with my parents would never allow it.
And as I grew up, I wanted the men in my life right as I started dating, and then when I first got married, like I wanted the men in my life to “rescue me.” That never happened. And so then I wanted my business, right, I wanted my business to rescue me. And I love working in my business. And so it was always a safe place for me. And I thought, oh, if I could just get to these places in my business, and everything would be okay. And that would rescue me. But it never never happened. And it’s not that I didn’t achieve some success in my businesses. I did. And it’s not that I didn’t have moments in my relationships that were good. I did.
But I wasn’t at the core, like really, really happy. I wasn’t satisfied, completely satisfied. It wasn’t completely fulfilled. I was always just like driving driving to get to that next thing. And it wasn’t until my little switch flipped. And I realized, Jennifer, nobody’s coming to rescue you. Okay, grandparents couldn’t do it, even though they wanted to your past husbands (I’ve been married and divorced twice) my past husbands couldn’t do it. Even my current husband, when we first got married, we were fighting a lot. And I had to go and I had to get some help in our relationship. And I had to do a lot of healing. And he was the husband, thank goodness that it was worth doing all that healing work for. But I wanted him to rescue me. And guess what, he didn’t do that. And I always wanted my business to rescue it. Guess what, it didn’t do that.
It wasn’t until that switch. And my mind had to flip. And I had to literally and I remember the day that it happened that I had bought some tickets to a concert that I knew if I went to this concert that it was going to trigger me in bad ways. But my husband loved the band. And so he really wanted to go, and I remember talking with my therapist, and she’s like, you should not go this is not a good place for you to be. And she was absolutely right.
And so I gave the tickets up to my husband and his friend and they went to this concert. And I remember sitting home and I was all by myself and my husband and his friend were out at this concert. Of course, my brain was on fire imagining all the terrible things that were happening, which wasn’t true at all. But you know how our brains will like come up with all this nonsense. But as I sat there having to go through this, like emotional battle, something clicked. And I was like, You know what, nobody’s coming rescue you, Jennifer.
And I, I really wanted my husband, here’s what I wanted him to do. I wanted him to sacrifice going to this concert for a band that he loved, for me. I wanted him to say, you know what, Jennifer, you’re more important than me and I’m not going to go to this concert. And guess what, I’m the one who bought the tickets, right? Because we self sabotage ourselves in these ways. And so I bought the tickets. Even though deep down what I really wanted was for him to be like, no, you’re more important than going to this concert. But of course, I bought the tickets. And he was thrilled because this was a band that he wanted to see.
And so I wanted him to rescue me. And it was this awareness that I really had to get to a place of like, guess what, he’s not rescuing you. He’s going to the concert with his friend and having a wonderful time. And that was it. That simple little moment of me having to like deal with my own crap, and wake up to the fact of like, wait a second. First of all, you did this to yourself because you wanted him to rescue you. And secondly, he’s not rescuing you. And who are we waiting for here? Nobody, like we have to be our own hero. it’s up to me to rescue me. Okay, it’s up to me.
Just like for each and every one of you. It’s up to you to rescue you. You cannot look to other people, places, things in your life to rescue you. You have to look within. And when that switch flipped, look out I was so much happier afterwards because it finally started to dawn on me. Now of course I had to do a little grieving around the whole idea of people are going to rescue me and it’s not true. And I had to let a lot of that go and it was it was hard to let these things go but I let them go. And it really is what I’m letting off stuff go is what has helped me to fly to fly in life and to be free. And to not have these things be like tying me down anymore.
And that’s why I wanted to share that with you guys today is that you have to look within, you have to be your own hero. I mean, right now look at our government, like our “leaders.” And I use that term very, very loosely. And I don’t care if you’re on the right or the left, I have clients on the right and the left, I have friends on the right and the left. And people are people, I love people, okay. But this craziness that’s going on, and what are we going to do look to our leaders, like, they’re, they’re not really very good examples of leadership, we cannot look to them, we have to start looking for ourselves.
This is part of the reason why I love working with business owners, right guys, because we can create beautiful businesses and we can put good into the world and we can employ people and we can take really good care of them. And guess what we pay our damn taxes. And that money goes to, you know, paving the roads and doing good things. And this is one of the reasons why I just love being a business owner and working with business owners because we have power, even if it may not seem like it sometimes, but we do have power.
And we can’t always look to these “leaders”, which most of them are jokes, and most of them are only doing things to the benefit themselves, not the people of this country, I don’t care which side. And this is why we have to look to ourselves. What are we going to do? Are we going to look to our partner or a family or friends to save us? We can’t, we can’t do this we have again, we have to look within ourselves. And that’s where our power comes from being our own heroes stepping up, taking action, doing what we need to do in our lives.
I used to think that if I was with a man, and successful and I was successful, but I wasn’t as successful as I could have been. And I used to think oh my goodness, if I’m too successful, it’s gonna like hurt his feelings, because he’s not as successful as me. And some of this junk, of course, comes from how I was raised, but I would kind of like dumb myself down to be around other people so that they didn’t have to feel bad about themselves. And it’s not the way it’s not the way. Now I realized what I need to do is be an example, I need to be an example of what’s possible. And people can either get on board and they can step up in their own lives or not. Ultimately, it’s their choice, they get to decide, and I release all my judgments on them of whatever their choice is. But for me, I have to step up, I have to be an example of what’s possible, I have to lead my life, I have to be my own hero, and I have to stop looking for other people to do it for me. And that’s what I want to encourage you to do today.
Here we are at the beginning of a new year. I don’t know about you, but I was very ready to say goodbye 2020 and welcome in the new year. And even as we start the new year, we see so much chaos going on in the world. And we can use it to hold ourselves back. I actually know people who are sitting in their homes, watching the news all day and putting themselves into this terrified state where they’re actually afraid to go outside, they’re not living their lives. And that’s not going to be me. On the flip side, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to be safe, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to wear my mask and use my hand sanitizer. I am. It’s the socially responsible thing to do.
