We had the good fortune of connecting with Janet McConnell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janet, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I had been in corporate life for 25 years as an educator, director of operations for 2 educational software companies and marketing manager for a technology university. Then, at the young-old age of 52, I quit corporate life cold turkey and became an entrepreneur. It was like jumping out of a plane and sewing the parachute on the way down. Worth it!!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
First of all, who quits their safe, well-paid corporate job at 52? I wasn’t ready to retire. I was tired of not being truly happy. I became so restless and dissatisfied that it was worth the risk of failure doing something completely different and a little risky for the sole purpose of discovering myself. So many notes on my keyboard had never been played.
I’ve talked to enough people in their 50s who’ve had a similar “calling to account” of how they are spending their life. I’m not the only one. What is this “calling to account?”
Questions I asked myself were: How much time do I have left in this life? Am I doing what I truly came to this earth to do? What is still in me that needs to see the light of day? What is something I bring to the world that is uniquely mine?
Toward the end of my time in corporate America, I had an annual exam and my physician was alarmed. All my numbers were bad, and I was very overweight. Stroke and heart disease were now on my horizon IF I didn’t change my ways, even though I was only 46. What a motivator! I could get healthy, or die prematurely! What screamed out in me was, “I’M TO YOUNG TO BE THIS OLD!”
I hired a trainer, lost the excess fat, gained muscle, got inspired by the sport of bodybuilding, and entered competitions. My body went through a major transformation! It was such a powerful turning point in my life! And now, 20 years later, I’m still a bodybuilder and still inspiring people to set their sights on being healthy into their old age.
I am living proof of that saying…change your body, change your life. I realized I wanted to help men and women who have put their health and wellbeing on hold for family and career. I wanted to coach them to reclaim their lives, their health, their vitality, and create people who would live better, longer.
Lessons I’ve learned along the way are that the struggle ends when gratitude begins. Fitness begins in the mind, and follows through in the body. You can create vision boards and affirmation journals, but nothing really happens until you execute the movements. I’ve learned that human nature waits for a crisis, disease or diagnosis to make their minds up to change, even though making your mind up can also happen in a space of joy. We seem to like the drama of pulling ourselves back from the jaws of destruction rather than just looking in the mirror and deciding to get after it. It’s never too late to start, until it is.
My brand is not “anti-aging.” It is pro healthy aging. I have two main statements, tag lines, if you will:
Aging is inevitable, but decay is optional.
I’m here to re-write the rules of aging.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Places to eat and drink: Buck ‘n Rider (Oysters!), Chelsea’s Kitchen (swordfish tacos), Durant’s (Steak and a dry martini); Grass Roots (Farm to Table – Angus burger with the works); Carolina’s – freshly made tamales; Valley Bar, in Downtown Phoenix – basement speak easy with cocktails named after local politicians
Places to see or hang out – depending on the season, so maybe not ALL of these places in one trip: Papago Buttes, Hole in the Rock, Camelback Mountain, Camelback Inn Spa, Biltmore Hotel, Tempe Town Lake at night, a ride on the light-rail, Desert Botanical Gardens, Sonoran Desert Museum, Old Town Scottsdale, Jerome, Saguaro National Monument, Changing Hands Bookstore, Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, wine tasting in Paige Springs area.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Well, this is a little bit like asking “which stepping stone was the one that helped you cross the stream?” There are so many little parts to this answer. May I narrow it down to two dedications? Yes? Ok.
The organization that I give great credit to is Business Networking International (BNI). This networking and referral based organization has chapters world-wide.
My Hall of Fame chapter gave me foundational understanding of how to be a successful entrepreneur. From insider business acumen to recognizing a perfect referral, I became a better professional through their foundational belief in “Giver’s Gain.”
The author who deserves recognition is Brené Brown. Her books on Courage, Vulnerability, and Leaning into Discomfort have been a mainstay of guidance through the emotional minefield of running my own successful business. She taught me that I’m not crazy during ups and downs, and that reaching out to other successful people and authentically sharing lessons learned through overcoming difficulty is incredibly empowering.
My photo was taken by David Byrd, owner of Reality Reimagined