We had the good fortune of connecting with Wendy Jones Founder of The Optimists Journal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wendy Jones, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
Even with multiple new businesses, parenting is still my life’s greatest mission. As the mother of four, ages 20 to 13, I believe that the most important thing I have done for them is to ask the bigger questions about life that encourage them to build their own self-awareness. I have never seen them as my canvas to paint on or expected them to be anything different than what they show desire or talent to be. Parenting is an art, not a science. If it came with a manual, we may sleep a little better on certain nights, but we wouldn’t have the beautiful diversity that the next generation can give us if we let them. It doesn’t mean we don’t guide them and set rules and boundaries along the way that we have learned from our own experiences in life, but as far as needing them to be a certain type of student, or athlete, or make a specific college choice, that is not for me. The most important things about values and character can be taught, and generations of families can change and even heal difficult circumstances like the ones we have faced, by learning to express our real selves without fear of rejection.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For much of my life, I have hidden behind other people, afraid to shine or stand out from the crowd. My passion for the last 20 years has been raising four humans, being a mom surprisingly came as second nature to me and even on it’s hardest days, there is nowhere else I would rather be. But what I have noticed about life, is that the most growth comes from the painful things we encounter and that’s where The Optimists Journal was born. When my marriage of 20 years ended, I knew I had to find a way to process the pain in a healthy way. I have always been a journaler and decided to start a blog that would help my kids and others see the patterns in life and the optimism that creates the way through. They say wisdom is pattern recognition and writing helps me see those patterns clearly. I knew that I needed to create a space for more confidence, courage, and self-love in my own life and went about finding a formula to make that happen. After soul searching, I came up with the concept of Active Optimism. Too often, optimism is associated with naivety or blindness, but I zeroed in on the way that I could tap into my optimism even on the hardest days and realized that it came down to the simple things that often slip away from us in a busy life. These are the eight pillars of Active Optimism: 1. Sleep Enough 2. Hydrate Well 3. Eat Green 4. Celebrate with Music 5. Connect with Others 6. Find Faith and Gratitude 7. Just Breathe 8. Move Everyday It wasn’t easy for me to overcome my fear of shining and hearing my own voice amplified in the world. I learned to overcome it sticking to these eight pillars that built my strength and optimism one day at a time. Over the last 3 years, I have published well over a hundred blogs, stories from my life that help train an optimist’s lens. I’ve published a book of quotes called 365 Days of Optimism – Mantras for Finding Confidence, Courage & Self Love one day at a Time, and launched a subscription service through Patreon called Everyday Optimism, a daily microblog intended to highlight the simple joys in life that create an optimistic spirit. Through this time, I also became a certified Nutrition Coach and Life Coach and finished a 200-hour power yoga certification at one of my favorite places on earth, Soho Yoga in Hermosa Beach. In June, in the midst of this unprecedented time in history, I opened a facility with two incredible partners called Championship Performance Advantage, where we train athletes and people of all ages to become their best on and off the court. Here I have a physical place to offer my coaching services and connect with people with like mentality to keep my optimistic spirit growing every day. Optimism is the backbone of resilience and the way through life’s greatest challenges, and Active Optimism is the practical guide to train it. The world needs optimists now more than ever and I’m looking for connections that want to join me in this vision that unlocks the power of optimism that already lies in each one of us.
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?
I’ve only been a So Cal resident for eight years, my roots are north since I grew up in Fresno and went to Cal Poly SLO, until recently, I never felt comfortable south of the grapevine. But over the past eight years, I’ve grown to love LA for its energy, ocean, and health-centered lifestyle, and any of my NorCal friends who come to visit get a glimpse of that. I’m a homebody, so I would start by venturing “out of the bubble” at the beginning of the week so I could save the best for last. A Sunday matinee at the Pantages, hopefully with Hamilton playing, as it will be in October. After the play, we would drive west towards the ocean and end up at Paradise Cove in Malibu for sunset. I love Malibu for it’s laid back vibe and beautiful coastline that feels more remote than it is. I would definitely hit a Lakers Game at Staples, the closer the seats the better, because watching that athleticism on display is as good as it gets. Another night we would hit a concert at the Greek Theatre, maybe Old Dominion would be playing again like the last time I went…outdoor live music is another favorite. After these late-night outings, we would need to spend some time closer to home because the South Bay has so much to offer. If you hang with me around my home, you wouldn’t escape a dip in the ocean after at least a few beach volleyball games, a ride down The Strand, or a hot yoga class at Soho Yoga on Hermosa Ave. We would top it off with dinner at Terranea at sunset with that magnificent view. There is no shortage of ways to live your best life around here!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m such a believer in all of the good guys out there doing life with consistency and grit that creates a ripple effect through businesses, communities, and families that never get much credit. As a female entrepreneur, it often feels like there are so many hats to wear, so I often look to women in my life who are doing this well. There are a few of these that put wind in my sails like my friend of 23 years, Sarah Woolf who inspires me by owning her own business, Waterwise, and flying airplanes, all while raising four kids and and being a better cook and hostess than Martha Stewart. Another is my friend Chrissy Kelly who grew her own blog, Life With Greyson+Parker, after both of her boys were diagnosed with autism and is the greatest writer and advocate for her boys, and so many other kids that have superpowers, and are winding their way through the educational system. I am forever grateful to my parents who inspire me with their selfless love after 50 years of marriage. My mind has been expanded and my routine enhanced by Michael Gervais and his podcast, Finding Mastery, with the quality of interviews with the world’s best, who seek mastery of their craft and themselves. I’ve also learned a lot about leadership and confidence from my friend and business partner Chris P. Austin that has helped me learn to be bold and go after what I want in life. From the coaches in my life who have taught me about hard work and pushing through, to the yogis at Soho Yoga who taught me to breathe and that I am enough just as I am, and the tried and true friends that I know I can count on not just in the good times but when my back is against the wall – Elizabeth, Vanessa, Tom…life is about these connections and how we honor them and I’m blessed to have them in my corner.
Linkedin: Wendy Jones
Facebook: Wendy Jones. & The Optimists Journal
Youtube: Wendy Jones
Other: My newest venture, with two stellar partners, is called Championship Performance Advantage – we are a Basketball/Volleyball/Physicality & Mentality Training facility for people of all ages looking to become their best. I offer my Optimism & Resilience Coaching and Nutrition Coaching services there onsite. You can find more on this at: www.cpafacility.com
Claudia Hoag Ryan Redira