Our guest today brings a lot to our discussion, not only through her career, but also because of the reason why she redirected her employment. Women are the focus of her work, and you might be surprised to learn that families, friends and work relationships all benefit and improve when women focus on their personal growth and happiness. Jennifer is laser-focused on helping women realize their contribution and self-worth.
Rooted in California’s Bay Area, Jennifer was the youngest child in a family of six and spent her childhood just trying to fit in and not stand out. She learned to remain “safe” by keeping quiet, not making waves and doing what was expected. As a result, she grew up feeling she’d lost track of her true voice.
After studying audiology, she knew she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, yet was plagued by imposter syndrome from the beginning and even after landing a job at the prestigious Ear Institute at Stanford University. She then left for a new a new program in California to screen newborns for hearing loss, which reignited her passion in that field.
That pivot lasted fifteen years. When her second child was born, the demands of motherhood collided with the demands of work, resulting in perfectionist tendencies that ultimately led to burnout.
Jennifer defines what she means by “perfectionist” and how it’s different from the common idea of someone with a perfect house or airtight schedule. For Jennifer, the inability to admit her fears and shame around those feelings increased the belief that she was the only one who couldn’t handle it all.
Her next pivot came from a realization of what she loved most in her work: the speaking, teaching and writing elements, and the concept of coaching, which encompassed all of those, came into her awareness. When coaching made a huge difference in her own life, she decided to pivot again and become a coach herself.
Today, Jennifer works with women to help them truly love and value themselves. She believes that trying to live up to imagined expectations of perfection is not only pointless, but a waste of our time that keeps us from reaching our true potential. It was a leap of faith that she is so glad she took.
Beverly talks about the value of having a firm belief in our own decisions, whether or not people in our lives agree with our decisions.
Jennifer’s clientele are mostly women who’ve grown up feeling they need others’ opinions to make decisions or feel validated. As Beverly points out, other people can’t know what we truly need, so we should learn to trust our own inner voices when making decisions about our lives. It’s important to learn to trust ourselves.
The upshot for Jennifer is that she wants women to know they are not alone in their fears and self-doubts, and that there is another way and that they can have a life they love—not just a life to put up with. Since community is so important, Jennifer started her group, The GC, for women to connect with others and see that they are not alone in this journey.
How do clients find Jennifer? She talks about the different avenues that people use to find her. The key is to just “keep showing up” where people can see and hear you. She offers an entirely confidential, non-judgmental space for women where you can feel seen and heard.
Finally, Jennifer offers her advice for anyone feeling unhappy with her life or work, whether from frustration, a sense of inadequacy and doesn’t know what to do about it.
Remember, you always have choices and the power to change your circumstances, even if you can’t see it at the moment. There are always other options and women don’t have to be stuck—they just need to be ready to make those choices.
And when women focus on themselves, they can show up as better people. And then everyone around them benefits, too.
Jennifer’s website: http://jennifersherwood.com
Facebook and Instagram: @Jennifersherwoodcoaching