Jennifer Macaluso Gilmore
Founder, Something Different for Women, LLC
For the past eight years Jennifer has taught her ‘Something Different For Women’ courses in New York City as well as women around the globe, from Miami to Denver, Toronto to Copenhagen, Dubai to Malaysia. Combining psychotherapy, women’s studies, addiction and co-dependence trainings, goal setting, quantum physics, the powers of consciousness and eastern philosophy, Jennifer READ MORE »
Q: Please share with us the story of how your professional journey began and has brought you to where you are today.
A: Well when I was in my late teens and early twenties I was really unhappy. I was struggling in every area of my life so I started doing a lot of work on myself. Out of sheer desperation, I literally became a self help junkie! All that work, coupled with the experiences of living through several major losses, eventually paid off. My life started to positively transform. I was truly happy, at peace with myself, allowed in a great guy and started earning good money doing work I always wanted to do! I was suddenly living this charmed life. Even so, a lot of women I knew were still struggling in one or more areas of their lives. Knowing things could be different for them, I wanted to share what I had learned for myself. I felt compelled to help others because I knew first hand that if I could change everything in my life for the better, anyone could!
Slowly it became very clear to me that women everywhere, not just me, needed life tools to make the things they wanted most, happen. The teachings we all need most; how to realize your dreams, value yourself, find work you love, amass savings instead of debt, create healthy relationships, etc., they don’t teach us in school! So, that’s what I do now; teach any woman in need and interested, the tools necessary for living out their dreams. I love it too!
Q: Who is a leader that you have great respect for and why?
A: Without question, Oprah Winfrey. I’m sure there are others, still, she always pops into my mind first and for so many reasons. I think she’s living her life in service to others, women specifically, and I both admire and appreciate that greatly. She’s very human too, able to share her vulnerabilities along with her strengths and to me, that’s what I feel makes a great leader; someone who can share their humanity and still lead others by showing everyone that with your flaws and all, you can still live an amazing and exemplary life.
Q: I love the quote “the bigger the vision, the smaller the first step”. Right now, what is the big vision you have for your career?
A: To help more women globally. I love what I do however because I’ve been focused on having my children these past five years, I have not yet had the time to take my work to more women… especially to more women in remote places. I think that’s certainly what I feel called to do and what will be next for me.
Q: A great negotiation can be game changing for one’s business or life. Studies have shown that men are much more comfortable negotiating and asking for what they want compared to women. What’s your advice to women who are uncomfortable negotiating?
A: Go for it! The only way we women will ever get better at this and catch up to men (who by the way are only more comfortable with it because they’ve been doing it way longer!) is by going for it, taking the risk…and then feeling good about the fact that we did it, period. Of course then afterwards, always learn from what you later realize you could have done differently or better. Progress is what we need, not perfection.
Q: Many people become discontent with their current career yet are too afraid or reluctant to make a change. What’s your best advice for women in this situation?
A: Educate yourself. Knowledge is power! At first, you are right to be afraid or reluctant… you don’t know what changing your career to something else, something new would look like! When I work with women on career transition I never encourage anyone to up and leave their job. It’s their income, their reputation, their livelihood. To see all the possibilities of what’s next and then get to a place of knowing what’s going to be most rewarding or most positive as a next career is a process. When you honor that process, take your time and learn everything you need to along the way, you start seeing not only how doable making this change is but also how positive and exciting the whole journey can be! Then it won’t feel difficult or scary like it might have originally seemed.
Q: What do you think is the key to happiness?
A: Well, I think there are several major keys to happiness. One is your thoughts. They create everything, however unfortunately, most people are completely unaware of what they think all day long! Another, as a result of your thoughts, is where you put your attention in your daily life. So, if you focus on all the good in this world and all of the positive possibilities in your life, you will see a lot of good and as a result, feel happy. Additionally, if you focus on doing something with your life that you’re passionate about and that helps others, you will also experience happiness from that. A last thing I always like to remind clients is that happiness is a choice. You have to choose it for yourself. You have to choose to be happy despite circumstances, people or situations in your life. Otherwise, it may never be yours.
