Do you feel stuck in a relationship, career, or any other situation that just isn’t serving you? Or maybe you’re ready for change, but you doubt your strength, feel you’re too old, or just don’t know how to change lanes.
Jennifer Crowley’s new book Ever Wish You Got Hit by a Truck? is a step-by-step guide that will inspire you to action and empower you to bring change on your own terms. Using a proven three-part process, you’ll learn how to love and reveal your true self, allow yourself to be supported mentally and physically, and prepare for your new life with practical lessons and meaningful practices to carry out your specific plan for change.
Don’t let fear, insecurities, or other people’s judgments steal your joy and keep you from living the life that you want.
Drew Appelbaum: Hey, listeners, my name is Drew Appelbaum. I’m excited to be here today with Jennifer Crowley, author of Ever Wish You Got Hit by a Truck?: A Woman’s Manual for Bravely Changing Lanes at Any Age. Jen, thank you for joining. Welcome to the Author Hour Podcast.
Jennifer Crowley: Thank you, Drew. Thank you for having me.
Drew Appelbaum: Let’s kick this off. Can you give us a rundown of your background?
Jennifer Crowley: Yeah, absolutely. I found myself in the wine industry in my very early 30s, after working in restaurants and nightclubs in my 20s. I actually learned how to bartend in college, and I always say that that may have been the most important part of my education. I made my way into the wine industry–the late nights in the bar and restaurant scene weren’t working for me–I picked up a bag as a route salesperson and absolutely hated it. Within, I’d say, about six months, I decided that selling was never going to be for me. I was really looking for something that was a little more steady.
I was fortunate enough to be suggested for an open position as a brand manager. I quickly moved to the inside with a little less rejection and a little more routine, which worked for me, and became a brand manager. I then found my way to a family-owned and operated organization in my early 30s. I just thrived there, it was fantastic. I had been married the year before. Within a year of being there at that company, I had my son.
As I crossed into my 20s and into my 30s, I found myself in this enviable position for other people. I had that life that I thought I was supposed to have. I was married, I had a son, I had this big job that very quickly turned into vice president and general manager of the organization. It was fantastic from the outside, but I began to struggle relatively quickly.
A New Direction
Drew Appelbaum: Now you made life changes a little bit later in life. Why was now the time to share these stories? Was there something incredibly inspiring to you out there? Did you have an “aha” moment? Or did enough people come up to you to say, “Hey, Jen, your story’s inspiring, I think you should tell this to everybody who will listen.”
Jennifer Crowley: When I was 45 years old I made the decision to leave the wine industry after having been in a great and enviable position for about 20 years. I decided that I needed to help other people find a way to have more fulfilled lives, and myself too while I was at it, and be a fantastic mother to my son. I stepped away and made some decisions about what I wanted to do.
In March of last year, I decided to take a life coach certification course and within weeks, just knew that I had found what I had needed to do and what I had wanted to do.
It was really fulfilling to me. Around the same time, I started writing this cathartic, interesting mashup of the things that I had contended with when I was younger, and the things that I had gone through in my 30s and 40s. I was coaching at the exact same time and little bits and pieces of this were starting to come up and the women that I was coaching were actually a lot like me.
As I told my story when they were asking questions about where I’d come from or my background, it really resonated, and things started coming together and I just decided. I am a very orderly, organized kind of person. I am a recovering perfectionist, I like to say. I needed to find a way to teach the things that I have learned on my journey, the importance of meditation and taking care of yourself, and being connected with other people, and making yourself vulnerable. I had to teach that to the women and put my story together. I learn everything by reading books, so it just made sense that I would put all of that together and create this book and put it out there.
Drew Appelbaum: Now when you had the idea of the book in your head and you said, “Okay, I’m going to put pen to paper,” a lot of authors will have these major breakthroughs and learnings, sometimes by doing research or just by digging deeper into themselves. As you mentioned, when you were looking at your own life retrospectively, did you have any major breakthroughs or learnings along your writing journey?
