Note: I was featured recently in book blogger Laura Smith’s blog as a guest poster. Laura reviews books and blogs about them. What appears below is an excerpt from the post I wrote for her site.
My hope is that people who read Willful Evolution will find new strength in their own lives, take risks, set new goals, and reinvent themselves!
As I began to heal after the loss of my husband 10 years ago, I was a lost soul. I was in a relationship that didn’t work, and I didn’t know it. My relationship with my older daughter was broken, and I was largely at fault, and I didn’t know that either. My workout routine was unsustainable, and I did know it, yet I kept doing it.
Very quietly, and repeatedly, a little voice in my head told me I would be okay without my boyfriend, and very slowly, I started to listen. I figured out how to make myself financially secure. I changed my workout routine, and I got stronger—inside and out.
Only then was I able to repair relationships I’d damaged with friends—and most importantly, strengthen the bond with my daughter.
Then, I met a man and fell in love with him almost instantly. Yet, I knew I didn’t need a man anymore.
I believe we all have broken places in our lives and in our relationships. And I hope reading my book helps other women see themselves through me and learn how to turn their own vulnerability into strength.
I hope women of all ages start to listen to that persistent, whispering voice, and turn up the volume.
I hope they become inspired to be adventurous, take risks, travel.
And I hope they discover what it means to empathize.
So, who the heck am I?
I graduated from Westfield State College in 1985 with a degree in English and a minor in journalism, and I began a 15-year career as a journalist. I wrote for The Republican in Springfield, Massachusetts, then called the Springfield Morning Union, and I later wrote for the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton.
I interviewed mayors and police chiefs for my work as a beat reporter. I wrote feature stories about things like laser surgery—and passed out while attending one. I interviewed Bill Cosby when he came to speak at his alma mater, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. And then I became a full-time editor.
In 1998, I asked for two weeks off without pay, and I was denied. I realized I wanted more than two weeks off each year with my daughters, who were 9 and 11 at the time. So, I gave my notice, and I started a PR business called Beetle Press. I help business and organization leaders craft messaging, and I write things like press releases, blogs, annual reports, and articles for alumni magazines.
I’ve always wanted to be an author, but there was always something else to do—something more pressing than writing. Then, in 2019, while listening to my tiny-inside-my-head voice, I launched a new book development business called Janice Beetle Books; through it, I help people bring their book idea to the bookshelf—and the bookstore.
I also write my own works. My mind is full of book ideas, and I work to bring them to life as I am able. I have my first work of fiction in first draft form, along with a children’s book.
I live life to the fullest. I take time to travel and spend time in warm places in the winter months. I boat and kayak in the summer, and play with my grandchildren, enjoy my daughters, value friendships, and read and relax all year long.
And who are you?
I write a regular blog at JaniceBeetleBooks.com, and I’d love to have you visit, read some posts, and comment.
When I started listening to myself—the solid, strong part of me—I called that year my Year of Strength. My hope is that 2021 will be yours.
If someone rubs you the wrong way, tell them.
If you want to do something that frightens you, figure out the first baby steps, and take them.
If you’re unhappy in your work—or if COVID-19 cost you your job—think about what you could do to ignite your passion, then do some research. Inch forward a bit in making the idea seem like a possibility. Once you can see it, you can make it real.
Consider reading Willful Evolution to see how I got from grief to great.