Jennifer Dawn is a business coach, public speaker, and author. She is the Owner and Founder of Jennifer Dawn Coaching & Consulting, a company the provides business coaching and consulting services to committed entrepreneurs and their teams. Dawn is also the creator of the Best Planner Ever and the author of The Joy Guide: Finding Your Joy In A World of Crap.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I was born in Kingman, Arizona, and grew up in Arizona and Nevada until age 12 when I was moved to Florida. My family moved around a lot and I had been in 13 different schools by the time I was in seventh grade. My parents were poor and abusive. Luckily, as kids, we would spend summers with our grandparents which is where I learned about work ethic and how to be a good human being. Those summers spend riding horses, swimming, and taking trips to the lake gave me the very best childhood memories. When things are pretty crappy at home it helped to have something to hold onto.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

I wish I had learned not to put a man’s needs in front of my own. I was raised with a sexually abusive father and some of my earliest memories came from meeting his needs or bad things would happen. I carried that survival mechanism into adulthood and it really shaped my relationships in a negative way. It took me many years to heal from this earlier abuse so I guess I would have loved to had realized what it had done to me a bit sooner.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

As a coach, it’s an unregulated industry so pretty much anyone can hang up a sign and call themselves a coach. I’ve also had many clients come to me with horror stories about working with other coaches that did not end so well. Even I had a terrible coaching experience from a very “high end” expensive coach and all she did was make me cry on the calls. Yuck. However, it taught me what NOT to do as a coach and I’ve never forgotten it.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

One of the darkest periods of my life was when I was working incorporate. I was the Software Division President for a $54M manufacturing firm and had discovered problems in their source code. Management didn’t want to fix them properly and being the President of the division I became the perfect scapegoat. During the same time period, I was going through a divorce from an abusive man who was stalking and terrorizing me, while caring for my three children. Add to that losing two horses within a 30-day timeframe and put me into a functional depression. I survived it by taking it one day at a time, and I hired a life coach to help me work through all the emotional “stuff”. It made all the difference. The biggest lesson I learned is that I can survive anything and I don’t have to suffer alone. Get help when you need it.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

I’d have to say working on my own mindset. Putting the power of my mind to work on solving problems instead of making excuses. The mind can always be directed no matter what limiting thoughts may come up. Strengthening my mindset muscles has been key to my success thus far.

What is your morning routine?

I usually wake up before my alarm at 5 am. I put on my workout clothes and then head to my home office upstairs. I do business development work from 5 – 7 am while everything is quiet. Then, I take a break and workout, meditate, meal prep, and take care of my kiddos. I’m usually back in my chair around 10 am and focus on clients and client work the rest of the day.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

I’d have to say taking time every day for daily planning. I have a planner company so of course, I love planning. But even for me, it can be something that’s easy to procrastinate. However, making this a daily habit has made a huge difference. Setting my intention before the day begins, lining out my priorities, and taking time for self-care are key.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

The best strategy I have is getting clear on where I want to end up before getting busy. By this I mean I always have a crystal clear vision statement I read every day before planning out where I’ll spend my time. When I know exactly where I want to go, I can line up my tasks and activities around it so I’m never wasting time or spinning my wheels. I do update my vision at least monthly as well to always make sure I’m headed in the right direction.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

I’d say a book that had a profound impact on my life was The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. I’ve read it many times and also took the online course it was so powerful. The idea of surrender is lost on most people and yet it’s crucial to living a happy and successful life. Once I understood what surrender really was, it was a game-changer for me.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

Yes, I love Tony Robbins – “Change nothing, nothing changes” and also Dolly Parton “If you don’t like the road you’re on start paving another one.”