Jennifer Crowley: Yes, I absolutely did. I had to stop and think for a second because it’s been an interesting and amazing year. I absolutely did. The thing that I had discovered that I had never really spoken to anyone else about, was that I suffered from a pretty decent amount, a healthy amount of anxiety from the time that I was very young. I had learned to mask it so well that I didn’t even realize that I was suffering from it. It’s funny because I wrote about it in my book.
Then I had my first podcast at the beginning of this year, and I had talked with the podcast host beforehand, and we had talked a little bit about anxiety. Then the mic was on, and he asked me about how my childhood was, and I had gotten so good at masking that anxiety that I was like, “Oh, I had a great childhood, it was wonderful.” He literally had to spoon-feed me and say, “Well, we talked about.” And for the first time in my life, I said out loud at the beginning of this year, “I have anxiety, and I suffer with it now and I have in the past.”
It was really freeing. I will tell you, I have connected with a lot of people just based on the fact that I’m incredibly honest about that there are some situations that are anxiety-provoking, and I may act a certain way, or I may need a little more support. People are very open to those conversations.
Live This Amazing Life
Drew Appelbaum: Now, when you sat down to write the book as well, who in your mind were you writing this book for?
Jennifer Crowley: I was crystal clear on that. That’s such a great question. I was writing this book for other women, 40 and over, who really felt stuck where they were. Maybe it was stuck in a relationship, or a job, or a way of life, just stuck. Maybe they had to stay where they were because maybe their partner felt they should, or the people in their life, or society, or whatever it was.
I was really speaking directly to them, “Hey, you, woman 40 plus, you’re stuck and you really don’t need to be. You don’t need to be. What you want and need matters. I’m going to teach you very quickly the things you need to do to make those changes successfully and live this amazing life that you deserve to live.”
Drew Appelbaum: Do readers need to prepare themselves to start the book? Or is there anything that a reader can do to make sure they get the most out of the book before they start?
Jennifer Crowley: Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the most important things for us to recognize is that we have an inner voice that will speak to us very loudly and clearly and that is our truth. We also have this other voice, it’s kind of bossy, and it can be loud and that’s your ego. Your ego really wants for you to stay exactly where you are. Even if you are not happy, that ego says, “You’re much safer here. Change is scary and that means it’s bad.”
One of the things that I say very early on as you read the book is, if your first response is no, keep reading beyond it. If something just comes up, like raising your vibrational energy, and you just hear yourself say no on the inside, “Not for me,” you need to read that through, you need to go back and maybe reread it again to see if it resonates, because these new things that you fold into your life, those small changes create energy for the larger ones that you need to have life-affirming changes.
Drew Appelbaum: That was really interesting, what you talked about in the book that is similar to what you were just saying is that when people are feeling powerless or stuck, and they eventually go and try to tackle this problem, they tend to try to tackle it alone. Why is that?
Jennifer Crowley: I think it’s much easier to fail on your own. I think if you tell people or you openly say, “I’m going to try and do this,” you are really making yourself vulnerable, because what if you fail? If you keep it to yourself and just try you can give it a good honest try but if you fail, no one needs to know.
I feel like that’s another default mechanism. It’s just easier to quietly do that. You really need to tell people, “Hey, I need to do this and this is important. I need you to be part of my support team. I need you to make certain that I’m moving forward and you’re going to celebrate wins with me.”
The more you can gather those people to you, the more they will help hold you accountable, they will help you celebrate, which is incredibly important when you’re making changes. Your body and your mind need to know, “Hey, I’m taking these little steps and it’s working, so we’re going to celebrate, and oh, okay, now I’m ready to try something else.” Maybe it’s a little harder because I know I’ve already been successful so I can keep going.
Behind the Mask
Drew Appelbaum: Now when you made these changes in your life, you left a career after 20 years, you were going through a divorce, and all this started around the age of 39. Did you go at it alone? Or did you reach out for help? Are you learning from your own either successes or mistakes?
