This week’s Featured Woman is Jane Bleustein, a dynamic and entertaining speaker and award winning author. Dr. Jane Bluestein offers seminars on positive, win-win relationships, motivating kids, and self-care worldwide. She’s an educator and award winning author of 19 books. She has appeared internationally as a speaker and talk-show guest, including several appearances on CNN, National Public Radio, and The Oprah Winfrey Show!
We often find ourselves moving in the same space inspired by our love for equipping people, our passion for writing, and coffee!
Don’t Miss–>Her newest book, “The Perfection Deception: Why trying to Be Perfect is Sabotaging Your Relationships, Making You Sick, and Holding Your Happiness Hostage” is so outstandingly eye-opening and important for women to read, I wanted you to meet her!
The Perfection Deception: Why Striving to Be Perfect Is Sabotaging Your Relationships, Making You Sick, and Holding Your Happiness Hostage * $15.95
Over the years, Jane has seen the toxic and corrosive effects of perfectionism on people’s thinking, their bodies, their relationships, their work, and their sense of worth. Through personal interviews and the latest research, Dr. Bluestein explores how our culture fuels the dysfunction, how perfectionism develops, and how it can hurt our physical, mental and social well-being. She provides practical strategies for moving toward authenticity and wholeness to live with confidence, self-fulfillment, and happiness.
If you’ve ever listened to that inner critique that screams “failure” or “fraud,” or shut out other people and pleasures, or you feel happiness eludes you, Dr. Bluestein can untangle those feelings. Perfectionism prevents us from saying ‘no’ to others. demands and makes us “too busy” to pursue our own dreams and goals. What’s stopping you?
1) What exactly is your business and what made you get started?
I run a resource and consulting firm with training and materials primarily devoted to helping parents, educators, and mental health professionals.
I came out of an inner-city classroom and started working with beginning teachers running a graduate intern program for our local university in 1980. They needed materials I couldn’t find, so I started writing books that would help them. (What else does one do in this situation?) Although initially self-published, my book was soon picked up by a publisher and since then, 18 other books followed for a number of different publishers.
In the meantime, I started presenting locally and at national conferences. Word spread and I started speaking to teachers and parents in other schools and districts, eventually expanding my training seminar territory to international locations. Technological developments have added website design, administration, and maintenance to my duties, as well as podcasting, blogging, social media, producing an online newsletter, and most recently, ePublishing. The business is constantly evolving and there is always something new to learn and explore, so even as I slide into what most people consider “retirement years,” I’m just as excited about the work as I was when I first started out.
2) What one thing do you do every day to move yourself forward and stay focused? Where do you find your inspiration?
Every day is different, so I don’t have specific routines for moving forward and staying focused. I have a ridiculous to-do list that anchors my intentions and helps me decide on my priorities for a given day or week, but more often than not, I’m simply responding to a request from someone or doing the things I happen to remember.
Inspirations have come from observed or reported needs from the populations I serve, from interactions with others who help me process or point out possibilities, and sometimes from sheer intuition, a flash of an idea that hits me, often as I’m walking, swimming, or just about to fall asleep—sometimes just out of the blue.
3) What do you do regularly to take care of yourself?
Body work is essential for me. Travel and trainings are physically demanding—more so as I’ve gotten older—and time at home usually involves a massage or two, plus visits to my chiropractor and acupuncturist. Regular exercise helps, although this is not my default inclination and seems to be especially difficult for me when I’m crunching a deadline or spending a lot of time on the road.
My work can take over my life. Even with the most supportive partner, weeks of 14-hour days—not to mention being on the road for up to 60% of the year at one time—can put a strain on a relationship. I have cut back on work and committed to stop working at dinnertime and devote my evenings (at least!) to spending time with my husband. I also need time to meet friends for a meal, a movie, or a book group discussion, as well as time to relax with a book that isn’t related to work or engage in one of a number of crafts and hobbies I enjoy.
4) How do you keep yourself emotionally balanced while you are pushing forward?
Unfortunately, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed and discouraged at times. I’ve started noticing my tendency to over-commit and take on more than I can reasonably accomplish, so I’m getting a little more selective about the requests, invitations, and ideas that truly deserve a commitment of my time, energy, and spirit. That’s a start.
In the meantime, I find journaling provides the best outlet for me to process what’s going on in my life (and in my head), and to access the insights and priorities that often emerge from this activity. I also have a number of friends who have been on this journey with me since I started this work whom I can seek out as a sounding board, mentor, or reality check as needed. And occasionally breaking up the work with physical activity or non-work-related pursuits help me maintain some semblance of sanity!
