Interview #10: “Be responsible for your own happiness.”

I truly love the power of social media.  Jennifer and I went to the same high school but we lost touch the second we graduated as so many of us do.  We reconnected on Facebook and I was so inspired by pictures of her incredible life.  

Jennifer moved from our hometown of Wenatchee, Washington to Hawaii where she’s been for over 3 years.  It was always her dream and from the images she shared on Facebook it looked like a total dream come true.  But I think my favorite part about Jennifer’s story is this dream wasn’t just given to her.  In fact when her dream of living in Hawaii came true it wasn’t met with sunshine and roses.  It was met with hard work, heart ache and struggle.  This dream took blood, sweat and many tears to accomplish.  Jennifer’s transformation wasn’t as much physical as it was emotional BUT the reason I love her story so much is it was her fitness that carried her through.  

Jennifer lived in Washington with her husband and 3 kids but always saw herself living in Hawaii.  When her husband was offered a job there, nothing was going to stand in their way!  At first it was scary to move.  The cost of living in Hawaii was so incredibly high that there were many questions of how to make it work.

Once they were settled she started home schooling and took on the role of stay at home mom.  But as the kids started getting older she she started going a little stir crazy.  In Washington she had been certified in group fitness and had taught a bit but it wasn’t an all out passion.  It was just something she did.  But being in Hawaii, a stay at home mom, no new friends, a crazy high cost of living…she felt totally alone.  Her dream of living in this paradise wasn’t what she had imagined.  There was a string of low points that would have made any of us crack and run back to Washington.  But there was no way she was letting go that easily.  She was going to make it work no matter what.  

When she gained her footing she realized she needed to dig deep and that fitness was what was going to get her to her goal.  Jennifer got a job at 24 Hour Fitness right away.  And after a year of gaining momentum and several certifications, she picked up a lot more classes and was teaching all the time.  In May of 2015 she took her passion for group fitness to the next level by becoming a personal trainer and started building her clientele.  Now she has her own clients, boot camps and works with corporate clients.  Her daily routine will put anyone to shame.  

For over 2 years Jennifer has taught a class every morning at 5am, she comes home, studies (more certifications) :), then the kids wake up, she gets them ready for school, drops them off and teaches another class, then more studying, all the while prepping every single meal and snack for the family, then off to another live class or bootcamp, only to come home, eat dinner, sleep and repeats this every. single. day…  Just saying it all out loud I think gave her a glimpse into how much she’s done in such a short period of time in Hawaii.  “I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.  It’s given me a purpose in my life.”  

When Jennifer transitioned from thinking “what am I going to do?” to “THIS is what I’m going to do” everything shifted in her life.  She worked hard.  She dedicated herself to her goals.  She lived and breathed her goals.  She didn’t quit when it got hard.  She didn’t stop where there were lows.  She embraced the struggle all the while holding on to what matters most.   “When things were really low, I would always think ‘the kids have all my love, I have a roof over my head…” etc.  I always, always look at the positive and what can I be thankful for.”  To say we all need to take a lesson out of Jennifer’s playbook is an understatement.  When I get worked up I do this new trick where I look at the situation and ask myself if it will be a big deal in a year, a month or even a week.  If it’s not I have to let it go.  Jennifer learned to do the same thing.  She let go of all the negative noise and began to rely on herself to be happy.  She realized that her happiness depended on her.  Once she came to that moment of clarity her entire life changed.  Since then, her life and business has taken off! 

Jennifer is an unstoppable force.  She’s a seasoned traveler on the bumpy road of life but has come out on the other end stronger, more alive and radiates that joy wherever she goes.  I asked her what her top tips would be to the person reading this today, who might have experienced a similar rocky road.

  1. Find something that makes you happy and do that!  It is really hard to get to your goals if you’re not happy.
  2. Be responsible for your own happiness. Find it within, with self love, and be your own advocate. The faster you do that the faster you’ll be able to do whatever you want to do in life.
  3. Do not compare yourself to others.  There is a constant tug of what things look like on the outside.  But you don’t know what’s happening on the inside.  
  4. Whatever you do find - the thing that motivates you - you got a work like a freaking animal!!  There is no other way around it.  Work like you’re going to die if you stop!  

I think Jennifer is the living breathing example of that kind of work ethic.  Her dream was to raise a family and have a blissful marriage surrounded by the ocean and beaches of Hawaii.  Not one thing about this dream was made easy for her.  There was every opportunity to throw in the towel and retreat.  But she knew in her heart this was where she needed to be.  She’s made her dream come true and I am excited to watch her beautiful life continue to unfold in the paradise she created.  

Thank you for taking the time to engage in my 10th interview of inspiring women!  Please feel free to share your comments, feelings and send this to a friend you think would benefit from reading this!  If you want me to interview someone you find incredibly inspiring, I would be truly honored to meet them! This is a journey that has no parameters or rules!  Let’s have fun with it and continue to spread the message of empowerment, love and kindness - to ourselves and others!

You can follow Jennifer’s beach adventures and fitness motivation on Instagram: @GR808Jen