Mary Miller is the CEO of JANCOA Janitorial Services, Inc. a local certified WBE that is family-owned and operated. She is an author, professional speaker, People’s Champion, and dream manager. Mary is also an Associate Coach with Strategic Coach working with entrepreneurs at quarterly workshops in Chicago.

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

I grew up in Cincinnati, OH. I am the oldest of 6 kids born in 8 years and we all have the same parents. We went to mass every week and if you bring up an incident you would get 8 versions! This experience helped me realize that most people won’t see things the same way I do, my own family doesn’t!

I have worked hard to learn to communicate so I can help people look at life from a positive perspective. When we work toward achieving our dreams and use our talents and gifts life works much better.

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

No one knows what is better for me than myself. Not sure why I thought other people had more of the answers than I did but that has changed, I enjoy life so much more. Know yourself and trust yourself and have faith in a higher power.

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

You really don’t have to make someone else look bad or feel bad about themselves to achieve great things in life. Life is not a sporting event, our only competition is ourselves and improving that every day we breathe.

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?

The year I turned 30 my life fell apart! It started with a bankruptcy, then my second divorce, unemployment, and the finishing touch . . . an eviction notice on Christmas Eve (my rent check bounced, math error on my part!) I knew I had to do something different to get something different and I started to trust myself and take risks in myself and try living life differently. I stopped thinking other people knew better what I should do and started to lean into my faith.

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

Stopped trying to sell and started caring more about others. When I started to care more, I asked different questions, listened, and connected at deeper levels. Our business focused on eliminating the obstacles the customers experienced with our industry and helped them capture opportunities that made their job easier.

What is your morning routine?

I wake up at 5:30 am and after I feed the dog (most important) I spend 45-60 minutes in quiet mediation and prayer. Then I exercise a 2-3 mile walk or peloton for 30 minutes. This helped me get through COVID and the many changes because it is my anchor for the day.

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

Back to my morning routine! That has made the biggest impact because it helps ground me and manage my day.

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

I learned a long time ago to be clear on my strengths and build a team to handle the rest. I am a visionary and relationship person as well as the best ambassador for our company and our community. I focus on activities that build these areas and since I love doing these my days fly by and I sleep very well.

Having the right people on the team and helping them do what they love to do creates a great culture of caring and makes a big difference in the results we achieve. Our business continues to flourish, and we don’t have a “sales team”. This is how you make a difference in our life, your company, and your community.

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

I LOVE to read (actual read but also listen to audiobooks) so there have been many. I think that the two that I share most often with other is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud.

Both books really talk about the way we think about our lives and the choices we make. When we learn a different way to think it changes our feeling which changes our actions. We are always in charge of how we choose to act on our feelings.

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

Many! ?  Quotes affirm our thoughts and give power to our opinions. One of my favorites is “Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.” – Golda Meir