5) What’s the best part and the worst part of your job?
The best part is kind of a toss-up between the opportunity to connect with people when I’m doing trainings or interviews, and the creativity that has allowed (required?) me to grow and expand my skills into new topics and technologies. I never get bored, and even when I’m doing back-to-back seminars on the same topic for different audiences, no two days are alike. An invitation to speak or an order for products is always a cause for celebration, and I never know when those are going to show up, so the surprise element is pretty awesome.
By the same token, this inconsistency, never knowing when my phone is going to ring or when the next big order is going to come in has, at times, been a major source of anxiety for me. Fortunately, there are always plenty of things to distract me, new ideas and products to develop, and I’ve come to appreciate this “down time” tremendously.
Learning to trust that things will continue to work out has been a challenge. Because of the nature of the work I do, I don’t often see “results” or know that I’m having an impact, so a lot of the work I do, whether writing or presenting, is done on faith, just hoping that someone on the other end is getting something positive out of it. The other “worst part” is trying to keep on top of all the details and paperwork.
6) What failure taught you the most and what was it?
I think it’s been more like a lot of little failures—mistakes or disappointments, an inquiry about a job that ended up going to someone else, a book proposal that was rejected, wishing I’d said something in a workshop or interview, or missing an important appointment because I was just too overloaded to remember it was on the schedule.
Each of these experiences offered me opportunities to reflect and revise, but there was always a chance for learning and growth. Sometimes the learning came in the realization that sometimes things happen—or don’t happen—to make space for other, better things to come along. Learning to separate being a failure from the simple need to do things differently relieves me of a lot of the shame and paralysis that would otherwise keep me from moving forward. So the best learning is that there really is no failure. It’s all just learning.
7) If you had to do something different, what would that be?
There were certainly a few investments that did not pay off, whether it was technology that wasn’t right for my needs, a service that overcharged us, committing to a project that really didn’t deserve my time, or agreeing to discount my work when saying “no” would have been a better option. I would like to think I’m finally developing a bit of discretion that will help restrain my tendency to over-commit or rationalize agreeing to unsatisfying or exhausting work.
I’m also getting better at delegating and hiring people to do some of the work I used to do, or assume I had to do on my own. I’m realizing that it’s OK to let other people manage challenging computer programming, audio or video editing processes, eBook conversions, or accounting, for example. When I stopped trying to do it all myself, I could devote more time, talent, and energy to what I do best—developing content and resources that can help people.
8) If you had advice to give to someone else who was thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, what would that be?
Although I suppose this might vary depending on the type of work involved, I believe that certain personal qualities are essential. For example, I don’t think I appreciated the importance of flexibility and faith until I went off on my own. Resilience also helps—the ability to simply bounce back from rejection or long stretches of time spent on projects that don’t end up going anywhere. (Projects that fall flat or fizzle out may turn into something else, so creativity and an ability to look at things from different angles will be a plus). My journey has required more persistence than I would have thought possible, as well as a willingness to work incredibly hard, put in long hours, wear lots of different hats, and live with a great deal of uncertainty at times.
Work out where you need help and what’s really on you, and then pursue, learn, or do what you need to in a way that fits who you are and where you want to go. I’ve always been somewhat suspicious of people who charge thousands of dollars to tell you how they achieved their success, because their skills, passions, personalities, and objectives may not be relevant for anyone besides them. Pay attention to your inner guidance and trust that voice that lets you know when things are right or wrong for you.
That said, there were a lot of things I did not know or know how to do when I started, so building a network of folks who were a step or two ahead of me was made it possible for me to set up basic bookkeeping and invoicing, or learn the software I needed to manage inventory, develop websites, create audio and video resources, or design print material, for example. Take classes or treat friends to dinner in exchange for advice in their areas of expertise. Learn from setbacks and from things that don’t work out as planned, and be gentle with yourself when things go wrong.
9) What did you have to overcome personally to be able to do what you do?
Lots of old, limiting beliefs and lots of fear and scarcity thinking. I love learning new things and have a pretty good sense of my ability to grow in different directions. But there were a lot of “I can’t” messages, issues of deservingness, and nagging doubts about the financial viability of being on my own that needed to be addressed. This required some deep digging and a bit of help. Clearing out “old stuff” was tedious and downright painful at times, but I really needed to get out of my own way and create space for a bigger, more abundant vision.
10) Any last parting words?
Take care of your body and spirit. Be willing to change directions, back up, and start over, but keep moving forward no matter what.
BLOG: http://janebluestein.com/about/janes-blog/ (or see website)
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