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After decades of working in the same field or even for the same employer, many professionals reach a plateau and want something new. That was the case for Jeannie Sanders, a sales and HR professional. After two decades in corporate America, she started Practice of Positivity Corporation. Through her business, she runs a program called Go Reinvigorate Intrinsic Talents (G.R.I.T.). G.R.I.T. aims to push women outside of their comfort zones and help them develop leadership skills. Participants engage in boundary-pushing activities such as skydiving, rappelling, desert hiking, paddle boarding and more. Below, Sanders shares her entrepreneurial story and offers advice for those considering a mid-life career change.
What inspired you to start your own company?
I was blessed with a wonderful 21-year career in corporate America HR and Sales leadership, making memories that will last a lifetime, and with my teams, leaving an impact with the projects we worked on and the people we worked with! I worked alongside some very smart people who taught, mentored, supported, recognized, and promoted me. They provided me opportunities which allowed me to travel nationally and internationally, and encouraged me every step along the way to learn, develop, grow as an individual and as a professional, a manager, a mentor, a leader, a coach, and a peer.
My background began at University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida and Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. Throughout my career, I cultivated a deep commitment to working with people on their journey of empowerment and personal success. In 2015, I was invited to speak to a group of women in Florida about leadership and courageousness. That day, I met my Navy SEAL husband during an unplanned tandem skydive.
My fairytale wedding took place just a year later in California to my thrill-seeking husband. Experiences throughout my life led me to follow my dream of starting a business founded to provide guidance on some of the most critical topics facing us today. Now based in Henderson, NV we officially became a corporation in 2018. Just this year, we created and kicked off our G.R.I.T. leadership program experiences.
How can participating in boundary-pushing activities such as skydiving help women develop leadership skills?
I believe any activity which pushes women out of their comfort zone will help women develop leadership skills. It first starts with defining YOU. What do you stand for, what do you want your legacy to be, what is your comfort zone? My husband is a retired Navy SEAL and he’ll tell you “as long as someone isn’t shooting at me, I’m good”. So, first define your comfort zone and then be willing to push; push as far as you can go. Why would I say to push as far as you can go? My answer, why not.
I 150% believe when you are pushing those limits, the more trivial issues, challenges and situations in life just seem to not be as big of a deal. Picture yourself hiking 2.5 hours in the heat with paddleboards on your back to a river where your only option out is to hike, then blow up the board and paddle down river to a boat waiting for you. Think about how accomplished you feel when you do that. It is up to you, entirely up to you to push through mentally.
Which traits and skills are most important for a successful mid-life career change?
If you are considering a mid-life career change, please make sure you have done enough personal soul searching on answer WHY you are leaving or changing your career. Once you have determined that or at least have thought through it intelligently and still feel the need and/or desire, there are traits I believe are important.
The first is a word introduced to me by a professor at Case Western Reserve University. It is Self-Efficacy; doing things others cannot do or will not do. You must be willing to go out on a limb, to create, to work hard and to take on the challenge.
The second is choice. You must make smart choices; this includes who you work for, who you surround yourself with and making the next step in the right direction toward your goal.
The last word is GRIT: you must push through and persevere even in tough times.
Do you have any tips for those who are afraid of failure or change?
If someone is afraid of failure or change, my first suggestion is to please just try it. Try. Take one small step in the direction of the change; one step at a time! You can look back and see that accomplishment and then keep going. My second suggestion is this: you will feel proud of yourself for even trying. It is as simple as that.
I don’t ask that people accomplish every goal in the most courageous way or with the most style or athleticism. I ask that my clients keep a positive attitude, call upon their accountability partners and they TRY. When you conquer a fear, you will feel so incredibly proud of yourself, you will begin to feel less afraid of failure, because failure isn’t the enemy. Failure is growth. And with every small oops, comes a WOW!
For more information, visit https://www.practiceofpositivity.com/