Jennifer Crowley: Yes, I absolutely had to learn from my own mistakes. I actually start the introduction of my book by saying, “Look, I did this.” As I was approaching my 40s, I completely and totally shut everyone out. I was so used to being perfect, successful, all of these other things, having the career and the marriage and the motherhood and all of it together. I looked good. I looked like I was put together.
As I really started feeling like I was falling apart on the inside, I put on a mask with my closest friends, I put on a suit of armor at work so that no one could see what was actually happening behind closed doors. I did exactly what I tell everyone else not to do. I suffered through it.
I don’t want other women to suffer the way that I did. I put that front and center. This was my biggest mistake. Now let’s learn from it.
Drew Appelbaum: From your own experiences and from the women that you coach, what are some of the biggest challenges that someone can face when they plan on making this change?
Jennifer Crowley: It’s a good question. I’m taking a deep breath. I’m just trying to think.
Drew Appelbaum: Sure, take your time.
Jennifer Crowley: Yeah, no, absolutely. The biggest challenge when you’re trying to make a change is unfortunately, there are people around you with their best intentions. A lot of them have their own fear or their own idea of what your life should be like. At times when you are making a significant change that doesn’t seem to line up with everyone else’s expectations, those people who are members of your support squad, can at times be your detractors, and you have to be cognizant of that, you have to be aware. You just need to open your eyes.
I think when you’re beginning to make a change, the most important thing you can do is find other people who either have done what you want to do, or are currently in the midst of making the same changes, and you need to create an extra layer of community with those types of people.
Drew Appelbaum: Do you think it’s harder for women specifically to accept support through these life changes?
Jennifer Crowley: I do. Especially now. There was this great commercial for a perfume company in, I want to say maybe it was the 70s, the 80s, it was essentially where you can bring home the bacon, you can fry it up in the pan, and then you could never forget that your man is he a man. I feel like we have been given all of these pictures and all of these role models and we’re supposed to just do all these things seamlessly.
Not being a man, I can’t speak to the pressures that men feel, but I really feel this generation is feeling the heat. I can remember being in that position and thinking, “It’s only me. Everyone else can do all of this. Everyone else can work ridiculous amounts of hours, feel guilty about being a mom and not being there enough, feel guilty that they are not supporting the marriage enough, all of these things. Everyone else can do it. I’m the only one.” And that’s scary.
Drew Appelbaum: Yeah, it’s very scary. In the book itself and in your method, you break down the book into a three-part transformation process. Can you talk about those parts, and maybe a little about what each one entails?
Jennifer Crowley: Yeah, absolutely. Three is my favorite number, by the way, it is the smallest number that creates a pattern. It’s something I’ve always used before I even realized the power that it had. As I was taking walks last summer to get in touch with my inner voice, which really helped me throughout this process, it needed to be in three parts.
That first part needed to be inspiration. Here’s where I would tell my story and also show how the lessons and practices that I would be learning in the second part, which was preparation, came about and how they made positive changes in my life.
Being inspired is an amazing thing. It really allows people to push themselves so much further than they would have if they were not inspired. It helps them set loftier goals. I really felt like inspiration was a great place to start. I wanted people to know, “Hey, I’ve been through this, this is why I’m talking to you about it.” Then I felt like, before you make a major change, you need to be properly prepared.
As we move into preparation, there are six specific steps that I’ve laid out. I liken them to a staircase, a massive staircase. You’ve got these steps that you need to climb and traverse before you can keep moving forward. In preparation, we start with something very simple. We start with self-love. We talk about journaling, we move on to building a base of health and well-being with how you eat, sleep, drink, you know, very basic simple things. Then we begin to talk about gratitude and its importance. Optimism and positivity–we talk about the law of attraction. We talk about your need to be connected with the people around you. All of these things that you need to do which really take you from, here you need to make changes, let’s slowly but surely build, and build until you have this really healthy base before you go on to part three, which is your plan for change.
