853. From Precocious Child to Precocious Adult
It all goes back to her precocious nature. She set her sights on going to a particular prep school in Newport, R.I., because she heard people say it was a special place that would get you into a good college. And she wanted to go to a good college so she could make money─even though her mother said, “Absolutely not! We can’t afford it.” Jeannette says, “When I decided as a kid that this was something I wanted to do, I just did it. I didn’t have a sense that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I had a strong sense that, if I decided to do what I could, I’d get it.” She got a ride to the school interview, got accepted as a student, and got a big scholarship to make it all possible. And to this day she still believes she can achieve anything she sets her mind to.
Jeannette Bessinger, interfaith minister and board certified health coach, is an award-winning educator and author of multiple books featuring healthy eating. Her recipes and healthy lifestyle perspectives have been showcased in hundreds of speaking venues and media outlets, including Consumer Reports, The Washington Post, NPR and NBC News. Designer of a long running and successful hospital-based lifestyle change program and countless transformational workshops, Jeannette has helped thousands of people make lasting changes to deeply entrenched habits that no longer serve them.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Jeannette went into teaching right after college, as she had planned, and developed a theater curriculum in her first year. But she knew by her second week of teaching that she wasn’t going to stay. She found herself gravitating toward the kids in her classes that had special challenges at home and came to realize, “I’m supposed to be working directly with these kids.” With her usual precociousness, she approached a private social service agency that specialized in teenage kids in high risk situations, convinced them she could provide a program based on psychodrama and playback theater, and funded the program through a grant. “It was incredible! It stretched me in ways that I hadn’t expected and it gave me a deep level of satisfaction. But then I had a very specific reason to shift gears. My son was diagnosed pretty early on with what at the time was “Asperger’s, but now we consider it ‘on the spectrum.’ I realized that I was spending a huge amount of time with these kids who, for all kinds of different reasons, hadn’t had the parenting that they really needed…but at the expense of my own son’s parenting. And it was a big ‘aha.’” She and her husband made some job shifts and figured out a way to allow her to stay home for a little while. “What we ended up doing was we changed our entire lives to support our son in a completely different way than what we had planned. And as a result of that, he actually made really good, rapid progress, I think. And, because of the kid that he is, he did the work, but we tried to support him as much as we possibly could.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
1. There often is a big disconnect between the things that we think we want and will make us happy, and the things that actually do. At the root of it is a lack of self-awareness. As a result, many people fall into work of convenience or cultural or familial legacy, or they have an idea of something, but then when they get into that job, it’s not what they thought it would be.
2. Be prepared to recognize that you may make some wrong career choices along the way, but learn from them and take what you can from the experience to map out the next steps. Too often people get an education, start a job and then find out, “‘Oh my goodness, I hate this and that and that.’ That’s exactly what happened to me as a teacher. I had the whole thing mapped out, and then I started teaching.”
3. There are circumstances you can’t control that may affect your career choices. Take a step back and think through your decisions based on your whole self, your whole life. At times, it may be more important to make new career decisions when other priorities take precedence.
4. Find the money. If there is something you really believe in and are completely excited about, the money can often be found. Do your research and put all your enthusiasm into your pitch. Be that person with the idea that’s hard to resist.
5. Take the time to learn more about how your diet can affect many aspects of your health.
Connecting With Jeannette Bessinger
Website (coaching): www.jeannettebessinger.com
Facebook: The Clean Food Coach
Flower Fire, a Fresh Vision for Over-40 Women (private group, request to join)
Pinterest: JeannetteBessinger – life & food in Flow
Go to jeannettebessinger.com/DYT for:
The Over-40 Equalizer, a 4-day jumpstart program to quickly rebalance your fitness, food & mood
A Video and Short Quiz: The surprising truth about why you DON’T actually want to lose weight – and what you’re truly looking for!
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Careers: Author, Educator, Health Coach, Lifestyle Change, Minister / Rabbi, Starting programs for kids with special challenges at home