Joanne Reed is the author of This Is Your Quest – Your Mission: To Experience Happiness Along the Way. She has not made it yet to the New York Times Bestseller list and is wondering why she is being featured here, but as a storyteller, she has a lot to say. Stories teach us about life, about ourselves, and about others. She discovered the art of blogging a year ago and writes about anything that nourishes and educates the mind with a zest of philosophy, plenty of good vibes, and this little je ne sais quoi.
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 and raised on a French Island in the Indian Ocean called Réunion. It is like the French version of Hawaii. Life on the island was good and I was truly fortunate to have been born and raised in a loving family environment surrounded by my parents, my sister, lots of uncles and aunties, and tons of cousins with the beach on one side and the mountain on the other side. Those early years taught me two things: 1) family is everything and 2) immerse yourself in nature whenever you can.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
Most people play the same game i.e., Follow the Follower. Instead of following everyone else and instead of competing with everyone else: Pause – Create – Innovate.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
You often hear that your work will speak for itself and the only thing you have to do is write a great book and the rest will follow. That is a myth. Writing a great book is not enough. If you don’t put yourself out there, your work will stay in semi-obscurity. It takes great energy and effort for new authors to get visibility. New authors should be relentless in their Quest to make their work visible and accessible to a larger audience. The most surprising thing I learned about writing is that your book is not finished until it has been read.
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?
Dark periods for me equates to periods of time throughout various stages of my life where I felt out of place, lacking confidence in my ability, not having any clarity, living in a state of anxiety, and worrying about the future. Reading self-help books helped me get out of these periods and those books made me a little bit smarter and wiser.
There are two ways to learn valuable life lessons. The first method is through trial, errors, and personal experience and the second method is through books. The downside of the first method is that it will no doubt bring you a fair amount of pain and suffering, which is something that we all want to avoid as much as possible. Learning life lessons through someone else’s struggle and ordeal is a much less painful way to go about it whilst still bringing the same benefits. Words have tremendous power and energy. Well-chosen words can breathe hope into you when your spirit is broken and can make you stronger than you know.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
It depends on how you define success. It is such a fluid concept. Success means different things to different people. If success means signing a publishing contract with a publisher, I tick that box and the biggest contributor to my success would be the fact that I wrote a book that is unique. The book is written from the perspective of the reader. I act as a tour guide and take my readers with me on an epic journey through time, traveling around the world, and learning valuable lessons from my favorite authors and philosophers along the way. The whole idea of the book is to guide my readers in their Quest to find their own definition of happiness and find their own path. I couldn’t find anywhere a book that dealt with all the subjects I was interested in (i.e., money, love, and health), a book that inspired me but challenged me all the same, a book that could act as a compass when I was feeling lost, a book that could educate, heal and illuminate the mind. So, I decided that I should write such a book myself.
If you define success by being on the New York Times Bestselling list, I don’t tick that box yet! I am Work-In-Progress. I see myself more like a marathon runner and not a sprinter. Let’s do this interview again in a couple of years, shall we?
What is your morning routine?
If I had to write a book to describe my morning routine, the title would be the ‘Art of wearing different hats’.
5:30 am: wake-up and make coffee, dress-up in sports gear and put my baseball hat on ready to take my dog Louis out for a quick toilet-stroll round the block; show-up at my desk for an early morning writing session wearing my favorite author’s hat, blissfully aware about how precious this alone time is.
8:00 am: Cook healthy/high protein English breakfast whilst doing the best I can to resist eating too much carb/bread.
9:00 am: show up to my Muay Thai class wearing my protective fighter hat for some high-intensity hand-to-hand combat activity where I am practicing some kick-ass moves that make me feel like Wonder Woman.
10 am: Return home for a shower. Put author’s hat back on to do more writing till the time comes for me to swap my author’s hat with my domestic goddess hat, ready to prepare lunch, and do whatever domestic goddesses do nowadays. Wear my chauffeur’s hat a few times during the day to take my youngest daughter to places.
The rest of the day continues with me having to swap hats all the time and attend to whatever requires my undivided attention.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
I am curious about the world, about people, I am awake and aware of what’s happening, I read, I listen, I connect the dots, I pause, stay still, reflect and meditate, and when all of this is done, I have the urge to put my thoughts on paper and I write. I like to describe myself as an artist because it is more fluid and more suited to my current state of mind. Charles Bukowski says it best “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way”.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
- Write To-Do-Lists.
- Have lots of different hats to wear for different occasions.
- Wake-up, dress up, show up and do the best I can till I know better and when I know better I do better.
- Last and not least have a sense of adventure, be an explorer. Explorers are a special type of human beings. They have physical endurance, mental toughness, abundant determination, and willpower, a deep feeling of purpose, they have faith in their pursuit and live every day with the conviction of their Quest!
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho because it summarizes very well everything important you need to know to survive in this world. Mainly that a person’s only real obligation is to realize one’s Personal Legend because if you do this with courage, authenticity, and integrity everything else will fall into place. Realizing your own Personal Legend is not a selfish, ego-centric purpose that only benefits you because as Christian D Larson says, “what’s the world needs is people who can do things that are thoroughly worthwhile; people who can think great thoughts and transform such thoughts into great deeds”.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
I live by and think often of one particular quote by Maya Angelou: “Wake-up, dress-up, show-up every day, and do the best you can until you know better, and when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou was such a phenomenal woman; her life was a succession of epic adventures. I named my eldest daughter after her.