This week, Janelle Anderson shows us all that it is NOT what happens to you but what you DO with it that truly defines you as a person. Despite harrowing, tragic life-defining moments, Janelle lives her life full out. You’ll not see anger, bitterness, or resentment in her story. As a matter of fact, she doesn’t give the negative energy; she only states the facts. What you will see is a woman who has risen above and is fully engaged in living. This story is not one to be missed.
Janelle, a coach, speaker and author focused on helping successful and passionate women over 40 be their best selves and live their best lives, is Kuel LIfe’s 23rd woman in the ‘Share Your Story; the Women the WSJ Missed’ series.
KUELLIFE: What are you pursuing now, at this stage of your life, that surprises you or might appear to others as if it comes out of left field?
JANELLE: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about developing a personal and self-development center or community for women, all women, but especially over 40, where they can pursue the things they’ve always wanted to, but never thought they could. It may or may not be an actual physical place, but definitely a community where women are learning and growing in the areas where they feel drawn and empowered to go for it, to live full out, and create their best life now in this second half of life!
KUELLIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?
JANELLE: Every day is different for me, which is something I truly love. I’ve always thrived most when I have variety in my life, flexibility and movement, and where I am continually learning new things. A typical day would likely include attending a networking luncheon, meeting with a client or two in coaching sessions, recording a podcast episode, going to the gym for my workout class, and spending time working on my book. Some days I am leading a workshop or creating one; some days I am meeting friends for coffee or lunch or taking a break for a bike ride or walk. Often my days are spent at home in front of my computer or on the phone with clients or prospective clients. I read a lot and I am always enrolled in some sort of course to continue learning and growing. I love to contra dance!
KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?
“Sometimes I feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew”
JANELLE: Keeping all my plates spinning at once! I have a lot of different things going on, which I do love, but it can be overwhelming keeping up with it all! Sometimes I feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but I just keep going for it anyway! I struggle with keeping my house clean and staying in touch with friends. My social life is pretty slim right now.
KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
JANELLE: Without a doubt, I always come back to my “why.” Why am I doing all this? What or who is it all for? My motivation comes from an inner passion that I know I am doing what I was created to do and that before I leave this earth, I will have done everything in my power to fulfill my God-given mission and destiny. I will have played full-out, given all I have, to make a difference in this world, in someone’s life, helping women to shine their light and speak their truth, and that I will have been an inspiration for my daughter to never give up on her dreams, too. Whenever I need to motivate myself, I just remind myself of my why. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing with the time I’ve been given on this earth and I know I’ll keep doing this until I can’t.
KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
JANELLE: Take care of yourself! Get healthy and stay healthy! You can’t do anything without good health. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It’s a priority and you are worth it! You CAN live a long, vibrant, and fulfilling life, but it’s up to you to take care of yourself. Eat real food, exercise, rest, stretch, breathe, laugh, and explore! And, that includes things like massages and manicures and having fun! Pursue your passions and purpose! No matter how old you are, having a purpose in your life will keep you young!
KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
“To me, vulnerability means being real, being your real self even when you face the risk of not being accepted for who you are or for what you think.”
JANELLE: I love Brene Brown’s work on this topic! To me, vulnerability means being real, being your real self even when you face the risk of not being accepted for who you are or for what you think. Being you anyway, without shrinking back or playing small requires vulnerability. Being able to stand in uncomfortable emotions without running away or shrinking back to the comfort zone. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say is vulnerable. It takes courage to be vulnerable, to put yourself out there and to embrace your uniqueness in a world that tries to make you conform.
What makes me vulnerable? Speaking up in a group when I feel like I’m being overlooked or ignored, instead of taking the easy way out and keeping quiet. Sitting with strong, uncomfortable emotions, whether they’re mine or someone else’s, and not trying to fix them or me, but just letting the emotions be what they are. Putting myself out there with my writing and speaking and sharing from my heart and from my spiritual roots of Christianity in a world that is so polarized and divisive. Not running away from conflict but staying there in the arena to work through it even when it feels so scary.
KUELLIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
JANELLE: 1. Being drugged and raped at the age of 19. 2. Being “turned out” into prostitution by my boyfriend. 3. Praying with my mom over the phone and then being filled with God’s Spirit and knowing immediately that my life had changed forever.
KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?
JANELLE: My mom influenced me the most in my life. I was the oldest girl in the family, and I helped her a lot with my younger siblings. There were 8 of us! I saw her lose her patience and get frustrated many times over the years, trying to take care of all of us, often on her own. My dad was in the Navy and was gone quite a bit when we were young. She was an only child, raised by an alcoholic mother, and had no one to rely on except my dad. But she always pulled it together, no matter how tired or frustrated she was. She had the biggest heart of compassion of anyone I’ve ever known. She took the time to make friends even with the cashier at the grocery store or the bank teller. They all knew her by name!
As big as our family was, we were always allowed to have friends over, and no one was turned away. She always stopped what she was doing to listen when I needed to talk. I often wonder what she really wanted to be or do in her life and if she ever wished she’d had a career or pursued a passion other than raising us. If she did, I never knew about it. She seemed content just to be Mom. And she was the best! She was very empathetic and could feel what others felt. You could talk to her about anything and know she would never judge you. She never judged me, and she never gave up on me even though I gave her a lot of trouble and argued with her about everything! She always forgave me! She was my rock and my safe place. I hope I am even a little bit like her.
KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?
JANELLE: I would have to say it was from my mom. She taught me that it was up to me to teach others how to treat me. If I wanted to be treated with respect and honor, I needed to not settle for anything less in my relationships. She also always said, “The truth always comes out.” And she was right! I learned early that being honest and authentic was much better (and easier) than the opposite.
KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?
JANELLE: I’m very inspired by Lisa Nichols. Her life story is one of courage, determination, and persistence. She believed in herself and in her dreams even when it looked impossible and she couldn’t even afford diapers for her son. She never gave up and today she is a magnificent speaker, coach, entrepreneur, author, and leader. Her heart to help others achieve their dreams and become who they were meant to be shows through all that she does.
KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?
JANELLE: I am always growing and learning and becoming. I’ve come a long way, but I am not done yet! I do always say that now I finally know what I want to be when I grow up, though! And I’m doing it!
KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?
JANELLE: Lots of things! I eat healthy, exercise regularly, stretch, do yoga, take supplements and all that jazz. I meditate, pray, and journal every day. I also get regular massages, go to the chiropractor monthly, get my hair and nails done! I make time for fun like dancing (especially contra dancing), riding my bike, hiking, walking, time out with girlfriends, dates with the hubby. We try to get to the beach every year for some R&R. I visit my daughter (only child) as often as possible. I constantly read for self-development and to always be learning and growing as a person, a woman, a coach, and an entrepreneur.
KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
JANELLE: 1.Be a keynote speaker at a women’s conference. 2. Learn ballroom dancing. 3. Own a newer home with a dining room, pantry, walk-in closets, patio and big front porch, lots of light and open space and a beautiful new kitchen!