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Life & Work with Janet McConnell of Scottsdale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Janet McConnell.

Hi Janet, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
As a young adult, I entered the career world as a middle school teacher. Looking back, I have 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, fourteen years ago, 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!! Who quits their safe, well-paid corporate job at 52? I wasn’t ready to retire. And I was tired of not being truly happy. I became so restless and dissatisfied that it was worth the risk of failure to do something completely different and a little risky to discover 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” about how they are spending their lives; I’m not the only one. What is this “calling to account?”

I asked myself: 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 physical 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 too 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 inspiring people to set their sights on being healthy in their old age. I am living proof of that saying, change your body and life. I realized I wanted to help men and women who have put their health and well-being on hold for family and careers. I wanted to coach them to reclaim their lives, health, and vitality and create people who would live better and longer.

Lessons I’ve learned along the way are that the struggle ends when gratitude begins. Fitness begins in mind and follows through in the body. You can create vision boards and affirmation journals, but nothing 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 the 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 rewrite the rules of aging.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been smooth?
An entrepreneur, sure, but fitness is often associated with the younger set. It’s not very common to be a personal fitness trainer in your 60s. I am leading a movement to change that. With our aging Gen X and Boomer population, I’ve found my tribe. People my age want to feel good in their skin and be strong enough to do the things that give them joy, whether it’s travel, adventure, a good game of golf, or tussling with grandchildren as long as possible. It’s not so much about a “beach body” anymore. They witness the aging experience by watching their parents and knowing they may want a different experience that extends their “health line” to last as long as their “lifeline.”

The struggle is an interesting word because it felt more like finding my stride and getting clear on what I am here to do. Well-meaning people will suggest what else I should be doing, like online training, buying and running a gym, and getting sidelined into MLMs or selling merchandise. So much success, I believe, is knowing yourself well and owning your preferences. That gets easier the older. You get. I’ve tried divergent paths in the fitness industry and keep returning to what I love. One-to-one, physically present fitness training, writing about healthy longevity, and inspirational public speaking. Struggle diminishes once you grab hold of what gives you joy and fulfillment. Knowing your true gifts drives your choices.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
This year I’m proud of my new book being published next month! It’s called “Elements of Aging Well: My Journey So Far.” I started out writing about exercise and healthy nutrition. As I got into it, I realized there are thousands of books from all kinds of experts on weight loss. I didn’t want to be just another one like all the others. I thought about a healthy longevity book I’d like to buy and read. I would want to read about the wisdom along the way and the winning mindset I’d need to foster to become built to last.

I wrote about resilience, with its power over time. Perspective means everything when you are going through a rough patch. Look at what you’ve already survived, overcome, and conquered in your past! I wrote about standing your ground It the importance of setting clear and sustainable boundaries so that you take care of your own needs and priorities. That is the best way to ensure you have enough energy and grace to give to others who are important to you. Sidelining your need to create, thrive, and rest can leave you feeling exhausted, ignored, and resentful. And I wrote about how to set yourself up for success by examining habits that no longer serve you and how to create new habits that can be sustained for your own well-being. I feel like I’m just getting started! It’s time to start writing my next book. Stay tuned!

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
The pandemic of 2020 created a pause in everything. It allowed me to examine my choices and expand on what I wanted to do next. I came out on the other side with a website, a brand, a book, and a more refined niche in my training business. There was more downtime for thinking, journaling, meditating, and contemplating what I was doing with my life. The other more broad lesson that everyone must know is that old age is not for sissies! Proper nutrition, healthy exercise, and consistent rest and recovery are possible at any age. Surviving a global health challenge in a vulnerable age group is no joke. No demographics suffered more than the elderly and the obese. Our collective lesson is: to manage your health and take care of your body so that you have the resilience and healthy immunities to give you a fighting chance.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Bodybuilding photos David Byrd https://realityreimagined.com and Portrait photos Everardo Keeme https://everardokeeme.com

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