In part three, we basically talk about the what, why, and how of your change so you’re super clear, you know exactly what you need to do. You’ve got your motivation, you know why. We decide on what is the best way to go about this change that’s going to work for you and you alone. These things are incredibly important.
Then you need to grab your support group, which has joined you at the end of preparation. They’ll continue to help you as you move along. We talk about smart goals so that you build goals with accountability that are time-dependent.
Then the last chapter really talks about how you need to stay focused until you hit your finish line, and here are all of the things that you need to do. Your support group comes even closer. Anything that’s going to distract you gets pushed away. You begin to act as if you’ve already made your change. You put all of these different things together until you take your final steps and make your change.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, I also like that in the book, you dove into imposter syndrome, which is really interesting, because a lot of authors themselves get imposter syndrome. A lot of first-time authors especially say, “Why am I the authority on this?”
I’d to ask you, did you have imposter syndrome, one, while writing the book, and two, while becoming a life coach and mentoring other women through life’s journey?
Jennifer Crowley: Absolutely. I have been an imposter for a very long time. I think around the same time that everything started falling apart, probably as I crossed over into my 40s when things got truly difficult, imposter syndrome really flared up. I said before that I’m a perfectionist, and that is one facet of imposter syndrome. It’s definitely something that I suffered with. As I began to write the book, I absolutely had those same fears and thoughts, “Why am I the person to do this?”
It’s something that happens anywhere between 70 to 80% of people, at least in the United States, suffer from this at some point or another. The magical and fantastic thing about doing the research for this book is that I found another woman’s work. Her name is Dr. Valerie Young, she wrote this fantastic book called, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women. Reading that book, really helped me understand that I was not alone. It put a face on a lot of those doubts and fears and really helped me to move forward. I will tell you that almost every woman that I work with suffers from imposter syndrome. It just rears its ugly head in different ways for different people.
Empowered to Change
Drew Appelbaum: What impact do you hope the book will have on readers? What steps do you hope that a reader will take immediately when they put that book down?
Jennifer Crowley: The impact is that I want for them to feel empowered. I want for them to feel like I have given them everything that they need to make a change, that they feel fully prepared, that they start by being inspired, that they have all the steps that they need to take, and that I’ve given them a blueprint. Once they start reading, I want for them to be like, “Whoa, it’s go time.” Because once you’re into chapter four, and you get past the inspiration into preparation, it truly is. About halfway through the chapter, we are talking about, “Here are the steps that you need to take to journal and to do it well if you don’t already know how to do it.”
Every single chapter is going to be like that. They’re going to be doing the work along the way. I want for them to feel when they close that book that, “I have learned an incredible amount, I have built this amazing healthy base that I should carry with me or attempt to balance and be healthy for the rest of my life.” That they have the ability to make changes, and I hope that they have gathered a community around them that will continue to support them through whatever it is they need to do.
Drew Appelbaum: Well, Jen, we just touched on the surface of the book here, but I want to say that writing a book that is going to help women transform and make purposeful change is no small feat. Congratulations on having your new book published.
Jennifer Crowley: Thank you, Drew. I appreciate that. This is the most amazing year of my entire life. I never thought at the age of 48 that I would be sitting here and having conversations in podcasts with people like you and really trying to get the word out. I am excited and I cannot wait to change someone’s life.
Drew Appelbaum: Jen, it’s been a pleasure. I’m excited for people to check out the book. Everyone, the book is called Ever Wish You Got Hit by a Truck? You can find it on Amazon. Jen besides checking out the book, is there somewhere else where people can connect with you?
Jennifer Crowley: Yeah, absolutely. You can go to my website which’s changeablecoaching.com. I’m also on LinkedIn as Jennifer Crowley.
Drew Appelbaum: Great, well Jen, thank you so much for giving us some of your time today, and wishing you the best of luck with your new book.
Jennifer Crowley: Thank you, Drew.