Q: Life is full of setbacks. Can you share an experience of one, and how you were able to bounce back?
A: When I was 26 I lost my mother, my best friend and my singing teacher of ten years who was like a second mother to me… all within four months of each other. I then lost my Dad two weeks before I found out I was pregnant with my first child at 33. In these trying times I reminded myself repeatedly of a couple of very comforting beliefs I have which allowed me to bounce back rather quickly:
1). We’re all stronger than we give ourselves credit for… so if I couldn’t handle what I was experiencing, I wouldn’t be experiencing it to begin with!
2). Everything happens for a reason… so there’s some lesson, some gift found in each setback if I’m willing to look for it, see it and allow it to propel me forward again in positive ways I can’t even yet imagine for myself.
3). We are never alone. The universe is always on our side… so whenever I ask for guidance, when any of us ask for guidance, we are given it.
Had these intense losses not been a part of my life’s journey I would probably not have been able to help women the way I have and do. So, I am grateful for it all, the good and the setbacks!
Q: How do you overcome feelings of insecurity, fear or discomfort when deciding to take a risk?
A: I remind myself that I’m human and that everyone at some point in their personal life or professional career feels insecure, fearful and experiences discomfort. It’s normal! Therefore, I also remind myself that I don’t have to feel “great” to do something. I just have to do it…despite how I feel. That’s how we all grow and progress. It’s something I teach too; that if we’re always waiting to feel the exact right feelings, feel secure enough, brave enough, comfortable enough, etc., we might never do anything!!!
ON Self Care
Q: Online calendars, emailing ourselves, post-it notes… I’m still struggling to find the best way to manage my time and to do list? What’s your method?
A: My clients will all know the answer to this one because I talk about it endlessly! I prioritize. That’s it.
The world we live in today is crazy…and never stops moving. If you buy into it all; that everything is so urgent, necessary, important, you’ll always feel anxious and behind. I tell my clients “You can accomplish a lot of great things but not all at once!” So I prioritize daily or weekly by working off of an updated list of my goals. I go back to it as often as I need to to see what’s time sensitive…because I want to achieve them all! The rest of the stuff that comes across my desk and into my life (non goal related) is mostly unimportant. I remember that. Then, by staying focused on my own goals, if there’s anything with a deadline, it’s first. Having children was a big goal of mine and it’s time sensitive so that was a top priority for me. From there I go to what else on my list must happen for my own well being or the well being of my family and clients. Everything else can wait. If it doesn’t interfere with someone’s breathing, it’s not that important! I have an amazing marriage, two healthy, happy kids and a thriving little boutique business at this stage of my life. Could I have a bigger, more successful business by now? Certainly! I could have said yes to offers I’ve had to write a book and do a T.V. show, but they weren’t priorities for me at this stage of my life. They’re not time sensitive. I can do those when I’m older. Most importantly, if I said yes to everything and didn’t prioritize, I’d spread myself too thin and nothing would be that successful or enjoyable. So less is more for me.
ON Self Care
Q: In your opinion, what are the top values that make up a meaningful relationship?
A: Honesty, trust, kindness and respect for one another.
Q: How do you respond to the question “How has having a child changed your life?”
A: It’s added to my happiness in a huge way. My kids add so much joy to my life, I sometimes can’t even believe it. It’s also made me see more frequently what’s really important and what’s not. Motherhood reminds me of the fragility of life every single day…and this is really the greatest gift I’ve received from it that’s changed my life in a very big way.
Q: Which book(s) has had the most significant impact on your life and why?
A: I’ve read hundreds of books, no joke. For many years I was just so voracious to learn and grow and change for the better. Still, I always come back to the same books when anyone asks me this question because they all had the greatest life altering affect on me. Marianne Williamson’s “A Return To Love,” Louise Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life” and Deepak Chopra’s “7 Spiritual Laws of Success.” I also was positively changed reading, “Revolution From Within” by Gloria Steinem. I think all of these authors are incredibly gifted messengers, speakers and healers…who profoundly changed my life for the better and for that I am forever grateful.