Hi my friend. I'm Jen.
I remember 13-year-old-me laying in bed at night, at my first foster home, comforting myself to sleep with dreams of the kind of life I would someday create for myself.
Those very dreams traveled with me as I went on to live in other foster homes, with each one having its own set of rules and ways of being in the world. My desire to create the kind of life I dreamed only intensified as I got older.
I carried this energizing faith for my future with me. I went on to college and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from Augustana College. I lived abroad for a year in Spain. I was in a stable, loving relationship with my high-school sweetheart.
On the outside I was happy, but on the inside I was struggling. Suddenly, it was in my control to really get out there and create the kind of life I knew deep down I deserved. But did I really deserve it?
A negative whisper began to emerge and it sounded like every critical voice I had encountered in my years of foster care. Over time, the voice became louder and louder and analyzed and judged my every move.
[This right here my friends is called our inner critic. You know your inner critic? That voice that is relentless in the pursuit of perfection. It wants you to be your best, but does so by telling you that you are never enough.]
Despite my inner critic, I carried on, and got my Master's Degree in Administrative Leadership at Roosevelt University and worked as an educator. Over time, I felt overwhelmed by the stream of negative thoughts I was experiencing almost daily. With the structure and stability I had during my years in foster care and sequentially in college having faded, the transition of being completely on my own had become too much to bare.
To cope with it all, I began numbing my feelings. I was always on the lookout for addictive behaviors throughout my life, avoiding drugs and alcohol, because addiction was a big part of why I was taken away from my family. And yet, it crept into my life disguised by the one thing we all need to survive: food.
Fortunately, I was able to heal the part of me that was really hurting through self-growth, reflection, support, and recovery. I started to see that I create all the love and stability I need. No matter how unstable or unpredictable life was on the outside, I realized that I create the rock-solid foundation I need, by loving me, first + foremost.
As I reconnected with my inner dreamer, I thought more freely about the kind of woman I want to be, and the kind of life I want to create.
It was through really taking care of myself on the inside, that my mission into self-care was born.
With a huge leap of faith, I left a career I liked for a career I loved. In 2014, I became a Certified Professional Life Coach with the International Coach Federation approved Life Coach Institute of Orange County. Since launching my coaching practice, I now have the joy of walking alongside women (virtually!) as they create the kind of lives they envision for themselves.
Today, I share the tools I have learned from my past experiences and work as a life coach to help women take care of themselves first.
Thank you for being here. I welcome you to hang with me over on the podcast, or visit my other online home, Instagram. And while you are here, I also invite you to become part of my First + Foremost community, where you get weekly nudges, inspiration and motivation to take the very best care of you.