But it doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop living my life, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop, you know, loving and growing and helping. I’m going to make this year the best that it can be despite whatever is going on in the world. And again, it comes back to a choice. We have the choice to be powerful, or we have the choice to be weak, we have the choice to be racist, or we have the choice to not be a racist, we have the choice to be a leader, or we have the choice to be a victim. It always comes down to a choice always.
And I would really encourage each and every one of you who listen to this podcast and make the choice. To be a leader in your life this year, be your own hero, step up and do what you need to do in your life. I guarantee the pain that you feel comes from not stepping up. When you get up each and every day, and you make bad choices. And then you do things to distract yourself from all the bad choices. And we’re overeating and we’re over drinking and we’re over drugging and we’re over shopping and we’re over over overing all these different things to distract ourselves from the pain of not living in the way that we want to live. I guarantee you there’s more pain there than stepping up and doing the hard work to be who you want to be in this life.
It’s supposed to be hard, guys, that’s where the growth comes from. Think of hard things in your life where you know you had to overcome and when you did overcome you felt amazing. You felt happy, you felt proud, right? And it came from doing the hard stuff, not avoiding it, and stepping up and being your own hero is hard work, it means we’ve got to get up off the couch, right? We got to take that action, we’ve got to get clear on our vision, we got to get clear on our goals. And then we’ve got to start taking action on it every single day.
And guess what, whatever challenges you’re faced with in life, yeah, it’s gonna be hard to get through them, but use it to your own advantage, flip the hard, okay? Make it work for you. And this is where directing your brain comes in. Your brain is really the determining factor in your productivity, I’m going to tell you right now. Your brains either on, you know, being let loose, like a two year old running around the house with scissors or your brain is being directed by you. And when you direct it, you’re either asking yourself, like, how can I use this for my own advantage? How can I use this to move forward? How can I learn from this? You’re either directing your mind and using it to be productive, or you’re not. And again, it all comes back to that choice.
But I really, really encourage you to direct the mind. And this is how it all ties back. Like some of you might be like, hey, wait, I thought this was a productivity podcast? Yeah, it’s totally a productivity podcast, because your most, your most productive weapon in life is your mind. And you’re either going to use it to move yourself forward, or you’re not. And it’s your choice. And so I want you to choose. Choose productivity, but habits start in your mind. Ask those power questions. Look at your day. And when each and every day, just today, if you win today, and then tomorrow, you focus on winning tomorrow. And the next day, you focus on winning the next day, guess what it’s all going to add up.
And eventually you’re going to have one winning day after another after another after another and it slowly over time just starts to be become who you are. You show up every day in a bad mood and feeling sorry for yourself. And you do that today. And tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day, guess what, over time it starts to become who you are. And that’s not what you want for yourself. And the pain just gets bigger and you just do more to distract yourself from it. And it’s just not a good place to be. But today can be different. If you’re listening to this podcast right now, today can be different.
No more excuses. Don’t waste any more time. But right now, today, take a step, take a step in the right direction. And that step could be anything, maybe you decide, hey, I’m going to put away this bag of potato chips. Maybe you decide, hey, I’m going to get myself a planner, and I’m going to start getting organized. Maybe you decide, hey, I’m going to come join Jennifer and Productivity Boot Camp, which kicks off this Friday, and I’m going to start to learn how to make a vision of my life. And I’m going to start to overcome and learn how to get over these limiting beliefs and flip them for my benefit. I’m gonna learn how to direct my mind, okay.
All of these things, and more are all skills that we all have the ability to learn. It’s not about talent, it’s not about privilege. It’s not about wealth. It’s not about any of these things, we all have this ability to make the choice, be our own hero, direct our minds for good, use our time wisely, right. Use our productivity time to move ourselves forward, we all have this ability, and I would encourage each and every one of you to do so.
Okay, I feel like today was a little bit of a rant. We went a lot of different directions. But it’s just what I needed to say today. And if you’re listening, I so appreciate it. I know that your time is super valuable. And I hope that you take something from today and you use it to be your own hero, to reclaim your power to win the day to take action to move yourself forward, to step away from the pain to heal yourself, to let shit go and to start living the life that I know you are capable of living.
If you need help with this, I would love to be the person that that helps you take that step forward. As I mentioned, we’re kicking off Productivity Boot Camp this Friday. It’s part of our Goal Achievers membership. And this is an annual membership where we work to significantly improve every area of our lives over the course of a year and we look at it all. And we’re introducing some really fun things this year we’re going to be doing Power Challenges we’re going to be doing THRIVEs throughout the year. It’s a wonderful community of like-minded people who are all like, well everybody in this group wants to get up and like make the most of the day and blow their own damn minds this year and that’s what it’s really all about.
So if you need some help with this, just come visit me. You can check me out on my website jenniferdawncoaching.com or bestplannerever.com and you’ll find information there. Reach out to us if you need help. We all need help people okay, we all need help. I have a long list of so many people that have helped me so many teachers and mentors and coaches and energy workers and therapists and just so many people that have helped in my own healing to get me where I am today. Not to say that it’s done. We’re always evolving and learning and growing. And it’s such a beautiful thing.
But look if you need help with this, reach out and get some help. There’s no shame in it, right? It’s the people who go the furthest who actually are out there always learning and growing from others. And I would encourage you to be one of those people do don’t suffer in silence. Don’t suffer alone. Help yourself, surround yourself with some amazing people. And be your own heroes starting right now. Okay, that’s it. Thanks so much, you guys. I love each and every one of you out there and have a super Happy Productive day.